Fiinovation Reviews India’s Migration and Malnutrition Problems

The rising disparity among the people of India is a stark reminder that growth after the liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation reforms of 1991 has not been inclusive. Although, the country developed significantly, yet the development ripples have not reached the remote villages. The initial plan of focusing on the service sector to reduce the dependency of the Indian GDP on the primary sector (Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Dairy, etc.) paid off well, but didn’t solve the problem of the rural population which is nearly 70 per cent of the total Indian population.

As the primary sector didn’t receive as much investments, there wasn’t much growth to improve the standard of living of the rural population. The problems associated with agriculture and allied sector ensured that millions had to migrate to the urban areas for employment opportunities. Migration is not a recent phenomenon, rather the pace of it has increased in recent times due to widespread distress in the rural areas. As per the Census 2011, there were about 45.36 crore migrants. In fact last year 2.06 crore people migrated looking for employment opportunities and education.

It is understandable that the impact of migration is one the entire family and it’s the children who suffer immensely. It has been observed that the rapid development which ensured India becomes the fastest growing major economy in the world is not helping to curb poverty and malnutrition. As per the global hunger index, India ranks abysmal 97 out of 118 countries which much worse that its neighbours Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and China. Fiinovation reviews that about 38 per cent children living in India are stunted or too short for their age. There seems to be a link between growing urbanisation and increase in malnutrition as it has been observed that significant proportion of children living in urban areas are stunted.

Alarmingly, it is estimated that 90 crore people will be added as urban residents in just three countries (China, India and Nigeria) by 2050. It seems that there is a paradigm shift of the burden of malnutrition from rural areas to urban areas, especially due to persistent child undernutrition. Fiinovation reviews that the problem of malnutrition is evident amongst the 6.5 crore slum dwellers in the country. Hence, the reason behind urban poverty and malnutrition is definitely India’s incapability to develop the rural areas while promoting inclusive and sustainable growth.

The road ahead will not be easy as the government plans to double the farmers’ income by 2022. Currently, there is very less industrial development in the rural areas. Agriculture in India is a seasonal activity with majority of the regions being mono-cropic, especially due to lack of irrigation facilities and dependency on the monsoon. Therefore, it is important to create livelihood opportunities and promote healthy lifestyle amongst the rural population. If the migrant population start finding employment opportunities in their inhabited regions, it will reduce migration, poverty and malnutrition significantly.

Hence, Fiinovation urges the government to implement policies which promote growth of the rural economy. Efforts to increase the farmers’ income will definitely pay huge dividends for the country. The impact of this will also be visible on the global hunger index and help the country eliminate extreme poverty as per the Sustainable Development Goals. However, this massive task cannot be done only by the government and the role of the private sector will be significant in providing resources for the development of rural infrastructure. The businesses should also contribute towards betterment of the farming community and the people residing in the rural areas through their corporate social responsibility funds. Investments in the agriculture sector by the businesses supported by agriculture credit from the government will significantly boost the primary sector thereby reducing the burden of the rural households.

Let us hope that the next two decades India grows inclusively and sustainably becoming one of the largest economies of the world with a higher human development index ranking.

 

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation

Fiinovation – The Future of Impact Investing in India

Impact investments is not something new to the world anymore. It might have started on a similar concept back in the 1980’s when Bill Drayton’s Ashoka started funding social enterprises. The term impact investing was coined in the year 2007 at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center. The term was given to investments which are made with the intent of generating both financial and social and/or environmental returns.

In the last decade, India has become one of the world’s biggest impact investment market. The global investors are looking at India as a bright spot which is likely to grow rapidly in the next two-three decades. Along with this, there are several social and environmental issues which India would like to resolve while it continues to grow.

It is expected that with all the growth in several sectors, India could absorb $6-8 billion of capital annually by 2025. In the past six years, there has been $4.1 billion worth of cumulative investments with an annual growth of 15%. It is believed that impact investments has touch at least 60-80 million lives in the country focusing on sectors such as financial inclusion, agriculture, healthcare and education. Last year, impact investments touched the billion mark for the first time.

Understanding the present situation, Fiinovation believes that there is a huge importance of impact investors in helping socially relevant enterprises grow and prosper. There is need to focus on increasing investments to promote financial inclusion, clean-technology solutions, education, healthcare and agriculture. Fiinovation comprehends that the potential of impact investments needs to be unlocked as it provides vast opportunity for social and financial dividends.

With the impact investments growing at fast pace, it will be necessary to keep track on the returns. Fiinovation believes that there is a need for guidelines and monitoring frameworks to strengthen the entire investment process. The bottlenecks related to policies and government regulations need to be managed keeping in mind the adequate measures that can help the impact investment market expand. Fiinovation also understands that increase in investments will lead to requirement of professionals and therefore, government policies promoting skill development in sectors such as clean-tech, healthcare, education, digitalisation, financial inclusion, agriculture, etc.

