[Internship Opportunity]: Indicorps, January 2009

Wondering what you should do this upcoming January 2009? Consider Indicorps’ 4-6 month internships, starting January 2009:

Start the new year with a meaningful commitment to yourself and the world in which you live. Apply NOW for a 4-6 month structured internship with Indicorps starting 10 January 2009.

Internships will focus on strengthening Indicorps core organizational capacity:

  • Create public service announcements for radio and television.
  • Develop & execute strategies to leverage podcasts & social networks for recruiting & promotional campaigns.
  • Build an overarching structure for a global Indicorps alumni association.
  • Facilitate service leadership workshops and much more!

The January 2009 Internships are an amazing opportunity to work in a collaborative team setting, contribute to substantive Indicorps projects, understand Indicorps’ core development philosophy, and build leadership skills by achieving ambitious goals in a short time frame. You also get to partake in a 1-week Orientation Program, Thursday Speaker Series, weekly reflection sessions, the March 2009 Fellows’ Workshop, and much more.

All internships will be based at the Indicorps office in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Unlike the Indicorps fellowship program, January 09 Internships are NOT limited to people of Indian origin. All internships begin on 10 January 2009 with a mandatory one-week orientation program. Only 8-10 positions are available. Application deadline is 15 November or until positions are filled.

For additional questions, please email us at intern@indicorps.org.

To apply, please go to their website.

To hell with the markets

It sounds like a mandatory social responsibility order on profit making public sector enterprises (PSEs) in Gujarat. Below is the brief from Times of India:

In a controversial order, the Gujarat government has asked all profit-making public sector enterprises (PSEs) in the state to contribute up to 30% of their annual profit before tax to Gujarat Socio-Economic Development Society (GSEDS), set up to support weaker sections of society.

What adds a twist to the story is that many of the companies are listed in the country’s leading stock exchanges. How would the investors react? Well, the PSEs have lost hundreds of millions in market valuation:

‘‘It’s a retrograde step from the capital market point of view. A better way to implement CSR is to ask PSEs to increase the dividend payouts so that the Gujarat government receives higher sum to donate to any society of its choice,’’ said V K Sharma, the head of Anagram Securities.

To hell with the markets? Maybe not. It’s a little bit of an irony that Gujarat is arguably one of the most market-friendly states in the country with strong captialist idealogies. In fact, Mr. Modi recently won the state elections running on a platform of economic growth and prosperity!

World’s Largest Solar Project Proposed in Gujarat

Solar power may go on the wide-scale in the western state of Gujarat as the Clinton Foundation is currently considering an “Integrated Solar City” in the Kutch or Banaskantha region.  If followed through, the investment would create the world’s largest solar project and will involve a number of players in the private sector.

The project, tagged as one of the largest foreign direct investment (FDI) into the state, will also be a landmark project as the cost of power generation is likely to be 70 per cent less — around Rs 20,000 crore — than the conventional cost of generation, say sources close to the development.

The project envisages an integrated solar city wherein all the raw materials including glass and panels will be produced by them, bringing down the cost substantially, said a senior government official.

Source: Business Standard

The Makings of the “Indian Dream”

The Business Standard features an intriguing anecdotal story about salt pan workers in Gujarat who now run their own company within the industry. Twenty-seven salt pan workers joined hands and efforts to form their own private company, called Sabras.

These workers hold 65 per cent stake in equity and are planning to raise it to 74 per cent. Of the three directors on board of Sabras, two are salt pan workers. The remaining 35 per cent in Sabras is held by Saline Area Vitalization Enterprise (SAVE), a public limited firm.

Besides, there are similar attempts on the anvil for onion and mango growers. Inspired by Sabras project, SAVE now aims to form another company called Veg-India where primary producers will have majority stake of 74 per cent. The producers of Sosiya village in Gujarat are in the process of joining hands in Veg-India for selling sweet kesar mangoes.

A board member of the company, Rajesh Shah (who is also a founder of the NGO Vikas), believes that this is the first time in India that people below the poverty line are one of the major stakeholders. At the same time, he notes that voluntary and nongovernmental organizations need to take notice of promising employment and wealth generation opportunities, and restructure themselves to meet these needs.

To me, the story highlights the fact that entrepreneurial spirit lies within all of India’s classes – a sort of parallel to the touted “American Dream.” If the right mechanisms and opportunities were made available to even manual laborers – such as salt pan workers – then perhaps stories like this would become even more common. And an added benefit is that these “rags to riches” stories signal the creation of a new class of people who have worked at all levels of a production chain.

TC-I Tidbits

  • In 65 days, 70% of Gujarat’s villages will be linked with Broadband connectivity, promised Chief Minister Narendra Modi[via iGovernment]. Lets see if he comes through. He cant fool us here at TC-I, our correspondent Prerna is in Ahmedabad as we speak. Staying with promises, the Chhattisgarh government proposed to electrify 79 villages using Solar Energy identified under that Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) project
  • Just learned that Ashoka is running a Geotourism challenge in partnership with National Geographic. The deadlines for submission are already up (sorry we missed it). But you can vote on some cool ideas, including this one by Dhan Foundation, focused on rural tourism.

Op-Ed: Migration and its Discontents

There is no doubt that the issues of migration and urbanization within India are wrought with controversy.  In the case of rural-urban migration, which is overwhelmingly the case, the impact on the social, economic, and psychological structure of villages and cities, both on a macro and micro level, is significant. 

In my experience within the Adivasi, rural communities of Gujarat, migration holds a sense of urgent promise, of a future with exponential financial dividends for the family.  Local community members themselves believe that village life is inferior to that of urban India, and that migration / urbanization leads to social and economic development, both on an individual and community level.  Therefore, instead of looking inwards by initiating local-resource driven campaigns for the development of their respective villages, local inhabitants tend to look outward, towards the city.  Rural communities, therefore, come to signify stagnation, whereas the city comes to represent progress, opportunity, and most importantly, money.  Artisanship, agricultural expertise, and other local-level skills atrophy as community members come to regard these skills as unvaluable, or in many cases, unmarketable, in comparison to more the more “lucrative” skills necessary for “urban jobs.”  This mentality, I believe, is a self-destructive one, as it leads to the devaluation and decomposition of potentially rich local resources within the rural landscape.

More after the jump… Continue reading