Makkala Mane: You can be a part of their success story

Monday, July 28, 2008

It's an absolute pleasure to inform you that some of my friends and I were able to gather funds for the education of 5 girl children of Makkala Mane. My sincere thanks to all of them [Names not mentioned for privacy] who contributed for the noble cause. [Click Here for earlier post].

Well, that is definitely not an end. It's just a humble beginning. I have realized one thing, there is really NO dearth of people who "actually" want to help. But generous people, sometimes, don't know where to direct their funds and NGOs and Voluntary organizations like Makkala Mane, sometimes, find it difficult to spot the generous people. There is a gap. There is a lack of "human network". Who is going to fill that gap between generosity and beneficiaries like children in Makkala Mane? Why are we lacking so much in connecting right people to the right destination?

Who is going to bridge that gap? Answer is very simple. It's you and me, we all can do that! Makkala Mane is dependent on Donations/Contributions from Public/Well wishers and Charitable institutions to meet its growing expenditure. Lets find the right people so that their generous help can be directed towards right places like Makkala Mane. The children in Makkala Mane need some help again. Lets "Do Something". Lets be a part of their success.

I am 'copying' the e-mail sent by Uday Kumar, Executive Director, Makkla Mane. Hope you can make a little difference. Thanks in advance!

Note: Following cost/child estimate is based on the quotations received from the concerned dealers.
==============================================
MM [makkalamane@gmail.com]     Sun, Jul 27, 2008 at 12:46 PM
To: [Addresses delete]
Dear Friends,

Herewith we are attaching the request for sponsorship for the children of Makkala Mane pertaining to Uniforms and educational Materials for the year 2008-09.
The details are in the above said letter in the attachment.
Kindly look into the matter and do the needful.

With Regards
Yours Sincerely

S.B.Uday Kumar
Executive Director

Here are the images of attached letter. [Makkala Mane blog]


 
 

Vote won - Trust lost, but there are some good lessons to learn

Saturday, July 26, 2008

"I am a Muslim and I am an Indian, and I see no distinction between the two", "The enemies of Indian Muslims are not America or deals like these. The enemies are the same as the enemies of all those who are poor — poverty, hunger, lack of development and the absence of a voice….”, "...jab tak kashmir mein musalman hain, Srinagar aur Amarnath mein aap ki yaatra chalti rahegi (As long as there is a single Muslim in Kashmir, the Srinagar and Amarnath Yatra will never stop)."
I can never forget those sentences for the rest of my life. Omar Abdullah's cogent arguments in recently concluded parliamentary special session reflected his keen mind and an ability to think clearly and logically. He was laconic in his words, his down to earth approach to express his ideas sent chills down my spine.  "During the two-day special session to discuss the trust motion, only Omar Abdullah among the genuinely young pols held his own [churumuri]." Take a look at his inspiring speech.



Two days' significantly high quality debate was completely masked by the high drama of "Cash for Vote". Our media repeatedly shown those disturbing pictures. But very few were able to sense the high quality debate in the parliament. You can find the complete text here, Day-1, Day-2. Of course, there was mud slinging, that's the part and parcel of politics, but there were few leaders like Dr. Manmohan Singh, Pranab Mukherjee, Omar Abdullah, for some extent Rahul Gandhi (he said, "instead of worrying about how the world will impact us, we should start worrying about how we will impact the world."), etc.. who have shown the far reaching vision for the nation. Young parliamentarians sent a very clear message to the nation, "National interest is above the party politics." Lalu Yadav's humorous remarks added special taste in the debate, he was at his proverbial best, take a look.



I feel, some times it's better if the media and public are not quixotic. The myth that 'there is only mud slinging in parliament', is of course, not true. There are some good things, in fact little more than ever before. There are pros and cons, there is no point in dwelling on the bad things in parliament, their is no point in emphasizing them vehemently. There are some things which are unavoidable in most vibrant and dynamic democracy like ours (I don't say that we shouldn't criticize, but we shouldn't loose ourselves in the oblivion of criticism). The media, the public and of course all of us should help our democracy to free from myths and help it develop harmoniously. The idea here is simple, If there are unavoidable (bad) things, learn the lesson, take it (lesson learnt) forward and cherish the good things, rest will be just history.

