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What We Need Is A Roadmap For Sustainable And Inclusive Growth, Not Populist And Myopic Reforms

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By Prashant Kaushik:

The UPA government dolls out mouth watering schemes once in every 5 years. Last time it was in 2008, when loans of farmers worth Rs. 52,000 Crore were waived off. In 2013, they promised to sell wheat at 3 Rs per kg. Both schemes appear highly socialist and poor friendly in nature. Thus, it takes courage to oppose them as any opposition will instantly give you a tag of anti-poor and anti-farmer. However, this move is not at all poor friendly.

development

What’s the most defining difference between a poor and a rich? Moreover, talking in terms of theories of economies, what’s the difference between Capitalist and Socialist economies? The answer is capital. The most important thing that the rich have and poor don’t is ‘Capital’. Capital means money and resources which can be used to make new earnings.

If you give an extremely poor person a sum of 10000 Rs. for once, it gives him the freedom to spend it on his daily needs whatever way he wants. Does he cease to be poor? No. His new found richness may last only a few days or a month at most. Even if you give him one lakh or more, he can’t evade his poverty beyond a limited time frame. To raise his economic level, the only way is to use 10000 Rs. or 1 Lakh Rs., as a capital. To use it in such a way that a source of livelihood is created. In other words, this means the same rhetoric demand — create better job opportunities.

But, since Independence and specially in the last decade, so much have we been disappointed with the successive corrupt governments, that somewhere we have started thinking that as the government would never be able to create jobs, why not eat the free money and consume it as soon as possible. We are poor because we don’t have capital. And here you had — over 1 Lakh crore Rupees. You threw a party, made us rich for a day, and left us poor for eternity.

There is no dearth of ideas. We only need the vision and will to implement them. Take this example: around 40% of our money is spent in buying oil from other countries. We all know about the subsidy that the government has to painfully give on LPG and kerosene. This subsidy is one of the reason of the falling Rupee and indirectly of rising inflation or food prices.

Why not use a part of that capital money you had to create Biogas plants in 40 districts. If its cost of production is more, why not make good use of the subsidy here? At Least here the cost of production, with increasing use, will come down and one day you can easily stop subsidies.

Think about the people who would be involved in running the plant. Many poor will get new jobs. That too without migrating to cities, so lesser slums in cities. They will live with families; better family life means better state of mind, better security, less crimes, and eventually an egalitarian society.

This is just an example. There are thousands of projects across the country which we can’t kick start because we don’t have capital(money). And the precious capital which you had, you wasted it in freebies. You may get our votes, you may come to power again, but we will remain poor as always, at-least till the next time, till you come with another mouth watering scheme in 2017.

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  1. Raj

    I suggest you read up on capitalism and socialism. You have incorrectly answered ” What’s the difference between Capitalist and Socialist economies?” The difference is that in a socialist economy the Govt. decides how capital (land, natural resources, human resources etc.) should be used. Thus even here we have capitalism but it is State Capitalism
    Whereas in a capitalist (or to be clear , Free-Market capitalist) economies, the free market decides how capital will be used through the price mechanism. Of course there is no country that adheres to either of these two extremes.

    Now coming to your idea of biogas: If the energy output and ease of use of biogas was better than oil, then already people would be using it. But it is not. There would have been no need to subsidize it. Of course neither should oil be subsidized. Let the technologies compete in the free market.

    Yes some poor people may get new jobs in biogas-related industries but many others will lose jobs in oil-related industries and will end up paying higher prices for everything. After all, the subsidies to the biogas plants have to come from someone’s pocket. That means more taxes which means higher prices for all. So there is a net loss for everybody involved

    And why do you have a problem with India importing oil? Why don’t you extend that idea to everything else? This website runs on imported foreign technology. We import movies and video games from USA. Why are you against free trade?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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