International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. 2017


On June 26, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) marks the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The day serves as a reminder of the need to combat the problems illicit drugs pose to society. The day is supported by individuals, communities and various organizations all over the world. The theme for 2017 is Listen First – Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe. The campaign targets parents, teachers, policy makers, health workers and prevention workers and highlights how to recognize – and prevent – risky behaviours and drug use.  It is an initiative to increase support for prevention of drug use.
Drug and alcohol abuse is the example of drinking and using drugs (prescription and illicit) that cause harmful effects to a person’s health, livelihood and relationships. Single dosage of either alcohol or drugs doesn’t automatically deem the person an addict. However, continuous usage and drug abuse can lead to chemical dependency and addiction.  Drug abuse has been known to destroy homes, deteriorate relationships, causing fatal accidents, domestic violence and physical abuse. Drug trafficking is a global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Illicit drugs weaken economic and social development and contribute to crime, instability, insecurity and the spread of HIV. Illicit drug trafficking takes place in most countries of the world.
In India, the numbers of drug addicts are increasing day by day. According to a UN report, one million heroin addicts are registered in India. Cannabis, heroin, and Indian-produced pharmaceutical drugs are the most frequently abused drugs in India. Pressure of studies, personal and family problems leads to drug abuse among youngsters who fail to cope up with the ever-growing family and personal problems. The friend’s circle in which a young individual stays also influences his/her activities. Even for simple petty issues,  which can be solved otherwise will result in drug abuse because one is so used to it that without consumption of the same, one just cannot think of anything. These short term effects may hinder the user to perceive the long term consequences.
India compromises more than 20 per cent population in adolescent age group. Of various substance abuse, alcohol is most dangerous and quite fashionable among middle and late adolescent age group. Use of alcohol is associated with major morbidity and mortality. This burden is shared by family and society.The family is often viewed as the basic source of strength and support for its individual members. Rapid social, economic and technological change may, under certain circumstances, weaken the sense of family and reduce the sense of belonging to other people, groups and places.
Stability of relationships, environment and expectations are a powerful force in helping people manage their lives, especially important for children and young adults. The present economic and technological changes present a challenge to the stability and influence of the family. Families can have a powerful influence on shaping the attitudes, values and behaviour of children. Drug misuse gives unpredictable sensations, which has different social, economic, and psychological perspectives. The deterioration of the old joint family framework, perceived absence of parental love and care in current families, decay of old religious and cultural values and so forth prompt an increase in the quantity of drug addicts who take drugs to escape the hardships of their life.
Drugs are placed under national and international control to prevent the negative health and social consequences of substance abuse. Today there is more awareness of the problems of illicit drugs and drug trafficking than ever before. A National Master Plan for substance abuse was evolved in 1994 which focuses on the establishment of treatment and rehabilitation centres, training of primary care and other personnel in substance abuse. This plan also ensured collaboration with non-Governmental organisations to carry out education and awareness building programmes. In accordance with its mandate for coordinating the alcohol and drug demand reduction strategy of the Government of India, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, has been implementing a wide range of community-based programmes, through the voluntary sector, for the prevention of alcoholism and drug abuse and the treatment and rehabilitation of the addict.
The treatment services for substance use disorder in India are delivered by Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), private sector and the Government.  There are around 430 drug dependence treatment centres throughout the country, which are being run by NGOs, supported by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India (MSJE). The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOH&FW), Government of India, has also established about 122 drug dependence treatment centres (DACs) in the country. Most of these Government centres are associated with either general hospitals at the district levels or with departments of psychiatry at certain medical colleges. For treatment and rehabilitation, there are 22 de-addiction centres, two Counselling Centres and two de-addiction and counselling centres in Odisha. Several NGOs are also working towards de-addiction.
Drug rehabilitation programmes attempt to teach the patient new methods of interacting in a drug-free environment. The advantage of any treatment offered at drug rehab centres is the complete focus on ensuring that the patient recovers from the addiction. Providing round –the- clock intensive care to the patients, these treatments are ideal for those people who suffer from chances of a relapse. Without treatment and rehabilitation the matter will further put enormous pressure on the individual family and community.  It is vital to provide treatments and develop design guidelines for rehabilitation of the drug addicted people.
In Bhubaneswar, number of childrens are involved in rag picking, shoe shining, working as coolies, working in shops and restaurants, road side vending, cleaning and washing utensils in hotels  for their survival. These children work for long hours in these occupations. When there are no means for living, they sometimes engage in petty theft, drug trafficking or criminal activities. Most of the children start using substance to satisfy their curiosity or to have fun without knowing its future consequences. They mostly use dendrite, tobacco and alcohol.
The drug abuse has become a social problem and it has a negative impact on the society. The most successful approaches in drug use prevention involve the critical role of families, schools, and communities to build on protective factors to ensure safe and healthy childhood and adolescent years. Families, schools and civil societies can do their part to rid their communities of drugs. The media can also raise awareness about the dangers of drugs. This will support communities free of drug-related crime and violence.

