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RNI No. DELENG/2016/71561


Vol-1 | Issue-26 | June 12 - 18, 2017 | Price ` 5/-

Good News Weekly for Rising India DEVELOPMENT


This initiative by Development Alternatives is harnessing technology for the marginalised





His Hindi magazines in Braille, for the blind, has a circulation of copies 24,000



A Bundelkhand school girl has invented a solar-run AC that is cheaper than a fan


Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s radio programme “Mann Ki Baat” has not only gained record popularity, but has also given Akashwani commercial windfall as well PREM PRAKASH


NE thing that is a constant cause of worry is that despite the innumerable sources of information and its infinite flow made possible by the technological revolution, such information revolution does not touch the ground of sensitivity and social revolution in the way that is badly needed in the present age. Meanwhile, social media has come forward and brought about many transformation initiatives. From the Arab Spring to the Nirbhaya case in India, we have seen the

creative role of social media in many path-breaking movements. Meanwhile, many doubts have been expressed about the future of radio in the context of information and communication. It was believed that it would be difficult to maintain the relevance of the radio in the age of the Internet, TV, computer-laptops and mobile phones. But this did not happen. However, according to contemporary trends, the radio too has transformed itself to suit the times especially by changing its presentation and content.


During past two and a half years, Aakashwani has played a big role in bringing about social change.

Quick Glance The first broadcast of the programme was on October 3, 2014 The maximum number of listeners are in Bihar Prime Minister’s programme is listened to in 150 countries

Interestingly, the agent of this change is none other than our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. On October 3, 2014, speaking as PM on the radio for the first time, he had delivered a talk show – straight from the heart or Mann ki Baat. Since then, this programme has been aired continuously and in no time a new pattern of dialogue and empathy was created. Prime Minister Modi needs to be praised because while on the one hand he belongs to the tribe of global politicians who react directly to any national-international issue on Twitter, on the other he has also chosen an old ...Continued on Page 2

02 Cover Story ...Continued from Page 1

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The broadcast receives a large number of messages

from almost 150 countries, especially from where people of Gujarati origin are settled in large numbers medium like the radio to create an informal all-India dialogue between the government and the society. It is interesting to note that because of Prime Minister Modi’s broadcasts during the last two and a half years, listeners in the country have once again turned to Akashwani’s radio stations. This has also led to a steep jump in the image and popularity of the country’s ‘Prime worker’.


Today, situation has become such that people scramble to listen to him everywhere - from Madison Square in New York to the Red Fort of Delhi. Likewise, when he delivers his ‘Mann ki baat’ on the last Sunday of every month, people from villages and cottages to tea and ‘paan’-stall regular groups stop to listen raptly to the country’s most popular political leader. Also, when he talks about his ‘inner’ self on the radio, the tone is absolutely informal and intimate like it should be while sharing thoughts with his fellow countrymen. It is also noteworthy that through this talk he mentions many things, from health to sanitation, and from children’s education to their career. Whatever he might say, he either resorts to simple everyday style, about things traditionally discussed in the home and family, in simple and familiar words, or he seeks to take the

help of some common-sense logic or folk-wisdom of the great elders. That this method of dialogue is not just effective but also credible, is something he has proven well during the last two and a half years.


In the past as long as the radio broadcast was in hands of the government, there were regular programmes featuring inspirational dramas and talks aired on it. This helped a lot in making creative changes in society. This tradition was continued for almost half a century in the country, but in the later decades, due to private radio-stations competition, the radio frequency got stuck at being confined to providing just entertainment. Through ‘Mann ki baat’, PM Modi has not only established a fresh connect between the radio and social revolution, but its scope has also transcended the geographical boundaries of the country. People in the country listen to the programme with interest, but people of Indian origin abroad too have appreciated it. This broadcast aired in 150 countries, especially in African countries, receives a large number of messages, from places where people of Gujarati origin reside in large numbers. Apart from this, people also send their feedback from the Gulf countries, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.


According to the survey of All India Radio Audience Research Wing, every second person among 10 listeners, tunes in to the Prime Minister’s talk. It includes people from every class, every section of society. This survey was conducted by a team of 600 on 6000 people from 30 states during the January-March this year. Interestingly, the reach of All India Radio covers up to 99 percent areas in the country.


The maximum number of listeners for

POPULARITY TALKS 10,000 Letters come to Akasvani office

25,000 People get their suggestions recorded in each Mann Ki Baat Programme



Comment come on the NaMoApp

Average letter come for each Mann Ki Baat programme


Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s radio programme ‘Mann ki baat’, are in Bihar, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. But the people most conscious and aware of this programme are from Manipur, Assam and Rajasthan. According to the survey of All India Radio Audience Research Wing, such awareness has started to rise among the people of Arunachal Pradesh as well.


The issues raised by the Prime Minister in the “Mann ki Baat” are usually those which are normally raised by the head of a family or its guardian. PM Modi talks about issues such as respect for parents, social inequality, and pollution, subsidies to farmers, social harmony, examination and problems of youth. He also asks for people’s views on his programme and also replies to the questions. Cleanliness campaign, Selfie with Daughter, not putting pressure on children to secure a higher percentage board exams, etc are topics that find a response in people’s hearts of people and they also try to emulate them. It is clear that PM Modi plays the role of the guardian of the country through ‘Mann ki Baat’.


Letters also come to PMO

25,000 People listen to the programme thru Narendra Modi App

4.5 CRORE Listened to the programme after giving missed call◌ं

According to the data released by AIR, after July 2016, 753 e-mails from Australia, 541 from the United States, 507 emails from Canada, 507 emails from Canada and 608 e-mails from Bangladesh were received. Likewise, among those who send messages to the WhatsApp , 2,294 messages came from Eastern African countries and 1,296

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Cover Story



Many books have come up after the ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme. Two of these books were recently launched at the Rashtrapati Bhawan


‘Mann ki Baat’ is broadcast on AIR, Doordarshan

and all FM channels which have the highest audience in the country as compared to other news channels responses came from Gulf countries, including Libya. Bangladeshi listeners sent 811 on Whatsapp and 784 messages arrived from the US. There were 276 responses from Bangladesh on Facebook and social media platforms.


More than 10 thousand letters reach Akashwani’s office about ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme. There are suggestions from more than 10,000 letters sent to the PMO. Altogether, for one programme there come an average of 25 thousand letters. Not only that, according to sources, another 25 thousand people get their suggestions recorded by calling on the telephone for the programme every month. Apart from this, comments by an average of 5 thousand people are posted on Narendra Modi App.


‘Mann ki Baat’ is broadcast on AIR, Doordarshan and all FM channels which reaches the highest number of audience in the country. It is broadcast on Doordarshan’s regional channels also. The popularity of the programme can be gauged from the fact that the programme is translated and transmitted in 30 languages and dialects. All private channels also broadcast the programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’. The day the ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme is broadcast, on that day it also becomes big news for TV channels and newspapers.


According to one figure, on an average, 25 thousand people listen to the programme through Narendra Modi app. But those who do not listen to the programme live give a missed call to hear it on their mobiles. So far, more than 4.5 crore people have heard it on their mobiles. In addition to this, it is also the fact that those who listen to the programme by making a missed call, listen to the Prime Minister for an average of 17 minutes.


It is exciting news for Akashvani that after the broadcast of PM Modi, there has been a great demand for its translation of regional languages. It is broadcast on 240 radio stations, in 14 Indian languages. This broadcast is made on the same day, but after a little time. Akashwani is focusing on regional advertisers for these slots. This strategy has also benefited it greatly. Because of this, remote radio stations too have started sending contributions to it.


Akashwani, which has been running in perpetual loss, has kept the advertisement rates of ‘Mann ki Baat’ slot on the higher side; this has created a huge increase in the earnings of AIR.

ECENTLY, President Pranab Mukherjee presented the first copy of the two books: “Maan ki Baat”: a social revolution on the radio” and “An analysis of Narendra Modi’s government with one billion people”. On this occasion the President said that effective communication is important for any politician. Without the ability to communicate, a leader cannot inspire people with his thoughts and perspectives. Speaking at a book release function on completion of three years of the NDA government, the president said, “Of course, in contemporary times, the present prime minister is one of the most articulate speakers. He can be compared with notable prime ministers like Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, who while accepting the secular dialogue and the parliamentary form of government, could express their thoughts in the best manner. “The President said that a person cannot be expected to lead millions without the ability to communicate”. Mukherjee said that undoubtedly Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one of the most effective communicators in today’s world. In independent India, Prime Minister Pandit Nehru effectively promoted values including secularism embodied in our Constitution. The commercial income of Akashwani is increasing at a rate of more than 100 percent per year. The situation is that in 2015, Akashwani had earned 2.45 crores from PM’s programme, while in the year 2016, it has earned about Rs 4.80 crores. In fact, assessing the popularity of Modi’s programme, All India Radio increased the ad rates for this slot. Presently this rate is more than that of advertisements inserted during live commentary during the India-Pakistan cricket match in the previous World Cup. In the ‘break’ before the PM starts speaking, DD is getting more than Rs 2 lakh for a 10 second advertisement, while a rate of 10-15 thousand per 10 second is the

Several steps taken by him had made the Indian economy march firmly ahead. The President congratulated the publishers for publishing both books and expressed his thanks for it. Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari and Union Finance and Defense Minister Arun Jaitley were also present on this occasion. Vice President Hamid Ansari said that ‘Maan ki Baat’ being broadcast by AIR is a popular program. Ansari said that the program is broadcast on the traditional medium of radio and it is also available on the entire range and technologies of communication - from television to internet, social media to mobile phones.

‘Mann ki Baat’ and youth

The book ‘A thing of the mind: a social revolution on the radio’ tells how ‘New India’ is especially linked to youth through ‘talk of the mind’. How a broad movement has been created through ‘Mann Ki Baat’, under which the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has been a major player in promoting India’s tourism potential, safe roads, non-drug-free India etc. This book is compiled by Rajesh Jain. In the same way, the book analyses the government’s change with ‘one billion people’ - the analysis of the government of Narendra Modi during the middle period ‘. It has been written by Uday Mahurkar. norm during breaks in any cricket match. Advertising rates at the time of other programmes are even lower. FM channels take Rs 500 to Rs 1500 for 10 seconds in their programmes.


Marketing companies have realized the power of the radio. Only Akashwani reaches to the far-flung rural areas of the country. These are areas where access to print and TV ads are almost non-existent. Because of the PM’s Sunday talk, the number of listeners is in lakhs and sometimes crores, which is why it also is a great opportunity to advertise in it.

04 Sustainable Development

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017


STARS IN THEIR EYES People in impoverished Bundelkhand are setting up self-help groups aided by an incubator engine, Development Alternatives, and turning their lives around



S one enters the rustic old town of Orchha, in Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh, the chhatris and the spires welcome with open arms. The iconic structures in the historic town have many stories to tell, the stories of the glorious past. However, they are mute witness of the dismal present, which is mired with the stories of abject poverty and induced migration. The town lies in the infamous Bundelkhand, one of the most impoverished regions in country. As one walks away from Orchha, towards the nearby villages, the stories of rural vulnerability become much emphatic. Bundelkhand has always been on the receiving end of monsoon and has faced acute water scarcity. The people in this region were dependent on groundwater for agriculture, but in recent decades the water table has stooped dangerously low. Loss of livelihood has resulted in extremely poor living conditions and every year, thousands migrate to cities to fend for their families. Ramdev Ahirwar was also one of those nameless

migrants who spent years on roadside at Shadipur intersection in Delhi, doing menial jobs and saving few hundreds to send it back to his home in Makara, near Orchha. In 2011, when Ahirwar came back to his village after a gap of three years, his cousin took him to TARA Nirmaan Kendra, a construction material production unit inside TARAgram. Ahirwar joined the unit as a worker and has now been promoted to the post of supervisor, where he manages six employees under him. As he directs Ramesh to go easy with the bricks, he narrates, “I haven’t looked back since that day in the summer of 2011. My days in Delhi were extremely painful, and I would never want anyone to live such a miserable life. Now, I earn enough to send my kids to a good private school

and am also saving for their higher education”.


Ahirwar is not alone. TARAgram has changed thousands of lives since its inception. TARA stands for Technology & Action for Rural Advancement and was setup as incubation engine of Development Alternatives, in 1985. The man behind this idea, Ashok Khosla was a PhD in experimental Physics from Harvard University. He came back to India and took the role of environment adviser to Central government. But he wasn’t quite happy with the hollow jargons like ‘appropriate technologies’. Khosla believed that ‘if you have a good idea then you are responsible for implementing it’. So, in 1983, he left his

After a lot of deliberations and grassroots

research, TARAgram, Orchha came up in 1995, as a model for technology village

Quick Glance Reeling under severe water scarcity, Buldelkhand is highly impoverished People have to go out of the region to seek menial jobs for their livelihood Today they are not only back but turning their fates around proudly

job and founded Development Alternatives, with the idea of “triple bottom line imperatives – financial, social and environmental sustainability”. After a lot of deliberations and grassroots research, TARAgram-Orchha came up in 1995, as a model for technology village. The idea of TARAgram is to be ‘a livelihood resource centre and a social laboratory demonstrating models of sustainable development, with facilities for training and conferencing’. One of the first units to be set up at TARAgram Orchha was TARA Nirman Kendra. Stone quarrying and crushing

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017 was rampant in the Bundelkhand region; banks of River Betwa provide a steady input stream. Tonnes of waste from these stone crushing units used to lie abandoned, which were hazardous to the environment. Nirman Kendra came up with a low cost tile and brick manufacturing unit, which would use the waste and fly ash. The finished products are much cheaper and durable than the conventional materials. Ramdev Ahirwar explains, “While we receive orders from other districts of MP and UP, most of our products are consumed locally. We also provide training facilities for someone who wants to setup a small manufacturing unit. I myself have travelled to Rajasthan and Odisha to impart these training sessions. I am waiting for an opportunity to visit Delhi, where I spent the most unfortunate years of my life. It will be like a redemption”. For Ahirwar and his colleagues, Nirman Kendra has been a game changer in their lives. Along with the steady income, it has also provided them the exposure and confidence to lead a happy life.

generate 100 KW of electricity, while the slurry from the plant is used as manure for the kitchen garden spread inside the campus. The agricultural waste is used to make vermi-compost, which is marketed under the brand of Sankalp Swashakti Mahila Mandal, the SHG managed completely by women. The unique goshala model has been a huge financial success for these women. Ramlakhi explains, “Once people understand the benefits of biogas plant and vermi-compost, it is very easy to convince them to set these up. Initial costs are high, but banks provide easy loans to interested groups. We paid our loan in just two years and have been making stupendous profit since”. Self Help Groups have been an important pivot for TARAgram. The idea of replicating functional manufacturing units has its own limitation. Along with the issue of high

Sustainable Development

workers told her about the idea of SHG in her village, she grabbed the opportunity. It led to formation of Raja Bhoj SHG in her village. She took a loan of Rs 5,000 from the SHG and built a covered shack for selling tea. Soon, she bought utensils and equipment and turned the shack into a dhaba, where she sells roti, sabzi and daal. “Without SHG, I wouldn’t have dared to take a loan. Now, that this shop is running quite well, I am planning to open another one on the Jhansi highway”, she tells with a gleam in her eyes. TARAgram has helped the rural youth in setting up small business by providing them required training and funds through SHGs. Sukhiram Mahto has a graduation degree from Government Degree College, Jhansi. However, for lack of employment opportunities in the town, he returned back to his village, Madore and started


A key feature of TARAgram model is the sustainable livelihood generation, with minimal impact on environment. The handmade paper recycling unit at TARAgram works on the same principle. The raw material for these paper products is not the conventional wood pulp, instead the cloth scraps from the textile mills are used to make the pulp. The finished products which include greeting cards, folders, notepads, etc are then marketed to different private and government agencies. Sudha has been working for more than five years here. When she started, she faced a lot of resistance from her family and neighbours. At one point of time, she stopped coming to the centre. However, her husband was very supportive and she continued with his backing. “I earn almost the same as my husband does through his painting job. Along with the financial independence, I have also earned respect of my family and neighbours. I would have been just another housewife, had I stopped coming here”. Sudha is also a part of TARA Akshar programme which is compulsory for all the women working at TARAgram. This programme is focused on women’s literacy through a computer-based designated curriculum. For Ramlakhi Devi too, TARAgram has been a boon. She is a part of the Raja Ram Goshala, another of TARAgram’s sutainable livelihood models. The goshala started with eight cows in 2004, and now has more than 100. Dairy products is just one aspect of the goshala. The biogas plant constructed inside the campus uses the cow dung to

A key feature of the TARAgram model is sustainable livelihood generation, with minimal impact on environment

setup cost, operational issues of logistics, marketing requires higher level of finesse which is not easy to replicate. That’s where the idea of SHGs became central to TARAgram’s expansion. Today, there are around 500 women SHGs in the 115 villages, with a total membership above 4500. As per the organisation records, the total savings from these SHGs amount to 50 lakh. These SHGs cater to small, local entrepreneurs in setting up their businesses. A case in point is Maheshwari Devi from Bhojpura village, Tikamgarh. Earlier, she used to selling tea and paanbidi-gutkha, on roadside, near a stonecrushing unit. When the DA field

helping his father in farming their 2 acre plot. He was, however, not happy with his line of work. The opportunity came knocking, when he attended a session by TARAgram workers on selfemployment. The idea of poultry farming struck him and he registered for a loan from cooperative bank. His mother, who was part of her village’s SHG, also chipped in with some money. The training was provided by TARAgram and within a month, Sukhiram had bought 100 chicks from Jhansi. He erected the poultry shed on a barren land near his house. “Initially, I was quite apprehensive,


as I had limited knowledge about poultry. Around 10 chicks died on the first night itself, which got me worried. However, the continuous support from TARAgram kept me motivated,” remembers Sukhiram. He was able to repay the loans within a year and is now earning more than a lakh every year.


