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10 Developmental Issues Indian Government Must Concentrate On

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By Irfan Mohamed:

India has always been a hot bed for issues. It is super shiny on one side and super dull on the other. It manages to capture the world’s glance in varied aspects. But, visionaries have been watching it grow under the hands of huge names. And they have been guessing, for a long time — her future. And still are. Personally, and a little help from the Goldman Sachs’s paper, here are my list of areas where India should be focusing on, 64 years from independence for the Dream Vision.

1) Improve Governance

India’s pride lies having the longest and the most detailed constitution of the world. Also, contemplating the various sects seen here, it sure is a huge law book. On the other hand, the government is not up to the norms. Governance problems stem from the increasing inability to deliver public services in the face of rising expectations coupled with the lack of political will. India is a huge block with several petite distinct sections. By decentralizing provision of public services, the government can unbundle responsibilities across tiers of the government to create checks and balances. The use of greater transparency and information can allow more accountability and increased citizen voice in ensuring good governance. Citizens do not organize to demand better services. Only a cumulative approach can question the massive law that stands desolate.

2) Improve Infrastructure

Power, Oil, Gas, Aviation, Roads — all these and more form the backbone of Indian development. Or any other countrys’ for that matter. The problems of clogged airports, poor roads, inadequate power supply, delays in ports have been well-recognised as impeding growth. Indian companies — on an average — lose 30 days in obtaining an electricity connection, 15 days in clearing exports through customs, and lose 7% of the value of their sales due to power outages. Currently, only 30% of India is urbanized. To help resolve financing issues, India needs to develop its capital markets. It has become increasingly evident that the government, by itself, will not be able to build the infrastructure. It has therefore moved to models of public-private partnerships. These have yielded some successes in areas such as road-building and ports, apart from the big success story of telecom.

3) Raise Basic Educational Quality

The Indian oomph factor comes a lot from the brains that have settled abroad. But that remains the cream of the Indian layer. When you are asked to turn the incandescent lamps over the gross population of the country, the situation is not worthy to be grinning about.

Despite several bills like the RTE, Indian education system still has to go forth in pulling up the untouched masses. The distribution of government funds is major hindrance to the education system. According to a recent study, 30% of the total educational funding goes toward higher educational institutions. This is an important factor as the percent of students enrolled in these institutions are much lower. Lack of education has resulted in growth of unemployment, poverty and substantial increase in the growth of population. Without hundreds of millions of Indian citizens receiving a better basic (elementary and secondary) education, it will be virtually impossible for India to achieve its ‘dream’ potential. On the bright side, initiatives like “Teach India”, whose aim is to provide a platform to educated Indians to provide assistance in basic education to the unprivileged children have been launched. “Teach India” will connect educated individuals with the specialist education providers.

4) Women Empowerment

The cultural norms in India keep a check on the womanisation of sectors. One of the parameters that denote your family as BPL in Kerala is the presence of a woman run household. They are always regarded as the weaker species irrespective of the post they hold and the authority they command. India needs to focus on the other half of human being — the fairer sex.

There are several success stories about women. They are growing up. Lend them a hand or stay out of their way. Don’t be a hindrance to the wombs that gave birth to you.

5) Poverty and Population Explosion

It is mandatory to include the above titles in an article on Indian Analysis. Poverty remains as the root of many of the high end issues as also being a part of several other smaller issues. Poverty in India is widespread with the nation estimated to have a third of the world’s poor. According to a 2005 World Bank estimate, 42% of India falls below the international poverty line. There are 421 million poor living in 8 north India states of Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. This number is higher than the 410 million poor living in the 26 poorest African nations.

Population and poverty are like the chicken and the egg question. Which one caused the other? It’s a closed loop. Include malnutrition, unemployment, homelessness and several others too.

6) Privatization of Sports Sector

Talent is not lacking in a huge country like ours. Being the 7th largest country of the world with varied ethnicities, India has ripe and rich talent for every sport form. But proper harvest is what is missing. The recognition module for our sportspersons is very weak. With huge focus on big shot games like cricket, others take the sidelines. Probably a holistic development of every sport could get us more golds in the Olympics, and make India a country dreaded by sportspersons from aroung the world.

One of the initiatives in this aspect was the NBA held in India, where the government had tied up with the Mahindra Group for the game.

7) Health Care Industries

India is a major spot for medical tourism attracting people from around the world. But the status of medical technology is weak. We have been importing almost 90% of our technical equipments from round the world. Kits for very common diseases like malaria are imported from places abroad where the diseases are never heard of. Huge scanning equipments like MRI, CT Scan etc. are all brought from foreign dealers. China has a great lead compared to us due to its manufacturing units present. Unless and until we establish ourselves in manufacturing and distribution of medical equipments, the cost of treatment will rise and proper health care would be unaffordable by the already needy masses.

8) Alternative Fuels

In the power sector alone, India plans to add some 70,000 MW in the next five years. The dominant source of power will be coal, which accounts for some 60% of power generation. Coal is infamous for its significant environmental effects, including gaseous emissions, high ash content, problems with disposal of ash, and its large emissions of carbon-dioxide. As an example, small-scale industries in Kolkata were found to be contributing some 44% of overall particulate emissions in the central area as they were using coal-fired boilers. They were encouraged to convert from coal- to oil-fired boilers, and this reduced emissions by 98% from those units that implemented them.

With the rising population and demand for fuels rising everyday along with the depletion of common sources, promoting research for new alternatives must be stressed upon.

9) Space Technology

India is a world pioneer in space science. But the reach within the local Indian community is obsolete and stagnant. Integration of the extensive advancements of this field with the school going masses is not up to the mark. In order to pick and drop India ahead of all the pioneer countries of this field, awareness must be created in the student community. Space science is restricted to organizations like the ISRO and so, establishing oneself in this field is very infertile.

10) Improve Environment Quality

India’s high population density, extreme climate and economic dependence on its natural resource base make environmental sustainability critical in maintaining its development path. India has a rich and diverse array of plants and animals. Covering major hotspots and being the home to several creatures, India has in itself a notch amongst countries. Urbanization, industrialization and on-going global climate change will take a heavy toll on India’s environment, if not managed better.

These are not the only areas where India must stick too. A holistic and complete outlook of issues must be notified and stressed upon. Looking forward for an ape-able India, and also to your additions in this list. Drop us a comment below or email us at editor@youthkiawaaz.com, you can also tweet us @YouthKiAwaaz.

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  1. Nabeel Hasan

    We ought to shore up defenses against China and Pakistan. Silence for so long has caused utmost chaos until now.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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