Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Citizen journalism: What And Why??

The citizen journalism refers to a wide range of activities in which everyday people contribute information or commentary about news events. Over the years, citizen journalism has benefited
from the development of various technologies, including the printing press—which provided a medium for the pamphleteers of the 17th and 18th centuries—the telegraph, tape recorders, and
television, each of which offered new opportunities for people to participate in sharing news and commentary.

With the birth of digital technologies, people now have unprecedented access to the tools of production and dissemination. Citizen journalism encompasses content ranging from user-submitted reviews on a Web site about movies to wiki-based news. Some sites only run stories written by users, while many traditional news outlets now accept comments and even news stories from readers.
The notion of citizen journalism implies a difference, however, between simply offering one’s musings on a topic and developing a balanced story that will be genuinely useful to readers.

The citizen journalism sites is long and includes sites limited to nonprofessional reporting, such as NowPublic and CyberJournalist, and divisions of traditional media companies that feature citizen journalism, such as CNN’s I-Reporter.

Some people use blogs, wikis, digital storytelling applications, photo- and video-sharing sites, and other online media as vehicles for citizen journalism efforts. Many projects take a local
approach, centering on news about a city or even a specific neighborhood, or focus on special-interest topics, such as financial matters or gender issues.

Many academic programs combine the study of traditional journalism with new media, and these programs typically address issues of citizen voices in reporting. Some institutions sponsor initiatives that focus directly on citizen journalism and other forms of user-created content.

Scoop08, founded by students at Yale University and Andover, is a Web site devoted to coverage of the 2008 presidential election. It bills itself as “the first-ever daily national student
newspaper,” with hundreds of high school and college students across the country submitting stories about the election.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Terrorism And India live Together: No One to Worry ??

On 23 November, five near-simultaneous bomb blasts hit the three cities of Varanasi, Lucknow and Faizabad in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, killing at least 15 people - mostly lawyers - and injuring more than 80 others.

All the blasts reportedly went off in or around civil court premises and within a couple of minutes of each other, demonstrating a certain level of sophistication in the planning and execution of this operation. A previously unknown group calling itself Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the explosions. These latest attacks, coupled with last year's Mumbai train bombings, suggest India faces an emerging threat from home-grown militancy.

Various local newspapers have cited sections of an email apparently from Indian Mujahideen that was sent a few minutes before the third blast, which hit the Lucknow court complex. That message stated: "We are not any foreign mujahideen, nor [do] we have any attachment with neighbouring countries' [agencies or groups] like ISI, LET, HUJI, etc. We are purely Indian."
The group also attempted to justify the bombings, saying: "Now, Islamic raids are going to take place against lawyers within a few minutes, Insha Allah, because police nabbed two innocent groups and framed them with fake charges. Lawyers in these places beat up those innocent group members and refused to take their cases and also did not allow others to take their cases."
This suggests that the latest bombings were retaliatory attacks specifically targeting lawyers, particularly those that formed a mob that had assaulted three suspected Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants in court on 17 November. The three JeM members were arrested in Lucknow on 16 November by the Special Task Force of the Uttar Pradesh police. The task force claimed that it had foiled a plot to abduct a senior politician in order to secure the release of 42 JeM members, including Afzal Guru, who has been sentenced to death by the Indian government for his role in the attack on the Indian parliament on 13 December 2001.

Indeed, lawyers in Uttar Pradesh have repeatedly refused to defend terrorism suspects; for example, five militants who were arrested in connection with the July 2005 attack on the Babri Masjid complex at Ayodhya failed to secure a lawyer because the Faizabad Bar Association prevented lawyers from representing them. In addition, lawyers in Varanasi refused to defend Mohammad Waliullah, an Uttar Pradesh-based cleric who is awaiting trial for his alleged role in the 2006 twin bombings of the railway station and the Sankat Mochan temple in that city.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The quality of information on the Internet is extremely variable.

At best the Internet is a great research tool, at worst it can seriously degrade your work by feeding you misinformation.
  • The good: academic publishing on the Internet
  • The bad: time wasting on Internet searches
  • The ugly: Internet hoaxes, scams and legends
The good news is that many sources of authoritative research information now publish on the Internet.

In the academic world it is considered very important that new research builds upon past research and that the quality of information is assured. There are formal processes to facilitate this, and it's essential you understand these if you are to succeed at university.

Let's look at some of the information sources that are traditionally used to support academic research and at how these are increasingly available online...

The Academic publishing process

An academic working Academics usually publish their research in formal publications such as journal papers and articles or reports. These follow formal procedures designed to quality-assure the work.

Peer review / refereeing

Peer review in progress Peer review is what characterises academic research. If a publication is peer reviewed it means it has been read, checked and authenticated (reviewed) by independent, third party academics (peers). Peer review has been the quality-control system of academic publishing for hundreds of years.

Scholarly journals

Journals in a library Peer reviewed articles are often collated into scholarly journals, which are usually published by academic publishing houses, professional societies or university press. Journals will be a key source of information you at university - you will be expected to reference articles from them in your work.

Electronic journals

A university library may have shelves full of journals, but nowadays many are also available in electronic form over the Internet. Ask your lecturers or librarians how to find and use the key journals for your subject - the sooner you do this the quicker you will succeed in your research.

Library eJournal services

Screenshot of an ejournal Access to eJournals is not usually free – a subscription has to be paid. However, a university library will have paid some subscriptions for its users – who can then get free access to these journals via their library web services, using a special password (check with your library for details).

eJournal publishers

If you can't get access to eJournals from your library you may be able to via the publisher's web services. Some offer “pay-per-view” which means you pay a small fee for each article you view.


Logo of the ROSE eprints repository Increasingly academics are choosing to publish their articles on the Internet themselves and by-pass the journal route. Universities and research communities are building online archives of these papers that are free for anyone to access online.

Bibliographic databases

Composite image of database logos Most academics rely on specialist databases to access details of past research. The databases draw together details of scholarly publications from a wide range of sources including academic publishers, journals, archives and sometimes books, and so enable you to search a large body of the scholarly literature in one go.

Academic web directories

Intute logo Of course a lot of information on the web can be useful for research even if it hasn't come from the traditional sources. Academic web directories, such as Intute, guide you to the best online resources for research – and each resource has been selected and reviewed by a subject specialist.

Library web sites

A smiling librarian The library web site for your university or college will be an important source of information for you, as it will quickly guide you to the key electronic journals, bibliographic databases and archives that you should be using for your research.

Ask your lecturers and librarians for advice on which sources you should be using.

The Bad

Newspaper clipping The bad news is that the Internet also leads to a lot of information that is completely inappropriate for your research, and it takes time and skill to weed this out.

The quality of information on the Internet

As things stand the Internet has no standard system of quality control so it's important to be careful about which information you use and not to trust everything you read.

Think about it - the Internet links millions of computers:

  • Anyone can put something on the Internet - an amateur or an expert
  • From anywhere in the World - be it the United Kingdom or Uruguay
  • They can say anything they like - be it true or false
  • And leave it there as long as they like - even if it goes out of date
  • Or change it without warning - perhaps even remove it completely

There is a danger that the information you find on the Internet will:

  • Be from a source that is unreliable, lacking in authority or credibility
  • Have content that is invalid, inaccurate, out-of-date
  • Not be what it seems!

Weeding out poor quality information takes time

Most people use very simple search techniques when they want to find information on the Internet using a search engine such as Google.

These can produce thousands if not millions of web sites to explore: some information will be useful, some will be useless – it’s up to you to discern which is which!

It can take considerable time and skill to sift through search engine results and evaluate which are the best sources.

Although it may seem a quick and easy option to turn to a search engine for your research, it might be more effective to turn to web services designed specifically for university and college research such as your library web site.

