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"Water and Well-Being in India" 28th May 2018

Improving Sanitation
Sewage treatment plants are a must
At a conference in Stockholm, Naina Lal Kidwai felt embarrassed when India was lambasted for its poor sanitation. “As an Indian in the audience, it was awful to hear that,” she says. Her latest book, Survive or Sink, presents a practical approach to sanitation, waste management and pollution. The 61-year-old says it has been a fairly easy transition from the corner office in the HSBC headquarters in Fort, Mumbai, to checking toilets and open drains in villages.
No free rice for villages that are not open defecation free: Puducherry LG Kiran Bedi
The territorial government's free rice scheme would be operated in rural areas only after local MLAs and commune panchayat commissioners certify that the hamlets are open defecation and garbage free by May 31, Puducherry Lt governor Kiran Bedi said on Saturday. Bedi stated this in a WhatsApp message to mediapersons after her weekend visits to some villages, where she expressed dissatisfaction over the 'slow pace' of implementation of the rural sanitation programme.
Odisha govt sets target to make state open defecation free by end of this year
The state government has set an ambitious target to make all districts of the state open defecation free (ODF) by end of this year. It also aims to declare four districts ODF within two months. Chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said this after reviewing implementation of the ongoing ‘Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM)’ in the state on Thursday. He along with Parameswaran Iyer, drinking water and sanitation secretary of government of India, chaired a high level meeting on the issue at the state secretariat here.
No toilet, no pay: Government employees in Sitapur asked to "pose for selfies"
The District Magistrate of Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh has issued an order for all government employees here to pose in front of toilets in their homes to prove that they do not relieve themselves in the open. Failure to send the selfie could mean no salary for the month of May.
Sitapur: Govt employees asked to take selfies in front of toilets
Sitapur District Magistrate has taken the Swacch Bharat mission to another level by issuing an order, asking all government employees to submit a picture of them posing in front of the toilet at their home. The employees will also have to submit a certificate proof of their respective toilets to ensure that every household has a toilet built. The step has been taken by the District Magistrate in a bid to make the district free from open defecation.
Plea to keep Guntur district in first place in Open Defecation-Free
Rural Water Supply secretary B Ramanajaneyulu appreciated the efforts of the district administration for announcing Guntur district as Open Defecation-Free. He conducted a meeting with the RWS and Panchayat Raj officials. He urged the people to show same spirit to keep Guntur district as (ODF Plus) in the first place in the state. He stressed on the need to separate dry and wet garbage and keep villages clean. He insisted on construction of toilets in every house and cleaning of the side drains.
How Meghan Markle got the world talking about periods
When the Duchess, a proud feminist, selected a small charity in India that offers women access to sanitary products, she was hailed for highlighting the deeply unfashionable subject of periods. The issue of 'period poverty', and its effects on women both here and internationally, is finally gaining attention: the Girl Guides has just announced it is introducing a badge dedicated to it. The charity, Myna Mahila Foundation, aims to break taboos around menstrual hygiene in India, and employs women in Mumbai’s urban slums to make affordable sanitary pads and then sell them back into their communities. The organisation was the only non-British charity on the Duke and Duchess’s list.
DCM Shriram Ltd. Signs MoU for Kota School Sanitation Project; Launches “Shriram Swachagrah Project”
DCM Shriram Ltd. Under the aegis of DCM Foundation has initiated the “Shriram Swachagrah Project” for improvement of sanitation infrastructure in 1072 Govt. Schools comprising of 777 Primary and 295 Secondary Schools of the entire Kota District. The project is spread over a period of 3 - 4 years and involves total Project expenditure between Rs. 15 - 20 crores.
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan ground realities expose poor sanitation coverage, hyped "open-defecation free" claims
In Jampada village of Jharsuguda, a declared 100 percent ODF district, there are 40 households and all of them do have a toilet. But they are not used as the village does not have a water supply. All that it has is a single handpump outside the village. Some other villages in Jharsuguda and Deogarh in Odisha, both ODF districts, tell a similar story.
CAG of India Climbs into Toilet Pit, Empties Human Compost with Own Hands!
On Thursday, in an attempt to abolish this very stigma and set an example among his peers and the villagers present, Rajiv Mehrishi, a former IAS officer and the current Comptroller and Auditor General of India, climbed down into a twin-pit toilet in rural Maharashtra and emptied it with his bare hands.
