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Editor-in-Chief Ajit Sinha Editor Anand Mishra Senior Copy Editor Ramesh K Raja Reporting Team Ekta Srivastava Rahul Trivedi Graphic Designer Girdhar Chandra Fuloria Web Architect Farhan Khan Guest Writers & Contributors Prof. Murari Lal Sagarika Ranjan Anish Srikrishna Divya Menon CORPORATE OFFICE Strategy Head Ajay Kumar Accounts Executive Yogesh Chikara FOR ADVERTISEMENT CONTACT Stuti Bhusan stuti@governancetoday.co.in FOR SUBSCRIPTION CONTACT subscription@governancetoday.co.in ADVISORY BOARD Terry Culver Associate Dean, SIPA, University of Columbia Vinit Goenka National Co-Convener, IT Cell, BJP Amod Kanth General Secretary Prayas JAC Society Pratap Mohanty Former Dy Educational Advisor, MHRD, GOI Ranjit Walia Managing Counsel Walia & Co. Vol. 1, No. 6; Total No of pages 76 Editorial, subscriptions and advertisements: Odyssey Infomedia Pvt. Ltd. B-108, 1st Floor, Sector-63, Noida - 201301,UP, Phone: +91-120-4234008, Email: edit@governancetoday.co.in Printed at Avenir Enterprises A-7/105, Industrial Area, South Side G T Road, Ghaziabad, UP-201009 Governance Today does not necessarily subscribe to the views expressed in this publication. All views expressed in the magazine are those of the contributors. The magazine is not responsible or accountable for any loss incurred, directly or indirectly as a result of the information provided. Governance Today is published by Odyssey Infomedia Pvt Ltd @ All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, and mechanical, including photocopy. Or any information storage or retrieval system, without publisher’s permission G

VERNANCE

editorial does not endorse the content of advertisements printed in the magazine Governance Today March 2015 4 TODAY

14 AGAINST ALL ODDS Despite being a country of over billion people, women are still not given due importance in India, thanks to India’s patriarchal society that still believes women should remain behind doors. Notwithstanding all efforts there is no improvement in the mentality of people towards the fairer sex. Instead of treating them at par with a male child, they are neglected in the mainstream. In spite of all these, women are excelling in different walks of life.


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WOMEN RESERVATION IN PARLIAMENT A NON-STARTER WELCOME TO FEMALE FAMISHED INDIA PROTECTING WOMEN, LEGALLY

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NO TOILET NO BRIDE

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BREAKING INTO MALE BASTIONS

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ONCE A VICTIM NOW A RESCUER

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AGENTS OF CHANGE

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PROTECT, NOURISH, EDUCATE AND EMPOWER THE GIRL CHILD

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Prof. Suptendra Nath Sarbadhikari Project Director, NHP

BETRAYING SHADOWS

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MEDICAL INFORMATICS: A HEALTH ENABLER FOR THE COUNTRY

SOCIAL SANCTION FOR UNFAIR FATE OF FAIR SEX

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BRAVING DISABILITY AND DISCRIMINATION WITH DETERMINATION PLANNING FOR LONG TERM PLANNING FOR A NEW INDIA

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SAVING MOTHER EARTH, AND GDP

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SHOULD WE BOARD THE BOARD?

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EMERGING VISTAS IN ONLINE EDUCATION IS INDIA ON TRACK TO HIGH SPEED RAIL GREECE STAYS IN EURO RACE AGAINST TIME FOR NITISH KUMAR March 2015

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Odyssey Infomedia Pvt. Ltd. B-108, 1st Floor, Sector-63, Noida - 201301,UP, U.P. 201301 Phone: +91-120-4234008, | www.governancetoday.co.in Governance Today March 2015 For queries, call 91-120-4234008, or email at subscription@governancetoday.co.in


Editorial

ARE WE HONEST IN EMPOWERING WOMEN?

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wami Vivekananda, if he addresses the world with the quote like “There is no chance of the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved. It is not possible for a bird to fly on one wing.” He had made this statement in his era but it is effective even in 21st century. He understood the seriousness and he made us aware too, but the problem is still standing.

But why are we discussing women empowerment, why the word empowerment comes into picture for women? It is because of our stereo type policy and society. Today it is time we wake up and realize the importance of women in society and start empowering her. We are just trying to showcase ourselves to look different in so called advance society, but we are cheating ourselves. We have to work on our stereo type thoughts; some initiative have been taken but with half heart and it never helped to empower the women. For example a simple diagnostic center can define the birth of a female child; a “Khap Panchayat” can decide the life and death of a women. Our literate, high profile society remains silent on that moment! We all know the meaning of women empowerment. It is just creating an environment where women can take independent decision on their personal development and equality in society. A woman wants to be treated as equals so much so that if a woman rises to the top of her field, it should be a commonplace occurrence and should not raise any eyebrow. In 60 plus year of independence we are not able to install a “shauchalay” at their home. Is it not a question on our honesty towards women empowerment? Why the women are so week? Has she not got greater intuition, is she not more self-sacrificing, has she not greater powers of endurance, has she not got greater courage? She has it all. Now the time has come to break the barrier. Women have to come forward to fight for their rights, strike out the word dependency and all other stereo typed policy from dictionary as well as from society. Forget that governments, husbands, brothers or fathers can make you powerful. If they could not able to give you a “Toilet” in 60 plus year of independence, you can understand their will. Now the time for wait and watch policy is over. With the message of “jio apni gindagi” (leave your life as you wish), Governance Today wishes you a very happy and proud Women Day! We would like to raise a discussion on Governance Today portal - Are we honest in empowering women? You can leave your thoughts www.governancetoday.co.in, or tweet using @governanceT

Ajit Sinha Editor-in-Chief

March 2015

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Governance Watch

Proposal to Have Drug Price Monitoring Cells

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he Government proposes to set up drug price monitoring cells across the country to keep a close watch on price movements, collections, monitoring of availability of drugs etc. A proposal has been received by the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers from National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) in which NPPA has proposed for revision/ modification of the existing Plan Scheme of Consumer Awareness and Publicity through Print, Electronic and Other Media. The proposal, inter-alia, has a component for Setting up Consumer Awareness, Price Monitoring and Resource Units at the States / Union Territories with the objective of forging better linkages with the State Drug Controllers. The Units are expected to provide necessary technical assistance to the State Drug Controllers and NPPA towards monitoring the notified prices of medicines, price movement of scheduled / non-scheduled medicines, collection and compilation of market based data of scheduled / non-scheduled medicines, conducting training, seminars and workshops at the State and District levels for consumer awareness and publicity covering aspects relating to availability of scheduled and non-scheduled medicines at reasonable prices, care to be taken while purchasing the medicines from the chemists / retailers, availability of alternative cheaper medicines, role and function of NPPA, etc. Most of the State Drug Controllers have in-principle supported the proposal for setting up the units at the States / UTs level. The proposal is yet to be placed before the appropriate Committee for approval

10 crore LPG Consumers Join PaHaL

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he Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed great joy on the momentous accomplishment that over 10 crore citizens have joined the PaHaL Yojana. He said that PaHaL will bring an end to black-marketing & subsidy will reach people more effectively and that its role in nation-building is important. The Prime Minister highlighted that PaHaL is amongst the largest cash transfer schemes in the world and congratulated the beneficiaries & officials on this occasion. Out of 15 crore active LPG consumers, over 10 crore LPG consumers have already joined the PaHaL scheme which was introduced in 54 Districts of the country on 15th November 2014 and in rest of the country on 1st January 2015. So far, an amount of Rs.4299 crore has been transferred after 15th November, 2014 via 11.33 crore transactions.

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Governance Watch

No Private e-mail Services for Official Purposes

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overnment employees shall no longer use private e-mail services for official communications. The new policy also bars officials from using forward option in e-mails to non-government e-mail services. According to a new policy, “Users shall refrain from using private e-mail servers from government network. E-mail service authorised by the government and implemented by the IA (Implementing Agency under this policy is NIC) shall only be used for all official correspondence… The e-mail services provided by other service providers shall not be used for any official communication.” All employees of Central Government and employees of those State or Union Territories governments that use the e-mail services provided by Central Government, would be governed by this policy. As per new policy, government officials will be allocated two e-mail ids, one based on designation and other on name. For personal correspondence, users may use the name-based e-mail id assigned to them on the Government authorised e-mail service.

MHA to Launch MySecurity Web Portal Shortly

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he Union Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to launch MySecurity web portal ‘MySecurity.gov.in’ which will enable the general public to get access to a large number of security related applications. The MySecurity platform is being created for individuals, companies, students, NGOs etc to develop and deploy security applications which may be useful to people. The details of the “MySecurity P l at fo r m Deployment of Security applications” scheme are available on the website of the Ministry www.mha.nic.in The application developers interested in deploying their application on this platform may send their applications to the e-mail id uspr-mha@mha.gov.in with all necessary details. After the launch of MySecurity web portal, these applications would be accessible to the public. March 2015

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Governance Watch

TRAI Issues Regulation on Domestic Carriage Charges

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he Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued the “Telecommunication Interconnection Usage Charges (Twelfth Amendment) Regulations” which prescribe a revised domestic carriage charge of 35 paisa per minute. On the basis of comments received from stakeholders either in writing or during the Open House Discussion and internal analysis, the Authority has reduced the ceiling of the domestic carriage charge to 35 paisa per minute from the existing 65 paisa per minute through these Regulations which will be effective from 1st March, 2015. TRAI has already issued regulations prescribing Mobile Termination Charge and Fixed Termination Charge and International Termination Charge on 23rd February, 2015

CCI Investigation into Unfair Practices in Realty Sector

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he Competition Commission of India (CCI) is looking into various aspects of alleged unfair business practices in realty sector. As on 11.02.2015, Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dealt with 132 cases of alleged anti-competitive practices/abuse of dominance in realty sector. Out of this, 93 cases have been closed at prima-facie stage and 3 cases have been disposed of after considering the report of Director General (DG), CCI. In 13 cases, the Commission has passed “cease and desist orders” and in one case has imposed penalty of Rs.630 crore on DLF Limited in addition to passing a “cease and desist order”. Under the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002, either on its own motion or on receipt of any information, CCI looks into cases of alleged anti-competitive practices/abuse of dominance including in realty sector.

Nagaland gets Weavers’ Service Centre

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inister of State for Textiles (I/C), Santosh Kumar Gangwar, laid the foundation stone for Apparel & Garment Making Centre at Dimapur, Nagaland. He inaugurated a Weavers’ Service Centre at Toluvi, Nagaland as well. The steps taken today reflect the Government’s intent to make development inclusive and participatory, based on the philosophy of “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas”. They also build upon the Make in India brand, so as to take the textile industry in the North East region to greater heights.

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Governance Watch

No Shortage of Fertilizers in the Country

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here is no shortage of fertilizers particularly of urea in the country. During the Rabi season, of 2014-15, the sales upto January 2015 have been higher than the last year. In the peak consumption month of December 2014, the urea sold was 35.88 lakh MT which is the highest ever in any month. In the month of January 2015, 32.36 lakh MT of urea was made available against the requirement of 29.41 lakh MT for the same month. During the current year, from April 2014 to January 2015, 73.07 lakh MT of imported urea has arrived as against 67.87 lakh MT of imported urea during the corresponding period of the last year. In the months of February and March 2015, another 12 lakh MT of imported urea is expected to arrive which will result in highest ever import of about 85 lakh MT urea. At present, the availability of urea is comfortable all over the country. In the month of February 2015 against the requirement of 16.71 lakh MT of urea, the supply plan has been made for 29.6 lakh MT out of which 14.71 lakh MT has already been made available till 15th February, 2015. To ensure adequate availability of urea, during the ensuing Kharif season of 2015, Department of Fertilizers has planned in advance to procure 10.5 lakh MT of urea in February and March 2015 in the tender floated through MMTC in January 2015.

Another Hostel for Northeast Students in Delhi

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lose on the heels of announcing a hostel for North-East students in the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh visited the campus of Ramanujan College in Kalkaji and finalized the decision to bring up another hostel for Northeast students in the premises of the college. He was accompanied by the Principal of Ramanujan College, Dr. S. P. Aggarwal. The hostel to be constructed at a cost of about Rs.40 crores will have an accommodation of about 250 students to be shared by boys and girls on 50-50 basis. The hostel will be brought up in a four-storeyed building with provision to add two more storeys as per requirement later on. Dr. Jitendra Singh along with a group of engineers and architects scrutinized the model of the proposed hostel complex and issued instructions to Secretary, North-Eastern Council (NEC), Ameishing Luikham to immediately initiate the paper work with the college authorities to finalize the terms and conditions of the percentage of budget to be shared by the two parties i.e. the NEC and the Ramanujan College administration. March 2015

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Global Watch

FCC Approves Net Neutrality

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he Federal Communications Commission of the USA has approved the policy known as net neutrality policy. The policy intends to keep internet control free from government or coroprates. The Open Internet Order requires service providers to be a neutral gateway instead of handling different types of Internet traffic in different ways and at different costs. The decision was taken with a 3-2 majority. A similar law was passed in 2010 which was put on hold following a legal challenge. After that ruling, the FCC looked at ways to reclassify broadband to gain broader regulatory powers. The new policy would replace the old law.

Russia, Ukraine Reach Ceasefire Deal

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fter marathon talks, which was facilitated by major European countries, Russia and Ukraine reached a new deal on a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. The deal came into effect on Feb 15 and after initial hiccups, warring parties are reported to have started observing ceasefire as negotiated. After the fighting stops, pullback of heavy artillery by both the Ukrainian army and the Russian-backed rebels was to start, which has started to be enforced, though lightly. However, the complete cession of violence is still away as heavily armed groups are still staring at each other. Secondly, though the deal has been struck, the western sanctions on Russia are still to be watered down or lifted.

Money Flows in EU in QE Hope

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nvestment money is pouring in EU countries as investors are looking at a full-blown quantitative easing by the central bank to combat deflation and jump start growth. This has led to stocks soaring to new highs and bond yields falling to ultra-lows as capital inflows to European equity and credit funds increase. FTSE Eurofirst 300 index has reached to a seven-year high. European Central Bank is expected to start a programme of â‚Ź60bn sovereign bond buying in March which could boost the Euro zones fortunes. If the bond buying program could boost growth and borrowing costs come down it could mean that countries in the eurozone see their debt to GDP ratios drop, making their debt burdens more sustainable.

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Governance Watch

Need to Increase Women Strength in PSUs

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nion Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises Minister Annat G.Geete has emphasised the need to enhance the women strength in the Public Sector Undertakings. Inaugurating the the 25th National Convention of the Forum of Women in Public Sector (WIPS) here in New Delhi today the minister said the role played by the women strength in PSUs across the country is appreciable and it his sincere desire that the women strength in PSUs should increase from the present

that women representation should be there in the selection committee and that DPE will review on that. On this occasion Geete also gave away the best enterprise award in the Maharatna /Navaratna and Miniratna categories for their initiatives towards women development. In Maharatna/Navratna category BHEL was awarded first place , ONGC SECOND RINL third place and NLC -4th place. Special jury award was given to IOCL. In Mini ratna category ECIL Bagged the 1st; SECL- 2nd; BCCL-3rd; CCL -4th. The individual

The Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Anant Geete lighting the lamp at the 25th National convention of Forum of Women in Public Sector (WIPS), on the theme “25 years of WIPS - the Way Forward”, in New Delhi

10% to 15% during his tenure. The minister said he is open to open to all suggestions or representations given by WIPS for improving policies for development of women their entry in PSUs etc and also their status in work place. He stressed that focused initiatives by PSUs through CSR for encouraging rural girl children towards middle and secondary school education. He urged the delegates to give their best as competitions was becoming tougher in the global level and private sectors. The minister urged SCOPE to organize a seminar on the theme on how to improve the percentage of women employees in PSUs. Geete also advised Secretary DPE to pay special attention towards uniformity in policies for women in PSUs. In his keynote address K D Tripathi, Secretary DPE has expressed

women Achievers (Executive and Non- executive) category awards for 2014 were also given away by the minister. Earlier the minister was welcomed by Selvi Ravindran President WIPS APEX. Nishi Khurana president WIPS northern Region introduced the theme “25 years of WIPS - The Way Forward”on this occasion. C S Verma, Chairman SCOPE conveyed his best wishes to the forum for their silver jubilee celebrations. Dr U D Choubey applauded the efforts of various PSUs who have improved the percentage of the strength of women from 4% in 1991 to 9.2% in March 2014. He also felt that women of PSUs should also contribute a lot for rural women through CSR. The inaugural session concluded with the vote of thanks by Kirti Tiwari Secretary WIPS APEX. G VERNANCE TODAY

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Lead Story

AGAINST ALL ODDS | ANAND MISHRA

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n Jan 25th this year, Wing Commander Pooja Thakur became the first woman in India to perform the Guard of Honor during American President Barack Obama’s visit to the country. A week later, a 28 year mentally challenged girl went missing in Rohtak district of Haryana whose gang raped and mutilated body was found 3 days later. Two years ago, an equally brutal gangrape of a paramedic student in Delhi had galvanized India and had brought world’s attention to India’s horrendous record in women safety. The contrast cannot starker. Even as

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women are increasingly breaking through unimaginable odds to script histories, the crime and discrimination against women is reaching equally unimaginable magnitude in scale and brutality. Ironically, we are discussing the plight of women in a country that worships female as supreme symbol of power, wealth and wisdom.

According to UN Human Development Report 2013, India stands at a low 132nd place on Gender Inequality Index. This is not only lowest in the fastest emerging BRICS countries, but also lowest among G-20 nations, barring Saudi Arabia. Indian women capture under 11 per cent of seats in Lok Sabha, which is lower than even Bangladesh and Pakistan where roughly one out of five seats in parliament is held by women. India is also behind Bangladesh in percentage of women having secondary education. Incidentally, India has just had a government for a decade at a stretch in which a woman was the chief of the ruling coalition. So much for women empowerment. What intrigues analysts is the multi-layered and multi-faceted nature of anti-woman prejudice that pervades the society. The safety of women is an apt example. The threat to safety starts from even before birth. India’s child sex ratio has declined sharply in recent years. Because of sex selective abortions of girls, the number of females per thousand males from 0 to 6 years of age has come down from 927 girls for every 1000 boys in 2001 to 919 girls in 2011. Richer states such as Haryana have amongst the worst record in sex ratio. The child mortality under five years of age is also higher for girl child in India compared to boys. A United Nations Department


Lead Story

of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) report which studied the data for 150 countries over 40 years showed in 2012 that India and China were the only two countries in the world with higher female infant mortality rate compared to boys during the decade of 2000s. Even poorer countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh were doing better than India.