The broader contour of TARAgram’s work has always revolved around environmental sustainability. The organisation realised the need of widespread adoption of environmentfriendly technology. Bundelkhand was a perfect field laboratory for DA to implement its water conservation strategy. It has constructed more than 150 water harvesting structures, rejuvenating 25,000 hectares of land. Another DA project, Jal TARA filter has reached 30,000 households, where it provides potable water at minimal cost. Over the years, the farmers in nearby villages have benefitted from DA’s expertise in agricultural practices. Bhaiyalal belongs to the Sahariya tribe, which is not known for its cultivating practices. He had a two-acre plot, where production was too low for a sustained livelihood for his family. He used to rely on his daily wage from breaking stones and collecting forest produces. When TARAgram workers approached his community to train them in horticulture, field bunding, green manuring, and high yield crop varieties he was quite an active participant. Now, he along with his brother cultivate regularly on his paternal land and are able to raise an income of 2 lakhs per year. TARAgram’s approach to expand good agricultural practices in Bundelkhand region received a boost, when Radio Bundelkhand was started in 2008. This was the first community radio in Madhya Pradesh. Agriculture occupies the major airtime of Radio Bundelkhand’s programs. Information regarding seed availability, weather report, market conditions, etc are disseminated. The experts are also invited to solve the problems faced by the farmers. Other than agriculture, the programs related to social practices, lifestyle, health and hygiene, education, art and culture are also relayed in local dialects. There are 12 ground reporters working for Radio Bundelkhand. Yogesh, a 24 year old is one of them. “When I go and interact with my own people, it gives me a sense of achievement. I feel like I have contributed something in development of this region and that keeps me happy”, says Yogesh with a characteristic pride. Radio Bundelkhand also offers training services to other community radios in content development and radio reporting.

06 Milestone

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A lone ranger battles against severe odds to bring out two current affairs magazines for the blind in western India

Quick Glance



OR the average person who can see, it is difficult to think like a visually challenged person. That is the exact challenge that confronted Swagat Thorat – journalist-turnedtheatre personality-cum wild life photographer and documentary filmmaker. But above all, Thorat is better known as the Braille man of India – when he wanted to launch India’s first Braille magazine. The first issue of ‘Sparshgandhya’ periodical, published in Marathi, came out in 1998.for-their-eyes-only-1 It all started in 1993 when Thorat was working on a documentary film project on two blind schools in the western Indian city of Pune. In 1997, he staged ‘Swatantryachi Yashogatha,’ a Marathi play on India’s freedom struggle on the occasion of India’s 50th Independence Day, with 88 blind artists from these two schools. The act created a record for having the largest number of visually impaired artists in a show. It finds mention in Guinness Book of World Records and the Limca Book of Records. Thorat went on to produce a live audio drama based on Helen Keller’s biography. CHILDHOOD FASCINATION “As a child, I was fascinated by people who could not see. Every day on my way back from school, I used to encounter a group of blind astrologers. I would stop and talk to them for a few minutes. Their experiences fascinated me. I wanted to know how they carry the darkness along with them. At times, I would blindfold myself to be in their world. I realised we have forgotten to use so many of our senses,” says Thorat. While working on the stage production, which required extensive travel, he had the opportunity of observing them from real close quarters. Their discussions were mostly about stuff that they had read. But, back in 1998, very few

The world of the blind is so different from ours that it is tough to write In any article, all mention of seeing has to be replaced with sounds Thorat says the blind need everything, and hence advertising pays

Both the magazines, Sparshgandhya and Drishti,

provide the visually challenged with material they can intellectually engage with books were available in Braille. The children wanted to read more. Thorat had always been fascinated by the world of the blind. This was his calling. “There was a need you see. Television and radio were there but the absence of reading material was adding to their isolation. They were imaginative but these mediums did not allow them to dream or create a space for themselves,” says Thorat. BLIND DILEMMA But writing for the visually impaired proved to be the real challenge. He had to understand a world devoid of light and comprehend the dilemmas

blind people faced in real life. “To write for the blind you have to think like one of them. I wrote for the sighted but this was a different ballgame altogether. Their world is full of senses that we have lost since we can see. I needed to retrain myself. Suppose you are writing a recipe for them. So ‘fry the onions till golden brown’ will become ‘fry for two to three minutes’. It is simply amazing to learn about their own interpretations of colour, size and shapes. It is an eye opener. The sighted do not think like that,” he quips. During the Indian festival of lights, Diwali, 1997, the first festive

issue titled ‘Sparshgandhya’ came out in Braille. Diwali issue is an integral part of Marathi literary culture; every publication in the western Indian state has a special issue but never before had anything been published in Braille. But people started demanding more than just an annual publication. This is how the fortnightly magazine was born. The other biggest hurdle Thorat faced was to convince people that the blind needed a magazine of their own. When they first started, even parents questioned why their wards needed a newspaper. Apart from that, there were the normal challenges like funding issues. But people wanted to get involved with ‘Sparshgandhya’, and donated generously which keeps the publication going till date. Some backers, though they can see, even learnt to read the Braille. MONEY ISSUES The magazine mostly runs on donations and subscriptions of individual readers who can afford. It runs a scheme where people can donate the subscription fee Rs 1,200 towards taking care of annual subscription for those individuals who can’t pay for the paper. Thorat himself invested more than 4,00,000 Indian Rupees to procure a Braille printing machine and to rent an office space in Mumbai. This investment in 2007 helped create the first bimonthly issue of ‘Sparshgandhya’ which was published on February 15, 2008. Thorat started with 100 copies. After six years, the circulation has reached 430 copies per issue. Subscribers re-circulate the issues to others and the magazine commands a readership of more than 24,000

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017 per edition. Most of the copies are gifted to schools for the blind and nongovernment organisations working with blind people in Maharashtra. Raman Shankar, director of NAB Braille Press, says “The creation of a Braille magazine is a significant step towards empowerment of the community. It is one of the mediums which goes a long way in making us close to being equal with others.” CORPORATE DEAFS “It is heartening to know that my work has helped change the perspective of the sighted towards the visually challenged. But we have also created a record of running a magazine without a single advertisement till now,” says Thorat, whose repeated calls to corporates and advertising agencies have fallen on deaf ears. “Advertisers somehow fail to realise that these people too are consumers and need everything that we do. On the contrary they need more,” he adds. Even today, they have 3, 000 readers on the waiting list but Thorat doesn’t not have the money to publish more copies. However, Thorat was successful in bringing out yet another Braille magazine in 2013. Titled “Drishti’, the Hindi publication gets help from Reliance Foundation, the do-good arm of India’s Reliance Industries Limited. Though ‘Sparshgandhya’ publishes everything that is published in mainstream media, the magazine takes care not to hurt the sentiments of its readers. “The publication has articles on politics, society, governments, health and carries profiles of famous personalities. We also publish articles on cooking,



yoga and all other aspects of life. Our readers may be blind but their needs are just like yours and mine,” Thorat says. It also has an editorial page just like any other publication where views on various issues that affect people, like corruption, governance, politics and other matters are discussed. However, stories relating to astrology, cricket and crime are not carried in ‘Sparshdnyan’, though news about cricket is published in ‘Drishti’. CONTENT CONCEPTUALISATION “I don’t believe in fate but in hard work. So, we leave astrology aside. Cricket is all over the broadcast media. As for crime stories, these affect everyone emotionally. So imagine the impact it may have on the blind, many of whom battle depression throughout their lives. Both the magazines provide the visually challenged with material they can intellectually engage with. It started at a time when people felt the visually challenged did not need higher education or intellectual stimulation,” Thorat says with a lot of conviction. “Since most of my journalist friends do not charge us for writing, we are able to provide such a large variety of articles. Also my family members help me in production. That’s how I am able to keep the costs low,” he adds. The concept of ‘Drishti’ had been in Thorat’s head for long. He wanted to publish a magazine in Hindi which would have a much larger readership. He wanted to reach out to more and more blind people. That dream finally came true in May, 2013 when Nita Ambani, chairperson of Reliance Foundation,

The magazine ‘Drishti’ has articles on politics,

society, governments, healthcare and carries the profiles of famous personalities

‘Reliance Drishti’ is the first ever monthly Hindi

news magazine published in Braille and has an all India circulation, and a readership of 24,000 launched the first issue. ‘Reliance Drishti’ is the first ever monthly Hindi news magazine published in Braille and circulated all over India. It has a reporter who is partially blind. “It helps as she is able to give us a much better understanding of their world and their needs,” says Thorat. We publish around 900 copies every month which are donated to organisations for the blind. “Every copy is read by at least 80 people, you know,” says the man. However, Thorat has not limited his activities to ‘Drishti’ and ‘Sparshgandhya’. In his aim to reduce the problems of the visually challenged, he has designed calendars in Braille, conceptualised and designed Braille stickers used in lifts and public places. The lift stickers help visually challenged people to operate elevators by themselves. These are now used in more than 100 lifts all over Mumbai. The numbers keep going up as more and more people get sensitised about the needs of the blind. FOSTERING SELF-DEPENDENCE “The whole idea behind the magazine, stickers and calendars is to make a visually challenged person self-dependent. For a blind man or woman, even day-to-day tasks, which we take for granted, are a challenge,” says the man with

a mission. “We get about 600 to 700 letters to the editor every month. Our readers range from ten-year-old children to 80-year-old people. More than half of our readers are between 18 and 35 years. When a blind person writes to you about his or her thoughts after reading a magazine, it gives you a different high. Our annual issue on general knowledge has helped many to land quality jobs. Blind people do not forget what they learn by touching,” says the editor-in-chief. That way ‘Sparshgandhya’,’ meaning knowledge by touch, has been an apt nomenclature. Vinayak Dhoot, a post-graduate student from Pune, says, “Whatever I have achieved is because of these two magazines. We listen to a lot of things but remember what we read. Today, I have the confidence to appear in competitive examinations.” Thorat is now busy taking his life’s mission of helping the blind beyond Indian shores. His organisation is developing an in-house Braille magazine for Rotary Cheshire Homes for the Deaf and Blind in Canada and the Canadian Helen Keller Centre. “I’m a blind man, I’m a blind man and my world is pale / When a blind man cries, Lord, you know there ain’t no sadder tale,” cult band Deep Purple crooned. Swagat Thorat’s mission is to rewrite that tale.

08 Good News

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017





The Modi government has created crores of man-days work in villages, says rural development minister NS Tomar

The project of putting biodegradables in green bins and other waste in blue bins will be a major step ahead IANS


OLID Waste Management in Delhi, besides Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad has turned a new page tomorrow with the launch of segregation of Municipal Solid Waste at source like households, hotels, restaurants, etc.,henceforth, wet waste will be collected in Green bins and dry waste in Blue bins. Residential Welfare Associations, hotels and restaurants,which have taken commendable initiatives in this regard will also be felicitated. In the National Capital Region, about 15,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste is being generated every day while about 65 million tonnes of such waste is produced every day in urban areas of the country. Launch of waste segregation at source is being done in the backdrop of 145 Waste-to-Compost plants becoming functional across the country increasing compost production from 1.50 lakh tones in March, 2016 to 13.13 lakh tones at present. Another 150 compost making plants are under construction with total compost production capacity of 95 lakh tones per year. Incorrect disposal and burning of solid waste results in emission of climate change causing Greenhouse gases like Methane and Carbon Dioxide to the tune of 12.69 million tones of Carbon Dioxide in the country per year. Segregation of dry and wet waste at source leads to removal of carcinogenic and heavy metals from organic waste resulting in production of good quality compost. Segregation also assists in conversion of non-recyclable dry waste to RDF (Refuse Derived Fuel) or energy through Waste-toEnergy/RDF Plants, with minimal amount of inert waste going to landfills.



HE government created rural employment opportunities of more than 813 crore man-days during the last three years under MGNREGA, Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojna, Grameen (PMAY-G) and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) schemes, Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said last week. “During the last three years, while 636.78 crore person days were generated under MGNREGA, about 78 crore person days were under PMGSY and 99 crore person days under PMAY,” says Tomar. He said under the Deen Dayal Upadhyay-Grameen Kaushal Yojana (DDY-GKY), 86,120 candidates were trained in 2014-15 and 54,196 got jobs. “In 2015-16, about 135,000 candidates got placement after skill training, while in 2016-17,

the number of candidates getting placement is 84,900,” he added. RURAL FOCUS He said that Rural Self Employment Training Institute (RSETIs) trained 400,000 rural youth in 2016-17 for Self Employment. According to the ministry, under MGNREGA during 2016-17, more than 1.23 crore assets have been geo-tagged and placed in public domain and about 96 per cent of wage payments were electronically credited into the accounts of the workers through DBT system. “So far, 8.73 crore Aadhar number of workers have been seeded in NREGA Soft (MIS) and 4.73 have been enabled for Aadhar Based Payment with their consent,” said the Minister. ROADS PROGRESS Under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY), the Minister said that the pace of construction of

According to the ministry, under MGNREGA during 2016-17, more than 1.23 crore assets have been geo-tagged

Quick Glance 636.78 crore man-days were generated under MGNREGA Rural Self Employment Training Institute trained 400,000 youth Rs 23,000 crore of fund will be needed annually to meet the target

roads has reached a record of 130 km per day. “This is the highest average annual construction rate in the last seven years, with a record 47,447 km of PMGSY roads constructed during 2016-17 connecting 11,641 habitations. This implies providing connectivity of an average of 32 habitations every day,” said Tomar. Tomar further said providing safe drinking water is one of the top most priority of the government and it is committed to providing tap water on a sustained basis in every household by 2030 as per the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. “About Rs 23,000 crore of central fund will be required annually till the target is achieved,” he said. Referring to the launch of the National Water Quality Sub-Mission on Arsenic and Fluoride, Tomar said about 28,000 affected habitations in the country will be provided safe drinking water by March 2021 with an outlay of Rs 25,000 crore. “Sanitation coverage has increased from 42 per cent in 2014 to 64 per cent in the current year and more than four crore toilets were constructed,” he said. Under the 14th Finance Commission, the Centre will be releasing more than Rs 2 lakh crore to Gram Panchayats for 5 years to undertake physical and social infrastructure projects in the villages. “So far, Rs 51,234 crore was allocated to the states and 44 lakh panchayat functionaries were provided training,” Tomar said. Municipal Solid Waste segregation at source in National Capital Region to be launched soon. Country-wide launch in 130 cities with Wasteto-Compost plants functional and coming up.

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017



These two will be provided with solid and liquid waste management, drainage systems, ground water recharge, etc



HE Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Narendra Singh Tomar has commissioned two Ganga Grams in the presence of various faith leaders led by Swami Chidanand Saraswati, co-founder of GIWA (Global Interfaith WASH Alliance). Two villages in the bank of River Ganga, Veerpur Khurd in Dehradun and Mala in Pauri Garhwal, have been taken up


by the Ministry to make them model Ganga villages, in collaboration with GIWA. The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, in collaboration with state governments, has the mandate to make villages on the bank of River Ganga open Defecation free (ODF). Some 4270 villages of 4515 Ganga villages have been declared ODF. These two villages, Mala and Veerpur Khurd have also been declared ODF. Now, with the help of various stakeholders, these two villages will be provided with solid and liquid waste management facilities, drainage systems, ground water recharge, modern crematoria in coordination with various Ministries involved. Growing of Medicinal herbs and shrubs will also be promoted in these two villages. Speaking on this occasion, Tomar said clean water is essential for life and


WB TO FUND MAJOR PROJECT The project includes malaria elimination, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana and setting up of Jan Aushadhi centres SSB BUREAU


HE Nagaland government has launched an ambitious health project, funded by the World Bank that is aimed at improving the healthcare services and increasing their utilisation by the communities in targeted locations of the state. Called the Nagaland Health Project, the components of the project include malaria elimination, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana and setting up of Jan Aushadhicentres. It will be implemented in 11 districts of the state within a timeframe of five-six years. It is the first state-level project in the region to be funded by the World Bank and is also the first of its kind initiative in the region.

