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Live and Express


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The Water Problem (Episode 2)

Recently I wrote about the looming water problem in India. At that time, all I had was questions on the enormity of the issue, and how we can tackle this. I made a bucket list of all the stuff that I can do, and I quickly followed up with a few people I knew on social media and otherwise, and the results were a bit comforting, although the efforts are long-drawn projects that need constant follow-ups.

I was deeply heartened to see that many people are actually working on the water already at various levels – creating awareness, conducting sessions, executing implementations to effectively use groundwater and rainwater, and coming up with innovations that can made radical improvements to the abilities to store water.

Two of such groups that I came across were The Rainwater Club and Bhungroo. Both of them are well-known in the water circles for their work. The Rainwater Club is doing their work mostly in Karnataka and Tamilnadu, while Bhungroo has projects all over the world, but head-quartered in Gujarat.

The Rainwater Club has modules to conduct trainings and sessions in the schools, so that awareness can be created among the children. It would be great to partner with them to conduct sessions at your schools, especially if you are a group of institutions or a chain of schools.

Bhungroo is all about implementation, you can reach out to them to implement their solution in the usually drought-hit areas of your state, to see if their solution would help the situation.

These two were great starts for me to do something about the areas that I know of, while I am talking to someone in Kerala to see if there’s a potential solution for their unique issue of land level being the same as sea level along the coast, and hence water cannot be stored underground!  I am also planning to be in touch with a unique project in south India, to partner with them for projects and training on water for school children.

I will keep you posted!

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International Yoga Day 2018

Warm wishes to all of you on the International Yoga Day 2018 !

Events are organized as reminders for something that need be remembered on a daily basis, probably every moment. The days that are celebrated every year are also reminders for us to incorporate Yoga into our daily life, so that we are in tune with the Universe.

I once asked a spiritual person why Yoga only for human beings. Animals don’t do Yoga, other creatures don’t do.  The answer was that only humans need to work to be in tune with what they aspire to be. With Yoga, you could be pretty much anything you want to be by constant striving. With other creatures such possibility does not exist, and they are fixed to be in the way they are, and there are no opportunities for them to change or transform.  But for humans, its possible. So, we should make use of the opportunity!

Somebody died in our family recently, and that made a distinct change in my attitude in being regular towards Yoga. When that person died, we could clearly see for ourselves that they are not their body (anymore), and we don’t know what happened to that person who kept walking, talking and doing so many stuff daily. It was shown very clearly to me that the life given to us is to find out that we are not just the body and the mind. There should be something more.

Having said that, being in a human body is absolutely important while we live, not just for the compassion that humans show unlike many other creatures, but also for the opportunity to do stuff that others can’t. One fever showed me what kind of dances I had to do with my body to make it okay; body is such a complicated system. So, it needs be maintained properly, and luckily the Yoga system that’s currently offered by many groups, is not that complicated at all – simple practices for great benefits.

As many success coaches say, regular regimes are important. Sticking to them as far as possible is important. So, if we care for our body, our breath, flexibility, agility, liveliness and all the goodies, it’s important to do Yoga daily. And a diet that won’t strain the body but make it malleable, strong and vibrant.

Our life expectancies have increased – people live till 90s very easily, thanks to the advances in medical sciences. It’s important that we be hale and healthy while we live for such long periods of time. It would be cruel to see our body suffer because of non-flexibility while it is still maintained by medicines. Thus it is important to do Yoga daily irrespective of the age.

Thanks for listening. Have a wonderful International Yoga Day, doing Yoga, today and every day!

 

 


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The Water Problem!

I was terribly shocked when on a fine morning this week, I saw the report from NITI Aayog about the impending water problem across India. In summary, it said that many states will run out of ground water by 2030.

This is very serious, and even more serious is the fact that around 30 cities in India will run out of water by 2020 (yes, you read that right; 2 years from now!).

It’s not like ‘Should I care? What can I do?’  It is more like ‘I got to do a thousand things that I can.’

Are you listening?

Alright, so here’s what I did. I picked up a sheet of paper and wrote down all the stuff that I can do. I am giving this here to be a starter or an inspiration for you to think of things that would work and make a difference:

1. Contact Indian organisations that are working in the field of primary and secondary education, as well as Indian organisations that work on public education, and make them create modules and syllabus that can be delivered to students and general public so that they are aware of how important water is and create awareness about the following topics:

  • Ground water restoration
  • Irrigation management
  • On-farm water use
  • Drinking water supply
  • Devising water policies

2. Strengthening the ways of predicting rains, such that general public can make arrangements to tap rain-water in whatever infrastructure they have wherever they live.

3. Try working with aerial experts to see if any additional data can be gleaned for point no. 2.

4. Creating awareness in colleges, so that the outgoing students can create products and software surrounding the issue. Bonus point: it creates jobs

5. Influencing the governments for implementation policies.

6. Contact on-the-ground organisations in various states to work on implementations in their states.

7. Work with organisations that already have a lot of reachability in remote areas (for example, population control organisations), and convince them to create awareness and educate their audiences.

What ideas do you have?  Feel free to rack your brains – because it’s you and your children who are also going to affected by this. The usual Indian apathy won’t help!

Thanks for listening.

 

 


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The Bengaluru-Coimbatore Uday Express (Train no. 22665)

On June 10th, Indian Railways has introduced the Bengularu-Coimbatore Uday Express, which starts at around 2:15 PM in Bengaluru, and reaches Coimbatore at 9 pm. This is a double-decker AC coaches train, with a highly equipped WAP 7i electric engine, that takes the Tiruppatur route to reach Salem. The train no. is 22665.

There has been a lot of excitement among the railways community because they consider it as an ‘advanced’ train, may be because of the fact that it is fitted with a 7i engine, and has AC coaches.

