Creating Opportunities for Inclusive Growth –Integrated Rural Development

We as a nation are at an inflection point. While we are claiming our rightful place on the world high table as an emerging economic power, we still have a large number of our fellow countrymen struggling for two square meals and a dignified livelihood.

In a country of our size and resources, majority of our rural population is still living in abject poverty and has not benefited from our rapid economic development of last decade. Dependence on agriculture as primary source of income for majority of small and marginal farmers is the main reason leading to rural poverty.

Despite our rapid economic growth, our rural population has not benefited from it. Economic theory of “Trickle Down Effect” has not worked for rural India for obvious reasons. India’s recent economic growth has been driven primarily by services Industry which constitutes around 60% of our GDP now while agriculture, primary source of rural livelihood, has shrunk to below 20%. Meager land holding of our small and marginal farmers leads to the fact that agriculture alone can not sustain rural livelihood.

Is Rapid urbanization with mass migration of rural population to the cities will solve the problem of rural poverty?

I am afraid not!

It is true that cities have been the growth engines of current economic growth because this growth has been concentrated primarily in services and industrial sectors. Unfortunately uneducated and unskilled rural population can not participate in this growth story as they do not have required skills and knowledge to get absorbed in these high growth sectors of our economy. Hence majority of unskilled rural migration to the cities ends-up in daily wage jobs at construction sites or similar physical labor with earnings barely enough to survive. Consequently despite migrating to the cities, neither they can afford a dignified livelihood for themselves nor can they support the financial needs of their families left in the villages. They live a life of misery and hardship with no hope for a better life even for the next generation. On the other hand due to this mass migration, our cities can not provide basic infrastructure & civic amenities, thus resembling shanty towns with slums all around.

Indian Religious Minorities – Puppets in the hands of political parties

This morning, I was amused to see the front page of newspapers with UP Chief Minister Mrs. Mayawati proudly proclaiming to be the saviour of minorities. She was flanked by minority community leaders and clergy who seemed equally happy and excited.
Few pages further I saw one full page advertisement by UP government (with tax payers money) detailing what all her government has done for minorities during her 4 tenures as Chief Minister of UP. The advertisement which detailed Crores of rupees spent on Haj, Madarsas, grants for daughter’s marriage and many such schemes which I found were noble but only transactional in nature, designed for short term gratification and favours. Similar advertisements were routinely published before elections by previous SP government headed by Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav in the past years.

We can CHANGE our political system & CHANGE we must !

Mumbai Tragedy – will it be just another terror attack to be forgotten or a “Turning Point” in the way we conduct ourselves as a nation, a nation where our leaders are answerable and our bureaucrats accountable. It all depends on us – the Civil Society.

We can talk about short term and long term solution, but the root of the problem lies in the rotten political system which delivers chaotic, corrupt and criminal democracy. We, educated youth, working professionals and middle class have become marginal players in the dance of democracy as we do not have enough numbers, do not vote as a block and do not form a dedicated Vote Bank.
But we can bring CHANGE in our political system. Lets think SMART

Solidarity Rally on 7th December – Sunday – 6pm

Nation is held Hostage! People are Scared! Parents wait anxiously for their kids to come home safe! Politicians have Z Security, how about common man!

Enough is Enough!…Let’s Ask Questions!…Let’s Demand Accountability!…It is no longer Business as Usual!

“26/11 Never Again” – “Politicians must be held accountable” – “Bureaucrats need to do their job” – “What do we do with a terrorist neighbor!”

Let’s CHANGE the way we conduct ourselves as a nation! It is our 9/11 and we will never let it happen again!

Come join us for a SOLIDARITY RALLY at 6PM on Sunday – 7th December across the nation!

BANGALORE – Assemble at BRV Ground – Cubbon Road (adjoining Chinnaswamy Stadium) – March to Gandhi Statue on MG Road

Bring your banner, poster and tricolor. Wear black clothes or tie a black ribbon/band on your arm.

To register sms – START CHANGE to 575758 and visit – www.changeindia.in to express your opinion!

 

Project 4: Green Dream — 100,000 trees to reduce carbon dioxide in the air, increase the level of the water table and bring back the birds!

Add a Touch of Green to Earth!
Bring back the Sparrows to Bangalore

Rotary Bangalore IT Corridor (RBITC) has a dream — to turn the green clock of Bangalore back closer to what it was – the garden city. In the immediate phase of the project, RBITC plans to turn Whitefield green by planting 100,000 trees in a 22 sq km area and thereby make a major impact on the environment. And it is going to do this by 15 August, 2008.

Think about it: thousands of Plumerias, Gul Mohurs, Cassias, Rain Trees, Cherry, Mango, Peepul and Neem that can make a measurable difference around you!

We are going to do this with your invaluable assistance, under the expert guidance of environmentalists such as EcoWatch and the support of the BBMP.

During winters. we humans use and check products like handy heaters reviews to keep ourselves warm. Use warm clothing to keep us protected from cold. Hundreds of residents in this 22 sq km area (skirted by the Outer Ring Road from Marathahalli till the suspension bridge, past the ITPL, down Hope Farm and along Airport-Varthur Road) have already begun to participate. Make sure you don’t miss out on participating.