Water scarcity sees revival of open defecation
Toilets constructed in thousands of households in rural areas in parched Bundelkhand region of MP have remained unused as the locals struggled to get a few pitchers of water for their daily use (for cooking and drinking purposes) by tapping water sources far away from their villages. Abandoned toilets are a common sight in the water scarce villages of Sendhpa, Biro, Kisangarh, Gohadibaksaha, Ranital, and Sangrampura in Chhattarpur and Bori, Bomrikala, Pahadikhurd, Tihrika, and Bomrikala Van in Tikamgarh district. “The SBM in villages facing serious water crisis has proved to be damp squib and the abandoned toilets in the houses in the parched region of rural Bundelkhand bear testimony to it,” said social activist P. Guwahara.
Bhopal: Make your districts open defecation free by September, says chief secretary to collectors
Chief Secretary Basant Pratap Singh expressed his annoyance on Thursday to the 14 collectors which have been found to be lagging behind in eradication of open defecation from their districts, under the Swachh Bharat Mission of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. During a Parakh video conferencing session with the collectors Singh said that the matter of making their districts open defecation free (ODF) is not limited only to them rather he too have to answer about it to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
Open Defecation-free Maharashtra? Railways "potty" trains motormen
Yet the Suburban Railways has identified stretches that have 'night soil and unhygienic track conditions' and cautioned motormen to go slow there. 'Night soil' is a sweet-smelling term for human excreta. Speed restrictions have been imposed for other reasons such as construction of bridges, newly laid lines, presence of level crossing, defective rail, etc. Central Railway's (CR) situation is shittier than Western Railway's (WR). CR authorities have issued speed restrictions on more than 60 locations, while the WR's count is at 15. CR has asked the motormen to slow down to 20-30 kmph to avoid human casualty.
Bhubaneswar Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena says open defecation led to Swachh survey failure
Bhubaneswar Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena said the Capital could not find a place in the top-10 list of any category because the City is yet to be made open defecation free. “Open defecation is a major constraint for any City to perform well in the Swachhata Sarvekshan. Despite several awareness campaigns and provision of public toilets, people in many slums continue to defecate in the open,” he said.
Open Defecation Is Much More Than Just A Sanitation Problem
With the ever-growing population, government and civil society continue to grapple with the issue of sanitation, taking into cognizance that 53 percent of Indian households still do not own a toilet (Census, 2011). Sanitation is an issue that affects everyone but women are often the most at risk. Open defecation is more than a sanitation issue—the lack of a safe, clean and secluded space to defecate specifically hurts women by drastically limiting their daily freedom.
India’s Sanitation Revolution
Sanitation is the key to proper ... 307,349 villages across India have been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF). The ambitious goals set by the Indian government to clean up the nation faces several problems. In all probability, the Centre may not be ...
P’kula MC spent Rs 45 lakh on checking open defecation
While the Haryana Government has declared Panchkula open defecation-free (ODF), officials of the cash-strapped Panchkula Municipal Corporation have spent nearly Rs 45 lakh only on visiting problem areas in private taxis in the past three months.
Uttarakhand: Towards an "open defecation free" district
Teachers of a government school in Uttarakhand's Udham Singh Nagar district helped the parents of their students to build toilets in their houses. This comes three years after the launch of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and a few months after Udham Singh Nagar was declared open defecation free (ODF). The teachers said that the idea of helping parents in making toilets at their houses came after they found out that the children don't have toilets at their houses and they used to defecate in the open. One of the teachers said, "Idea of helping parents in making toilets in their houses came after we found out that the children don't have toilets at their houses and they are not aware of cleanliness."
MP to be open defecation free by Oct 2, says CM Shivraj
Madhya Pradesh would be declared open defecation free (ODF) on October 2 this year even though the Centre has set the deadline for 2019. "Narendra Modi took a historic initiative by announcing Swachchta Abhiyan across the country. We have pledged to declare the state as open defecation free (ODF) by October 2 this year against the deadline of 2019", said Minister Chouhan, while addressing a state-level Swachhta Award ceremony.