The total financial outlay of the project is USD 60 million. The external assistance is USD 48 million, while the rest will be borne by the state government. State Health Minister P Longon said the project will assist the department in improving the health services. He also called for empowering the communities so that the absence

Quick Glance

Good News



Two villages have been taken up to make them as models Mala and Veerpur Khurd,have also been declared ODF Ministry to make villages on the banks of the river ODF

cleanliness is essential for wellbeing of the people. He commended the role of women in achieving ODF status. He also assured commitment of the central government for this cause. Tomar also inaugurated a bio toilet in the village. Later, speaking at the Swachh Uttarakhand, Swachh Bharat Summit, organised by GIWA, he lauded the contribution of spiritual leaders in taking forward the swachhta movement and other social causes. He said all religions working together have great potential to influence behaviour change including toilet usage. On this occasion, Swami Chidanand Saraswati reiterated GIWA’s commitment to make these two villages Ganga Grams with the cooperation of all ministries, departments, NMCG and other stakeholders. All faith-leaders assembled in summit expressed their dedication towards swachhta.

Quick Glance World Bank said that this is their first ever state specific project Malaria remains a major cause of worry in the state This step will boost investment and innovation in the state, says WB

of strong private sector healthcare delivery system is not felt. “Malaria remains public health concern in the state,” the minister said and called for intensified efforts to eliminate the disease. World Bank Operations Officer Amith Nagaraj Bhatulla informed that it took five years to prepare the project and said that a high level of cooperation would be needed from various departments to implement the project successfully. World Bank Nutrition Specialist Mohini Kak said prior to this, the World Bank had never been into any state specific project. Pointing to the potential of the project, she said it would boost investment and innovation while addressing the key healthcare issues plaguing the state.

HANDBOOK ON CHILD PROTECTION This will be distributed among stakeholders of 14 states also to make them understand their role and actions IANS


HANDBOOK, along with a module and guidelines on protection of child rights in Indian villages, was released last week. It was launched jointly by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), Ministry of Panchayati Raj and the UNICEF for the functionaries of the Panchayati Raj institutions to help them understand better the rights of children at the Gram Panchayat level. The handbook will be distributed among Panchayat members and other stakeholders of 14 states also to make them understand their role and actions in protection of children in their villages. The NCPCR will receive reports on its implementation each month from them. After one year, the Commission will evaluate the impact and felicitate those states which achieve good results. “Children migrate towards cities because they feel cities have luxuries and better opportunities. The idea of community participation is to retain children in villages,” NCPCR Member Rupa Kapoor told IANS. “Child-friendly Panchayats or Bal Panchayats, recreational activities for children at the Panchayat level and vocational training for children to earn a livelihood for themselves are some of the additions proposed to be made to the already existing Panchayat systems in the country,” she said.

10 Sanitation

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017



KIDS TO THEIR RESCUE IN A POLLUTED LAKE How children saved the Carambolim lake and spoke about lack of toilets that polluted it Quick Glance



HIS Goan village is beating open defecation with ecofriendly toilets that turn waste into manure. Motivated by their children, locals NGOs and architect Tallulah D’Silva, residents of Carambolim village are equipping their homes with eco-loos. Imagine using a public toilet along with five thousand villagers or worse, being forced to defecate in the open. This is the reality of Carambolim, a village in the state of Goa, around five kilometres from Old Goa’s World Heritage Site. Carambolim is no ordinary village. It is also home to the famous Carambolim or Karmali Lake which is now listed as an Important Bird Area (IBA) and hosts various indigenous and migratory birds. But this lake is now marred by garbage dumping and seeping sewage water; with no option of septic tanks or sewage pipelines, people are forced to defecate around the lake or discharge their sewage water in storm water drains, which is an important arm of this lake and connects to the Cumbharjua backwaters. In the last two years, things have changed due to a children’s initiative. This village now has seven dry toilets, which are eco-friendly and provide security and privacy too. This idea emerged during a village child committee meeting initiated by Mitsuko Trust. The NGO based in capital city Panaji works to provide an environment for young minds to express their views and empowers them to participate in making decisions that affect their lives. The children of Carambolim spoke about lack of toilets and the polluted lake during the bal gram sabha. They also hosted a Marathi play, KutheGele Swatch Pani, in February 2015, narrating the sorry tale of birds who reside in and around Carambolimlake and how pollution takes its toll on them. Based on these activities, the Mitsuko team thought of building toilets for the community. “We then approached architect

Carambolim Lake is now marred by garbage dumped into it The idea of eco-loo toilet came from the village children’s committee The cost of setting up one eco-loo is Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 50,000

Tallulah D’Silva, who understood the issue and thought that eco loo is the best solution for this place,” says Shyamalee Roy, director of the Trust. To tackle the lack of funds, the NGO conducted sales and approached donors and trustees for support. The village panchayat of Karmali joined as partners and around 40 families listed their names as beneficiaries. Tallulah, architect and founding curator of Global Shapers Panjim Hub, made many trips to the village to spread awareness about the benefits of eco-loos and how it will help the community. “As these people have small houses that are situated in narrow lanes, they do not have any sanitation facilities. They are have to use the public toilet which is very dirty and are just three or four toilets for five thousand villagers. The ideal ratio is 1: 20 means one toilet for 20 people,” she states. “So, they have these toilets which do not have septic tanks and the sewage directly flows in these

nullahs giving rise to health issues.” In the rains, many senior citizens, women and children would simply defecate on a dry paper and later dump it in the backyard. Tallulah adds, “We could not sleep that night!” This restlessness gave her the inspiration to find a solution to work for all—community and ecology. “eco-loo is basically a dry toilet and the ideal solution to areas that have severe water pollution, water logging or in areas that are dry. Paul Calvert and his Eco Solutions enterprise became our support system to further this not-so-new idea,” she says. “When I started researching further, I discovered that this concept of dry toilets is among the oldest systems which were practiced in Asian countries like India and China.” The toilet has two chambers to collect human waste. After use, one has to add a mixture of saw dust, ash and a little lime. “Ash is easily available in villages and it also kills the bacteria. The main aspect is that as there is no water involved,

The children of Carambolim & Mitsuko Team have

brought a revolutionary change by installing 7 Eco-loos to combat alarming water pollution in the area

the composting happens faster,” she elaborates. Water causes pathogens to increase and slow down the composting process. Besides the ecoloo being built above ground, waste water and urine are diverted into root zone pits to filter the grey water to usable water. Once full, the chamber is left to rest for six months. During this period, the waste is reduced to compost which becomes an excellent source of nutrient for soil. “The villagers can even sell it and earn money out of it,” says Shyamalee. The first beneficiary of this innovative setup was PrabhakarNaik; the loo was constructed at his house in May 2015. Pravin Borkar, another beneficiary says “We are happy as all four members—I, my wife Rupa and our two sons are using it. My fouryear-old son has now even learnt to put the mixture of ash and saw dust after use. Even our guests are using it as my wife gives necessary instructions.” Tallulah maintains that the enthusiasm of villagers and their help in building these toilets, sometimes in cash and mostly in kind, has made this mission successful. The setup of the eco-loo costs around Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 50,000. “We wanted to use long lasting materials and not make it low cost for the sake of it,” says Tallulah. As the model gains momentum, the NGO has begun to receive funds from CSR initiatives to build more toilets. The Trust is now also working on building similar toilets in Kakra, another village of Goa. It is a small fishing village located near Panaji.


JUNE 12 - 18, 2017


SWITCH TO MISSION MODE, ODISHA TOLD The Centre last week asked the state to become open defecation-free, latest by 2019 IANS


ITH Odisha having the highest number of people still defecating in the open, the Centre on Thursday asked the State to achieve the goal of becoming open defecation-free (ODF) by 2019. About 58 per cent of households in the State are without toilets. The State Government has the onerous task to complete construction of nearly 50 lakh toilets by October 2, 2019. Progress in construction of toilets in individual households under Swachh Bharat Mission of 10 States including Odisha was reviewed by Union Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha with Chief Secretaries of the States through video conference. Chief Secretary AP Padhi said

Odisha has made a marked progress in construction of toilets in the last two years. While only 12 per cent of the State’s households had toilets in 2014-15, now, 42 per cent have been covered under the sanitation programme. Though Swachh Bharat Mission was launched on October 2, 2014, the programme actually took off in September, 2015. With 100 per cent households of



All-out efforts will be made to keep the tracks clean as part of the government’s ongoing cleanliness campaign



IDENING its sanitation drive, the railways will now carry out a cleanliness survey of tracks on busy routes by an independent organisation and rank its 16 zones based on their performance. The railways has recently released results of a similar survey of 407 stations, carried out by the Quality

Council of India. All-out efforts will be made to keep the tracks clean as well as part of the government’s ongoing cleanliness campaign, said a senior railway ministry official. Railway tracks at many stretches resemble garbage dump with leftover food, plastic bottles and paper boxes strewn all over. Discharge of human waste from trains is also a cause for concern.



Quick Glance Currently, about 58% of households in the state are without toilets The state has a mammoth task of constructing 50 lakh toilets by 2019 42% households have been covered under the sanitation programme

Deogarh having toilets, it will be the first district in the State to be declared open defecation-free by the end of this month. The rapid pace at which toilet construction work is going on, 10 more districts will achieve the ODF tag by end of 2017-18. The 10 districts where the progress is more than satisfactory are Angul, Balasore, Boudh, Gajapati, Jagatsingpur, Kharsuguda, Nuapada, Raygada, Sambalpur and Sonepur, official sources said. All new toilets constructed have been geo tagged as the release of Central assistance is linked to the status of geo tagging. The fund sharing pattern between the Centre and State for toilet construction is 60:40. In order to expedite the process of toilet construction, the State Government has posted a separate Director for drinking water and sanitation.

The official said accumulation of garbage and human waste from opendischarge toilets were damaging the tracks. Several railway divisions have pressed into service mechanised system for cleaning of tracks near stations. Besides, installation of biotoilets in several trains have reduced the discharge of human waste on the tracks. The Indian Railways is the third largest rail network in the world, covering 66,000 km and having more than 8,000 stations. Consequent to the launch of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on October 2, 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the railways launched ‘Swachh Rail, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’. The aim of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is to achieve the vision of a ‘Clean India’ by October 2, 2019, the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. The railways has also made operational a ‘Swachh Rail’ portal to showcase cleanliness rankings of various stations and the methodology adopted for rankings. This web portal will also be used to seek passenger feedback on cleanliness. The feedback from passengers will help identify unclean spots and to improve cleanliness standards. It will bring healthy competition among various railway divisions. In the rail budgets of 2015, 2016 and 2017, a series of measures to improve the cleanliness of stations were announced.

MOBILE TRANSFER STATIONS With no user charge at this stage, the MTS will allow segregation of waste at source, and integrate street-level collection IANS


AKING a step towards the implementation of Solid Waste Management Rules (SWM), 2016, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has introduced a fleet of Mobile Transfer Stations (MTS) to its sanitation infrastructure. With no user charge at this stage, the MTS will allow segregation of waste at source, and integrate streetlevel collection with transportation of municipal solid waste in the city. L-G Anil Baijal flagged off the MTS fleet from Raj Bhawan, Sunday. The SWM Rules put the onus of segregating waste at the source. “Every waste generator shall segregate and store the waste generated in three separate streams — bio-degradable, non bio-degradable and domestic hazardous wastes — in suitable bins, and handover segregated wastes to authorised waste pickers as per the direction by local authorities from time to time,” the rules state. Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu is expected to launch ‘segregation of waste at source’ movement for the NCR on World Environment Day from Talkatora Indoor Stadium, Monday. The new infrastructure will, according to civic officials, help save Rs 461 crore for the SDMC over a period of eight years. The fleet includes 30 Fix Compactor Transfer Station, 38 MTS and refuse collectors among other machinery. It will serve around 19 lakh residents in 29 wards of the west zone, which generates total solid waste of 855 MT per day. The new project is expected to achieve “zero waste” in the city with the help of public awareness campaigns.

12 State News

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017



SALIM ALI’S NIECE TO FIGHT PARSIK PLUNDER Fabled ornithologist Salim Ali’s niece has taken up the cudgels against the mafia destroying the fragile ecosystem

Quick Glance Parsik Hills has been looted by the stone quarrying mafia The state government has turned a deaf ear to this so far Now four top NGOs, including Sumaira Abdulalis’ is fightint it out




DELEGATION of the US-India Business Council called on the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday and discussed the possibilities of a closer economic relationship, an official said. Led by Mukesh Aadhi, the delegation praised the decisions being taken by the present government and said they will go a long way to develop the state. The delegates expressed their desire to cooperate in education, healthcare, production of world class medical devices like stents, food processing, potable water techniques, technology, tourism and other sectors. Aadhi added that in its purpose of fostering economic links between the two countries, the council wanted to extend cooperation with the state in taking forward its development programmes. Reciprocating the desire to work together based on policies and objectives of the state government, Adityanath said that it was committed to the welfare of the poor, exploited, marginalised and the deprived sections of the society and was working in this direction. Chief Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar, who was present, apprised the USIBC representatives about the policies and programs of the state government and said that it was willing to take the mutual ties forward.


PURRED by the support from four leading NGOs, including noted ornithologist and naturalist late Salim Ali’s niece Sumaira Abdulali, activists campaigning for saving the Parsik Hills on the city’s outskirts from wanton destruction in the name of quarrying now hope that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis would save the natural resource from further degradation. The NGOs have extended their whole-hearted support to a social communication campaign by corporate communicators industry body Public Relations Council of India (PRCI) #IamParsikHill – IamDying -– and appealed to the Chief Minister to take steps to ban quarrying of the hills which fall in the foothills of Sahyadri Range. “The decades-long quarrying has caused irreparable damage to the environment and the once picturesque hills,” said Nandakumar Pawar, director of the NGO Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishthan (SEAP). Stating that “we cannot stand as mute witnesses to the rampant, careless and criminal destruction”, he said SEAP will file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) at the National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeking to ban quarrying at Parsik Hills. Observing that quarrying destroys bio-diversity, forests and the watertable, Stalin D, Director of NGO Vanashakti, said: “The Parsik hill range has the potential for an excellent venue for eco-tourism and adventure sports. Please save these beautiful forested hills from reckless destruction.” The dust pollution created by quarrying poses great health hazards for the citizens of Navi Mumbai, he said adding that the Chief Minister must ban quarrying at Parsik Hills immediately. Maharashtra Pollution Control

Board (MPCB) itself has said that the air pollution levels in the areas around stone crushers of quarries are a hundred times the acceptable levels. Inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call during his latest Mann Ki Baat broadcast to follow the Environment Day-2017 theme ‘Connecting People To Nature’, PRCI has embarked on the campaign to focus attention on the destruction of nature which is also harming the people, said PRCI National President B.N. Kumar. The campaign received massive response with over 10,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook and close to 100 signing the online petition to the Chief Minister to ban quarrying of Parsik Hills, he said adding that tweets are being sent to Fadnavis, Bollywood activists like Amitabh Bachhan and Anupam Kher and some media veterans seeking

The Parsik Hill range has an excellent scope for

developing ecotourism and adventure sports, so that needs to be saved, say environmentalists

their support. Sumaira Abdulali of Awaaz Foundation, who had earlier campaigned against indiscriminate sand mining, said the destruction of Parsik Hills is criminal considering its bio-diversity. She called for a proper audit of requirement of construction material such as sand and stones. Late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray had in June 1997 ordered a ban on quarrying at Parsik Hills during the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance rule in Maharashtra. But later, the blasting of the hills resumed with seeming vengeance. A cursory look at the hills from Sion-Panvel highway shows the pathetic condition of the plundered hills along Thane-Belapur Road where forests have disappeared due to quarrying. The NGT is hearing a PIL against quarrying and its ruling is slated for July 19. Quarry owners have, meanwhile, stopped their operations as the Thane district collector stopped collecting royalty. The collector, however, permitted three quarries to operate.

