Governance and Empowerment - Water and Well-Being in India - 28th May 2018

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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.
18th May 2018 - Business Chief Asia

Nokia to create 500 digitally integrated smart villages

17th May 2018 - Telecompaper

Nokia to develop 500 smart villages in India

17th May 2018 - Smart Cities World

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.
18th May 2018 - Live Mint

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.
18th May 2018 - The Shillong Times

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.
18th May 2018 - The Hindu

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.
18th May 2018 - The Hindu Business Line

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.
18th May 2018 - News Click

Governance and Empowerment - Water and Well-Being in India - 18th Dec 2017

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Malnutrition burden in India remains high, nutrition profiles of 640 districts reveal

The government’s flagship program National Nutrition Mission (NNM) has a clear picture of the challenges it faces in dealing with malnutrition after the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on Wednesday released nutrition profiles of all states and 640 districts of India. The malnutrition burden in India remains high despite some progress and there is tremendous inter-state and inter-district variability, the district wise nutrition profiles show. NITI Aayog officials said the district wise data would help the government in taking localized action to support the NNM’s target of bringing down stunting percentage from 38.4% to 25% by 2022, and reducing stunting, under-nutrition, and low birth weight by 2%, and anaemia by 3% per annum.
14th Dec 2017 - Live Mint

The Dignity Mind-Set for Scaling Social Change

Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM), working in the state of Karnataka, serves 2.5 million people—including indigenous tribals and the rural and urban poor—in the fields of health, education, and community development. But the organization’s founder, Dr. R. Balasubramaniam (Balu), says he never loses sight of the organization’s original inspiration: one elderly woman. She lost her sole source of emotional and economic support when her son died in the hospital where Balu was a third-year medical student. Her loss was doubly painful, as she couldn’t afford the prescribed medicines that might have saved him. Balu asserts that his failed attempt at consoling the grieving woman drove him to launch an organization that would work within the system to advance the rights of tribal people “to live a dignified life.”
13th Dec 2017 - Stanford Social Innovation Review

Niti Aayog is in denial about hunger in India – but the problem is worse than the statistics show

The Global Hunger Index put out by International Food Policy and Research Institute was released on October 2017 and tracks the state of hunger worldwide. India’s Global Hunger Index score is placed at 100 out of 119 countries. Instead of reflecting on the state of food security in India, Ramesh Chand and Shivendra Kumar Srivastava, both members of the Niti Aayog, called the Global Hunger Index “a misleading hunger index” in an article of the same name published in The Hindu on December 4. The article is of particular concern, coming as it does from an important arm of the government
13th Dec 2017 - Scroll - Magazine

This #UKCharityWeek, why not donate a Tweet? Join WaterHarvest for their #IPromiseWater Campaign!

Today, at 18:30 thousands of people will register a clear and loud message that water is a right that should be afforded to all and not something determined by where you live or what your gender, race, religion or ethnicity is. However, WaterHarvest needs your help to ensure this message is heard far and wide. That is why this #UKCharityWeek WaterHarvest is asking you to donate a tweet to its #IPromiseWater Thunderclap campaign.
4th Dec 2017 - Charity Today.co.uk

Water Aid's comments on Swachh Bharat "Out of Order"

A recent report by Water Aid may end up misleading readers about the present status of sanitation in India, as it fails to clarify that its findings are not based on the latest data. The report, titled 'Out of Order - The State of the World's Toilets 2017,' quotes data from the WHO-UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), which extrapolates data on sanitation based on findings from studies between carried out between 2000 and 2015. Due to this, it misses most of the progress made under the Swachh Bharat Mission, which aims to eradicate open defecation from the country by October 2019.
21st Nov 2017 - The Times of India

British couple who spent 30 years in search of "Wells for India"

Rajasthan has become a second home for a British couple who regularly come here for three decades in their mission to help the unprivileged section get access to water. Nicholas Grey and his wife Mary Grey have founded 'Wells for India', a support and fund-raising organization.
1st Feb 2017 - The Times of India