Girls in govt-run hostel in Madhya Pradesh forced to defecate in open, claims warden
Over 100 girl students of a government hostel in Madhya Pradesh are forced to defecate and bathe in the open because of water scarcity in toilets, says its warden, at a time when every state is trying to achieve the ‘Open Defecation Free (ODF)’ tag. The hostel in Madiyadoh village, about 60 km from the district headquarters, has toilets, but shortage of water has rendered them useless, forcing students to defecate in the open, an official said.
Shame! Open defecation still rampant
The civic body has declared the city open defecation-free. But in its backyard at Sriram Nagar near Vellalore dump yard around 50 families defecate in the open. That’s not all. These families, comprising nearly 50 children, live amidst filth and garbage, while the city corporation boasts of having bettered its Swachh Survekshan ranking under the smart city project. The women, men and children in the area say they are forced to defecate in the open as there are no community toilets near their locality. These people are allegedly employed by the corporation contractor incharge of solid waste management to collect plastic, paper, iron and other resaleable items from the waste.
Incredible Woman Makes 82 Gram Panchayats Open-Defecation Free in Just 4 Years! - The Better India
Monika told NDTV. “I saw one lady [die] in front of me–the reason of death was hunger,” she added. The old lady suffered from a stomach infection that prevented the absorption of nutrients from the food she consumed. Monika explained, “The cause of stomach infection was unhygienic surroundings–the lady was bedridden and used the same place for sleeping, sitting, eating and even for defecating and urinating.”
Enabling Women
To Fix Childhood Stunting in India, Focus on Women"s Health: Study
At 63 million stunted children, India has one-third of the world’s population of stunted pre-schoolers. This means the global struggle against stunting is not going to change for the better unless India acts seriously. With stunting, as with several other social and development outcomes, women play a key role. This has been highlighted by a new research, the authors of which have conducted a deep examination into freshly released government data from the National Family Health Survey 4 (2015-2016). “Women-related factors contribute to more than half of the factors we analysed, which are linked to stunting. This is not new news. But the fact that this still has to be said as news is a concern. When women are not tended to, we are looking at discrimination across the life-course,” says Purnima Menon, senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and lead author of this study.
Akshay Kumar, Shabana Azmi & "Pad Heroes" to tackle Period Taboos at “Niine Menstrual Awareness Conclave” - Odisha Diary
The Niine Movement, an ambitious five-year plan aimed at raising awareness on the importance of menstrual hygiene and tackling the taboos associated with menstruation, will officially launch at the inaugural Menstrual Awareness Conclave in Delhi, India to mark International Menstrual Hygiene Day on 28th May 2018. The Menstrual Awareness Conclave is supported by India’s Pad Man, Akshay Kumar, who will grace the event as its Chief Guest.
Missing In Action: Women
Headlines stemming from these surveys are often framed in a manner that put the onus on ‘women leaving the workforce’. “Women are not quitting or leaving the workforce, they have been thrown out,” says Vibhuti Patel, Chairperson and Professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). The predictable societal norms of women being homemakers and leaving the workforce, prioritising their families exists in tandem with the inescapable truth that it is a man’s world. “Women are the last to be hired and the first to be fired,” that Patel asserts is the age old corporate policy.
"Rajasthan has empowered women more than any other Indian state"
The govt of Rajasthan has disbursed more than Rs 18000 crore under the Bhamashah Yojana, which aims to empower women with direct money transfers Not just an ace investor, but Mohandas Pai represents a strong voice in support of businesses and the startup ecosystem. With investments across media companies, among many others, he has remained a critic of governments and insists that more the startups, the better for the nation. In an interview with YourStory on how Rajasthan is shaping up in terms of investments, the investor says it scores on digital governance.
A Boost for Women Entrepreneurs Led by One of India's Largest Banks
Commenting on the initiative, Rana Kapoor, MD & CEO, YES BANK and Chairman, YES Global Institute said, “The Indian startup landscape, with over 8 million women entrepreneurs, is at a focal point where an accelerated ‘pro-women centric’ change is of vital importance in order to galvanize India’s growth trajectory. It is projected that by 2025, India’s GDP will get an additional boost of 16%, by integrating women in the workforce. In order to achieve inclusive and equitable socio-economic growth for the nation, we must ensure that at least 25% of entrepreneurs in the country are women by 2025.”