Women in India are discriminated on multiple fronts and in multiple ways. A large number of studies have shown that preference to son and low status of women are the critical factors contributing to the gender bias against women. Because of the social structure, women lag men in most parameters of human development index, including

women and girls. Violence against women, especially sexual violence has emerged as the most demonic aspect of social violence over last few years. The latest statistics of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has revealed that as many as 93 women are reported to have been raped in India every day. It shows that women in India remain unsafe even though stronger

Wing Commander Pooja Thakur leads guard of honour for US President Barack Obama

The report mentioned that high girl child mortality is explained by socio-cultural values. Biologically, girl children are at an advantage compared to boys. So, a higher girl child mortality clearly signals differential and negative treatment and poorer access to resources for girls. The access to nutritional foods and healthcare facilities are primary reason for higher girl child mortality.

allocation of food, preventive and curative healthcare, education, work and wages, social security and fertility choice. And because of this inferiority, they lose out on social, economicand political opportunities. According to a report by UN Women, released in June 2013, gender based violence remained pervasive with legal framework proving insufficient to protect

rape laws have been passed by the government. This is where the extremely anti female face of India reveals itself. The atrocities on women have a level of implicit social sanction which abates crime against women, including rapes. Secondly, the regressive institutions such as Khaps issue all sorts of restrictions on women which include dress code to prescribed food habits. Because March 2015

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Lead Story

these institutions have huge political clout in a substantial territory of the country, law enforcement agencies and long hands of law are unable to reach distressed women on one hand and on the other hand, culprits remain largely free to continue with the crimes against women. In mid 2014, the status report on progress on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

and Maharashtra have managed to meet the MDG target. India is also on line to miss infant mortality and under five mortality targets by 2015. While there is no denying that there has been some progress. School enrolment and transition rate from Primary level to Upper primary level have both gone up for girls over last decade and the attempts of governments have

There is a sustained and persistent tendency to deny them their fair right, and exploit them in whichever way possible

released by the United Nations showed poor progress on major women related issues by India. The report showed that despite the massive drop in global maternal mortality ratio (MMR) which nearly halved between 1990 and 2013, India accounted for 17 per cent of maternal deaths globally. Only three states, Kerala, Tamil Nadu

borne some fruits, but even there, the progress of BIMARU states have been less than satisfactory. The percentage share of females in wage employment in non-agricultural sector has gone up somewhat, but the improvement remains too tardy. Overall, India comes across as a society which despite

traditionally giving women a venerable position, is not willing to accept women as equal to men. There is a sustained and persistent tendency to deny them their fair right, and exploit them in whichever way possible. Most attempts of government to improve their lot have been partially successful at best, not because they are planned sub-optimally, but because the institutions to implement them are not strong enough to tear through the social structure that exploits women. The result of the persistent anti women prejudice is that there has been an increasing feminization of poverty, poor health and criminal and social exploitation. Because social security measures are mostly absent in the country, women find it hard to claw back after falling off the cliff. Because of extreme exploitation, India has also got the dubious distinction of having the largest share of ‘missing women’ in the world. However, there are odd instances which raise hope. Over last decade, there has been no professional, academic, social, and sports domain in which women have not broken through the mail dominance. Whether it be driving trains or heading largest financial institutions to applied scientific research, Indian women are making their mark. It is their way of revolting against the well-oiled social machinery that has worked against them for long. Their indomitable spirit needs acknowledgement and support. But the real action is required in dismantling a social order and value system which discriminates against and exploits women, from before birth to death. That alone would be the real reverence to numerous goddesses we worship. G VERNANCE TODAY

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Lead Story

Social Sanction for Unfair Fate of Fair Sex ‘A female child grows up with a constant sense of being weak and in need of protection. This helplessness has led to her exploitation at almost every stage of life.’

| SAGARIKA RANJAN

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alking through the tatters of a temporary settlement of some migrant workers, I met the real women of India – their rummaged hair spoke of how oil was a luxury, stoic eyes, chapped lips, scratched bodies and their ‘unmarried’ pregnant bellies. Shocking, yes it was but not because of the social taboo attached to unmarried pregnant women but because of the fact that this widespread injustice is almost never placed under the brackets of crime against women. All thanks to the social sanction for crime against women. Ask these women about their plight and all they have to say is humra kaun sunta hai memsahib. Hum gareeb hai, khane ko mil jaye bas. Aaj ee desh kal koi aur (Who will listen to us madam? We are poor people. All we need is food. Today we are here tomorrow we will be at some other place.) As per several activists working in this field, reasons for such crimes going unregistered are many but social stigmas top the list. The social upbringing in India puts the March 2015

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Lead Story

responsibility of maintaining respect solely on the women. The worst still is the fact that most of these victims believe that being a women is the very reason for going through rough ordeals. An encounter with another sexual assault victim unleashed the fact that even the women, both who have suffered and those who are mute spectators, feel that it’s the victim’s fault and whatever wrong happened was because the woman went off the laid social tracks. Reshma, (name changed), today sulks as she recalls how her eight-year-old daughter was raped by around five teenagers in a village in West Bengal. Today her daughter has moved on in life but as per psychologists she is growing up as an individual who will not stand up for her rights. Thus, contributing to the “weaker, vulnerable fair sex”. Rape, domestic violence, abuse at workplace, acid attack, eve-teasing and many more forms of crimes against women are being reported and to be blamed are the women for they suffer because they “must have done something to excite” their male counterparts. And to make it worse, these dialogues come from some of the so-called moral teachers of the society who shoulder the responsibility of maintaining the values in the society. In several cases even the victims believe in the ‘self-fault’ theory. Reshma’s mother did not protest. She said: “How can I protest? I should have taken better care of my daughter. Her life would be wasted and it’s the girl who suffers. Who will marry her?” Tears in her eyes Reshma represents a large chunk of women who believe that protesting means everyone will come to know about what happened to the victim. 18

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These moral preachers advise to dress properly, walk properly and be in your limits for the men of our society have every right to infringe on your privacy, independence and lifestyle for equality after all is only a word. Today the law books across the nation are full of anti-polygamy, anti-dowry and all kinds of laws but sadly the social decorum supersedes all. A recent survey conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation states that India is the fourth most dangerous country in the world for women. The tool of social sanction is not only gender-biased but even based on

of women and provide examples, we miss out on over 80 per cent of the population that is still wrapped up, due to reluctance, complacence or force, in the old belief that males are to rule and females to serve and this has been fuelling the fire of social sanction for crime against women. As per a study by Sheela Sarvanan, ISST, -- ‘Violence against Women in India: A Literature Review’-- cultural and social factors are interlinked with the development and propagation of violent behaviour. With different processes of socialization that men and women undergo, men take up stereotyped gender

financial prosperity. In both cases even the most heinous crimes go unreported and the perpetrators go unpunished. On one hand women are being empowered while on the other hand psychologists and psychiatrists are being flocked by women struggling to deal with empowerment amidst the unflinching patriarchal mindset all over. Indeed women are being empowered for Honour killings, dowry deaths and lynching of women, branded as witches hit the news columns on a daily basis. When we talk of empowerment

roles of domination and control, whereas women take up that of submission, dependence and respect for authority. A female child grows up with a constant sense of being weak and in need of protection, whether physical social or economic. This perceived sense of helplessness leads to her exploitation at almost every stage of life. It is a vicious circle rather an age-old vicious circle. Abuse – shame – oppression – more vulnerable – abuse. Even today, mothers remain quiet when their daughters are tortured for dowry; daughters remain quiet when


Lead Story

Khaps: Imposed or Needed? “Girls should be married off early to check crime against women.” “As soon as the children attain puberty, it is natural for them to have sexual desires but when these are not fulfilled, they stray... so there should not be any minimum age for marriage.” “Girls should not be given cell phones as it contributes to the crime against women.” These are some of the recent diktats of the Khap panchayat members. These have attracted enough flak from all strata of the society especially women. “Absurd” is the term that most people use to explain the judgments of the Khap panchayats. Yet, these regressive entities rule the roost, even flourishing, despite supporting some of the most heinous crimes against women. Of late there has been much hue and cry over some of the diktats of the khaps. Even though khap has no legal sanction, it goes about unchecked and functions like kangaroo courts, issuing social diktats that are enforced in the villages. Even criticism of the highest degree has not been able to affect this non-legal structure. Despite a lot of opposition in the society, neither welfare organizations nor politicians dare to oppose the khap members as they enjoy great clout among their own community and can influence election results. There are demands from almost all sections of the society that Khaps should be banned. Dr Kiran Modi, Managing Trustee and founder of Udayan Care says, “Khap Panchayats are a symbol of male dominance and should be shunned. This parallel system of judiciary, the self-imposed importance is a really dangerous trend and should be curbed.” The word self-imposed is often seen to explain the very nature of the khaps but there are people with an alternate perspective. In the words of Vikram Srivastava, a social activist and founder of NGO – ‘I thought’, says, “purely from the legal perspective we need to understand that any informal system of justice prevails when the formal system fails to deliver and meet the aspirations.” He explains that the access to justice is denied to most people due to delays, legal expense and uncertainty because of shabby investigations and corrupt police system. People do look for a speedy and sustainable judicial system which takes care of situation beyond court rooms. For many people who have lost hope in the formal system, khaps offer some succor, adds Srivastava. In short, khaps do not thrive on imposition or intimidation; they survive and thrive on need. Today, formal justice is mostly for the rich and glitteratis. At the grassroots level, people need khaps for speedy trials and justice, whatever that means. Thus, these panchayats are ruling the common people as they cover up for the loopholes in the judiciary system. No amount of criticism is going to help against this body of justice if we fail to stitch up the glaring fissures of our legal framework.

their mothers are being abused by their fathers; the faces of the victims are covered while the accused roam about shamelessly. The future of these women are forced into darkness for there are no takers for these abused and tainted women. Sarvanan in her paper explains the issue by combining these types of abuses with the concept of hierarchical gender relations. She says that violence essentially happens in three contexts – the family, the community and the state and at each point key social institutions fulfill critical and interactive functions in defining legitimating and maintaining the violence. The family socializes its members to accept hierarchical relations expressed in unequal division of labour between the sexes and power over the allocation of resources. The community i.e. social, economic, religious, and cultural institutions provide the mechanisms for perpetuating male control over women’s sexuality, mobility and labour while the state legitimizes the proprietary rights of men over women, providing a legal basis to the family and the community to perpetuate these relations. The state does this through the enactment of discriminatory application of the law, states Sarvanan. Thus, the very process of knitting the social fabric in India gives the license to a select few to decide the unfair fate of the fairer sex. The problem lies at the very roots of our cultural tree. The change though has begun; there is still a long way to go. The women folk need to break the shackles of social sanction and empower from within as Andrew Carnegie has said: “You cannot push anyone up the ladder unless he is willing to climb.” G VERNANCE TODAY

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Betraying Shadows Beyond headlines of exploitation and torture, there is a quiet development taking place in India as women are showing up at places where few expect them to, and are taking up leadership positions. They are breaking the barriers and coming out of the shadows.

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| EKTA SRIVASTAVA

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ive me a good mother said Napoleon and I will give you a good Nation. Mothers are makers of the fate of a nation, for the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world. Indira Nooyi, Chanda kochhar, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Vandana Shiva, Kalpana Chawla, Sunita Williams to name a few are the woman of the country who have proven themselves as dynamic, vibrant, sincere and perfect in many fields, often better than their male counterparts. The change is widespread and varied, individual and collective and is reflected across the spectrum of women’s lives, whether in politics or in economics, or in business. It’s not easily measured but its importance and its impact are too in the face to be ignored. There is no doubt that women have played an important role in nation building as India transits from a feudal agricultural society to a modern industrial society. Indian society has always been male dominated, women are still subjugated and most women still do not have ‘real freedom’. Though challenging this status quo, our history talks of women heroes like Razia Sultana, Rani of Jhansi, Sarojini Naidu and Indira Gandhi who are true examples of motivation for women empowerment. Study shows that IQ of an average woman is the same as that of an average man. Elizabeth I of England and Catherine the Great of Russia were great leaders. Madame Curie was the first person in the world to win two Nobel Prizes, in Physics and in Chemistry. Hence, it is not due to any inherent inferiority but due to the fact that women were not given education and other opportunities that they could not often come up to the level of men in the past. Women in India have become aware that the business world no longer belongs to men. In the late eighties, women started entering corporate management and have continued to increase their participation through the years. More and more women are breaking the barrier of “men only” jobs and are entering into various industries with full force. We can see a foray of woman entering in male dominated areas like IT, sports, athletics, politics, armed forces, navy, air force, police, as authors, media and entertainment, at gas stations, flying aeroplanes, going in space, scaling up mountains, driving taxis and starting their own business ventures; these have predominantly been male only territories. International Business Report (IBR) of business consultancy organization Grant Thornton reveals that the proportion of Indian women occupying senior positions in businesses has catapulted from 9% in 2011 to 14% in 2012. More importantly, the number of woman chief executives has jumped from 1% in 2011 to 10% in 2012, when globally the number rose from 8% to only 9%. Profiles such as chief operating officer,

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1 - Indira Nooyi 2 - Chanda Kochhar 3 - Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

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Lead Story

chief information officer or chief of human resource management too have been seeing women as heads. Indian women managers are also showing an increasing interest in newer assignments and added responsibility areas, the study has shown. Interestingly 76% women accepted more responsibility or a different role to move their careers forward, against 54% men doing so, the study revealed. The study found that 78% of Indian women proactively manage their career

perseverance and battling the minds of men which has led to this shift but the cultural shift is still amiss. Professional women still face multitude of challenges both within and outside of the professional environment be it with respect to the equality of treatment, opportunities of advancement, limitations on the type of jobs women can hold remain palpable difficulties. Persuading a career out of home does not normally find encouraging responses. Workplace is considered men’s domain and

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“Women First” In India Kiran Bedi, Ph.D, is Indias 1st and highest ranking woman police officer. Kalpana Chawla was the 1st Indian-born woman and the second Indian person to fly in space. Muthamma Chonira is the first Indian woman to sit in civil services exam, to join IFS, to be a diplomat, to become the ambassador/High commissioner (She also to sue the Indian government for gender bias). Durba Banerjee, the 1st woman Airline Pilot. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, 1953 is the 1st Woman President of the United Nations General Assembly. Bachendri Pal, 1984, the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest Harita Kaur Deol becomes the first Indian woman pilot in the Indian Air Force (IAF), on a solo flight in 1994. Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha, popularly known as P. T. Usha is the 1st Indian woman to reach the final of an Olympic event. The list doesn’t end here... Needless to say women have proved their mettle in a world skewed heavily in favor of men. against 69% in China, 58% in UK and 59% in the US. It has taken years of patience, perseverance and battling the minds of men which has led to this shift but the cultural shift is still a partially finished work. Professional women still face multitude of challenges both within and outside of the professional environment be it with respect to the equality of treatment, opportunities of advancement, limitations on the type of jobs women can hold remain palpable difficulties. It has taken years of patience,

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earning of women is taken as a disgrace. However, this approach is rapidly changing now, and financials as well as other social factors have not only increased the number of working women in all spheres of life, but also have improved the acceptability of their nonconventional contribution towards society. This development has also resulted in emergence of new challenges to which we need to adjust without compromising the positive features of our indigenous social construct.

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4- Kalpana Chawla 5 - Kiran Bedi 6 -Bachendri Pal

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Sarojini Naidu

Vijay Laxmi Pandit

Indira Gandhi

Women Reservation in Parliament a Non-Starter | EKTA SRIVASTAVA

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ender discrimination in the world is not new, but there are countries which have the worst woman state, India is one of them. This is a country where at every step women have to compromise with their thoughts, rights, situations and welfares. May be that was because they were taught from the very first day of their social understanding that they have to do so and so not because they like to do so but because they are the girls. Year after year, world is still living with the girls stigma and since their births they are tied up in the taboos. Many social evils like dowry, illiteracy, infanticide etc. are existing even ‘today’. Saying ‘today’, because this is 21st century where we are talking about LGBT’s rights, 3G generation, Mars invasion, smart cities, and smart classes. We need to talk about women empowerment, women reservation bill, safety for women as some of the major issues that needs a complete attention. But why, nobody has the 22

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answer. Crimes against women are to be dealt with strong hand through several measures but half-hearted efforts are what has been spared for these issues as these are not considered important. Woman in every aspect of life are being suppressed by the male dominated society of the country; nonetheless they are fighting hard to get a recognizable and respectable position in their homes, societies and in parliament also.

Poorly Represented Out of 642 women candidates – 8% of the total number of people who contested last year (2014) – 60 emerged victorious. This is only two more than the number in the 2009 LokSabha. Though the situation is undoubtedly better than in 1977, when there were only 19 women MPs, the representation of women has not yet gone beyond a third of the 33% mark that has been recommended in the Women’s Reservations Bill, which is yet to be passed. Many EU countries like Belgium,

France and Germany, and other countries such as Egypt, Iraq, and Nepal legislatively provide for quotas for women candidates. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China and Pakistan reserve seats for women in parliament. Voluntary quotas adopted by political parties exist in countries such as Australia, Canada, Israel, Netherlands and the UK. The global level of representation of women in national assembly has nearly doubled since 1997, when the average representation of women in parliaments around the world was at 11.7%. Among the key factors that contributed to this increase was the adoption of representation quotas. While the percentage of women representatives in India is more than 11% this year, the highest number recorded so far, it still lags behind other more mature democracies. For instance, 18.3% of the members of the US House of Representatives are women, and 22.6% of the UK House of Commons. In the neighbourhood, while more


Meira Kumar

Sumitra Mahajan

Maneka Gandhi

There is no doubt that women have played an important role in nation building but in this male dominated society their contribution are still overlooked and this patriarchal society till today seems not to be in favour of giving them their due powers. And so no one can deny that the number of women in Indian politics is not consistent with the corporate world where several Indian women hold sway over multinational companies. than 20% of the lower houses of Pakistan, Nepal and China’s are women, only 5–6% of the national legislative bodies of Myanmar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are female. This could partly be due to the perception that women are less likely to win elections. Carole Spary from the University of York in her study of the 2009 general elections in India suggested that parties tend not to distribute tickets to women candidates in seats deemed winnable. However, looking at the electoral success ratio for 2014, the women who were granted tickets by their parties had an average success ratio of 38%, as compared to 27% for men. Flop show of Women Reservation Bill The bill proposes to reserve 33% seats for women in the LokSabha and the state legislative assemblies. Various similar bills, introduced since 1996, have lapsed. According to statistics released periodically by the Election Commission, for the 543 LokSabha constituencies, the number of elected

women increased from 49 in 1999 to 59 in 2009, with 11% representation in the lower house. In 2009, the number of elected women over total seats was maximum in Punjab (30.8%), followed by Madhya Pradesh (20.7%) and Haryana (20.0%). Against this, the number of women voters in India has increased from 44.3% to 45.8%.

Women Power If we peek into history, several names like Sarojini Naidu, Vijay Laxmi Pandit, Begum Shah Nawaz cross our mind, who are still known and admired for their significant work and invaluable contribution to society and country. We also had one of the most formidable women politicians of the world, Indira Gandhi who epitomized women power in Indian political establishment. Among the women parliamentarians who have been elected the most number of times, Sumitra Mahajan of the BJP won for the eighth time from Indore, equivalent to the record of the late Rajmata of Gwalior, Vijay Raje Scindia. Maneka Gandhi and Uma

Bharti of the BJP won for the seventh and sixth time respectively. Among the veteran women politicians, Meira Kumar lost a seat from which she had been elected five times. It is sometimes argued that successful women politicians generally owe their careers to the connections of their male family members, wealth and social status. A quick look at some of the losing star women campaigners – Rabri Devi, AmbikaSoni, Vijayamma, Deepa Dasmunshi, PriyaDutt, MedhaPatkar, SmritiIrani and GulPanag – show that the reality is more mixed than the assertion. Indian society has always been male dominated, but now the time has come when we have look at the better half too. The male dominance is getting a tough fight, women are proving that they if they can manage their homes, they can manage the country as well. The need is to acknowledge this fact and encourage more women to come forth to serve country by donning lawmaker’s role. G VERNANCE TODAY

March 2015

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Lead Story

Welcome to Female Famished India The low and declining sex ratio in the country is a matter of grave policy concern because it deprives the country of the potential economic and social contribution of these “missing women” | SAGARIKA RANJAN

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f late there has been a change in the ‘bride market’, so to say. While, favorable or not is subjective and pretty debatable, but against the earlier trend in which the father of a bride needed to pay for his daughter’s marriage, today increasingly they are getting paid. The society is paying to get a bride and a girl’s father is no more burdened under the ills of dowry. So, the question is can the bride’s father be happy? Good for the society, is it?

