Dear Reader,

As we marked World Water Day on March 22, Down to Earth looks at MGNREGA’s role in water conservation in rural India. As part of the investigations, fourteen reporters covered 16,000 kilometres in 15 states to gauge the impact of the world’s largest public wage programme in its 15th year of implementation. DTE found that since 2006, more than 30 million water-conservation related assets have been created in the country’s rural areas.

The Wire also marked World Water Day by examining and asking if global warming’s impact on availability of water will disproportionately affect the poorer sections, and if the recent policy and schemes of the government will make for a more ‘water-equal’ India.

The Ken reports on how eSanjeevani, a government-built telemedicine application, to facilitate remote consultations during the pandemic managed to be a success story. It edged out other well-funded private players in the market, notching-up over 3 million consultations.

Though long constitutionally abrogated and legally outlawed, the practice of untouchability is still a reality in both rural and urban India. EPW does a detailed examination on the reasons why this social evil continues to be prevalent despite a ban.

And, in an impact story, Max Maharashtra’s report on the difficulties faced by visually-challenged students in accessing exam-scribes and exam centres in Maharashtra, led to the state’s education minister Varsha Gaikwad meeting members of the blind student association and assuring them of a solution.This eventually led to the decision to provide these facilitates on fast-track for the upcoming exams for these students.

For these stories and more from the Foundation’s grantees this week, please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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The chase and the change: Let’s look back at 15 years of MGNREGA this World Water Day

Down to Earth's effort to chronicle the impact of the MGNREGA programme on water conservation took fourteen reporters and covered 16,000 kilometres in 15 states. Among them, the Pookkottukavu village in Kerala’s Palakkad district, where MGNREGA led to the formation of the country’s largest group of trained women well-diggers; Barmani village of Madhya Pradesh’s Sidhi district where migrant labourers returned to resume farming; and tanks in Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh which were rejuvenated after the scheme’s launch.

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How To Create a Water-Happy India in the Wake of Global Warming

One of the foremost consequences of climate change is its impact on the distribution and access to water. In an unequal society the wealthier you are, the better your access to water. In this scenario, The Wire examines the ways to faciltate water access for the poorest millions in India and asks if the recent policy and programmes of the government will lead to a ‘water-equal’ India.

Read Here

eSanjeevani—The government-owned dark horse in India’s telemedicine race

The Ken reports on how eSanjeevani, a government-built telemedicine application to take on the challenge of arranging remote consultations during the pandemic, was able to edge out well-funded private products in providing online consultations. However, the app's functioning is still imperfect in some states with challenges such as misdiagnosis, unavailability of doctors and patchy video calls hampering government’s vision to link the telemedicine solution to its ambitious National Digital Health Mission.

Read Here

Untouchability in India: A Reading List

Though long constitutionally banned, abrogated and legally outlawed, untouchability is still a reality in both rural and urban India. EPW explores the prevalence of untouchability in colonial India and examines if the attitudes had changed during the freedom struggle. It deliberates on why the practice continues to be prevalent despite a ban.

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अंध विद्यार्थ्यांच्या समस्यांची शालेय शिक्षण मंत्र्यांकडून दखल MaxMaharastra Impact : अंध विद्यार्थ्यांच्या समस्यांची शालेय शिक्षण मंत्र्यांकडून दखल

Max Maharashtra reported on the difficulties faced by the visually-challenged students in appearing for examinations that include lack of scribes, access to exam centres and online education. Following the report, Maharashtra’s Education Minister, Varsha Gaikwad, met the members of the blind students association and assured them of support. Thereafter, a meeting between the blind students association and the education board led to a decision on immediate provision of scribes and proximate examination centres to the students for the upcoming Class 10 and 12 examinations.

Read Here

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Why Kolkata Holds The Master Key To West Bengal’s Economic Rejuvenation
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The Unmaking of Panchsheel
Live History India takes readers through how Panchsheel, a foreign policy doctrine conceived as a principle of co-existence between countries, has gone through decades of erosion, especially with China.
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