• IITians Build Low-Cost Machine to Produce Sanitary Napkins & Help Keep Menstruating Girls in School

    A report from 2011, claims that only 12 % of India’s 335 million women use sanitary napkins while menstruating because of lack of access to good quality and affordable menstrual care products . A major reason for this is the fact that pads are generally manufactured using expensive machinery, which makes them unaffordable for many women living in rural India. In an attempt to address this issue, a product driven startup called Saral Designs developed machines, which they designed in-house so that they can start manufacturing good quality sanitary napkins at the decentralised level. The machines are easily replicable and can be set up within Rs. 10 lakh. This means that such units can be set up across India without middlemen. IITians Suhani Mohan and Kartik Mehta founded Saral Designs in June 2015. Suhani says, “While conducting some research in this field, we found out that 23 % of girls in India dropout from schools once they start menstruating due to the lack of proper facilities. They resort to using unhygienic material, which leads them to contracting reproductive tract infections. A lot of government schools and NGOs are creating awareness about hygienic menstrual practices, but the challenge is finding good quality products. Small-scale manufactures produce inexpensive pads but the material they use isn’t very good. And the number of pads that they make isn’t enough to sustain the costs borne by the company for electricity, manpower etc,.” The Saral team is made up of  nine young engineers from IITs, NITs and BITS Pilani and has around 15 people working on production and local sales. Suhani thinks of that their background in learning technology has been very useful in developing an easy to replicate, low-cost machine for producing sanitary napkins. She says, “We managed to make a machine that produces high-quality pads 30 times faster than the average. Our product is called Aisha Ultra XL, which are “ultra-thin pads with wings” and they are sold at Rs. 30 for a pack seven. The price is pretty low compared to other rival brands. We’ve been producing these pads for nine months and have managed to sell more than 2 Lakh pieces so far.” But aside from selling their products at pharmacies, the Saral team has reached out to women in living in villages in Maharashtra as well. Suhani says, “We have a team of 20 women, who go door-to-door and make girls aware of safe menstrual practises. They also let the girls try our products and sell it to them on a monthly basis if they like it. Additionally, we have distributed vending machines in schools and colleges across Mumbai.” The Saral team has also started partnering with NGOs in Karnataka and Chhattisgarh to make pads accessible to young women in remote villages. One such organisation is Shiksharth, an NGO working in the tribal dominated area called Sukma, Chattisgarh. With this partnership, they hope to educate 1000 girls about menstrual hygiene practices and provide them with one year’s worth supply of sanitary napkins. So, how this partnership happen? Suhani says, “In 2015, I met Ashish Shrivastava, the founder of Shiksharth while doing my Acumen fellowship. The Acumen fellowship is run by a US-based organisation that conducts fellowship programmes for leadership development. When Ashish did his Teach for India fellowship, he realised that girls in India, don’t drop out of school as much in urban areas as they do in tribal areas after they start menstruating. So he decided to move to Chattisgarh where this situation is very critical and set up a school. He’s fighting to convince families to let their daughters finish their education. We know that education is a way out of poverty and violence. Also, there is a need to remove the taboo around menstruation around such areas. So, we decided what better way to help these girls than by teaching them good practices and providing them with sanitary napkins.” The Saral team will train volunteers in Shiksharth to teach the girls in two batches -- the first would be made up of students between 6th-10th standard and the other will have students between 8th-9th standard. The curriculum for hygienic menstrual practices includes modules on reproductive biology and other relevant information about keeping their bodies clean while they are menstruating. Suhani says, “We’ve included information from UNICEF and Menstrupedia in the curriculum. But we also try and remove local superstitions/taboos surrounding the topic through playful intervention in the form of games and questionnaires. If we manage to successfully train the volunteers at Shiksharth, it would mean that our project would be sustainable over a long period of time as well.” You can help 1,000 girls in Sukma continue their higher education despite having their periods, by donating here. Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us: contact@thebetterindia.com, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. NEW: Click here to get positive news on Whatsapp!