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2017


The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed on June 17 to promote public awareness relating to international cooperation to combat desertification and the effects of drought. This year the day emphasizes the important link between land degradation and migration. Among others, environmental degradation, food insecurity and poverty are causes of migration and development challenges.
Land degradation impacts agricultural productivity, bio-diversity, groundwater and overall water availability. All these lead to a decline in the quality of life, eventually affecting the socio-economic status of the region. Land degradation has far-reaching consequences that affect lives and livelihoods of the population, often resulting in forced migration and socio-economic conflicts. The eradication of rural poverty is closely linked to the fight against desertification. The majority of the world’s poorest people live in rural areas of developing countries, where they depend on agriculture and related activities for their survival.  Without access to sustainable land use practices and institutional services, most poor farmers are obliged to cultivate degraded land that is unable to meet their needs.  This constant pressure on the land causes a decline in food production that further aggravates poverty and migration.
Odisha is already witnessing droughts, forced migration and food insecurity among the poor sections. Though 38 per cent of the State’s geographical area is forest, much of these forests are degraded. Some of the chronically drought prone areas in Odisha are Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput districts which occurs due to erratic rainfall in the area. The extreme difference in the maximum and minimum temperature, scarcity of rainfall, huge loss of green cover and vegetation are the main reasons behind drought. Many parts Kalahandi,
Bolangir and Koraput districts have developed symptoms of drought and degraded from drought prone to desert prone areas. In Odisha, agriculture sector contributes about 50 per cent of the State domestic product and provides employment to about 75 per cent of the total working force.  The basic problems in these areas include water scarcity which results in low productivity. Poor and unsustainable land management techniques also worsen the situation. Desertification often causes rural lands to become unable to support the same sized populations that previously lived there. This results in mass migrations from rural to urban areas.
Though India does not have a specific policy or legislative framework for combating desertification, land degradation and desertification gets reflected in many of the national acts and policies which have enabling provisions for addressing these problems. These Acts are Indian Forest Act, 1927, Environment (Protection) Act- 1986, National Forest Policy- 1988, National Agricultural Policy- 2000, National Environmental Policy- 2006, National Policy for Farmers- 2007, National Green Tribunal Act- 2010 etc. The National Action Programme to Combat Desertification (NAP-CD) formulated and submitted to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification(UNCCD) in 2001, identifies the need to address and incorporate natural resource conservation and management, socio-economic issues, strengthening the process of decentralisation of governance and formulation of more community driven projects and programmes,  public participation, strengthening the interface and co-ordination between various stakeholders, and awareness raising for sustainable development.
The Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) is being implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development. It is a comprehensive programme that brings together three different long existing watershed programmes viz. Drought Prone Areas Programme -DPAP (started 1973-74), Desert Development Programme – DDP (started 1977-78) and Integrated Wasteland Development Programme – IWDP (started 1989-90) to be implemented under Common Guidelines on Watershed Development, 2008. The main objectives of the IWMP are to restore the ecological balance by harnessing, conserving and developing degraded natural resources such as soil, vegetative cover and water. The IWMP is a comprehensive programme implemented to develop widespread degraded land across the country by common guidelines. These guidelines broadly indicate a fresh framework for the next generation watershed programmes. States are empowered to sanction and oversee the implementation of watershed projects within their areas of jurisdiction and within the parameters set out in these guidelines.
The National Afforestation Programme (NAP) is implemented by National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board (NAEB), the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. The NAP aims to support and accelerate the ongoing process of devolving forest protection, management and development functions to decentralized institutions of Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMC) at the village level, and Forest Development Agency (FDA) at the forest division level. The National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas (NWDPRA) introduced by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1990-91 is based on the twin concepts of integrated watershed management and sustainable farming systems. This project is aimed at restoring ecological balance in degraded and fragile rainfed eco-systems and promoting diversified farming systems to enhance the income levels of farmers and village communities on a sustainable basis. Rainfed areas constitute about 85 mha, i.e. 60 per cent of the total 142 mha net cultivated area in India. Rainfed agriculture is characterized by low levels of productivity and low input usage.
Therefore, the National Agriculture Policy seeks to promote an integrated and holistic development of rainfed areas through conservation of rain water and augmentation of biomass production.Hence, highest priority is given to the holistic and sustainable development of rainfed areas through a watershed development approach.To give a special thrust to these areas the National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA) was set up in 2006.
The Integrated Watershed Management Programme may be implemented in drought prone areas to tackle the special problems faced by severe drought conditions. There is need for a better understanding of the scientific basis of droughts: their definition, monitoring, impacts, prediction and to bring this knowledge to sectoral experts involved in various aspects of drought management. Understanding the historical frequency, duration, and spatial extent of drought assists planners in determining the likelihood and potential severity of future droughts.

