Anupam Verma, who works for a multi-national company in Mumbai, was deeply disturbed after reading a report regarding the presence of poisonous chemicals in conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that he and his family used to eat everyday. The report was indeed scary. It said the consumption of these produce might cause life-threatening diseases like cancer, neurological defects, autism and respiratory and reproductive problems. Verma did not want to take a chance and decided to use only 'organic produce', which are presented in the report as a healthy alternative.
Under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), India along with other developing countries, has committed to eradicate extreme poverty. The deadline to achieve the goal is 31st December 2015. However, according to a recent United Nations report, nearly 300 million people still live in extreme poverty in India and face deprivation in terms of access to basic services, including education, health, water and sanitation.
The Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojana has been a resounding success when it comes to providing bank accounts to the people who were out of the financial network. Within 100 days of launch of the scheme over 12.5 crore people have been provided a bank account. However, just opening an account does not solve the problem. In its first full budget, Narendra Modi government has decided to make Jan Dhan an integral part of the social security programmes by creating "JAM Trinity".
The government has accepted the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission that seeks to enhance transfer of money to the states from the central taxes by an unprecedented 10 per cent.
Under the new arrangement 42 per cent money from the 'divisible pool' will be transferred to the states. This is 10 percentage point increase when compared with the previous 32 per cent.
Thirty-five year old Gomati from Mangatpur in Pilibhit has opened a bank account under Jan Dhan, but she is skeptical about its use. "There is no money in it. I am confused. What will I do with it?" she said tersely when asked about her bank account. Gomati is not alone. Hundreds of women spoke in unison at the five-day financial literacy programme conducted by Skoch Group at Pilibhit, a picturesque Himalayan plateau rich with flora and fauna, but one of the economically backward regions in Uttar Pradesh
When 54-year old Ranjana Devi (not the original name) from Himmatnagar village went to a bank to open an account under Jan Dhan, she was asked to show an identity and residence proof or pay Rs.500. Neither she had any identity and residence proof, nor was she is in a position to pay the money demanded.
While inheriting a history that can be traced back to the Hindu epic of Mahabharata when it was ruled by Mayurdhwaj or King Venu, a great devotee of lord Krishna and a loyal friend of Arjun, Pilibhit derives its name from a local village where people build yellow-coloured mud walls around their dwelling units to protect themselves from wild animals.
Narendra Modi government has replaced 65-year old Planning Commission (Yojana Aayog) with a new institution named NITI Aayog. NITI stands for National Institution for Transforming India. To bring in a lasting transformation, radical change in the process of planning and implementation of developmental work is required. Plans should be formulated at local bodies and village level on felt-need based approach.