State News

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017







A billion used napkins in our waste dumps are harmful for the environment and need to be disposed of safely


Quick Glance Baeacuse of taboos, safe disposal of sanitary napkins is a problem An estimated 113,000 tonnes of such waste is generateed annually


The government is aware of this problem and is mulling action


UMBAI’S Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital last week joined the ranks of a handful of institutions here offering cadaver transplants by performing a kidney transplant here, an official said. The family of a 58-year old man, who died due to intracranial bleeding, decided to donate his organs like eyes, heart, liver and kidneys to six other needy patients. Early on Tuesday, medicos at the hospital started the organ grafting procedures and by 10 a.m., they were ready to shift them (the organs) to various hospitals in the city. With the help of Mumbai police, a green corridor was created to transplant the heart to Fortis, Mulund, and the liver and one kidney to Global Hospital.



OON, student-teacher squads will fan out to curb drug and alcohol abuse on the Jadavpur University campus, officials said recently. The varsity authorities, headed by Vice Chancellor Suranjan Das, held a meeting with all stakeholders, including various student and teacher organisations as well as non-teaching staff, to deliberate on a range of issues such as drug abuse. Apart from the squads which target drug abuse and moral policing, if any, a committee has been formed to look into the matter of substance abuse and other practices. The committee comprises four deans, including dean of students, and union representatives.”



UR grandmothers may have used cloth pads, but periods are unimaginable without disposable sanitary napkins for women today. However, what doesn’t occur to most of us is that over a billion of these non-compostable sanitary pads are making their way into sewerage systems, landfills, fields and water bodies in India every month, posing huge environmental and health risks. With taboos and superstitions galore about menstruating women in India, safe technologies and interventions to dispose and treat menstrual waste have become a huge challenge. Though the Indian government is ensuring that all women and girls, especially in rural pockets, have easy access to sanitary napkins, the need of the hour, say experts, is to give “more attention” to managing menstrual waste, which is estimated to be 113,000 tonnes annually. To address this issue of menstrual waste, the government came out with new Solid Waste Management (SWM) rules last year. These rules makes it obligatory for the manufacturers, brand owners or marketing companies of sanitary napkins and diapers to provide a pouch or wrapper for their safe disposal. But that doesn’t seem to be enough. With no knowledge of how to dispose off disposable sanitary napkins, most women just throw them in the garbage bin which usually gets mixed up with dry, wet and hazardous waste. Myles Ellege, senior director at RTI International, a leading non-profit applied research and consulting organisation based

in North Carolina, US, said although some Indian states and cities have given “some attention” to waste segregation or waste management with incinerators at schools or institutional settings, “it is not widespread”. “The issue of managing menstrual waste is one that needs more attention... MHM (Menstrual Hygiene Management) is a neglected issue, and disposal is probably the most neglected topic in the MHM value chain,” Ellege said. “We have found ignorance regarding the raw materials used in making most sanitary products that are falsely assumed to be only cotton and plastic – the products are more than 90% plastic with super absorbent polymers and non-woven plastic components that make it extremely difficult to dispose off in a backyard shortcut way,” Shreejaya, who is also a supporter of EcoFemme which manufactures and promotes reusable cloth pads. The plastic layer which is used to make a disposable sanitary pad stain-free and the chemicals used in producing it get further transferred between soil, water and air. Arundati Muralidharan, managerpolicy (WASH in Health and Nutrition, WASH in Schools) at WaterAid India, said the government has menstrual waste “very much” on its radar and has been “thinking” about its management. “If we do not begin to address this issue now, we will have volume of non-biodegradable waste that will take hundreds of years to degrade.” According to a survey, about 336 million girls and women experience menstruation in India, which means that approximately 121 million of them are using disposable sanitary napkins.

The new solid waste management rules will address this crucial issue



HE Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday decided to name the Mughalsarai railway station after Jan Sangh ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. The state cabinet also decided that Nagla Chandrabhan, the birth place of the late leader in Mathura, would be developed as a tourist centre. The proposal would now be sent to the Railways Ministry for approval. The Bharatiya Janata Party is celebrating the birth centenary of Upadhyaya and will be holding a major event on September 25. Health Minister Siddharthanath Singh told media persons that the cabinet also decided to establish Deendayal Research Foundations at all state universities and to institute prizes in his name for meritorious students.




WACHH Bharat movement launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi three years ago, might be delivering different dividends to different people but a 12th standard girl from Bengaluru gained rare recognition for her dedication to tackling this issue. Sahithi Pingali of the Inventure Academy now has a planet in the Milky Way named after her for helping clean Bengaluru’s lakes. Sahithi developed an app to collect data on the froth generating on lakes and sent it to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). She made it on a list of 2000 finalists from all over the world and ending up among the top three percent. This achievement led to the Lincoln Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to name a planet after her.

14 Health

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017




PROSTHETICS FEEL MORE NATURAL Amputees will sense where their limbs are placed and to feel how much force is being applied to them

Not just in the northeast, elsewhere too millions of Indians continue to be vulnerable to these diseases



ASSACHUSETTS Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers, including one of Indian origin, have devised a new surgical technique that could allow prosthetic limbs to feel much more like natural limbs. Through coordination of the prosthetic limb, existing nerves, and muscle grafts, amputees would be able to sense where their limbs are placed and to feel how much force is being applied to them. The researchers believe that their strategy could work for nearly any amputee, including people whose amputations were performed many years ago. “We can harvest these muscle grafts from almost anywhere

in the body, making this applicable to a large number of cases ranging from trauma to chronic pain,” Srinivasan said. In the new study, which appeared in the journal Science Robotics, the researchers demonstrated in rats that their technique generates muscletendon sensory feedback to the nervous system, which should be able to convey information about a prosthetic limb’s placement and the forces applied to it. They now plan to begin implementing this approach in human amputees. “We’re talking about a dramatic improvement in patient care,” senior author of the study Hugh Herr, Professor at MIT. “Right now there’s no robust neural method for a person with limb amputation to feel proprioceptive positions and forces applied to the prosthesis. Imagine how that would completely hinder one’s ability to move, to successfully balance, or to manipulate objects,” Herr said.



EWER Indians used tobacco in 2015-16 than a decade ago, but only China consumes and produces more tobacco, keeping cancer rates high, according to the latest national health data. Tobacco consumption in India is the highest in the six northeastern states of Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura and Assam: On average, 70.7 per cent men in these states use tobacco in some form or the other, according to data from the National Family Health Survey 2015-16 (NFHS-4). This figure is 26 percentage points higher than the national average. The northeastern states also report a higher risk for cancer -- 112 men and 60 women of 1,000 die of cancer here while the national average is 47 for men and 44 for women, according to the 2012 Million Death Study published in The Lancet. CHRONIC PROBLEMS Tobacco use is one of the main risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including cancer, lung diseases and cardiovascular diseases. And not just in the northeast, elsewhere too millions of Indians continue to be vulnerable to these diseases. The latest national average for tobacco consumption, according to NFHS-4 44.5 per cent men and 6.8 per cent women is lower than 2005-06 figures. Tobacco use has fallen in India by 12.5 percentage points for men and four percentage points for women over a decade. But India is still the second-highest producer and consumer of tobacco,

according to National Tobacco Control Programme. In 2011, the total cost of dealing with diseases related to tobacco use among the 35-69 age group amounted to Rs 1.05 lakh crore ($22.4 billion). This is 1.16 per cent of GDP and 12 per cent more than the combined state and central government expenditure on healthcare in 2011. The survey also shows that 29.3 per cent female and 30.6 per cent male tobacco users in the 15-49 age group tried to wean themselves off tobacco in the 12 months preceding the survey. In Mizoram, tobacco use has fallen by 1.6 percentage points and three percentage points for women and men, respectively, since 2005-06. Punjab and Puducherry with 19.2 per cent and 14.4 per cent, respectively, recorded the lowest use of tobacco among men. Fewer than one per cent women in the 15-49 age group use any kind of tobacco in Himachal Pradesh, Daman & Diu, Kerala, Chandigarh and Puducherry. Both men and women (between 15 and 49 years of age) use more tobacco in India’s villages than its cities. Among urban

Not a single state has more than 50 per cent of male and female tobacco consumers attempting to quit consumption

Quick Glance Tobacco consumption in India is the highest in the six northeastern states Tobacco use is one of the main risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including cancer India is still the second-highest producer and consumer of tobacco, according to NTCP

women, 4.4 per cent use it compared to the 8.1 per cent women in villages. For men in villages, the figure is 48 per cent and in cities, 38.9 per cent. Even on the question of trying to go off tobacco, more urban women users (33 per cent) make an effort than women users in villages (28.2 per cent). But the trend is reversed for men: 31.2 per cent male tobacco users in villages and 29.6 per cent in cities tried to wean themselves off tobacco. Not a single state has more than 50 per cent of male and female tobacco consumers (in the 15-49 age group) attempting to quit consumption of tobacco in any form in 12 months preceding the survey. SMOKELESS DOUBLES The number of those using smokeless tobacco (25.9 per cent) is almost double that of those who smoke (14 per cent), according to Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2009-10. “Tobacco is responsible for nearly 50 per cent cancers in India and 90 per cent of mouth cancers. Half of the mouth cancer patients die within 12 months of diagnosis,” said Pankaj Chaturvedi, professor and surgeon at the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai. Tobacco caused 42 per cent of all cancers in men and 18 per cent of all cancers in women, according to the Million Death Study. In all, tobacco caused 120,000 cancers with twice as many oral cancers as lung cancer. This highlights the high prevalence of tobacco chewing in India. “Raising taxes on tobacco products is an evidence-based tool to reduce tobacco use. We appeal to the government to levy highest Goods and Services Tax on all tobacco products, including beedi,” said Michelle Reyes, an expert with the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease, in a statement released on the eve of the International Tobacco Day.

JUNE 12-18, 2017



The premier medical research institute says Indian patients must be prescribed the much cheaper and affordable Azathioprine


HE All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to make it mandatory for doctors in India to prescribe the much cheaper and effective Azathioprine to treat multiple sclerosis, than other USFDA approved drugs in the market.

Studies have shown Azathioprine to be effective in treating multiple sclerosis in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves resulting in damage to nerves and disrupts the communication between the brain and the body.AIIMS has conducted metaanalysis on the efficacy of the medicine and concluded that Azathioprine is better than other USFDA approved medicines in the market for multiple sclerosis. Other medicines such as Interferons prescribed by most of the doctors, costs Rs 3 lakh per year while Azathioprine costs only Rs 10,000 annually. AFFORDABILITY ISSUE “In India affordability is a prime concern for patients. Azathioprine is effective or possibly more effective than Interferons. This can be considered as the first-line treatment for multiple sclerosis. This hopefully will serve as a big relief for those who cannot afford more expensive

Quick Glance

Currently, medicines include Indiamade Azathioprine and those by the USFDA While the US drug costs Rs 3 lakh annually, Azathioprine costs a mere Rs 10,000

treatment options,” Kameshwar Prasad, Head of Neurology, AIIMS, told IANS. He said that despite writing several letters to the ICMR and Prime Minister Modi personally on the matter, he has received no reply. MV Padama Srivastava, another professor of Neurology at AIIMS, said that currently India has 1 lakh-1.5 lakh multiple sclerosis patients, of whom only half were taking medication due to the high price of Interferons. The doctors also said that Azathioprine was not being prescribed by majority of Indian neurologists despite it having fewer side effects than Interferons. Azathioprine, sold under the brand name Imuran among others, is a generic medicine and now available in the market. AIIMS, Delhi had done the first published case of HSCT in multiple sclerosis from India in 2012.


If parents take time out to read books to their children, it helps cut out cellphone addiction


ARENTS, please take some time out from your busy schedule to read books to your kids and also engage them in the process. Researchers have found that engaging with children while reading books to them gives their brain a cognitive boost. An important point to note is that while reading to children has many benefits, simply speaking the words aloud may not be enough to improve cognitive development in preschoolers, according to the study. The findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE, reinforce the value of “dialogic reading,” where the child is encouraged to actively participate.

Quick Glance Greater interest in the narrative showed activation in right-sided cerebellum It is important to read out the stories but to engage the children actively This could fuel brain activation or ‘turbocharge’ its development

“The takeaway for parents in this study is that they should engage more when reading with their child, ask questions, have them turn the page, and interact with each other,” said lead author of the study John Hutton, a pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre in the US. STORY ENGAGEMENT Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) found significantly greater brain activation in four-year-old children who were more highly engaged during story listening, suggesting a novel


In MS, the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves resulting in damaging these




improvement mechanism of engagement and understanding. “In turn, this could fuel brain activation or ‘turbocharge’ the development of literacy skills, particularly comprehension, in preschool-aged children,” Hutton said. The study involved functional MRI scans of 22 girls, age 4, to explore the relationship between engagement and verbal interactivity during a motherchild reading observation and neural activation and connectivity during a story listening task. Children exhibiting greater interest in the narrative showed increased activation in right-sided cerebellar areas of the brain, thought to support cognitive skill acquisition and refinement via connection to language, association and executive function areas. “Our findings underscore the importance of interventions explicitly addressing both parent and child reading engagement, including awareness and reduction of distractions such as cellphones, which were the most common preventable barrier that we observed,” Hutton said.


BRAIN’S IMMUNE CELLS AND ALZHEIMER’S More than half the genes known to affect a person’s risk to the disease were expressed more highly in microglia IANS


CIENTISTS have for the first time discovered evidence that microglia brain’s immune cells may play roles in a variety of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia. Microglia are a type of macrophage, white blood cells found throughout the body that can destroy pathogens or other foreign materials. They are known to be highly responsive to their surroundings and respond to changes in the brain by releasing pro-inflammatory or antiinflammatory signals. The study, reported in the journal Science, has showed that microglia have hundreds of genes that are more highly expressed than other types of macrophages as well as distinct patterns of gene expression compared to other types of brain cells. “A really high proportion of genes linked to multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and schizophrenia are much more highly expressed in microglia than the rest of the brain,” said Nicole Coufal, a pediatric critical care doctor at University of California - San Diego. “That suggests there’s some kind of link between microglia and the diseases,” Coufal added. For Alzheimer’s, more than half of the genes known to affect a person’s risk of developing the disease were expressed more highly in microglia than other brain cells. The new molecular profile of microglia offers a way for researchers to begin trying to better culture the cells or coax stem cells to develop.


JUNE 12 - 18, 2017

our dreams “canAllcome true if

we have the courage to pursue them” Walt Disney


The author is a well-known environmentalist and a Padmashree Awardee


GROSS ENVIRONMENT PRODUCT: NEED OF THE HOUR We need to strike a balance between rapid industrialisation and environment conservation



Gender stereotypes have become a damaging part of our psyche


ANDINI KR repeats a hat trick: thrice in three years, women have topped the Union Public Service Commission examination. Is it despite the fact that she is a woman? Or is it because she is one? The problems is, this is not a question in Nandini’s mind. Or in the minds of the seven other women who are within the top 25 in this year’s rankings. Surely, this would not be a question in the minds of the previous two toppers either. This is typiaclly an issue with the male gender, who scarily see their former bastion successfully invaded. But was there a bastion ever, or was it all carefully engineered by men over millennia, to ‘grant’ women two stations in life which men liked: objects of pleasure; and the ‘honour’ of begetting their children. In the novel, Namesake’ author Jhumpa Lahiri gives exqusite details of the joys as well as anxieties of pregnancy. If men could even contemplate a fraction of it, they would become better humans. The Indian army is contemplating posting women in combat zones, and the propaganda is that India is among the very few countries which allows this. The media machinery is running overtime to show this as a huge change from the past. But? No, they will not go to LOC straightaway. Rather, they will first serve in Military Police. Why? Well, they need to learn from the men first. So is the army too saying that it will allow women into battle grounds, despite the fact that they are women? Women are doing what they are because they are women!


KUMAR DILIP Edited, Printed and Published by: Monika Jain on behalf of Sulabh Sanitation Mission Foundation, owned by Sulabh Sanitation Mission Foundation Printed at: The Indian Express Limited A - 8, Sector -7, NOIDA (UP) Published at: RZ - 83, Mahavir Enclave, Palam - Dabri Road, New Delhi - 110045 (India) Corporate Office: 819, Wave Silver Tower, Sector - 18, NOIDA (UP) Phone: +91-120-6500425 Email:,


HIS is high time to review our development approach and this imposes on us a responsibility to re-locate priority of the nation. The issue that need to be raised whether we should continue to focus on current development approach or sustainability of ecosystem which is threatened due to lopsided development, should also have equal space in our plan. The past focus of planners on economic development only has largely caused depletion of fundamental resources which made human life miserable. The true economic processes must be learnt from the age old rural economy. There was striking balance between production and consumption and all economic intricacies were addressed within community. Any surplus produce was shared with other communities for their respective products and services. There was balance between development and natural resources. This is the fact that genuine prosperity can only be enjoyed through primary production of forest, water, food, soil which form true capital of any state. Our Greed have, in fact, been the major reason of resource depletion. None of us have ever thought that water will be sold in bottles. This is roughly a business of above 1000 crores today. The drinking water which is a fundamental resource is commercialized today. We are close to the days, when other basic commodities will also be commercialized. This is our greed and unscrupulous approach towards natural resources. Since it is a survival issue, we should not allow this to happen and should resist against. We are deliberately ignoring this fact and unfortunately are becoming victim of the same. We have not built any mechanism to measure status of our natural resources periodically. Our lopsided economic development strategy has presented us a dilemma. Thus there must be some method to measure gain or loss of natural resources periodically. Another important natural resource where we have crossed the limit is soil. There is no soil left without chemical fertilizer. The latter has been highly subsidized by Government to get higher productivity. The result is

with us now. It is again commercialization of soil through chemicals that has caused this jeopardy. The forest which constitute essential environment of any village and nation is vanishing. A recent report of an Australian researcher has alarmed that natural forest in India has reduced from 514137 to 389970 Sq. km. This resource that helps overall delivery of water, air, and soil is threatening human existence. Lust for luxury basically begins with urbanized culture. Physical effort has been mechanized and energy for it is being exploited from nature. Unabated exploitation of natural resource continues since longtime and no serious assessment was done to check depleting resources. Forest, water and soil have been mainstay of our life. Their constant decline has been observed, but reality is largely neglected in lust of gaining industrial benefits. We are currently passing through ecologically unproductive economic phase. We should immediately focus on productive development of reserves i.e. soil, water, air. A prudent approach will bring a balance between nature and human activities, rural and urban and between need and comfort. This will only be possible when we also regularly asses through some growth rules of resources. Annual Gross Environmental Product of natural resources can be one such. Agriculture, horticulture fisheries and other local community trades largely depends upon these resources. Unfortunately

The true economic

processes must be learnt from the age old rural economy

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017

We should immediately

focus on productive development of reserves: soil, water and air due to growing paucity of these resources, various trades have suffered major setbacks and rural migration has become more intense. There are no parameters to define status of water, soil, fodder and fuel needs of the community, whether these have been addressed adequately or neglected. Majority of villages in the country depend on natural resources for the above needs. Development need to be redefined. There must be a parallel analysis which should measure periodical growth of life resources i.e. water recharging, forest cover, soil enrichment and air quality etc. Growing industrialization has already hampered been our ecological cycle, constant negligence will lead to un-repairable losses and other socio ecological disasters. It has to be commonly understood that economy be it local or National cannot sustain without ecology. Changing climate goalpost is most important issue today. Our agricultural productivity today cannot be forecast as climate shift makes it unpredictable. Off time heavy rains have jeopardized many natural productive cycle of flora. This slow change need to be understood seriously. Constant carelessness otherwise will take large toll in future. There must be Ecological Growth Indicators that can point out our Gross Environmental Productivity regularly like GDP. It has to be an indicator that can highlight water, soil, air conservation measures and projects that have been undertaken by the Nation to recover our resource capital. This indicator can collectively display our inclusive growth in development. Environment analysis can only enable us to balance our lopsided development approach and will relieve us from growing environmental stresses. Thus planners must be encouraged to produce Gross Environmental Product annually besides Gross Domestic Product. This would also help us to decide ecological status of the country. High GEP and GDP may point out rationality in our development plan and will be an example for the developed and developing countries which are engaged in an unproductive debate on global economy and ecology. This is simply possible by accounting the increased area of forest cover in an given year. Soil conservation efforts of the states can measure amount of soil prevented from runoff. How much water has been conserved by taking various water harvesting structures and efforts taken up to clean air and its quality can be our criteria. All these parameters can be statically analyzed to produce a collective indicator i.e. Gross Environment Product (GEP).






The author is a graduate in Computer Science from BITS, Pilani. He is presently helping to settle a migrant community, focusing on their education needs


World celebrates Blood Donor Day on June 14th every year. It becomes imperative for us to take a stock of blood donation in India


ORE than 5 lakh road accidents occur in India annually, as per Ministry of Road Transport data. WHO data also points out that there are 234 million major operations in India, 63 million trauma-induced surgeries, 31 million cancerrelated procedures and 10 million pregnancy related complications. One critical aspect common to these figures, is the requirement of blood transfusion. India is a vast country with a total requirement of 12 million units of blood every year. However, only 9 million units are collected annually, leaving a shortage of 3 million units. Delhi NCR alone faces a shortage of 1 lakh units per year. These statistics don’t hit you hard unless one has faced the predicament of blood transfusion. The problem aggravates in case of low income families, who find it difficult to pay for the blood, in case of emergencies. Health Ministry in its report has pointed out that there are total

2708 blood banks in the country, with Maharashtra leading with 310 blood banks. However, there are still 81 districts in the country which doesn’t have a single blood bank. This should be government’s priority to set up at least one blood bank in every district. Once the infrastructural concerns are sorted out, then availability should be looked into. Culturally, Indians are laggard in blood donation, as there are numerous taboo and misinformation attached to it. Organisations like Red Cross,

Rotary Blood Bank, and many more have done commendable job in raising awareness. Numerous campaign projecting blood donors as heroes have done their bit in exhorting people to donate blood. Social media has become an active platform for mobilising people. Whatsapp messages, Facebook status have become a good tool for asking people for donation, in case of urgent requirements. Colleges and universities serve as a mass input channel for blood banks. The theme of this year’s campaign on World Blood Donor Day is “What can you do?”, with the secondary message “Give blood. Give now. Give often”. There are only 62 countries around the world which get close to 100% of their national blood supplies from voluntary unpaid blood donations. India needs to soon jump into this league.




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Vol-1 | Issue-25 /2016/71561



| June 05 - 11, 2017

for Rising India Good News Week ly CONSERVATION


2,000 parrots in a flock, made Chennai’s Sekar has it possible




VOICE OF HIMALAYA Community radio is playing mass a big role in effective communication


| Price ` 5/-



opened The spirited lady has for up 19 libraries in Ladakh ed the economically challeng



e. producer of e-wast India is the fifth largest ies, the idea of countr Unlike in western one g is still an alien recycling and reusin

and recyclable waste. of hazardous waste scarce in the cities ing the two types culture of segregat basket put liquid With land getting day and by each passing GEETA SINGH wastes. In the green which and towns from 0.2 to kitchen waste, things waste generation of waste ranging a warning. y a Modi waste like bin put RIME Minister Narendred the decompose, and in the blue plastic etc. 0.6 kg per head, is definitel collectors dump has recently announc metals, broken boxes, as manure Generally, the garbage in the landfill. movement’ like waste can be used these solid wastes launch of a ‘massive Energy n across The liquid ral waste while the dry waste all the study by The 2047, per for waste collectio As agricultu for states that by country from June will be recycled.” Research Institute 4,000 cities of the confident that we 1,400 sq km of land would be needed Day. “We must He added, “I am ing 5, World Environment . Landfills add the waste; it is wealth, culture of segregat to use for landfills t to not treat garbage as start looking it as can develop a ting towards cost severe problem of adding a pollutan a resource. Once we with new means waste and contribu ent.” both. up managem water come waste and will we soil effective wealth, National Green launch of waste ent,” PM Modi said Not long ago, the Ahead of the of waste managem address ‘Mann Ki ed Rs. one nt, different l (NGT) announc dumping management moveme in his monthly radio for to educate Tribuna alities started a drive ion. And lakh fine on violators municip This Baat’. es. of segregat importance and its tributari Stressing on the government, in people towards waste of the hour as e-waste in Ganga continued for a long need the dumping has been now it becomes a mostly waste management, state governments, India is witnessing a gargantuan problem time by several illegal industries save association with the With an aim to tonnes per day of movement of around Moradabad. will launch a massive cities across of generating 188,500 its tributaries from and 4,000 Indians. in n Ganga urban by river waste waste collectio d basically fall the bench headed said, “Under the e-waste dumping, The wastes generate the country. PM Modi said the categories organic dustbins - green for Swatanter Kumar movement, separate for dry waste - will into three main dable waste; inert or by Justice waste or biodegra liquid waste and blue cities to develop a be installed in these


Quick Glance

management Initiative for waste to kick-off soon across 4,000 cities e-waste now the Step report says menace world’s fastest growing Km of land would By 2047, 1,400 sq landfills in India be needed to use for

containing heavy hazardous e-waste the river Ramganga metal was polluting a tributary of the Ganga. hazardous e-waste “Huge quantity of industries is generated from various powder form at the in of being disposed a in Moradabad,” the banks of Ramgang also formed a bench said. The tribunal ng officials from the comprisi ee committ Control Board Uttar Pradesh Pollution ration and the (UPPCB), district administ al Corporation to get Moradabad Municip of the e-waste. the river bank cleaned

REVIVAL OF HOPE The article ‘Reviving Springs of Life’ was a great consolation. It is true that technology has been one of the main culprits behind the exploitation of

natural resources, but it is good to know that the same technology has somehow been instrumental in helping to restore dried up water sources in the pristine Himalayas. Hill lovers like me feel distraught when nature looks arid and defeated. It is encouraging to know that organisations like HESCO and BARC are making such concentrated efforts. Shekhar Pathak, Dehradun GREEN WINGS Read the article ‘Chennai’s Green Wings’ with great interest. It is difficult to imagine that in the reckless, competitive and violent times we live in, there can be people like Sekar in Royapettah, who has so much love for parrots! The world is certainly a livable place if there are men like Sekar who wakes up at 4.30

am to prepare meals for parrots, spending about 40% of his earnings on them. His wife, who offered to sell off her jewellery to feed the parrots too is an exceptional lady. Bhanumurthy, Chennai WOMAN POWER The newsmakers ‘Indian Mountaineer Breaks Record’ was an article that could change the views and nature of a lot of people who underestimated the power of Indian women till date. It was nice that women like Anshu Jamsenpa have proved themselves to the world that if a woman dreams big, she has the capacity to full fill them by themselves and they are neither the less than any man around them. Thanks for such a good read. John Sebastian, Goa

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18 Photo Feature

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017

Hauz Khas Vistas

It was once a Royal Water Tank created by the Ala-ud-Din Khilji, the second of the Khiljis of the Delhi Sultanate. Once, it had architecturally exquiste structures, most of them now in ruins, and yet, the call of Hauz Khas retains its irresistible charm


The gate inside the gate opens up to a world of marvellous structures, some in ruins, some more or less still in their majestic glory. The Archeological Survey’s mundane boards announce the names of each building, rarely able to catch the old world charms and romance with history.

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017

Photo Feature


It is a place to relax. It is where you and friends carry a guitar to strum away, unmindful of anything around you. The allyes and palaces offer glimpses of the past. And the serene lake offers a great respite from the stresses of urban environment.

20 Gender

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017


CHINESE WOMEN THRONG ‘DANGAL’ The idea of breaking gender roles inspired by the film have struck a chord with many


EPRESSED over centuries, Chinese women have expressed their desire to become independent in an unusual manner: thronging the theatres to watch Aamir Khan’s blockbuster film Dangal which is based on the true story of a wrestler’s struggle to challenge gender stereotypes and turn his daughters into world-class fighters. China is the country with the most serious gender imbalance in the world. The critically acclaimed Dangal is running to packed houses in China, and has quickly become the top nonHollywood foreign film in the country. It has earned more than $125 million since its May 5 release, data showed. “The ideas of breaking gender roles and reforming education inspired by theg film have struck a chord with many Chinese parents,” the official Xinhua news agency said. Dangal, which means wrestling in Hindi, has become one of the most successful Indian films, and had sparked a conversation on gender bias



For the third time in three years, a woman has topped the Civil Services Examination, proving that they are as good as, or better, than men



IKE the previous few instances, the UPSC 2016 results uphold several victories this year too. For the third time in a row, a woman has topped the merit list of the examinations. Nandini KR, an Indian Revenue Service (customs and Central excise department) cadre, undergoing training at the National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics in Faridabad at the moment, came ahead of all the 1,099 candidates who managed to clear the examinations this year. Of the successful candidates only about 180 will be appointed in the IAS — 45 in the Indian Foreign Service, 150 in the

Indian Police Service and the rest 834 in other central groups A and B services. It was in her fourth attempt that Nandini finally cracked the test — and how! — having failed to clear the preliminary rounds in her first and third takes, while getting through the IRS in her second chance.

The overall trend this

year appears promising: of the 253 women who qualified, 7 appear in the top 25

Quick Glance Nandini KR, an IRS officer, came ahead of all the 1,099 candidates The civil engineer had always wanted to work at the grassroots level Last year, another woman, Tina Dabi, had topped the IAS

The civil engineering graduate from MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bengaluru had always wanted to work in the “grassroots”. She told The Times of India that she managed about 6 hours of preparation for the examinations while training at the academy. She believes prudent “time management”, more than anything else, worked in her favour. Last year another woman, 22-year-old Tina Dabi, had topped the examinations. The overall trend this year, in terms of women’s performance, also appears promising: of the 253 women who qualified, 7 appear in the top 25 of the merit list. With more women entering the civil services, Indian bureaucracy is headed slowly, though surely, towards a course correction in terms of gender balance. Stories of young and driven people like Namrata and the dedication her mentors took in guiding her is beyond inspirational. “Individuals like Namrata are the beacons of hope for people in Chhattisgarh, a state that has probably seen more than a fair share of massacres in the current times. Given the right guidance and support, every child has the potential, despite the adversity”, Saurabh says. May your success inspire many more youngsters to take up civil services and emerge victorious.


in the country, which has a ratio of 933 women to 1,000 men. Haryana, where the film is set, has among the worst gender ratios in the country. It also has among the highest incidences of violence against women. The movie is based on the story of Haryanvi wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters Geeta and Babita, both Commonwealth Games gold medallists. It is a departure from the romances and action movies with colourful song-and-dance sequences that were once signature elements of Bollywood. Instead, it highlights the realities of the fight for gender equality in India which, like China, where women are pressured to marry young. Dangal highlights the realities of the fight for gender equality in India which, like China, is where women are pressured to marry young.

WOMEN FOR COMBAT LINES The Army chief said he was ready to recruit women as jawans and the matter is being taken up by the government


HE Indian Army is taking a huge step in the progressive direction by opening up combat positions for women. This is a gender hurdle very few countries around the world have crossed. Army chief Bipin Rawat said the process to allow women in a combat role, currently, an exclusive domain of men is moving fast and initially, women will be recruited for positions in the military police. “I am looking at women coming as jawans. I am going to start it soon. Firstly, we will start with women as military police jawans,” he said, giving details of the move to allow women in the male-dominated

positions in the Army. Currently, women are allowed in a number of select areas including in medical, legal, educational, signals and engineering wings of the Army but combat roles are kept off limit for them due to operational concerns and logistical issues. The Army chief said he was ready to recruit women as jawans and the matter is being taken up by the government. “We have already started the process,” Army chief Rawat told PTI in an exclusive interaction recently. He said women will have to show grit and strength in taking up challenges in a

combat role and shattering the glass ceiling. Very few countries including Germany, Australia, Canada, the US, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, Sweden and Israel have allowed women in combat roles. The roles of military police include policing the cantonments and army establishments, prevent a breach of rules and regulations by soldiers, maintaining movement of soldiers as well as logistics during peace and war, handling prisoners of war and extending aid to civil police whenever required.