These Indian Startups Are Making It Easier For Mothers To Return To Work After Maternity Leave
Despite being one of the hottest startup destinations in Asia, India throws up some skewed statistics when it comes to gender. Only 27% of the workforce comprises women, and only nine percent of startup founders are female. Working in a startup, especially early-stage, demands long hours from employees and this becomes a contentious issue for mothers. However, a number of Indian startups are keen to flip this norm by enabling women to return to the workforce, especially after maternity breaks.
SOS Children's Villages of India Celebrated International Day of Families
To celebrate precious family bonds, SOS Children’s Villages of India, a globally operational not-for-profit organisation, honoured extraordinary family bonds of target beneficiaries towards building capacity of the caregivers, with day-long celebrations across 32 Children’s Villages in India, under Family Strengthening Programme (FSP). The celebrations were aligned with this year’s theme of The International Day of Families: “Families and inclusive societies”, in advancing Sustainable Development Goal 16 towards promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, leading to sustainable development of countries across the world.
A Government Database To Combat India’s Rape Culture Could Create More Problems Than It Solves
The sex offender registry is the latest measure introduced by the Indian government in response to the public outcry against recent gang rapes. A few weeks ago, a special cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi also approved of the death penalty for child rapists. But experts say such a registry could create more problems than it solves, especially in India where surveillance databases meant to be used by the state are frequently accessed by private companies. Law enforcement is frequently biased against people who are poor, illiterate, and from discriminated caste groups, while legal cases go on for years, if not decades.
Creating jobs for women in the renewable energy sector
India can increase its GDP by up to 60% by 2025 by enabling more women to participate in its workforce, a 2015 study by the McKinsey Global Institute had stated. However, social and cultural constraints can prevent this from becoming a reality. Many women who work outside home still have primary household and parenting responsibilities that need to be balanced with their work life.
A Stranger Watched Me Shower In A Hotel Room And It Could Happen To You Too
According to data provided by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), out of the total registered cases of crimes against women in India in 2015, 838 cases were of voyeurism. In 2016, the figure was 932. Out of this, 127 of these cases were filed in Maharashtra, 101 in West Bengal, 98 in Telangana, 93 in Madhya Pradesh, 92 in Uttar Pradesh, 83 in Andhra Pradesh and 43 in Delhi. 131 cases were filed in metropolitan cities with Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata emerging as the top three. These incidents can occur at any place like changing rooms, toilets, public spaces, restaurants, schools and even in our homes.
Use of Scarce Water
Himachal HC directs Centre to provide funding for water supply schemes’ augmentation
Making its intervention to find a solution to the water needs of the people, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has directed the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation to take immediate steps to provide funding for the augmentation of 1,421 drinking water supply schemes
"Bhavesh Joshi Superhero" unmasks water mafia
It’s a known fact that in many parts of India, mafia are active in regions where there’s water scarcity. These gangs procure water from illegal sources and sell them to people at exorbitant rates. There is also growing evidence that a lot of water — supplied by government bodies — is lost to theft and leakage in pipelines. Vikramaditya Motwane’s upcoming directorial, 'Bhavesh Joshi Superhero', highlights this basic, but not-often-discussed issue. The film releases worldwide on June 1. The subject of the movie will resonate with many Mumbaikars in water-starved localities, who buy water at inflated rates because of the municipal authorities’ failure to tackle the ‘tanker mafia’.
Hindustan Times Investigation 8: Here are the solutions to deal with Pune's water mafia crisis
The Pune Municipal Corporation and the residents of Pune, especially those suffering at the hands of the water mafia must now act in concert to resolve the water scarcity crisis in the fringe localities of the city.
Is it water scarcity or govt apathy as Chhattisgarh villagers drink water from drain?
A village in Dantewada is reeling under water scarcity. Locals are compelled to dig water from an area near a drain, reported ANI. Equally shocking is the reaction of the collector who merely said he would look into the matter as if it is a small issue. "We will look into the matter, if there is a shortage of hand pumps then we will install them," Saurabh Kumar, collector, told ANI.
Save water to save ourselves – Act on four fronts to secure depleting water stock: Policy, infrastructure, behaviour ...
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reminded us about this dry season and the need to take conservation measures. This is a good opportunity to take stock of India’s big water challenges. Critical groundwater resources – accounting for 40% of our water – are being depleted at rapid rates. Droughts are becoming more frequent, causing distress to rain-dependent farmers. If nothing changes, and fast, things will get much worse: estimates indicate that water demand will exceed supply by a factor of two by 2030, driving economic losses of 6% of GDP by 2050. The challenges need to be addressed at four levels – policy, infrastructure, behaviour and data.