Singh is King: Rediscovering the child within!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Every day that I have been Prime Minister of India I have tried to remember that the first ten years of my life were spent in a village with no drinking water supply, no electricity, no hospital, no roads and nothing that we today associate with modern living. I had to walk miles to school, I had to study in the dim light of a kerosene oil lamp. This nation gave me the opportunity to ensure that such would not be the life of our children in the foreseeable future. Sir, my conscience is clear that on every day that I have occupied this high office, I have tried to fulfill the dream of that young boy from that distant village."
Those were few things which Dr. Manmohan Singh wanted to say in the parliament, but opposition leaders did not let him read out his statement. You can find the complete text of PM's statement here and here. Some excerpts for you here.
First two paragraph's of his speech are quite interesting and unusual to his style of speaking but he finally spoke loud and clear.
1. "At his ripe old age, I do not expect Shri Advani to change his thinking. But for his sake and India’s sake, I urge him at least to change his astrologers so that he gets more accurate predictions of things to come." Read More
2. "......we have an ambitious programme which seeks to create 30 new universities, of which 14 will be world class, 8 new IITs, 7 new IIMs, 20 new IIITs, 5 new IISERs, 2 Schools of planning and Architecture, 10 NITs, 373 new degree colleges and 1000 new polytechnics..."
Below statement reflects the far reaching vision of Dr. Manmohan Singh.
3. In 1991, while presenting the Budget for 1991-92, as Finance Minister, I had stated : No power on earth can stop an idea whose time has come. I had then suggested to this august House that the emergence of India as a major global power was an idea whose time had come.
Carrying forward the process started by Shri Rajiv Gandhi of preparing India for the 21st century, I outlined a far reaching programme of economic reform whose fruits are now visible to every objective person. Both the Left and the BJP had then opposed the reform. Both had said we had mortgaged the economy to America and that we would bring back the East India Company. Subsequently both these parties have had a hand at running the Government. None of these parties have reversed the direction of economic policy laid down by the Congress Party in 1991. The moral of the story is that political parties should be judged not by what they say while in opposition but by what they do when entrusted with the responsibilities of power.
I am convinced that despite their opportunistic opposition to the nuclear agreement, history will compliment the UPA Government for having taken another giant step forward to lead India to become a major power centre of the evolving global economy. Jawaharlal Nehru’s vision of using atomic energy as a major instrument of development will become a living reality.
4. Our critics falsely accuse us, that in signing these agreements, we have surrendered the independence of foreign policy and made it subservient to US interests. In this context, I wish to point out that the cooperation in civil nuclear matters that we seek is not confined to the USA. Change in the NSG guidelines would be a passport to trade with 45 members of the Nuclear Supplier Group which includes Russia, France, and many other countries.
5. The Management and governance of the world’s largest, most diverse and most vibrant democracy is the greatest challenge any person can be entrusted with, in this world.
6. I have often said that I am a politician by accident. I have held many diverse responsibilities. I have been a teacher, I have been an official of the Government of India, I have been a member of this greatest of Parliaments, but I have never forgotten my life as a young boy in a distant village.
7. We are responsible for our actions and we must act without coveting the rewards of such action.

Sometimes, being compassionate to ourself helps

Thursday, July 17, 2008

How many of you have screwed up a good relationship due to some silly misunderstanding? How many of you have suffered melancholy because of your own mistakes? How many of you have blamed yourself for doing something really stupid? Well, I have gone through all these and of course I did pay the price. Right from my childhood, I was under the impression that, we are responsible for what we are. One of my teacher in school always used to tell us, "We are responsible for what we are and we will be responsible for what we will be" (Originally Swami Vivekananda's quote). Quite often, this perception penalized me a lot by forcing me to believe that, I am responsible for all the 'mess' around me. But some times it was not always true. There were some situations which were beyond my control; really, i couldn't have done much about it.

I had this habit of retrospecting the whole story that created the mess. Thinking in some other perspective did made me realize that, "Yeah, some one else may be responsible for the mess. But there were many incidents in the past few days/weeks/months where you failed to make some simple choices. If you had decided 'that' way, probably this mess wouldn't have happened. Other person might have just happened to be in that situation and became responsible for the mess." Ultimately I was forced to believe that, "Yeah, I am responsible for what happened there." Some corner of my mind always reverberated "Not fair! What the heck? It's not my fault." There used to be some kind of confusion. Am I responsible for this or am I not? Some sort of agitation in mind. I was just trying to decide, whose fault was that?

Until recently I had never realized that, some times, we need to be compassionate to ourselves. We must try and understand what our limitations are. Of course, we must try and overcome them or avoid them, thats the different story all together. But in this case, something has already happened and we are just trying to do some repair work. I have realized one thing, "There is no point in blaming ourselves for our weaknesses or our mistakes." Why that agitation in mind? Why that kind of confusion about whom to pass on the blame? Why do we tend to be conclusive? Why don't we accept our mistakes with compassion? If we cannot accept and understand our own mistakes then who else will? Let us take the full responsibility for 'that' mess. After all, in some or other way we might have contributed to the mess, because we were there in that situation.

Once that is clear, lets work towards how we can repair the damage, or how we can solve the problem?  or how we can overcome the weakness? Once we know how, rest is simple, follow your heart and  "Just do it!"

Related Article:
1. ಸಹಾನುಭೂತಿ (Compassion)

Left's contempt for change is incongruous in a country shouting Chak De India!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The very intricate nature of Indo-US nuclear deal has confused many including Left Front. One must have heard some noises like, "This deal is a biggest threat to our national security", "If this deal go through, India will become America's new slave", "US will indirectly have a say on Indian internal affairs", "Our right to have nuclear weapon will be curtailed", etc. Bhartiya Janata Party has even gone to the extent of saying "the deal in its present form was unacceptable to BJP and wanted the deal to be renegotiated!" I believe all those who make noises about nuclear deal should go back to basics and ask the following questions to themselves.
1. Is this deal a biggest threat to our national security?
Rubbish. Go through the text of India US agreement for peaceful use of nuclear energy.
  • India do not have to surrender its right to test nuclear weapons (Article 14.2 makes it clear). 
  • Only civilian nuclear infrastructure (that too not all reactors) come under IAEA safeguards. India can continue with its nuclear research and development projects.
  • More over, Under Article 6(iii) of the deal, India has the right to reprocess the used fuel.
  • This nuclear deal and Joint military exercises like "Malabar 2007 Naval Exercise" are of strategic importance to India considering the balance of power in South Asian region. They should not be treated as India's dependency over United States.
2. If this deal go through, will US start sneaking into India's internal affairs? Will India become a slave of US?
Again Rubbish. India blatently refused US's pressure to cut down its relations with Iran. Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited India in April.  In an era of coalition politics, why will opposition parties and coalition partners let the government to consider US's interest in Indian internal affairs? Didn't the Left Front withdraw its support when they didn't like the nuclear deal? The very nature of Indian parliamentary democracy and its constitution and political conventions will not allow any government to consider foreign influence in domestic policy making. When it comes to policy making, any government, in that matter either NDA or UPA, India's interests are of atmost importnat and they are the driving forces.

3. Will this deal put our sovereignty at stake?
Not sure if this question really make any sense. "With our advanced nuclear and military capabilities, why should India be afraid of some other nation?" "Today, India can build any type of satellite launch vehicle, any type of spacecraft and launch from Indian soil and also it has all the capability with its mighty facilities and powerful human resource. [Dr. Kalam]" After six decades of independent democratic experience followed by century of struggle for freedom, we have learnt the best possible meaning and importance of "sovereignty". Why will this agreement bring billions to their knees? Why are we so parochial in our thinking?

If you make a detailed analysis of Indo-US nuclear deal, few things seems to be conspicuous.
4. What if US terminates fuel supply to India?
Absolutely no problem. Remember Tarapur experience? US had offered a nuclear fuel supply to Tarapur atomic energy power plant under 1963's 123 agreement. But after India conducted its nuclear weapon test in 1974, United states withdrew the fuel supply to Tarapur plant. US made an alternative arrangement by asking France to supply the fuel, France too refused to supply the fuel saying that India is not a member of Nuclear Suppliers Group(NSG)! Russia came in to help India and ensured the fuel supply to Tarapur plant
Didn't we find alternatives to our fuel need? Now, the present 123 agreement has a seperate section dealing with " termination and cessation of cooperation [Article 14]." Even India-IAEA Safeguards Agreement makes this very clear. Articles 105 and 106 allow India to raise these violations directly with the IAEA Board. More over the agreement is strictly within the text and spirit of International laws. Forget about the legal intricacies, India can go to any other countries like Canada, Australia, France, Russia, etc to buy fuel! So why should we worry if US does not want to supply fuel in the future?

Most importantly many people (especially Left) think that by going to IAEA, and subsequently to NSG, India is putting its sovereignty at stake. This is clearly unjustified and misinterpreted view. Why? Going to IAEA is first step to operationalize this deal. Here is the procedure
  1. First we go to IAEA, get the approval of the Board of Governors.
  2. Then we take it forward to the Nuclear Suppliers' Group for the approval.
  3. The US Congress has to approve the deal.
  4. Then, India-US 123 Agreement will be signed.
  5. After that we come back to the IAEA, then we give a declaration of the nuclear reactor, identify which reactors will be put under safeguards.
  6. And finally we have to be satisfied that our fuel supply will be consistent. Only then it is operationalised.
Also, "we can go to other countries like Canada and Australia to sign separate agreements on fuel supply. We don't have to go to the United States. So if one country stops fuel supplies then we can go to another country," Mr. Kapil Sibal explained in an interview to CNN-IBN.

So whats going in antagonists mind? They do not seem to be understanding the impact of "economic globalization", they don't seem to have realized the strength and capabilities of India becoming a super power (or atleast a developed nation in Dr. Kalam's terms). More over, Leftist ideology has not changed in last 50 years, they don't seem to be learning from Communist China's experiences, and they don't seem to be getting out of Anti American mindset. As Sagarika Ghose rightly said, Left's contempt for change is incongruous in a country shouting Chak De India!"

Related Articles:
  1. Breaking the impasse
  2. Left Should Look Right!
  3. Romancing India with a Vision!

Text of India-IAEA Safeguards Agreement 'leaked' before its made public in India!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dear Mr. Prakash Karat,
You don't need government to make the text of India-IAEA Safeguards public. You can get the complete text on a website run by "non-proliferation ayatollahs." Click here to get the complete text of India-IAEA Safeguards Agreement. (Document link via Sidharth Varadarajan's blog, Prakash Karat desperately wanted the India-IAEA Safeguards to be made public. See the reports here, and here).

Sagarika Ghose's comments doesn't really surprize me. Its high time that the Left should look at Right (things) in the interests of the nation!
A letter to the Left
Lal Salaam Comrades!
Your tenure in government seems to have ended. How different things were four years ago! Four years ago you were faced with a unique opportunity. The "communal" BJP-led NDA had suffered a surprising electoral defeat. The "secular" UPA was to take over the reins of government. In a hung house, you with your 60 MPs formed the crucial outside support to the government. At that time you smiled broadly with your hands held aloft with other leaders of the UPA. You delivered sharp soundbites on the Common Minimum Programme, on the basis of which you gave your support. With your best ever electoral performance, it seemed as if the Communists had finally arrived on India's national stage.

Today, four years later, where are you? The Congress government is getting ready to survive its remaining few months in power without you. Prakash Karat's dream of the "non Congress" "non BJP" Third Front lies in tatters.... Read more on Sagarika's blog.

Makkala Mane: Can you help them see the fruits of education?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A little child on the street said, "I wish I was rich. And if I were, I would give all the street children food, cloths, medicines, shelter, and love and affection." If a child on the street (who has nothing) is willing to share, then why are we (who have everything) still so greedy? Why aren't we willing to share even when we have more than enough? Why are we afraid to let go some of our wealth?[...]

If you are reading this blog on net, I assume, you have got enough knowledge to share, at least a bit of love and compassion to spread. In worst case, I am sure you at least have enough food, shelter, cloths, and some wealth which can make you feel high! Can you happily share a little bit of that? Are you ready to show the lights of education to few children who desperately need our help?

Well, If you think you can, you are right. You can actually contribute a little (not really much) to "Makkala Mane" They need some help from us. It would be really great if you can contribute something. Copying the email below [Thanks to Sowmya for the email], you can find all the details, Or you can also contact me, I am just a phone call or an email away.

Sit back, take a deep breath, may be another, think a little bit and please do help if you think you can.
Thanks in advance!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: MM <makkalamane@gmail.com>
Date: Jul 7, 2008 9:52 PM
Subject: Request for Educational Sponsorship
To: [addresses deleted]

Samaja Vikasa Kendra Trust
# 227, 4th Main, Srinagar,Bangalore-560050. Karnataka
Ph:080-26601048 Mob: 9880599261 Email:makkalamane@gmail.com
7th July 2008
Request for sponsoring educational expenses for High School Students
Dear Well Wishers of Makkala Mane,

Greetings from Samaja Vikasa Kendra Trust
This year 5 new girls have joined Makkala Mane and admitted to NBN High School. The details are as below.

1 Usna Sultana  9th Standard
2 Lubna Sultana  9th Standard
3 Lakshmi.K   9th Standard
4 Chandrakala 8th Standard
5 Monika 8th Standard

The Management of NBN High School considered our request to reduce the fees upto 50% of the total amount Rs.4900/-. The total fees for each girl for one year is Rs. 2450/. Two sets of Uniforms, two pairs of Shoes will cost Rs.900/-.  The total expenditure for each girl for one year is Rs.3350/-   We Request you to help children to get educational sponsorship for the year 2008-09.

We appreciate your earliest response.

With Regards,
Sincerely Yours

S.B.Uday Kumar
Executive Director

Update:  Bank Account Details
Please draw the cheque / DD in the favor of "Samaja Vikasa Kendra Trust"
ING Vysya Bank
A/c Number - 196010005880
Srinivasanagar Branch
Bangalore-560050

CAG report on NREGA: Quixotic media prevaricated the positive outcomes

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Nationa Rural Employment Gaurantee Scheme (NREGS) has been touted as the largest ever public employment program visualized in human history (Shah, et al: 2008). Independent India has (arguably) seen unprecedented innovations in the policy 'formulation' for socio economic development. Some of the policies and programs could taste the sweet of success but (again, arguably) most of them failed to 'change the lives around'. Checks and balances are vital for taking forward the policy to achieve its intended goals. In this context, Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) had asked Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India to undertake the performance audit of NREGS. This proactive step taken by MoRD is commendable, even courageous. Recently, media has virtually sensationalized the reports of CAG on NREGS. Media even went on to say that NREGS is a failure and should be abandoned!" What did the CAG actually say? Where did the CAG fall short of its investigations? And what can we learn from the CAG to improve the functioning of the NREGA? [EPW, June 21, 2008]"

Need a quick look at NREGA? have a glance here.

Indian media focused on two important aspects of CAG report [CNN-IBN, ET, Indian Express, and other print and electronic media],
  1. Each 'registered household' received only 18 days of employment on average, where as the actual promise was 100 days of employment under NREGS.
  2. Only 3.2% of 'registered households' worked for full 100 days. That means around 97% of households in India did not receive the 100 days of employment.
Immediately after media sensationalized the CAG report, MoRD hit back saying that,
  1. Each 'household' actually recieved 44 days of employment on average.
  2. 10% of 'households' got 100 days of employment.
It is very interesting to note that both CAG report and MoRD reports are derived from the same source! i.e. from Official Monthly Progress Reports ('Circulars and documents issued by the MoRD' as mentioned in CAG report). So how did CAG and MoRD arrive at two different numbers from the same data? CAG report took "Registered Households" as the reference group, while the MoRD's calculations focus on "households" employed under NREGA.                       
So what's the difference between 'registered households' and (just) 'households' employed under NREGA? The fact is that, CAG's 'registered household' approach does not capture the demand-driven aspect of the NREGA Act. Any rural household - whetner or not it subsequently seeks employment - can get a job card through registration. Registration is simply an expression of potential interest in applying for employment. Official  monthly progress reports suggest that, the proportion of registered households that have actually worked at NREGA worksites is around 55 percent [EPW, June 21, 2008]. That means, atleast 45% of the households that recieved employment under NREGA have not registered. Its very clear that, CAG has ignored this 45% of unregistered households which actually recieved employment! The unregistered household information in various states can be found in CAG report itself! click here to see this in CAG report. What happened next? Media was quixotic enough to ignore such a vital information provided in the CAG itself and went on to change the facts into fiction. This untimately created hatred feeling about implentation of visionary policy like NREGS.

