Thursday June 20, 2019

Village Women Entrepreneurs in Uttarakhand set New Standards, Educate other Women

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Village woman working on the agricultural fields.
village women entrepreneurs who have taken the Sanitation initiative are role models for others. VOA

Rishikesh, June 14, 2017: Sanitation initiative has not only acted as a spring board for the employment facilities but has also ensured 360-degree improvement in hygienic conditions. The major factor of it is that it has even encouraged the women entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector. It is to be noticed that agriculture is considered to be the backbone of nation’s economy.

Women like Rajeshwari Devi and Beena Devi who work as daily wagers and struggled to win the square meal a day as they belong to the lower strata of the social ladder and suffer the pains of poverty.

They are members of an association of 25 women who come from Lal Dhang and other neighbouring villages in Haridwar district of Uttarakhand. Moreover, they are also active participants in the WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for All) initiative. WASH initiative will encourage women all over the villages and other backward areas like slums to engage themselves in the entrepreneurships.

This group of women are toiling hard together to collect sufficient funds to build healthy and hygienic infrastructures like toilets with would revolutionize the physical setup of the villages. They will then sell these toilets to raise funds to fight against the environmental woes such as pollution and diseases. Everyone in the village could have access to safe and clean drinking water as well as toilet facilities. This step will help in putting a halt to manual scavenging and open defecating tradition in India.

“We have faced problems of not having a toilet at home. So when they approached us for the project, we immediately said yes. We belong to a conservative society, so people opposed our decision to step out of the house for this,” says Beena.

According to the PTI report, she says that she is happy that the women have learnt something which will enable them to have a better future for their kids.

Rajeshwari states that rather than demoralizing them, hurdles have only encouraged them to never lose faith in themselves. Now they are even deciding to take the initiative of ensuring the toilet facilities in the surrounding villages. They have been trained by the World Toilet College situated at Parmarth Niketan. Rajeshwari also informed that they have also attended a training seminar in January and after that built the first toilets in Veerpur.

“Now we can build twin pit pour flush toilets on our own.We have just built toilets in Veerpur village in Rishikesh which has been commissioned as Ganga gram now,”says Rajeshwari.

This month, two villages were selected: Veerpur Khurd in Dehradun and Mala in Pauri Garhwal which are situated on the banks of the Holy River Ganga to transform them into the ‘Model Ganga Villages’. Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) joined hands with the Union Drinking Water and Sanitation Ministry to accomplish this task.

After building the desired infrastructure and remodeling the environmental conditions, these women will take the initiative towards educating and spreading awareness among other women. They will educate them about bio digester toilets encouraging them to grab the employment opportunities which are knocking at their doors.

According to Samuel Herbert (field officer of the project), women can only do this social work during the non-agriculture season as they are entrepreneurs themselves. Moreover, some villages are in remote areas where it is difficult to reach during monsoon. Despite of these obstacles, women are determined enough to overcome these and earn self employment.

Chidanand Saraswati who is a co-founder and co-chairman of GIWA appreciates these women calling them as the role models for others with this sanitation revolution. He said that teaching them to build bio digester toilets was a simpler task consuming relatively low-cost technology for treating human waste.

– prepared by Himanshi Goyal of Newsgram, Twitter: @himanshi1104

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Delayed Monsoon Spells Trouble for Farmers

The real challenge will be looking at the income security of small and marginal farmers in rain-fed areas

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Monsoon, Trouble, Farmers
The areas with irrigation such as Punjab and Haryana are not of concern. Pixabay

Southwest monsoon this year has become a thing of concern for policymakers as it has not just been delayed by a week, but it is also likely to be sluggish and erratic, which may spell trouble for the farm sector.

Paddy, the primary crop of the kharif season, is likely to be hit as June as well as July are expected to be rain-deficit. The output of pulses such as arhar (pigeon pea), soybean and coarse cereals is also likely to be affected.

As droughts occurred in patches across the country, there won’t be a disastrous impact on the overall food-grain production but it may have beating on small and marginal farmers by way of breaching their income security.

“The areas with irrigation such as Punjab and Haryana are not of concern. The real challenge will be looking at the income security of small and marginal farmers in rain-fed areas,” said T. Nandkumar, former Union Agriculture Secretary.

Monsoon, Trouble, Farmers
Southwest monsoon this year has become a thing of concern for policymakers. Pixabay

A senior official at the Agriculture Ministry said that it was in constant touch with the states to apprise the Centre of the developing situation.

“We have asked them to be prepared with precautionary and remedial measures in case there is deficit rainfall,” said the official, requesting anonymity.

However, there was no clarity if the state governments have ensured optimum seed reserves if first sowing attempt goes waste due to erratic rainfall.

The Food Ministry has started procuring over 50,000 tonnes of onion to deal with shortage if output goes down, indicating the government is not optimistic about good rainfall this year.

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Farmers have been advised by private weather forecaster Skymet to postpone sowing by almost a week of the conventional dates as it said there are less chances of rains if the onset of the monsoon is delayed.

If there is a long gap between two rain spells, there is high probability of newly planted seeds getting killed.

Skymet has predicted “below average” monsoon — 93 per cent of LPA — this year with indications of higher risk in the eastern parts and major portion of Central India being rain deficient.

The average, or normal, rainfall in the country is defined between 96 and 104 per cent of a 50-year average for the entire four-month monsoon season, or Long Period Average (LPA), which is 887 mm.

Monsoon, Trouble, Farmers
Paddy, the primary crop of the kharif season, is likely to be hit as June as well as July are expected to be rain-deficit. Pixabay

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted “near normal” monsoon — 95 per cent of the LPA — with evenly distributed rainfall.

It, however, said there is 51 per cent chance that the monsoon would be normal or above while there is 49 per cent probability that it remains below normal.

The Agriculture Ministry official said the rainfall this time is expected to be “erratic” and “sluggish” citing recent developments related to the monsoon.

The second half of the rainy season would see better rainfall as August and September are expected to see normal rains. However, the entire season is expected to end on a deficit note.

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The rainfall in June will be 77 per cent (164 mm) of the LPA while it will be 91 per cent (289 mm) in July, 102 per cent (261 mm) in August and 99 per cent (173 mm) in September, as per Skymet.

Skymet has said that paddy production is expected to reduce to 97.78 million tonnes this kharif season compared to 101.96 million tonnes in the previous season.

It also said there is 40 per cent possibility of about 66 per cent districts in the country being deficient or largely deficient if the monsoon is “below normal”.

Nandkumar expects about 100 districts, including those in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region, Telangana, Bihar and Jharkhand, to be rain deficient. (IANS)