It’s easy to miss key information

If you want to find something on the Internet, you go to a search engine, as they contain everything that is available online, right? Wrong!

Search engines only cover a proportion of what is available online, a lot of information is hidden or invisible to them. For example, some of the databases of research literature that we discussed earlier will not appear in search engine results, especially if they require a subscription or password to get access.

It’s also worth remembering that search engines only search information that is online, and of course a huge body of research literature is still only available in print form in books and journals.

If you try doing the same search in different search engines you will get a different set of results on each search engine – which reveals that none of them index the whole Internet.

magnifying glass icon Try this to compare search engines

It's a common misconception that search engines (such as Google) search everything - they don't - so if you rely on them alone you may miss some of the key sources for your research - consider using other sources too, such as your library catalogue, other databases and academic web search tools.

The Ugly

At worst the Internet can lead you to misinformation that could land you in real trouble.

Unfortunately there are a lot of sharks on the Internet - people who want to trick you, misinform you, deceive you and defraud you. Some web sites and emails can be real crime scenes.

Be sceptical, not paranoid!

This page will highlight some classic cases of misinformation on the Internet: Internet hoaxes, urban legends, scams and hate sites.

You need to develop some healthy scepticism when using the Internet for research but there's no need to get paranoid - we've already seen that there's plenty of good stuff out there too. OK, let's get ugly ...

Internet hoaxes

Some web sites are fakes designed to be spoofs, parodies or jokes. This is fine as long as you realise it's a fake and don't take it at face value!

Hoaxes are often about famous people, politics, products or organisations. Their content is humorous and the fact that they are not ‘real' sites can be easy to spot. Some sites even include a disclaimer, just in case you don't get the joke, freely admitting that the web site is a hoax.

Source of Information : Place, E., Kendall, M., Hiom, D., Booth, H., Ayres, P., Manuel, A., Smith,
P. (2006) "Internet Detective: Wise up to the Web", 3rd edition, Intute
Virtual Training Suite, [online]. Available from:

Agrochemical Industry and Agriculture: Together but Still Apart

The World Bank's policies are still supporting the agro chemical industry in a major way. Between 1993 to 1995, the Bank approved US$56.9 million worth of contracts for pesticides and agrochemicals.

Six companies are associated with US$3 million or more in Bank-approved agrochemical sales over the three year period between FY 93-95: Rhone Poulenc (France), BASF (Germany), Zeneca (UK), Sumitomo (Japan), FMC Corp. (US), Helm (Germany). Another five were to receive US$1-3 million: Bayer (Germany), Roussel Uclaf (France), Cyanamid (US), Air Lloyd (Germany), and Hoescht (Germany). The company at the top of this list, Rhone Poulenc in France, was the big winner in terms of sales. In FY93-95 it stood to make US$18.6 million, or 33% of the value of all Bank-approved contracts benefiting the G-7 agrochemical industry. In addition, the Bank hired, through its Executive Exchange program, a senior staff member from Rhone Poulenc.

Two of the Pesticide Action Network's "Dirty Dozen" pesticides appear in these contracts: paraquat and DDT. Contracts to French and German companies support the procurement of almost US$120,000 of paraquat for two Bank projects in Nigeria.

Paraquat is a highly toxic chemical that can cause death in moderate concentrations and which is used as an agent of suicide in developing countries. It is banned in nine countries; in the US, it is restricted to use by trained applicators or persons under their direct supervision.DDT is banned for all uses in 49 countries, is severely restricted in 23 others, and has been found to disrupt the normal functioning of the endocrine system. Again, a French company stood to gain almost US$880,000 from the supply of 250 tons of DDT for use in a Bank-financed health sector project in Madagascar.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Green Revolution in India: What's Reality And How Real

In India the World Bank joined forces with the U.S. Agency for International Development starting in the 1960s to promote the "green revolution" and import fertilizer, seeds, pesticides and farm machinery.

In 1969, the Terai Seed Corporation was started with a US$13 million World Bank loan. This was followed by two National Seeds Project (NSP) loans.

This program led to the homogenization and corporatization of India's agricultural system. The Bank provided NSP with US$41 million between 1974 and 1978. The projects were intended to develop state institutions and to create a new infrastructure for increasing the production of green revolution seed varieties.

In 1988, the World Bank gave India's seed sector a fourth loan to make it more "market responsive." The US$150 million loan aimed to privatize the seed industry and open India to multinational seed corporations.

Yet a study by the World Resources Institute, published in 1994, showed that the Green Revolution only increased Indian food production by 5.4% while the environmental degradation it has caused has raised serious worries.

Thus although the cultivated area increased by seven percent because of double cropping on irrigated farms, some 8.5 million hectares or six percent of the crop base was lost to waterlogging, salinity or excess alkalinity.

Although the amount of wheat doubled over the period of 20 years, rice production went up 50% and production of commercial crops like sugarcane and cotton went up, this increase in cultivation of these crops came at the expense of crops like chickpeas and millet, crops grown by the poor for themselves.

Learning the Art of Critical Thinking

There is nothing more practical than sound thinking. No matter what your circumstance or goals, no matter where you are, or what problems you face, you are better off if your thinking is skilled. As a manager, leader, employee, citizen, lover, friend, parent — in every realm and situation of your life — good thinking pays off. Poor thinking, in turn, inevitably causes problems, wastes time and energy, engenders frustration and pain.

Critical thinking is the disciplined art of ensuring that you use the best thinking you are capable of in any set of circumstances. The general goal of thinking is to “figure out the lay of the land” in any situation we are in. We all have multiple choices to make. We need the best information to make the best choices.

What is really going on in this or that situation? Are they trying to take advantage of me? Does so-and-so really care about me? Am I deceiving myself when I believe that . . .? What are the likely consequences of failing to . . .? If I want to do . . . , what is the best way to prepare for it? How can I be more successful in doing . . .? Is this my biggest problem, or do I need to focus my attention on something else?

Successfully responding to such questions is the daily work of thinking. However, to maximize the quality of your thinking, you must learn how to become an effective "critic" of your thinking. And to become an effective critic of your thinking, you have to make learning about thinking a priority.

Ask yourself these — rather unusual — questions: What have you learned about how you think? Did you ever study your thinking? What do you know about how the mind processes information? What do you really know about how to analyze, evaluate, or reconstruct your thinking? Where does your thinking come from? How much of it is of “good” quality? How much of it is of “poor” quality? How much of your thinking is vague, muddled, inconsistent, inaccurate, illogical, or superficial? Are you, in any real sense, in control of your thinking? Do you know how to test it? Do you have any conscious standards for determining when you are thinking well and when you are thinking poorly? Have you ever discovered a significant problem in your thinking and then changed it by a conscious act of will? If anyone asked you to teach them what you have learned, thus far in your life, about thinking, would you really have any idea what that was or how you learned it?

If you are like most, the only honest answers to these questions run along the lines of, “Well, I suppose I really don’t know much about my thinking or about thinking in general. I suppose in my life I have more or less taken my thinking for granted. I don’t really know how it works. I have never really studied it. I don’t know how I test it, or even if I do test it. It just happens in my mind automatically.“

It is important to realize that serious study of thinking, serious thinking about thinking, is rare. It is not a subject in most colleges. It is seldom found in the thinking of our culture. But if you focus your attention for a moment on the role that thinking is playing in your life, you may come to recognize that, in fact, everything you do, or want, or feel is influenced by your thinking. And if you become persuaded of that, you will be surprised that humans show so little interest in thinking.

To make significant gains in the quality of your thinking you will have to engage in a kind of work that most humans find unpleasant, if not painful — intellectual work. Yet once this thinking is done and we move our thinking to a higher level of quality, it is not hard to keep iat that level. Still, there is the price you have to pay to step up to the next level. One doesn’t become a skillful critic of thinking over night, any more than one becomes a skillful basketball player or musician over night. To become better at thinking, you must be willing to put the work into thinking that skilled improvement always requires.