    The Better India
  • Three Women Leaders Are Leading the Sanitation Revolution in Kanpur. Find out How

    NGO Shramik Bharati is empowering women in the slums of Kanpur to become community leaders and lead the movement for a clean, open defecation free India. Kanpur, the largest city in Uttar Pradesh, is the hub of industry and a thriving urban centre. The civic amenities here, however, have not been able to keep up with the scale of expansion, as thousands make their way from the hinterlands every year, in search of work and better prospects. About 25 percent of the population resides in congested slums and other informal settlements that have sprung up around railway tracks, on pavements and near the Ganges. Census Data reveals that, in the absence of adequate sanitation facilities, at least 41, 757 households in urban Kanpur defecate in the open. Yet, if women like Sangeeta Awasthi, Kalpana Anand and Kiron Srivastava have their way, then at least their neighbourhoods will soon be open defecation free. These committed community leaders are also working hard to ensure availability of clean drinking water in their shanties. No one understands the pain and shame that comes with open defecation better than Awasthi, 35, who lives in a slum at Baba Ghat, flanking the Ganges. [caption id="attachment_73282" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Sangeeta Awasthi, 35, is a responsible community leader, who has taken on the task of ensuring proper sanitation and water supply in her slum at Baba Ghat, flanking the Ganges in Kanpur.[/caption] Two decades ago, when she got married to Rajendra, little did she know that she would have to go through the daily humiliation of relieving herself in public. “If I had known that they [her husband’s family] did not have a latrine, I would have never married him,” she laments. “It is disgusting that while, on the one hand, elders of the family insist that daughters-in-law cover their heads even within the confines of the home; while on the other, they don’t flinch when they tell them to lift their saris and squat in the open for ablutions.” For the longest time, Awasthi compromised on her dignity. After all, her husband’s meagre salary as a school peon was just enough to make ends meet and pay for the education of her two sons. But things changed sometime last year when Shramik Bharti, a Kanpur-based non-profit organisation that works on issues of poverty and women’s empowerment, came to their area to speak to the residents about the need for building toilets and securing their right to potable water. An inspired Awasthi decided to start off on 'Mission Sanitation' from her own home. She made up her mind to get a latrine built, even if it meant saving money to build it, at the cost of her other needs. “I realised that, for me, there was no greater need than having a toilet at home,” she remarks. When she finally got a toilet built, after seeking government subsidy and assistance from Shramik Bharti, she decided to step out and tackle some of the other serious sanitation concerns faced by her community. Even as she spoke to her neighbours about availing benefits under the Swachh Bharat Mission to build toilets, this determined woman decided to focus her energies on resolving a critical problem - water supply. With only two handpumps in the slum, one of which remained non-functional and the other only pumped up dirty water, women spent the better part of their day figuring out ways to not only store enough water, but to also make it fit for consumption. “We had no option but to use that filthy water,” she reveals, “We used to strain it through a muslin cloth and boil it before drinking.” Conscious of the dire situation, Awasthi took matters into her own hands; she went door-to-door to convince families to join her in finding a viable solution. [caption id="attachment_73283" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Sangeeta Awasthi speaks to her neighbours about availing benefits under the Swachh Bharat Mission to build toilets.[/caption] She suggested that each household contribute money so that they could get one broken-down handpump restored and re-bore the other. After much effort, 13 families came on board, contributing Rs 50 each, enabling her to get the required repairs done. At the same time, Awasthi also met with the Corporator, a local member of the municipal corporation, and demanded that piped water supply be made available to them. Within two months, the civil work was done and today, all 85 houses in the community are enjoying piped water supply. As a responsible community leader, Awasthi attends every meeting called by the administration or Shramik Bharati to discuss any development work concerning her slum. Presently, the biggest issue for them is the shortage of space for individual toilets. In fact, that proved to be a major challenge for Kalpana Anand, 33, too, as she took up the cause in her Ambedkar Nagar slum in Vijay Nagar area of Kanpur. Like Awasthi, she wasn’t happy to discover that her marital home didn’t have a toilet. “I used to curse my destiny as I was forced to defecate in the open,” she says. By the time Anand was 21, she was already a mother of four daughters and as her girls grew up, her worry about their safety and health only increased. She was fearful because she was aware of the risks of going to isolated places at odd hours to relieve oneself. Constructing a toilet at home was always beyond their reach as her husband, Ram Bharti, is a small-time tailor. But after sitting through a meeting organised by Shramik Bharati, she realised that she could easily get one constructed with the Rs 8,000 incentive provisioned under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).Not only did she apply for it, she started motivating others to follow suit. With no sewage lines or toilets around, there was a lot of work to be done before the female inhabitants of Ambedkar Nagar would be free of having to defecate in the open, but Anand spearheaded the campaign in a sustained manner. [caption id="attachment_73281" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Kalpana Anand, 33, has spearheaded a campaign against open defecation in her Ambedkar Nagar slum.[/caption] She encouraged 97 families to fill up the form for availing the incentive; of these, 45 have individual toilets now. “I do not handle the money but facilitate in filling up forms and the purchase of building material at cheaper cost,” shares Anand. As the news of sanitation work in Ambedkar Nagar slum travelled to other areas, people started asking her to intervene in their localities as well. “I have understood that awareness is the key to bringing change,” she observes. Indeed, that’s the approach that Shramik Bharti has adopted wholeheartedly. It has created teams of dedicated field staff that are deployed in the six zones of Kanpur Municipal Corporation as well as the city’s Cantonment Board. Each zone has nearly 80 slums or slum-like localities. Officially, though, as per the list of District Urban Development Authority (DUDA), there are 412 slums in Kanpur. “Our objective is to develop citizen leaders like Awasthi and Anand and accordingly, we have designed the awareness and advocacy programme,” explains Rakesh Pandey, Chief Executive Officer, Shramik Bharti. Another leader who is creating quite a stir is Kiron Srivastava, 19, from Shivraj Singh ka Purva. When most of her friends are indulging in “fun” activities, this teenager is busy solving water and sanitation issues. [caption id="attachment_73280" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Kiron Srivastava, 19, from Shivraj Singh ka Purva has not only motivated 200 of the 260 households in her neighourhood to avail of government subsidy for toilet construction she has also submitted an application for building a sewer line.[/caption] She started working as a community volunteer when she was only 16. She says, “When I had first heard the didis from Shramik Bharati talk about sanitation, I was drawn to the discussion as I felt that associating with them would give a meaningful direction to my life.” Srivastava’s devoted attitude - she capably balances her college and social work - has prompted the local Corporator to induct her into the ward committee that supervises all related infrastructure development. Ever since then, she has been working tirelessly for the betterment of 260 households. “I have got 200 forms filled for toilet construction under the SBM, of which 70 toilets have been constructed,” she informs us with a hint of pride. She has also submitted an application for building a sewer line. Clearly, this trio has proven that when women put their hearts into bettering their lived realities nothing can stop them. Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us: contact@thebetterindia.com, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. 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    The Better India
  • IAF Wing Commander found dead at Sirsa airbase in Haryana