In future, the struggle with access to capital will be done with and the massive challenges, which the sector is still facing, is expected to be addressed. It is also expected that the limited number of investors need to grow over a period of time. Fiinovation expects that better governance and talent will be required to provide support in the market expansion process. For bridging the gap between priviledged and the marginalised, it is important for impact investing to become mainstream.

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation

7 Things That Caught Attention Of The Nation in 2016

The year 2016 has been a happening year with both positive and negative things making the headlines. We take a look of the 7 things that caught the nation’s attention.

1. Budget 2016

The Budget 2016 created much uproar amidst the salaried class with the controversial proposal by the Union Finance Minister to tax EPF withdrawl. After facing flak from the opposition parties and the people, the government later forced to withdraw the controversial proposal and also withdrew the proposal to limit tax-free contribution by the employer to the provident fund of the employee. Despite the government clarifying its intent for its decision, the criticism continued from all ends.

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2. The Great Nationalism Debate

If last year, Indians started teaching each other to be tolerant, than this year it was about Nationalism. The debate started with some people objecting to the statement ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ while anti-national slogans were being shouted at the JNU Campus. The incidents lead to a horrific situation with student leaders being arrested and being charged under sedition. The mysterious death of Rohith Vemula at Hyderabad University, finally led to an change of guard in the HRD Ministry. However, the atrocities against Dalits and Muslims continued in several parts of the country.

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3. The Health of Delhi

The national capital region has become a talking point among the world due to its disastrous levels of air quality along with the recurring disease outbreaks that haunts the public health authorities every year. This year, the day after Diwali was the worst in the history in terms of levels of pollution. It seemed the people of Delhi din’t care much about their children and the elderly people when they were engaging in the celebrations. Even, the authorities failed to do something to solve the problem and were waiting for the winds to blow the polluted air away. Chikungunya, yet again highlighted its presence after claiming many lives while the authorities continued to ignore civic apathy.

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4. The Longest Curfew in Kashmir

Following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by the Indian Army in an encounter, the valley came to an absolute standstill for at least 70 days making it the longest running curfew in the history of the Kashmir unrest. Several people came out in the streets protesting against the killing and the armed forces had to resort to violent measures to distort the crowds. Pelting of stones by the children and youth on the armed forces was dealt by strong hands. The armed forces responded with pellet guns blinding thousands and sparking uproar in both the houses of the Indian Parliament.

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5. RIO to JIO

The year was all about breaking the monotony. First started with Sakshi Malik, the PV Sindhu Storm rocked the nation during the RIO Olympics. Nobody else remembers when was the last time that the nation came together to watch a Badminton match. But, it was India’s daughter who was making the nation proud and there was no stopping people from supporting her. The support for sports persons continued as India’s para-Olympic team performed outstandingly at RIO. In another event, the India’s richest man took the telecom sector in a storm by launching its groundbreaking 4G services and letting the users use the services for free in the first 6 months.

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6. The Law that Allows Child Labour

The new child labour law which was passed by the Parliament is progressive in nature, yet there are a few controversial elements that were highlighted by several activists. The Law allows children below the age of 14 years to work in family or family enterprises. The issue with this is that while drafting the law, the plight of the children was not considered, who after their school hours can help help their guardians or parents in work, instead of doing their homework or taking rest. The question isn’t it too much pressure on the children, will they have the stamina to go to school the next morning.

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7. The Surgical Strike on Black Money

The biggest talking point of the nation came after the Prime Minister on November 8th announced that India’s two big currency notes, Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 will cease to be legal tender by midnight onwards. What followed was mayhem outside Banks and ATMs, massive debates in both the houses of Parliament, strong protests from opposition parties and deaths of innocent civilians. The most common sight was long queues and no cash available sign boards outside ATMs and Banks. The Prime Minister called it a surgical strike recalling Indian Army’s late night strike inside POK to eliminate terror launch pads. The country is yet to recover from the PM’s move and the public remains divided over the issue as of now.

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Ozone and climate: Restored by a world united

“On this International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, let us remember how much has already been accomplished, and commit to do more to protect our atmosphere. By working together, we can build a safer, healthier, more prosperous and resilient world for all people while protecting our planet, our only home.”

– Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, 16 September 2016

Just as humans need sunblock, the Earth needs protection too. Earth’s sunscreen is called ozone. The ozone layer that protects us, and all life on Earth, from the Sun’s harmful UV radiation is found between 10-50 kilometers above the earth’s surface.

