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Live and Express

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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?


Let there be no illusions! #India’s #population is still at dangerous levels.

There’s a recent article on India’s population slowing down based on fertility rate studies. There are views expressed that finally we can heave a sigh of relief.


That study is based on only the fertility rate – which is the new production of babies.  The truth and the fact is that we have already crossed the thresholds of healthy population rate multiple times as compared to the world standards (around 850 people per We already know that we are over-populated. Don’t we see that in the public places – people swarming with no respect to each others’ space and property?  When was the last time when anyone who’s coming in front of you, considered your presence, slowed down, and let you walk, in India?  We are 1.3 billion in number – 17% of world’s population!

Our agricultural lands are decreasing – because of unavailability of labour (movement to cities), water sources are draining out – because of new storage points not being planned, our air and environment are getting more polluted – not to mention about the new manufacturing oriented development agenda.

If you look at the map in the above article, you will see that the fertility rates themselves are on the higher side in the central Indian states.  This is in addition to the already dangerous levels of population in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand. Literacy levels are low in these states, and they move to other states for labour. In fact, they generate babies for labour.

So, nothing for consolation. We need to act to take the message of dangers of over-population to the rural through grass-root workers of NGOs and social enterpreneurship companies – provide economic well-being and thus preventing them from generating babies for labour, and the message to adopt instead of generating new babies in cities.

And this has to done in a feverish scale. And bring down the child birth rate (incorrect to call it as fertility rate) to around 1 in the states mentioned above. Only then, we can breath, no pun intended.

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Moves to curb delays in India child adoption

Recently, the Central Minister of India, who takes care of child adoption area, announced a series of decisions to streamline the child adoption process in India.

It is a very good step, coming at a very appropriate time, for three different reasons. One, children in the adoption homes are not being able to find prospective adoption parents because of several hindrances and likewise, prospective parents were not able to adopt soon because of the same issues.  There is also the question of people who want to adopt, so that they don’t add more to India’s burgeoning population by the way giving biological birth to a child.  In all these three aspects, the measures announced are welcome.

It was announced that statutory status to CARA will be announced. This is good because it increases accountability for results, and also gives power for the department bureaucrats to take swift actions.

It was announced that no child will remain in an adoption home for more than 100 days.  This will make the home accountable for finding a suitable parent for the child as soon as possible. Courts and Chief justices have been asked to minimize the delays in issuance of court orders for children to be enabled to be adopted.

The best part is the warning for the specialized adoption agencies to be blacklisted, if they don’t keep and update their databases about children ready to be adopted and the numbers up to date!  This is very important, and several people have complained that the information about child availability is not being made available by the homes at the first place, and even if it’s available, it’s out of date, and when they physically go to the center, they get the reply that children are not available for adoption.

CARA was also told to ask the Child Welfare Committees to enable issuance of ‘legally free’ certificates for the children that are ready to be adopted.  This is also welcome, as the process will be fastened.

Adoption statistics at the CARA website shows that only 3924 children have been adopted through the agency in 2013-14.  This is a very small number compared to the number of children who are without homes living in cities, and the country’s population of 1.3 billion. This clearly shows that somewhere things are not going right.  May be a structural and process change is needed in CARA. More hands and heads are required both in the policy-making levels, as well as the support stuff in the offices who handles parents requests and process them.  One potential parent observed that the phone calls to CARA are not answered most of the times, and emails are not being replied.  Enough staffing (as it is the central agency which handles requests from all-over India), and monitoring of the processes are very much required.

Hope the Indian Central Government follows up with the decisions announced and streamline the processes and removes the structural obstacles.




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A visit to the amusement park!

Yesterday, I suddenly decided to go to the amusement park to amuse myself!

When I reached there, the entrance was so crowded,  with around 500 people all standing waiting for the entrance ticket. One of their family members had gone to the counters to get the tickets. The crowd was choking, as was the ‘queues’ which were there waiting for the ticket. There was so much push and pull at the ticket counter, and people refusing to stand in the queue, in spite of realizing that they will not be able to get the ticket, if the booth was encircled in all directions by many people.

After all this commotion, when I went inside, there was so much of people in queues for each of the rides. One thing that I realized in each queue was that there was one representative who stood for the entire family of 10 people, and when the queue reached a certain stage, all the ‘members’ of the family (sometimes it was around 20 people), suddenly barged in into the queue. This had the effect of me never making any progress in the queue for a long time.

When questioned, they answered, ‘Oh I have a baby so I cannot stand in the queue’ or ‘Oh my relative is already in the queue’ and I am joining them’, or ‘I have a young child which cannot stand in the queue’, etc. So many excuses, but they are all to avoid them to stand in the queues.

More than the queue discipline, it’s the amount of people that bothered me. The family feeling of helping uncles, aunts, cousins, brothers, sisters, etc are fine, but every family had around 10 people.

So, these families along with those kids get multifold which lead to the gate crowding! And it’s the same with India Population. People have these narrow circles don’t look at the big picture, and hence this leads to unmanageable population.