The characteristics of past droughts provide benchmarks for projecting similar conditions into the future. At the same time, successful experiences in adopting a comprehensive and active approach across various sectors in dealing with droughts should be widely shared, and the capacity to apply such approaches built and developed where needed.

World Day Against Child Labour 2017


The World Day against Child Labour was held on June 12. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) data, hundreds of millions of girls and boys throughout the world are involved in work that deprives them of receiving adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms, violating this way their rights. Of these children, more than half are exposed to the worst forms of child labour.

Globally over 1.5 billion people live in countries that are affected by conflict, violence and fragility. The 2017 World Day against Child Labour focussed on the impact of conflicts and disasters on child labour. According to Census of India, 2011, there were 12.26 million working children in the age group of 5-14 years as compared to 11.3 million in 1991 revealing an increasing trend in absolute numbers though the work participation rates of children in 5 to 14 years age group has come down from 5.4 per cent during 2001 to 5 percent during 2011. The Work Participation Rate (WPR) for different age groups among children, the trend is different. The WPR for children in 5 to 9 age group has marginally increased from less than 1 per cent during 2001 to 1.4 per cent during 2011. In the case of 10-14 years age group children, the decline is only marginal from 10.4 per cent during 2001 to 8.7 per cent during 2011. This indicates that a substantial number of children in the 10 to 14 age group are in the labour force despite the decline in the proportion of children in the total population.
Millions of families are being forced to leave their homes and villages for several months every year in search of livelihoods.The children in such circumstances do not get opportunity for education and health care services. Children work in three sectors of the economy, such as the agrarian sector, industrial sector and service sector. Migration is one of the major contributory factors to child labour in urban areas. Child labour violates international law and UN Conventions, including the ILO child labour conventions and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Over the past two decades, India has put in place a range of laws and programmes to address the problem of child labour. The Unicef and its India partners are working together to ensure that children are protected from work and exploitation which is harmful to their development. They are working to ensure that children remain in economically stable family homes and get the opportunity to go to school. To act in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Indian Government has enacted Commission for Protection of Child Right Act, 2005, which was again amended in 2007.This Act empowers the Government to constitute the National Commission for Protection of Child Right (NCPCR), thus in March 2007, the NCPCR was set up to protect, promote and defend child rights in the country.
States are also advised to constitute State Commission for Protection of Child Right in their respective sphere.The Government of Odisha enacted the State Commissions for Protection of Child Right Rule, 2009, which has facilitated formation of the State Commission for Protection of Child Right, which would meet at least once in four month to address the child right issue. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act was enacted in 1986.As per the law, any person who employs any child in contravention of the provision of section 3 of the Act is liable for a term which shall not be less than three months but which may extend to two years’ or with fine which shall not be less than Rs 20,000 but which may extend to Rs 50,000 or with both. In order to stop child labour, the Government of Odisha has passed some rules. One of the important rules is the Odisha Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Rules, 1994. India formulated a National Policy on Child Labour in 1987. This policy seeks to adopt a gradual and sequential approach with focus on rehabilitation of children working in hazardous occupations. It envisioned strict enforcement of Indian laws on child labour combined with development programmes to address the root causes of child labour such as poverty.
Many NGOs have been working to eradicate child labour in India. Child labour has also been a subject of public interest litigations in Indian courts. Despite these efforts, child labour remains a major challenge for India. There are many solutions to stop child labour. Income of the families should be increased and education for all children irrespective of their economic and social background should be ensured, that helps children to learn skills and earn a livelihood.  According to the Economic Survey 2013-2014 conducted by the Planning and Coordination Department, 34,409 child labourers (between 5 and 14) were admitted to 812 special schools under National Child Labour Projects (NCLP). Similarly, the Odisha Economic Survey 2014-2015 conducted by the Planning and Coordination Department reveals that 32,715 child labourers were admitted to 700 special schools under the NCLP.
All children should get benefit from free and appropriate education, which would enable them to gain productive employment later in life. Children’s rights cannot be fulfilled and protected unless the Governments and international organisations look behind the broad averages of development statistics and address the urban poverty and inequality that characterize the lives of so many children.