To me, as a passenger, the double-decker AC coach is a disappointment as it is too cramped, and the leg space is too little. I have experienced this with the Bangalore-Chennai double-decker. Also, the air-conditioning is too unfriendly, and it gets really cold. One won’t be able to sit in the coach for more than 4 hours. Thus, these AC coaches are suitable for travel only upto 4 hours while sitting, say from Bangalore to Salem.

The travel time between Bangalore and Coimbatore is usually 6.5 hours, and anything above 6 hours is not suitable for a sitting train, and should be made as a sleeper train. But, the Uday express, as of now, takes 7 hours to reach Coimbatore, so it would be very inconvenient for the passengers. The train reaches Tiruppur at 7:40 PM, but it then reaches Coimbatore only at 9:00 PM, which is 1 hour and 20 minutes in between, but the usual express train travel between Tiruppur and Coimbatore is only 40 minutes. When asked about this, they say that the section between Tiruppur and Coimbatore is too crowded at that time, so the train might stop in some loops to let the other trains pass.

This is a very inefficient usage of the highly capable 7i engine – to stop in loops for around 40 minutes. Also, the passengers inside the train would be anxious to reach Coimbatore, having crossed Tiruppur, but they have to wait for another 40 minutes in signals!

I would suggest that the Railways relook at the itinerary and reduce the travel time. Probably the train can be made as non-stop, or only with one stop (say, Salem), and given very high priority over other trains, so that it does not stop in any loops or signals. This will make an efficient use of the high-power engine.

There is significant distance between Bangalore and Coimbatore (around 418 kms), and it is not suitable for a sitting train. What is required between Bangalore and Coimbatore are two more sleeper trains. Kanyakumari Island express reaches Coimbatore at an unholy hour of 3:15 AM. Mumbai Kurla – Coimbatore express is always late to reach Bangalore and unreliable. Thus, two more sleeper trains that start around 10 PM and 10:30 PM are required from Bangalore.

It’s great to have the latest technology engine and AC coaches, but if the passengers are not satisfied with the travel time and the comfort of the coach, it would be a waste.

We will have to wait and see the popularity of Uday express. Currently around 880 seats are being offered in this train, and we will watch how much of them get filled every day.

As such, if there is another option like taking a Airavat bus from Bangalore, one would prefer that, rather than taking this train.

Will the Railways take notice and take relevant steps?


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#India to beat #China in #Population by 2022; Child #Adoption process getting simpler

Life is a mixed bag.

Last week, two significant headlines hit the news. The first is about the estimate that the India Population is going to exceed China by 2022which is a bad news, as we had expected it to happen by 2028 earlier.  The other is about the child adoption process in India is getting faster, easier and transparentwhich is a good news, as more people including NRIs can adopt in a simpler way moving forward.

One is a problem, and other is a potential solution. While some even neglect to think that the child adoption is a potential solution to the population problem (and say that adoption is emotional, the child and parent should connect well, one cannot adopt ANY child, etc, which are all reasonable), many consider it as a viable solution.  Here is an example of a parent who thinks so.

The Central Adoption Resource Agency has created a database of children that are waiting for adoption, and it has linked the adoption agencies to the database.  This way quick access to children to be adopted is available to the agencies.  Potential parents can now register online for them to be considered.  The guidance will be effective by August 2015, is what the post says.

With these updates, the urban folks of India now have a choice.  We have written several blogs before encouraging urban parents to adopt and why.  Several things have changed from the past, and attitude of the young generation is changing too.  With limited resources that India has, population has to be kept under strict check, and adoption is one way out – to give life to an existing child rather than creating another which will add additional burden to the country – burden may be a strong word, but yes, that’s how it is – with population increasing 1.6% in India every year!


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Aadhaar, National Population Register and #India #Population

Yesterdays report in The Economic Times says that the Indian Government has decided to link Aadhaar information to National Population Register (NPR).

This is a very good move. This will not only benefit people who are benefited by the various schemes, it will also bring accountability to the population count, who everyone is, and where they generally live. And this will help in measures related to resource allocation (money and workforce) in implementing government plans and schemes.

It will also help check illegal immigration from Bangladesh. One of the serious issues that we have in the states bordering Bangladesh is that identifying individuals had become difficult for the police and the establishment because of the facial features.   Many Indian citizens who live in the remote areas do not have identity cards like PAN, thus it would be impossible to identify whether a person is an Indian citizen or not. Now, with Aadhaar linking to the NPR, bio-metric information is stored to the master database, so more accountability is brought in.

In addition, it would be great if birth & death registrations become online for quick updates to population count, so that planning become efficient.


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Is #Sterilization the solution to #India #Population?

This article was posted in Reuters yesterday, and it talks about how sterilization is the major means of India population control.

It’s really sad to hear that even in the days of Information Technology, social networks, smart phones, cloud, and reach-ability to the masses, to the rural masses in particular through startup apps., these kind of measures are required.

India technology evangelists and entrepreneurs should invest in making awareness creation solutions to not to have babies.  Most of the work will be done mentally, when we plant these ideas of other options available rather than to have babies, and physical measures like sterilization will come down.

If you look at India broadly, 70% is rural and 30% is urban/semi-urban.  Solutions like ‘Make In India’ which are destined to boost the Indian economy, should focus on the rural areas where the unemployment is the most, and generate job opportunities, such that people don’t generate babies for labour.

And the urban folks have the adoption option.  The Ministry of Women and Child Development, India under the able leadership of Mrs. Menaka Gandhi, is streamlining the CARA process and making adoption easy and hassle-free.  If only people can reject the stigma surrounding ‘It’s not MY child!’, things will be a lot better.

So, good work is being done, but we need to invest in data gathering, sharing and awareness creation.  Will the India tech. entrepreneurs take note?