Amazing! Odisha Railway Station Gets 120 L/Day of Potable Water from Air
Speaking to PTI, Mr JP Mishra, the Chief Public Relations Officer of the East Coast Railways, said that the station would use atmospheric moisture extraction technology, and pass it over a condenser, turning the vapour into water, due to the heat exchange. The machine to be used for this process works at a low humidity level of 50%, has an ambient temperature of 32-35 degrees Celsius, and is capable of harvesting 120 litres of water a day. The machine was installed at the station on April 25th, and the suggestion for getting water from the air was suggested by the ECoR General Manager, Mr Umesh Singh, who also spoke of the atmospheric moisture extractor to harvest water. Mr JP Mishra is optimistic about this sustainable method of collecting water and hopes to replicate this in other stations
Water quality still poor, say Muktsar residents
Officials of the Water Supply and Sanitation Department claimed that there was no scarcity of potable water. “We had closed water inlets of all reservoirs, so the contaminated water could not enter anywhere. Still, we lifted about 50 water samples and the reports from the local laboratory clarified that the water stored in the reservoirs is not contaminated. We have further sent the samples to the state laboratory and its report is awaited,” said Kuldeep Singh Saini, Superintending Engineer, Water Supply and Sanitation Department. He said: “We have stored water for 7-14 days, so consumers need not panic.”
President Ram Nath Kovind asks scientists to find solutions for challenges like climate change, water scarcity
At the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Mohali, President Ram Kovind exhorted scientists and students to work towards finding solutions to challenges such as climate change and water scarcity, whilst underscoring that science and technology must continue to play a role in nation building.
Cape Town Is Not Alone: Bangalore Faces Impending Water Crisis
While the world is focused on Cape Town, South Africa, and its impending water crisis, the water security problems of the Indian tech hub are quietly escalating. Bangalore, known as India’s Silicon Valley for it’s rising techology sector, has experienced a massive population boom in the past decade and it’s water system cannot keep up. The population has nearly doubled from 5.7 million in 2001 to 10.5 million today, with a projected population of more than 2 million IT professionals by 2020, according to Wired. The city’s water distribution system only covers the central area of the city, but the surrounding areas, which swelled during the city’s rapid growth, are not connected to city water and instead get their water supply from tankers. The tankers deliver the water sourced from boreholes, tapping into a quickly shrinking groundwater supply. As groundwater is continuously pulled with no replenishment, the groundwater levels have sunk from a depth of 150 to 200 ft to 1,000 ft or more in some places. In a city covered in impervious areas and with a massive population continuously growing, the groundwater is not able to recharge fast enough.
Water mismanagement leaves India"s Silicon Valley parched
India's Silicon Valley is bracing for yet another thirsty summer. Faucets are running dry and the lakes that once nurtured the southern city of Bangalore and its nearly 10 million residents are either parched or fetid with industrial waste and toxic effluents. Much like Cape Town in South Africa, Bangalore's water woes have been in the making for some time. Years of unplanned urbanization, rapid population growth and poor management of water resources have now reached a critical point in the southern Indian metropolis.
Gujarat industry wants distribution for desalinated water
The utility, Gujarat Water Infrastructure Ltd (GWIL), halted supplies to industrial units in Kutch from its Anjar-Mandvi pipeline in April 2018. Now the Federation of Kutch Industries Association (FOKIA), an umbrella organisation for small, medium and large industry in the region, is calling on state authorities to make the network available. Up to 250 large and 3,000 small facilities receive about 85,000 m3/d from GWIL, which also supplies residents. The industries are usually supplied from Sardar Sarovar Dam, however dam levels have dropped due to scarcity of rain during the last monsoon.
Rising heat, scarce water turn Balangir a cauldron
Come summer and water woes of inhabitants of Balangir town spills over. Though the authorities concerned claim that they have been supplying water as per demand, nearly half of the population has to manage without water for half of hot months.
India’s dried-out rivers feed spate of water wars
New Delhi and Haryana are currently locked in a Supreme Court battle over the Yamuna, with Delhi’s water board accusing Haryana of cutting the daily water supply to the capital — fixed by a 1996 court order — by a third, leading to a grave water crisis in this city of 18m people.
