Who let the Dogs out?

The folks at LiveMint have a radical idea to address the stray dog problem in the Indian cities – Privatize them! [Via India Uncut]

The fundamental problem is that stray dogs are “public property”, which creates what economists call “negative externality”. Those who feed and pamper the dogs while benefiting from wagging tails and warm cuddles are not held responsible for the nuisance dogs inflict on other citizens.

What is the way ahead? Privatize stray dogs. The municipalities of India’s metropolises should put stray dogs on sale. Animal rights activists and dog lovers are free to buy and own the canines as pets. They shall be held legally liable for damages their pets inflict on others

Very intriguing and compelling argument. I’m just worried about enforceability of such an idea. But, I’m sure its worth a try.

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Making condoms cooler through cellphones

It’s definitely an out of box and innovative idea, and could be just what is needed to make the word ‘condom’ more socially acceptable in India. The BBC World Service Trust has launched a condom ringtone for cellphones, a 45 second short which repeats the word condom over and over again [via BBC World Service Trust]

The latest phase of our campaign to normalise condom use in India the BBC World Service Trust has just launched a mobile phone ringtone campaign to promote the use of condoms.

The ringtone campaign is part of a wider mass media campaign by BBC World Service Trust to prevent transmission of HIV in India and highlight safe sex practices. The project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

While TV, Radio and Print are used widely for socially-relevant messaging, this is probably the first time the cellphone ringtones are being used as a medium for creating awareness on a social issue. This is clearly a smart move, given that as of June 2008, a stunning 25% of India’s population had access to a cellphone.

Check out the video below. You can also download the ringtone here.

Dont miss this Groundbreaking TV Show

Last week, we wrote about Rohini Nilekani’s excellent op-ed in The Hindu, on the changing face of philanthropy in India. She is in the news again, Rohini will be hosting a new show on NDTV 24/7 called Uncommon Ground. The show will bring leaders of corporate India and the not-for-profit sector together to discuss challenges that India face today.

The show kicks off this Sunday, July 27, 2008 at 9:30, with Mr. Mukesh Ambani & Dr. R.K. Pachauri featured in the inaugural episode. Here is more on the show from the press brief from NDTV 24/7

Uncommon Ground’ is unique because there has never been a dialogue like this before on Indian television. Marked by lively discussions and intense rguments, each episode of Uncommon Ground will have a well known corporate head facing an equally well known social activist or developmental scientist. It aims to open up lines of communication that would spur the growth of modern India in a manner that is both rewarding and inclusive

India Celebrates World Environment Day

June 5 marks World Environment Day, and India is also celebrating in innovative ways. Here are several stories of how people and organizations are marking this day:

The show will present the journey of short listed candidates who will perform various time bound tasks and the winner, chosen through public voting under the guidance of a panel of eminent judges, will be declared as India’s Environmentalist during a 24-hour telethon, which will be a part of NDTV’s nationwide environment campaign later this year. The entries for the reality show will be open between June 5 and July 5, 2008.

The website http://www.green.ndtv.com, will enable visitors to write and read articles, view environment specific messages from eminent personalities and download environment collateral, screensavers and wallpapers. The website will also have a dedicated section on India’s Environmentalist, where people will be able to file their entries for the reality show.

  • Biker and creator of TreeCycle Project Shrenik Rao is partnering with UNEP to bicycle around India, from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. He will “interact and discuss issues relating to the environment and global warming with individuals from all walks of life” along the way. Individuals wishing to support this journey can pledge to plant trees as part of UNEP’s Plant A Billion Trees campaign.
  • SOS Children’s Villages partnered with Coca-Cola India to hold painting competitions around environmental topics in 31 villages across the country with hundreds of children.
  • YES BANK, a new age private sector bank, today announced the launch of YES COMMUNITY, an innovative Responsible Banking initiative to be executed through micro-events being organised at the Bank’s retail branch network nationally. In the first year of its inception, YES COMMUNITY has adopted the theme of ‘Planet Earth’ for the Financial Year 2009. [Source: Moneycontrol.com]

A Magical Fable About Global Warming

A documentary fable by Mumbai filmmaker Nitin Das was handpicked to be a part of the UN Environment Programme’s “Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign.” Over two billion trees have been planted around the world under the campaign, and all sectors are encouraged to engage in voluntary action to address the issue of climate change. The film will be a part of the campaign’s advocacy:

Meanwhile the film by Das, portrays the journey undertaken by a small boy in a tiny Himalayan village who is entrusted by his chieftain to seek solution to the problems of sudden food shortage and climate change in his once prosperous and happy village.

The boy trudges up mountains and journeys to an old sage at the top of the mountain who hands over a fistful of seeds to him with the counsel that planting them will restore the lost peace and happiness of his village.

See what the monk says to the little boy about the solution to global warming by watching the video below.

TC-I Tidbits

Here is the daily dose of headlines:

  • Water supply: In Chennai, city officials have made it mandatory that buildings connected to the main water supply install meters to measure consumption.
  • Government transparency: The Central Information Commission (CIC) will now require political parties to make their income tax returns available to the public. Sending the exact opposite message, the Lok Sabha may put forth measures to make it more difficult for the common citizen to access records relating to parliamentary proceedings. Moreover, the Chief Justice stated that the Supreme Court’s proceedings fall outside the ambit of the recently passed Right to Information act.
  • Education: The creamy layer of OBC quotas will likely reflect preexisting norms used for central government employment. Along these lines, children, organized by NGOs, knocked on parliament’s door to deliver a petition addressed to the PM reminding him about the right to education for all.

Jagriti Yatra

The online registration for Jagriti Yatra, an annual train journey to awaken the entrpreneurial spirt of youth ages 18-25, is now available. The program takes about 400 selected Indian youth around the country on a sixteen day trip to introduce them to entrepreneurs and ideas. The program will take place from December 24, 2008 to January 8, 2009.

The aim is to awaken the spirit of entrepreneurship – both social and economic within India’s youth by exposing them to individuals and institutions that are developing unique solutions to India’s challenges. Through this national event we will inspire them to lead and develop institutions nationally and within their communities.

Youth are increasingly celebrity conscious, while those Indians who have made lasting social and economic impact are often not visible as role models. The Jagriti Yatra aims to showcase inspiring success stories by taking young Indians to meet these “real heroes”. These role models, located around the country particularly in rural and semi urban India will demonstrate how social and economic enterprise has succeeded. We propose to engage the national media to act as a multiplier of this message by projecting it to the millions of Indians who will watch this journey unfold across the country, and become an annual event. With this we seek to awaken the aspiration of ‘being the change’ in the youth of India.