Social Initiatives

Social Initiatives

Gail-Indian Speed Star: An initiative to promote athletics

By Somali K Chakrabarti   “You will be nearer to Heaven through football than through the study of the Gita.“ This is one of the most popular quotes of Swami Vivekananda. A healthy mind resides in healthy body and football or for that matter athletics are good sports to keep oneself fit. Yet, athletics has received very little support and attention in India, both in terms of budget, and media coverage, which in turn has resulted in the lack of quality training and career prospects for the athletes. Hence, it is not very surprising that the number of world class athletes from India has by far been very few as compared to other countries.   A few facts indicative of the state of Indian athletics: India had first participated at the Olympic Games in 1900, with a lone athlete Norman Pritchard winning two silver medals in athletics. But, it was not before 1920 that India started sending its national team to compete at the Olympics. Since then, the total number of medals won by India athletes in Olympics till date remains 26, a abysmally low number for a country with 1.3 billion population. With a history in athletics  dating back to the Vedic period, the situation certainly deserves to…

Social Initiatives

Sounds of Silence

 By Somali K Chakrabarti The cat jumped out of the well Read this sentence aloud and then read it again in your mind. What happens? A little voice plays in your mind.  Now try reading this without that little voice in your head. Just give it a go. Could you do it? Of course not! Because that’s how you were taught words; by pronouncing them; by memorizing the sounds first and then spelling them using those sounds. Now, how do you think a deaf person would read this?

Social Initiatives
Social Initiatives

Hari’s Boat School in Varanasi

By Somali K Chakrabarti Illiteracy is a major problem that impedes the development of a country. At 287 million, India has the highest population of illiterate adults. According to a report by UNESCO, India is one of the ten countries with more than 10 million illiterate adults. Due to poverty, marginalization, and inadequate facilities many children in India do not have access to primary education, which impacts a child’s overall development. Expanding access to education, through formal or informal programs, is therefore vital for improving children’s development, increasing the efficiency of the education system, and for reducing inequity in the broader society.

Social Initiatives

NDTV Cleanathon – Resolve for a Swachch India

By Somali K Chakrabarti When you are surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.  With a purpose as imperative as cleanliness and sanitation, which affects every single individual in the country in some way or the other and is driven by none other than the PM of the country, it is but natural that a movement to support the cause will gain traction. The 12 hr long LIVE televised CLEANATHON on 14th December, 2014, a part of “Banega Swachh India” campaign launched by RB India and NDTV was such a unique event that brought together people from all walks and streams of life to create awareness for the need of sanitation and to support the cause. If my face and voice can become a reason for people to follow the Swachh India campaign, I’m happy to be a part of it. ~ Amitabh Bachchan, Campaign Ambassador My biggest perk from blogging came in the form of winning Banega Swachh India blogging contest that gave me the opportunity to witness the NDTV Cleanathon event held on the 14th Dec and to contribute to the cause. NDTV CLEANATHON Event Mr Amitabh Bachchan, the brand ambassador…

Social Initiatives

Clean India – Sanitation and hygiene starts with You and Me

By Somali K Chakrabarti   *** This post won the Grand Prize for Indibloggers ‘Banega Swachh India‘ #SwachhIndia contest sponsored by Dettol -NDTV ***.  An account of the event is given on the post NDTV Cleanathon.    There are more cell phones than toilets in India. It is a well known fact by now that whereas nearly 45 per cent of India’s population uses cell phones, only 31 per cent of the population has access to improved sanitation. Poor and inadequate sanitation have been a major cause of diarrhea and infections among young children. The other fallout are malnutrition, stunting, premature deaths, wasted time and productivity, and tourism losses. This is likely to change with PM Modi’s emphasis on cleanliness and proper sanitation facilities, and the launch of ambitious ‘Swachch Bharat Abhiyan’, to make India clean by 2019. No longer it is undignified to talk about the existing sanitation problems and the need to build toilets to end open defecation in India. To make the mission a success, many corporate houses, NGOs, media and other agencies have joined in to address the rising need of hygiene and sanitation in India. Many initiatives have been taken up for constructing toilets in rural areas, promoting the use of toilets by…

Social Initiatives

Putting Kabaddi Back on Track – an Innovative CSR Intiative

By Somali K Chakrabarti Kabbaddi is in vogue now!    The rustic Indian game that nobody thought much about has suddenly become fashionable. With the Television channels broadcasting the live game in its slick 45 minute format, men, women and kids alike have taken a liking to the game. Spectators are enthralled by the combination of skill, tactics, footwork, agility and the reflexes of the players. Four or five defenders coiling around a raider to bring him down, or the raider extricating himself from his opponents to retreat to his home court, make an exciting watch. Earlier what was seen as a semi – urban or a rural game is now being viewed as strategic and even glamorous.  It is exhilarating to see the raider as he tries to discern the strategy of the defenders, and withholds his breath during the entire course of the raid in his opponents’ court, while continuously and audibly chanting the word ‘Kabaddi’. Media coverage of the Kabaddi matches played in stadiums all over the country, cutting edge graphics and presence of celebrities have upped the glamour quotient the game and created the right buzz.   Role of India Inc in resurrecting Kabaddi    Admittedly, the credit…

Social Initiatives

Corporate Social Responsibility in India – Transition from Moral Imperative to Mandatory Expenditure

  Mandatory spending on Corporate Social Responsibility is the new reality for Corporate India. The enforcement of this provision from April1, 2014, has shifted focus from the debate on whether CSR is a moral imperative or not to how companies can put the mandatory CSR expenditure to effective use. The provision of the Companies Act 2013, mandates that any company with a net worth of at least Rs 500 crore or a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore or a net profit of at least Rs 5 crore would have to spend at least 2 per cent of its average net profit of the immediately preceding three years. According to the norms, the CSR activities will have to be within India wherein companies can choose from a range of activities such as promoting preventive health care and sanitation, setting up homes and hostels for women and orphans and livelihood enhancement projects. If a company is unable to spend the amount, an explanation will be required in the director’s report. . As a result of this provision, many corporate enterprises are stepping up their CSR efforts. However, as a matter of fact, many companies still lack the processes to channelize the allocation of these…

Social Initiatives

Building a ‘Responsible India’

By Somali K Chakrabarti India has, for long, been an emerging economy. While most of the developed economies including the US, consider India as a strong prospect, the large and widening performance-potential gap in India leaves a lot to be desired. A question that frequently pops up in a number of forums is ‘What can bring about the transition of India from a emerging to a developed nation?’ The importance of an environment that supports development, enforces law and order, promotes entrepreneurship and steers the country towards higher productivity cannot be stressed enough in this context. Most people would agree upon the need to do away with red tape, corruption and have policies in place to prop up the economic development and growth. Yet, in addition to the changes in the business environment, certain behavioral, cultural and value related changes are also needed in our society, to aid India’s transition to a developed nation. Unfortunately many of these softer aspects have been severely under rated by our society in the recent past. As the saying goes ‘No nation can rise above the quality of its thoughts‘. Progressive thinking is needed, if we have to evolve as a developed nation. To…

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