Other myths in CAG report and realities
  1. CAG reports "Worksite facilities were not provided in 202 Gram Panchayats (GPs) in AndhraPradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Manipur, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal (15 States)." If even one of these facilities in one of the Gram Panchayats of any of these 15 states was found to be missing, this state would have joined the list. As a result, this statement tells us precious little about the actual state of things. Such an approach can only yield a partial if not distorted view of the implementation [CAG Report and EPW].
  2. Media reported (based on CAG report) that, there were widespread finantial irregularities in implementaiton of NREGS. Economic and Political Weekly reported that (June 21, 2008 issue), "CAG report does not mention specific cases from which corruption can be inferred. In contrast to the presentaiton in the media, a careful examination of such instances (finantial irregularities) does not lead to a picture of widespread corruption!"
  3. CAG also reported that there were attempts to tamper the muster rolls (i.e. list of citizen eligible for employment under NREGS). CAG provides no numbers by which we can guage the extent of the fraud!
  4. Find out more at The Hindu.
Where CAG Report has failed?
  1. The report has little to say about actual socio-economic outcomes, whether it is the impact of NREGA on poverty, or on women's empowerment, or agricultural productivity.
  2. There is a scattered evidence from many sources that NREGA is empowering women, encouraging rural savings, helping with schooling, activating Panchayat Raj Instirutions, etc. CAG has failed to investigate these aspects.
  3. CAG has completely ignored many state schemes initiated under the NREGA. (Note that, States have the responsibility of implementing NREGA and have given significant freedom to choose thier schemes in accordance with Operational guidelines mentione in NREGA).
  4. CAG has choosen to use either national averages of employment generated, or existing poverty lines to decide the impact of NREGA. These figures of average employment generated and existing poverty line are extremely complex and their figures vary from region to region. So using these figures might at best serve as a rough guide but not the actual scenario.
Most of the mainstream print and electronic media failed to understand these ground realities and went on to create a hatred feeling about one of the best policies India has ever produced. Its very interesting to note that only "The Hindu" was knowledgable enough to dig out these ground realities. True to its reputation, The Hindu tried to find the positive outcomes of CAG report rather than creating unhealthy speculations like other media fraternity. Are there some positive outcomes in CAG report? Yes.
  1. CAG has convincingly reported the issue of shortage of staff to implement NREGA.
  2. CAG has highlighted the importance of social audit process and recomended that social audit must be taken far more seriously by the administration.
  3. Mismanagement in job card distribution and wage distribution is highlighted well, and government should act quickly to overcome these shortcomings.
  4. The relactance of state governments to disburse unemployment allowance has been noted appropriately.
Well, The CAG report "is a mix of constructive elements interspersed with facts that can be misrepresented. Nevertheless, CAG report is an independent look at the NREGA that can be extremely useful. It is imperative that government should respond constructively to the report rather than simply discard it or dismiss it as false." Mean while, media should understand its social responsibility in a democratic society and should stop spreading such unhealthy speculations which sidelines the positive effects of visionary policies like NREGS.

References and Notes
  1. CAG Draft Report on NREGA.
  2. Economic and Political Weekly, June 21, 2008 issue. Article titled, 'CAG report on NREGA: Facts and Fiction' by Siddhartha and Anish Vanaik.
  3. Misleading media reports: CNN-IBN, ET, Headlines India, Indian Express: 1, 2, 3, 4. Indian Express even went on to say that, "It's official: In poorest states, job funds don't reach the poor", "Congress ka haath kiske saath!"
  4. Unbiased report in The Hindu.
  5. NREGA portal.
  6. CAG portal.

National Action Plan on Climate Change

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"The earth has enough resources to meet the needs of people, but will never have enough to serve their greed” - Mahatma Gandhi.
*****
India unveiled the much-awaited national action plan to combat climate change on Monday, 30th June, 2008 and yet again demonstrated its proactive initiatives for combating the climate change. On this occasion, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh reiterated what he had said at G-8 summit held in Heiligendamm, "India was prepared to commit that its per capita emission would not exceed the average per capita emissions of developed industrial countries [...]."

The National Action Plan focuses attention of 8 priorities National Missions. These are:
  1. Solar Energy
  2. Enhanced Energy Efficiency
  3. Sustainable Habitat
  4. Conserving Water
  5. Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem
  6. A “Green India”
  7. Sustainable agriculture
  8. Strategic Knowledge Platform for Climate Change
The National Mission of Solar Energy, occupies a pre-eminent place, whose success, Prime Minister said, has the potential of transforming the face of India[PIB].

