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Perspective

Volunteering Warriors: A Covid perspective

The COVID-19 pandemic served as a testament to the power of mankind, its resilience and its hope in restoration. While we heard an ample amount of information on the adverse effects of the pandemic, we thought of covering a story of hope. This is the story of Karpagam, a 22-year-old Master’s student from Chennai who worked for the Greater Chennai Corporation as a ‘Psycho-social Support’ volunteer for COVID-19 patients. We asked Karpagam a bunch of questions about her experience and understood the truth behind the scenes, in its raw and unfiltered nature.

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Idea

Safer internet: One ROAR at a time

Harassment is defined by Merriam Webster as an unpleasant and hostile situation for an uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct. Simply put, it is a type of behaviour that is persistently annoying. In this article, we’ll discuss the idea of verbal harassment online. We spend around 3.5 hours on our phones, daily. Owing to the pandemic, an average Indian spent 4.3 hours a day on smartphones after the first lockdown began in March 2020. 

The internet as a whole is a service provided to us, consumers. The very essence of being a consumer is the ‘power of participation’. Imagine if we the consumers stopped being bothered about purchasing things that we need, things we want and the things we’re convinced that we would need – thanks to marketing!

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Idea

Homeschooling in India: Unschooling Jagani Sisters

In 2018-19, my sisters Kashish & Tanishk had to join additional classes apart from their daily school, entering 9th & 8th standard. They joined these extra classes not because they wanted to, but because their friends were taking them to score better marks and grades in exams. My sisters were not happy about that. Their everyday routine involved school, classes, home-work and preparing for tests, etc., leaving very little time for doing things they truly wanted to do or learn. They hardly got any time to explore their personal interests. There was so much to learn & explore but they got tied among 7 subjects: half of which they were not interested to study and the other half was outdated and irrelevant. The world is changing much faster and the current education system’s content, format and teachings are growing less relevant to this age. We need to set a lifelong-education curriculum/system to our kids to become self-sufficient, employable and grow in all of their interests. Traditional schools are killing curiosity and are making kids less adaptable to change, making life difficult for these kids. We, parents, are also to blame for dodging a kid’s questions as silly.

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Perspective

Depressed India needs to discuss about it

Globally, over 322 million people suffer from depression; what’s more, the number of people living with this condition has jumped by a whopping 18.4% between 2005 and 2015 (WHO). That apart, every 40 seconds, a person kills himself/herself (chiefly due to mental illness), putting suicide amongst the leading causes of death in the world. Approximately 1.5% of deaths in 2015 were a result of this; in fact, the number of suicides committed globally stood at 7,88,000 in 2014 itself!

Probably more worrisome is the fact that over half of the total number of depressed people belong to the South-East Asian and Pacific regions, with people in India and China constituting a large part of this population.  The study by WHO which states this ultimately concludes that India is the most depressed country in the world – a very grave fact. What did we do to deserve this place?

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Perspective

Why does India invest in Space?

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) budget for fiscal year of 2018 was around Rs. 10,000 crore which amounted to about 0.0004% of the 2018 Union Budget of India. To understand the broad reasons behind this investment, it is important to highlight the direct and indirect benefits of Space to the country. The reasons behind the establishment and continued existence of national space programs can be broadly classed under ‘Geopolitical’, ‘Societal’, ‘Scientific’ and ‘Commercial’ gains to the country. In this post, I will briefly summarize how these individual gain areas were the primary motivations for major space agencies of the world. How do these play out as opportunities for India to capitalize on, as it moves ahead? Read on for my two cents.  

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Problem

Is the Energy Industry Cyber Secure?

Electricity is the major driving force for any economy. ‘Access to clean and affordable energy’, is one of the goals under 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. According to International Energy Agency and World Bank, one-quarter of India’s population lacks access to electricity. While access to electricity has been a challenge for decades, there is one other emerging problem which is ensuring cyber security in the energy sector. Economies have become more dependent on Information and communication Technology (ICT) and hence vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Cyber-attacks target the economic infrastructure to reduce the available state resources and undermine the confidence in their supporting structures. The most serious cyber security risks are those that threaten the functioning of Critical Information Infrastructures (CII). In India, the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Center (NCIIIPC), the nodal agency for protection of CII, has identified eight CII which are: Telecom, Banking and Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI), Government database, Power & Energy, Strategic & Public Enterprises (PSUs and Heavy Industries).