This means you must be willing to practice special “acts” of thinking that are initially at least uncomfortable, and sometimes challenging and difficult. You have to learn to do with your mind “moves” analogous to what accomplished athletes learn to do (through practice and feedback) with their bodies. Improvement in thinking, in other words, is similar to improvement in other domains of performance where progress is a product of sound theory, commitment, hard work, and practice.

Consider the following key ideas, which, when applied, result in a mind practicing skilled thinking. These ideas represent just a few of the many ways in which disciplined thinkers actively apply theory of mind to the mind by the mind in order to think better. In these examples, we focus on the significance of thinking clearly, sticking to the point (thinking with relevance), questioning deeply, and striving to be more reasonable. For each example, we provide a brief overview of the idea and its importance in thinking, along with strategies for applying it in life. Realize that the following ideas are immersed in a cluster of ideas within critical thinking. Though we chose these particular ideas, many others could have instead been chosen. There is no magic in these specific ideas. In short, it is important that you understand these as a sampling of all the possible ways in which the mind can work to discipline itself, to think at a higher level of quality, to function better in the world.
1. Clarify Your Thinking

Be on the look-out for vague, fuzzy, formless, blurred thinking. Try to figure out the real meaning of what people are saying. Look on the surface. Look beneath the surface. Try to figure out the real meaning of important news stories. Explain your understanding of an issue to someone else to help clarify it in your own mind. Practice summarizing in your own words what others say. Then ask them if you understood them correctly. You should neither agree nor disagree with what anyone says until you (clearly) understand them.

Our own thinking usually seems clear to us, even when it is not. But vague, ambiguous, muddled, deceptive, or misleading thinking are significant problems in human life. If we are to develop as thinkers, we must learn the art of clarifying thinking, of pinning it down, spelling it out, and giving it a specific meaning. Here’s what you can do to begin. When people explain things to you, summarize in your own words what you think they said. When you cannot do this to their satisfaction, you don’t really understand what they said. When they cannot summarize what you have said to your satisfaction, they don’t really understand what you said. Try it. See what happens.

Strategies for Clarifying Your Thinking

  • State one point at a time

  • Elaborate on what you mean

  • Give examples that connect your thoughts to life experiences

  • Use analogies and metaphors to help people connect your ideas to a variety of things they already understand (for example, critical thinking is like an onion. There are many layers to it. Just when you think you have it basically figured out, you realize there is another layer, and then another, and another and another and on and on)

Here is One Format You Can Use

  • I think . . . (state your main point)

  • In other words . . . (elaborate your main point)

  • For example . . . (give an example of your main point)

  • To give you an analogy . . . (give an illustration of your main point)

To Clarify Other People’s Thinking,
Consider Asking the Following

  • Can you restate your point in other words? I didn’t understand you.

  • Can you give an example?

  • Let me tell you what I understand you to be saying. Did I understand you correctly?

2. Stick to the Point

Be on the look out for fragmented thinking, thinking that leaps about with no logical connections. Start noticing when you or others fail to stay focused on what is relevant. Focus on finding what will aid you in truly solving a problem. When someone brings up a point (however true) that doesn’t seem pertinent to the issue at hand, ask, “How is what you are saying relevant to the issue?” When you are working through a problem, make sure you stay focused on what sheds light on and, thus, helps address the problem. Don’t allow your mind to wander to unrelated matters. Don’t allow others to stray from the main issue. Frequently ask: “What is the central question? Is this or that relevant to it? How?”

When thinking is relevant, it is focused on the main task at hand. It selects what is germane, pertinent, and related. It is on the alert for everything that connects to the issue. It sets aside what is immaterial, inappropriate, extraneous, and beside the point. What is relevant directly bears upon (helps solve) the problem you are trying to solve. When thinking drifts away from what is relevant, it needs to be brought back to what truly makes a difference. Undisciplined thinking is often guided by associations (this reminds me of that, that reminds me of this other thing) rather than what is logically connected (“If a and b are true, then c must also be true”). Disciplined thinking intervenes when thoughts wander from what is pertinent and germane concentrating the mind on only those things that help it figure out what it needs to figure out.

Ask These Questions to Make Sure
Thinking is Focused on What is Relevant

  • Am I focused on the main problem or task?

  • How is this connected? How is that?

  • Does my information directly relate to the problem or task?

  • Where do I need to focus my attention?

  • Are we being diverted to unrelated matters?

  • Am I failing to consider relevant viewpoints?

  • How is your point relevant to the issue we are addressing?

  • What facts are actually going to help us answer the question? What considerations should be set aside?

  • Does this truly bear on the question? How does it connect?

3. Question Questions

Be on the look out for questions. The ones we ask. The ones we fail to ask. Look on the surface. Look beneath the surface. Listen to how people question, when they question, when they fail to question. Look closely at the questions asked. What questions do you ask, should you ask? Examine the extent to which you are a questioner, or simply one who accepts the definitions of situations given by others.

Most people are not skilled questioners. Most accept the world as it is presented to them. And when they do question, their questions are often superficial or “loaded.” Their questions do not help them solve their problems or make better decisions. Good thinkers routinely ask questions in order to understand and effectively deal with the world around them. They question the status quo. They know that things are often different from the way they are presented. Their questions penetrate images, masks, fronts, and propaganda. Their questions make real problems explicit and discipline their thinking through those problems. If you become a student of questions, you can learn to ask powerful questions that lead to a deeper and more fulfilling life. Your questions become more basic, essential, and deep.

Strategies for Formulating More Powerful Questions

  • Whenever you don’t understand something, ask a question of clarification.

  • Whenever you are dealing with a complex problem, formulate the question you are trying to answer in several different ways (being as precise as you can) until you hit upon the way that best addresses the problem at hand.

  • Whenever you plan to discuss an important issue or problem, write out in advance the most significant questions you think need to be addressed in the discussion. Be ready to change the main question, but once made clear, help those in the discussion stick to the question, making sure the dialogue builds toward an answer that makes sense.

Questions You Can Ask to Discipline Your Thinking

  • What precise question are we trying to answer?

  • Is that the best question to ask in this situation?

  • Is there a more important question we should be addressing?

  • Does this question capture the real issue we are facing?

  • Is there a question we should answer before we attempt to answer this question?

  • What information do we need to answer the question?

  • What conclusions seem justified in light of the facts?

  • What is our point of view? Do we need to consider another?

  • Is there another way to look at the question?

  • What are some related questions we need to consider?

  • What type of question is this: an economic question, a political question, a legal question, etc.?

4. Be Reasonable

Be on the lookout for reasonable and unreasonable behaviors — yours and others. Look on the surface. Look beneath the surface. Listen to what people say. Look closely at what they do. Notice when you are unwilling to listen to the views of others, when you simply see yourself as right and others as wrong. Ask yourself at those moments whether their views might have any merit. See if you can break through your defensiveness to hear what they are saying. Notice unreasonableness in others. Identify times when people use language that makes them appear reasonable, though their behavior proves them to be otherwise. Try to figure out why you, or others, are being unreasonable. Might you have a vested interested in not being open-minded? Might they?

One of the hallmarks of a critical thinker is the disposition to change one’s mind when given good reason to change. Good thinkers want to change their thinking when they discover better thinking. They can be moved by reason. Yet, comparatively few people are reasonable. Few are willing to change their minds once set. Few are willing to suspend their beliefs to fully hear the views of those with which they disagree. How would you rate yourself?

Strategies for Becoming More Reasonable

Say aloud, “I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. I’m often wrong.” See if you have the courage to admit this during a disagreement: “Of course, I may be wrong. You may be right.”