Things to note about National Action Plan
  1. Vision: "To make India’s economic development energy-efficient.[PIB]" PM said, "Over a period of time, we must pioneer a graduated shift from economic activity based on fossil fuels to one based on non-fossil fuels and from reliance on non-renewable and depleting sources of energy to renewable sources of energy."
  2. The plan framed by a 22-member experts on climate change reiterates that maintaining a high growth rate is essential for increasing living standards of the vast majority of people who remain vulnerable to global warming and specify eight missions to tackle threats.
  3. "India will engage actively in multilateral negotiations in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in a positive, constructive and forward-looking manner."
  4. The plan reiterated India’s international stand that it believes in "common and differentiated responsibility" and, therefore, will wait for developed countries to cap their emissions that are several times higher.
  5. This plan does not set target reduction of greenhouse gas emissions but seeks to promote sustainable development through use of clean technologies.
Read More:
  1. PM releases National Action Plan on Climate Change.
  2. TOI:India unveils National Action Plan on Climate Change.
  3. Text of Prime Minister’s address.
  4. Other Sources: CNN-IBN, Finantial Express, rediff, merinews.
Related Articles:

Man Vs Mother Earth: Who has betrayed whom? - TheLastOne!

There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We need to go far, quickly.

This is last in the series of articles about climate crisis.

The first article should set the historical context for you to get interested in knowing about climate crisis.
The second article
talks about earth's energy balance, causes and consequences of climate crisis.
The third article speaks about the impact of scientific discoveries on political decisions and policy making with respect to climate crisis.
The fourth article discuss about
how the scientific results/efforts where successful in making 'climate crisis' a buzzword and also about impact of scientific studies related to climate change.
The fifth article throws some light on
role of world leaders and scientific community in sharing whatever little is left and the road ahead.

*****
"Both developed and developing countries should stop using the other’s behavior as an excuse for stalemate and instead develop an agenda for mutual survival in a shared global environment...We must understand the connections between the climate crisis and the afflictions of poverty, hunger, HIV-Aids and other pandemics. As these problems are linked, so too must be their solutions. We must begin by making the common rescue of the global environment the central organizing principle of the world community[source]."

Our leaders do understand the ground reality, thanks to the timely intervention of scientific fraternity. But they are just trying to be too pragmatic when it comes to taking some actions. They respect peaceful negotiations for taking collective actions, we have seen that in Kyoto, we have seen in Vienna, Washington, recently in Bali also. Though there were some heated exchanges, these conferences, nevertheless were fruitful. Leaders need to realize the urgency and should be quick enough to take actions? What actions?

  1. Reduce the anthropogenic green house gas emission by at least 5.2 percent below 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008-12 [voluntary commitment in Kyoto Protocol] with a shift to cleaner energies such as wind and solar powers.
  2. Understand the fact that, wrt climate change, all countries have "common but differentiated responsibilities and relative capabilities [explanation here]." Developed countries, the so called Annex I countries, should act accordingly. United States should stop finding the hiding place behind India and China and should start taking the responsibilities.
  3. Developed countries should assists other countries both in terms of technology and finance, as agreed in earlier negotiations.
  4. Though there is no legal obligation to reduce the emission of green house gases, all countries must accept the emission reduction targets.
  5. Leaders should focus on the such policies which can bring down per capita emission. It's interesting to note that, At G-8 summit held in Heiligendamm, our PM Dr. Manmohan Singh made it clear that, "India was prepared to commit that its per capita emission would not exceed the average per capita emissions of developed industrial countries [...]." Such proactive initiatives are healthy and other countries should follow the suit.
  6. "The real challenge at the national level is to integrate the management of climate related risks into development policies and programmes. [Yojana, June 2008].
  7. We need a package of policies from out leaders, may it be fiscal, regulatory or any other which would make a substantial difference to our dependence on imports of oil as well as on emissions of all kinds of pollutants, not just carbon dioxide, as advocated by Dr.R.K.Pachaur.
  8. Leaders should understand the urgency of promoting the use of renewable energy resources.
  9.  And of course, you can add to this list.
"Not withstanding the skepticism over the prevailing notion of global warming, if humanity along with the other flora and fauna have to survive on this planet, all nations - developed and developing must make sincere endeavour to strike balance between the two or else we are heading for major breakdown of the ecosystem of our mother planet in the coming years.[Yojana, June 2008]" Its high time that, every country should ask not what every other country has done for the cause of climate crisis, but should ask itself what it has done (or what it has to do) for avoiding terrible consequences of climate crisis. And we all must realize the fact that, when it comes to climate crisis, whatever we do may be insignificant, but it is very important that we  do it.

