Sunday, March 20, 2011

Amidst the thorns of corruption some fragrant roses bloom!!

Governments of India have set up numerous schemes to so called help the rural sector especially the "aam admi" (are these mango people? as aam = mango) or the common man and farmers. However, without going into politics of it all I can say proof of the pudding is in the eating. Statistics supplied by the government itself shows that over 800 million people in India are living with an income of $2 per day. That does not speak much about the efforts made by the governments of all persuasions to help the farmers and the common man. Most of the schemes are mismanaged, corrupt and downright managed by apathetic corrupt "babus" who specialize in sheer incompetence and ignorance. 

Amongst such arrogant management here are stories of people taking matters into their own hands and not just surviving but thriving and utilizing the money effectively and efficiently. People of India are not in need of pity charity or condescending attitudes or patronizing politicians giving their "subjects" hand outs. They need a hand up. Once they are able to get the help they need they are capable of creating jobs and as late Prof. C. K. Prahalad said create "Fortune at the bottom of the Pyramid". Over 85% of the Indians do not have access to any banking services so how do they know how to gain financial literacy or how to conduct their financial affairs. In Kenya with the start of banking system such as M-Pesa poor people have got access to financial services through mobile phones. In Africa over 500 million people now use the services. In India governments and RBI should start looking at removing archaic banking regulations and move into 21st century to enable banking services. It is not that hard to implement the systems are there now and security issues have been already addressed. But in India as in every other case wheel needs to be reinvented as if Indians are the only ones who know how to do things securely and safely and rest of the world is not interested in safety and security of their governments or people. 

Google is developing android based financial services which will allow people to pay through the phone for milk newspaper etc. Banks already have paypass where one can pay for small amounts through waiving of credit card in front of a reader. Use of QRcodes ( Quick Response Codes) will allow secure interaction of various links. India should stop reinventing the wheel and learn to use the wheel to make a car or ride in one. Time for procrastination and apathy is over. World events have shown that people are fed up with old archaic dynastic incompetent systems and want to move on with a new world using information technology. World is demanding true equal opportunity for all. No one in their right mind wants free trade but want fair trade. The people below are the best example of given half a chance people can turn their life around without education in a traditional sense. 

I have put these articles in my blog to celebrate the achievements of people who turn their life around without joining the Victims club or Hand-wringer's club and said look at poor poor me and have taken meager resources and have achieved something for themselves and the community. India needs more people of this nature. I thank Deccan Herald for publishing these inspiring articles.

MGNREGS funds utilised for afforestation in Asundi in Gadag
This GP has a green thumb
R Virendra Prasad, Gadag, March 19, DHNS:

The Asundi gram panchayat has set an example through its afforestation initiative taken up under the MGNREGS.

At a time when MGNREGS is associated with misuse of funds and irregularities, the Asundi gram panchayat has utilised its funds for growing saplings which will be planted around the village as soon as the rains begin in June.

The gram panchayat has set aside Rs five lakh of the MGNREGS grant for the purpose. More than 55,000 saplings are being grown at the Government school premises in the village, of which about 50,000 saplings are teak and the remaining are banyan, pongamia and neem. The forest department is supporting the gram panchayat in its endeavour.

Trees on both sides of road
Two women from the school have been watering and taking care of the saplings for the past two and a half months.

Two villages –– Asundi and Mallasamudra –– come under this gram panchayat and the plan is to plant the saplings on both sides of the road, areas identified as parks in layouts and on one side of agricultural fields.

The gram panchayat has already begun digging pits for planting the saplings.

‘Poor work’

Elaborating on the initiative, gram panchayat member Somareddy Ramenahalli said: “Every year 20 per cent of the MGNREGS funds allotted to the gram panchayat is given to the forest department. But the department not only plants saplings haphazardly, but does not take care of them. So we decided to set up a nursery ourselves with the funds.”

After gram panchayat president M M Hosamani, vice president Shakuntala Mulagunda and members gave their go ahead, the idea was put to action, Somareddy added.

Entrepreneural success
Her determination reaped benefits
Manish, Mysore, March 19, DHNS:

''If your determination is fixed, I do not counsel you to despair. Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance,'' observed 18th century lexicographer Samuel Johnson.

The story of Padma Satish, a resident of Neralekere, Srirangapatna Taluk, Mandya District, is a perfect example of how perseverance pays rich dividends. Padma was one of the participants to receive a smart card and zero balance account offered by Canara Bank, here on Saturday. Hailing from a rural background, Padma, who once used to tend to livestock and work in her four acre farm in order to make ends meet, now employs around 20 women in her village to prepare a wide range of homemade products.

Her array of products include snacks made out of ragi including biscuits, papads and pakoda. She is also responsible for manufacturing edibles such as jamun mix, puliyogare mix, badam malt and inedibles such as candles, soap oil, phenyl and a range of other products that has takers in the neigbhouring villages.

Recalling her growth through the last four years, Padma said earlier by cultivating only paddy and groundnuts, she used to earn only ` 25,000 per year. However, undergoing training at the Zilla Krishi Kendra changed her life, she added. She mentions that selling products made out of ragi itself fetches her anywhere between ` 40,000 and `  45,000 per annum.

When she headed to take part in the training programmes, Padma recollects the opposition she had to face within the family. However, with a firm goal of succeeding, she started selling products in the village. Over a period of time, Padma’s products became widely popular in the neigbhouring villages too.

Having passed only SSLC, Padma takes hour long class for B Sc students who visit Ragi Research Centre at VC farm, in Mandya.

Also understanding the importance of education, Padma mentioned that she had worked hard to ensure that her three children pursue their studies. She mentions with pride that her eldest daughter is studying engineering at GSSS Institute of Engineering and Technology for Women in Mysore.

Financial Inclusion 

Canara Bank Circle Office, Mysore, had organised a programme on Financial Inclusion and loan linkage for Self Help Groups and other weaker sections of the society. Participants also zero balance accounts on the occasion.

Around 1,200 smart cards were distributed to SHG members of 22 villages under the Mysore Circle Office, under the programme. Executive Director Jagadish Pai inaugurated the programme. General Manager N Ramesh, Deputy General Manager Subramanya Iyer and others were present at the programme.

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