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Dr Kallol Guha
Would you have ever known about those hidden talents of India until ‘India’s Got Talent’ made its way to your TV sets? In fact, so many talented voices could not have reached their desired path till ‘Indian Idol’ made it possible for them. Yet, there are enormous hidden gems in India that are still looking for the Midas touch. Those gems are none other than our own artisans, craftsmen, potters, who are the backbone of India’s small scale industries. In real sense, they are the inventors of India.
The published narratives of European travelers unveil the fact that India, in the 17th and early part of 18th century, was economically more progressive than most of the European nations.
India had a burgeoning industrial sector, which produced world class products that were also low in cost. Merchants from various parts of world came to India and exchanged their gold, silver and precious stones with cotton textiles, rugs, silk, utensils and much more.
Therefore, when Europe was engulfed by the commercial and industrial revolution, India was still looked upon as the prosperous nation in the world.
It was this trade prosperity of India that distressed the Europeans. During this era, mercantilist European statesmen stood together against the export of bullion in exchange with Indian goods.
In a conquest to generate enormous moolah, the East India Company callously oppressed Indian manufacturers. Heavy tariffs were imposed on Indian goods. Moreover, speedy generation of machine-driven goods took a toll on booming Indian industries.
After India’s independence in 1947, India espoused a socialist-inspired economic model with rudiments of capitalism. India adopted USSR-like, centralized and nationalized economic programs called Five-Year Plans. This Nehruvian policy was stretched too far past its use and led to the decline in Indian economy.
Importance of Small Scale Industries in India
Keeping in mind the significance of Small Scale Industries in the Indian economy, all the industrial policies announced since the independence, have showered high priority on the development of the sector. The industrial policy of 1956, which still is the lead standard, says:
“They (Small Scale Industries) provide immediate large scale employment, they offer a method of ensuring a more equitable distribution of national income and facilitate an effective mobilization of resources of capital and skill which might otherwise remain unutilized. Some of the problems that unplanned urbanization tends to create will be avoided by the establishment of small centres of industrial production all over the country.”
No doubt, the sector can encourage economic activity and is delegated with the liability of realizing various objectives – creation of more employment opportunities with less investment, reducing regional imbalances and so on.
However, small scale industries are not in a position to play their part efficiently due to various limitations, such as finance, raw material, technology, marketing, infrastructure and product planning.
Let’s start with AAP
Recently, Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) offered a boost to small scale industries. The government announced that there will be no need of securing needed permits for setting up small scale industries in the national capital. Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will not require a consent-to-establish (CTE) certificate from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and a trade license from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), to obtain an acknowledgment letter under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMED) Act, 2006.
The Inventors of India
Ever since forming the government, AAP has launched several schemes that are indicative of innovative ideas. They seem to be committed to the welfare of Aam Aadmi (Common Man). Therefore, the party might think of tapping the enormous pent up productive forces in them.
One way of doing this, is to encourage the common man to submit any invention they might have developed into its presentable form, no matter how rudimentary it might seem. Such presentation may be sponsored by the Government in the same fashion as that of ‘India’s Got Talent.’ The best five, commercially viable, inventions may be turned into industrial production and financially supported by the government and/or private entrepreneurs to be run in the form of a cooperative.
India has imitated such competition in areas of musical performance with very good result. Similar initiatives in areas of rural invention (there is a great deal of useful rural technology that is ignored simply because it is not Western) need to be given encouragement and opportunity to appear in the form of public performance. This could not only benefit development of indigenous small industry but could be a significant stride towards positive impression of AAP among the masses all over India.
Success of this initiative can be easily measured- considering its positive effect nationwide and benefit to AAP thereof.
Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan shares how he feels when people compare him with his father Amitabh Bachchan on the singing reality show 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa'. He also requests contestant Rajshree Bag to sing a track 'Bahon Mein Chale Aao' featuring his mother Jaya Bachchan.
Abhishek said after looking at the performance of Rajshree, who is often compared with Lata Mangeshkar on the show, that she reminds him of being compared with his father. "Rajshree, whenever I have got the chance to watch the show, I've seen people compare you to Lata didi. It actually reminded me about how people compare me with my father and ask me how I feel about it."
According to him Amitabh Bachchan is a great actor in the industry and this is what he says to everyone making these comparisons. "My answer to them is that there's no greater actor in this film industry than Amitabh Bachchan and if I'm being compared to him, I am sure I must have done something good."