Man Vs Mother Earth: Who has betrayed whom? - Part 5

Al Gore, in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech said, "We have everything we need to get started, save perhaps political will, but political will is a renewable resource. So let us renew it, and say together: We have a purpose. We are many. For this purpose we will rise, and we will act."[Al Gore's blog] 

*****



This is fifth in the series of articles about climate crisis.  In this article, i will be discussing about role of world leaders and scientific community in sharing whatever little is left and the road ahead.

The first article should set the historical context for you to get interested in knowing about climate crisis.
The second article
talks about earth's energy balance, causes and consequences of climate crisis.

The third article speaks about the impact of scientific discoveries on political decisions and policy making with respect to climate crisis.
The fourth article discuss about
how the scientific results/efforts where successful in making 'climate crisis' a buzzword and also about impact of scientific studies related to climate change.

Until 1970s, most of the countries were busy making policies for socio-economic development. This was evident in the younger democracies just out of colonial rule. But it was in late 70s and early 80s, the debate of global warming started getting attention as the industrialization reached new heights and pollution became pervasive. 'Growth greedy' developed world went on and on with rigorous industrialization without taking climate into consideration. The developing world, on other hand, was forced to undergo unprecedented industrialization and mechanization due to the exploitative colonial rule in the past. Their (developing and developed nations') 'struggle for better and respectful' existence without taking mother nature into account has resulted into the present day climate crisis.



Sharing whatever little is left

"Once again, it is the 11th hour. The penalties for ignoring this challenge are immense and growing, and at some near point would be unsustainable and unrecoverable. For now we still have the power to choose our fate, and the remaining question is only this: Have we the will to act vigorously and in time, or will we remain imprisoned by a dangerous illusion? [Leaders ignore 'climate crisis' at world's peril].'' What do we expect from the world leaders? It's enough if they start acting instead of keeping themselves busy in coming to consensus about climate policy issues. We are already in 11th hour, we do not have enough time to respond. There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We need to go far, quickly [Excerpted from Al Gore's speech].  



When asked, "What kind of capacities do we need to build in terms of our mitigation efforts?", Dr.R.K.Pachauri said, "You need a package of policies, fiscal, regulatory and even in terms of ensuring that you make a choice of the right kinds of designs and so on, which would make a substantial difference to our dependence on imports of oil as well as on emissions of all kinds of pollutants, not just carbon dioxide [in an interview to frontiline]." That is, we need some "meaningful policies on climate" from our leaders so that we can mitigate (and subsequently eliminate) our dependency over non-renewable energy resources like oil, coal, and other carbon intensive fuels.



Read more about Politics, Economics of global warming on wiki. Al Gore's speech Leaders ignore 'climate crisis' at world's peril, Nobel Prize acceptance speech. Also, The cold facts of global warming, cover story on frontline.



The Road ahead

Have we reached the point of no return? Is it too late to stop climate change? Ross Gelbspan (author of The Heat Is On and Boiling Point, and he maintains the website heatisonline.org) says emphatic yes! But optimists like Al Gore argues that we can still mitigate the dangerous consequences, if not stop the climate change. Forget about climate denial (I would like you to see the video and image i had posted earlier to justify this, click here), need of the hour is "creating the basis for common effort and shared responsibility" for cleaner future.



What we can do? [source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

1. Reduce your impact at home


  • Replace a regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (cfl)

  • Use Solar Water Heaters if you are living at place where there are enough sunlight.

  • Choose energy efficient appliances when making new purchases

  • Turn off electronic devices you’re not using

  • Unplug electronics from the wall when you’re not using them

  • Place Lids while Cooking Food (Closed vessels always increase the boiling point to higher level).

  • Use recyclable materials

  • Plant a tree at your home


2. Reduce your impact outside home


  • Use public transports like Trains and buses. Utilize the carpool concept and similar ideas for your travelling needs.

  • Improve vehicle fuel-efficiency.

  • Practice fuel-efficient driving.

  • Recycle air conditioner coolant.

  • Drive less - You'll save energy by taking the bus, riding a bike, or walking. Try consolidating trips to the mall or longer routine drives. Encourage car-pooling.


3. Educate others and create awareness about climate crisis


  • Be compassionate to know other's level of understanding about climate change and help them understand the situation better.

  • Sow the seeds climate awareness in children and youth.

  • Help, involve or contribute to NGOs, non profit organization working to protect environment.


And of course, you can add to this list.

To be concluded...
 

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This work by Manjunath Singe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License. The views and opinions expressed in this work are strictly those of the author and do not represent his employer's views in anyway.