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Superficially speaking, many may say yes but social pundits, analysts and anthropologist are considering this equally bad situation as it was in the past. They use the term ‘skewed’ to define the situation. The reason behind this wind of change is the skewed sex ratio that gained prominence following the 2011 census. The Child Sex Ratio has fallen from 927 in 2001 to 919 in 2011 as per Census 2011, which is an all-time low since 1961. This decline can be seen in nearly 429 districts which are about 67 per cent of total districts across India. Strictly speaking, it is not that the society has gone mature and

has begun to value the worth of a woman, only the society is waking up to the fact that there just aren’t enough women to satiate their demand in the society. While the absolute level of Child Sex Ratio is lower in urban as compared to rural areas - the rate of decline in rural areas is steeper indicating that the magnitude of the problem is no longer confined to just some states or only urban areas. Rashmi Singh, a civil servant with more than two decades of distinguished track record in the government, shares her experience saying, “looking at the social, medical and legal


construct of such a situation, the ‘missing girl’ phenomenon is clearly influenced by misuse of technology for prenatal sex selective elimination or abortion. However the factors leading to the use of this instrument are much more deep-rooted in the societal fabric.” The choices are partly influenced by the changing aspirations of urban and rural societies with changes in family structures and reproductive decisions that favour a smaller family size, but the most important factor is the deep rooted societal mindset and norms which are biased against the girl child, adds Singh. This is the situation that can be termed as sustained murder of women over so many decades of ignorance and orthodoxy. “The falling sex ratio is something to seriously worry about. A society which does not respect its own other half, is treading on dangerous grounds,” says Dr Kiran Modi, Managing Trustee and founder of Udayan Care and a person of varied experiences and also a founder of several trusts working for the disadvantaged. She points towards the innumerable number of stories on bad practices that have emerged due to female feticide, to prove her point. The presence of girls is perceived to make family e n d owe d w i t h g re ate r responsibility and liability with the fear of gender based violence and practices of dowry. The vulnerable conditions of girls across life cycle is a vicious cycle which is both the cause and effect of low status of girls with clear discrimination seen in nutrition, education, health and other attainments. In terms of legal and policy framework, the Government of India promulgated the

What’s Wrong with Haryana A place where the measure of status is physical power, women tend to slide downwards as biological limitations are beyond human capacity. Welcome to the land of Haryana where women are mere flesh and bone robots who act and survive as per the programmers – their fathers, husbands and brothers. Vikram Srivastava, a social activist for last 15 years, says, “The existence of illiteracy and economic dependency of women due to early marriages and existence of patriarchal mindset maintains the status quo and provide invisible support to oppressive customary practices globally; Haryana is no exception.” Reports suggest that low rural female literacy rate, low status given to women, high fertility rate because of early marriage of girls, poor say of female in family decision making with regard to number and sex of new-born baby, consideration of children as asset for families to get more hands for earning especially in case of landless castes, requirement of more and more children as agricultural laborers in case of scheduled castes and poor families because of large size of land holdings are the major factors responsible for comparatively higher child sex ratio especially in rural parts of western Haryana. Haryana has witnessed a decline by 91 points in child sex ratio during the period from 1961 to 2001. The rate of decline has been even more conspicuous since 1981. Between 1981 and 2001, child sex ratio in the state has gone down from 902 to 819, a decline by 83 points. While trying to decode the lowest sex ratio in the state, one can find hundreds of households where men of the house compel their women to get involved in the flesh trade to earn that extra amount. Denial in such cases leads to torture and may even result in deaths. Infanticide is not the only reason for the ever declining sex ratio of the state. There are many cases where girls commit suicide or succumb to the physical and mental torture either while into the flesh trade or in the process of being forcefully inducted into the trade. Taking a dig at the extremism of male dominance in the region, several social activists are now advocating for the girls or women living an inanimate life within the four walls of their confinement. One of the cases that had hit the headlines sometime back was from one of the villages in Haryana. One of the hundred girls who face the same ordeal dared to speak up. She was against her family business of flesh trade. As a result she was handed over to a truck driver and his helpers by her father. She was raped by these men while on the way away from her place and in the return journey she was handed over to another group of driver who raped her on the way back. This was in lieu of some amount of money and was repeated frequently. This incident is a clear picture of what worth do women have in this part of the world. This is what is wrong within the world of Haryana. Women are not living beings but objects to be used, re-used and recycled. If at all they fail to be of use, they are slaughtered, butchered and stripped off their dignity and life. This is what is wrong with Haryana. March 2015

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Lead Story

Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques Act in 1994, (amended in 2005 to include preconception techniques). The Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act (PC&PNDT Act) 1994 bans the use of medical diagnostic for sex determination. Unfortunately the implementation of this act has been very weak. Acting upon the gradual fall in the sex ratio, the government has indeed come forward and launched several programmes to control the falling ratio. Singh, in the last three years of her stint as the Executive Director of the National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW), Ministry of Women & Child Development, was a part of building a multi pronged strategy which was given the highest attention with the launching of a nationwide campaign called ‘Beti bachao beti padhao”. “Many of the learning on ground through the ‘Poorna Shakti Kendra’ initiated in Pali, Rajasthan and some other districts especially through a pilot project in conjunction with Ministry of Panchayati Raj provided a very useful impetus to weave the strategies which can bring a change in mind set on ground. Some of these strategies which we tested and demonstrated successfully were involvement of multiple stakeholders with common orientation for generating massive awareness on the issue through sensitization workshops, organizing “Beti Janmotsava” for celebrating the birth of girl child at a community level with active involvement of panchayat representatives and other community leaders, organizing special mahila sabhas or ‘Nari ki Chaupal’ as a platform for discourse and local action.

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Despite all these efforts, everything crumbles when it comes to execution. The seriousness of the situation is still to percolate down the masses including the execution staff of the government. As per a recent research by International Association of Scientific Innovation and Research, USA, while most countries around the world have a small imbalance in their juvenile sex ratios for biological reasons (i.e., there is a biological tendency for more male than female babies to be born to

it deprives the country of the potential economic and social contribution of these “missing women” Reports suggest that India is the most dangerous place in the world for a girl child to be born. As per the most current data released by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) for 150 countries over 40 years show that India and China are the only two countries in the world where female infant mortality is higher than male infant mortality in the 2000s.

Reports suggest that India is the most dangerous place in the world for a girl child to be born

compensate for the slightly higher risk of mortality among newborn boys), the imbalance in India is acute, and is indicative of prenatal selection and excess female infant and child mortality. Both in turn reflect a strong cultural preference for sons over daughters. Some estimates put the number of “missing females” in India as high as 37 million. The low and declining juvenile sex ratio in the country is a matter of grave policy concern, not only because it violates the human rights of unborn and infant girls but also because

The data shows that an Indian girl child aged from one to five years is 75 per cent more likely to die than an Indian boy, making this the worst gender differential in child mortality for any country in the world. High girl child mortality is explained by sociocultural values. So strong is the biological advantage for girls in early childhood that higher mortality among girls should be seen as “a powerful warning that differential treatment or access to resources is putting girls at a disadvantage. G VERNANCE TODAY


Lead Story

Familial Woes

Anti Girl Attitude in Indian Family Nothing Less Than Violence India is one of the few countries in the world where women and men have nearly the same life expectancy at birth. The fact that the typical female advantage in life expectancy is not seen in country suggests there are systematic problems with women’s health. | EKTA SRIVASTAVA

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omen’s health in India is intrinsically linked to their status in society. Research on women’s status in India has found that the contributions women make to families often are overlooked, and instead they are viewed as economic burdens. There is a strong son preferences, as sons are expected to care for parents as they age while girls are supposed to be member of other family once they get married. This son preference, along with dowry costs for daughters, often results in ill treatment of the girl child. Further, women score low on education and resultantly, in formal work force participation. Ironically, at all educational levels, pass percentage of girls is higher than boys. Women typically have little autonomy, living under the control of first their fathers, then their husbands, and finally their sons. All of these factors exert a negative impact not only in their social and mental upbringing but effects their health status as well. Now this poor health has repercussions not only for women but also their families. Women in poor health are more likely to give birth to low weight infants. They also are less likely to be able to provide food and adequate care for their children. Finally, a woman’s health affects the household economic wellMarch 2015

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being, as a woman in poor health will be less productive in the development. Simultaneously, the wide variation in cultures, religions, and levels of development among India’s 28 states and 7 union territories, it is not surprising that women’s health also varies greatly from state to state.

A Violent Crime Against Women, Every 5 Minutes Research by Heaise (1994) has shown that violence against women is a health problem that is often ignored by authorities who view such behaviour as beyond their purview. Likewise, many donor agencies do not want to work on this problem as they consider it culturally sensitive. In certain societies, violence, such as wife beating is perceived as ‘normal’ or as a husband’s right. These violence sometimes even have negative consequences for children of such tortured women. While violence is a serious health issue for Indian women, it is difficult to say how widespread it is because of the paucity of reliable data. The limited available data show that much

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of the violence to which women are subjected to, occurs in the home and/or is carried out by relatives. For instance, the majority of reported rapes are committed by family members. Many of the victims are young women, according to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), data a total number of 12036, 9873 and 4567 cases have been filed under the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act, 2005 in the year 2010, 2011 and 2012. In 2013, the country registered 1,18,866 cases of domestic violence with a rise of 11.6% from 1,06,527 cases in 2012, while the conviction rate rose from 15% in 2012 to 16%.

More than Half of Indian Children are Malnourished Numerous studies indicate that malnutrition is a serious health concern that Indian women face (The world bank, 1996). It threatens their survival as well as that of their children. The negative effects of malnutrition among women are compounded by heavy work demands, by poverty, by childbearing and rearing, and by special nutrition

needs of women, resulting in increased susceptibility to illness and consequent higher mortality. While malnutrition in India is prevalent among all segments of the population, poor nutrition among women begins in infancy and continues throughout their lifetimes. Still today, women and girls are typically the last to eat in a family, thus, if there is not enough food they are the ones to suffer most. According to the NFHS, Indian children have among the highest proportions of malnourishment in the world. More than half of all girls and boys under 4 years of age were malnourished, and a similar proportion are stunted (i.e. too short for their age). As per studies of the World Bank, a large number of Indian women never achieve full physical development. This incomplete physical development poses a considerable risk for women by increasing the danger of obstructed deliveries.

Mother’s Education Strongly Related to Family Health It is said that mother is the first teacher


of her child; according to NFHS, the level of malnutrition among children, is highly correlated with mother’s education. Children of illiterate mothers are twice as likely to be undernourished or stunted as children whose mothers have completed at least high school. The differentials are even larger when severely undernourished children are considered. Children of illiterate mothers are three times as likely to be severely undernourished as children with at least a high school education. The country which boasts about its unity in diversity, has a lot of diversity in nutritional status of children also. While, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have the highest proportion of undernourished children and Kerala has the lowest, consistent with the different levels of socio-economic development in these states.

Excess Female Deaths Several studies have found that one of the reasons for the poor health of Indian women is the discriminatory treatment girls and women receive compared to boys and men. The most chilling

evidence of this is the large number of ‘missing women’ (i.e., girls and women who have apparently died as a result of past and present discrimination). The observed sex ratios for first births imply that 2.2-8.4 percent of women with first-born girls are ‘missing’ because of son preference between the ages of 30 and 49 (World Bank 2014). In other words, there is a deficit of 37 million girls/ women who should be part of the population but are not. Among many differential treatment of girls and boys, there is also a huge difference in the feeding practices and access to health care directly responsible for higher female mortality. Boys are breast-fed longer than girls, 25.3 months versus 23.6months on average. Boys who are ill are more likely to be taken for medical treatment that are girls. Causes of death for children aged 1 to 4 show girls dying at a higher rate than boys from accident and injuries, fever, and digestive disordersall causes that are related to living conditions and negligence. Only 7 of the 15 major states in India have higher male infant mortality. In

the remaining states, equal or higher female rates suggest that girls suffer greater neglect. One of the most extreme manifestations of son preference is sex-selective abortion. The use of medical technology to determine the sex of a foetus is on the rise in India, and over 90 percent of foetuses that are aborted are female. This is despite the blanket ban on sex determination of foetus in the country. In all countries, more boys are born than girls, with a sex ratio at birth around 105 boys per 100 girls. Data on hospital births from various parts of India show that sexselective abortion has increased the sex ratio to birth to 112 boys per 100 girls.

Conclusion The status of women in India has been subject to many great changes over the past few millennia. However, there is still a huge disparity in their status in the society. We all believe that they need a better future, and so this is a high time for us to provide them with their rights. G VERNANCE TODAY

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Lead Story

Protecting Women, Legally | RAJ BHUSHAN

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ecently visited U.S. President Barack Obama asserted the issue of women’s rights in India by saying that if countries wants to develop effectively, they must educate and empower their daughters as much as their sons. Mr. Obama said – “This is one of the most direct measures of whether a nation is going to develop effectively - how it treats its women. When a girl goes to school, it doesn’t just open up her young mind, it benefits all of us”. Notably nearly half of the population in India are subjected to treatment of second class citizen living in a deplorable condition, much against the women in ancient India who enjoyed exalted status, exemplified by sages and seers, such as Gargi and Maitreyi. However, over the last several hundred years, their conditions deteriorated. Occasionally, some women played prominent role in the fields of politics, literature, education and religion. However, the overall picture did not change and women by and large remain oppressed, despite some of the religious leaders’ advocacy of equal right for women. During British Raj, social reformers such as Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and Jyotirao Phule propagated the women rights. Raja Ram Mohan Roy with the help of British law maker brought the law of eradication of practice of Sati in India. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar lead crusade for improvement in the situation of widows and was instrumental in enactment of the Widow Remarriage Act of 1856. Despite being pathbreaking in nature, reforms for and upliftment of their status in society remained on the side line of the freedom struggle, works of prominent freedom fighters such as Dr. Annie Besant, Bhikaji Cama, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, Aruna Asaf Ali, 30

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Some of the relevant constitutional provisions which directly or indirectly deal with the women are as under: Article 14- Equality before law for women. Article 15 (3)- The State to make any special provision in favor of women and children. Article 16- Equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State. Article 39 (a) - The State to direct its policy towards securing for men and women equally the right to an adequate means of livelihood. Article 39 (d) - Equal remuneration for equal work for both men and women. Article 42 - The State to make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief. Article 51(A)(e)-To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India and to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women.

Sucheta Kriplani and Kasturba Gandhi notwithstanding. With the effort of many of the social mobile groups in British India, the Child Marriage Restraint Act was passed in 1929, stipulating fourteen as the minimum age of marriage for a girl. Post-independence, many provisions were enshrined under the Constitution of India for betterment and empowerment of women. Also multiple legislations were passed to the same desired effect. The principle of equality is part of the Indian Constitution in its Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles. The Constitution not only enshrined equality to women, but also empowered the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favor of women. In addition to the same, Constitution of India also envisaged reservation of certain number of seats in Panchayat for women and such seats to be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Panchayat. Similar provisions for women have also been stipulated in the local municipal election too. Though Constitution of India adequately safeguards women’s Fundamental Rights ensures equality


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Landmark acts protecting the larger interests of women in India: The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955This Act provided equal rights to women to obtain divorce and also maintenance in certain cases. The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956- By virtue of this Act a woman can adopt a boy or a girl as her son or daughter. The Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act of 1956-This Act provides that a woman is entitled to act as the natural guardian of her min or children. The Hindu Women Right to Property Act of 1973-This Act has given more facilities to women. According to this Act, the daughter, the widow, and the mother can inherit property of the deceased simultaneously. Now women will hold her property absolutely with full right to sell, mortgage, and dispose of as she desires. But according to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, woman has only to enjoy her husband’s share in coparcenaries property for her life time without any right to alienate property. The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961- According to this Act, taking or demanding dowry is an offence punishable by imprisonment and or fines. The Hindu Succession Act of 1956- In accordance with the newly amended Act, woman has got equal rights in the inheritance of family property. This Act is a landmark in the history of Hindu law. before the law and equal protection of law; prohibits discrimination against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, however there are various social challenges are still remained to be addressed

such as skewed sex ratio, illiteracy rate, health care are demonstrative to the maltreatment, subjugation and prevailing poor conditions of women in India. As regards the right of Muslim women, subsequent to the famous Shah Bano Judgment passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India regarding maintenance money the Union Government subsequently passed the Muslim Women’s (Protection of Rights Upon Divorce) Act. The Courts in India time and again have reiterated the need for implementation of Vishakha Guidelines as contemplated by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the Vishakha & Ors. V/s State of Rajasthan and Ors. In accordance with the Vishakha Guidelines a person in charge of workplace in the public or private sector is required to take appropriate steps to prevent sexual harassment. Also in order to protect women against sexual harassment at workplace and for redressal of the complaint of such nature, our Parliament has enacted the Sexual Harrassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. The December 2012 gang rape and subsequent death of a twenty-threeyear-old student in New Delhi, in an arduous effort the legislators have brought various amendments in Indian

Women specific crime as stipulated in the Indian Penal Code (IPC): Homicide for Dowry, Dowry Deaths or their attempts (Sec. 302/304-B IPC) Molestation (Sec. 354 IPC) Kidnapping & Abduction for different purposes ( Sec. 363-373) Rape (Sec. 376 IPC) Torture, both mental and physical (Sec. 498-A IPC) Sexual Harassment (Sec. 509 IPC) Importation of girls (up to 21 years of age)

Penal Code and the Criminal Code of Procedures to plug in every possible loop holes in strengthening criminal justice system in India especially crime against women in India. Post independent India witnessed considerable change in thinking, outlook and value of Indian women. Consequently Indian women have gradually moved towards self-reliance

Some of the discrimination/ crime against women have been identified under the special laws which are gender specific enacted for specific purposes: The Family Courts Act, 1954 The Special Marriage Act, 1954 Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (Amended in 1995) The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1983 The Factories (Amendment) Act, 1986 Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and independence. However a large majority of women in the villages or women of low caste still suffers from injustice and inequalities primarily due to lack of literacy and rampant ignorance, superstition, social evils and many other factors. Laws have been made increasingly tough to empower women, but society also needs to evolve to respect the rights of women. The writer is an advocate and specializes in corporate laws G VERNANCE TODAY

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t e l i o T o N e d i r B o N Indian Women Raise the War Cry | RAMESH KUMAR RAJA

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unita Devi, 50, a resident of Kharar village in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar, had been forced to defecate in the open till not so long ago, as there was no toilet in her home. But when there is talk of her daughter’s marriage, Sunita says she will make sure her daughter has a toilet in her new home. Even her daughter, Reena Kumari who finished her intermediates last year, voices endorsement to her mother saying “No loo? No I do,” laughing as she repeats a radio jingle. Hundreds of kilometers away in Haryana’s Panipat, Sonia left her husband’s home two days after marriage, not because she was harassed for dowry, but in protest against not having toilet there. Reena and Sonia are not alone. Brides-to-be, even in villages, are quite choosy today. Gone are the days when they were married off as a trading affair between two families. Thanks to initiatives like Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, No Toilet, No Bride is the new war cry. Further, thanks to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India campaign), many young women are refusing to marry unless their suitor furnishes their future home with a bathroom, thus freeing them from the inconveniences and embarrassment of using community toilets or squatting in meadows. While these campaigns are aimed at eradicating the menace of open defecation, they are also a

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tool to empower women to do away with an utterly unhygienic practice. In a country where more than half of population still defecate in the open and where killer diseases like diarrhea, typhoid, jaundice and malaria are all caused by lack of hygiene, these sanitation campaigns have brought a welcome change in rural India. The impact of such an unrelenting preference is now being taken seriously by the potential grooms as well. “I will have to work hard to afford a toilet. We’ll not get any bride if we don’t have one now,” says Santosh Parmar, 23, an eligible bachelor in Muzaffarnagar district of Western UP, who is hoping to marry soon. “I will not be offended when the woman I like asks for a toilet, it is their right” Santosh adds. He is not alone, many potential grooms are also learning to live with this fact that they might simply be rejected just because they don’t have a toilet in their home. Many are reworking their current home to make it worth living, for their wives-to-be. Satellite television, mobiles and the Internet are spreading images of increasing prosperity and urban middle-class bits and pieces to rural areas, such as spacious apartments -- with bathrooms – and women in silk saris rushing off to the office. India’s speedy urbanization has also contributed to rising aspirations in small towns and villages which has also impacting the psyche of young women. Once seen clinging to the backs of motorbikes driven by their fathers or husbands, now drive their own scooties, even in villages. Interestingly, one recent popular TV ad shows a rural girl awkwardly entering a scooter showroom, then beaming as she whizzes through the parking lot on her new moped.

