Wednesday May 23, 2018

How will India look with Free Education and Healthcare ?

Education and healthcare are one of the biggest revenue generators for the country but some sects of the country's population have little or no access to proper facilities

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Representational Image. Pixabay.
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Nov 17, 2016: In a country where people satiate their hunger and fulfil their basic needs on little wages, higher education is a luxury only a few can afford. Even though the public institutions charge a very subsidized amount compared to the other private institutions, the amount requested by them are beyond the reach of many.

The Right to Education act passed on 1 April 2010 allows children between the ages of 6 and 14 to receive free and compulsory education but the problem for these young minds begin after they walk into adolescence. The families which are poor and every member has to fend for themselves cannot afford higher education for their children. This pushes the young, green saplings into the world to earn money for the family. They start to become the bread-earners of the family and lose all time, opportunity and zeal to receive better education.

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The commercialization of education over the nation has resulted in robbing these aspiring children from their dreams. “Expensive coaching centers, schools and colleges do not ever give a chance to the underprivileged as they are too busy minting money for themselves” says Rashmi, a homemaker.

For a long time, various NGOs and independent workers have been trying to improve the condition of education in India and have also succeeded to some extent. The IITs have decided to provide students of classes 11 and 12 for free over DTH or internet. This initiative starting in January,  will expand the base of aspirants as it is more possible for some students to gain access to internet and DTH than enrolling for coaching centers. The IITs will record over 200 hours for each subject and the students will also contribute to this as assistants for free. This is an example of how if all the citizens tried together to bridge the gaps, this country could be a lot more developed.

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At a Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry consultation for Members of Parliament (MPs) on the New Education Policy (NEP), on which the government is working emphasis was placed on free and compulsory education till Class 12.

If education at undergraduate level is devoid of all cost, the countries literacy rates would shoot up resulting in a much greater national revenue than ever before. This could also lead to more students staying in the country to complete their academics only to repay the country later by contributing to its development. “There would be less pressure on each student as they would be able to put in more sincere efforts because they would not have to worry about their funds” said a student from a university in Bangalore.

These steps could help indecisive students find their goal as they could experience different options before excelling at one. This would not be possible to do today with the soaring prices of education.

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Apart from education, health care is a major factor denoting a country’s development. Good health care facilities are a necessity especially, in India. The ones to benefit most from healthcare being free would be the downtrodden and poor. They would not have to wait at long queues at affordable hospitals, instead they could get treated at any hospital. Some people would not have to wait for enough money to be accumulated so that they could get their illness treated nor would they have to borrow money from people.

Such free clinics should be opened at regular intervals so that it is convenient for people to get help in times of emergencies. “I was so surprised. It was all so quick and easy. It’s a real luxury to have a clinic close to my home instead of wasting a whole day at a hospital,” Wazir, a daily wager told the South China Morning Post. Better and free health care ensures the decrease in the mortality rate in our country due to medical reasons.

Even though the government did not declare free health care as a fundamental right, it is taking steps toward free or heavily subsidized healthcare. The health ministry proposed the increase in India’s health budget from 1.87 percent of the GDP to 2.5 percent to achieve its ambition to provide a basic package of healthcare services for free. Free healthcare means that the families in the country could invest this money in the development of the nation and hence, resulting in their own development.

– by Shivam Thaker of NewsGram. Twitter: @Shivam_Thaker

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Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

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representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)