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017


NAMRATA JAIN BEATS NAXALISM TO TOP UPSC Namrata Jain secured a rank of 99 in UPSC and her success story is shaped by none other than IAS and IPS officers of the region



MIDST all the fanfare and celebrations for top UPSC rank holders, the news about a young woman securing a rank of 99 would hardly garner any limelight. But Namrata Jain and her success story is a paradox in every sense. First of all, she hails from Dantewada district under the Bastar division, a region notoriously synonymous with the Red Corridor and probably one of the worst-affected Naxalite regions. An alumnus of KPS Bhilai School and engineering degree holder from Bhilai Institute of Technology, this was Namrata’s second attempt for the coveted exams and news about her securing the rank was overjoying. “I knew I had prepared really hard this time, but never in my dreams did I think that I would be able to secure a

Quick Glance Namrata is an alumnus of KPS Bhilai and Bhilai Institute of Technology The district officials have been spearheading a coaching academy She could have chosen corporate life but she stuck to appear for UPSC

What appears to be a paradox in every sense, Namrata Jain’s success story is an example of the monumental change that administrative officers can bring in

rank within the first 100. In fact, I feel on cloud nine!” Namrata says. Having been mentored by a group of IAS and IPS officers under the Dantewada district administration, that included even the district collector, Namrata attributes her achievement to the teachers who guided her and helped her build her confidence for the final interview. Saurabh Kumar, the district collector, feels the pride that any parent would feel upon watching their child take the first step and credits her achievement to her own hard work. “Earlier, all we wanted was that more people should aspire for civil services

from the region, given the notion that everyone has because of the Naxal activity. We also wished that someday a person from Bastar division would become the district collector and with Namrata’s success, we know that day won’t be far away,” he says. For the past three years, the district administrative officials have been spearheading a coaching academy, Lakshya, to train civil service aspirants from Bastar. Dr. Gaurav Singh, who is the Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer, also played an instrumental role along with the collector. “Namrata had been preparing for a while with an institution at Delhi, when someone, upon knowing that her hometown was Dantewada, remarked that she could probably learn a lot more from us,” he says. And soon enough, she packed her bags and headed back home in pursuit of guidance. The period being post mains, Namrata wanted to know how to present oneself during the interview and according to Gaurav, she always had doubts. “We had many sessions of mock interviews, where she would take feedback from us. To keep things more real, we had formed a board that included even my wife, who is an assistant professor, for the interview session,” he adds. Saurabh mentions that this period also helped Namrata understand more about her own region and the shortcomings it lacked. “These sessions helped in drawing her attention to a lot of issues pertaining to the region, prompting her to think like a leader who could bring better changes to a downtrodden society,” he says. Upon asking which department she would prefer, her immediate response was, the administrative services. “After graduating from college, I had the choice and the opportunity to work for corporates but I was adamant about taking up civil services. Ideally, I would want to work in the Naxalaffected regions, and having personally witnessed the bloodbath and gore through the years, I would want to assist in its eradication and work towards developmental initiatives,” she says. Stories of young and driven people like Namrata and the dedication her mentors took in guiding her is beyond inspirational. “Individuals like Namrata are the beacons of hope for people in Chhattisgarh, a state that has probably seen more than a fair share of massacres in the current times. Given the right guidance and support, every child has the potential, despite the adversity”, Saurabh says. May your success inspire many more youngsters to take up civil services and emerge victorious.




EMOJI TO RAISE AWARENESS Plan International to submit designs of ‘period emoji’ to coding consortium SSB BUREAU


‘period emoji’ on mobile devices could help break the taboo of menstruation, according to an international child rights group, which is pushing for an icon to help highlight the stigma that girls experience when they menstruate. Menstruation is still taboo in many countries around the world, where it’s often considered embarrassing or shameful. Women refer to periods using some 5,000 euphemisms, such as “on the rag” and “Bloody Mary”, a 2016 survey of 90,000 people in 190 countries found. “Girls and women have told us about the embarrassment and shame they suffer when it’s their period. We need to make it easier to talk about something that is part of everyday life,” said Danny Vannucchi, Plan International’s campaigns manager. While there are symbols for avocado, a telescope, and even a unicorn, menstruation is not represented as an ‘emoji’, a small icon on smartphones and tablets commonly used to express emotions or physical things. But that is something Plan International wants to change. The charity last week launched five ‘period emojis’ and invited the public to vote for their preferred icon. As of Monday, more than 15,000 people had voted, it said. The winning design will be submitted to coding consortium Unicode for consideration, which distributes emojis across mobile devices. “We’re not saying that an emoji would solve all of these problems, but it will start a conversation, and raise awareness of the challenges.

22 Science & Technology SCIENCE NEWS IN BRIEF


The mission will focus on neutron stars that appear to wink on and off

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017



AmbuSens is capable of wireless monitoring of various physiological parameters like ECG, heartrate, temperature and blood-pressure, even as the patient is travelling to the hospital

Quick Glance This is the first system of a constant monitoring of a patient’s condition on way to the hospital The system preserves patient’s data confidentiality while simultaneously using the power of cloud computing


ASA is set to launch the world’s first mission devoted to studying rapidly spinning neutron stars, the densest objects in the universe. The US space agency plans to launch the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer, or NICER, aboard SpaceX CRS-11, a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station, now rescheduled to be launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday. The SpaceX cargo resupply mission was earlier scheduled for launch last week. The launch was aborted due to bad weather. About a week after its installation aboard the International Space Station as an external attached payload, this one-of-a-kind investigation will begin observing neutron stars - objects containing ultra-dense matter at the threshold of collapse into black holes, NASA said. The mission will focus especially on pulsars those neutron stars that appear to wink on and off because their spin sweeps beams of radiation past us, like a cosmic lighthouse. NICER will also test ‘for the first time in space’ technology that relies on pulsars as navigation beacons. Because of their extreme nature, neutron stars and pulsars have engendered a great deal of interest since their existence was theoretically proposed in 1939 and then discovered in 1967. Neutron stars and pulsars are the remnants of massive stars that, after exhausting their nuclear fuel, exploded and collapsed into super-dense spheres. Just one teaspoonful of neutron star matter would weigh a billion tonnes on Earth. “The nature of matter under these conditions is a decades-old unsolved problem,” Gendreau said. “Theory has advanced a host of models to describe the physics governing the interiors of neutron stars. With NICER, we can finally test these theories with precise observations,” Gendreau said.

The referred hospital and the ambulance will have laptops or tablets with internet connection



NDIAN Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, last week said it has come up with a wireless technology for remote monitoring of patients’ condition ferried in ambulances. Christened ‘AmbuSens’, the technology has been developed in the SWAN lab of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) of the institute. “AmbuSens is capable of wireless monitoring of various physiological parameters like ECG, heart-rate, temperature and blood-pressure. It can be fitted in an ambulance to ensure remote monitoring of patient condition by the doctors even before they reach the hospital,” a statement from the institute said. The system preserves patient’s data confidentiality while simultaneously using the analytic and power of cloud computing. The web interface of the AmbuSens system provides an easy-to-use graphical interface for doctors and paramedics alike with data visualisation tools such as real-time ECG


graph rendering, and can be accessed from internet-enabled laptops, tablets and smartphones. UNIQUE INVENTION “There is no such technology at present that can help doctors at the hospital to continuously monitor the condition of the patient when the latter is on the move. This technology will be a boon for the referral patients who are transported from a hospital in remote area to a city hospital,” said Sudip Misra, a professor at

The technician

accompanying the patient in ambulances has limited knowledge, so this invention can be life saving

department of CSE, IIT Kharagpur, also the principal investigator for developing this system. Currently in such situations apart from family members, a medical technician accompanies a critical patient in an ambulance, he said. “But this technician has limited knowledge. Now with the doctors being able to monitor the patients on transit they can suggest medical interventions to the technician. This can be lifesaving,” said Misra. The embedded system of AmbuSens includes both hardware and software. The referred hospital and the referee hospital as well as the ambulance will have laptops or tablets with internet connection. The patient will be fitted with wireless body sensors, which will help doctors of both referred and referee hospitals to continuously monitor the health condition of the patients in real-time. “We conducted successful field trials of the developed system at All India institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bhubaneswar and BC Roy technological hospital (BCRTH), IIT Kharagpur,” he added.



Scientists make sense how this happens simultaneously


OR centuries, skywatchers have reported seeing and simultaneously hearing meteors whizzing overhead, which doesn’t make sense given that light travels roughly 800,000 times as fast as sound. Now scientists say they have a potential explanation for the paradox. The sound waves aren’t coming from the meteor itself, atmospheric scientists

Michael Kelley of Cornell University and Colin Price of Tel Aviv University propose April 16 in Geophysical Research Letters. As the leading edge of the falling space rock vaporizes, it becomes electrically charged. The charged head produces an electric field, which yields an electric current that blasts radio waves toward the ground. As a type of electromagnetic radiation, radio

waves travel at the speed of light and can interact with metal objects near the ground, generating a whistling sound that people can hear.

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017

Science & Technology



The entire operation has succeeded so far with the various aspects of the GSLV-MKIII in perfect synchronisation with earth station command centre


NDIA has scored a double success, launching its latest and heaviest so far communication satellite GSAT19 with its brand new and heaviest rocket the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) with a cryogenic engine, which performed ably on its maiden flight. The GSLV-Mk III rocket, on its

Quick Glance

first developmental flight, slung the 3,136 kg communication satellite in a geosynchronous transfer orbit from where it would be taken up to its final geostationary orbit. While Indian space scientists named the 640 tonne rocket “fat boy”, the Telugu media nicknamed it “Bahubali”, as like the hero in the massively

GSLV-MK III has been nicknamed by Tamil media as Bahubali due to its might in heaving heavy satellites

PLANET HEAT: 4,300 DEGREES CELSIUS KELT-9b is 2.8 times more massive than Jupiter, but only half as dense. It is nowhere close to habitable


Quick Glance This is the hottest gas giant planet that has ever been discovered, scientists have said Because the planet is tidally locked to its star, one side is always facing toward the star Molecules such as water, carbon dioxide and methane cannot form on the dayside due to massive heat

APPLE’S NEW IPHONE FEATURES iOS 11 is the biggest software release ever for iPad, with Files app and more ways to use Apple Pencil

The GSAT-19 is a multi-beam satellite that carries Ka and Ku band forward and return link transponders


half as dense. It is nowhere close to habitable, but Gaudi said there is a good reason to study worlds that are unlivable in the extreme. “As has been highlighted by the recent discoveries from the MEarth collaboration, the planet around Proxima Centauri, and the astonishing system discovered around TRAPPIST-1, the astronomical community is clearly focused on finding Earthlike planets around small, cooler stars like our sun,” Gaudi said. “They are easy targets and there’s a lot that can be learned about potentially habitable planets orbiting very lowmass stars in general. On the other hand, because KELT-9b’s host star is bigger and hotter than the Sun, it complements those efforts and provides a kind of touchstone for understanding how planetary systems form around hot, massive stars,” he explained. Because the planet is tidally locked to its star as the moon is to Earth one side of the planet is always facing


GSLV-MK III with a cryogenic engine, performed ably on its maiden flight

successful film lifts a heavy Lingam, it carried the heaviest satellite by an Indian rocket. “The cryogenic engine performed flawlessly. We have mastered the cryogenic technology,” Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre Director S. Somanath said. The GSAT-19, as per the ISRO, is a multi-beam satellite that carries Ka and Ku band forward and return link transponders and geostationary radiation spectrometer (GRASP) to monitor and study the nature of charged particles and the influence of space radiation on satellites and their electronic components.

stronomers have discovered the hottest planet ever known, with a dayside temperature of more than 4,300 degrees Celsius. In fact, this planet, called KELT-9b, is hotter than most stars, according to a study published in the journal Nature. “This is the hottest gas giant planet that has ever been discovered,” said Scott Gaudi, Professor at the Ohio State University in Columbus who led a study. KELT-9b is 2.8 times more massive than Jupiter, but only


toward the star, and one side is in perpetual darkness. Molecules such as water, carbon dioxide and methane cannot form on the dayside because it is bombarded by too much ultraviolet radiation. The properties of the nightside are still mysterious molecules may be able to form there, but probably only temporarily. “It’s a planet by any of the typical definitions of mass, but its atmosphere is almost certainly unlike any other planet we’ve ever seen just because of the temperature of its dayside,” said Gaud.


NTRODUCING iOS 11, a major update to the worlds most advanced mobile operating system, Apple has announced it would bring new experiences and several new features to iPhones and iPads this fall. iOS 11 is the biggest software release ever for iPad, with powerful multitasking features, the Files app and more ways to use Apple Pencil. Augmented reality is coming to hundreds of millions of iOS devices with a new platform for developers to build apps that let users place virtual content on top of real-world scenes. Speaking at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) here late on Monday, CEO Tim Cook said this year “it is going to be the best and biggest WWDC ever”. Apple then introduced a music speaker, its first hardware since Apple Watch was rolled out two years ago. Called “HomePod”, the wireless speaker delivers amazing audio quality and uses spatial awareness to sense its location in a room and automatically adjust the audio. Designed to work with an Apple Music subscription for access to over 40 million songs, “HomePod” provides deep knowledge of personal music preferences and tastes and helps users discover new music. “HomePod” will be available starting in December, initially in Australia, Britain and the US. “Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. The event started with Apple CEO welcoming the audience, praising the Apple developer community which already has 16 million registered developers and added three million last year. Which gives Apple its amazing strength.

24 Judiciary

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017




A great initiative has been taken of judges reaching out to school children to teach them the basics of law and their rights within it

Quick Glance



HEN experts in the subject of law take up the initiative to transfer their knowledge of the same to school students, there cannot be happier and more comforting news. In a metropolitan city like Delhi, where there are many cases of adolescents getting involved in criminal activities from the school level itself, such a campaign brings great hope. Even if a small number of children learn from this campaign and share it with their school peers, it will be clear that this campaign has been successful. The Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) has taken up this new initiative upon its shoulders. Earlier, DSLSA had also organised a Street Play Contest which won a lot of applause. At the time of the prize distribution for the children participating in the competition, Judge Indira Banerjee of Delhi High Court joined Deputy Commissioner of Southern District, Ishwar Singh, the DSLSA President and Member Secretary, in gracing the programme. The function was organised at Saket’s Select Citywalk shopping complex. LEGAL ISSUES In the last week of April, in the auditorium of Karkardooma court premises in East Delhi, DSLSA had also launched an awareness campaign for information of the police concerning law. The Joint Commissioner of the area, Ravindra Yadav, along with the Police Inspectors and Sub Inspectors attended the programme. Many times the accused benefit due to the police’s ignorance of the law, and many times the police officers, because of their knowledge of legal matters, are successful in penalizing the accused while staying within the purview of the law. Information about all these things was explained through this awareness campaign. The special feature of this campaign that went on throughout the day was that all the police officers were well aware that the legal experts who have come to share legal information were also like themselves, the custodians of the law. So, with inputs from them, they could use the information to enforce law and to defend themselves. Women

Many judges from Delhi’s district courts and HC are part of this Information about finer nuances of law was explained to the students Many top police officials of the state were also participants

DSLSA has taken the lead for the first time to give information about the basics of law to the school children of Delhi

and the elderly are often victimised and harassed in their own homes and family, and the police are not able to take appropriate decisions even after making sincere efforts to bring them fair justice. Such efforts will offer more legal awareness and information regarding such matters to the police personnel. But in addition to these two campaigns, DSLSA has taken the lead for the first time to give information about the law to the school children of Delhi. About two thousand government and private schools in Eastern District, North-East and Shahdara, Delhi, participated in this campaign which was held for the week before summer holidays began. Experts, right from the Metropolitan Magistrate to the District Judge, all came forward to impart legal literacy. By bringing them legal education, the children were taught how they could apply this information in their own lives. If children get legal information during the early stages and they know their rights, they will not lag behind in the mainstream of society. The main organizer of this campaign was the North-East District Delhi Legal Services Authority.

SCHEME OF THINGS Information about the entire campaign was given by the Metropolitan Magistrate Arvind Bansal. Bansal said: “We view our social responsibilities from time to time as a campaign. Spreading awareness among the police was also a part of this.” Talwant Singh, Judge Northern District, Rakesh Tiwari of North Eastern District and Shahdara District Judge AS Jayachandra attended the programme. According to Bansal, DSLSA has planned to provide legal education to school children from class 9th to 12th in groups of 50-60. This was done in collaboration with the Education Department of Delhi Government. Related questions were asked by the students on this subject and they were given the relevant information. Various kinds of problems in society, whether they are gender issues or sexual atrocities, under-age pregnancies or knowing their rights as adolescents, all these things were discusses with them by law experts. Under the Indian Constitution, the need for this type of special campaign was recognized in order to give information under Article 51-A to these children. In the presence of Chief Justice

of India in the year 2014, a campaign was launched in the Science Hall, Vigyan Bhawan, in Delhi to impart information on of law to the schools children on an ambitious scale. In addition to the Supreme Court judges and High Court judges, senior officers of the Delhi Government were involved in this. In just one day, 850 schools were involved. In the year 2016, a similar campaign was started, and in the second phase 1024 schools were involved. Participating in this program were students who have studied law at various law colleges of Delhi, judicial officers, advocates of various bar associations, educationists, and public prosecutors. Bansal said that to make sure that such programmes continue to be carried out and that this campaign will be taken to the schools, the North-Eastern District Legal Services Authority has decided to implement it in every district for 15 to 20 days in a month. During the programme, it was seen that a new enthusiasm and curiosity emerged in the students. Apart from the students, teachers of those schools also have shown a keen interest in this program. According to the instructions of DSLSA president, children being included at the present are from class the nine to 12th. Of these, 25-30 children are being escorted around in the court premises and information is given about how judicial work is carried out. About one lakh children have become aware during this campaign. Students will know what their rights are and what rights have been determined for them by the Indian Constitution. What can happen if one follows the law and what can happen if one transgresses the rules. Under this legal awareness campaign, the sessions judge SK Sharma and senior advocate Dharmesh Sharma, speaking at the DRP Convent School of Babunagar said that there is a separate law for every section of the country. There are separate laws for children too.