With economic liberty, the young fairer sex is expecting more, and toilets are at the top of their agenda, they say. It is a kind of symbol of their empowerment and entitlement. The lack of sanitation is not only an inconvenience but also increases chances of ailments such as diarrhea, typhoid and malaria. Then there are cultural and social issues in open defecation. Manmohan Sharma, a social activist, says, “Women suffer the most since there are prying eyes everywhere. It’s embarrassing, upsetting and awful. I see so many young women who have prolonged urinary tract infections and kidney and liver problems because they don’t have a safe place to go.” According to Ranjana Kumari, director of the Center for Social Research in New Delhi, who has also worked on the sanitation program, the safe sanitation programs have not served much purpose so far. “Earlier efforts to bring toilets to poor Indian villages have mostly been futile” she avers. A 2001 project supported by the World Bank never took off because many people used the toilets as storage facilities or took them apart to build lean-tos. But linking toilets to courtship, “No Toilet, No Bride” has been the most successful endeavor so far. Walls in many villages are painted with slogans in Hindi, such as “I will not get my daughter married into a household which does not have a toilet.” Even popular soap operas have featured dramatic plots involving these campaigns. As per Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh International, a social organization, and winner of many prestigious awards for developing inexpensive, ecofriendly toilets, “The ‘No Toilet, No Bride’ program is a bloodless revolution. When I embarked on sanitation drive years ago, it was a cultural forbidden to even

The sanitation campaigns have brought a welcome change in rural India

talk about toilets. Nowadays, it is changing. My mother used to wake up at 4 a.m. to find someplace to go silently. But situations have changed now.” It may be noted that Pathak runs a school and job-training centre for women who once cleaned up human waste by hand. They are known as untouchables or say, human scavengers, the lowest caste in India’s caste based social order. As more toilets come to India, the women are less likely to have to do such jobs. “I want so much for them to have skills and dignity. I tell the government all the time that if India wants to be a superpower, first we need toilets. Maybe it will be our women who finally change that,” Pathak advocates. We cannot agree more.

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Breaking into

There was a time when women were dedicated to 3Ks; Kitchen, Kids and Knitting. Then came an era when 3Ps entered a woman’s life i.e. powder, papad and pickles but now the phase is when 4Es can easily be associated with most of the women. These 4Es are Electricity, Energy, Engineering and Entrepreneurship. 34

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Male Bastions | RAHUL TRIVEDI

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March 2015

ndia is one of the fastest growing economies and the importance of entrepreneurship has been realized across all fields. One area of entrepreneurship that has attracted lot of attention of late is women entrepreneurship which has come to be seen as a mark and barometer of women empowerment. Women entrepreneurs are now an important part of the social and gender progress. A paradigm shift in the lifestyle of Indian women is easily visible as they have moved beyond kitchen to a higher level of activity, which is professional in nature. Now women are lapping up more professional and technical degrees to keep up with market needs and are scripting success in almost every sphere such as singing, interior decoration, exports, publishing, garment manufacturing and other new avenues of economic participation. Business fraternity across the world is taking note of women entrepreneurs not only because of their involvement in business for survival but also because through entrepreneurship, women are increasingly satisfying their inner urge of creativity and proving their capabilities. Women entrepreneurs have mastered all aspects of starting a new enterprise; undertake risks, introduction of new innovations, managing administration, control of business and providing effective leadership, and have proved their worth in the male dominated business arena.

Paradigm Shift The emergence of women owned businesses is increasingly visible in the economies


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of almost all countries due to various reasons like growing industrialization, urbanization, social legislation and along with the spread of higher education and awareness. Shahnaz Husain, Founder, Chairperson and Managing Director of the Shahnaz Husain Group of Companies says, “We have seen women making a mark in every field and storming male bastions, including the business world over the last 2 decades. We have really seen far reaching changes in the work place, with tremendous growth in opportunities for women. I would say that business acumen and sound management are without gender.” “There is no hard and fast rule that a man is a better entrepreneur by virtue of being male. Women have shown that given the same opportunities, they can be equally successful. Entrepreneurship actually implies an independence of spirit. It is this independence that women in India have begun to express over the last two or three decades. We need to give importance to women’s acquiring of professional qualifications and training, so they can express their creativity and innovativeness with more confidence,” she adds. Over last decade or so, women have broken glass ceilings in all corporate and business sectors. Monica Anand, Co-founder and

CEO of Under Cover Lingerie comments, “Women today are gaining in all fields. We are seeing the glass ceiling shatter everywhere. We have powerful entrepreneurs like Zia Modi and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw on one hand and corporate leaders such as Chanda Kochchar and Shikha Sharma on the other. As the Indian social structure evolves, women have begun to take their careers more seriously. They are now taken seriously and are being evaluated at par with their male counterparts. As a female entrepreneur, I haven’t seen any prejudice against me on the basis of my gender. I have been judged basis my abilities which goes to show that the traditional thought process is changing.” Kavitha Reddy of Basecamp Adventures, an integrated Adventure, Outbound Training and Consulting organization, says that law does not differentiate between entrepreneurs; in fact women entrepreneurs should took full advantage of special schemes that are targeted towards them and step out into newer, challenging and traditionally male dominated businesses. If government plays the role of an enabler rather than job creator we will have more and more entrepreneurs in various businesses irrespective and gender. However, the shift is yet to be manifested completely, as Vandana Luthra, Founder & Mentor, VLCC Group says, “I still feel that as a country we have far too few women entrepreneurs though there has been a marked improvement on this front in the past two decades on account of a greater acceptance of women at workplaces.”

Factors Driving Women Entrepreneurs There are many factors which have contributed to women

entrepreneurship. One of the biggest factors is liberalization of economy. Veena Kashyap, a passionate educationist who started Number Nagar in HSR layout, Bangalore in a tie up with BrainSTARS says that liberalization in short means removal of control. It may be the flexibility in the working environment, relaxation of certain government rules or transferring of ownership of business. Definitely, liberalization has helped women to move away from domestic responsibilities to accept corporate and management responsibilities. She sites some other reasons too behind this paradigm shift. “Women now are highly educated and are ready to face challenges. They are not only limited to certain fields but are seen in every field from software, architects, arts and education to self employed and entrepreneurs. A wide variety of experience and exposure to different aspects of life helps them to pursue their dreams.” Then there is the role that communication technology and media has played in exposing Indian women to what is happening around the world. Aarti K Singh, who runs her own wedding film company, says that interaction with women entrepreneurs from abroad has given the Indian women impetus and inspiration to attempt something that is happening elsewhere. It has also led to a distinct change in men when they interact with women professionals. Somewhere down the line the walls are breaking, because men as well as women are becoming more aware, more receptive to change. I believe the more well-read, and not just educated a woman is, the more liberated she will be.” Parushni Aggarwal, Owner & Creative Director, Studio March 2015

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Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish India, despite being men dominated society, has started accepting women entrepreneurs. This acceptability has given wings to many aspiring and dynamic women entrepreneurs. Divya Jain, CEO of Safeducate - a skilling company for truck drivers is one of them. She is the only woman in the trucking industry. In a chat with Rahul Trivedi, Sr. Correspondent, Governance Today, Divya shared her journey. Edited excerpts:

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ow do you see the emergence of women entrepreneurs in India? Business even today is fairly male dominated especially at the leadership level with less than ten percent of enterprises being started by women. But there are definitely more women who are a part of the workforce and I feel that is amazing. Companies and industries are realizing that there are certain roles that can be better done by women-whether it be content development, research and development, connecting with customers and working through their issues, to name a few. In fact a very interesting Harvard research actually shows how the collective IQ of a group increases when a woman is introduced into the mix as they improve group dynamics by better communication and understanding. 36

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Do you think that liberalization of economy has played an important factor in the increasing number of women entrepreneurs? The liberalization of the economy has definitely contributed in changing the traditional mindset of the women being the sole caregiver in a family. But even more instrumental has been the increased access of internet and mobile technology. It allows women to be better informed even if they are not a part of the formal workforce. What reasons do you see behind the women rising to the top in key sectors? I do see women rising to the top in sectors, like for example banking, healthcare, PR, education. These sectors are fairly professional, with great working conditions, well laid out policies, clear mandates for growth and most

importantly, they actually have policies to address needs of working women like maternity leave, day-care or working from home. There are, however, a host of sectors that by their very nature are less conducive for women to grow like construction, mining, logistics even. As industry and businesses mature and become more streamlined I feel there would be a lot more opportunities for women to grow beyond the current glass ceilings. How did the idea come to your mind of starting your own venture? I was working with our family concern, Safexpress since 2007 which is India’s largest Supply chain and logistics company. I spent considerable time and energy on developing human resources and in training them to meet our needs and requirements. As a part of the


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supply chain industry, I saw the tremendous need for trained manpower and the efficiencies that it would bring for the industry. Reports by NSDC have placed this requirement at 20 million people by 2022. As someone passionate about education, it was the perfect opportunity for me to start Safeducate and really make a difference. What problems or challenges, according you, women face while they start their journey as an entrepreneur? How can they overcome them? Entrepreneurship is a journey riddled with self-doubt. Being a woman, it is compounded multi-fold as most people don’t really take you seriously starting out. There is always an apprehension that you might stop or abandon it in the middle because you’ll get married or have a child. The only way to get over it is to walk the talk. Work harder, do more, demand more and show the world you mean business. Also have a plan; before starting out create a business plan on an excel sheet with your numbers and variables taken into account and then follow it. What tips would you like to give to other women who wish to be an entrepreneur? I’d say be extremely passionate about whatever you decide to do. You will still need to look after your family, your house and your kids. You need to really love your work to able to do it justice. Also have clearly, defined, measurable goals and milestones that you should systematically work towards achieving. But honestly Steve Jobs says it best, “Stay hungry, Stay foolish.”

Creo says, “Liberalization of the economy has opened many opportunities for entrepreneurs, not just women but men too. But after liberalization cost of living for an average middle class family has increased and the needs and demands of family members are increasing. Everybody wants to lead comfortable life. To balance the socio-economic status to cope with day to day demands of the family more number of women are pushing in to the market as entrepreneurs.”

Problems Faced by Women Entrepreneurs Starting up any business is not an easy task. Further, when a woman starts her business she faces innumerable challenges which begin right from the commencement of enterprise.

Financial Arrangements: Arranging finance for women is difficult as they in general don’t have any asset on their own names to use that as collateral for obtaining funds from banks or other financial institutions. Apart from this obtaining the support of bankers, managing the working capital, lack of credit resources are the problems which still remain male’s domain. Vandana Luthra points to this crucial business input. “The biggest challenge for women keen to become entrepreneurs still remains one of raising finances. Financial institutions, including banks, still continue to adopt a very cautious approach to lending to ventures started by women who don’t hail from business families, particularly if the initiatives entail a foray into innovative or ‘nontypical womenoriented projects’. However, I am hopeful that the establishment of the Bharatiya Mahila Bank would go a long way in removing this problem faced by prospective women entrepreneurs.”

Gender Competition: Women entrepreneurs have to face a stiff competition with the men entrepreneurs who have an upper hand in the promotion and marketing of their products as market is also male dominated. Such competitions often result in the insolvency of women entrepreneurs.

Family Conflicts: Women entrepreneurs also tolerate the conflict of performing of home role as they are not available to spend enough time with their families. In India, a woman’s duty is primarily to look after her children and take care of the other members of the family. In business they have to spend long hours at work and as a result, they find it difficult to meet the demands of their family members and society as well. Their incapability to attend to domestic work, time for education of children, personal hobbies, and entertainment adds to their conflicts. Apart from these problems few women entrepreneurs have shared the problems which they feel are hitch for the women entrepreneurs to grow. Dr. Chiranjiv Chhabra, Dermatologist, Skin Alive Clinics says, “Women lack social support and there is still some time before Indian society becomes completely receptive and encouraging to women entrepreneurs.” Rashi Bajaj says that the biggest problems women face is fighting the mindsets of people. Every time a woman tries to venture into something new, she has to answer questioning glances and apprehensions. While it is considered very ordinary for a man to establish a new venture, it is still considered nearly impossible for a female to do so. G VERNANCE TODAY

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Once a Victim Now a Rescuer | RAMESH KUMAR RAJA

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an you guess what would have happened to a girl child who at the age of seven was stolen from her family, sold, purchased, and sold again as if she were a piece of clothing? Like many unfortunates, she would have ended up in homes from where they are forced into flesh trade spontaneously – like any hardhitting Bollywood drama. But not all scripts run same; some have unusual twists. Born in Kerala to extremely poor parents, Rani Hong has taken years to get over the scars that those brutal years left on her inner self. Once a victim, the strong-hearted woman has now become a savior. ‘Tronie Foundation’, the US-based NGO that Rani founded along with her husband Trong Hong, tries to restore self-respect and happiness in the lives of trafficked children worldwide. As a special advisor to United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, Rani occasionally comes to India to work on the building links to fight trafficking in the country. Rani’s life took a horrendous turn at seven. A neighbor offered

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to fund her education and other expenses only if she moved with him down the street. Her parents reluctantly agreed on the assurance that they be permitted to visit her every day. But soon, Rani was taken to a completely new address, and the visits by her mother stopped. She was beaten up and abused. She kept crying and asking where her mother was. All she got in response were heartless thrashings. Her life became a series of bruises, scars and relentless pain. “After a limit, I went numb as I had borne so much cruelty and pain. I somehow adapted to the terrible atmosphere and stopped reacting to anything,” Rani says. She was shattered to such an extent that her traffickers, on seeing her physical and mental conditions, disposed her off on the streets crying one day. Rani then found herself in the midst of an international adoption racket and finally landed in the United States. “I was so battered that my so-called masters decided that I was no longer of use to them. They put me up for false adoption. Fake papers were prepared and I was projected as an orphan. That was to be a turning point of my life. Life soon

changed for the better when a single woman, Nell Jain, adopted me and brought me up to be an independent woman,” Rani reminisces. Her foster mother was a loving woman. Her warmth and care gradually helped erase Rani’s traumatic past. Jain instilled in her the confidence to accept her past and grow up to be a promoter for child and women’s rights. Interestingly, her husband, Trong Hong, too, was a victim of child trafficking, with equally adventurous past. When he was nine years old his father sent him away from Vietnam on a boat to the US to save him from being forced into the army as a child soldier. Rani and Trong together they set up ‘Tronie Foundation’ in Washington, which works to build shelters for people coming out of a life of slavery. The foundation has acted as a ‘pressure group’ and, in 2002, it got a law passed in the US against child trafficking. Coming from almost similar backgrounds, the couple understands the trauma of kids who are robbed of childhood and subjected to emotional, physical and even sexual abuse. “It is very important to have proper agencies that will look into adoptions both within and outside the country. Many trafficked children and women are sold abroad and they end up as housemaids, getting beaten up or they end up in prostitution,” Rani shares. Rani, along with her hubby, also had an incredible opportunity to appear on the world’s famous Oprah Winfrey Show, where they shared not only about their amazing lives, but even about their undying mission to make world free of human trafficking. Over the years, Rani has saved many lives and for those saved souls, she is truly the queen of heart. G VERNANCE TODAY


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Agents of Change | RAHUL TRIVEDI

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habani Munda

In a backward, tribal region where girls are mostly supposed to stay within confines of home, 11 girls are defying norms. They have raised hope among girls of the region that they can dream of doing something other than the backbreaking work in tea estates and getting married. Their life coach is Bhabani Munda. As a seven year old, Bhabani Munda dreamt of playing football. In the tea garden labour quarters of West Bengal’s Dooar region girls worked in the fields and were married off at an early age. Bhabani convinced parents to let their girls play. Now in her early 20s, Bhabani leads a feisty team of 11 that despite not having a coach, just one set of jersey and two footballs, boasts of players who’ve played state level and won numerous trophies. It’s the Real Hero Chak De moment.

Sabbah Haji It’s not easy reaching Breswana, a tiny piece of heaven in Jammu and Kashmir. A 10-hour drive from Jammu to Doda and then a five-hour trek across the mountains and you reach the village that houses Haji Public School set up by Sabbah Haji. In 2008 Sabbah quit the comfort of her content writing job in Bangalore to return to her ancestral village. The commerce graduate from Bishop Cotton, Bangalore, spent the next few months setting up Haji Public School. From two rooms of her father Saleem Haji’s home in May 2009, HPS today has its own building and nearly 200

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children on its rolls, besides two branches, in Parsholla and Shadiwan. Sabbah raises funds through social media sites and invites volunteers to teach at her school that has seen no dropouts in the past five years. In this terror prone part of Kashmir, Sabbah is nurturing hope.

Kabita Bhattarai There are few who would venture close to a leper, leave alone tend and care. Kabita Bhattarai is a lone crusader in the battle against leprosy. Setting up an ashram in a remote corner near the Bihar-Nepal border, she has treated nearly half a million patients for free in her 240-bed leprosy hospital. Kabita manages 21 leprosy colonies, provides free education to over 1,000 children. The model she has evolved is quite innovative. Patients get admitted for free treatment and in turn, their family members work voluntarily at the fields, hospital, school and dairy farms owned by her organization called ‘Little Flower’. Through

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these peripheral activities ‘Little Flower ’ generates enough money to sustain its core activity of treating leprosy patients. Kabita is like a modern day Mother Teresa.