Decades ago scientists discovered that the Earth’s ozone layer was thinning. It was being depleted by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Then the international community came together with the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone Layer which is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer. The UN General Assembly proclaimed September 16 the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Ozone and climate: Restored by a world united.” The global campaign has been so far successful in meeting some of its targets, as a result, the abundance of ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere is declining and the ozone layer is expected to recover around the middle of this century.

As observed, most global and regional environmental problems originate in cities, which import increasing amounts of natural resources and export vast quantities of emissions and waste. The main human sources of greenhouse gases contributing to global warming are the dramatic rise in energy use, land-use changes and emissions from industrial activities. There is a need to study the nature of these changes and their outcome for sustainable human settlement.

In India, almost 70 per cent of the workforce is dependent on agriculture. The climate change represents an additional stress on ecological and socio economic systems that are already facing tremendous pressures due to rapid urbanisation and industrialisation.

Use of green areas is a major planning technique by which town planners can prevent or reduce adverse effects of climate. Therefore, many cities in the developed world are planning to transform themselves into green metropolises.

Besides, there is a number of practical measures which can be taken at individual level to protect nature Earth. To protect the ozone layer, we must prevent the release of ozone-depleting substances to the atmosphere. This significant progress is a useful indicator to protect ozone depletion and boost sustainable development, which would be beneficial for future of planet Earth and mankind.

By – Geetika Sehgal

Fiinovation

GLOBAL WARMING- SHRINKING SIACHEN GAINING ENVIRONMENTALISTS ATTENTION

Controlling the negative effects of global warming has recently become the bone of contention of many global superpowers in the world. These negative effects are in consonance with the climate change caused due to global warming. Researches reveal that in the past 100 years, the average global temperature has risen by 0.8 degree Celsius and the average temperature of weather stations located in the Himalayan region have registered an upsurge of 1.25 degree Celsius leading to natural disasters causing massive death and destruction.

One of the hazardous effects of global warming has been observed at the world’s highest and arduous battlefield in the world- The Siachen Glacier. Located in the Karakoram range in the eastern lap of Himalaya Mountains, it is the second-largest glacier in the non-polar areas of the world, situated at 20,000 ft above the sea level.

Since 1984, the entire Siachen Glacier including all the major passes is under the control and management of Indian Government. The Indian Army soldiers are continuously deployed in the entire region to protect the country from China and Pakistan.

However ironically, Siachen is one of those battlefields which has been taking more lives of soldiers continuously due to extreme weather conditions, (temperature often stooping to as low as -50ºC) in comparison to the enemy bullets. The rise of temperature due to continuous global warming is now having adverse effects on the Siachen Glacier, further aggravating the risk of soldier’s life which is already at risk due to dangerous weather conditions and enemy bullet. As, due to rise in global warming the snow is melting faster causing dangerous snow avalanches taking the lives of soldiers.

One of the recent deadliest avalanche claiming lives of 10 soldiers deployed at the critical Sonam post located at about 19,600 feet near the Pakistan Line of Control in the Hind Kush Himalayas earlier this year is recorded as one of the worst incident in the history of Siachen battlefield. Experts reveal, that the deadly avalanche was triggered due to rise in temperature as generally Siachen Glacier doesn’t have long history of avalanches.

Explaining the reasons, Lt. Col. S Sengupta, Commandant of the Siachen Battle School told that 15-20 days before the incident the temperature in the surrounding area of Sonam post has been rising and a hanging glacier stuck at the ice wall had fallen off triggering the deadly avalanche. Even the days of rescue operations couldn’t retrieve nine soldiers buried alive under the snow. They could only rescue Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, who was buried 30 feet below snow for six days but he also couldn’t be saved later. The rising temperature at the Siachen Glacier is making life tougher in comparison to extreme weather conditions, making life tough in the region.

Researches reveal that the effect of rapid climate change is such that the snout of the Siachen Glacier has actually receded back by about 800 meters in the last one decade. Also, as per the recent (2014-2015) report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the higher frequency of glaciers retreats eventually leading to snow avalanches are the worst impacts observed in the Himalayan region. SASE (Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment) had also issued a snow avalanche warning a day before the incident. But still the soldiers couldn’t be saved as the ice avalanches are extremely difficult to predict.

As per the official records, since the Army launched Operation Meghdoot in 1984, around 869 Indian soldiers have been martyred due to avalanches, extreme weather conditions, and sickness due to extreme weather conditions at high altitude. A massive avalanche occurred in year 2012 claiming the lives of around 130 Pakistani soldiers.

The effect of climate change can be confirmed by the fact that in the past few decades rain has never been observed in this area, however now it witnesses light drizzle sometimes. No greenery was either possible or visible at 12000 feet height but now greenery is visible even at 15000 feet, which is certainly due to rising temperature observed in the region.