    Sirsa (Haryana) [India], Oct. 26 (ANI): An Indian Air Force officer on Wednesday was found dead under suspicious circumstances at his residence in Haryana's Sirsa Air Base. The body of Wing Commander Rajesh Kumar Tiwari, 41, security in-charge at the airbase, was found with a bullet injury in his head around 3pm today. "Wing Commander Rajesh Kumar Tiwari was posted here since May. He went on a round this morning and after returning, there was a bullet injury on his forehead.

  • New Zealand beat India by 19 runs to square series

    New Zealand beat India by 19 runs in the fourth one-day international to level the five-match series at 2-2 as the hosts suffered a mid-innings collapse at Ranchi on Wednesday. Chasing 261 for a series clinching win, India were all out for 241 with eight balls to spare. Opener Ajinkya Rahane's fluent 57 put India on course for the chase and the right-handed batsman added 79 for the second wicket with the in-form Virat Kohli (45).

  • Book Excerpt: Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, The Feminist Queen of the House of Travancore

    In this excerpt from The Ivory Throne by Manu S. Pallai, published by Harper Collins, we explore the initiation of feminism in Kerala by the last Queen of House of Travancore. Perhaps the simplest indication Sethu Lakshmi Bayi gave of her support to the cause of female education was a plain but unusual incentive. In the mid-1920s, much excitement was aroused in Trivandrum when it was announced that all girls who went to college in the state would automatically be rewarded with an invitation to join their queen at her palace for tea. It was an attractive inducement, one that had its charms in a princely state with a popular Maharani who was perhaps the only ‘celebrity’ available at the time. However, Sethu Lakshmi Bayi backed such symbolic gestures with actual proof of her commitment to female empowerment. Only months after her succession, the Maharani had elevated Dr Mary Poonen Lukose, Travancore’s first woman graduate and a product of one of the best medical colleges in the West, from being surgeon in charge of the Women and Children’s Hospital and her personal doctor, to the head of the Medical Department of Travancore. [caption id="attachment_73175" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Maharani Sethu Parvathi Bayi and Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi[/caption] Image Source: Facebook The news was printed in the Madras Mail under the heading of ‘Feminism in Travancore,’ not least because at the same time, Dr Mary was also nominated by the Maharani as a member of the Legislative Council, becoming the first woman to a take a seat in the house. It was the first time in India that a woman was being appointed the head of a major department, and also the first instance of a ‘Lady Legislator’. When she took her seat at the next session of the Council, ‘she was accorded an enthusiastic ovation and even after that, there was a chorus of praise about the liberal and wise step’ taken by Sethu Lakshmi Bayi in opening these doors to educated women. By 1928, the Maharani would nominate another woman to the legislature, one Mrs Elizabeth Kuruvilla, who would champion a motion to give equal chances to women in government appointments, with men by the following year. [caption id="attachment_73177" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Sethu Lakshmi Bayi with Rama Varma Koil Thampuran on their wedding day[/caption] Image Source: Facebook By 1931, the Sri Mulam Popular Assembly, which represented local needs of the various classes of people in Travancore, to the government, saw its rules revised so as to allow women to become members and to vote. As many as five women were immediately nominated into the Assembly, but ‘it is hoped’, announced the Dewan, ‘that at future sessions, elected women will take their place’, fulfilling the Maharani’s ‘solicitude to advance the cause of women and to give them their rightful place in the political life of the country’. It was noteworthy that these five women belonged to various castes, high as well as low, in order to represent the needs of their respective sisters. Earlier, in 1927, the Maharani opened up the study of law to female students, despite adverse comments, so that in a few years, the state had in Miss Anna Chandy ‘the first woman judicial officer not only in Travancore but also in the entire Anglo Saxon world.’ She began practice at Kottayam, stood for elections to the legislature (and lost), and went on to become a criminal lawyer in the High Court in Trivandrum by 1930. The idea of a woman advocate drew much attention and also some scorn; in one amusing incident an ignoramus Brahmin was so astonished that he went around insisting that Chandy had to be a man in women’s clothing ‘since no woman could possibly argue cases with such ruthless vigour!’ Yet there were also jealous remarks that she made use of her femininity to win cases, with one disgruntled colleague claiming: ‘If I also wore a blouse and a sari, I would have won.’ In 1927, Sethu Lakshmi Bayi raised the Women’s College in Trivandrum from second grade, where it taught intermediate and ‘ladylike’ but professionally useless courses, to first grade, obtaining affiliation with the University of Madras and starting classes on history, natural science, languages and mathematics. [caption id="attachment_73176" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi with her consort and daughters,Princess Uthram Tirunal Lalitamba Bayi and Princess Karthika Tirunal Indira Bayi (1928)[/caption] Image Source: Facebook Trained lecturers and teachers from Europe were also acquired at considerable expense and brought down to Trivandrum. Not only were salaries high, but these professors were also given a number of other perks so as to induce them to stay on; a Dutch lecturer discovered to great happiness that she was entitled to a large bungalow (‘the bedroom suite has three rooms’), one butler, one cook, one cook’s assistant, two gardeners, one sweeper, one chauffeur, two personal servants, and even an ayah. Soon there were 232 women going to college in Travancore, with over 9,500 girls in English schools. Two women were undertaking legal studies, and fifteen were studying medicine in Madras. Image Source: Facebook Indeed, such was the explosion in women’s education that by 1928, about 450 qualified women were being churned out each year, and the Unemployment Enquiry Committee that the Maharani would constitute had, to the surprise of its members, to carry specific studies on the problem of female unemployment in Travancore. ‘A degree,’ it would note in its report, ‘makes a daughter as valuable in the parents’ eyes as a son,’ also expressing some amazement that women ‘look for employment as eagerly as men do...' Of course, none of this was easy for the Maharani to champion, for there was a great deal of resistance also to progress being made. ‘Our women who have received modern education are usually found negligent,’ ventured a female columnist, ‘in the performance of domestic duties. If a woman who has the fortune to be a wife and the mistress of a home, surrenders the welfare of her spouse and children to servants, and the preparation of food to hired cooks, then the home will itself suffer badly.’ Another critic was even more vociferous: ‘Respected sister! Have you ever contemplated on why we fuss so much over this totally meaningless higher education?’ It was, in the view of this writer, also female, that ‘As women, our god-ordained duty is the care of the home and service towards our husbands. Government service and political activity are beyond its purview.’ It was, again, merely a repetition of the new cultural outlook that women were meant to be devoted little homely creatures, caring for their husbands and children, their minds not meant to tackle any superior intellectual challenges. Officials too, despite the Maharani’s policy, were unprepared when it came to conceding actual space in jobs to women. By the end of her reign, it was universally lamented that ‘the great majority of girls’ regarded their education ‘not as something of cultural value in itself, but as a direct means of securing employment and competing with men in the open market.’ But even the most chauvinist male officers had to quietly adapt to the changes unfolding in their plain view, and affirm how it was ‘quite in the fitness of things that this expansion of the scope of women’s work in the public service should come while the country is being ruled by Her Highness, the Maharani Regent.’ They may have cursed Sethu Lakshmi Bayi behind her back, but as always, once having made up her mind, there was no turning back and the cause of female education and empowerment continued ahead in full steam. (Excerpts from The Ivory Throne: Chronicles of the House of Travancore by Manu S. Pillai; Published by Harper Collins; Pp: 704; Price: Rs 699.) Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us: contact@thebetterindia.com, or connect with us onFacebook and Twitter. NEW: Click here to get positive news on Whatsapp!