Practice saying in your own mind, “I may be wrong. I often am. I’m willing to change my mind when given good reasons.” Then look for opportunities to make changes in your thinking.

Ask yourself, “When was the last time I changed my mind because someone gave me better reasons for his (her) views than I had for mine?” (To what extent are you open to new ways of looking at things? To what extent can you objectively judge information that refutes what you already think?)

Realize That You are Being Close-Minded If You

a. are unwilling to listen to someone’s reasons

b. are irritated by the reasons people give you

c. become defensive during a discussion

After you catch yourself being close-minded, analyze what was going on in your mind by completing these statements:

a. I realize I was being close-minded in this situation because . . .

b. The thinking I was trying to hold onto is . . .

c. Thinking that is potentially better is . . .

d. This thinking is better because . . .

In closing, let me remind you that the ideas in this article are a very few of the many ways in which critical thinkers bring intellectual discipline to bear upon their thinking. The best thinkers are those who understand the development of thinking as a process occurring throughout many years of practice in thinking. They recognize the importance of learning about the mind, about thoughts, feelings and desires and how these functions of the mind interrelate. They are adept at taking thinking apart, and then assessing the parts when analyzed. In short, they study the mind, and they apply what they learn about the mind to their own thinking in their own lives.

The extent to which any of us develops as a thinker is directly determined by the amount of time we dedicate to our development, the quality of the intellectual practice we engage in, and the depth, or lack thereof, of our commitment to becoming more reasonable, rational, successful persons.


Thursday, November 15, 2007


Increased concern over energy security and global climate change has led many people to take a fresh look at the benefits and risks of nuclear power.The rapid rate of nuclear reactor expansion required to make even a modest reduction in global warming would drive up construction costs and create shortages in building materials, trained personnel, and safety controls. There are also lingering questions over nuclear waste, as well as continued political opposition to siting new plants.
According to a prevailing belief, humanity confronts two stark risks: catastrophes caused by climate change and annihilation by nuclear war. The conventional wisdom also believes that the former danger appears far more certain than the latter. This assessment has recently led an increasing number of policymakers, pundits, businesspeople, and environmentalists to advocate a major expansion of nuclear energy, which emits very few greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.1 While acknowledging the connection between nuclear fuel making and nuclear bomb building, nuclear power proponents suggest that nuclear proliferation and terrorism risks are readily manageable. Consequently, some of these advocates favor the use of subsidies to stimulate substantial growth of nuclear power.

This conventional wisdom possesses some truth, but it oversells the contribution nuclear energy can make to reduce global warming and strengthen energy security while downplaying the dangers associated with this energy source. To realistically address global warming, the nuclear industry would have to expand at such a rapid rate as to pose serious concerns for how the industry would ensure an adequate supply of reasonably inexpensive reactor-grade construction materials, well-trained technicians, and rigorous safety and security measures.
Furthermore, some argue that a significant growth of nuclear reactors and fuel making in politically unstable regions would substantially increase the risks of nuclear terrorism and proliferation. Conversely, others decry the hypocrisy of this double standard in which only certain countries are allowed access to the full suite of nuclear technologies. Thus, the United States faces a fundamental policy dilemma: Is it possible to encourage growth of nu promote far greater use of energy efficiencies. Nuclear will undoubtedly be part of this mix, but the policy question is: How much can and should it contribute to energy needs?
This benefit needs to be weighed against the entire costs and risks of nuclear power production. In addition to substantial capital costs for construction of power plants, nuclear energy includes significant external costs: applying safeguards to sensitive activities such as fuel making, securing nuclear facilities against terrorist attacks, decommissioning reactors, storing highly radioactive waste, and paying for insurance to cover the costs of an accident. Another important policy question is: How much of these external costs should be paid for by the industry versus governments? A related question is: If all energy sectors identified and paid for most, if not all, of their external costs, including greenhouse gas emissions, how would the nuclear sector fare on this level playing field that refrained from further government subsidies?clear energy and fuel making in some regions and countries while denying or significantly limiting it in other places?
To reduce the deleterious effects of climate change, the world will need to dramatically increase the use of low- and no-carbon emission energy sources as well as promote far greater use of energy efficiencies. Nuclear will undoubtedly be part of this mix, but the policy question is: How much can and should it contribute to energy needs?
This benefit needs to be weighed against the entire costs and risks of nuclear power production.
In addition to substantial capital costs for construction of power plants, nuclear energy includes significant external costs: applying safeguards to sensitive activities such as fuel making, securing nuclear facilities against terrorist attacks, decommissioning reactors, storing highly radioactive waste, and paying for insurance to cover the costs of an accident. Another important policy question is: How much of these external costs should be paid for by the industry versus governments? A related question is: If all energy sectors identified and paid for most, if not all, of their external costs, including greenhouse gas emissions, how would the nuclear sector fare on this level playing field that refrained from further government subsidies?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Developing Countries and their info devlopment

The process of globalization may very well entail both a reduction of income disparities among countries, and increasing income inequalities within countries. If this is so, for many countries, addressing the Digital Divide issue will be as much an external as an internal battle. On both fronts, e-government will be a powerful tool to help all types of economies (developed, developing and in transition) to bring the benefits of the emerging global information society to the largest possible part of their respective populations.

Direct effects of e-government include cost effectiveness in government and public operations, significant savings in areas such as public procurement, tax collection and customs operations, with better and continuous contacts with citizens, especially those living in remote or less densely populated areas.

Indirect effects are no less important, and include greater transparency and accountability in public decisions, powerful ways to fight corruption, the ability to stimulate the emergence of local e-cultures, and the strengthening of democracy.

These are among the reasons why e-government, after spreading through developed market economies, has now become a priority in an increasing number of developing countries. Around the world, significant resources are being mobilized, as well as additional human resources and energies, to develop, implement and promote the use of e-government. However, since such resources remain scarce in regard to the immense tasks of socioeconomic development and poverty alleviation, it is essential that they be used wisely and with a maximum chance of success. Benefiting from other countries’ experiences, understanding their successes and failures, and adapting that knowledge to the characteristics of one’s socio-economic environment will be vital to the future of e-government in many parts of the world.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

United States can make a dent on global poverty – if it wants

THE United States can make a dent on global poverty – if it wants to. For one, it can help to bring to a successful conclusion the current Doha Round of trade liberalization talks in 2006 under the World Trade Organisation. This is a sure way to show seriousness in bridging the gap between its foreign policy rhetoric and foreign policy follow-through. Indeed, this gap has characterized US commitments in global poverty reduction. In the upcoming WTO Ministerial Meeting on the Doha Round in Hong Kong on December 13-18, 2005, the US can lead the rich countries, particularly the European Union, to liberalize their trade and agricultural policy regimes. This can help poor countries take advantage of the substantial cuts in tariffs and export subsidies in agriculture and help make progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Why Human Mind Thinks ?

To live well is to live as a reasonable and ethical person. Yet humans are not by nature rational or ethical. Humans are predisposed to operate in the world in narrow terms of how it can serve them. Their brains are directly wired into their own pleasure and pain, not that of others. They do not inherently consider the rights and needs of others

Yet humans have the raw capacity to become reasonable and ethical persons, to develop as fair-minded skilled thinkers. But to do so requires:

1. Understanding how the mind works.

2. Using this understanding to develop skills and insights.

Everyone thinks. It is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking left to itself is biased, distorted, ill-founded, or prejudiced. Much of our thinking leads to problems in our lives. Much of our thinking leads to cruelty and injustice. Of course, the mind doesn’t just think, it also feels and wants. What is the connection? Our thinking shapes and determines how we feel and what we want. When we think well, we are motivated to do things that make sense and motivated to act in ways that help rather than harm ourselves and others.