Another major cause of the glacier retreat is that before 1984, the glacier was uninhabited but since the Army has been deployed in the region, the glacier has been introduced to pollution leading to the melting of ice. Cutting the ice and melting it through chemical for constructing Army posts and camps, dumping of non-biodegradable waste material like empty ammunition shells, non-usable parachutes, plastic waste, and the use of arms and ammunition has also disrupted the Eco-system of the region considerably.

To protect the Environment and the precious lives of Indian soldiers, the Indian Army has launched the, “Green Siachen, Clean Siachen” campaign to airlift the garbage from the glacier, and to use biodigestors for biodegradable waste in the absence of oxygen and freezing temperatures.

By – Manisha Bhatia

Media & Communications I Fiinovation

For more information visit our website – www.fiinovation.co.in

Go Wild for Life !

The surge in unfavourable trade practices of wildlife products has resulted in predicament against preservation of bio-diversity. It has affected our natural wildlife legacy that has led to the extinction of a number of species. Poaching and illegal trade of fauna products have hampered the  ecosystem which has also endangered the existence of many species.

Illegal practices, smuggling and slaughter of wildlife has resulted in a significant fall in the  population of various species, while in some, it has resulted in extinction.  Indian Pangolin (found in Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh), Gangetic Dolphins (habitats of Rivers – the Ganges and Brahmaputra), Red Panda, Phayre’s Leaf Monkey, Wild Ass (from the regions of Ladakh, Sikkim and Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat); Snow Leopard (Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir), Chausingha (found in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra) are a few such examples which  have been enlisted in  extinct wildlife species of India.

The government has taken stern measures against mal practices by enforcing legal action under the Wildlife Protection Action 1972. For the safegaurd of these animals,  the Government of India has set up 400 National Parks and 80 Sanctuaries till date with an aim to improve the ridiculed status of endangered species. It has also been working towards driving effective awareness campaigns to encourage people to take ‘one step at a time’ to save the wildlife heritage.

Fiinovation believes that a large number of wildlife species still remain at risk and their protection can only happen when everyone makes a collaborative efforts towards bringing about the change. Thus, it is necessary that every individual understands and respects wildlife and restrains from promoting trade of illegal wildlife products. Increasing awareness among the masses will also enforce the government to take appropriate actions against the outlaws.

The World Environment Day celebrated on 5th June every year to address environmental issues like deforestation, increasing global warming, marine pollution, rising crime against wildlife,etc.  Over the years, various initiatives have  persuaded the population to come forward for the agenda and has observed improvement in context to the devised revolution.

This year, 2016, the theme is on the illegal trade in wildlife which is being hosted by Angola, Africa under the slogan ‘Go Wild for Life’ for inspiring individuals to celebrate species which are under threat and safegaurd the species for our future generations. These may not only include species falling under threat inhibited in the woods, but also those which you see around your surroundings such as – the house sparrow. This year, let’s pledge to stand against trade of wildlife products and make a difference!

 

Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius.” -Edward O.Wilson

By – Aditi Singh

Media Team – Fiinovation

 

Fiinovation Observes Mother Earth Day 2016

This year’s Mother Earth Day is a historic occasion as the world leaders from all 196 Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention who adopted the Climate Change Agreement in Paris last year will meet to sign the agreement at the UN headquarters. It is good news for the people of the planet that all countries have agreed to work towards limiting rise of global temperatures by 1.5 degrees.

The Mother Earth Day was first celebrated in the year 1970 in the United States. The United Nations General Assembly in 2009 passed a resolution to observe International Mother Earth Day each year on 22nd April. The day signifies the mission to broaden and diversify the worldwide environment movement to safeguard our planet to build a healthy and sustainable environment for the future generations. The Earth day movement will mark its 50th anniversary in 2020 and the target is to plant 7.8 billion trees in the next five years.

This year’s theme is ‘Trees for the Earth’ that aims to take momentum forward from the Paris summit and channelise human energy towards environment conservation. Looking at the consequences of climate change, it is important to divest from fossil fuels and make our cities 100% renewable and sustainable. Going by this year’s theme, the world needs to focus on planting trees to mitigate the climate change risks. As a matter of fact trees provide food, energy, livelihood, helps communities achieve long-term economic and environmental sustainability apart from increased green covers which are natural, resilient and long term safety buffers from extreme weather such as storms, floods etc combating climate change, clean out air and counteract the loss of species.

Therefore, this Earth day let us dedicate ourselves and strengthen communities by being responsibility and conservative. Corporations and individuals through urban forestry, agroforestry and tree care trainings using sapling and seed distribution can help promote the cause. These trainings will empower the people to conserve, repair and restore tree cover to their lands. With co-operation from all corners of the globe we can fight global warming.

So, before its too late, plant a tree, save the planet.

Join the movement!

By – Rahul Choudhury
Media & Communications, Fiinovation

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