World Environment Day 2017


The World Environment Day is the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Over the years, it has grown to be a broad, global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated by stakeholders in more than 100 countries.
It also serves as the ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment, galvanising individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.
‘Connecting People to Nature’, the theme for World Environment Day 2017, implores us to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the earth that we share.
Billions of rural people around the world spend every day connected to nature and appreciate their dependence on nature. They are among the first to suffer when ecosystems are threatened, whether by pollution, climate change or over-exploitation. Besides, for many people, getting back in touch with nature provides a different experience to enjoy natural features like mountains, valleys, forests, deserts, water bodies, landscapes, flora and fauna. However, over one billion people live in the world’s biodiversity hotspots, areas high in concentration of unique species that are under serious threat from human activity.
Human population generates more waste and pollution than any other living organism on the earth. More demands for day-to-day basic needs deplete natural resources. Demands for natural resources, effects of globalised trade patterns on rural communities, and unequal spread of technological advancements are putting in danger the future of biodiversity and humankind.
Biodiversity is the foundation of life on earth. It is crucial for the functioning of ecosystems which provide us with products and services without which we cannot live. Oxygen, food, fresh water, fertile soil, medicines, shelter, protection from storms and floods, stable climate and recreation – all have their source in nature and healthy ecosystems. Unsustainable exploitation of biodiversity resources, particularly by developed countries, has serious adverse impacts, both local and global.
Coastal cities which damage their ecosystem can render themselves particularly vulnerable.  Odisha is quite rich in natural resources and has several bio-diversity hot spot areas. It has varied and wide spread forests harboring dry deciduous, moist deciduous forests as well as mangroves with several unique, endemic, rare and endangered floral and faunal species. To maintain the eco-balance and protect the flora and fauna, national parks are earmarked at Similipal and Bhitarakanika. Besides, the State has a number of wildlife sanctuaries.
Mangroves in the densely populated east coast of India have been degraded for decades and are still continuing to be degraded due to loss of biomass, overgrazing, fuel wood extraction and conversions.
This has posed many environmental hazards, especially in the coastal belt. Ultimately it has affected the socio-economic status of populace of Odisha in general and that of coastal terrain in particular.
Approximately 70 to 80 per cent of the State’s population depends on natural resources to survive. This makes Odisha further vulnerable to climate change impacts. Food security is both directly and indirectly inked with climate change.
In many cases, urbanisation is characterized by urban sprawl and haphazard development of periphery of the town which is not only socially divisive but increases energy demand, carbon emissions and puts pressure on ecosystems. Bhubaneswar was a city with pleasant climatic condition throughout the year. Since last decade, this city is experiencing high population growth, urbanisation and distinct weather condition. Earlier, it had a sound coverage of greenery, but now it has decreased substantially, leading to uncomfortable conditions. Small water bodies and wetlands are increasingly being filled up by multistoried buildings.
The effects of climate change have been observed since last few years in Bhubaneswar. Bhubaneswar is currently witnessing several modern buildings and high-rise apartments to accommodate its growing population. The development activities in the city have led to large-scale deforestation, an increasing volume of traffic, pollution and temperature rise. The city’s expansion and lots of concrete structures are also the reason for microclimatic change over the years.  Besides, the  biodiversity rich locations such as green areas and water bodies  are being converted to residential and commercial land use without giving due regard to open space and green corridors.
The Chandaka-Dampada Wildlife Sanctuary was created in 1982 to provide shelter to a population of elephants that was an extension of the Satkosia-Athgarh-Kapilas population. The sanctuary is home to leopards and other wildlife. The sanctuary was once connected to the forests of Athgarh and Kapilas through a narrow corridor on its northern side.
This allowed elephants to cross the Mahanadi river to reach these forests and return the same way. By the passing of time,  the corridor across the Mahanadi had been blocked. Chandaka is now an island within an urban sprawl. The haphazard growth of the real estate industry in Bhubaneswar is the biggest threat to Chandaka and Bharatpur forest.
The entire Bhubaneswar Development Plan Area (BDPA) is gifted with tremendous natural resources in the form of rivers as well as areas with dense vegetation/forest such as Bharatpur forest area and Nandankanan Wildlife Sanctuary. In the CDP, the entire river belt zone has been proposed for recreational land use with green buffers running all along the river embankment, thereby forming a continuous green corridor. Scattered green space within the compactly built up area may act as a continuous patch of green, widening at the edge of the city into the green belt and then into a rural landscape, establishing a coherent relationship between urban and rural areas.
The current decline in biodiversity represents a serious threat to human development. Biological resources constitute a capital asset with great potential for yielding sustainable benefits. Protected areas that are created to preserve biodiversity are in critical condition due to excessive anthropogenic pressure. Urgent and decisive action is needed to conserve and maintain genes, species and ecosystems for sustainable management and use of biological resources.
Many decisions made by city inhabitants directly affect biodiversity in the city and beyond.  Biodiversity issues must be included in cities’ formal work programmes and action plans. Greenways may be designed as a planning strategy for multi purposes including ecological, recreational, cultural or other purposes compatible with the concept of sustainable land use.