At the same time, powerful emotions or desires influence our thinking, help or hinder how well we think in a situation. At any given moment, our minds (that complex of inner thoughts, feelings and desires) can be under the sway of our native egocentrism or our potential reasonability.

When we are ruled by our egocentric tendencies, we see the world from a narrow self-serving perspective. We are not truly concerned with how our behavior affects others. We are fundamentally concerned with getting what we want and/or with validating our beliefs and views.

The key to understanding human thought then, is, to understand its essential duality: its capacity for egocentrism (being trapped in self-delusion, myth, and illusion) and its capacity for reasonability (freeing itself from self-delusion, myth, and illusion). Though thinking, feeling and wanting are, in principle, equally important, it is only through thinking that we take command of our minds.

It is through thinking that we figure out what is going wrong with our thinking. It is through thinking that we figure out how to deal with destructive emotions.

It is through thinking that we change unproductive desires to productive ones. It is fair-minded reasonability that frees us from intellectual slavery. If we understand our mind and its functions, if we face the barriers to our development that egocentrism represents, if we work upon our mind in a daily regimen, we can take the steps that lead to our empowerment as thinkers.

The mind is it’s own place and in itself can make a hell of heaven or a heaven of hell

The global environment And Enterprise Culture in Developing Economies

The global environment has been susceptible to changes for centuries. In recent years, the process which have moved the world towards “global interdependence and exchange’ have been known as globalisation (Mazuri, 2002). Globalisation led to changes in the social and economic environment, and in both developed and developing countries experienced opportunities for economic growth.

This was an uneven process but provided opportunities for new entrepreneurial activities.
According to Schumpeter (1934), entrepreneurial activities are the result of combinations from discovering new markets, new raw materials, new suppliers and new production methods. These entrepreneurial activities would enable opportunities to be exploited and also contribute to economic growth.

This encouraged developed and developing countries to acknowledge the relevance of entrepreneurial activity and its role in developing a economy effective enough to compete in a global environment.

In the past, entrepreneurial activities developed naturally within the existing market environment. With the opportunities and threats presented by globalisation, governments realised the need to stimulate an increased level of entrepreneurial activity to counteract the impact of global competition in their own markets and encourage their own local entrepreneurs to exploit opportunities in other markets.

Through changes in public policies, governments strove to form an environment conducive to entrepreneurial activities and thus develop an enterprise culture which encouraged self employment activities among citizens. However, the concept of enterprise culture is different when the analysis is concentrated on developing countries. We should explore the relevance of enterprise culture and its impact on developing countries. we Should sketch out the contours of the evolution of the concept and drawing on the Indian experience, suggests that the concept is too narrow it fails to incorporate critical social and cultural factors in its permutation, characteristics which are critical idioms in developing countries.

The Relationship Between Fertility and Socio Economic Development in India

For many years it has been known that in virtually no human population has the level of fertility ever approached the potential biological maximum. Scholar have long been aware that such factors as constrains on marriage, prolonged breastfeeding, periods of separation or abstinence, abortion and disease have exerted a restraining influence on fertility.

India has been made progress in economic, social, demographic and health fields. But there exist a very wide regional disparity is the achievement of various stages of demographic transition. The recent population projection y the Registrar General revealed that India would reach the replacement level of fertility only in the year 2026.But many states namely Kerala, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh had already reached replacement level of fertility. The southern state Karnataka will reach the same only in the year 2009.The large Hindi speaking states namely Bihar, Utter Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan will reach the replacement level only by the year 2038(RGI, 1996). The divergence gives opportunities to researchers for examine the inter-regional variation in the demographic outcomes in India.

India is in the midst of a demographic transition that exhibits striking spatial differences. From the intrinsic importance of understanding this pattern of decline, the diversity of the Indian experience provides an opportunity to reexamine various interpretations of the fertility transition. India, it may be recalled, was one of the first countries in he world to introduce a national family planning programmatic the 1950,to reduce population growth is at long last appears to be undergoing fertility declines of notable proportions. However, neither the speed of
decline, nor the areas contributing to the fall are a matter of complete unanimity.

In the early days ‘Population Control’ appeared as a emerging issue. Then came more gentle approach, “development is the best Contraceptive”. The notion of development it self evolved as awareness grew that economic growth. But over time the focus shifted from economic growth to social development had gained a great place in both to better living condition and to reducing population growth.

Many researchers are argued that India is not a model of social development but many states, in India, are showing progressive picture in terms of fertility decline. Its progress owes to the improvement of female literacy and decline infant mortality and as well as other socio-economic indicators are not neglected so far.
Debarati Sarkar

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

16Technological Applications that Could Change the World on 2020

THE world is in the midst of a global technology revolution. For the past 30 years, advances in biotechnology, nanotechnology, materials technology, and information technology have been occurring at an accelerating pace, with the potential to bring about radical changes in all dimensions of life. The pace of these developments shows no sign of abating over the next 15 years, and it appears that their effects will be ever more remarkable. The technology of 2020 will integrate developments from multiple scientific disciplines in ways that could transform the quality of human life, extend the human lifespan, change the face of work and industry, and establish new economic and political powers on the global scene.

While people often do not understand a technology itself, they can often understand what that technology, when applied, might do for them and the societies in which they live when an application concept is presented to them. Actual adoption, however, is not necessarily automatic because of the confluence of economic, social, political, and other mitigating factors. Such technology applications, designed to accomplish specific functions, and their mitigating factors are the focus of a study done for the National Intelligence Council (NIC) in the United States.

16 technology applications that could change the world

The study identified 56 applications that were possible by 2020, and of these, 16 appear to have the greatest combined likelihood of being widely available commercially, enjoying a significant market demand, and affecting multiple sectors, for example, the water, food, land, population, governance, social structure, energy, health economic development, education, defence and conflict, and environment and pollution sectors.

The 16 technology applications, in order of likelihood of implementation, include the following:
• Hybrid vehicles: Automobiles available to the mass market with power systems that combine internal combustion and other power sources while recovering energy during braking.
• Rural wireless communications: Widely available telephone and internet connectivity without a wired network infrastructure.
• Targeted drug delivery: Drug therapies that preferentially attack specific tumours or pathogens without harming healthy tissues and cells.
• Communication devices for ubiquitous information access: Communication and storage devices, both wired and wireless, that provide agile access to information sources anywhere, anytime. Operating seamlessly across communication and data storage protocols, these devices will have growing capabilities to store not only text but also meta-text with layered contextual information, images, voice, music, video, and movies.
• Ubiquitous radio frequency identification (RFID) tagging of commercial products and individuals: Widespread use of RFID tags to track retail products from manufacture through sale and beyond, as well as individuals and their movements.
• Improved diagnostic and surgical methods: Technologies that improve the precision of diagnoses and greatly increase the accuracy and efficacy of surgical procedures, while reducing invasiveness and recovery time.
• Quantum cryptography: Quantum mechanical methods that encode information for secure transfer.
• Cheap solar energy: Solar energy systems inexpensive enough to be widely available to developing and undeveloped countries, as well as economically disadvantaged populations.
• Filters and catalysts: Techniques and devices to effectively and reliably filter, purify, and decontaminate water locally using unskilled labour.
• Green manufacturing: Redesigned manufacturing processes that either eliminate or greatly reduce the waste streams and the need to use toxic materials.
• Tissue engineering: The design and engineering of living tissue for implantation and replacement.
• Genetically Modified (GM) crops: Genetically engineered foods with improved nutritional value (for example through added vitamins and micronutrients), increased production (for example by tailoring crops to local conditions), and reduced pesticide use (for example by increasing resistance to pests).
• Pervasive sensors: Presence of sensors in most public areas and networks of sensor data to accomplish real-time surveillance.
• Wearable computers: Computational devices embedded in clothing or in other wearable items such as handbags, purses, or jewellery.