"Similarly, your voice has a different kind of magic like Lata ji and that's why people are comparing your voice with her. I feel you should always take this as a compliment," he concluded. 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa' airs on Saturday and Sunday on Zee TV. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Abhishek Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan, reality show, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Rajshree Bag
Winters in India have always beckoned for that hot, steaming bowl of tomato and pepper rasam or the mellow, millet based Raab. Certain dishes like sarson ka saag, undhiyu, nimona pulao are winter specialites in the country. Seasonal food has always been an Indian speciality -- we switch our choice in fruits, vegetables, sometimes even grains with the onset of different season. The preference of using specific ingredients during certain climates is visible in our sweets as well. It's common to find local and traditional delicacies made of jaggery, instead of sugar during the winters. Case in point -- the Nolen Gur Rasgulla, a speciality made in Odisha and West Bengal between November to February.
Celebrity chef, Sanjeev Kapoor, strongly advocates this need of eating seasonal produce. He says, "The beauty of our food is in our seasonal usage of fruits and vegetables. If you realise, Gajar ka halwa is made aplenty during winters as this is the season when beautiful red carrots hit the market or mango pickle is made during summer, thanks to its availability. Despite people and sometimes, even me, suggesting that we should eat fresh as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables, we do not know what chemicals are sprayed on them to keep them safe while they are growing. When this produce hits the market, there isn't a certifying agency like the FSSAI that will help people understand what vegetables and fruits are free of pesticides and germs and which ones don't. Hence, the onus lies on us to make them safe for consumption. ITC's Nimwash is a good solution."
When it comes to winters, the Chef recommends eating these fruit and vegetables:
* Purple Mogri -- Mogri or Radish pods are not a common sight throughout the country. But you can spot them during the winters in local markets in northern India where women pick them up to make raitas, curries and stir fries. Rich in magnesium, calcium and copper, the vegetable is known to aid people from digestive problems.
Mogri or Radish pods are not a common sight throughout the country, but you can spot them during the winters | Pixabay
* Sweet Potato -- A re-discovered favourite, Sweet potatoes have created a space for itself in the millennial kitchen. With its diverse addition in burgers, chips and even chat, the root vegetable is filled with nutrients such as fibres and vitamins.
Sweet potatoes have created a space for itself in the millennial kitchen. | Wikimedia Commons
* Avarekalu -- Called Hyacinth beans in English, Avarekalu is a winter speciality in the south that is added to sambhar, saagu, rotis, etc. Bangalore is famed for its Averakalu mela during the winter months, where you can find these beans in dosas, Pani puri and even Jalebis! Thronged by crowds from all over the city, the food fest is a gourmand's delight.
Called Hyacinth beans in English, Avarekalu is a winter speciality in the south that is added to sambhar, saagu, rotis, etc. | Wikimedia Commons
* Amla -- The Indian gooseberry is a common winter fruit found through the country. High in Vitamin C, it is known to be immunity building and extremely beneficial for the skin and hair. There are multiple ways to eat Amla -- it is pickled, made into a fruit preserve called as Murraba or even eaten by sprinkling salt over it.
The Indian gooseberry is a common winter fruit found through the country. | Pixabay
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: winter, Sanjeev Kapoor, chef, Indian gooseberry, Sweet Potato, Radish pods
Just three minutes of exposure to deep red light once a week, when delivered in the morning, can significantly improve declining eyesight, finds a new study. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, found there was, on average, a 17 per cent improvement in participants' colour contrast vision when exposed to three minutes of 670 nanometre (long wavelength) deep red light in the morning and the effects of this single exposure lasted for at least a week.
However, when the same test was conducted in the afternoon, no improvement was seen. "We demonstrate that one single exposure to long wave deep red light in the morning can significantly improve declining vision, which is a major health and wellbeing issue, affecting millions of people globally," said lead author, Glen Jeffery from the University College London.
Using a provided LED device, all participants were exposed to three minutes of 670nm deep red light in the morning between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m | Photo by Hush Naidoo Jade Photography on Unsplash
For the study, the team involved a small yet significant number of participants aged between 34 and 70, had no ocular disease, completed a questionnaire regarding eye health prior to testing, and had normal colour vision (cone function). This was assessed using a 'Chroma Test' -- identifying coloured letters that had very low contrast and appeared increasingly blurred, a process called colour contrast.
Using a provided LED device, all participants were exposed to three minutes of 670nm deep red light in the morning between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Their colour vision was then tested again three hours post exposure and 10 of the participants were also tested one week post exposure. On average there was a 'significant' 17 per cent improvement in colour vision, which lasted a week in tested participants; in some older participants, there was a 20 per cent improvement, also lasting a week.
A few months on from the first test (ensuring any positive effects of the deep red light had been 'washed out') few participants, carried out the same test in the afternoon, between 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. When participants then had their colour vision tested again, it showed zero improvement. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Deep red light, therapy, eye sight, study,chroma test