TC-I Tidbits

Your daily dose of headlines:

Agriculture: The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) in conjunction with academic institutions will begin providing district-specific agro-weather advisories to assist farmers in better managing their crops.

Basic Rights: Amnesty International has called the administration of the death penalty in India as being caprcious and arbitrary. The report claims that no real guideline exists upon review of Supreme Court cases.

Government: The Bangalore state government has established a Truth and Accountability Commission to give businessmen the opportunity to root out corruption occuring in business deals.

Gay Capital of the Sub-Continent: Bangalore

While the government of India wrestles with its official stance on homosexuality, the gay-lesbian scene in Bangalore is flourishing. Just last week,

The Delhi high court directed the Union government to figure out its stance on homosexuality; the ministry of home affairs favours prosecution (homosexuality is punishable under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code), while the health ministry is against enforcing this law for issues related to health monitoring.

Meanwhile, Bangalore’s social scene, and in some cases, professional settings, are facing no such quandary. Clubs such as the Gay Running and Breakfast Club (GRAB) and Good As You (GAY) are emerging alongside the growing expatriate population. In fact, Time Out, a popular publication, is planning to get in on the scene as well:

In mid-July, the Indian franchise of London-based TimeOut magazine plans to launch in Bangalore and include a section with gay- and lesbian-specific content and listings, as it has done in Mumbai and New Delhi.

The majority of India, however, remains opposed to homosexuality.  Just today, in fact, our discussion with a group of Indian, Ahmedabadi youngsters regarding homosexuality erupted in a chorus of strong opposition.

What about you – do you live in an urban area? How is your city evolving?

Source:  OneWorld South Asia

International Summit of Women Entrepreneurs to be held in Bangalore

Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka (AWAKE), a Bangalore based non-profit focused on women entrepreneurship, is organizing a five-day international summit of women entrepreneurs, starting 28th May, 2008. Women delegates from across the country and around the world will be participating in the summit, which will also include a trade fair, showcasing products produced by women owned enterprises. There will also be seminars on various topics including international networking and business opportunities, opportunities in national, international tourism, travel, hospitality and service sectors and Social Entrepreneurship.

The event will be held at Bangalore, and the registration details are available here.

No worries if you cannot participate, the TC-I team will be live-blogging from the event!

Job: Senior Associate at Unitus Equity Fund

The job, located in Bangalore, will consist of being part of a team that makes “equity investments in entrepreneurially driven microfinance institutions and related businesses that aim to create opportunities for the poor and unserved. The successful candidate must have significant transaction experience gained in a venture capital or private equity fund or in a top-tier investment bank.” [Source: Nextbillion]

You can learn more at the posting’s site.

Evening Edition

  • India-Africa relations: India and Africa continue to take steps to improve cooperation over shared desires to have a seat on the UN Security Council.
  • Health Technology: The first artificial heart transplant in all of Asia was conducted in Bangalore.
  • Voting Technology: Bangalore’s state voting machines will now have the ability to vote using Braille for blind voters.
  • Quotas: The Supreme Court is slated to decide on a law that would establish a 27% OBC quota in central educational institutions. Reaching our limits on this subject, we have another story on quotas. In Maharashtra, a workers union is demanding an 80% quota for Marathi-speaking locals in the private sector.
  • Higher education: A previously planned joint endeavor between Japan and IIT-Bihar has fell through.

Various Trainings/Workshops – CSR, Participatory Learning, and Livelihoods Promotion

We thought you might find the following trainings/workshops of particular interest. If you happen to attend any of these events, please let us know how useful you found them to be:

1. Workshop on Understanding Corporate Social Responsibility, 24-25 April, Chennai

The programme will help participants to increase their awareness of the CSR and its various components. They will also learn how to design their programmes keeping in mind the interests of the company’s stakeholders, including employees and local communities, and enable them to make value added contributions towards building the company’s brand image and reputation.

The registration deadline for this workshop is April 15th.

2. Training Programme on the Techniques of Participatory Learning and Action (PLA), 26-31 May, Bangalore

Read more after the break. Continue reading

Reducing traffic congestion in Bangalore through Carpooling:

Everyone complains about the traffic in Bangalore these days. For that matter, its a chronic problem in every big Indian city. Most of us sit around and complain, and blame the city administration for inadequate planning, not enough roads, poor traffic regulation blah blah.

The folks at maxHeap technologies, co-founded by Lalit Mangal and Sumit Jain (both IIT Roorkee alums) decided to do something about it. So they created, a social networking platform for people living in the same apartment complex. (ThinkChange India wrote about a similar site called Indimoto here). I know what you are thinking, ‘oh no, not another social networking web start-up’, right. But, looks like might have a niche (through India PR Wire):, a product by Bangalore based maxHeap Technologies for modern apartment complexes, has enabled communities in Bangalore and enthusiastic residents to actually find and collaborate with neighbors having same route to work. “We were looking for a way to search and sync with people whom we can carpool with. Now its easy”, say Ankur, who uses to connect with neighbors for activities and seeking solutions to day to day problems.

If they could actually get carpooling to work, they should probably get subsidies from the city. It not only reduces the congestion, but also lower the emission levels in an already super-polluted city. Have you carpooled before? Share your experiences by dropping a comment.

Bangalore is HP’s laboratory for data center cooling

Because in Bangalore, just like in other big cities in India, with its poor infrastructure and intermittent power supply, you get data center up time of 24/7 by supplementing grid electricity with diesel burning generators – which is expensive – more so than grid electricity in PA. And so economically it makes more sense to refine/test it there. Additional benefits of course are emissions reduction etc.

You can read more in a BusinessWeek article here.

HealthCareMagic plans to be new portal for Indians

Startup Dunia writes that the website HealthcareMagic has been launched with the aim of becoming the primary portal for Indians’ healthcare needs. Utilizing the internet to make access more widely available, the website plans to offer the following features.

  • Chat live with a doctor for free using the portal (between 9 AM – 9 PM IST)
  • Rate, review doctors, hospitals. Share your experiences
  • Search and compare doctors and health care service providers in Bangalore
  • They also have health / hospitalization calculators to aid you in making healthcare related decisions

Currently in beta and only servicing Bangalore, the company hopes to expand to other areas of the country soon.

CFLs to replace incandescent bulbs in pilot project

From the Hindu:

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) is in the process of launching an ambitious energy conservation project for the replacement of incandescent bulbs in households with highly energy-efficient Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs).

The pilot project, which will be taken up in Bangalore Rural district, envisages the replacement of a maximum of four incandescent bulbs in each house, adding up to five lakh bulbs. The project is expected to begin in a month.

Continue reading