• Cheap autonomous housing: Self-sufficient and affordable housing that provides shelter adaptable to local conditions, as well as energy for heating, cooling, and cooking.
Impact of Change
The initial 56 technology applications identified vary significantly in technical and implementation feasibility by 2020. Technical feasibility is defined as the likelihood that the application will be possible on a commercial basis by 2020. Implementation feasibility is the net of all non-technical barriers and enablers, such as market demand, cost, infrastructure, policies and regulations. An assessment of implementation feasibility was made based on rough qualitative estimates of the size of the market for the application in 2020 and whether or not it raises significant public policy issues. The 16 identified technology applications had both a high technical feasibility as well as high implementation feasibility.

What can be observed is that increasingly, the technology applications that will be introduced in the future entail the integration of multiple technologies. New approaches to harnessing solar energy, for instance, are using plastics, biological materials, and nanoparticles. The latest water purification systems use nanoscale membranes together with biologically activated and catalytic materials. Technology applications such as these may help to address some of the most significant problems that different nations face, that is, those problems involving water, food, health, economic development, the environment, and many other critical sectors.

While extensive, this technology revolution will play out differently around the globe. Although a technology application may be technically possible by 2020, not all countries will necessarily be able to acquire it, much less put it widely to use, within that time frame. An adequate level of science and technology (S&T) capacity is the first requirement for many sophisticated applications. A country might obtain a technology application through its domestic research and development (R&D) efforts, a technology transfer, or an international R&D collaboration, all of which are indicators of a country’s science and technology capacity. A country could also simply purchase off-the-shelf systems from abroad. However, many countries will not have achieved the necessary infrastructure or resources in 15 years to do such things across the breadth of the technology revolution.

The key role of R&D

What is more, the ability to acquire a technology application does not equal the ability to implement it. Doing research or importing know-how is a necessary first step. But successful implementation also depends on the drivers within a country that encourage technological innovation and the barriers that stand in its way. Such drivers and barriers reflect a country’s institutional, human and physical capacity; its financial resources; and its social, political, and cultural environment. Each of these factors plays a part in determining a nation’s ability to put a new technology application into the hands of users, cause them to embrace it, and support its widespread use over time.

For these reasons, different countries will vary considerably in their ability to utilize technology applications to solve the problems they confront. To be sure, not all technology applications will require the same level of capacity to acquire and use. But even so, some countries will not be prepared in 15 years to exploit even the least demanding of these

applications, even if they can acquire them, whereas other nations will be fully equipped to both obtain and implement the most demanding of the applications.
Joshua Ho
Joshua Ho is a Senior Fellow and Coordinator of the Maritime Security Programme at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies.

Pope Benedict XVI And Muslim States

THE Sept 12 2006, speech by Pope Benedict XVI at the University of Regensburg in Germany has triggered different reactions. While many agreed that the Pope held no malicious intent against Islam, he was heavily criticized for evoking medieval viewpoints rooted in an era when a Christian empire was at war with a Muslim one. His speech, to some, manifested the pontiff’s true feelings about Islam and the Muslim world inspite of his call for dialogue. This notwithstanding, one neglected aspect of this episode over the Pope’s controversial speech is why Muslim governments reacted the way they did.

While it comes as little surprise that radical Islamists were quick to react to the Pope’s statement with massive demonstrations, the responses of the Muslim governments were unusually strong. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the Prime Minister of Malaysia and chairman of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), described the Pope’s remarks as being insensitive to Muslim feelings and damaging good relations between Islam and Christianity. The OIC countries also registered a call on 26 Sept for a formal retraction by the Pope. The OIC chairman’s statement is noteworthy because only a week earlier, Abdullah had accepted the Pope’s apology. Pakistan’s General Pervez Musharraf, known for his secular views, said that the Pope’s comments on Islam were unfortunate and irresponsible. Notably, the strongest denunciations came from Turkey, a moderate democracy seeking European Union membership. Salih Kapusuz, deputy leader of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development party (AKP), said the pontiff’s remarks were either the result of pitiful ignorance about Islam and its Prophet or, worse, a deliberate distortion. He even went as far as to categorize the Pope with dictators like Hitler and Mussolini. It is indeed significant that such strong statements were issued by Muslim leaders who are by orientation generally associated with moderation.

Reflecting the Muslim Ground

For the Muslim masses, the Pope’s remarks were consistent with their belief that there is a long-standing attempt by the West to destroy Islam, a campaign which began with the Crusades. Since the decline of Islamic civilization in the 17th century, the feeling that Islam is under siege has been a feature of the Muslim mind. For many in the Muslim world, the Pope's statement convinced them that an open war is being waged against them in the realm of religion. Many feel that the West is waging a crusade against them in the form of an alliance between the United States, Israel and the Vatican. This attitude was displayed in the massive protests held outside various US embassies throughout the Muslim world. Cartoons and editorials published in newspapers in the Arab Muslim world also portray Jews as the instigators behind Pope’s remarks. Some argue that the reaction of the Muslim masses reflect

their nonchalance towards the essence of the Pope’s message even though the speech was available on both the BBC website (right after the controversy started) and that of the Vatican City. Some who have read the speech may also not have understood the highly academic nature of the speech. On the other hand, many believed that the Pope’s statement was inherently problematic because it had tendentiously linked violence to Islam despite his claim that he did not mean to defame the religion. Understanding the reality of the Muslim ground, Muslim governments had reacted by portraying themselves as defending Islam and thus are the true representatives of the Muslim masses.
Failure in Lebanon
The failure of Muslim governments to react decisively in the recent Israel-Lebanese conflict had caused them to lose ground to the Islamists in their respective countries. It was the Islamists who were in the forefront of massive demonstrations, political lobbying and providing humanitarian aid to the victims of the war. The Muslim masses felt that the OIC has become an irrelevant entity governed by US-backed Muslim regimes. The failure of Israel’s campaign in Lebanon has left many in the Muslim world convinced that Islamic movements such as Hizbullah and Hamas have been more successful in restoring the dignity and honour of the Muslim world by facing up to Israel and US hegemony. An indication is the outpouring of newspaper columns, cartoons, blogs and public poetry readings showering praise on Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Hizbullah leader, as a hero of the Muslim world in many Middle Eastern countries.
Domestic Problems
By reacting strongly to the Pope’s remarks, Muslim governments are seen as trying to regain their waning political support. For instance, President Musharraf’s strong remarks against the Pope reflect his anxiety of the deepening political crisis in Pakistan. Various domestic developments such as the Pakistani Islamists’ campaign for the maintenance of hudud or Islamic penal laws in Pakistan and the killings of Nawab Akbar Bugti, a nationalist leader from the province of Baluchistan, brought Musharraf’s popularity to an all time low. With elections expected to be held in 2007, Musharraf cannot afford to estrange the electorate. By taking a strong stand against the Pope, Musharraf presents himself as a defender of Islam and thus boost his standing amongst Muslims in Pakistan.
Similarly, for the Malaysian prime minister, the perceived inability of Malaysia and the OIC under his chairmanship to react decisively to the conflict in Lebanon had dented his image as the exemplary leader of a strong, progressive and moderate Muslim country. Faced with growing criticism at home from Islamic groups, Abdullah has been on the defensive. In addition, he is facing constant criticism from former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamed for being a weak Muslim leader. This aside, Malaysia is also awaiting a court ruling on an application from a Malay woman, Lina Joy, to renounce Islam, a case seen as crucial in determining religious freedom in Malaysia. Already, Islamic groups in Malaysia were infuriated by the government’s decision to allow the case to be brought to court, which they saw as an attack on the status of Islam. Abdullah’s firm stand against the Pope, as well as the strong stance adopted by the OIC under his leadership, could win him crucial Muslim support at home.
Turkey perhaps presents the best example of how domestic politics is reflected in the reaction of the country’s leadership against the Pope. Since the rise of Erdogan's AKP party to power, the government has adopted a populist foreign policy of defending Islam and Muslims to boost its domestic standing among the Turkish people. This could be seen in its defence of 3
Iran against concerns about nuclear proliferation and the Prime Minister’s invitation of Hamas leader Khaled Meshal to Ankara. However, the Turkish government has been on a collision course with the Turkish military, which pride itself as the defender of a secular Turkey. The appointment of the new Turkish military commander General Mehmet Yasar Buyukanit, an anti-Islamist and fierce secularist, has intensified the differences between the government and military. With its unusually strong stance against the Pope, the Turkish government seems to be seeking to buttress its political standing vis-à-vis the Turkish military.