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  • Cabinet approves 2% hike in DA/DR for central staff, pensioners

    New Delhi, Oct 27 (IANS) The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved a two per cent hike in the Dearness Allowance (DA) for central government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) for pensioners, with effect from July 1 this year, said Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The decision will benefit more than 50 lakh government employees and more than 54 lakh pensioners, he said. "The cabinet has given its approval to release an instalment of DA to central government employees and DR to pensioners from July 1, representing an increase of two per cent of the revised basic pay/pension, to compensate for price rise," Jaitley said.

    IANS India Private Limited
  • Delhi HC tells Tata's to take part in auction of Taj Mansingh Hotel,IHCL

    New Delhi [India], Oct. 27(ANI): The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed the TATA group's appeal for retaining management rights over the Taj Mansingh Hotel, and in all practicality, told the business conglomerate that it will have to participate in the auction process. The high court gave the green signal to the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) to go ahead with the public auction of the Taj Mansingh Hotel located in Central Delhi. A bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Pratibha Rani had earlier reserved the verdict on Indian Hotels Company Ltd's plea seeking to restrain the NDMC from auctioning the property.

  • CBDT signs five unilateral advance pricing agreements with Indian taxpayers

    New Delhi [India], Oct 27 (ANI): The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into five Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with Indian taxpayers here today. The agreements cover a range of international transactions, including sale of finished goods, purchase of raw materials, software development services, IT enabled services, exports and interest payment. The agreements pertain to different industrial sectors like manufacturing, IT services, etc. The agreements provide certainty to the taxpayers for 5 years with regard to the covered international transactions.

  • Students in Kerala Clean Govt Buses to Discourage Citizens from Vandalising Public Property

    During a seven-day camp organised at Aluva, Kerala, a bunch of 27 zealous students from St. Xavier’s college came up with a plan to clean Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses. The students, who are enrolled under the National Service Scheme, arrived at the bus stop closest to their college, guided by two teachers. Resmi Varghese, who was heading the clean-up, said that the students had earlier been involved in cleaning up railway stations and public spaces. She told The Times of India, “The motive behind this was to send a strong message to the people so that they can derive inspiration from the act.” They started cleaning on October 27, with the prior permission of the stationmaster. The Regional Transport Officer provided them with the cleaning equipment. Source: Facebook  Liandra Pius, one of the students, told The Times of India, “We were all in full spirits. There was so much enthusiasm that each one of us were actively involved in the clean-up act. We were least bothered about our clothes getting soiled." The students washed and scrubbed one luxury bus and one ordinary bus, and it took them three hours to finish the job. They hope this exercise will make citizens think twice before vandalising public property. Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us: contact@thebetterindia.com, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. NEW: Click here to get positive news on Whatsapp!

    The Better India
  • SC must see its contradiction on Hindutva, says K T S Tulsi

    New Delhi [India], Oct. 27 (ANI): Following the Supreme Court's refusal to review the Hindutva Act which states that using religion during an election campaign does not amount to a corrupt practice, senior Supreme Court advocate K.T.S. Tulsi on Thursday said the judgment has only paved the way for campaigners to ask for votes in the name of religion. "Supreme Court must see the contradiction. After all Hindu religion and Hinduism cannot be two separate things.

