Blog Day 2007

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Blog Day 2007Today is Blog Day—it’s the day on which you are supposed to link to 5 other blogs, blogs preferably of a different culture from yours. Now I have already done 2 blog days [2005 and 2006] before and this time, I have decided to do things a bit different. Rather than blogs, I will link to four India-themed projects (I wish there were five that I had knowledge of), focussed on governance, education and finance, that I feel merit attention. Note that I am not associated directly or indirectly with any of these projects —they had been brought to my attention mostly by people who have written in.

1. Rakshabandhan for Education: (Registration No: – S/IL389/2) This organization, based in West Bengal, seeks to provide scholarships (Rs 500 a month) for meritorious yet needy students, mostly in the Class XI and XII stage where many of them are forced to drop out due to financial reasons. It has received some attention in the press and its supporters have an active Orkut community. Please go through the Orkut community if you are interested in success stories and more information [The web site unfortunately, at the time of writing, is more a placeholder than anything else.]

2. Democracy Connect: If you believe that our democracy has not performed as well as it is supposed to, one thing you can try is to adopt the “Rang De Basanti” approach—destroy the system (and those in it). Or you could attempt to make it work—which is what the folks at Democracy Connect do, providing strategy, policy, management and research support for legislators and government decision-makers. With a team of young and talented professionals straddling continents, working for some of the biggest names in business consultancy and corporate strategy, this group represents a rare confluence of idealism and intellect. All that remains to be seen is how many politicians are willing to make use of this resource for scientific governance as opposed to the vested-interest-driven ad-hocism that we have come to accept as a “given”. [More information here]

3. The Spark Group: Another education focussed initiative, its website describes it as: ” an idea incubator working at the grassroots level in India. Using insights from academic research, the Spark Group develops promising ideas into commercially viable business ventures that deliver valuable services to poor communities.” From what I understand, the Spark group is primarily focussed on three initiatives:1) Spark Ventures, which promotes investment in schools serving depressed areas 2) Spark Accreditation, a service for accreditation of schools and 3) Spark Guru, a national program for teachers. Like Democracy connect, its management team boasts impressive CVs and that’s not just because the founders were my seniors at high school. [More information here]

4. Aavishkaar: Aavishkaar, winner of the UNDP World Business Award in 2006, is a venture-capital firm for backing “socially relevant, commercially viable and environmentally friendly enterprises that do not have access to project financing – loan or equity – from traditional financial institutions”.[Link] Government funding for rural ventures in India has historically been a scam for providing low-interest loans, without appropriate collateral, to people enjoying political patronage ( if you do not believe me you can ask our newly elected President). Given this state of affairs, Aavishkaar serves as a much needed instrument for spreading the butter of liberalization more equitably. [More information here]

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19 thoughts on “Blog Day 2007

  1. Happy Blog day GB …. Kepp up the fantastic work. Am a big fan – your’s is the second link I access (after my official email) every day.

  2. Nice approach to B’Day. Here are two more…

    http://210.212.236.212/akshaya/index.php

    Based in Kerala, a state-government project, aims to use e-literacy to empower the underprivileged. Very successful, if only Bihar had something like this.

    http://www.smilefoundationindia.org/index.htm

    A more well-known one, does a lot of work with children. Literacy is the key. It may not happen in our lifetime, but one day we’ll have politicans answerable to a literate population, public servants who are professional and so on. Smile Foundation even has a programme to “sensitise privileged children”. Excellent !

    http://www.smilefoundationindia.org/Campaign_You_Can_Make_A_Difference.htm

  3. Commenting on your blog for the first time, although I have enjoyed it reading always. Couldn’t resist commenting today. It was great to know about Spark and other groups. I am also trying to do something similar, thanks for introducing to such groups.

  4. ok i will oblige WTF; stop playing the INNOCENT HURT MINORITY game and get over it; By the way GB very relevant post as usual; maybe all the GB folk should start our own party something like quadr-amool on the line of TRI -ne-amul; u can be our DADA

  5. GB, Very interesting set of sites you gave. There is so much change innovative ideas and efforts can bring about. Here is a link that literally helps millions of poor people in India see things better
    http://www.sankaranethralaya.org/

    @Shourideb Bhattacharyya

    u wrote-
    “ok i will oblige WTF; stop playing the INNOCENT HURT MINORITY game and get over it;

    Rishi’s resp
    lol, and WTF is not even one.
    Speaking of Stockholm Syndrome at a social level…..

  6. rishi khujur: stockholm syndrome at a social level.? nearly alliteration! fantastic enlightened comment! lets just only support the cause that suits our religious identities!
    i will remember blog day forever as the day my eyes were opened (had to add that to keep the comment topical).

  7. @WTF

    dude i figured u were one of those weird types who pop up at every blogsite and turn everything into an innocent minority hurt forum. Anyways i guess your eyes opening up cannot be a bad event, cheers

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