A jeans-clad young woman hardly fits the bill for a sarpanch in rural Rajasthan. Not surprisingly then, there was a sense of disbelief among ministers and ambassadors from diverse nations when the chairperson of the 11th Info-Poverty World Conference held at the United Nations introduced Chhavi Rajawat as head of a village in India.
Chhavi Rajawat, an articulate, computer-savvy woman, who could easily be mistaken for a glamour world personality, is sarpanch of Soda village, 60 kilometres from Jaipur, in backward region of Rajasthan and the changing face of growing dynamic rural India.
Thirty-year-old Rajawat, India's youngest and the only MBA to become a village head — the position mostly occupied by elders, quit her senior management position with Bharti-Tele Ventures of Airtel Group to serve her beloved villagers as sarpanch.
CHHAVI RAJAWAT: A Brief Introduction
With an undergraduate degree from Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Modern Management in Pune, Chhavi Rajawat could have had a dream corporate career had she chosen. And for five years, she did. Till she decided to give it up and fight the Sarpanch elections from Soda, 60 km from Jaipur in Rajasthan, her ancestral village of 3,200 voters. Whether it is changing the mindset of the villagers towards the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, or towards women, Rajawat is bringing her precise management principles to the often chaotic world of grassroots politics. She also looks after a hotel that the family owns in Jaipur and the numerous horses that are part of her riding school.
Rajawat participated in a panel discussion at the two-day meet at the UN on March 24 and 25 on how civil society can implement its actions and spoke on the role of civil society in fighting poverty and promoting development.
It is necessary to re-think through various strategies of action that includes new technologies like e-services in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in an era where resources have become limited, she told the delegates of the international conference.
"If India continues to make progress at the same pace as it has for the past 65 years since independence, it just won't be good enough. We'll be failing people who dream about having water, electricity, toilets, schools and jobs. I am convinced we can do it differently and do it faster. In the past year alone, I and the villagers in Soda have brought about a radical change in the village purely through our own efforts. We have had no outside support – no NGO help, no public, nor private sector help," she said.
On achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Rajawat said she sought full support from outside agencies and the corporate world.
"I thank United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP) which had deputed its senior adviser in India Mr Babu Lal Jain to visit Soda and extend all support in the opening of the first bank in the village. That made all the difference."
"In three years I will transform my village. I don't want money. I want people and organisations to adopt projects in my village as often projects fail owing to lack of a local connect and that is what I am here to provide by bridging that gap. I want the conference to help bring about faster change so that this generation can enjoy that kind of life that I – and you in this audience – take for granted," she said to thunderous cheers from the delegates.
“I didn’t have to think about it much because Soda is where I belong and it needs me. In fact, the villagers broke all barriers of caste, gender and religion to ensure my victory. In Soda, not even one per cent of the voters are from my own caste. They [the villagers] wanted to prove that development is the most important factor for which they can overlook all politically created differences.” she says regarding her transition from corporate sector to social sector.
Her grandfather Brig. (retd) Raghubir Singh was unanimously elected sarpanch of Soda village. Rajawat says that her village has seen little development since his retirement 20 years ago. She is determined to improve the conditions for her villagers. Her priorities include, providing access to drinking water, electricity, and construction of proper roads in Soda.
“I am just a village girl who has had an opportunity to study in some of the best institutions in the country and has only gone back home to work with and for her people. It’s as simple as that.”
Being a sarpanch doesn’t pay her much so she continues to work at the family-run Hotel Kailrugji in Jaipur and the E-quest riding school she set up in Jaipur. Her message for the youth of India:
“Don’t run away from your roots because that is your foundation and the nation’s foundation too. If you want to make a difference, you have got to start at the bottom. There is so much one can do.”
Digital Transactions in India to Cross $1 Trillion a Year by 2025
Demonetisation and cashless drive has pushed the growth trajectory of digital payments in India significantly, and by 2025, digital transactions in the country could be worth USD 1 trillion annually, says a report.
According to a white paper by ACI Worldwide along with AGS Transact Technologies (AGSTTL), digital transactions in India could be worth USD 1 trillion annually by 2025, with four out of every five transactions being made digitally.
“The user base for digital transactions in India is currently close to 90 million, but could triple to 300 million by 2020 as new users from rural and semi-urban areas enter the market”.
“Flexible, scalable and reliable technology will be critical to the future of payments in India as the market continues to experience incredible growth,” said Manish Patel, Vice President, ACI Worldwide.
Meanwhile, with the rise in digital payments, cybersecurity costs for companies in India is also rising.
Mahesh Patel, Group Chief Technology Officer, AGS Transact Technologies said, “we understand that rapid rise in internet users nationwide is spurring an increase in digital transactions. However, the Indian market unlike many western nations is still to mature and remains threatened due to lower awareness levels”.
As per the report, Cyber attacks cost India an estimated USD 4 billion annually and could rise to USD 20 billion by 2025, with the digitisation of payments presenting new challenges for cybersecurity.
“It is necessary that the rise in digital transactions remain holistic thereby supporting growth with scalable processing platform. Also, it should be accompanied by allied precautionary measures such as cybersecurity and fraud prevention,” Patel said.