Now, Mahi river feeds Narmada main canal to meet drinking water needs
Faced with acute shortage of Narmada water, the government has started an inter-basin transfer of water, by “lifting” over 350 cusecs from the Mahi right bank canal (lying in east-west direction) and dumping it into the Narmada main canal
Govt sanctions 4 drinking water projects for 3 towns
A high level meeting chaired by Chief Secretary A P Padhi approved the project proposals submitted by the Urban Development department for Jharsuguda, Koraput and Rairangpur. The department has proposed two drinking water projects for Jharsuguda town at an estimated cost of `133.66 crore while the project at Koraput and Rairangpur towns will cost `35 crore and `25 crore respectively. The meeting discussed creation of water bodies in water scarce areas of mineral bearing districts. The Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water Supply department was asked to identify such areas and submit project proposals for approval of the Government
Bracing to a man-made crisis
Year-after-year, healthy monsoons are giving India a slip and it has been a long while since the country has had its fill of satiating spell of rains. The much-look-forward monsoons this year are a welcome respite after a gruelling summer, but the Indian Meteorological Department has already spilled water on the collective hopes of a parched nation by forecasting a 44 per cent possibility of a mediocre monsoon. Rapidly dwindling groundwater levels are only adding to the criticality of the situation. In fact, successive droughts and erratic rainfall have led to excess extraction of groundwater. This in turn has led to a 61 per cent decline in groundwater level in wells between 2007 and 2017.
With water crisis brewing, Nagpur orange production to nose-dive by nearly 50%
Nagpur oranges and other fruit crops in the Vidarbha region are bearing the brunt of a severe water crisis as borewells in the region go dry. The current heat spell, coupled with little water, may drastically affect production of some horticulture crops.
If 80% water consumption in India is for agriculture, why is it unregulated and inefficient?
During the 2011 census, India entered the league of water deficient nations. A nation is considered water deficient if the per capita availability falls below 1700 cubic meters per person. The per capita water availability that fell by 15% during the first decade of this century to 1545 cubic meters per person, will be below 1400 cubic meters per person this summer. Though the rate of depletion has reduced in the last few years, we are still consuming much more than is being replenished by nature. And therein lies the danger. We will be leaving a troubled legacy for the next generation unless we take quick remedial actions to reverse the trend.
Caste, greed, and unending need: the story of India's waste crisis
In a new book titled The Waste of a Nation (Harvard University Press), Assa Doron and Robin Jeffrey, professors at the Australian National University, show that it was decades in the making, spurred by the combination of population growth, urbanisation, and the embrace of consumer capitalism. The last one in particular has sparked a break from the age-old Indian habits of frugality and recycling. The tendency today is to consume more disposable goods, which is straining India’s capacity to handle waste.
Capture and Retention of Water
Water shortage: Locals on a mission to save wild animals
With the region witnessing dry summer, locals have launched a mission to provide water and save wild animals living in the Shivalik forests in the Kandi belt. Continuous drought in the region has led to the vanishing of water bodies. Also, the government’s failure to implement the rainwater harvesting scheme is driving the Kandi belt on the path of destruction. A group of youth and villagers of 30 panchayats in the Akhnoor-Chhamb belt, some 50 km from Jammu, have been creating water points and filling ponds using water tankers during April-May
Suburban residents join to save waterbody
Residents from Chitlapakkam and the nearby areas at Tambaram in the city suburb aired their views about waterbodies, their importance, present condition and need to conserve them during a meeting organised by Sarvamangala Nagar Residents Welfare Association recently. The event happened at a time when NGO Care Earth Trust proposes to restore Sembakkam lake in the locality in association with Nature Conservancy India and Indian Institute of Technology – Madras (IIT-M) by demonstrating scientific solutions and also involving the stakeholders. The meeting was aimed at receiving feedback from people of the locality. Jayshree Venkatesan, researcher and a member of Care Earth Trust, said the idea was to combine science with community engagement.
Access to Safer Water
Fighting for water
As far as Dhaka city is concerned, experts have already predicted that the city is to face severe crisis due to its over-pumping of groundwater. The predictions made about our future regarding water shortages are not just obscure imaginations of some people, but very real threats. We may have made significant strides in terms of sanitation, but when it comes to safe drinking water, we’re facing seemingly insurmountable challenges. Our rivers are becoming contaminated, and they are on the verge of disappearing due to grabbing, deep tube-wells can’t reach to the water levels, irrigation is being seriously jeopardized, tube-wells are infested with arsenic, coastal areas are threatened due to salinity.