1 - Bhabani Munda 2 - Sabbah Haji 3 - Kabita Bhattarai 4 - Lateefabibi M. Giteli

Lateefabibi M. Giteli The 2002 Godhra carnage left behind torn communities, widows, orphans and scarred lives. The riots transformed Lateefabibi M. Giteli from a housewife to the driving force behind communal harmony. Today through her organization Al Fazal Educational and Charitable Trust, Lateefabibi runs communal harmony programs building bridges between the Hindu and Muslim community. She runs a vocational training centre and helps Hindu and Muslim women get jobs. She also runs the only English medium school in the Muslim dominated area of Godhra. Her undying spirit is slowly changing mindsets, through education and employment. G VERNANCE TODAY

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Protect, Nourish, Educate and Empower the Girl Child

| KOMAL GANOTRA

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ndia is home to nearly 212 million girl children from the age of 0-17 year’s which constitute 48% of the child population of the country. While a large percentage of children in India face deprivation of their rights, the girl child is at a higher risk of vulnerability on accounts of her ‘gender’. The girl child, more often than not, faces discrimination right from conception, through her childhood and all the way into womanhood. Be it the opportunity to survive, to education, healthcare and growth opportunities, girl children are neglected because of gender. Stemming from a deep rooted patriarchy, under the garb of ‘societal norms’ and tradition, the inequality is quite stark. The figures say it all. 56% adolescent girls (15-19 years) in India are anemic. Nearly 45% girls In India get married before the age of 18 years. Roughly 50% of all working children 40

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are girls. School dropout rate amongst adolescent girls in India is 63.5% of all reported cases of sexual abuse in India, 14.2% girls experienced the first incidence of sexual violence between the ages 15 to 19 years. Working extensively for over three decades to ensure children’s rights are upheld, we at CRY, have realized how this holds true across communities that we work in. CRY works in 23 states across the country in over 200 districts to make sure that girl children in our projects are able to break the social shackles and realize their full potential. We work with critical districts and ones where the reach of the government schemes is limited. We exercise a three pronged approach to ensure the girl child gets to survive, gets adequate nutrition, access to education, remains protected with equal opportunities for her growth and development. This includes community mobilization, working with the system and authorities for on-ground implementation and

encouraging participation of the girl child to make her aware of her rights. In a country, especially like India, where differential treatment to girls is evident at every step and socially sanctioned, be it discriminatory feeding practices, preference to send boys to school over girls while she takes care of household chores, early marriage, abuse- It becomes imperative to work for change in social attitude towards the girl child. At CRY we constantly interface with the community and families with an aim to change their attitude so they give the girl child equal opportunities as the boys. Community mobilization hence forms an essential part of our approach in all our project interventions. We have, over the years, witnessed how constant engagement with communities, their leaders and the influencers in the communities has lead to an attitudinal shift in the entire community on how they treat their girl children. With our partners in Bihar for instance, we have been able


Lead Story

to change the mindset of community over girl child marriage in our project intervention areas. Similarly, we have worked with ‘Purohits’ in our intervention areas in Rajasthan so they can influence communities to eradicate the evil of child marriage. CRY encourages community ownership in preventing violations faced by girls. We believe it is important for the girl children to get a platform from where they can assert their identity in social space. The children’s collectives across all our projects do just that. It gives children a platform where they talk about their rights, raise their concerns and take it forward to impact more children. Girl Children, especially, have been empowered by these collectives as they gain the confidence to stand up for themselves and demand what they know is their right. Take the example of 16 year old Shravani living in a remote village in Andhra Pradesh. From facing the indifference herself to being instrumental in freeing other young girls from the clutches of early marriage, she has come a long way. She was in grade 6 when she was forced to drop out of school and get married, like her elder sister. Intervention of CRY and their project partner helped her stand up for her rights and voice her opinion against her early marriage. She not just convinced her family to let her continue with her education, but embarked on a brave journey to spread awareness about children’s right to education and the ill-effects of child marriage. When Shravani was in Class 10, she mobilized all children in the children’s collective, who she is the Vice President of, to convince parents of a fellow classmate to not force her into child marriage and let her continue her education. These collectives empower these girls and uphold the idea of gender equality which is then spread in families, communities and the society at large. Across CRY projects in the country, girls constitute more than 50 % of the children in the children collectives. While there are many government schemes for children and girl

children, in particular, the on ground implementation falters at many levels. CRY along with its partners works with the system, the local administration to ensure they get implemented. Be it activating Aanganwadis, ensuring pregnant women receive adequate nutrition or activating public health centers and defunct schools, our methods have yielded results. We work towards removing barriers that are specific to girl children and hinder their growth. For instance, working with grassroots for many

healthy budget allocation for girl child at state and central level. While we work with the underprivileged children in our project areas, we also make sure that the privileged are aware of the grim reality and take onus of change. With our campaigns targeted specifically to raise awareness on girl children, we reach out to a larger audience and garner support to achieve the set goals. Our campaign ‘Stay in School’ last year ensured we got over 2000 girls re-enrolled to school. We have

Social workers teaching the children of slums

decades we have experienced that the girl children may drop out of schools due to many reasons. It may be lack of toilets, distance to the schools or girl children being married off at an early age. CRY has ensured schools in its project areas have separate toilets for girls. In areas where access to schools is an issue, for instance girls from tribal areas, we have also introduced residential schools and hostels for girl children so it eliminates the barriers that they face to attend school. CRY rigorously engages with policy makers to push for Institutionalizing gender sensitive processes within various systems such as law and programs. For instance we have been involved in giving feedback and suggestions to the government on acts like POCSO that would affect girl children. We have been demanding a

recently launched a campaign ‘Let her fly’, which is ongoing. The campaign will ensure that 3,61,612 girls across our projects get their basic rights and realize their full potential. We want to be part of a world where girls are celebrated, where they are treated equally, with love and respect. What is urgently required in society today is a change of attitude. Girls must be given the same opportunities and protection as boys, and must be treated at par. A girl’s childhood can and must be preserved, cherished, nurtured and protected. Because she has the right to survive, develop, be protected and participate in decisions that impact her life. The writer is the Director, Policy, Research and Advocacy for CRY – Child Rights and You G VERNANCE TODAY

March 2015

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Lead Story

Braving Disability and Discrimination

With Determination

A

| RAMESH KUMAR RAJA

ll is possible if you have the will. Dr Anita Ghai, a resident of New Delhi’s Rajouri Garden and associate professor in a premier Delhi University college, who despite being crippled with both her legs due to a polio attack at the age of two and having suffered the noxious breast cancer, overcame all obstacles to achieve her goal. She even defied two miserable heart-attacks and has seen her death from a close distance. Only instead of surrendering to the fate, she chose to fight it out. Self-determination, coupled with family support has stood her through the testing times when each step was as good as setting a milestone. From an A-grade scorer in academics to a social activist, she is as passionate about her hobbies as her profession, that is, teaching psychology at Jesus and Mary College. And 42

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that is something she has now been doing well for nearly 30 years. She has also authored several books on psychology. Her latest ‘Rethinking Disability in India’ book by Routledge, a British multinational publisher, explores disability in the country as a social, cultural and political phenomenon, arguing that this ‘difference’ should be accepted as a part of social diversity. It further interrogates the multiple issues of identification of the disabled and the forms of oppression they face. “All through these years, my parents never made me feel that I was handicapped. My father always motivated me to move forward in life. He inculcated an impulsive energy in me which progressively helped me to scale many a heights in the academics,” says Ghai. Having discovered her love for the academics, she decided to translate her passion into profession and went on to pursue post-graduation and later M.Phil and PhD, which ultimately paved her way to making teaching as a full-fledged career. Remembers Ghai, “After completing PhD, I got a job for the post of Lecturer (now it is called Assistant Professor) in Jesus and Mary College in 1984.” Only life was not going to make it easy for her. She suffered a couple of heart attacks, lost her father and fought back a deadly breast-cancer in the years that followed, and emerged victorious. “It all happened one after the other,” she says. “In 1988, I suffered a severe heartattack and had to undergo

a surgery. And just as I was recovering, a year later, another stroke left me completely distraught. In 2001, when I had not even come out of the grief having lost my father, I found out about the breast-cancer…” she trails off. Recalling that extreme lowdown phase of her life, Ghai says, “Had it not been for the positive thinking, I would have never come out of my trauma.” If disability differentiated her from any normal person, discrimination made her realise the divide was greater in the mind of the society. Reminisces Ghai, “I’ll never forget the day when I was restrained from appearing in the IAS exam. That day, I realised the difference between a general person and a handicapped.” The experience made her only stronger and led her on to bag several awards in dramatics as well as that of the ‘Best Woman Driver for disabled person’ award in 1989. “In fact, I have been driving my car since 1987,” says Ghai proudly. She actively participates in social causes, especially meant for people like her. “The biggest lesson I have learnt from life is – Never ask why, instead prove yourself. Develop the capability to translate negative into positive. Compete with yourself. Don’t lose patience. Try your best to beat the adverse situation. And most important, never underestimate yourself,” she says. A sound advice for sure. G VERNANCE TODAY


March 2015

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Build Bihar

Planning for Long Term Envisioning Bihar’s Infrastructure in 2047

W

| GANGA KUMAR

44

Governance Today

e are a heritage nation with about hundred and twenty five crores people of different religions and castes residing peacefully in harmony with each other and with nature. We have one of the oldest culture and civilization in the world. In ancient times, we were considered Vishwa-Guru (world’s tutor) and our intellect of the time is reflected in classic texts on religion, science, astronomy and literature. Today we have an opportunity to reclaim our glorious status and we must not squander it away. Bihar has a land of diverse and proud history. It has been endowed with a great history enriched by personalities

March 2015


Build Bihar

such as Lord Buddha, Lord Mahavir, Kautilya, Guru Govind Singh, Emperors Ashok and Chandragupta, Scientists like Charak and Aryabhatta, literary giants such as Maitreyee and Vidyapati, and political luminaries of the stature of Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Jay Prakash Narayan. Today, Bihar stands at a tipping point from where it can emerge as a frontline state with high economic growth and good governance.

Envisioning Infrastructure For Next Generation Affordable, cost effective, sustainable habitation for rural and urban masses, the state master plan, building bye-laws, nature of land use, FAR norms, drainage and sewerage system and water supply, municipal

waste management and slum renovation for urban areas are the cornerstone of very long term infrastructure planning. The main challenges for this are increasing population, massive urban migration and global warming. In wake of these challenges, long term planning would require greater skills for sustainable and inclusive development along with high-end execution capability backed by modern, safe and disaster resilient technology. Vision for 100th year of independence (BUILDCON - 2047) envisions happy, prosperous and integral human life coexisting with animals, plants, flora and fauna. Public Private Partnership mode in infrastructure development, land use planning, transport & telecommunication system, health care and education need to be adopted to achieve goals defined under this vision. The major focus should be given on systematic utilization of natural

resources i.e. land, water and agro climate, the state’s rich cultural heritage, young demographic profile and high level of entrepreneurial capabilities of people to improve the state’s economic status. To ensure inclusive growth, emphasis should be given to eco-friendly habitation, sustainable health and educational infrastructure and intelligent exploitation of ICT. Providing a poverty free, flood free and draught-free state which is characterized by full literacy, healthy and skilled labor force, high standard of science and technology education and thriving art and culture scene are part of our BUILDCON vision 2047. Among major business sectors that would go in creating the economic base for achieving the above mentioned aim are agriculture and food processing , power generation, health and education, farm based industrialization and tourism. Several North Bihar novelties such as betel, fish, Lychee

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Build Bihar

(Litchi chinensis), Mithila painting and Bhagalpur silk offer unique business opportunities which can be well exploited to improve the lives of a large number of people. The ultimate objective is to make Bihar a prosperous and sustainably growing state.

Buildcon: The Vision for 2047 BUILDCON Vision-2047 is a milestone in the path of the sustainable and inclusive development for humans and nature in the state. India has about 17 per cent of world’s population with just 4 per cent water and only 2 per cent of global land mass. This imbalance presents unique challenges to planners, engineers and policy makers. As far as the state of Bihar is concerned, it is a heritage state with about 11 per cent of country’s population which is highly diverse in it culture, tradition and lifestyles. In patch of achieving goals of the vision 2047, challenges exist in form of increasing population, global warming, low agri-productivity and food scarcity. Needless to say, an innovative approach is required to tackle these challenges. From infrastructure point of view, urban master plan, building bylaws, land use, FAR, sewerage system, water supply management, municipal waste management and slum renovation are crucial aspects on which detailed planning is required. On top of it all, these objectives are to be met with shrinking resources and potentially changing climates.

Resurgent Bihar The state needs to focus on economic development along with innovative institutional engineering to achieve effective governance at all administrative levels. Bottom to top developmental planning has to be the key element of development strategy which would enable

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best practices at all levels to get optimal exposure and emulation at relevant points. Considering the resource endowment in North Bihar, a special economic & habitat zone can be developed which would focus on the effective flood control, smart water and land management and exploitation of great potential in agriculture and food processing sectors along with tourism. The state should effectively

required in rapid economic development. Bihar’s development vision for 2047 warrants serious consideration on innovative governance with skills development and inclusive growth in built environment. If executed properly, Bihar could emerge as one of the developed states of the country, benefitting the people of the state and the country. However, suitable

Madhubani paintings are among unique things of Bihar which can be used for economic upliftment of many women

use PPP mode for financing and execution of infrastructure projects, especially in transportation and power generation, which would infuse private sector efficiency and money in public assets. This would also reduce the gap between urban and rural infrastructure which is a must for overall development of the state. Simultaneously, these would facilitate faster industrial growth. Encouraging private participation in education and skill development areas would also result in improving human resource which would be sorely

action on multiple fronts such as urbanization, utilization of ICT, optimum utilization of natural and human resources and development of intelligent physical infrastructure etc. would be required to achieve the target. This would finally harness the economic, cultural, social and human potential of the state which has so far gone neglected. The writer is Managing Director, Bihar State Building Construction Corporation Ltd. cum Special Secretary, Building Construction Department, Govt of Bihar, Patna and Addl CEO, Bihar Foundation G VERNANCE TODAY


Policy Foundation

Planning for a New India | ANAND MISHRA

O

n Feb 8, the newly constituted NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog had its first meeting under the leadership of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which Chief Ministers of most states were in attendance. During the meeting, most CMs demanded greater autonomy in deciding their own developmental policy making process and a reduction in the number of centrally sponsored schemes. These two demands basically sum up what was wrong with the erstwhile Planning Commission and what is desired from the new planning body. As the blueprint of the NITI Aayog suggests, the centre is willing to transform the way economic planning is done in the country. Under previous set up and under all previous governments, the Planning Commission was the power that decided the economic landscape of the country and allocated money accordingly. The new body is supposed to be a facilitator and

advisor, not the high lord of the national money. So, what is this new body and how is it going to be different from its predecessor which even its fervent supporters say was dire need for change to stay relevant in the economic realities of a free market defined India.

How the Planning Commission Lost its Halo In order to understand what went wrong in the Planning Commission, we first need to understand the circumstances in which its mandate was developed. Right after independence, the country was highly capital scarce, and required extreme caution in resources allocation. Further, the knowledge pool that was required to effectively allocate resources was also in limited supply and as such had to be centralized for maximum impact. The Planning Commission was thus created as a body at the centre which, even though non-constitutional in nature, could decide on the most optimal allocation of the country’s scarce resources.

The most fundamental of the Planning Commission’s tasks was to frame Five-Year plans that could provide a base for overall national development. The Commission was also allowed to decide on the areas and magnitude of central government’s intervention in state level policies and schemes. It was to appraise each scheme for resource optimality and evaluate each scheme as regards proper implementation. Finally, the Commission was to act as the mediator between different central ministries and between the Centre and the states non policy matters. In short, the Planning Commission was the guardian of national resources, omnipotent economic planner and ombudsman for economic schemes all rolled into one. This Soviet style paradigm was okay as long as the prediction of economic environment was accurate, and no question was raised about the efficacy of resource allocation. Both conditions were satisfied during the initial decade as the entire economy was in government’s hand and politically there was March 2015

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Policy Foundation

Planning for a liberalised, industrial economy is different from planning for a command economy

no resistance as most states were ruled by Congress. During later years, as non-Congress governments started to come to power in states, the logic of planning commissions started to be challenged. With private economy growing in eighties and after economic liberalization in nineties, the Commission started to lose relevance as parameters for long term planning started to change too rapidly. Operationally, the intervention style of the Commission also changed over the years. From the bulk direct transfers of central assistance, money devolution increasingly went through centrallysponsored schemes (CSCs) which were centrally funded but were implemented by the states. Since the Planning Commission was also the monitoring agency, participation of states in policy matters was reduced to making annual petitions for grants to the Commission, something that states did not like. Another crucial aspect of the Commission’s irrelevance and out of sync with reality came into light when it started to vet the infrastructure projects which pitted it against ministries especially transport and power ministries. 48

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Left to its own devises, it also devised a nine-point action plan for Naxal-affected areas. In all, the Commission had miserably failed to reinvent itself in changed economic paradigm and has ceased to add any value to the process of economic planning.

Radically Altering the Paradigm On the day of the first meeting of NITI Aayog, the government released an e-booklet which expanded on the rationale of the NITI Aayog and how it should operate. According to this documentary, the fundamental premise of the new body is that in view of the changes that has been brought about because of globalization, emergence of private enterprises and massive economic expansion, a new institution and a changed planning philosophy was required. Addressing the need to separate the strategy formulation element from the implementation element, the government has put the onus of resource allocation on the Finance Ministry and kept the NITI Aayog solely focussed on strategy formulation. This also takes care of the bickering between centre and states on

one hand and between central ministries and the planning body on the other, something that had had plagued the erstwhile Planning Commission. The document also offers important pointers to how the new planning body would broadly be working. First and foremost tenet of the new body is that in place of a top down approach which was the hallmark of the Planning Commission, the NITI Aayog would work on a bottoms up model. This is reflected in the focus that has been laid on cooperative federalism and decentralized planning process. This will allow states to have a greater stake in policy making process at the centre. The NITI Aayog would be primarily a research agency, and will allow states to formulate plans according to their ground realities and synthesize plans of various states to come up with best fit policies for the country. Secondly, the NITI Aayog is expected to act as a coordinating and conflict resolution agency. As government moves to create ambitious infrastructure programs such as river linking project or Swachh Bharat Abhiyan or bullet trains, it would need many ministries to work together, which would require a coordinating agency. NITI Aayog is well suited to do this job. Further, it is mandated to interact with external agencies on behalf of government. Third, the new body is expected to develop expertise in select areas critical to country’s progress. For this it can act on its own and with other agencies. Lot of focus has been laid on building a repository of specialized domain expertise, building network of expertise within and outside the government and enabling capacity building. The new body would also act as an internal consultant for central and state


Policy Foundation

governments on policy matters. In totality, the government has planned the new body as a think tank and as a knowledge based institution which would be a goto agency for various stakeholders involved in governance, unlike the Planning Commission which was designed as a body to do planning work along with resource allocation. However, there are some crucial functional areas in which NITI Aayog might either functionally conflicts with other bodies. For example, the proposed inter-ministerial coordination role of the NITI Aayog is in conflict with that of Cabinet Secretariat. Similarly, if NITI Aayog coordinates with states on policy matters, that might impinge on the jurisdiction of Inter State Council. The biggest hanging area, according to as an economist with a premier think

tank, is that of allocation of funds to states. This may even decide how happily states participate in the overall scheme of the new body. While Finance Ministry has assumed this role for now, there are concerns that this power would make Finance Ministry too powerful with no independent agency vetting its decisions. Also the fate of 12th five year plan and the entire exercise of drafting five year plans is currently not clear. Naturally, there are grey areas that need further work in the new arrangement of things.

The Way Ahead Over last couple of decades, India has become an aspirational country whose planning needs are radically different from those during fifties or even eighties. Planning in contemporary environment requires consultation among

How does NITI Aayog Differ from the Planning Commission Parameter Mandate and style

Financial powers

NITI Aayog To formulate policies collaboratively with states

To formulate policies in top down method and frame five yearly and annual plans

Does not have powers to allocate funds. Is an advisory body and work as a think-tank

Enjoyed extensive money allocation powers. Decided on how much money to given to each state for centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) and under state’s own state-fiveyear-plan

State CMs member of the States’ Governing Council, states participation to participate in the policy making process The number of fullFull-time time members could members be fewer than Planning Commission Part-time members

Planning Commission

To have a number of part-time members, depending on the need from time to time

States participated only in the National Development Council, had to convince the Commission to get grants for various schemes The last Commission had eight full-time members

No provision for part-time members

all stakeholders, development of domain expertise by harnessing knowledge from wherever it is available and the ability to coordinate efforts of all stakeholders. There is a consensus among experts that the topmost planning body of the country should have a long term, strategic and expertise based approach to the planning instead of getting bogged in money management. However, developing expertise and building capacity are long term processes and require infusion of monetary and human resources on one hand and forging effective, winwin collaboration with diverse set of institutions and people on the other. The new body has been pitched right on functionality and approach to planning. What is going to be crucial is to effectively manage transformation of planning paradigm of the country. The top down method of planning does not have any role in present scenario when many states are working better than national government and have greater expertise in select areas of governance. By making Chief Minister of states members of the new body, the government has made its intent clear regarding the participative nature of prospective planning process. The challenge would be to manage the demands and aspirations of multiple states that are at different levels of economic development, have different social and human developmental conditions and are ruled by parties with different political ideologies. Planning for a country as diverse as India is a complex and big task, and requires massive lot of imagination with human face. Only then can the dream of Antyodaya, the rise of last man in the queue, be realized. G VERNANCE TODAY

March 2015

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Climate Change

Saving Mother Earth, and GDP

How India should plan for Paris Climate Change Conference, 2015 | Prof. MURARI LAL

D

uring the recently concluded visit of the US President Barack Obama to India, there was expectation among international community that there would be some sort of deal on climate change on lines of the deal that the US had struck with China only a few months ago. While Indian Prime Minister and US President did not have a deal as such on climate change, there was agreement to work together on the issue when leaders meet in Paris later this year. For India, the stakes are quite high as it has to manage a fine balance between growth, energy supply and also livable environment to its citizens. Earlier, Mr Prakash Javadekar, Indian Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, had said in a Press Briefing before his departure to Lima last December that India cannot sign any deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions at UN climate talks that threatens its growth or undermines its fight against poverty, the worst kind of environmental disaster

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which “needs to be eradicated immediately”, adding that no one should dispute the right of the poorest members of society to have access to energy. “Poor people have aspirations we must fulfill them, we must give them energy access”. One of the major obstacles before energy-starved India is its high dependency on coalfired power plants. Millions in India suffer regular power cuts as India’s energy deficit is staggering. An estimated 300 million people — roughly equal to the population of the United States — still live without power. The national power grid was completed just last year. Negotiators from 195 countries in Lima last December (2014) agreed on a 38 pages draft agreement on negotiating text to address climate change that will be adopted in Paris this year (2015). Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have already set an outside target of limiting global warming to two degrees centigrade over pre-industrial levels. China, the United States and Europe have also unveiled their emission reduction pledges.