In the end, the Pope’s controversial speech may have assisted Muslim governments by distracting attention from the domestic problems of these states. By stoking a sense of a clash of civilizations between Muslim and Christians, both the Pope’s controversial speech, as well as the strong responses of the Muslim states, could undermine the prospects of interfaith dialogue at a time when the enhancement of understanding between members of different faith communities is most needed.

Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman
(Mohamad Nawab Mohd Osman is a research assistant at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Nanyang Technological University. )

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Winning Shot is all about Dinesh Singh Rawat Thoughts and actions

Winning shot is my online mind graph. What i writes or refer on any particular day reflects my mood and mind interpretation of ideas and issues surrounding me. So please read my each and every blog as complete independent from others. Than you can can enjoy these.
Dinesh Singh Rawat
an online research journalist

Monday, October 29, 2007

Citizen Journalism an Innovative and Powerful Tool to Knowledge Based Society

Citizen journalism an innovative and powerful tool to knowledge based society Information is the basis of knowledge. When any information we know is processed and lodged in our minds became knowledge. We are rapidly proceeding towards knowledge society in information era. To acquire verities of knowledge on different subjects, the future dreamed knowledge society will require multi levels information delivery systems. The Contemporary media and other information channels and sources could not alone meet the demands of information, so knowledge societal ethics ask every citizen to contribute his or her share to make this society reality.

In contemporary journalism gate keepings are done at every level in name of editorial reviews, and premium membership. But citizen journalism is trying to remove all such gate keepings from journalism because in knowledge society every citizen is a torch carrier of information. In true spirit lesser gate keeping will be the guarantee of high valued citizen journalism .Knowledge society can not will be developed in computers or other electronics gadgets but only and only in human minds, so without equal participations of each and every minds, big or small. We couldn’t dream of our future .The free, fair and fast (3F) 4 all should be the main ethics of citizen journalism.

To understand the definition and scope of citizen journalism one should go to the roots of traditional journalism. The journalism was developed and lived with human from Stone Age to computer age but its nature and scope were different in every age of human development. In stone age journalism was in form of verbal intra personal as requirements of that age were geographical and anatomical .

Than came the mechanical/technological age, when wheel started to turned the development of mankind, in this age print and electronic journalism had made its presence because machine produced products made free economics traveling around the world cutting across the geographical barriers.

The information era popularly called information revolution, knowledge based society will be its bio product. To meet the future demand of information revolution, journalism has to change its contemporary form to basics, from where it had started participation of all as it were in Stone Age when every human had to act as journalist to make information flow in his or her society.

Again in information revolution every citizen has to make his or her informatory contribution. The citizen journalism has emerged as an innovative and powerful tool for common citizens to deliver their shares in shaping knowledge based society in or around them.

Farming Communities In Developing nations Should try to Take lesson from "Santa Anita" of El Salvador

Sustainable social development is a complex phenomena. There is certainly no recipe to solve our problems, even if we add to our strategy a new dimension of poverty alleviation. constructive social development is quite possible, provided that a
number of conditions can be fulfilled, and provided that the observer has enough patience and time to wait.

One of the main problems for the rural poor in El Salvador has been land and the land reforms connected with it. This has been so since a bloody massacre of farm labour
occurred already in 1931, known as „la matanza“, and has overshadowed all the attempts on reforms undertaken since then. In the early 1950s El Salvador, the small country had hardly 2 million people. Now it has 6 million.

The story of the Christian mbased community of Santa Anita, an agricultural community of something over 50 families, stimulated by a Catholic priest to work together. Thus a cooperative was founded in the late 1980s, during the civil war, and with the help of
FINATA, the national land institute, a piece of land in an old hacienda has been found. This was good land for coffee and also sugar cane, received on a mortgage in the region of Guazapa, located in one of the main regions of war activities.

The members of the community had no capital, no machinery and equipment, no housing but only their hands to work with. They had to make the down payments on their land debt and also needed production credit from a local cooperative. Even during the war,
the armies on both sides, of the government and of the various groups of the rebels, were raiding through the fields of the new community, and a neighboring group occupied part of the land while another group burned part of the In April 1997 a mission of three couples from the former volunteers arrived at Santa Anita to discuss the future cooperation and sign an agreement for the provision of a soft loan (to be repaid within 3 years and to be put into a revolving fund).

Luckily an agricultural engineer to provide the financial advice and training to the cooperative as well as to update the farm management plan was found and he could start already work at the beginning of 1997. But working capital was still hardly available and investment funds to build up the old coffee areas were simply not existing.

In the meantime the settlement of the actual payment of the land debt was delayed on the side of the government. The issue was raised in parliament if 30% could really be paid
by the campesinos in the cooperatives or if the entire land debt should not simply be forgiven. After more than an year of negotiation in parliament, the president of El Salvador ncould sign a new decree that only 15% of the debt had to be paid.

Thus with the loan of the”Friends of Santa Anita“ and the contribution of C 110'000 the 15% was paid immediately and the land could be transferred into the ownership of the
cooperative. The rest of in the cooperative the money collected could be used to cover the cost of the training programs.

To follow up on such a program, including the operation of a revolving fund, a local organization in El Salvador was needed. For this a committee of local Salvadorian volunteers with experience in rural development could be set up. Among this group was Julio, a campesino leader who had already worked with the community of Santa Anita since many years, Carolina, a Franciscan Sister who had often helped and visited the
community, Carmen and Transito as social educators, Eduardo and Romeo as leaders of

organizations to help rural communities, and finally Conchita, a social worker who had been working already with some of the former volunteers in the 1950‘s. This committee, who served on a volunteer basis could also help the community, when needed, with the finding of a lawyer to settle legal questions or by talking to friendly politicians who could give advice.

This saving of the community of Santa Anita had different effects. One was that a larger Spanish NGO became interested in the community and started with a program of social
investments, first with a community building, followed by a kindergarten and later with a drinking water supply. This was a welcome help in a program which concentrated in the first place in helping to provide the economic basis of the community.

The second effect was that other communities in the neighborhood of the town of Suchitoto (the capital of the Department of Cuscatlan) also noticed the progress at Santa Anita. They also had the same needs in accounting and in financial management, as well as in training with operating a computer.

Thus by January 1, 2000, technical assistance work also started in a larger community, in El Bario, by reducing the time which was given for training at Santa Anita. Requests were also received from other interested communities.

Another link to the basic problems of rural El Salvador showed up in a report by the World Bank, published in 1998. This report came to the conclusion that relying primarily
on land redistribution was not a realistic option to alleviate rural poverty. Rather a strategy which focused on non-land factors (human capital, infrastructure off-farm employment, technology) was needed. Above all, the challenge for rural development based on cooperative organizations was to improve governance.

