Bhutan’s pursuit of happiness, shortage of health sub-centres in UP, and role of digitisation in IGNOU

Here is a list of five stories that you must read this weekend

GN Bureau | May 27, 2017


#weekend stories   #United Nations   #India   #Bhutan   #gross national happiness   #Uttar Pradesh   #NRHM   #IGNOU   #Nepal earthquake  


In many ways the story of Gross National Happiness in a country is the story of Bhutan and its modern history. There are two major transition points in Bhutan’s recent history, the beginning of the monarchy in 1907, and the transition to a Constitutional monarchy in 2008, and the pursuit of happiness is deeply linked to both of them. The first Wangchuck monarch, Ugyen Wangchuck, is often shown barefoot in photographs. It is how he stood before the nobles and monks in 1907 to assure them that he would take care of them and the country’s interests best. The land of the Thunder Dragon has worked hard over the years to be happy, a feeling for which one will be willing to give one’s eyeteeth.
 
 
Comedian couple Sitaram Kattel (aka Dhurmus, the stage character he assumes) and Kunjana Ghimire (aka Suntali, her stage character), household names in their homeland Nepal, were on a carefree tour of the United States for 27 shows when the April 25, 2015 earthquake struck. They cut short their visit; the heartrending images of wailing Nepalese, homes destroyed, drew them back home. Today, the couple is doubly known across the Himalayan nation: their 30-minute weekly show on TV, Meri Bassai (Oh My God), commands an enviable viewership; also, they are known for having built houses for about 800 people who lost their homes in the earthquale.
Read: A building act for Nepal
 
 
Has Uttar Pradesh been able to realise any of the National Rural Health Mission dreams of strengthening public health system or the NRHM funds have gone down the drain? The focus of the article is on health sub-centres. It askes three questions: First, has UP been able to increase the number of sub-centres to match its burgeoning rural population? Second, has it been able to provide an additional ANM and an MHW in all sub-centres as envisaged by the NRHM in 2005? Third, are there enough health worker supervisors in the system?   
 
 
There was a time in India when one had to go to a university and  be physically present to attend classes in order to earn a degree. Then came distance education, making higher education easily accessible to one and all. The Indira Gandhi National Open University – better known by its acronym IGNOU – proved to be a game-changer. Students no longer needed to choose between earning and learning. One could now do both. It started off with just two courses and 5,000 students; today it provides over 200 courses to more than 30 lakh students to claim the position of the largest open university in the world. Will going digital help it grow even bigger?
 
 
The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted the report of India’s human rights record review on May 9. The UN report mentions the special rapporteur Christof Heyns’ recommendation after his March 2012 visit to India that there is a need of “challenging the general culture of impunity; eliminating the practice of fake encounters; and ensuring that swift, decisive action, with concrete outcomes, was taken in cases of large-scale killings”. Also, that delays in judicial proceedings was one of the most serious challenges that India faces.  He further recommends that India should repeal or at least radically amend the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) to ensure that the principles of proportionality and necessity as stipulated under international law are followed. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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