However, in a meeting on February 11, 2015 in Geneva, almost 200 nations complicated this drive for a UN deal to combat climate change by more than doubling the length of Lima draft to about 100 pages of radically varying solutions. Geneva is the last session for adding texts to the blueprint for the global Paris agreement. Under UN rules, an official draft as the basis for talks has to be ready six months before the summit. The text lists a huge range of options that are unlikely to be resolved before Paris summit.

No China Like Deal with the US In a historic climate change deal, in November 2014, the US and China announced that both countries will curb their greenhouse gas emissions over the next two decades. Under the agreement, the United States would cut its 2005 level of carbon emissions by 26% to 28% before 2025. China would peak its carbon emissions by 2030 and will also aim to get 20% of its energy from zero-carbon emission sources by the same year. However, US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi


Climate Change

did not strike such deal due to India’s resistance to accept a peak year for its greenhouse gas emissions. Such a deal would have resulted in the world putting India in the same bracket as China on carbon emissions which is not rightly so as the country must depend on coal as its primary energy source for at least the next decade. On the other hand, China is the world’s biggest carbon emitter while India is fourth with per capita emissions one-third those of China’s. Coal-fired plants accounted for 154,000 MW of India’s total power generation capacity of about 255,680 MW as of December 31, 2014. Thermal generation capacity is expected

priority during Obama’s visit. But the two countries failed to hammer out a deal except for a US commitment to invest in India’s plan to generate 100,000 MW of solar power by 2019. To spur the solar sector, and meet its 100 GW solar goal, India looks for investments to the tune of a $100 billion within a period of 6–7 years — more than half of this is expected to come from abroad. This is where the United States could play an important role. India has also been seeking a US commitment to provide adequate funds for adapting to climate change for developing and least developed countries. India is not willing to make any bilateral commitment until it

The impact of climate change is being felt by humans and animals alike

to keep growing even though Indian coal is high in ash content, making it more polluting. The government has announced plans to double annual coal production to 1 billion tonnes in five years. India’s stance on the energy mix is that while it will augment its renewable portfolio, it will not jeopardize its development goals and economic growth, in other words, coal could continue to be the mainstay of power generation. In early January 2015, US Secretary for State John Kerry had emphasized that a climate deal with India would be a top

submits its intended domestically determined contribution (INDCs) to fight climate change to the United Nations by June this year (depending upon what other countries will commit in their INDCs). India is likely to make its plan of generating 1,00,000 MW of solar power and 55,000 MW of wind power as part of its INDCs, apart from saving up to 20,000 MW of power from introducing energy efficient systems.

Divergent Positions on Emission Norms Indian position is that developed

countries should compensate developing nations for the effects their greenhouse gas emissions have had on climate. That responsibility should come in the form of compensation and a fair 2015 Paris agreement. The European Union (EU) on the other hand is known to favor “legally binding cuts applying to all countries” which should be adopted by 2015 and entered into force by 2020. Americans support the ‘buffet option’ that would contain some legally binding elements but allow countries to determine the scale and pace of their emissions reductions. The EU appears to have toughened its stance faced with major nations which claim they could not impose economy wide targets. The EU’s post2020 targets for greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energy are contingent on a legally binding global agreement at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015. The chances of such an agreement, however, are still remote. China and India have made their support for such a deal conditional on a legally binding climate finance package of $100 billion per year by 2020. Australia is the main developed nation that has not contributed to the Green Climate Fund so far. In the meantime, China offered details on its commitment to rein in greenhouse gases at Lima and called on rich nations to speed up delivery of the $100 billion in annual climate-related aid they’ve promised by 2020. China’s commitment with a call to accelerate funding for climate aid has shifted the pressure on industrialized nations, led by the U.S. and European Union, to do their part toward reaching an agreement later this year. On the positive side, discussions in Peru last December saw all participating countries

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Climate Change

commit to lowering greenhouse gas emissions for the first time ever. Environmentalists now hope the widely-anticipated Paris Climate Summit in December 2015 will bring a universal accord that enables the world to move to a low-carbon future, and would spell concrete measures to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. However, analysts say that the drastic fall in global crude oil prices over the past eightnine months (currently trading below $50 a barrel) could trigger a deflationary pattern, which may bring down the global economic growth to as low as 2.6 percent this year, well below the International Monetary Fund’s 3.8 percent forecast. This might reduce public sector funding for low-carbon energy. Major oil exporting countries like Venezuela and Canada are expected to see the biggest funding declines given their reliance on crude oil revenues. Further, tepid growth could also see poor deployment of energy efficient technologies which could potentially lower the ambition levels of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

GW from 20 GW. India is also the world’s fifth-largest wind energy producer, targeting 60 GW of wind energy by 2022. With 250 GW of total installed energy currently and a need for much more power, scaling up solar and wind energy projects can power India’s economic growth and create jobs. The 100-GW solar target, the dedicated mission to increase wind energy generation and waste-to-energy, as well as increasing the share of biomass, appear to have sent out the message that India has begun its transition to energy sources that produce less or no carbon. India could push its ambition towards a target of 1,041 Billion Units (BU) of electricity from

A one-on-one comparison between India and China at different levels of development would indicate that India has shown climate leadership in the past and is expected to do so in the future. Specifically, the renewable energy contribution to the electricity mix for India was much higher than China (4.4 per cent for India against 1.7 per cent for China, excluding hydropower) in 2010 and is estimated to be significantly larger in 2020 (13.8 per cent for India against 5.0 per cent for China, excluding hydropower). The proposed basis of negotiations at Paris for Indian delegation should therefore perhaps focus on long-term policy signals to

Indian Predicament Increasing energy access, clean energy development, and job creation are national priorities for Narendra Modi’s government. As India faces rising burden of fuel costs, threats to energy security, and the impacts of climate change, renewable energy offers a critical solution. India’s solar and wind programs have already catalyzed remarkable growth. In just four years, India’s solar market has grown more than a hundredfold, exceeding 3 gigawatts (GW) of installed solar energy. India recently increased its 2022 grid-connected solar energy target by five-fold to 100 52

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Despite being highly polluting, coal continues to be the primary energy source for Indians

renewable energy sources by 2030. This would translate to cumulative emissions of 3.4 gigatons of CO2 equivalents and per capita emissions of 2.25 tonnes of CO2 eq. in 2030. The above target could, according to one estimate, require an incremental cost of approximately INR 39,320 billion or $ 715 billion over the next 15 years at 2010 prices, and would make the consumption of a threshold level of electricity unaffordable for the bottom two deciles of Indian households.

underpin long-lived investments in renewable energy as the core of India’s contributions (INDC). India’s INDCs should target on two aspects, namely what India can do given its resources and what India would do if technology and finance were available. This would also justify India’s urgent need of climate financing and access to advanced technology for its energy security and sustainable development. The writer is an eminent atmospheric scientist


Developing Against Norms Flouting norms has been a marked character of the Indian real estate sector and complaints by buyers about various irregularities in the sector have been routine. The complaints against the realty players have not been only about the delayed possession or bad construction quality but there have been legal issues related to violation of various construction norms. Unfortunately, there has been no proper action plan from the government’s end to deal with developers violating the norms but now the time has come when these irregularities can’t be overlooked anymore.

| RAHUL TRIVEDI

T

he real estate sector is India is notorious for its lack of transparency. The sector is still not matured as compared to the developed markets. Lack of information and low transparency discourages the investment by large players in the semi urban and rural areas thus slacking an overall growth of the real estate sector. To curb the irregularities there has been a constant demand of real estate regulatory bill but this has been pending since long time. Till the time that happens, buying a property will remain a risky task. Any construction to be done has to be according to the National Building Code but despite getting the plans cleared by the authorities some developers violate them without fearing the consequences. One norm which developers openly violate is Floor Area Ratio (FAR) norm. It would not be wrong to say that even authorities are openly violating the norms and granting purchasable FAR to the developers in some states. For example, even though the provision in the UP Apartment Act 2010 state that a developer shall not make any alterations in the plans, specifications and other particulars without the previous consent of the allottees, developers are openly undertaking such alterations. Experts also agree to the same. Vikas Malpani, co-founder and vice president (communities), Commonflorr.com, a real estate portal says, “In most cases, the building is not built according to the plan submitted to the governing body. The violations range from the height of the building to margins (open spaces).” “In some cases, builders think that even if they violate rules, their buildings will be regularized by urban local bodies,” he added. “Sometimes, developers build more floors than permitted,” March 2015

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Real Estate

says Samarjit Singh, managing director, India Homes, a property brokerage based in New Delhi.

FAR and It’s Significance FAR essentially defines the limit up to which construction in a certain plot of land or location can be done. In other words, it is a means of controlling building volume in accordance with a previously developed master-plan for that location. FAR parameters vary from state to state and are governed by the respective city development authorities. The calculation of FAR is very simple, one has to divide total covered area of all the floors divided by the plot area. For example the builder has got a plot of 1,000 sq. m and the permissible FAR, according to development plans, is 1.5. He is

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allowed to construct a building on 1,500 sq. m of this plot. It is the ratio of the total floor area in the building compared with the total plot area. The constructed area would include the basic structure, walls, staircase and lobby space, if any. There has always been a debate over the FAR in the realty sector. It is one of the key determinants for development of the country. In India FAR is considered to be a hurdle to construction activities as it is low compared to other mature markets. There has been a constant demand from the developers to increase the FAR but then a question stands tall that will increasing FAR be effective in the current scenario of the sector? On FAR restrictions, Anuj Puri, chairman and country head,

Jones Lang La Salle Meghraj (JLLM) says, “FAR restrictions are necessary in heritage zones featuring monuments, and wherever higher FAR would destroy the urban fabric of a particular area. This has been the primary area of contention. Lower FAR implies higher horizontal growth, which is positive in terms of environmental sustainability but negative in terms of available supply.” Bangalore-based real estate consultancy firm Asipac Projects chairman Amit Bagaria feels that horizontal development definitely has its disadvantages. “The world realized over 50 years ago that horizontal development is expensive. Horizontal development has its negatives — infrastructure is


Real Estate

collapsing, fuel consumption too is growing leaps and bounds,” he asserts. There is little doubt that a higher FAR will bring in more supply in the market, thereby creating room for more affordable housing. “Surpluses are needed in real estate. We have the funds and the resources. When surpluses can be created in other areas, then why not in housing?” questioned Niranjan Hiranandani, MD, Hiranandani Constructions during a conference organized by the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (Credai). Though Hiranandani’s views were echoed by many others in the industry who feel that several advantages can accrue to the sector if FAR is increased but increasing the FAR in the current infrastructural bottlenecks would create more problem than it would solve. Sanjay Dutt, Deputy Managing Director, India, Cushman & Wakefield, says, “Typically, doubling the FAR shall reduce the per capita cost on development infrastructure; however this is not a direct proportion relation. In India, our infrastructure is yet

to cater to current requirement and hence doubling FAR instantly would put an additional strain on infrastructure.”

What By-laws Say? According to the by-law a builder was allowed to construct only 1.75 times the ground area till 2006. However, bylaws limit construction to 80 flats on an acre. There’s also a cap on the ground area that a builder can use for construction, which is 35 per cent of the total area of the project. Let’s say a builder is allowed to construct 80 flats on

an acre, which is equivalent to 40,000 sqft. But as the allowed floor area ratio is 1.75, the total construction area on the oneacre land can be 70,000 sqft. But this entire construction has to be done on 35% of the ground area, which is 40,000 sqft. This means the builder can utilize only 14,000 sqft. So, to use the total allowed built-up area, buildings more that have more than five storeys have to be constructed. But these norms keep changing. In 2006, authorities allowed a builder to increase the floor-area ratio (FAR) up to

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Real Estate

three. In some areas like Greater Noida, the permitted FAR is even more. While increasing FAR, the authorities also allowed the developer to construct more flats on a given area. The permitted density — which is the number of flats on an acre — was increased to 140. With these new norms, almost all developers decided not only to construct additional number of permitted apartments in their ongoing projects but also in projects that were partly completed and even delivered them to a number of flatowners. In projects where developers had already started construction, they could not change the specification of a completed plinth to build additional apartments. So, they decided to build new towers to accommodate more flats.

How Builders Violate the Norms? The violation comes in light if the developer takes the completion certificate as they have to

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disclose the total number of flats they have made. For example if the developer has an approval to make 100 flats and he constructs 150 flats then the violation would come into light only while taking the completion certificate. But here the developers play the game, they don’t take the completion certificate from the development authority which is not even a compulsory document for the registration of apartment. Instead of taking the completion certificate they offer possession to buyers. Through this way even the illegal flats are getting registered with the revenue department everywhere in Delhi-NCR. Several RTI applications filed by the RWAs of many group housing projects in Indirapuram have revealed that developers have built more than the sanctioned number of flats. What is surprising is that even top banks have extended loans to these ‘illegal’ flats, and the revenue department of Uttar Pradesh has collected stamp duty as registration fee from

these buyers. A resident of one of the housing projects in Indirapuram says, “The reply from GDA has shocked all the 765 families in our group housing project as only 545 flats have been found to be in accordance with the sanctioned plan. We don’t know the exact flat numbers assigned to the 220 unauthorised flats because we didn’t ask for the particulars of the units in our application. Now we are planning to file another application to get these specific details.”

What Should Be Done? To curb the violation of FAR norms there are few things which if done can be fruitful. Experts say that identifying select areas that have the capacity to accommodate a higher FAR. Developers too agree and feel that a zone or centers of excellence can be created within which, the FAR can be increased. This model can be replicated in all the cities in the form of a well demarcated area. Anshuman Magazine, CMD of Global Real Estate Consultancy Firm CB Richard Ellis says, “There are a lot of areas where land is not being utilized and is lying vacant. These can be optimally utilized.


Real Estate

Violating the FAR Norms There are more than a dozen of group housing projects are enmeshed in various court cases on the issue of illegal sanction of purchasable FAR out of which one famous case of one of the big shots in the sector, Supertech came into light last year. The case was based on the increase in Floor Area Ratio (FAR) after obtaining approval from the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (Noida) authority. This case also makes us focus on the fundamental problems in Indian real estate sector. Let’s have a brief look at the case. The case was brought into light by the Resident Welfare Association (RWA) of Emerald Court, a residential project of Supertech. The project had 15 towers initially and later Supertech, the developer, applied to build two towers (Tower 16 – Apex, Tower 17 – Ceyane) with 24 floors each. Later the number of floors was increased to 40 and this was approved by the requisite authority. The residents complaint of the unawareness of the new approvals and came to know about it through Right to Information (RTI) act. The RWA president stated that the two new towers were being built in close proximity to tower 1 and this was in violation with the building regulations of Noida, 2010 and the National Building Code, 2005. As per the writ petition filed by the RWA, the approval and construction of the two towers, Apex and Ceyane, violates the Uttar Pradesh Apartment (Promotion of Construction, Ownership and Maintenance) Act”. The petition also stated that as per the earlier plan each tower was supposed to have only 24 floors but the Noida authority has permitted to raise the height of the two towers. Also, it is mandatory to maintain a distance of 16 metres from an adjoining building block. Raising the height of the buildings without maintaining the stipulated mandatory distance has made the buildings unsafe and also blocked air and light. On 11 April, 2014, the Allahabad High Court ordered the demolition of the two towers because the specified minimum distance for fire safety was not maintained between the two blocks. The HC also asked the developer to refund money to the buyers. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Supertech’s plea against HC’s order. A bench comprising of Chief Justice RM Lodha, Justice Madan Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph has ordered status quo to be maintained on the two towers under-construction and has directed the developer not to sell/transfer flats located in any of the two buildings. The Supreme Court has also issued notices to Noida authority and Supertech based on a petition filed by the original petitioner of the Allahabad case who had objected to increase the number of floors in the buildings. The Supreme Court has raised questions on the increase in number of floors during construction and has stated, “It has repeatedly come to notice that builders, by joining hands with officers of the development authorities, flout every conceivable rule, including building regulations.” The Apex Court expressed surprise on Noida authority’s decision to allow the construction of the 40-floor buildings and mentioned that the authority must face the consequences if the buildings were to be demolished and must refund the money to buyers as it has given permission for raising the height of the two towers. In another case of building by-laws violation, the Allahabad High Court while ironing out the creases in the UP Apartment Act, delivered a landmark judgment and held that builders cannot change the scheme without the written consent of all the allottees.

Ideally, infrastructure should be allowed to develop first. But as that does not happen in India, developing it simultaneously is the only option.” “A dedicated wing to study the demand and establishing reforms for FAR index is highly desired with the increasing demand. The model specializing in the subject will provide optimum utilization of all re-sources and can help to get maximum returns,” feels Rohtas Goel, CMD, Omaxe. Of course for the investor, a higher FAR can augur some good times ahead. It can be the only way to fight price rise and accommodate the rising demand in the real estate sector. Projects will then be cheaper on a unitto-unit basis and also plentiful in profitable areas, which obviously would be a welcome change. “It can help stabilise land prices, which ultimately will benefit the common man. A raise in FAR would help in setting up more affordable houses and control the steep rise in prices,” feels Kabul Chawla, MD, BPTP. The national average of FAR in the country would approximately vary between 1.25 and 2. And while it may be some time before the FAR could be increased to desired levels, this debate has at least spruced up efforts by industry players to think of alternative methods. There is a pressing need to revise the FAR despite the fact that infrastructure development poses a major challenge. The government needs to simultaneously initiate ramping up infrastructure facilities on a priority basis for orderly development of housing sector. But even before that, there is an urgent need to stop the violations that are currently going on and punish violating developers exemplarily. G VERNANCE TODAY

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Education

Should We Board the Board? Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani recently conceded that the feedback she has received says that Class X board exams were better. On doing away with board exams, the Minister, in an interview to a national daily, said, “Class X boards were better? I’ve the same feedback. A CABE (central advisory board of education) subcommittee has studied this. Not just parents, Chief Ministers – even those from Congressruled states – say: Reinstitute it. I’ve met students from KVs, private schools, Navodaya Vidyalayas. Students want boards back. Parents, teachers, students say CCE (continuous comprehensive evaluation) bred a cut-copy-paste generation.” We talked to some stakeholders related to school education to know how they view the given issue. We also wish students best of luck for their board exams this month. | RAMESH KUMAR RAJA

Rita Singh Principal, Indirapuram Public School The evaluation system changed 2010 onwards, changing first to a board exam which awarded grades and then to the Class X board exam becoming optional. Doing away with board exam in Class X was done with concurrent implementation of the CCE programme in schools. Having myself been involved with the CCE programme as a master trainer with CBSE and a mentor to few schools, I do believe the programme has several distinct merits. These include a reduction in stress levels amongst students in Class X, minimising rote learning and making available time for students to develop excellence in co-curricular activities and several others. The issue is with implementation in letter and spirit. True implementation of CCE requires a very high level of involvement by teachers, since its crux lies in close monitoring of the student’s performance in class. It requires class strengths to be small and its success hinges on continuous diagnosis and correction. Also, it requires that the school atmosphere encourages self-driven learning process. Any dilution in this can only lead to a mechanical, cut-copy-paste approach amongst students, which is perhaps the genesis of the feedback referred to by the Union HRD Minister. The ground reality of sheer numbers of students perhaps indicates that a result-based approach, based on marks achieved in a central board may have had merit in light of reality. The numbers of schools, of teachers and of students in India is truly immense. Consequently, despite the “train the trainers” and “mentoring” approach adopted, the true spirit of CCE may not have percolated to every corner of India. Further, there was a requirement to ensure that the pace of change didn’t outstrip the pace of absorption of change. As an educator, I see merit in both systems. However, the issue is with execution. Post CCE, students may have lost some of their ability to take long exams under pressure. There is indeed an “optimal level of stress” under which all humans perform best. In the absence of external exam in Class X, we may be seeing a drop in performance on this account. Considering execution, the older system may indeed have been more successful in ensuring maintenance of standards. Considering all of the above, and especially the sheer magnitude of the education system in India, it may be well-nigh impossible to get a clear consensus across the country on which system was better. Only time will tell.

