Sunday June 24, 2018
Home India British Counc...

British Council and Mumbai First Join Hands to transform Mumbai into a World-Class City

Other than cultural and educational reforms, there will be musical exchanges between the UK and Indian artistes, organisations and public through collaborative projects designed to nurture talent and promote wider cultural dialogues

0
//
134
Mumbai
Mumbai, India. wikipedia
Republish
Reprint
  • Projects and activities will be initiated for an all-round achievement in the two key areas- education and culture
  • In education, initiatives will be taken up aimed at enrichment of teaching skills and quality improvement of low-cost private English medium schools
  • On the culture front, initiatives will focus on taking the diverse range of music of Mumbai to a global audience through Mix The City Mumbai Project

Mumbai, July 10, 2017: The British Council and Mumbai First will collaborate in education, tourism, arts, and culture to transform Mumbai into a world-class city, an official said here on Monday.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed to initiate projects and activities in these sectors for an all-around achievement in the two key areas — education and culture — that would positively impact Mumbaikars.

In education, initiatives will be taken up aimed at enrichment of teaching skills and quality improvement of low-cost private English medium schools in and around Mumbai besides professional development and language proficiency programmes.

These programs will be conducted face to face and digitally with government (municipal) primary and secondary schools involving around 10,000 teachers across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

ALSO READTrees worth Rs 742 Crore to be Cut for Building Metro-3 Car Shed in Mumbai

The new schools would focus on developing the school leadership, 21st-century core skills of learners and quality in classrooms with plans to set up joint awards for those (schools) that meet the set quality standards.

On the culture front, initiatives will focus on taking the diverse range of music of Mumbai to a global audience through Mix The City Mumbai Project, featuring recordings of performances by local musicians curated online.

The collaboration will seek art installations in public places across Mumbai, creating multiple sites to involve people to become part of the city’s rich musical heritage.

Besides, there will be musical exchanges between the UK and Indian artists, organizations and public through collaborative projects designed to nurture talent and promote wider cultural dialogues.

“For almost 70 years, we have helped put education and culture at the heart of the UK’s relationship with Mumbai. We are delighted that in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘UK-India Year of Culture’, we can deepen our connections with the city through a new partnership with Mumbai First,” said British Council’s Director-India Alan Gemmell.

“The collaboration is in line with our vision to transform Mumbai and MMR into a world-class safe city, one of the best places to live and do business,” said Shishir Joshi, CEO, Mumbai First think tank.

It was set up as a model of public-private-participation by India’s corporate leaders almost two decades ago with the Tatas, Mahindras, Godrejs, and others being the original patrons. (IANS)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 NewsGram

Next Story

Across Asia’s Borders, Survivors Of Human Trafficking, Dial in for Justice

The trial has been ongoing since 2013

0
Tara Khokon Miya is seen in her village home in Shipur, Bangladesh, Feb. 26, 2018. She is helping to prepare her 27-year-old daughter to testify via videoconferencing technology against the men who trafficked her to India.
Tara Khokon Miya is seen in her village home in Shipur, Bangladesh, Feb. 26, 2018. She is helping to prepare her 27-year-old daughter to testify via videoconferencing technology against the men who trafficked her to India. VOA

When Neha Maldar testified against the traffickers who enslaved her as a sex worker in India, she spoke from the safety of her own country, Bangladesh, via videoconferencing, a technology that could revolutionize the pursuit of justice in such cases.

The men in the western city of Mumbai appeared via video link more than 2,000 km (1,243 miles) west of Maldar as she sat in a government office in Jessore, a major regional hub for sex trafficking, 50 km from Bangladesh’s border with India.

“I saw the people who had trafficked me on the screen and I wasn’t scared to identify them,” Maldar, who now runs a beauty parlor from her home near Jessore, told Reuters. “I was determined to see them behind bars.”

“I told them how I was beaten for refusing to work in the brothel in the beginning and how the money I made was taken away,” she said, adding that she had lied to Indian authorities about her situation after being rescued, out of fear.

