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Archive

After years of battling polio which crippled, paralysed and killed hundreds of thousands in India, the country has reached the point where it is on the verge of being declared polio-free. Last year, the World Health Organization made the momentous announcement that polio was no longer endemic in India. If no new cases arise by 2014, India would be declared polio-free in what would perhaps be the "the greatest public-health feat" that the country has ever achieved.

What seems to have worked in the case of polio-eradication amidst a sea of poor governance is a combination of strong political will, international coordination and an effective public-private partnership. An unforgettable image from this drive is the polio drop campaign that was initiated by Rotary International and undertaken effectively by the government machinery in every nook and cranny of the country.

Something similar needs to be done in education, where every child gets access to good, basic education. This is what would eventually lead to employment and self-employment generation as India urbanizes, the middle class expands and there is demand for a range of goods and services. There's need not just for good quality education at higher levels but primarily, universalization of education to honour the Constitutional right of every child in this country. Our cover story this month is on this subject by the distinguished Prof. P.V. Indiresan, former Director of IIT-Madras and a Padma Bhushan recipient who sadly passed away just a fortnight after his essay appeared in The Hindu Business Line.

In this edition we also reflect on the disappearance of bookshops as they become economically unviable in the world of e-commerce and galloping cost of real estate. Good bookshops enrich a neighbourhood and a city culturally and intellectually. Can we afford to see them vanish one by one, rather than see them flower and flourish for the benefit of all?

The story of Hiware Bazar featured in this edition is inspiring because of the difference that one man's vision, coupled with collective action, can make to society. As in the case with Anna Hazare's Ralegan Siddhi, Popatrao Pawar's Hiware Bazar has emerged as one of India's model villages. This is the inspiring story of how a chronically poor and drought-prone village can be transformed dramatically to create as many as 60 millionaires where none existed.

Our continuing series on Mega Trends takes a closer look at intelligent technologies and the future of work. Veteran science journalist, Dr.Y.Bala Murali Krishna, explains how our lives are being increasingly driven by smart machines and what to expect in the future.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that life gets its value through the right approach and attitude. Our Inner Space section this month features an essay by Dr. Anil K. Rajvanshi who explains how man can rise above pettiness by pursuing a higher goal and purpose in life.

Do not miss this month's book section which features India Grows at Night: A Liberal Case for a Strong State by the eminent writer and former CEO, Gurcharan Das. It’s high time that the country takes urgent steps to improve governance across ministries and departments, failing which, the good work done by India "at night" would be lost, says the author.

As always, your comments, suggestions and contributions are most welcome. Do read and write to us at Change for Better!

 

About Us: Change for Better is a journal promoting constructive thought and action. It is published by Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Limited (MKCL). Now in its 12th year, MKCL is the largest provider of basic computer education in India with a chain of over 5,000 franchises.

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