  • Big names in ISL will increase profile of Indian football: Henry

    Mumbai, Oct 26 (IANS) Arsenal legend Thierry Henry reckons that some big names in the Indian Super League (ISL) from across the world will increase the profile of football in the country. The former France striker and now assistant coach of the Belgian national team is currently on a two-day visit to India. "It helps massively when you have such people in the league," said Henry on Wednesday.

    IANS India Private Limited
  • How Postal Dept & Police in a Kerala District Are Solving Issues of 1000 Students Using Postcards

    The Department of Posts observed National Post Week from October 9-15 in various districts across the country to highlight why handwritten letters are still relevant and important in today’s India. According to the World Energy Outlook survey from 2015, around 237 million Indians in rural areas live without electricity leave alone the internet. It is impossible for the people living in these areas to communicate with the outside world through electronic media. In 2015, there were around 1,54,939 post offices in India and 1,39,222 (89.86%) of these were located in rural areas. On October 24, 1,000 children from eight schools in Kottayam, Kerala, wrote personalised handwritten messages to the District Chief of Police (DCP), N Ramachandran, about various issues of concern to them.  These letters were written on postcards that were handed out to the kids free of cost by the postal department in the district. The DCP has now formed a special team to take immediate action to solve the problems that the children brought up in the letters. Alexin George, the Division Senior Superintendent of the Postal Department in Kottayam, spoke to The Better India about this Kutty (child) Thapal (post) project. What was the inspiration behind this project? Alexin says, “The DCP was the keynote speaker during an exhibition organised at a local school. He expressed his disappointment at the fact that we’ve grown completely out of touch with art of writing letters and the children were quite enthused by his speech. During the National Post Week, post offices across the country find new ways to introduce children to letter writing through competitions on various subjects. But this time around, we thought we'd experiment with an idea that is more sustainable and impactful." “It is a novel concept as far as the general public in Kerala is concerned. We organised the event to revive the culture of writing personal messages among young people in our district. Letters are a very potent form of self-expression and they are a medium through which children can make their voices heard. We can get rid of boredom, isolation and self-centred attitudes through this exercise because it allows the children to reflect on their thoughts,” says DCP N. Ramachandran, who inspired the children. The Postal Department of Kottayam has four subdivisions, and workers from these centres went to various schools across the district to raise awareness about the exercise. Over the course of the Postal Week, each child was given the opportunity to write a letter about anything he/she wanted – from voicing a grievance to praising the good work of the police. “We received 1,000+ letters over the past few weeks and handed them over to the police on October 24. We are not entitled to read the letters but the District Police Officer told us he was able to find out about so many problems that children face daily,” said Alexin. Children brought up pertinent issues, which they would find difficult to discuss through any other medium. They wrote about harrowing personal experiences – of being touched inappropriately in buses, fearing harassment from eve-teasers, and being victims of bullying in the classrooms. “The exercise was not just about writing a letter as a nostalgic experience. It’s about giving children the opportunity to introspect and refine their thoughts. It was meant for the children to participate with the police, to be proactive in protecting their neighbourhoods and themselves,” said M. Ramachandran. The DCP has constituted a special team of six members to look into the problems that were mentioned and intervene immediately. He said, “If it’s a major issue we will identify the children and approach them. We will have personal interaction with the child and try our best to address his/her grievance. And the kids are eagerly awaiting a solid response from a competent team.” However, this is not the first time that the Indian Postal Service officer Alexin George has used the power of his position for the betterment of society. He belongs to the Civil Services Batch of 2013 and was posted to Coimbatore in the same year. During a chance visit to tribal hamlets in the Western Ghats in 2015, he realised that many tribals were not aware of/making use of government schemes that were meant to help them. Post offices are especially relevant in areas where there is limited connectivity because they have very high penetration in such areas. They are important as facilitators, connecting people in these areas with not just relatives and friends but also the government so they can avail of beneficial schemes that will give them financial security. One such scheme is the Sukkanya Samriddhi Yojana introduced in January 2015. This is a saving scheme that allows parents of under-18 daughters to deposit money in a recurring scheme through the post office and use the money, with accrued interest, for her education or other expenses later. Alexin had all 23 girls living in seven hamlets enrol in this scheme through the Siruvani Adivaram Post Office in Coimbatore. He says, “This was the first time in the country that all the girls from seven tribal villages in a district were enrolled into the Sukkanya Samriddhi Yojana.” Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us: contact@thebetterindia.com, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. NEW: Click here to get positive news on Whatsapp!