If there’s one thing that I would do to help India, then that would be not to give birth to any more babies in India. This awareness has to spread far and wide in India and reach everyone – urban or rural.

At the end of day, when I came out of the amusement park, I was not amused, but bemused!



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#Gift an #Education, Make a #Life ! – #Isha Vidhya

5 months ago, #IshaVidhya applied for accreditation with #GlobalGiving, a respected online fundraising platform which partners with corporates, employees and individual donors around the world.

Isha Vidhya crossed the fundraising requirements of $5,000 from 40 donors in just 23 days to become a permanent online member partner of GlobalGiving, thanks to many general public, supporters & wellwishers worldwide. They recognize Isha Vidhya’s work in transforming the rural education landscape of #India, and especially in #Tamilnadu. With its high quality education through carefully crafted methodology to the most economically backward children, Isha Vidhya is making a signficant difference in the lives of many rural families – many of them are first generation school-goers.

The fundraising was started to fund the critical infrastructure needs of the rural school near #Dharmapuri in Tamilnadu, needs like academic material, furniture for classroom and staff, compound wall, water facilities, digital class room, etc.

IshaVidhya has obtained $10,175 in donations from 104 donors. It’s heartening to see that 13 of those donations are from #corporate employees through employee gift cards, whose companies are partners with GlobalGiving, and be able to donate to Isha Vidhya through the GlobalGiving portal.

There’s still a long way to go to reach the fundraising target of $97,750, so awareness about this good work need be made to spread the word far and wide so that many more can support this building of rural India through education.

And the good news for the existing donors is that your project Isha Vidhya is in a very good standing at GlobalGiving, in many categories including donations, no. of donors, number and quality of project reports, and frequency of donations. It is expected that IshaVidhya will soon be in the ‘Leader’ category at GlobalGiving, at which time it will be introduced to more corporates, employees, and offered more exposure opportunities.

On February 12th, 2014, between 9:00 AM USA Eastern Standard Time and 23:59 PM USA Eastern Standard Time (between Feb 12, 2014 19:30 PM Indian Standard Time and Feb 13 10:29 AM Indian Standard Time) (what would be the time at my place? :, donations made to Isha Vidhya at the Global Giving portal will be matched 30% by Global Giving, upto a maximum of $1000 per donor, till the Global Giving matching funds of $75,000 run out.  This is a great opportunity for everyone to donate and show their support for Isha Vidhya’s work. The link is:


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Muhammad Yunus – the inspirator!

My friend, who works for RangDe had invited me to watch a video that was to be screened on the event of RangDe’s 6th birthday, on January 26th.

I was a bit familiar with RangDe’s work, and I have had the opportunity to interact with their people a couple of times. I was thinking probably it’s about the work that RangDe is doing in the areas of microcredit to needy people in India.

What I saw was totally incredible – it was a documentary video called ‘Bonsoi People’ by Holly Mosher, which talked about how Muhammad Yunus transformed the lives of millions of people in poverty-stricken Bangladesh. The model is ‘Teach a man to fish’ instead of giving them the fish. It totally made sense to me, as I think – enabling them with the little capital that they need to stand on their own legs will make them take their lives in their own hands and thrive.

A typical example was shown in the video – an enterprising mother, who started with a small loan – how she expanded her economic wellbeing by slowly – educating her child and making him to dream to become a fashion businessman, constructing a house, helping her neighbors by giving them work, etc.

This particular case in Bangladesh – The Grameen bank – for which Muhammad Yunus got the Nobel Price for Peace (Note: not for economics) – strongly displays the point that microcredit is not sucking money from people, but enabling them at grass roots. Muhammad believes that peace can be achieved only if there’s economic wellbeing among the masses – and it shows. His Grameen bank has touched the lives of millions of people in Bangladesh to take their lives in their own hands. 97% of them are women!

It was also interesting to note that Grameen Bank didn’t just stop by giving loans and then collecting them- they have a bank representative who becomes like a family member and cares for what’s happening on a day-to-day basis with their clients. If they have a problem, they try to address it. They give directives to the people on how to live – for example, they stress that having a strong house and roof is important for people – because if they get wet or infected, their health is affected and sometimes they even die.

They have 16 such directives. The one that touched me the most was ‘Limit the no. of babies that you have, so that you can care for them’. How true! How much I wish this message is passed on to the central Indian states where people are having babies just for labour! How are we going to spread the message of having less children, so that they can care enough for them, and also thus not contribute to the country’s burgeoning population! Yes, I feel, an attempt should be made.

India might be a different story from Bangladesh. The dynamics might be different, and the approach could be different to eradicate poverty, bring economic wellbeing, and then bring sense into them to make them not have more and more babies. But, the concept is the same. How it needs be made aware, communicated to the most economically backward rural, is what needs be worked on.

If you are interested in this area of work, please leave a comment with your contact information in the comments section, and I will get in touch with you!