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Education

Yogesh Mehta, Manager S D M Model School I agreed with the statement that Class X boards were better because according to me, CCE pattern is beneficial for only those students who are average or below average, but there is no use of CCE pattern for bright students. The bright students show the negative approach towards this system as they feel easy to secure excellent grades by putting in less efforts. The teachers remain busy in maintaining the record throughout the year. It is very difficult to keep such a huge record of FAs (formative assessments) and SAs (summative assessments). They should devote this time in classrooms for the betterment of students.

Sangeeta Sharma Headmistress Parevartan School

CCE is based on comprehensive evaluation, but being comprehensive a learner takes his studies for granted as he/she can do it in few minutes when required i.e. the purpose is totally lost. Then being continuous evaluation, it also kills the teaching time of the subject e.g. every week out of six teaching periods, one goes in evaluation. Actually, some guidelines were not effective in classroom and in practical and the subjects, which cannot be activity based, were at a loss. CCE was totally concentrating on project based learning but there are certain core concepts which need to be done in their text format earlier, for which no solution was offered by CCE. Ultimately the level of learning which was expected has not been achieved due to lack of teachers’ initiative and also learners’ seriousness. CCE is a very good system. It has to be followed with sincerity, but that is not the case in several schools. It all depends how effectively it is implemented. The CCE pattern gives schools the liberty to evaluate the students extensively based on their project works. In several schools the assessment criterion is not followed properly. The students who got good grades in CCE based 10th exams didn’t fare well in 12th board. In fact, a new system needs to be evolved with a right mix (of old board and CCE) keeping in view the market demand and latest trends.

Amit Kumar Tripathy Career Counsellor Every training ends up with an evaluation and the evaluation makes us clear about the understanding level of the training. To make oneself clear about his or her level of understanding, a test is needed. Hence, Class X boards are necessary to assess a student’s calibre for a better career goal in future. By the way, someone has rightly described BOARD, where ‘B’ stands for Basic Degree, ‘A’ for Assessable to all, ‘R’ for Recognition in the society and ‘D’ for Disciplined direction for career growth. Experts have given their comments on this for not conducting board test in Class X, but every coin has two sides and this reputed certificate has all meaning, when a candidate applies, for the job in the market. Not only this certifies the scores or qualifications, but also it clarifies the date of birth and majorly, the organizations take this as a benchmark for selection. Thus, this exam surely makes the students more sincere towards their studies or researches in future. Finally, “Today’s Students Tomorrow’s Future”. My vote goes for class X board. G VERNANCE TODAY

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Education

Emerging Vistas in Online Education

| ANISH SRIKRISHNA

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Massive Open Online Course popularly known as MOOC is an online course aimed at unlimited participants who will have open access via internet. Along with formal course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for students and faculty. MOOCs have become popular as a mode of distance education from 2012 onwards. On the other hand, Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment or Moodle is a Virtual Learning Environment provided through free e-learning software platforms. Moodle is being used in many types of environments such as in education, training and development, and business settings. What is MOOC and What MOOCs can mean for India? To be on the same page let us first understand what MOOCs actually 60

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mean. As per EdSurge, an independent information resource and community, MOOC is “Massive, Open, Online Course facilitated wholly online and designed to support an unlimited number of enrollees”. Alex Cusack, from moocs.com, put together some interesting statistics and we look at some of those to see what MOOCs have meant so far: • 40% of the users are from developing countries; with 5% from India • 77% of the users have completed/ are students of a degree course (or above) • 7% universal completion rate We already know that top MOOC providers, i.e., EDX, Coursera, Udacity, have several million registered learners. So perhaps it is safe to say that the MOOCs have generated a high level of excitement amongst those who are already attending institutions of learning; but completion rates are a challenge. What is unquestionable

here is the fact that MOOC offers an alternative and/or supplemental knowledge input to regular education which in itself is quite stressed in India. A look at the higher education environment and some of the structural challenges it faces, makes matter clearer. The Gross Enrollment Ratio for Higher Education, the total enrollment expressed as a percentage of the population corresponding to the age group for this level, in India is at 19% which is far from its target of 30%. As per RUSA (Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan or National Higher Education Mission), the sector is already facing challenges of Access (where education is provided), Equity (inclusion of all population groups) and Excellence (quality). RUSA aims to create an additional enrollment capacity of 10 Million students. Given the existing pressure on filling faculty positions and getting land for creating new infrastructure; there is no


Education

easy answer to the problem at hand. There is a lot that needs to be done in terms of budgets, human capital and enabling learning. Given India’s traditional obsession with engineering, medical and management, not much has been done in the other sectors and we are plagued with issues in these core areas itself. Needless to say, there is an urgent need for padding up traditional education infrastructure in the country. Can we look at MOOCs at the possible solution for some of these segments? The combination of technology and freely available content can transform lives for many by providing them education and therefore, economic opportunity. While many would say that MOOCs are an unproven model, both from learning and business model perspectives – we need to consider that technology does not grow incrementally but exponentially. Today, access is an issue but with availability of cheap, reliable internet access things might change significantly. Students searching the web for supplemental information started in late 90s, when the internet penetration (dial-up) was very low as well as unreliable. Things have changed a lot and today a large majority of students in urban centers are googling various pieces of information to supplement learning. I believe the entire learning process will go through a similar shift once access is ubiquitous. However, there is need to transform the learning process, contextualize the content and provide opportunities to students to apply learning beyond the MOOCs. We cannot be stuck in the paradigm of recording video lectures as is and transmitting them to students. Students don’t want to learn from a non-interactive bobbing head. Perhaps, the future, in India, lies in a hybrid strategy as the students still value a physical classroom. We will have to go through various iterations to come up with the final solution and while the exact picture of that solution is yet to emerge, it is clear that technology enabled learning will become a key to success and those who can guarantee outcomes will be at the forefront.

Coming to Moodle, it is a community driven, open source and extremely flexible learning platform. These features make this platform very powerful and low cost. But this would require some level of customization at the time of deployment. In the Indian academic context, there will be some takers for this product, and typically they could be in two categories. • The first category would comprise of institutes that are committed to invest in customising the LMS [Learning Management System] as a long term strategy. Also, they are

fraternity is more likely embrace end to end solutions that consist of both platforms and content on a subscription model. This will liberate them from the costs and pains of maintaining a full-fledged platform and product line. It will also allow them to focus on the universal core competence of an institute which is educational excellence. Furthermore, it would give them flexibility to try multiple product or solution options and keep abreast with the changing technologies as opposed to being stuck to something. A typical example from Pearson is MyLabs South Asia, which is a suite of eLearning courses for management programs. The beauty of these systems

willing to deploy time, money and people behind this effort, including delivery capability using the LMS. • The second category which we believe will be the larger pool will consist of institutes that perceive this to be a cost saving mechanism without understanding the overall cost structures of customisation, deployment, content development etc. The large majority of academic

is that they are extremely user friendly, come loaded with the best of breed content including case studies, videos, simulations, assessments and powerful analytics. They can work independently but can also be integrated with moodle if the institute has already invested in the platform. The writer is Business Head & Vice President, Higher Education & Test Preparation, Pearson India G VERNANCE TODAY

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Pipe Dream

Is India on Track t | RAMESH KUMAR RAJA

E

ven though Prime Minister Narendra Modi has flagged off the first ever express train (fully air-conditioned) from Naharlagun in Arunachal Pradesh to New Delhi bringing North-East closer to the rest of India, there is not much update available about the status of high-speed trains envisioned by successive governments, including the UPA, and promised by BJP’s Modi in run up to the last general elections. Except the successful trial run – touching a speed of 160 km an hour – from New Delhi to Agra last year, no much action has been seen on the ground notwithstanding different projects that are underway and various agencies that are in action. Introduction of bullet trains starting off on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad sector and an ambitious plan to have a Diamond Quadrilateral network of high speed rail connecting major metros and growth centres were announced by DV Sadananda Gowda, former Railway Minister in the Modi cabinet in the 2014 Rail Budget. Gowda spoke of efforts to increase the speed of trains in select sectors to up to 200 km per hour. The Rail Budget identified nine sectors in this regard that included the prestigious 62

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Delhi-Agra rail line and the busy DelhiChandigarh and Mumbai-Ahmedabad sectors. Besides, the speed of trains is to be increased to 160-200 km in the Delhi-Kanpur, Nagpur-Bilaspur, Mysore-Bangalore-Chennai, MumbaiGoa, Chennai-Hyderabad and NagpurSecunderabad sectors. An endowment of Rs. 100 crore was made in the Budget for the High Speed project to the Railway Vikas Nigam Limited/High Speed Rail Corridor for taking further steps. While bullet trains will require completely new infrastructure, higher speed for existing trains will be achieved by upgrading the present network, Gowda had said. Promising to ensure better rail connectivity in the country, Gowda had asserted, “The government needs Rs. 9 lakh crore for funding Diamond Quadrilateral.” Gowda’s successor, Suresh Prabhu, later directed officials to fast-track projects related to high-speed trains at speed of 300 Kmph and raising speed of existing trains to 160-200kmph. The high-speed projects — 543 km Ahmedabad-Mumbai corridor, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious plan of Diamond Quadrilateral, and nine corridors identified for running semi-high-speed trains — were even discussed in detail with RVNL CMD

Satish Agnihotri and his team of officials. Meanwhile, noting that high-speed train projects will be an extremely expensive proposition, a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways asked the Railway Ministry to do a costbenefit analysis about spending limited resources on high-speed projects rather than routing them to pending projects. “If the amount equivalent to that proposed for bullet trains is used for executing the long-pending railway projects, the benefits for the general public will be more,” the Committee said in a report tabled in Parliament in December last year. It noted that Bullet train projects are highly capital intensive and require substantial support from the Centre for their implementation. As per reports, the Railways have 368 ongoing or pending projects to the tune of about Rs. 4 lakh crore. The panel, headed by former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi, however, lauded the proposal to introduce a high-speed train on the MumbaiAhmedabad sector. While Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is studying this particular highspeed corridor, the Chinese are helping the Railways study the MumbaiChennai route. The proposed MumbaiAhmedabad corridor is expected to


Pipe Dream

o High Speed Rail cost about Rs. 70,000 crore, according to the latest interim estimates given by JICA. RVNL has also said the proposed train will not be priced only for premium passengers, as is the case in Japan and Europe, but have differential pricing for various segments. Although the Diamond Quadrilateral project was confirmed as a project of priority for the new Modi government in the President’s speech, India’s quest to run trains at 160 km/h has its own critics, which point out that Delhi-Agra time savings are not based on the speed of train but based on other factors. Critics point out that the reduction in travel time due to speed is a mere three minutes, and other manoeuvrings are largely responsible for the drastic drop. Reduction of timing largely because of shifting the train’s departure point from New Delhi railway station to Hazrat Nizamuddin and doing away with the scheduled stop at Mathura reportedly account for a saving of 14 minutes, limiting the locomotive to 10 coaches – Bhopal Shatabdi has 14 – leads to a decrement of another two minutes, approximately five minutes are being saved on account of track improvements and superior infrastructure, three minutes owing to route relay interlocking at Agra, and one minute each on approval to run

a passenger train on the third line at Palwal and Bhuteshwar, installation of thick web switches at four points and in putting up a track station at Chhata. Also, India is targeting only lower end of 160–200 km/h speed of semihigh speed trains. So, the focus is to achieve 160 km/h not the 200 km/h. There is serious question being raised about the safety of the passengers as the infrastructure on which semihigh speed trains will be running may not be able to run at such high speeds, for instance it is preferred to run these trains on 60 kilogram tracks but now they are running on 52 kilogram tracks. There are multiple railway projects which are in different stages of implementation like doubling of tracks, electrification, new track laying, changing of gauge etc. But Indian railways has not come up with any guidelines to channelize all current and new efforts to run trains at semihigh speed. Furthermore, if we talk about the feasibility of Bullet trains in India, it is an idea that appeals to the aspirational upper middle class. There needs to be a serious debate on the viability and social desirability of such a project. International experience and the numbers involved suggest India should do some hard thinking. High Speed

Rail success stories are almost all from rich, high-income countries on middledistance (450-500 km) high-density routes, with some notable exceptions, especially China, always a special case. Japan’s pioneering Shinkansen service has operated since the mid’60s on the high-density Tokyo-OsakaKyoto route and its parameters of traffic density, distance covered and tariffs have more or less set the standard for HSR the world over. South Korea runs HSR on the Seoul-Busan corridor covering over 75 per cent of the population and around 70 per cent of both freight and passenger traffic. HSR services in Europe connect highdensity routes and have relatively high tariffs. As per estimates, HSR in India is expected to cost around Rs. 250 crore per km, suggesting a cost of Rs. 1.2 lakh crore for Diamond Quadrilateral project. Passenger tariffs are expected to be around Rs. 8 per km or Rs. 3,200 for a 400 km ride on the one planned high-density line from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. Is Indian public willing or rather capable to shell out that much? And at that rate, will rail be able to compete with the low cost airlines? Points to ponder, not just for people, but also for technocrats at Rail Bhavan. G VERNANCE TODAY

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Interview

Medical Informatics: A Health Enabler for the Country Health Informatics (HI) basically defines how health information is technically captured, transmitted and utilized. Today new technology is becoming an integral part of medicine, and health informatics is no exception. It is the rapidly developing scientific field that deals with the storage, retrieval and use of biomedical data, information and knowledge for problem solving and decision making.HI focuses on information systems, informatics principles, and information technology as it will be applied for healthcare delivery.

A

doctor by profession, Project Director for the National Health Portal of MoHFW, Prof. Suptendra Nath Sarbadhikari, in conversation with Ekta Srivastava, talks about the pros and cons of the medical informatics in the country. You are a versatile personality in medical field. Please share your journey from being a medical doctor to Project Director for the National Health Portal. I am a medical doctor (University of Calcutta, 1989) and have a PhD in Biomedical Engineering (1995) from IT, BHU, Varanasi (now IIT-BHU). Currently

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I am associated with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India, as the Project Director for the Centre for Health Informatics of the National Health Portal (NHP) at the NIHFW, New Delhi. I have been the Founder and Director of Supten Institute (offering online courses on health informatics) and a Visiting Professor in Health Informatics at Bangladesh Institute of Health Sciences, (now Bangladesh University of Health Sciences) at Dhaka, Bangladesh. I have been the Founding Director of CAL2CAL

Institute, a faculty member with the Manipal Group, IIT Kharagpur (School of Medical Science and Technology), Amrita group (Course Coordinator for M.Sc. Medical Informatics in AIMS, Kochi and for M. Tech Biomedical Engineering in Amrita University, Coimbatore) and PSG group (Founding Chair of Biomedical Informatics in PSG IMS & R and Visiting Faculty for BME in PSG Tech). Other than that I had done my Post-doctoral Fellowship at the Machine Intelligence Unit of Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata. My areas of expertise are in


Interview

Standards for Health Information Exchange (HIE), Requirements analysis and management in Healthcare information technology, e-learning, medical journalism and clinical decision support systems. I am the ImmediatePast Chairman of HL7 India. I’m also a member of the Project Review and Steering Committee of Indian iNRC of SNOMED-CT, and of the EHR Standards Implementation Committee under the MoHFW, Government of India. Could you please throw some light on the project that you are working at Centre for Health Informatics? Well, that I can tell you through the milestones and the achievements that the project has gained till now.

Milestones: Recommendation for India Health Portal by the National Knowledge Commission: 2008 Formation of Working Group (of which I was a member) for Detailed Project Report (DPR) preparation of the NHP: 2009 Approval from MoHFW: June 2011 Steering Committee of the NHP (SCNHP) formation: August 2011 NHP made live for beta testing: 15/11/2013 (Beginning of 2-year Pilot Project in NIHFW) NHP formally launched by Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister for H & FW: 14/11/2014 Currently in Pilot Project mode till 14/11/2015

Achievements: Information on Health and Diseases – especially current public health alerts – through validated content, Sliders, and Infographics Information on Directory Services – Hospitals, Blood Banks, Ambulances – according to state / city / PIN Code Information on Regulatory Laws, Protocols, Standards, Health Policies and Programs, Committees and Commissions, besides information on Disaster Management, First Aid and AYUSH General Forum for general

discussions among common persons, patients, care givers and healthcare professionals Professional Forum for discussion among health care professionals: Help Desk for Implementation of EHR Standards: Forum for discussing implementation of HER Feedback on the content on NHP How do you perceive the state of Medical informatics in India? In 1995 I had written a Guest Editorial in JIMA (Journal of the Indian Medical Association) titled: “Medical Informatics – are the doctors ready?” Unfortunately, the answer seems to be negative, even two decades later! Nevertheless, India has made considerable progress with the notification of Standards for EHR. Further, India has also got the country license for the controlled medical vocabulary standard SNOMED-CT by becoming a member of International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO). So there have been progress. Health is a state subject in India and various states have undertaken (often independently) various projects to implement eHealth in their respective states. The Digital India initiatives also mandate the adoption of eHealth. To facilitate the smooth adoption of eHealth, the present central government is in the process of setting up the National eHealth Authority (NeHA). I personally believe that once the NeHA is formed, its first job should be to formulate a realistic National eHealth Strategy / Policy, in consultation with all the stakeholders. India is a country where accessing basic health facilities is a far-fetched thing for a common man. So, how technology, say Health Informatics can bring any change in their life? If you want to hear the magic word “Telemedicine”, that may not be a panacea! We definitely need proper water, nutrition and sanitation (Swachchh Bharat will lead to Swasth Bharat) to achieve better health. Of course technology/ informatics will

act as an enabler for all such efforts. Improving access/ infrastructure will also be a strong enabler. According to you what are the major challenges in improving the medical informatics in the country? In 2005 I had written an article stressing on the need for a flexible syllabus for health informatics, according to the needs of various users – like, healthcare delivery professionals, ICT professionals, and public health experts. The need exists even today. Change management is another area that needs to be given adequate emphasis. When a flyover is being built, it does cause a lot of inconvenience to the residents of that area. However, once the flyover is completed, it is likely to save a lot of time of those same people. Same is for an eHealth system. A change manager has to make the users aware and prepare them for the transition during the building phase of the system. Moreover, end users must be actively involved right from the requirements gathering phase and throughout the development / modification phases of the system. After all, “people” are equally important as the “tools / technology” and “processes / workflows” for any eHealth system to succeed. Do you think it’s important to include medical informatics as one of the major subject in medical education? This is my favourite topic. I had written in 2004 in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology – “Basic medical science education must include medical informatics.” Again, in 2008, I had published a small case study in the Really Good Stuff section of the journal Medical Education: “Applying health care informatics to improve student learning.” As I said before, health informatics education must be an integral part of education – not just for all healthcare professionals but also for all ICT professionals. G VERNANCE TODAY

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Greek Crisis

Greece Stays in Euro

And Strikes Deal to Keep Bailout Money Flowing in

| ANAND MISHRA

G

reece has managed to avert a potential run on its banking system and an economic collapse with a last minute deal with the troika of European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, which will keep the bailout money flowing in the country for four more months. While parties on both sides of the negotiating table claimed victory, the reality is that both sides came down a few steps from their stated high positions. Greeks, however, had to swallow much of their pride and agree to more or less everything that they, over last few months, had been vowing they won’t. Beyond the immediate deal and relief that it has brought, there are symptomatic issues that need attention. Hailed as the first post-modern group of nations which has redefined the concept of nationhood and national independence, Europe has had anything but a smooth ride over last few years. Because nations are at different stages of development with different types of economic structure, their requirements also are radically different from each other. However, to stay within the Euro system, each has to sacrifice certain level of economic freedom which sometimes runs counter to the political

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predilections of that country. And when a country is forced to run policies which affirm to the standards of the group and counter to the perceived interests of the people, radical political entities are thrown up by societies which threaten the Euro system. What has played out in Greece over last couple of months and the reverberations that it has generated in some other countries such as Spain, Italy and Portugal, is latest example of the same.