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017

Smart City





T is a little amazing to hear about a one hundred storied city in the nation’s capital a city that is green, a smart city and a residential place without any hindrances or obstacles in life. The city, spread over 75 acres will be fully earthquake resistant. The plan is that the occupants here should not be at too much of a distance from the basics amenities of life. Safety provisions and facilities ranging from hospitals, sports grounds for school children, parks for the elderly, walking paths for ladies, shopping malls, community building, hotel, restaurant, art gallery for creative shows, and cycling and jogging tracks will all be available at a comfortable distance. It will also have arrangements for transport facilities. The most important feature in this tower will be a rotating restaurant on the top floor, a cafe, disco, and a helipad. It will be used for both residential and commercial purposes. SMART BUSINESS After construction, this smart city will be put up for sale. The price has not been decided yet. After calculating the cost of construction, the profit money will be handed over to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). The DDA has signed an agreement (MoU) for this project with **** . The challenge of building this ambitious city has been taken up by National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC). In this project, information technology will be the key premise, which means that work will speed up and people’s needs will be easily met within this city. NBCC claims that the supply and demand in the Smart City will be based solely on market demand. This will benefit the public, the business area and the government.

The plan to build this city was made during the economic slowdown. IDEA SOURCE In 2008, IBM started working on the smart cities concept. Many countries had adopted this concept in 2009. South Korea, UAE and China started work on this and spent a lot of money on research. Currently, Songdo near Seoul, Vienna, Amsterdam and Leoveron are developed on the same pattern. Observing the examples of these cities, the Central Government entrusted the construction of the largest Green City of Delhi to the NBCC. It was decided to build the country’s first 100-storeyed city in Karkardooma in East Delhi. To design it, a Spanish manufacturing company has been associated to work in collaboration with the Indian company. NBCC (3-4 BHK) were constructed in Chairman and Managing Director Dr addition to small and medium sized Arup Kumar Mital said that DDA and apartments. NBCC are excited about this project. A separate sewer treatment plant The initial estimated cost for the has been built within this area which construction of this smart city named is planted with lots of trees so that the ‘East Delhi Hub’ is around Rs 6,000 residents do not face drainage problem. crore. It is estimated to be ready in five “We have been entrusted with years. similar projects On the to renovate Quick Glance question as to why Kidwai Nagar, NBCC was given Sarojini Nagar, The city, spread over 75 acres will the contract, Netaji Nagar and be fully earthquake resistant Mital says that Nauroji Nagar. In their credibility in some places the Occupants should not be too far such construction construction has from the basics amenities of life projects has been completed, The most important feature will be a already been in other places, rotating restaurant on the top floor tested. “In New the process of Delhi, we have construction is retained our going on speedily. reliability by redeveloping a similar Another model is located in East smart city in New Moti Bagh.” Delhi, near Sanjay Lake. The Kidwai This model is known as Project Nagar Green City, presently under Green Home Complex. The area of construction in front of AIIMS, is Moti Bagh, which was built for officials spread over 86 acres, and around 5,000 working in the Government of India, flats will be built here.” was also spread over 100 acres. Here, East Delhi Hub of Karkardooma five hundred large-sized apartments will be completely free of garbage. Sewer and waste will be transformed into drinking water in this place. As per the demand, a strong power backup system will be built. This 75-acre area will be known for the hundred floors of the building, and

NBCC claims that the supply and demand in the Smart City will be based solely on market calls

An ambitious project of a 100-storied city – with all amenities ­is on its way to be constructed by NBCC in East Delhi’s Karkardooma

also for the amenities which will be provided here. Apart from the hundred- floor level, there will be some flats of lower height. The NBCC is taking the construction of this pilot project, built with state-of-the-art technology, as a challenge. Being the first smart city in Delhi, formalities have been initiated for connectivity with all the other agencies to provide the required support systems. SELLING IDEA There is a plan to provide state-of-theart technology to young professionals. Special attention has been paid so that people with varying purchasing capacities can buy flats here. Efforts have been made to provide pick- anddrop services for NMT agencies and all public transports. Attention will be paid to transportation and other facilities of people commuting to and from this place. There will be separate arrangements for pedestrians. Open space will be provided in buildings where laser shows can be arranged. All green areas and parks will be linked with biogas plants and items obtained from organic means. Five hundred well-lit apartments with all the facilities will be built for the elderly.

26 Environment ENVIRO-NEWS ASSAM


The state has been ravaged environmentally and the CM now wants people to take ownership of environmental resources

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017



A major sweep, literally, of Assam’s train tracks and stations is on in promoting an ODF ‘green corridor’



SSAM Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on World Environment Day has urged people in the state to plant a tree each. Exhorting the people to extend their whole hearted cooperation to achieve the goal of a pollution free state, the Chief Minister said that each citizen must take responsibility of planting trees and looking after those plants so that the green cover of the state can be increased and effect of deforestation can be negated. It is to be mentioned that the theme of this year’s World Environment Day was



ORTH EAST Frontier Railway’s first ‘green corridor’ will be commissioned in the ChaparmukhSilghat Town section in Assam, officials said. The officials said various initiatives are being taken and implemented by the North East Frontier Railway towards fulfilling the goal of a Swachh Bharat under the leadership of the Railway Minister. The 81-km Chaparmukh – Silghat town section is planned to be converted into a discharge free Green

Corridor within June this year. Four more sections: Rangiya – Murkongselek (448 kms including Naharlagun, Dekargaon and Bhalukpong), Badarpur – Agartala (225 km), Silchar – Jiribam (50 km) and Silchar - Bhairabi (83 km) are also proposed to be converted into Green Corridor within this financial year. They further said 2,990 environment friendly, zero discharge bio-toilets have been fitted in 865 coaches within NF Railway. All coaches are expected to be fitted with bio-toilets by the year 2019-


BIRDS FACE EXTINCTION “Connecting People to Nature” on the utmost urgency that the world needs to show in preserving the ecology and environment for a sustainable future of planet earth. Sonowal also said that the government is committed to reduce the pressure on the environment and preserve the forest cover of the state so that a pollution free environment can be ensured for the future generations. Activities such as illegal felling of trees in the forest reserves and harming the flora and fauna disturbing ecological balance have been effectively checked by the government and stringent actions would be taken against wrong doers, he said.

Scarily, the bird species seem unaware of the problem because it is happening slowly, but the threat is strong IANS


ISING sea levels are posing a major threat to dozens of species of coastal nesting birds, with some at risk of facing extinction within 20 years, according to researchers at the Australian National University (ANU). Coastal nesting birds are those which choose to nest and reproduce close to the sea shore meaning their nesting sites are most at risk to not only rising sea levels but the increasing number of tidal floods, something ANU lead researcher Liam Bailey said was occurring more often as a result of global warming. In a statement released recently, Bailey said much like the scientific metaphor in which a frog remains in a pot of water as

Quick Glance Various initiatives are being implemented by the NEFR The Chaparmukh-Silghat section is planned to be converted first Guwahati, New Jalpaiguri and Katihar are Clean Train Stations

20. On Board Housekeeping Services (OBHS) for maintaining cleanliness of coaches on board has been provided in 50 pairs of trains. More trains will be provided with this facility shortly. “Vigorous efforts are being made to build up awareness about cleanliness in trains, stations, railway colonies and offices. Special drives are conducted in this regard. Street plays are staged, posters displayed and public address system in stations are being used to make people aware of the virtue of cleanliness. Various organisations like Rotary Club, Sant Nirankari Charitable Foundation, NGOs, Scouts & Guides are also associated with railways effort to build up awareness,”’ the officials said here. In the latest all India survey report on cleanliness which was declared few days back, Rangiya station in Assam has secured 7th position among “A” category stations, an improvement of 71 places in comparison to last year. Similarly, Guwahati station has secured 18th position among “A1” category station an improvement of 55 places from last year. Other important stations like Lumding, New Coochbehar, Alipurduar junctions have also improved their positions in comparison to last year. it slowly warms up while a frog dropped in hot water would jump out immediately, shorebirds were showing no response to the gradual increase in the number of tidal floods something which spells trouble for species around the world. “Sea levels rising and more frequent flooding are major drivers of this steep decline in coastal birds,” Bailey, from the ANU Research School of Biology, said. “Our study species, the Eurasian oystercatcher, lives in an area where flooding is becoming more common, posing a threat to the survival of the population. “Our study found no evidence that Eurasian oystercatchers have increased the elevation of their nests, even among birds that lost a nest during a flood. Factors including the presence of predators or unsuitable vegetation might discourage birds from nesting higher.” Bailey added that some species in the low-lying marsh areas in the US could be driven to extinction within 20 years unless more is done to encourage the birds to either nest earlier in the year to avoid tidal floods, or nest in slightly higher ground.

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017



Additional Chief Secretary (Forest and Environment) Shreeranjan has launched the new monitoring system



ITH growing vehicle numbers and construction activities raising concerns over the capital city’s pollution levels, Meghalaya’s Pollution Control Board has come up with a new emission monitoring system to keep tabs on the situation. Over the last few years, the number of vehicles has increased significantly in the hill city known for its greenery and natural beauty. Moreover, increasing construction activities have been leading to a rise in particulate matter in the air. Additional Chief Secretary (Forest and Environment) Shreeranjan has launched the new monitoring system

The minister appreciated

the launch of the emission monitoring system which he said would help in keeping pollution levels under control developed by Knowledge Lens Pvt Ltd.The developer has provided a single server platform known as Green Lens (Glens) which has been installed on the cloud server for the Pollution Control Board.

There are serious concerns over the capital city’s pollution levels The developer has a single server platform known as Green Lens An online monitoring system of the MSPCB was also launched

DIRECT CAPTURE Under the system, data pertaining to emission and air quality is directly captured from the instruments installed at the industries which is then transmitted to the board using a dedicated internet service. The additional chief secretary asked all government departments to adopt people-friendly approaches by using technology and in the process they can address various violations and grievances and respond to it accordingly. Simultaneously, an online consent management and monitoring system of the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board was also launched by state’s Environment Minister Clement Marak. Marak said the system will help in automating the existing workflow associated with the consent management and monitoring system, which exists in most pollution control boards and committees. The minister appreciated the launch of the emission monitoring system which he said would help in keeping the pollution levels under check.

PLAGUED MYANMAR’S CLIMATE POLICY The policy is being formulated in collaboration with civil society, private parties and experts from across all sectors


HE Myanmar government is working towards the adoption of a national climate change policy, the launch of which it expects to announce soon, a media report said last week. The policy is being formulated in collaboration with civil society, private sector and experts from across all sectors, and will be launched along with a new national climate change strategy and action plan, Xinhua news agency reported. President U Htin Kyaw disclosed this at a ceremony celebrating the World Environment

Day in Nay Pyi Taw last week. The President encouraged Myanmar people to appreciate and help preserve the beauty of the country, one of the most ecologically diverse countries in Asia, urging people to take forward the call of the theme of the World Environment Day to connect with the nature. Myanmar is home to over 18,000 species of plants, some 1,100 species of birds and almost 300 species of mammals. Of them, 61 species of plants and 44 species of mammals are globally classified as endangered or critically endangered species. The species of Golden Deer and six species of bird in the global endangered species list can



Quick Glance




only be found in Myanmar. Myanmar, a signatory to the Paris Climate Change Agreement, has voiced commitment to preserving and protecting the environment which includes combating the effects of global warming. However, Myanmar’s many natural forests are being depleted at a rapid rate with air quality and fresh water resources being threatened. The country is experiencing an unprecedented increase in temperature and extreme weather events more than ever before. Some major storms struck the country in 2008 and in 2017, towns and villages in western Rakhine state were impacted by the powerful cyclone Mora.


WOMEN READ MIND BETTER A study at University of Cambridge has found women to be better reader of minds, thanks to a gene IANS


VER wondered how your wife or partner is able to read your thoughts and emotions just by looking at your eyes? Her ability to interpret may be the result of a gene influence, say researchers, one of Indian-origin. The findings showed that the genetic variants on chromosome 3 in women are associated with their ability to read the mind in the eyes -- known as cognitive empathy. The closest genes in this tiny stretch of chromosome 3 include LRRN1 (Leucine Rich Neuronal 1) which is highly active in a part of the human brain called the striatum -- which has been shown using brain scanning to play a role in cognitive empathy, the researchers said. “This is an important step forward for the field of social neuroscience and adds one more piece to the puzzle of what may cause variation in cognitive empathy,” said Varun Warrier, doctoral student at the University of Cambridge. Scientists have built upon a study first performed 20 years ago, called the “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” test. For the new study, published in the current issue of journal Molecular Psychiatry, the team analysed cognitive empathy in 89,000 people on this test. Results of the study confirmed that women on average do score better on this test because of gene’s influence.

28 Superb Technology

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017



A 16 year-old girl from Jhansi invents a solar AC, a breakthrough that will enable people in rural areas combat the scorching heat Quick Glance The AC has been invented by Kalyani Srivastava, a class 12th science student Kalyani has been invited by the Japanese government to share the technology details Uttar Pradesh government had bestowed its highest award ‘Naari Samman” last year to Kalyani



AILING from a place where the mercury soars to 48 degree Celsius in the summers, a 16-year-old girl from Jhansi has invented a low-cost airconditioner. It comes at the cost of a ceiling fan only and, it does not give you power bill shocks. During summer, the sun soars to such a level in entire Bundelkhand that it becomes hard to find a soul on the roads after 12 noon. During the peak summer, even courts and government offices run from 7 am to 12 noon. “Since childhood, I had a dream to invent something which affordable that gives relief to natives of my region from scorching heat,” claims Kalyani Srivastava. A Class 12 science student, Kalyani started working on the project about two years ago. Success came sooner than expected. Her initial model turned her dream into reality. She used a thermocol icebox, wrapped it with silver foil, fitted a 12-Volt fan to suck the hot air. The air is circulated into locally made cooling chamber and the cool air is thrown out with an elbow. Initially, she ran the AC with electricity but then modified it to make it energy efficient, env ironment- f r iend ly and affordable. She used a DC fan and generated power through a solar

Kalyani, a student of

Class 12, has invented a solar powered AC that has attracted the attention of scientists from India & Japan, since it costs less than an average celing fan panel. “All the items used in making the AC are cheap and environmentfriendly. It cost me only Rs 1,800 to built the solar AC machine,” claims Kalyani Within one hour of running the ‘desi AC’, the room temperature comes down by 4 to 6 degrees Celcius. The longer it runs, the cooler the room becomes. Since it does not require electricity, the running cost of this unique AC is practically nil. A student of Lokmanya Tilak Inter College, her innovative ‘desi AC’ was selected among 81 models in Uttar Pradesh for display at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi where it was selected for the national level model competition. Her model not only drew applause and curiosity from

Indian scientists but foreign scientists are also amazed at her invention of the cheapest AC. Kalyani has been invited by the Japanese government to share the ‘desi’ techonology she used in inventing the cost-effective solar AC. “I am happy to get an opportunity to learn from the best scientists in Japan. It will help me improve my model,” says Kalyani. In days of global warming, scientists at the Delhi IIT found her invention to be most effective in rural areas where 24 hour power supply still remains a distant dream. In most of villages across the country, people still rely on handheld fans to cool themselves off. An improved version of this Solar AC may revolutionise lifestyle of rural folks who cannot even dream of

buying an AC. “Kalyani carries a big dream to see that her affordable product is installed in every house-hold in Bundelkhand where mercury soars to a record high each passing year. Days are not far off when her solar AC is found in every thatched hut,” claims Zeeshan Ali, a Jhansi-based journalist. Her parents are teachers. Father Dinsesh Chandra Srivastava and mother Divya Srivastava are happy that their daughter has made them proud. “She has God-gifted talents. Since childhood she showed her talent by bringing laurels from any music competition she participated in,” claims Divya. Kalyani has participated in Indian Idol Reality show and has so far won in about 50 music competitions in many states. Recognising her talent, the Uttar Pradesh government had bestowed its highest award ‘Naari Samman” last year. “But we never knew that with her natural singing talent, she was carrying a scientist in her. She shared the idea with me when she was in Class 9. I thought she was joking but when she started working on it we encouraged her newlyacquired skill. The result is before us,” says her father Dinesh. Kalyani is now planning to get her product patented. A lot of AC manufacturing companies have already approached her with proposals for the manufacturing of her invention. “I am not in a hurry. First, I will work on improving it further to make it run at nights as well, when the solar energy is unavailable. Storing solar energy in cost-effective way is the challenge,” she claims.