Diarrhoea took more lives in last 5 yrs than all other water-borne diseases
Over five years to 2017, water-borne diseases–cholera, diarrhoea, typhoid and viral hepatitis–caused 10,738 deaths, latest government data show. Diarrhoea remained the leading killer, causing about 60% of all deaths, according to this to the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) by Jai Prakash Nadda, minister for and family welfare, on April 6, 2018. India loses 73 million working days due to water-borne diseases, IndiaSpend on June 21, 2016. India registered 69.14 million cases–or as many people as in United Kingdom–of four over five years to 2017, govt data show. Diarrhoea caused 6,514 deaths, the most of in India, over five years to 2017. Other killers were viral hepatitis (2,143), typhoid (2,061) and cholera (20)
Stem the Flow
Water, water everywhere but soon there will not be a drop to drink. A Unesco report published earlier this year predicted an intensified water crisis across India by 2050. This makes the recent data collected from the water meters that had been installed in 1,000 houses across north Calcutta last year to track wastage even more shocking. The average daily per capita consumption was found to be around 600 litres, going up to 800 litres in some houses. The national per capita consumption benchmark is 135 litres.
Governance and Empowerment
Nokia to develop 500 smart villages connecting citizens of India
Finnish mobile company Nokia has announced a new project called ‘Smartpur’ which aims to develop 500 “digitally integrated and sustainable villages” in India within the next five. The smart villages will undergo technology developments in the areas of health, education, livelihood, governance and finance. This will form part of the government’s ‘Digital India’ programme. So far, a pilot project – partnered with the Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) – has been rolled out across the regions of Haryana and Tamil Nadu, developing 10 smart villages in each state. The pilot project in Tain village, Mewat district, Haryana, was inaugurated on Thursday by Nina Vaskunlahti, the Ambassador for Finland.
For ease of doing business, close gap between promise, application
While the government garnered support on the twin planks of reform and “maximum governance, minimum government”, the reality may be different today. Foreign investors, Indian entrepreneurs and corporations still find themselves stuck in archaic laws and regulatory red tape. Clarity is lacking and piecemeal amendments made to laws haven’t helped.
Governance failure in Meghalaya
Governance fails because people running the government want it to fail. It’s as simple as that! Those who want governance to succeed should all get copies of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on State Finances and the Revenue Sector. We only need to go through the findings of the CAG to see that government itself is the biggest violator of all the norms of good governance. Let me cite a few examples.
Growing cities
Even two-and-a-half decades after municipal laws were reformed, elected Mayors lack the stature and authority to introduce urgently needed reforms. Now is the time to take a fresh look at urban governance. While the Centre’s goal of homes for all by 2022 is laudable, it is unlikely to be realised without a push from the States, and the launch of schemes driven by innovation and low-cost approaches. Augmenting rental housing should be a priority within the plan. Integrating green spaces, open commons and wetlands will make cities cleaner and aesthetically richer.
The ease of doing business conundrum
The first relates to mismatch between the intent of reforms and quality of actual enforcement and transparency on the ground, — the governance challenge. All businesses, Indian and foreign, complain that risk management and transparency related reforms that are boldly announced by senior officers in ministries are not adopted in spirit and content by their junior colleagues responsible for enforcement. This is true for a wide array and departments and services ranging from fire and safety inspectors and indirect tax officials to road transport regulators and municipal officers. Part of the problem is that a high level of discretion still exists with the officer enforcing rules on the ground.
Farmers In Maharashtra Protest Against Forceful Land Acquisition For Bullet Train Project
On 17 May, nearly 1,000 tribal farmers held a protest at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan against the ongoing forceful land acquisition by the BJP government in Maharashtra for the Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train project. Organised under the Bhumi Adhikar Andolan, the protest had farmers from Raigad, Thane, Nashik, Vidarbha, Konkan, Palghar, Dhule, Jalgaon, Dahanu, Gadchiroli and Nandurbar. The farmers are demanding that the government repeal a notification issued by the Maharashtra governor in November 2017, which diluted the role of gram sabhas in infrastructure projects.