    The Better India
  • India vs New Zealand: 4th ODI scoreboard

    Ranchi, Oct 26 (IANS) Following is the full scoreboard of India's fourth ODI against New Zealand at the JSCA International Stadium here on Wednesday.

    IANS India Private Limited
  • PM asks Chief Secys to study, analyse WB's Ease of Doing Business report

    New Delhi [India], Oct. 26 (ANI): Mentioning the World Bank's report on Ease of Doing Business that recognises India's achievements in implementing reforms in four of the ten indicators, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asked all the Chief Secretaries and all Secretaries of the Government of India to study the report, and analyse the potential areas where there is scope for improvement in their respective departments and states. The Prime Minister asked for a report from all concerned in this regard within a month, and asked the Cabinet Secretary to review the same thereafter.

  • Public nuisance, violation of rules now on Sisodia's radar

    New Delhi[India], Oct. 26 (ANI): Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday announced a three-fold action plan for stringent crackdown on illegal consumption of liquor in the open in violation of the Delhi Excise Act. Following a high level meeting of the Excise Department chaired by the Deputy Chief Minister, special teams of Excise officials have been formed for this action plan. "Public nuisance, violation of rules will be under the radar of these teams which have been asked to immediately start these inspections.

  • Interference in Muslim Personal Law won't be tolerated: Asma Zehra

    New Delhi [India], Oct. 27 (ANI): Taking a strong note of growing political interference on the triple talaq issue, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) executive member Dr. Asma Zehra on Thursday said the rights given by the Constitution of India to the followers of Islam cannot be taken away from them either by the government or the court. "We have assembled here to send a message across the nation that Muslim women are happy with the Muslim Personal Law, they are secured and all their rights are protected.

  • India needs to go for rapid urbanisation in next 2 decades: Jaitley

    New Delhi, Oct 27 (IANS) Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday stressed on India's need to urbanise rapidly in the next two decades in line with its present development in order to relieve the pressure on agriculture. "In the next two decades, India will have to go for rapid urbanisation, in line with what we see already -- the growth of satellite towns, of suburbanisation around metros, etc," Jaitley said. The Minister was addressing the ADB-Asian Think Tank Development Forum here on sustainable urbanisation organised by the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, ADB and ICRIER.

    IANS India Private Limited
  • Pakistan spies had documents of BSF staff details, defence maps: Delhi Police

    New Delhi [India], Oct 27 (ANI): The Crime Branch of the Delhi Police on Thursday confirmed the arrest of two people of Pakistan origin who are residents of Rajasthan and the expected deportation of a Pakistan high commission staffer for "espionage activities", for possessing and passing on classified defence-related documents to Pakistan. Crime Branch Joint Commissioner, Ravindra Yadav told media here that the documents recovered from the high commission staffer included defence deployment maps, details of BSF staff and other visa-related documents. One was a Pakistan high commission member king pin.

  • No bail for road rage aggressor Rocky Yadav, says SC

    New Delhi [India], Oct. 28 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the bail granted by the Patna High Court to suspended JD-U leader Manorama Devi's son Rocky Yadav, the main accused in the killing of a class XII student Aditya Sachdeva in a road rage case in Gaya on May 7. Rakesh Ranjan Yadav, alias, Rocky, son of suspended Janata Dal (United) MLC Manorama Devi, was granted bail by the Patna High Court earlier on October 19.

  • I am guilty in Shivpal's eyes, not in Akhilesh's says hurt Amar Singh

    New Delhi [India], Oct. 27 (ANI): Samajwadi Party Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh, who has been accused of being the architect of Yadav pari-'war' infighting, today reached out to sulking Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, but as expected maintained his allegiance with the latter's adversary and uncle Shivpal Yadav. "If I am guilty of someone, then that is of Shivpal Yadav because he was removed and Akhilesh was made the Uttar Pradesh chief. Instead of abusing, Shivpal Yadav, welcomed the present chief minister and gave him the responsibilities of the state with Netaji's order," Singh told ANI in an exclusive conversation.



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