Mass adoption of e-payments and a thriving fintech scene, combined with regulatory policy, are set to propel India into a leading position in the global payments landscape, it said adding unified payments interface (UPI) transactions are a key driver of greater financial inclusion.
The white paper titled “Transactions 2025” noted that India’s smartphone user base is likely to double to 500 million by 2020 as affordable devices and data will spur safe, fraud-resistant digital transactions based on biometrics and multi-factor authorisation.
ACI Worldwide is a global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions, while AGS Transact Technologies (AGSTTL), is an end-to-end payment solutions company.
World Bank Report Praises the Impact of GST, Projects 7.5% Growth in 2019-20
The World Bank Report points to macroeconomic stability of the Indian economy.
World Bank’s publication ‘India Development Update‘ has noted credible signs of a further uptick in Indian economic growth.The rebound in industrial activity including manufacturing sector is critical for job creation in the years to come.
The report says that the Indian economy is set to revert to its trend growth rate of 7.5% as it bottoms out from the impact of GST and demonetisation. The World Bank Report points to macroeconomic stability of the Indian economy.
The report expects the Indian economy to clock a growth rate of 6.7% in the current fiscal.rise to 7.3% for the next financial year and accelerate further to 7.5% in 2019-20.
Besides pointing to enhanced macroeconomic stability.on sectoral growth, the report says that services will continue to be the main driver of economic growth.agricultural growth has become more stable with slow acceleration.and industrial growth has seen some acceleration.
World Bank report has lauded India’s recent record in controlling inflation.fiscal discipline despite revised budget estimates, declining debt to GDP ratio even after accounting for the recapitalisation of banks, stable balance of payment situation and higher macroeconomic stability as compared to recent years.
The report refers to the impact of reforms on the Indian economy from composition of deficit, energy subsidy reforms, GST, ease of doing business, FDI liberalisation, infrastructure generation, inflation targeting framework, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, to access to financial services and digital payments.leading to better governance, and delivery of services and benefits.
The report says that oil prices could impact the Indian economy.as India is increasingly integrated with the global economy.
The report appreciated the impact of GST on the formalisation of the economy and for making economic growth sustainable.
As one of the fastest growing emerging and open economies.global growth impacts the Indian economy.With global growth picking up.it is expected to infuse further momentum into the Indian growth story.
The World Bank Report is an endorsement of economic reforms undertaken by the Modi govt.and India’s growth is expected to have a salutary impact on the global growth scenario as well.
Piyush Goyal Meets 110 Professionals from 54 Firms for Station Redevelopment Program
The Union Minister of Railways and Coal Shri Piyush Goyal met with Architects and Planners to discuss issues related to Station Redevelopment Program. A total of 110 professionals from 54 firms participated in the meeting.
The Minister was categorical that in view of the financial condition of Indian Railways and the paying capacity of public, there is a need for finding solutions that meet the aspirations of travelling public at low cost.
“We shall work on providing innovative solutions tailored to uniquely Indian conditions. I am confident that we will eventually be in a position to share the expertise in other countries as well,” Goyal said at the meeting.
This consultation meeting held with Architects was aimed to understand the issues and difficulties in participating in development/redevelopment of railway stations. The discussions were held on a wide range of issues from the difficulties that the architects and planners are facing in participating in station redevelopment program; modifications required in various documents guiding the station design; general direction that station redevelopment program shall take.
Goyal assured the participants that as desired the empanelment will be made in more categories; the name of the Architect will be included in the plaque. The Minster also directed IRSDC to take up capacity building of Consultants as Station Development is as yet a new field.
Goyal also stated that young architects and planners shall also be involved in the station development program and they may be engaged in smaller/simpler stations.
It may be recalled that Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC), as the nodal agency, is taking up redevelopment of around 600 major Railway stations across the country. Towards this objective of stakeholders’ consultation, an idea competition for development of 635 stations of Indian Railways, ‘SRIJAN’ (Station Rejuvenation Initiative through Joint ActioN) has been launched at MyGov portal since 26.01.2018.
This mammoth exercise will kickstart the program worth Rs 1,00,000 crore investments and requires extensive involvement of engineers, planners, architects and other professionals besides the contractors and developers. To prepare the plans for stations, IRSDC has taken up multiple initiatives:
- International Design Competition for 3 Railway Stations, namely, Nagpur, Gwalior and Baiyappanhalli
- IRSDC has empanelled experienced consultants with multi-disciplinary teams
- IRSDC has also invited professionals to take initiatives and share their vision for railway stations for a token fee and in response, eleven architects have registered themselves for development of 74 railway stations.
- SRIJAN (Station Rejuvenation Initiative through Joint Action), an Ideas competition has been launched by IRSDC, where users and young minds are invited to put across their ideas for implementing “Low-Cost High Visibility” items at station areas. Around 450 entries have been received so far.
The last date for submission of entries in this competition is 26.03.2018. The winners will get certificates and worthy ideas will be incorporated into the designs.
IRSDC has also launched competition through Mygov portal for IRSDC logo and tagline. The winner for logo competition will get a cash prize of Rs 75,000/-and for tagline also will get Rs 75,000/-. The last date for submission of entries is 26.3.18.
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