Thousands of people from Bangladesh and Nepal — mainly poor, rural women

and children — are lured to India each year by traffickers who promise good jobs but sell them into prostitution or domestic servitude, anti-slavery activists say.

Activists hope the safe, convenient technology could boost convictions. A Bangladeshi sex trafficker was jailed for the first time in 2016 on the strength of a victim’s testimony to a court in Mumbai via video link from Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital.

Convictions for cross-border trafficking in the region are rare as most victims choose not to pursue cases that have traditionally required them to testify in Indian courts, which meant staying in a shelter for the duration of the trial.

“They have always wanted to go back home, to their families,” said Shiny Padiyara, a legal counsel at the Indian charity Rescue Foundation that has facilitated videoconferencing cases and runs shelters for trafficking victims. “And most never return to testify.”

But videoconferencing is making it easier to pursue justice. Survivors have given statements, identified their traffickers, and been cross examined in at least 10 other ongoing international cases in Bangladesh, advocates said.

“Enabling victims to testify via video conference will lead to a possible decrease in acquittal rates for want of prime witnesses,” said Adrian Phillips of Justice and Care, a charity that supports the use of video testimony to help secure justice.

Even then, it is tough. During Maldar’s three-hour deposition, she withstood a tough cross-examination, showed identity documents to prove her age and countered allegations by the defense lawyer that she was lying about her identity.

Students Combat Human Trafficking
Students Combat Human Trafficking, flickr

‘Unpardonable’

Tara Khokon Miya is preparing her 27-year-old daughter to testify against the men who trafficked her to India from Dhaka, where she had been working in a garment factory.

“I almost lost my daughter forever,” she said, sitting in her home in Magura, less than 50 km from Jessore, describing how she disappeared after work and was taken to a brothel in India, and raped and beaten for almost a year before being rescued.

“What the traffickers did to my daughter was unpardonable,” Miya said, wiping her tears. “We seek justice. I nurtured her in my womb and can’t describe what it felt like to not know about her whereabouts.”

The trial has been ongoing since 2013 when the young woman, who declined to be named, was repatriated. The charity Rights Jessore is helping the family through the process, by providing counseling and rehearsing cross-examination.

“The best thing is her father will be by her side when she talks in court,” Miya said, finally breaking into a smile.

India signed a bilateral agreement with Bangladesh in 2015 to ensure faster trafficking investigations and prosecutions, and with Nepal in 2017, and laid down basic procedures to encourage the use of videoconferencing in court proceedings.

“The procedure is very transparent,” said judge K M Mamun Uzzaman at Jessore courthouse, which often converts its conference hall into a courtroom for videoconferencing cases to protect survivors’ privacy.

“I’m usually present and victims are able to testify confidently … it is easy and cost effective for us,” he said. “But the biggest beneficiaries are the survivors.”

Silencing Victims
Silencing Victims, pixabay

The future

Videoconferencing in Bangladesh has been plagued by technical glitches such as power cuts and poor connections.

“Sometimes the internet connection is weak or it gets disconnected during the testimony,” said Binoy Krishna Mallick head of Rights Jessore, a pioneer in using this technology to encourage trafficking survivors to pursue justice. “But these are just teething troubles.”

The bigger challenge, activists say, is to ensure survivors remain committed to the trial despite delays caused by a backlog of cases and witnesses’ failure to appear to testify.

Swati Chauhan, one of the first judges to experiment with video testimony in 2010, is convinced that technology can eliminate many of these hurdles.

Also read: Imagining Panun Kashmir: Dissent And Detente in South Asia

“Victims go through a lot of trauma, so it is natural that they don’t want to confront their trafficker in a court — but that doesn’t mean they don’t want the trafficker to be punished,” she said. “A videoconference requires meticulous planning and it is not easy coordinating between departments and countries. But it is the future for many seeking justice.” (VOA)