What is the impact of 100,000 trees in Whitefield?

A hundred thousand trees have the ability to change entire eco systems. Here are four things we believe will happen:

  • Sparrows will return to Whitefield
  • Many species of butterflies will be back
  • The water table will rise
  • Carbon dioxide levels will be better managed

How do you plant 100,000 trees?

You tell us. At the moment, we need your help and enthusiasm to be able to do this by 15 August, 2008.

Over the last two years, the RBITC has been successful at planting trees around Sheelavanthanakere, a lake behind Sigma Tech Park, and along the Airport-Varthur Road.

These were planted by the RBITC, with the overwhelming support of people in the area.

But planting 100,000 trees is a different ball game…we need everybody’s involvement, and it would be great to have you and your children as part of the project. That way we would have ensured everyone has the chance to make a difference to the environment.

A group of people passionate about wanting to reduce the negative impact of our natural urban development has been working on the project under the RBITC banner. These include senior professional managers, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, students, housewives, small businessmen …

A dedicated team is studying the 22 sq. km area and mapping it (see area outlined in red in the map above for coverage of the project). They are also consulting the local residents and RWAs. Discussions are also on with institutions which own large tracts of land in or around the area – army, police, HAL, companies, hospitals, etc. The response has been extremely encouraging.

Another team is working on contacting all the local residential communities to create awareness, get their involvement and to plant in their colonies. Many have already come forward to work in the project.

Yet another team is working on the Corporate sector, contacting companies and to involve them in the project. Initial efforts have evoked “Yes, we want to get involved” from every company contacted.

Creating awareness through creating and distributing collateral material, through out door hoardings, exposure in media etc. has been taken on a specific task by a group fully involved in it.

A large team will use all of the above to create evidence of the involvement of a large number of people and organizations through distribution of coupons, badges, etc.

Finally, one team is working closely with the contracting partners in the physical plantation and maintenance of saplings in the areas identified. They are also working on identifying type of saplings required and where we can get them from. The good news is already Mr Mahadeva Gowda, a noted environmentalist himself, has offered 20,000 saplings from his nursery at Dee Mandala farms and other places.

The project movement is well underway.

Who is part of this project?

We are getting in touch with as many people in the area as we can:

  • Individuals
  • Residential complexes and their associations
  • Companies/ corporates and institutions
  • Government bodies

If you want to participate, please write to Gita Sriram ( gita@msc-india.com) who is coordinating this effort or call on 9886112444.

Individual Involvement

If you or your children are interested in getting involved, here are some of the things you could do:

  • Help identify areas for planting trees
  • Be part of the awareness campaign
  • Get involved in collecting cash contributions (Rs. 100 per tree) that help plant the saplings and nurture them
  • Approach companies for their Involvement
  • Work towards acquiring an adequate number of saplings
  • Be part of the tree plantation itself

If you want to participate, please write to Gita Sriram ( gita@msc-india.com) who is coordinating this effort or call on 9886112444.

Contribute (in multiples of Rs 100)

You can be part of this effort by making a donation to the RBITC Charitable Trust. Donations can be made in multiples of Rs 100. To make a donation, you need to purchase donation coupons that are of Rs 100 each. Here are two ways to make the donation:

  • Contact Gita Sriram ( gita@msc-india.com) or call on 9886112444 and request her to send you as many Rs 100 coupons as you wish to pay for.
  • Click here to make an online donation using our secure and safe payment gateway.

Corporate Involvement

We want to identify and work with organizations which would be interested in being associated with RBITC in this movement and we encourage such organizations to:

  • Spread this message amongst their employees to get their involvement
  • Make a donation towards the cause of a Green Whitefield
  • Become a Corporate Contributor to the project: Contribute towards
    • 5000 trees – Gold Contributor
    • 2500 trees – Silver Contributor
    • 1000 trees – Bronze Contributor

@ Rs. 100 per tree

Contributors will be acknowledged formally through the presentation of an appropriate plaque.

Be known as a company that is socially responsible in an area that is most urgent for the future of humanity.

Get exposure on our website, banner space at the major function on Aug 15.

Contributors will also be acknowledged in press releases and press conferences.

If you want to participate and know the benefits of corporate involvement, please write to Rajeev Mehtani ( rajeev.mehtani@nxp.com) or call 9845640182.

What will your contribution be used for?

RBITC will use your valuable donation to:

  • Purchase saplings that are at least three years old and plant them
  • Pay for the actual plantation of the saplings
  • Pay for maintaining the saplings for the next 12 months until they can survive on their own

About RBITC

  • Dedicated group of people wanting to make a difference
  • Started 2 years ago
  • Doing extensive work in various schools
  • Provided a fully equipped ambulance for the Whitefield area
  • Provided a bus for Shankara Eye Hospital at Kundanahalli to transport patients from remote areas
  • Organized the world’s first Midnight Marathon in Whitefield in 2007
  • Planted trees around the lake two years ago, and on the Whitefield Varathur Road last year

For more information, please contact

Rtn Amarnath Kamath, President (Email: amarnathkamath@gmail.com, Mobile: 9845025600),

or Buvana Sharma, Secy., (Email: queenearth@yahoo.com, Mobile: 9845951958)