Quest for Gandhi in Champaran, Arvind Panagariya's exclusive interview, and future of payments banks

Will the economy benefit from women working in night shifts; what happened to Champaran after 100 years of Satyagraha; what does Iraqi envoy has to say to India. Following are the stories you should read this weekend

GN Bureau | May 5, 2017


#Women   #Weekend Stories   #Payments Banks   #Breaking Bread with Governance Now   #Iraq   #Gandhi   #Arvind Panagariya   #Champaran   #Night Shifts  


  • Rajkumar Shukla’s village Satwariya, now in West Champaran, is well connected with the rest of Bihar’s towns and villages. However, I see no pucca roads within the village. Entering the village, there is an ‘inter college’ built in the memory of Shukla, who is remembered as ‘Krantikari Shuklaji’. The college is a single-storey building with seven or eight rooms. One has to walk through a dusty ground, which is not exactly a playground, to reach the classrooms. A bust, which locals say bears little resemblance to Shukla, has been installed in the college premises. “My grandfather died young, he was never as old as he appears in the bust. We have the photographs; one can see and match,” says 73-year-old Mani Bhushan Rai, Shukla’s grandson who is living with his family in the village. Read: How Champaran is ripe for another satyagraha – like the rest of the country

 

  •  Sitting in Arvind Panagariya office on Parliament Street, we are served tea, and soon our conversation takes off. We begin by talking about the visible big changes. He says NITI Aayog is not a mere name change; it’s a change in the very concept of planning and policymaking. “The Planning Commission allocated funds to the states for their plans,” he says. “With the Planning Commission as the source of the funds and the states as their recipients, the relationship was unequal.” But NITI Aayog is different, the soft-spoken economist asserts. “We are not here to make judgements. Instead we see our role as assisting them (states). We are here to play the facilitator for the states, especially on matters involving both the states and the centre. I would also like us to be able to play the role of an agent of policy change.” Read: Breaking bread with Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya

 

  •  Payments banks hope to have an edge by keeping overheads low – being branchless is a major saving. But already, each player faces ten too many. Besides, there are numerous payment portals; and regular banks, too, allow customers to pay utility bills, etc... Payments banks pay interest on deposits but do not lend to earn interest. Yet they hope to make money. Is the model flawed? Will they fade away like pagers? Read: Zero spread banking

     
  • At present, the Factories Act, 1948 allows women to work only between 6 am and 8 pm. The IT and ITeS (IT-enabled services) industry, among others, are exempted under the Act, provided they ensure certain prerequisites such as safe transport for women employees. In the wake of the descending participation of women from workforce – down to 27 percent in 2014 from 35 percent in 1990 – the government introduced the amendment bill in Lok Sabha last year to enable women from all the sectors to opt for night shifts. States like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have already amended their respective Shops and Establishment Act and the Factories Act, 1848 paving way for the women to work overnight. Although the bill is seen as an important step towards achieving gender parity [see box] at workplace, absence of foolproof mechanism to ensure safety for women – especially during the ungodly hours – is indeed a cloud on the horizon. Read: No ladies seat on the morning bus home

 

  • Iraqis are at the forefront of the war against the Daesh in the entire Middle East, says Fakhri H Al-Issa, the Iraqi ambassador to India. “Iraq is not fighting for Iraq alone. If Iraq collapses, the entire Middle East will destabilise, in fact the whole world will. Imagine if Iraq is occupied by Daesh, what will happen to the Gulf states? What will happen to India? India should do its part." Read: "India should help rebuild Iraq"

 

Comments

 

Other News

‘Indian media powerful but suffers perception issues’

Lamenting that in the race to catch eyeballs with sensational news, tabloid journalism has got mixed up with serious journalism, senior journalist and Padma Shri awardee Alok Mehta has said that credibility perception of Indian media has gone down. Yet, despite criticism, Indian media is free and powerful.

India’s vaccination coverage crosses 30-crore landmark

In a milestone achievement, India’s cumulative vaccination coverage has exceeded 30 crores. A total of 30,16,26,028 vaccine doses have been administered through 40,45,516 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am Thursday. As many as 64,89,599 vaccine doses were administered in the 24

Gujarat’s smart move with smart app for unorganized workers

The Government of Gujarat has launched a web portal and a mobile application to facilitate online registration of workers from the unorganized sector by giving them smart cards for availing various welfare schemes. Chief minister Vijay Rupani has given a befitting reply to his critics that

How a portal saved 2,000 lives by connecting patients with dialysis centres

As the city of Mumbai went into the lockdown in March 2020, those who were on permanent dialysis and caught Covid infection or suspected to have been infected were badly in need of dialysis treatment. At the same time a large number of patients who were already in dialysis centres started contracti

Tamil Nadu constitutes `Economic Advisory Council` with nobel laureates

The Tamil Nadu government has announced the `Economic Advisory Council` to the Chief Minister comprising Nobel laureates, Raghuram Rajan, former governor of Reserve Bank of India and various other economic experts from around the globe to advise the state on how to reverse the economic slowdown. The state

Kashmir valley railway stations get rail Wi-Fi network

 All 15 Kashmir Valley Railway Stations, including Srinagar, have now got integrated with 6021 Station Wi-Fi Network of Indian Railways. Public Wi-Fi, provided under the brand name of RailWire, is available at 15 stations such as Baramula, Hamre, Pattan, Maz

Visionary Talk with Madhur Bhandarkar, National Award Film Maker



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter