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Five reasons why cooperatives perform better

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With the capitalist powers grabbing control of the economic machinery of India, the poor are getting poorer day by day. While the capitalists focus on maximizing output using minimum manpower, the issue of empowerment gets overshadowed. What India needs is a strong democratic setup in the market to address the issue. And for that, cooperatives become important.

Besides promoting empowerment, they play an integral role in the nation building process, especially by assisting in building a sustained economy. These are the five features which help cooperatives not only to empower people but help in developing an advanced self-sustainable economy.

1. Open and Voluntary membership: There are no strict rules in joining and leaving a cooperative. Individuals with a common goal and interest get together and set up a cooperative. Moreover, religion, caste, and sex do not play a part in setting up a cooperative.

2.  Finances controlled by members: All members make small contributions to building up a cooperative, which cumulatively becomes substantial. This process allows individuals to collectively set up businesses that provide mutual support to each other, who otherwise are constrained with their meager finances. Later they also approach banks and other financial institutions for loans.Thus, an individual is not under financial pressure due to loans as the burden is all divided.

3. Democratic control: There is no single boss to manage the administration of the cooperative. A committee elected by the members looks after the functioning of the cooperative. While business organizations are autocratic in nature, a cooperative is run by the devolution of power, quite akin to a democracy.

4. Distribution of surplus: The cooperative bodies are not profit-oriented enterprises and the surplus is divided among the members. However, a certain percentage is always retained for the advancement of the cooperative.

5. The motive of service: The main objective of a cooperative is to increase the living standards of the members. The main objective is never to maximize the profit of an individual. So empowerment and creating jobs opportunities is a noble service that the cooperatives aim at. (image courtesy: glocdn.investing.com)

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Quotas for women to reduce Gender Discrimination and to help them advance in Leadership Positions

The government is also committed to 33 per cent reservation in Parliamentary and State assemblies for women through a Constitutional amendment

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Quotas for women
Women empowerment, wikimedia

New Delhi, Jan 13, 2017: In an attempt to reduce gender discrimination Union Minister Anupriya Patel today favoured establishing quotas for women. This will help them compete in mixed-gender environments and advance in leadership roles. This step is taken keeping in mind that companies and public offices with women at senior positions tend to do better.

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While mentioning the other details she also said that the government is also committed to 33 per cent reservation in Parliamentary and State assemblies for women through a Constitutional amendment.

The Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare said here at an Assocham event that “Research has shown that companies perform better during economic turbulence when they have women on their boards, and communities with women in public offices have greater investment in public goods.”

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Patel said that one of the effective ways to help women advance in leadership positions and enhance their decision-making role “could be establishing quotas,” although she did not specify the areas for establishing the quotas to women.

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This can increase “women’s willingness to compete in competitive mixed-gender environments resulting in more qualified candidates, men and women alike, applying for competitive positions,” said Patel, who herself is an SRCC (Shri Ram College of Commerce) Graduate from Delhi University.

“Also, modelling female leadership can go a long way,” she added while addressing the BIMSTEC-SAARC Women’s Economic Forum organised by Assocham.

In order to build a stronger economic life across all sectors and achieve internationally agreed goals for development and sustainability, Patel has favoured this decision for empowering women.

 – prepared by Saptaparni Goon of NewsGram. Twitter: @saptaparni_goon

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Chutney music: A story of women empowerment

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the symbol of the genre suggests celebration of female body

BY MEGHA SHARMA

This video is an analysis of the Trinidadian Chutney music by Dr. Kumar Mahabir. He has a YouTube channel with his name, where he focuses on the Indo-Caribbean relations. He is an eminent anthropologist and a professor at the University of Trinidad and Tobago. It was uploaded on 6th of July in 2012. It is interesting to note how this music with its origins in a Hindu wedding ceremony of cooking night. The dance was triggered by the labour class women of the place. Chutney is an Indian delicacy, used-as a side dish in most of the Indian households. it is a mixture of various spices, also known as a pickle. The Music is native to Trinidad and is a hypnotic, explosive, fast-tempo one with simple refrain verse (repeating the signature line) with Hindi lyrics.

It was performed by women mainly, though now it is a male dominant space. The women, who used to perform it, gave it a private space and involved in erotic dances. While the ceremony was going on, no man was allowed to enter the space. Today, the genre has been reinvented and one has different variations in it with Chutney soca (a Trinidadian style music), Chutney parang (Trinidadian folk music performed at Christmas), Chutney gospel (ethics), etc.

a still from the Chutney soca dance
a still from the Chutney soca dance

The researcher has done a study of some chutney songs which here I would discuss. Down the ages, one has seen how women have been looked as a property by women. They are possessions and an entity of the private sphere. Thus a release from the longish submission is always impossible. However, this genre of Music, a dominant working of Trinidadian females, comes across as a crucial step towards self- development.

The Dance and Music performed in it, as Dr Kumar observes, gives them liberty to perform. This liberty is inclusive of a celebration of their body, which is unthinkable within the public space they are devoid of. Today, the performances have increased and found a great excursion of women in the public domain. In 1960’s, when the feminist movement was at its peak, this traditional genre broke out and opened up ways for these women artists. These artists were disdained in the initial years (Alice Jan and Champa Devi being the first of them), and were regarded as immoral.

In the later years, the dancing and singing was made much available to the women of Trinidad. The performances brought profitable amount for them. The lines between the private and the public sphere are now blurred and it is seen how the exposure is given to the women who stand aside with men. They perform, dance, sing and even register their own subjection before the audience. The songs are their verbal accounting of denial of submission and being restricted to a private space.

The research further moves giving details of the outreach of this genre. Not only literature, but media, social media and even renowned music accounts include celebrate their existence. Therefore, one sees how a minor feminine genre has achieved greater names in and about the world.

(Megha is a student at the University of Delhi. She is pursuing her masters and has done her studies in german language.) GMAIL- loveme2010.ms@gmail.com