The Deal

The deal that Athens struck with creditors keeps the essential components of the Austerity Plan that the Greek government had

cut public spending, reform tax system, privatize businesses, end job guarantees and most critical of all, bring government budget in surplus, which was supposed to prevent government from falling into a debt trap. All these steps left the economy in distress. Most people in Greece feel that these measures have been of no use; the growth is very low, real incomes have come down sharply, and jobs have just vanished. In such a scenario, they feel there is little value in continuing with these measures, to keep the bailout money flowing in. The agreement that was reached on Feb 20, has seen no change in the commitment to continue with the austerity

their own reform package, the overall sum and substance of the package would still have to confirm to the fiscal parameters set by the conditions of the 2012 bailout package. With the deal having been struck, billions of euros from the 2012 bailout program will be released to prevent the Greek government from going broke which it could have, in the next few months, sans a deal. Crucially, the Greek banks would receive up to € 10.9-billion in funds to bolster their capital. Whatever be the terms of the deal and the posturing over who won or lost and by how much, what is crucial is that post deal, Greek banks will have

German and Greek finance ministers have been at odds over the conditions of the bailout package

agreed to in order to secure the € 130 billion bailout package back in 2012, which had come as an add on to a € 110 billion bailout that was announced in 2010. The bailout package was about to lapse at the end of February if the deal was not struck. The deal allows the bailout money to keep flowing in for four months and gives the Greek government time to initiate critical reforms as per the austerity plan. The austerity measures had forced the Greek government to

measures, much against what the new Greek government would ideally have wanted. According to the statement released by negotiators, “The Greek authorities commit to refrain from any rollback of measures and unilateral changes to the policies and structural reforms that would negatively impact fiscal targets, economic recovery or financial stability, as assessed by the institutions.” This is crucial because even though the Greeks have been allowed to frame

access to eurozone funds for recapitalisation, which would stench the outflow that has been going on for last few weeks. According to JP Morgan Chase, during the week ending Feb 20th, depositors withdrew almost € 3 billion from the banking system. On their part, the Greek government presented the reform package that it planned to implement in order to strengthen the economic structure of the country. As per the letter of the Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, March 2015

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the Greek government would not roll back any ongoing or completed privatizations and ensure that any state spending to address a “humanitarian crisis” does not hurt its budget. On the issue of reforming the bleeding pension system, the letter said that pension funds would be consolidated to achieve savings, and eliminate loopholes. The proposed list of reforms also included items which run against the election promises of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Crucial

budget surplus and its level. Against the commitment of previous Greek government to run high and increasing primary budget surpluses, basically the net surplus after stripping out debt payments, of 3 per cent and 4.5 per cent of GDP, the new deal allows the flexibility by imposing no quantitative targets. Instead, the statement said, “The institutions (EC, IMP and ECB) will, for the 2015 primary surplus, take the economic circumstances in 2015 into account,” leaving some

country joined the euro zone in 2001 and even then, it was running a public debt of more than its GDP, which grew even faster after joining the euro zone, thanks to the inherent issues of the euro mechanism, which we would talk about later. After the financial crisis hit in 2008, the flow of easy foreign money to the country dried up. This caused an economic meltdown and debts became unserviceable. To prevent the economy from collapsing, the

Source: The Economist Though there has been some recovery, the Greek economy has been in doldrums for long

among these is the promise that public sector wage system would be reformed in a way that would not reduce pay further but would ensure that the overall public wage bill does not rise. The Euro zone countries agreed to the reform package, but urged the Greek government to broaden the reform. What the Greek government has been able to get a concession or rather a face saver is on the issue of deadlines to bring in 68

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room for the Greek government to manoeuvre its finances if the economy nosedived. This concession has been hailed as a major victory by the Greek government which claimed control on how it wanted to reform and at what pace.

Taking Left Turn in Frustration The economic problem that Greece is finding itself today has developed over the years. The

euro zone moved in, first in 2010 and again in 2012, to bail out the economy. In return, Greece pledged to reform its economy and undertake the financial austerity measures. But these measures led the economy to slow down and further rise in public debt, which currently stands at around 175 per cent of its GDP. The country’s economy has shrunk by about 25 per cent over last six years. Though the growth has moved in positive


Greek Crisis

territory, the result on real income of people on street would take many months to show. Unemployment would remain at uncomfortably high level of 22 per cent in 2016, the European Commission says. It is in this environment of utter gloom and frustration that the country veered towards left. The far-left Syriza party, headed by Alexis Tsipras promised to reject the conservatism that was imposed by the austerity plan and asserted that the conditions of the bailout be renegotiated. Tsipras, the youngest Greek prime minister at 40, had come to power on promises to increase the minimum wage and reinstate fired public sector employees. His appeal echoed the widespread sentiment in the country and also in some other countries of Europe such as Spain and Portugal. However, the realpolitic of the government is much different from promises made in public rallies while campaigning for election, as Tsipras and his government has found out. While it is true that the austerity measures imposed by Germany led creditors and financial institutions are unjust to a large extent, it is equally correct that withdrawal from the Euro system, which would have been inevitable if the deal would have failed, would have harmed Greece more than anyone else. The government does not have money to kickstart the economy and the run on the banking system could have caused the economy to collapse altogether. This realization explains the climbdown of Greek government on negotiations with the troika. While Tsipras has managed to get some elbow room and time with the deal, the going would be anything but smooth moving forward. While a large number of Greeks feel that the deal, though not ideal, is perhaps the best

they could have got, there is also a strong group which resents the deal, feeling that the new deal is almost identical to the last one in substance. Also, the far left elements in the party is naturally miffed with the deal and that may be trouble for Tsipras’ leadership. As such, the challenge for the Syriza would be to first convince the population about the virtues of the deal and then get the deal ratified by the Greek parliament.

The Message for Europe The support that Tsipras has received among population in some other Southern European countries is indicative of the popular resentment in that part of Europe on the manner in which economies in a few countries in the region have been held hostage to the ‘prudent’ policies dictated by European Community (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and some Northern Europe countries such as Germany and Netherlands. There is an undercurrent against imposition of tough conditionalities which many people feel serve the interests of lenders, while making lives of a large number of people miserable. While it is hard to brand any one party wrong intoto, there are problems in the structure of the Euro system which results in occasional flare ups in different countries and threatens the survival of Euro as a single currency entity. At systemic level, there are some marked trends that help in explaining distress in parts of the continent. In the aftermath of forging a common currency, a large sum of money flew from those countries which had massive trade surpluses into those countries of the Euro zone which were running trade deficits. Germany and the Netherlands formed the core of first group whereas PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain)

countries formed the latter group. These PIIGS countries saw massive asset bubbles as they couldn’t channel foreign money in productive economic activities. After financial crisis of 2008, the recessions in these countries resulted in high unemployment. While Greece has managed to stay in the Euro system for the time being, the massage for the European Union and the most powerful economies of the continent, namely Germany, France and the Netherlands is clear. They must find a way to manage the huge discrepancy

“We have won the battle but not the war...... we showed that Europe can be an arena of negotiation and mutually acceptable compromise and not an arena for exhaustion, submission and blind punishment …” Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, commenting on the debt deal among countries and the unbridled money flow between Euro zone countries. Most crucial requirement is, however, is to figure out a brand new philosophy on how bailouts should be created and implemented. At the end of the day, if bailout packages don’t cater to the needs of people in streets, they would ultimately fail, regardless of mechanisms to save creditors’ interests.

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Politics

Race Against Time for Ni | RAMESH KUMAR RAJA

N

itish Kumar has taken over the reins of the state for the fourth time. Looking beyond political rigmarole, his dramatic comeback has a lot to do with the growth story of the state which touched its ‘nadir’ in the last few months, after Nitish relinquished his post taking moral responsibility for his party, JD(U)’s crushing defeat in the Lok Sabha elections last year. Nitish, who had handed over the baton of ‘good governance’ to a ‘modest’ mahadalit leader Jitan Ram Manjhi, hoping that he would carry forward his agenda till the state polls, had to reevaluate his decision midway when Manjhi started following his own political motives with outside help from a friendly opposition, BJP. Since the state assembly elections are just few months away, his biggest challenge now is to compete against himself. The soft-spoken socialist leader has his task clearly cut out in his new innings repairing the ‘damage’ done by Manjhi to ‘sushasan’ (good governance). In the course of his previous, nonstop regime of eight-and-ahalf years, he had raised the bar of good governance in Bihar. He had made ‘development’ a ‘buzzword’ with several out-of-the-box inventiveness, in a state known over the decades for political bigotry and governmental idleness. He earned the nickname of ‘development man’ with the double-digit growth rate attained during his tenure and steep jump in the per capita income. 70

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tish Kumar

The JD(U) stalwart scripted a chain of reforms – toning up schools, increasing enrolment of students, recharging dead hospitals, building roads and bridges, empowering women, creating a Mahadalit group by segregating 21 of the 23 castes for special treatment and doles, reserving 50 per cent seats in panchayats for women – and emphasizing inclusive growth on an affirmed secular basis. It paid off. According to people close to him and his policies, Nitish worked punctiliously for up to 18 hours a day, realising that working with competent bureaucrats is a better way to tone up the delivery of services. Nitish’s model with stress on growth and healthcare was hailed worldwide as Bihar’s economy rebounded from virtually zero to a 21 per cent growth rate. Real estate prices zoomed, a spate of central educational institutions came up and new investment interest elevated Bihar from an idler state to a fast developing state. The growth level of 14 per cent was maintained from 2006 to 2014, till Kumar put in his papers. Needless to say, against a backdrop like this, the masses will obviously expect him to fast-track the growth engine in his fresh term. The comeback CM’s primary focus now should be on bringing Bihar back on the bars of good governance. During Manjhi’s tenure, the bureaucrats had loosened up a lot, taking him to be a stop-gap arrangement. This had negative impact on the overall governance in general. Moreover, the CM has to complete his unfinished agenda, the most distinguished being the improvement in the power scenario. Three years ago, he had promised that he would not go out to seek votes in the next assembly elections if he was not able to develop the electricity

situation. His next few months will definitely be spent on endeavours to make the energy scenario look up in the state. But it’s not going to be that easy. Some big challenges lie ahead for the socialist leader, who seems to be hoping that his ‘apology’ for an ‘emotional decision’ to quit as CM last year, and the perception of a failure in governance under Manjhi, will play to his benefit. On the political front, with the rise of the BJP as a strong opposition in Bihar, he has to keep his group unified ahead of the next assembly elections. Besides, the JD(U) strongman has to ensure that his alliance with foe-turnedfriend Lalu Prasad Yadav does not take the shine off his good governance agenda. The RJD’s 15-year-long regime had earned infamy for rampant lawlessness across the state. Nitish, hence, has to ensure that his avowed agenda does not get diluted under the compulsions of coalition politics. The crafty politician has to allay the fears of people that company of Yadav, who has been convicted in a fodder scam case, does not mean a return of ‘jungle raj’ as alleged by rival BJP. In any case, Nitish has an unenviable job going into polls leading a coalition of JD(U), RJD, Congress and CPI. Last time, he had won election by branding these parties responsible for collapse of Bihar. One factor that definitely comes to fore before every election in Bihar is the internal caste politics which Nitish will have to deal with smartly as he did in the past. However, it would be tough this time around as he may have to deal with the mahadalit wrath over ill treatment of Manjhi. Although Nitish now seeks a display of the sort of good governance in a bid to regain lost ground, he does not have March 2015

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much time left to do all that. He scarcely has six-seven months to execute his decisions before the elections. But if he is able to demonstrate by then that he has not lost his energy for good governance, he will definitely do himself a world of good in the all-important election year. Thanks to his political acumen, the Bihar CM is known to work secretly. He was known as Chanakaya for his wisely planned political moves that even put Lalu Prasad Yadav in power in early 90’s. Dinner and luncheon politics over the past few weeks saw Nitish use his acumen again to ensure that even dissidents within the JD(U) fell in line and openly declared support for him. Interestingly, in an apparent move aimed at undoing the damage done to governance during the Manjhi government, the comeback CM has effected a massive bureaucratic reshuffle involving at least 22 officials and, in the process, has brought back reliable officials in key positions. It may be noted that Nitish’s predecessor, Jitan Ram Manjhi, playing the mahadalit card in Bihar politics, had chosen his own men and his own team of committed bureaucrats. Nitish may not have seen in his wildest dreams that Manjhi would learn the grammar of power so fast and apply it on him. He had never thought that all powerful bureaucrats who were part of his team and ruled the state for eight years would be shunted out to the least significant posts. Manjhi, perhaps, learnt the art of governance from his mentor by heavily depending on some key officials who were deeply committed to him. Amir Subhani, who had been posted in the home department for nearly five years till Manjhi shifted him to the general administration department,

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is back in the department responsible for maintaining law and order in the state. Sudhir Kumar, only few weeks old as principal secretary (home), has been shifted to agriculture department in the same capacity. Subhani will hold additional charge of general administration department. Road construction department secretary Harjot Kaur has been made secretary (tourism) in place of Arun K Singh who was shifted to the

additional charge of Bihar’s resident commissioner in New Delhi. One of the most trusted bureaucrats of Nitish, Chanchal Kumar has been brought back to the CM secretariat from the rural works department. Chanchal has served as secretary to CM for several years with Nitish at the wheel. The (long) list of bureaucratic rejigging demonstrates how the JD(U) strongman is rewriting the art of governance altered by his

Manjhi (R), once a protégé of Nitish, learned the tricks of trade quickly

road construction department as principal secretary. Patna divisional co m m i s s i o n e r Narmadeshwar Lal has been shifted to the animal husbandry department. Amrit Lal Meena, who was brought by Manjhi to the CM secretariat as principal secretary to CM, has been shifted to the urban and housing department as principal secretary. Principal secretary (planning and development) DS Gangwar is new principal secretary to the CM. Gangwar will hold

one-time protégé, Manjhi, in a short span of time. It shows how Nitish is gearing up to complete his unfinished work which got stuck during the Manjhi regime. But will this exercise translate into votes as the elections are approaching each passing day? Only the time will say. Definitely, it’s a race against time for Nitish to prove his mettle of governance that got lost somewhere in wake of Narendra Modi’s elevation as BJP’s PM candidate ahead of the last parliamentary polls.


Art & Culture

Articulating Public Art Across Country The connection between Art and Man, is an oft-related, ancient story of bonding between two powerful entities of this universe; a symbiotic bond where the existence of one is unimaginable in the absence of the other. Divya Menon, Art Critic, Chennai in conversation with Indranil Garai, Principal Associate, IGA.

A

s art moves seamlessly from one era to another, it blends with time, to incorporate into its texture the characteristics of each era. Thus art has taken up the role of a spokesperson relating the saga of man’s evolution bearing the imprints of creation and destruction alike. However, at one time, an elitist phenomenon of exclusion took over the artistic world creating certain barriers between man and art. Today, art enthusiasts all over the world, particularly in India have been working to shrink this divide between the common man and world art. As this narrative on art and man plays prelude, an interesting story is born in India about an

artistic organization, a Firm that is part of an artistic liberation movement through its advocacy of the importance of demolishing the walls that separate man and art. The protagonist of this story is Indranil Garai and Associates, popularly known as IGA. A Firm constituted by a set of progressive individuals living their dreams is IGA that does one of a kind of business creating art that speaks the language of the common man. At its helm is Indranil Garai, a sculptor, artist and an entrepreneur. Can you tell us more about IGA? IGA was established in 2000 with headquarters in Pune and within a span of four years from 2008 to 2012 offices were set

up across India in Bengaluru, Kolkatta and Delhi. Today we are unarguably the country’s largest and most strictly disciplined art consultancy firm hosting under our umbrella professionals from all over India, providing total art solution to our clients through three vertical operations catering equally at a commercial level and at a level of higher thought. IGA provides customised project specific solutions and the IGA Galleria offers to its clients, works on sale by selected artists. Meanwhile, the IGA Open Studio provides an interactive platform for art lovers of all ages and professions through events and workshops organized with the aim to share our professional experience and knowledge base. March 2015

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Art & Culture

What is IGA’s core ideology and the hallmark of IGA projects? We believe in making art available to man at every strata of society. We do not believe that art is an indulgence meant merely for certain privileged sections of society. We see art as an expression of every man’s quests and representation of his thoughts and experiences. We believe that art is a space and medium that man utilizes to communicate his ideologies with fellow beings. Therefore such a space needs to be rightfully accessible to society at large to make it an effective tool of civilization. This is the principle we have incorporated into our projects and we call this Socialization of Art. The hallmark of our projects is simply that they cannot be housed within closed spaces because they reach out beyond boundaries to touch and awaken man’s sensibilities. Can you brief us on how IGA manages its numerous, multidisciplinary projects of different sizes, catering to different industries, across the country? IGA manages its operations in a highly systematic manner employing an interesting business operations model called the Open Business Model based on a profit and skill sharing ideology which functions on a horizontal hierarchical manner. This ensures complete involvement of the team in each project. Each project is managed by a Studio Associate with a project coordinator. All design coordination takes place at the head office while the operations and execution of works happen zonally from individual studios based on project logistics. Each studio is headed by a sculptor who looks into the execution of the project. To 74

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support there are large teams of fabricators, moulders, fitters and other technical staff. Design of the art works is done by freelance artists called Design Associates located in multiple Indian cities. Their designs are reviewed by IGA before obtaining client approval. How does IGA connect with common man? Connecting with common man or Socialization of art is our motto around which we have formulated our operations. Through aesthetically designed projects we strive to enrich the environment we live in and work out of, thereby making art inclusive of the viewer. Our

of creative ideas and technical knowhow. Can you name some landmark projects undertaken by IGA? Of the many projects undertaken by us, a few are listed below: Godrej India Ltd. Mumbai Kotak Mahindra Bank, Mumbai Great Lakes Management Institute, Chennai Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi Prestige South Ridge, Bengaluru Rockman Industries Ltd, Ludhiana What can the government do to

Artwork of Rockland Industries Ltd. Ludhiana done by IGA

designs ensure that art and the audience are part of each other. Our sculptures shoulder various responsibilities, one of which is to go beyond individual egos and to address the sentiments of the non-tangible space and the group that interacts with this space. The IGA Galleria is a space that opens up a larger palette of artists from all over India for our clients to choose from. On the other hand the IGA Open Studio is an interactive base which fulfills IGA’s social reach initiatives to inspire exchange

improve the condition of art and artists in the country? IGA urges the government to suffuse buildings of public interest with greater aesthetic elements such as paintings and sculptures with a view to enrich areas of daily interaction with the subtle experience of fine living. The Government should ideally contribute towards fabricating an artistically appealing environment using art as a tool which will instantly transform the face of the country at a global level.


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Governance Today March 2015  

Against all Odds

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