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017

Solar Power



MORE SOLAR POWER NEEDED Power for businesses and appliances - not just lights - is needed to bring real change in rural India, researchers find



NDIA plans to install 10,000 smallscale solar-power grids across the country in next five years, to bring basic electrical power to communities without it. But providing access to a minimal supply of clean energy – enough to power two LED lights for a few hours and charge a mobile phone – is probably not enough to significantly improve people’s lives. A study in Uttar Pradesh, which looked at more than a thousand homes that had received basic access to clean electricity for the first time, found that spending on expensive kerosene for lighting had fallen benefitting the families. But access to a couple hours a day of electricity was not enough to boost savings, help launch new businesses, increase time spent working or studying, or otherwise significantly improve people’s lives, researchers found. What appears to be needed instead are larger clean power systems capable of providing enough energy to power businesses throughout the day, said Michael Aklin, the study’s lead author and a political science professor at the University of Pittsburgh. “Larger off-grid systems that offer more power could be used for appliances and machinery, with more potential for livelihood creation,” he said. Such systems could be used to run businesses such as internet cafes, fuel

stations, repair shops and banks, as well as schools and health centers, he said. Income-earning businesses of that kind would make it easier to pay back the higher up-front costs of installing clean energy systems – and “could make a major contribution to rural development in India”, Aklin said. Adarkanta Jena, 53, an engineer with the government of Odisha state, agreed that at least eight hours of uninterrupted power a day are needed to run popular small businesses such as welding shops producing grills for windows, flour mills and machines for hulling or threshing rice. And “12 hours a day is the minimum power supply that will enable children to study extra hours, provide women a lighted space to cook and the family not to eat dinner in the dark. Having electricity from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., at least, could bring social and economic change,” he predicted.

Frustrations with the power supply are hardly limited to clean power users in India. Even75 percent of families connected to grid power in rural areas – 700 million people – regularly get less than six hours of uninterrupted power a day, according to a 2016 study by the Delhibased Centre for Science and Environment. India’s government aims to bring 500-megawatt mini-grid solar systems to about a fifth ofthe country’s 1.3 billion people in the next five years, according to a government draft policy. More than 230 million people in India still have no access to basic electricity, often in rural areas where expanding the national power grid is too expensive. Expanding access to power aims to boost household incomes, help students study, provide better access to information via radio or television and generally improve life for rural people, studies have suggested. But the Uttar Pradesh study – which looked at 1,281 households in 81 communities – found that providing about two hours of electricity in the evening via clean energy mini-grids resulted in few significant changes. Many households continued to use subsidised kerosene for lighting after the mini-grid power shut off, said the study published in Science Advances magazine. Electrification programs that focus on off-grid technologies must think carefully about whether low-cost minimal systems are the right answer, the study said. Clementine Chambon, co-founder of Oorja Solutions, which will begin setting up clean energy mini-grids systems in the Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh in June, said she agreed that providing larger amounts of power to supply businesses, rather than just homes, could help solar systems pay for themselves more quickly – and could subsidise household use of

Quick Glance India plans to install 10,000 small solar power grids in next five years This is enough for lighting two LED lights and charging handsets A study found that more power is needed to boost business activities

power. “Oorja will cross-subsidise residential consumers through higher electricity tariffs for businesses. This renders clean energy affordable to all, whilst ensuring the profitability of the mini-grid infrastructure,” Chambon said. India eventually aims to expand its grid power system throughout the country, but there will be five to 15 years while that is underway where other solutions – such as mini-grids – are needed, according to Ashvin Dayal, the Rockefeller Foundation’s managing director for Asia. Those are crucial years both for meeting world goals to extend clean electricity to communities without it and to curb climate-changing emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, which calls for fossil fuels to be phased out by the second half of the century. The cost of producing solar power in India has plunged in recent months, hitting a level that makes it price competitive with fossil fuels, including coal, experts say. That makes it increasingly feasible to shift to using clean energy mini-grids, which could result in substantial savings on national subsidies for fossil fuel, according to Aditya Ramji, a Delhi-based renewable energy consultant. India has the potential to produce nearly 750,000 megawatts of solar power, according to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Given current patterns of household consumption, one megawatt can power about 1,500 rural households, Ramji said. A 2016 sustainable energy study by the International Energy Initiative found that an average Indian household that relies on kerosene lamps for lighting spends 3,200 rupees ($50) each year on the fuel and emits more than 380 kg of climate-changing gases in the process. Chambon said the results of the Uttar Pradesh study should not deter investment in solar mini-grids but instead help “improve the delivery and impact of rural electrification. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

30 Initiative

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017

Quick Glance


‘INCLUSIVE INDIA INITIATIVE’ LAUNCHED The initiative is aimed at providing education, empowerment and community life to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities



HE ‘Inclusive India Initiative’ of National Trust under Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is specifically catering to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities; with an objective to include these people in the mainstream and in all important aspects of social life - education, employment and community. ‘Inclusive India Initiative’ is aimed at changing people’s attitude towards this community. The National Trust has launched 10 schemes to provide help to the disabled. The Trust provides Skill Development to Divyangjans (the disabled) through “Divyangjan Vitta Vikas Nigam” and make them self dependent. Now, the Divangjans are being provided scholarships for studying both in India and abroad. They are being provided aid and assistive devices through nationwide camps. Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment by Thawar Chand Gehlot says that so far more than them 5300 camps have been

organised by his Ministry where aids and assistive devices worth Rs. 500 crores have been distributed to Divyangjans. The Minister was delivering the inaugural address at a conference “Inclusive India Initiative: Towards an Inclusive India” for intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs). The conference was organized by the Trust in collaboration with key partners. Thaawar Chand Gehlot, in his inaugural address said that we have always believed in “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” and the Divyangjans are an integral part of our society. They need proper guidance. The National Trust is playing an important role in the welfare of Divyangjans. Addressing the conference, Union Minister of State (I/C) for Youth

Affairs & Sports Vijay Goel said that the in the last Para Olympic Games Divyangjans have participated exceedingly well and his Ministry of sports have launched a special Portal for future players including Divyangjan players, who will play in the coming Olympic games. He assured of all help and cooperation of his Ministry is promoting and nourishing talents of Divyangjans. Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy in his address said that the Divyagjans are specially abled persons whose skills can be enhanced through proper skill development and his Ministry will extend all sort of help and cooperation in this regard. Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog in his address said that the differently abled persons are very talented with special abilities. Many new programmes have been initiated for their inclusive growth. He opined that we must allow their special potential to blossom. The Inclusive India initiative is an attempt to facilitate the realisation of equal opportunities, protection of rights and full participation of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities into the fabric of society. The three core focus areas of Inclusive India Initiative are Inclusive Education, Inclusive Employment and Inclusive Community Life. In the domain of Inclusive Education, large-scale awareness campaigns would be executed on pan-India basis, making the schools and colleges inclusive for the children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Association with government and private organisations will be explored for making the infrastructure of educational institutes accessible and inclusive, by

The Trust was envisaged with a core mission of

providing opportunities for capacity development of persons with Disabilities and their families

Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has set up a Trust The Trust has launched an Inclusive India Initiative for them The Initiative has started 10 new schemes for the disabled

providing necessary mobility aids, assistive devices, accessible information and social support. The initiative will engage at least 2000 corporate sector organisations; public and private, for creating awareness towards inclusive employment for persons with intellectual disabilities, during the current financial year. The efforts towards accomplishing inclusive community life can be made successful, only when the people with intellectual and development disabilities, their families, Civ il Society organisations and State Government connect. The Inclusive India Initiative was born out of this very need of creating awareness among general public, ensuring that the people becomes sensitive towards the focus the focus group. The National Trust is a statutory body of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, set upunder the “National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Retardation and Multiple Disabilities” Act (Act 44 of 1999). The National Trust was envisaged with a core mission of providing opportunities for capacity development of Persons with Disabilities and their families, fulfilling their rights, facilitating and promoting the creation of an enabling environment and an inclusive society. Besides Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment by Thawar Chand Gehlot, Union Minister of State (I/C) for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Union Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs & Sports (I/C) Vijay Goel, those who graced the conference with their presence were CEO, Niti Aayog, Amitabh Kant, UN Resident Coordinator, Yuri Afanasiev, Secretary, DEPwD, N.S. Kang, Chairman, National Trust, Kamlesh Pandey, and CEO, National Trust Mukesh Jain and officials from Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. A vision document on ‘Inclusive India Initiative’ was also released and a few MoUs of the National Trust signed with key partners were exchanged on the occasion.

JUNE 12 - 18, 2017

Book Reviews



‘NANAK NAAM JAHAJ DA’ He was the towering figure of his time, which is why the Punjabi film was so named: Nanak, the Great Ship. A book review by Vikas Dutta

Quick Glance Guru Nanak is one of the saints who bridged the moral divide The author uses the oldest vars to present an accurate account of him The story of his meeting with Babar will be food for thought



N every age, when humanity becomes mired in gross materialism, ritualistic faith and religious antagonism, there appears an inspired figure seeking to bridge the divide, show a better path and revive relations with the divine. They are no strangers to the Indian subcontinent and, among them, one of the most profound was Guru Nanak. While much of his teachings can be summed up in a prayer, formulated by his final human successor, ending “Nanak naam charhdi kala, tere bhaane sarbat da bhala” (rather loosely, “Nanak, with the (holy) name, comes rising positivity, with your blessings and God’s will, may all be happy”), there is much more making him relevant to our times. This is chiefly, but not limited to, how valid is religious observance if one harbours evil thoughts or performs wrong acts, how people should treat each other, and even -more importantly for today -- what they can eat. And this is what artist, photographer and writer Sumeet Arora seeks to bring out in this book, which seeks to present a coherent and realistic (as far as possible) account of the saint’s life, the temper of his times and his key teachings. But the issue is that while Nanak (1469-1539), whose teachings laid the foundations of what became

Sikhism, is a comparatively recent figure historically, what we know about him comes from a few extant, rather hagiographic and often contradictory accounts, chiefly the four “janamsakhis”. These anecdotal accounts narrated down the generations, while depicting “his biography quite illustratively”, cannot be relied for chronology or veracity. Then there is Bhai Gurdas’ “vars”, written close to a century after Nanak’s death to weed out inaccuracies about his life, as well as many later works. Aurora uses the oldest “Puratan” janamsakhi, the “vars” as well as the contributions of later scholars to “present the past as meticulously as possible”. Charting Nanak’s childhood, spiritual development and reluctance to lead a conventional existence, his leaving home to wander around India and further as an itinerant preacher to spread his message of good thoughts and works, oneness of man and his

His teachings are

primarily how valid is religious observance if one harbours evil thoughts or does wrong acts, and how people should treat each other and even what they eat religions, and compassion, it also analyses his key texts like “Japji Sahab” and “Asa di Var”. For those who have some knowledge of the religious figure, whose syncretism was manifested by his description as “Nanak Shah Fakir, Hindu ka Guru, Musalmanon ka Pir”, there will be several points that strike a resonance as Aurora seeks to identify the genesis of some his best-known “shabads” in the events that inspired them, or

recount events that have become near-legendary. Take, for example, “Antar mael ji tirath nhave..” when Nanak visited Allahabad and saw the pilgrims on the banks of the Sangam, waiting for the dip that would cleanse all their accumulated sins, or the episode of the “duel” fostered on him by Muslim pir Wali Kandhari. There are then the telling stories about Nanak sending his lifelong disciple, Mardana, to a nearby town with two paise (they were worth something then) to get a paise worth of truth and lies each, and gently rebuking a rich man of Lahore for vulgar display of wealth by asking him to carry a needle for him into the next world. However, the story of his interaction with Babar will provide some food for thought to those seeing a recent part of Indian history in stark black and white terms. Aurora, however, gets trapped in an old but knotty theological problem -- treating a religious leader as a conduit of divine will and miracles may explain their influence and followers but downplaying of the human attributes makes them exceptional and remote, which might have been far from what they intended. Then his language, in places, gets a little too florid and jarring - use of verbs like “slouched” or “huddled” (for movement) or terms like the “ravenous eyes” of a thirsty man and more, and provided a transliterated version of Nanak’s shabads, not only translations, to give an idea of their cadence. On the other hand, his artwork as well as that of his father, gifted artist Devender Singh, complement the retelling of Nanak’s story, which is always inspiring and beneficial to read.


JUNE 12 - 18, 2017



PRINCE’S BIRD AMBULANCE Painter Prince makes sign boards, but he cannot see the pain and sorrow of birds, so he has made the country’s first bird ambulance


V E RYO N E bike. Since then, loves birds, Prince has got the but hardly e-bike fitted with an anyone worries about ambulance to rescue their health. But this birds. Prince says that was the reason why Prince, nature has given the birds the who makes sign boards in ability to take care of themselves. Chandigarh, finally decided to If these winged creatures are in make the country’s first bird danger from anyone, they are ambulance. Prince looks for none other but human beings. injured birds everywhere Most birds are killed due to and then cures them in his the mistakes of people. Pawan bird ambulance. His Bird even ensures that birds find Ambulance is a dignity even in kind of e-bike. He has Nature has given birds the death. Earlier, for already cremated ability to take care of many years, he 550 birds and has had used the saved the lives of themselves. But due the cycle as a bird mistakes of human beings many injured ambulance to ones. In the the birds suffer take care of the summer, he offers injured birds. When this water bowls to people so that they campaign came to be noticed by can keep them on the roofs of the the world, a bank tried to donate houses for the birds to get water a van for his work. When Prince, to drink. Prince is receiving concerned by the pollution awards for his unique campaign caused by petrol fumes declined now. His name has also appeared the offer, he was presented with a in the Limca Book of Records.




THE SMART DUSTBIN A smart dustbin run by SIM card has been made by a B Tech student from Ghaziabad


HERE are several types of campaigns going on across the country with relation to ‘Swatcch Bharat,’ and some exciting innovations are being witnessed. A smart-dustbin made by Pawan Kumar, a BTech student from Ghaziabad of UP, is causing great interest in this connection. Recently, Pawan showed this dustbin to BJP MP and Delhi

state party president Manoj Tiwari, who liked it very much. He has promised to tell Prime Minister Narendra Modi about this invention soon. Pawan has been asked to keep all the preparations ready for this. Pawan is now doing B.Tech with computer science. In the first year of his studies, tech savvy Pawan has prepared a Smart Dustbin. For this dustbin he spent only Rs. 8,000; the college director Dr Prem Aggarwal helped him with Rs. 5,100. This dustbin has a GSM panel with two sensors, diodes, and microcontrollers in which a mobile SIM can be installed. The number of this SIM will be the identity of the dustbin. Each trash can be attached to 2 mobile numbers. Pawan has set a command through IC programming which will send messages to both the attached numbers as soon as the filling of trash is done. Till the trash is emptied, the bin will continue to send messages every 30 seconds. This technique can work in plastic or metal, any dustbin. According to Pawan, only 15-20 volt power is needed to run the smart dustbin for which a solar plate can be installed on the trash bin itself. There will be no separate electricity costs.


32 Unsung Hero



Cambodian car mechanic Penn Long watched a YouTube video and made the aircraft


OU Tube videos are not only entertaining but also manyof them are highly educative. They include anything from school studies instructions to rather crazy ways of solving math problems, to education on the environment and

climate change and what to do about these problems. Everything can be learned here, from the studies in various subjects to dance. But can anyone even learn to build an aircraft by watching a YouTube video? Yes, this is possible and it has been proved by Cambodia’s car mechanic Penn Long. Learning from YouTube, he not only made a craft, but also accomplished the flight. Interestingly, Penn made this craft with recycled items. He had a childhood dream about this, but he feared that if someone came to know about it, then they would make fun of him. Penn quietly started building bits of the aircraft with the money he saved. For this, he watched a lot of videos from YouTube about how to make the aircraft and how to make it fly. Penn’s plane, based on the old Japanese model, has a 5.5 metre wing span. It also has a plastic chair and a car’s dashboard has been used as the craft’s control panel. On his first flight watched by the entire village, Penn could fly only up to 50 metres. But he did not give up. He has spent more than $10,000 on his aircraft. It is expected that in a few days he will have his own model of the aircraft, which will be quite economical. Penn’s next plan is to design a ship. And yes, he is backto YouTube for the lessons in shipbuilding.

RNI No. DELENG/2016/71561, Joint Commissioner of Police (Licensing) Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016 VOLUME - 1, ISSUE - 26 Printed by Monika Jain, Published by Monika Jain on behalf of SULABH SANITATION MISSION FOUNDATION and Printed at The Indian Express Ltd., A-8, Sector-7, NOIDA (U.P.) and Published from RZ 83, Mahavir Enclave, Palam-Dabri Road, New Delhi – 110 045. Editor Monika Jain