July 24, 2014: In Nagaland, not unlike the other Indian north eastern states, women are the catalyst of society. From farming and taking care of livestock, to ferrying water, to weaving and taking care of household duties, and even running tea shops, women play a pivotal role in keeping life going. Recognising the need to continue the empowerment of women and the role of women as agents of development, the government along with women’s activist group helped set up Self Help Groups (SHG). These SHG are usually made up 15-20 women with not more than one from one family. Many of these SHG sell agricultural produce. Their numbers are growing steadily and contribute to their state’s economy. These SHG have also become avenues for unemployed women to make a living for their sustainability. The picture shows a Self Help Group of women selling fresh farm produce in an attempt to maximise their income. Photo: Pamela Philipose\WFS
July 21, 2014: Even as more than 300 million people still wait for electricity in India, Dharnai in Bihar declared itself energy-independent yesterday with the launch of Greenpeace’s solar-powered micro-grid. The 100 kilowatt (kW) micro-grid currently provides quality electricity to more than 2,400 people living in Dharnai village in Bihar’s Jehanabad district. “While India was growing leaps and bounds, we were stuck here for the last 30 years, trying everything in the book to get electricity. We were forced to struggle with kerosene lamps and expensive diesel generators. But now I can proudly say that Dharnai is a leader in innovation,” said Kamal Kishore, a resident of Dharnai. A quarter of the global population without access to electricity comprise the poor in India, where more than a third of the rural population lacks access to electricity. The decentralised, expandable and sustainable approach of the micro-grid provides that critical catalyst to power the new growth centres of India like Dharnai as well as bridge the deficit in urban areas. It is also a solution that can plug into the current government’s focus on using solar power for energy access to every household by 2019. Photo: Ravi Sahani/Greenpeace
July 17, 2014: India’s Minister for Minority Affairs Dr Najma Heptulla released the UN Secretary General’s Global Millennium Development Goals Report 2014 here today. Speaking on the occasion Dr.Najma Heptulla said Human Development was an essential component of Mahatma Gandhi’s thoughts. His touchstone for the validity of any action was the impact it had on the poorest of the poor. This is also the guiding principle of NDA Government having a mandate for development of all, in an inclusive manner. Despite paying lip-service to Mahatma Gandhi, India has been unable to fulfill his aspiration. The Government has inherited this challenge and is committed to fulfilling, she added. The Minister said that the four references to India in the synopsis of the report being released pertain to poverty, infant-deaths, maternal deaths and sanitation. None of these references are flattering. Even before this report, several challenges including those mentioned in the report had been identified. The UN’s annual report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) published each year tracks the progress made around the world in reaching the Millennium Development Goals. This year’s report is one of the last before the MGDs expire in 2015. In a global summit in September 2015 world leaders will hopefully adopt a new expanded framework.
July 14, 2014: School children from the poor farming community of the western Indian state of Maharashtra met the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in New Delhi last week. These talented children from poor communities are on a conducted tour to Delhi. The Prime Minister blessed the children and wished a bright future for them. On July 1, the Centre assured that it would look into the problems of Maharashtra farmers, especially to deal with any low-rainfall situation, and also create Research &Development infrastructure to support long-term growth of agriculture in the State. A delegation led by Members of Parliament and State legislature of Maharashtra met Agriculture Minister, Radha Mohan Singh today and gave him a representation on farming matters. Responding to their demands, Agriculture Minister assured them that his Ministry would favourably consider the establishment of a Central Agricultural University in the State. Photo: PIB
July 9, 2014: India’s Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment, Forests & Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday today released the biennial report “India State of Forest Report (ISFR)” in New Delhi. The India State of Forest Report-2013 is 13th report in the series. Speaking on the occasion Javadekar said Government believed in Development without Destruction and respect for the Environment. Emphasising the need to enhance the forest cover in the Country Javadekar said there was a need to make Afforestation the ‘People’s Movement’. It was critical for each stakeholder to participate in making Environmental sustainability a reality so as to ensure the agenda for Growth. Lauding the report, Javadekar said the document captured the ground realities pertaining to the Environment. Photo: PIB
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