Cooperative management should be subject to controls like any other business enterprise for the benefit of their members as shareholders: external audits, management representation and professionalism were needed.Indeed the World Bank report found that although 30% of the agricultural land belonged to cooperatives, they only produced 8 % of the agricultural GDP. One main reason was inefficient control of accounting management.

There would be, thus, a great potential for increasing rural GDP through better governance and accounting. This is the direction the organization of ex-volunteers is encouraging in Santa Anita, El Bario and possibly in other similar communities. But experience at Santa Anita also teaches us that good governance depends always on individual people. Thus creating understanding and cooperation among individual members of cooperatives is finally the basis of lasting success. These problems have still to be solved before a substantial alleviation of poverty can be achieved.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Education And Developing India

India.s recent economic growth rates have generated much optimism about its general social and economic development. But has there been accompanying progress in indicators of educational outcomes? How good are Indian educational achievements in relation to China.s, the country withwhich it is increasingly compared? What are the most significant developments in Indian school education and what has been the impact of various education policy initiatives? This paper presents a critical overview of the school education sector in India using newly released data and a survey of existing studies.

The story of India.s educational achievements is one of mixed success. On the down side, India has 22 per cent of the world.s population but 46 per cent of the world.s illiterates, and is home to a high proportion of the world.s out of school children and youth.

On the positive side, it has made encouraging recent progress in raising schooling participation. While the base of India.s education pyramid may be weak, it has emerged as an important player in the worldwide information technology revolution on the back of substantial (absolute) numbers of well educated computing and other graduates.

Indian educational achievements in international perspective

Table 1 presents India.s adult and youth literacy rates alongside equivalent figures for its regional neighbours, as well as for countries in the BRIC grouping (Brazil, Russian Federation, India and China). While India does well compared to Bangladesh and Pakistan, it lags substantially behind all the other BRIC countries and Sri Lanka. Indeed it is striking that its overall adult literacy rate is similar to and female adult literacy rate lower than that of Sub Saharan Africa.

The comparison with China is of particular interest and it shows India to be at a considerable educational disadvantage:

India.s adult literacy in the early 2000s was wholly 30 percentage points below China.s. Even focusing more narrowly at only the youth literacy rates, India.s disadvantage with respect to China is a large 22.5 percentage points.

India.s disadvantage vis a vis other countries in primary school participation rates is much smaller compared to that for youth literacy rates, since 93.4% of Indian elementary school age children were enrolled in school in 2006 according to ASER survey (Pratham, 2007). However, as

Figure 1 shows, at the secondary school level, India is again at a large disadvantage with respect to all three other BRIC countries where secondary enrolment rates are far above those predicted for countries at their levels of per capita GDP. Brazilian and Russian secondary school net enrolment rates are 27 percentage points higher than India.s. Figure 2 shows that India is more than 30 years behind China in terms of the proportion of the population with completed secondary and post secondary schooling.

Table 1

Adult and youth literacy rates

Adult Literacy rates (15+ year olds) Youth Literacy rates (15-24 year olds)

Total male female Total male female

Bangladesh 42.6 51.7 33.1 51.5 59.4 43.1

Pakistan 49.9 63.0 36.0 65.5 75.8 54.7

Sri Lanka 90.7 92.3 89.1 95.6 95.1 96.1

India 61.0 73.4 47.8 76.4 84.2 67.7

China 90.9 95.1 86.5 98.9 99.2 98.5

Brazil 88.6 88.4 88.8 96.8 95.8 97.9

Russian 99.4 99.7 99.2 99.7 99.7 99.8

World 82.2 87.2 77.3 87.3 90.5 84.1

Developing countries 76.8 83.5 70.1 84.8 88.6 80.9

Sub-Saharan Africa 61.2 69.5 53.3 72.9 77.8 68.3

Source: 2000-2004 data from the Education for All Global Monitoring Report, UNESCO (2006).

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

MindBlow and Mind Below

Human mind is numberless wonder of whole universe। This is the most fertile field of world। More you sow much you reap out of it।The usage of this part of human body needs accurate and precise approach. The tool to sharpen the upper part of human body is only through education. The education can change the life of human being.

This had been proven by scientific development of our world. Thus in most advanced and developed society, every possible care is taken in education sector applications.Are we in India caring for this vital aspect of human being? This story is a little effort to discuss the national education with special reference to one of the leading and progressive state named Haryana.According to 2001 census the population of largest democracy of the world was 1027015247. The managing of this huge population is a specialized job.

To do this it required extra accuracy and farsightedness approach. Education is among first thrust, which need to be carefully managed, because it is directly linked to development of nation.In 2002 India had 199144199 students starting from class 1 to higher education level. It means 19.3% of population was of student community. Government and NGO's are working hard to expand the area of education in the country, but their efforts are not yielding up to mark satisfaction.

In India in 2002 there were 113883060 students in primary school level. In middle school level numbers of students were 44828235. That means 69% of primary school students' left their studies before or after fifth class. The facts and figures are similar in every year. In same year (2002) there were 44828235 it mans 55% of student in middle school level whereas the number of high school students 20053986 who gave up their school bags after eight class. Continue to this process 48% of students left their studies from high school level to secondary level.
But here in last I am very surprised to see that after 10+2 level study gives up cases has drastically come down to 5%. This statistics clearly indicate that if student reaches primary level his or her probability of leaving school is 61%. If students cross first barrier (primary level) and reach to middle school then his percentage of leaving come down to 55%. Further after 10th standard to secondary levels this percentage further come down to 48%. Finally if he / she get passed 10+2 exam, the percentage to achieve higher education / professional education is 95%, which is very high as comparative to primary and middle level.

These facts and figures clearly indicate that primary to middle classes are studies leaving prone classes.Are these studies leaving the prone classes targeted by our education planners? . Answer is clearly no. This is very evident from following statistics.In primary school level student / teacher ratio in India is 59:1, for middle class it was 31:1, whereas in 10+2 level it was 17:1 in 2002.In comparison to above after 10+2 level education there are 272 universities, 8737 colleges (general), 838 technology/ engineering college, 725 medical college, 846 teacher training colleges, 5462 polytechnic and it is and 1175 teacher training schools.

This type planning will show its effects on society because knowledge level of population will be of high contrast. This will lead to fragmentation of that society which is already fragmented in the name of religion, caste and creeds. In this situation, the Education will work reversibly. This can be averted by making middle level focused education policy.So emphasis of our education policy should be on study leaving prone classes.i.e.5th to 8th classes. The environment and education should be planned in such manner that student of these classes does not leave their studies in want of school are money.

If the quantum of the students increases in 10+2 level then there will be more and more talents available for higher studies. This will not only enhance the level of knowledge among all sections of society in equilibrium but also give up maximum opportunities to maximum. This will show results in quality of higher study level. In which 50% of education budgets are invested. Take the case of Haryana in education. This small state has done commendable work as compare to other states of India. But due to non-practical approach of education planning, as in national education policy results are not up to the mark. Student teacher ratio in primary level was 39:1 as compare to national student teacher ratio 59:1 in 2002.

For middle classes this ratio in state was 33:1 in contrast to national average 31:1. Here one point is to mention this state was created on 1st nov.1966. The above student teacher ratio for the corresponding year was 43:1 and 30:1 for primary and middle classes respectively. Education budget at the creation of state in 1966 was merely 277.2 Lac rupees. Which reached 138429.51 Lac was invested which 55.7% of total money was allocated to education.

Thus after this statistics of one of the pioneer states of India one can guess situations in UP, Bihar, Orrisa and rest of other states of country.To make mind blowing and not blowing quantum of the student is directly linked to excellence in education. Money and personals are here only precise planning is required. Will our education planners ever do this and when? Answer to these questions lies in dark room. Who will open the doors of this dark room is to be seen yet.