Wednesday February 21, 2018

Walk of Pride: Along with 100 other villages, Koverapalem Village of Andhra Pradesh is also Free from Open Defecation

Similar projects are already underway in 250 more villages in Andhra Pradesh to free the state from defecation

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Defecation in India. Image source: www.m1key.me
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  • Koverapalem became one of the 100 villages to get toilets for all residents, effectively called defecation free
  • Chief Guest Mr. Jawahar Reddy thanked locals for showing active participation in this project
  • Collector Janaki mentioned that inspired by the residents of this village, 250 other villages were already undergoing similar projects

When India is losing its war on defecation, Koverapalem village in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh becomes an example of how the locals of the village felt accountable to counter the issue. Koverapalem village became one of the 100 villages and habitations in the district that had got toilets for all their residents under the Atma Gouravam and the Swachh Bharat programs.

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Panchayat Raj Principal Secretary Jawahar Reddy and District Collector for Nellore, M. Janaki accompanied by a host of officials participated in the Walk of Pride event. Residents of Koverapalem village joined the Panchayat which took place on Tuesday, June 14, in TP Gudur Mandal limit. This move was also widely appreciated by the youth and students, who raised slogans and held placards in support of the development activities in the village, said the Hindu report.

Koverapalem
Walk of Pride event. Image courtesy: The Hindu

According the report in Hindu, Mr. Jawahar Reddy had appeared as the chief guest for the celebratory event. He said that more than the support of the officials and the government, it was the active participation of the locals that helped achieve this prestigious status. He urged residents of other villages to follow in their footsteps for similar advancements in their homes.

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Reiterating what the chief guest said, Collector Janaki enthusiastically stated that this day would provide inspiration for other villages, and that similar projects were already underway in 250 other villages in the district.

-written by Saurabh Bodas, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter Handle: @saurabhbodas96

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  • AJ Krish

    When people unite for a cause,miracles happen. Its really something to be proud about! Well done, people of Koverapalem village!

  • Paras Vashisth

    Defecation is very huge problem in India.And this small step by koverapalem people will bring a great result after sometime.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Sanitation has always been a problem in India. When people from a small village can do it, there are many such villages to be inspired and to achieve what people of Koverapalem have done.

  • AJ Krish

    When people unite for a cause,miracles happen. Its really something to be proud about! Well done, people of Koverapalem village!

  • Paras Vashisth

    Defecation is very huge problem in India.And this small step by koverapalem people will bring a great result after sometime.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Sanitation has always been a problem in India. When people from a small village can do it, there are many such villages to be inspired and to achieve what people of Koverapalem have done.

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How telecom has become driver of economic change in India

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The country's hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front.
The country's hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front. Wikimedia Commons
  • India has done well to stay ahead of the curve in the technological revolution
  • The sectoral change in productivity has been the highest in the telecommunications sector since the reforms of 1991
  • India has managed to provide the cheapest telephony services around the world

For the most part of human history, the change was glacial in pace. It was quite safe to assume that the world at the time of your death would look pretty much similar to the one at the time of your birth. That is no longer the case, and the pace of change seems to be growing exponentially. Futurist Ray Kurzweil put it succinctly when he wrote in 2001: “We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century – it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).” Since the time of his writing, a lot has changed, especially with the advent of the internet.

India has done well to stay ahead of the curve in the technological revolution. The country’s hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front. In fact, according to Reserve Bank of India data, the sectoral change in productivity has been the highest in the telecommunications sector since the reforms of 1991, growing by over 10 percent. On the other hand, no other sector has had a productivity growth of above five percent during the same period. It is no wonder that it has also been one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Indian economy, growing at over seven percent in the last decade itself.

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Such an unprecedented pace of growth has been brought about the precise levels of change that Kurzweil was so enthusiastic about. Today’s smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Meanwhile, India has managed to provide the cheapest telephony services around the world, which has hit rock bottom after the entry of Reliance Jio. This has ensured access to those even at the bottom of the pyramid.

A rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country.
A rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country. Wikimedia Commons

Even though consumers have come to be accustomed to fast-paced changes within the telecom sector, the entry of Jio altered the face of the industry like never before by changing the very basis of competition. Data became the focal point of competition for an industry that derived over 75 percent of its revenue from voice. It was quite obvious that there would be immediate economic effects due to it. Now that we’re nearing a year of Jio’s paid operations, during which time it has even become profitable, we saw it fit to quantify its socio-economic impact on the country. Three broad takeaways need to be highlighted.

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First, the most evident effect has been the rise in affordability of calling and data services. Voice services have become practically costless while data prices have dropped from an average of Rs 152 per GB to lower than Rs 10 per GB. Such a drastic reduction in data prices has not only brought the internet within the reach of a larger proportion of the Indian population but has also allowed newer segments of society to use and experience it for the first time. Since the monthly saving of an average internet user came out to be Rs 142 per month (taking a conservative estimate that the consumer is still using 1 GB of data each month) and there are about 350 million mobile internet users in the country (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India data), the yearly financial savings for the entire country comes out to be Rs 60,000 crore.

To put things in perspective, this amount is more than four times the entire GDP of Bhutan. Therefore, mere savings by the consumer on data has been at astonishing proportions.

Today's smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Wikimedia Commons
Today’s smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Wikimedia Commons

Now, this data has been used for services that have brought to life a thriving app economy within the country. So, the second level of impact has been in the redressal of a variety of consumer needs — ranging from education, health and entertainment to banking. For instance, students in remote areas can now access online courseware and small businesses can access newer markets. Information asymmetry has been considerably reduced.

Third, a rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country. These effects arise not merely from the creation of an internet economy, but also due to the synergy effects it generates. Information becomes more accessible and communication a lot easier. Businesses find it easier to operate and access consumers. Labour working in cities has to make less frequent trips home and becomes more productive as a result. Education and health services become available in inaccessible locations. Multiple avenues open up for knowledge and skill enhancement.

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An econometric analysis for the Indian economy showed that the 15 percent increase in internet penetration due to Jio and the spill-over effects it creates will raise the per capita levels of the country’s GDP by 5.85 percent, provided all else remains constant.

Thus, India’s telecom sector will continue to drive the economy forward, at least in the short run, and hopefully catapult India into 20,000 years of progress within this century, as Kurzweil postulated. The best approach for the state would be to ensure the environment of unfettered competition within the industry. Maybe other sectors of the economy ought to take a leaf out of the telecom growth story. The Indian banking sector comes to mind. However, that is a topic for another day. (IANS)

(Amit Kapoor is Chair, Institute for Competitiveness, India. He can be contacted at Amit. Kapoor@competitiveness.in and tweets @kautiliya. Chirag Yadav, a senior researcher at the institute, has contributed to the article.)