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Perspective

The Bridge Project

bridge_Proof-Of-Concept-SectionWhy does one want to solve problems in the society? Our mind is a river and these problems around us are like rocks which obstruct its flow. When the mind-river get obstructed, one cannot live in peace. Some rocks smaller, some bigger, some huge. This article is about one such huge rock that affected me 4 years ago and how I tried to alleviate this obstruction. My name is Dhananjay. I am 37 years old, an engineer by profession and I also has spent 20 hours a week for last 4 years trying to solve some problems around me. I co-founded an NGO (non-governmental organization that is not-for-profit), Joining the Dots Foundation predominantly run by volunteers.

Problem

Around late 2015, I was browsing through MHRD website reports to understand the state of education in India. I learned about the ASER reports there. Out of curiosity, I went on to read through the entire ASER (Annual School Education) website. The reports that I saw that day had a very deep impact on me. Probably a little less today than that day with best hopes that our efforts will change this condition. One of the findings in the report said 40% of Grade 5 students cannot read Grade 2 text books.

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Idea

2 Stars for that for that pothole!

Do you even remember how many times you have seethed in rage over a huge portion of your street being ripped open for laying some wire or pipes only to be never closed again? Or when the public works lays a new road on top of the existing one repeatedly such that your front gate is now below the road level? Or when the storm water drains fail miserably during heavy rain? Or how about going to government office to get any work done?  Getting your pension or birth or community certificates, almost any government service under the sun has always been irritating in our country, irrespective of the party in power. You have to admit that even when your favorite political party is in power, these blood boiling irritations remain.

Now as a Product Manager, I have to think a lot about user experience, i.e such as ease of use, how quickly and efficiently the user’s objectives are accomplished. So we’ll have Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and objective metrics to track

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Perspective

Zero to 1: Private Governance as a Service

By the turn of this century Africans will constitute 40% of the world’s population. At approximately 1.3 billion people Africa’s population is presently lower than that of China. Over the next 80 years that will change in an incredibly massive way. Whilst this transformation happens, something else equally impressive will be taking place; Africa will be urbanising at unprecedented levels. Almost 20% of the world’s urban population will end up living in African cities; that is some 2.5 billion people. Whats more, at that point in history, Africa’s total urban population is likely to only be 60% of its population versus ~86% in the U.S. today. I believe it’s urbanisation and population growth story will likely persist into the 22nd century; with population growth beginning to slow as Africa becomes more affluent, but with urbanisation likely continuing to be fairly rapid. In many ways the story of Africa over the next two centuries will be one of existing cities growing into mega-cities on the one hand, and completely new cities being built from scratch on the other. Lagos is expected to grow into a city of ~100 million by 2100, up from ~20 million today. Lusaka, where I live, may grow into a city of >30 million by 2100 up from ~3 million today. In both cases I’m doubtful that municipal or central governments will be able to finance the infrastructure rollout required to make such growth in populations sustainable. Financing the growth & the existing deficits at the same time would prove to be an insurmountable challenge. Rather I believe that the private sector will be the means by which the growth of city populations in Africa will be made not only sustainable but rather—possible. The alternate reality will be urban sprawl that consists mostly of shanty cities. A future I believe most people in Africa would prefer not to see unfold.

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Problem

No good excuse to deter #MeToo

So the MeToo wave has finally crashed our shores in India and we are starting to see many famous celebrities getting hit by this wave surfed by some brave women. News channels are discussing these celebrities, people are writing about celebrities are who are exposed, some are shocked, some don’t want to believe anything. But the point of view of everyone whether they support or hate the movement, the MeToo movement from when it picked up steam in Hollywood to its recent strong arrival in India is somehow still largely viewed as a phenomenon that affects celebrities and some of the critics of the movement describe it an as a movement that only gives voice to the urban elites.

And there lays a big problem of this perspective,