Bhubaneswar Foundation Day 2017


The foundation day of Bhubaneswar is celebrated on April 13. It was on this day in 1948 that India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had laid the foundation-stone for the new city. Bhubaneswar’s transformation from an ancient temple town to a modern city was executed by German architect and planner Dr Otto H Koenigsberger. In the winning city proposal for Smart City, Bhubaneswar got the top place in the central list of first 20 cities.
For the past three decades, Bhubaneswar city has been experiencing high population growth and climate change. The city has now undergone various transformations and constant changes of the land use pattern.
In Bhubaneswar, the fast growing population is creating sprawl effect in the adjacent agricultural and other vacant open spaces. The built up areas in the entire city has increased noticeably and the open land has decreased considerably.
Now-a-days rapid urban sprawl and urban development activities in Bhubaneswar created environmental complications. The Chandaka forest area has been disastrously deforested. Prevailing micro climate deteriorated. Bhubaneswar has become one of the hottest Indian cities in recent times. Extremely high increase in average monthly mean maximum temperature, increase in the number of hot days and rising temperature difference between Bhubaneswar and the nearby cities provide an impression of gradual emergence of the city as an urban heat island. Climate change is expected to lead warmer temperatures, particularly in urban environment due to heat island effect (summer day-time temperatures can reach up to 6°C hotter in Bhubaneswar city than in surrounding rural areas and between 3-4°C warmer at night), resulting in greater variability in local conditions which are likely to increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of such extreme events in unpredictable ways. Heat waves can affect communities by increasing summer-time peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Increased daytime temperatures, reduced night time cooling and higher air pollution levels associated with urban heat islands can affect human health.
Built up environment has increased the rainfall run off, leading to water inundation problems in many parts of the city.  A number of temples in old town area of Bhubanewar such as Megheswar Temple, Vaital Temple etc. are under serious threat of water logging problems.
Besides, a number of wards also have water logging problems. The areas such as Acharya Bihar, Jayadev Bihar, Chandrasekharpur, Salia Sahi (slum), GGP Colony, Dumuduma, Satya Nagar, Laxmisagar, Bamikhal, Old Town, Mancheswar, VSS Nagar, Sundarpada, Patia and Raghunathpur are regularly experiencing localized flooding during rainy season.
This is due to the overflowing drainage channels and faulty drainage network in the area. Bhubaneswar city has an undulating ridge and valley topology and is covered by a number of natural drainage channels. Due to rapid growth in infrastructure, encroachment and dumping of debris, the natural carrying capacity of these drains has been reduced considerably. The reduced carrying capacity creates barriers to the natural flow of water during heavy rains. Apart from urban flooding and heat wave, the city lies in seismic zone III, which is a moderate seismic risk zone.
In Bhubaneswar, the Composite Vulnerability Index (CVI) categorizes the city into high, medium, and low vulnerability areas.  Wards with high CVI need priority interventions. Spatial analysis between location of slum pockets and the CVI shows wards with high CVI have more than 50 per cent of the slum pockets. There are 436 slum pockets spread across the city, which have a total population of 80,630. Of the 436 slum pockets, only 116 are notified ones. The slums are small pockets and dispersed across the city.
The impact of disasters will continue to grow as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Bhubaneswar city has prepared its City Disaster Management Plan (CDMP) for the city and City Development Plan (CDP) developed in the year 2011-12. The CDP is a comprehensive plan with city vision plan for development of all sectors taking into consideration the city’s growth. Therefore, the hazard risk map of the city should be included in CDP.
Taking into consideration the growth in the city, there is a need to remove encroachment of natural drains as this helps in mitigating urban flooding/ water logging problem of the city. Storm water network for the entire city should be prepared and existing storm water drains should be cleaned at regular intervals. There is a need for storm water management by prevention of encroachments, periodic maintenance, and land use regulations. Before any change of land use and infrastructure development, priority must be given to design of storm water drainage. Storm water drainage system must respond to water catchment area, quantum of hard surface, quantum of water quantity and quantum of water discharge and site topography.
To reduce the effect of heat wave the design specifications should take into account guidelines on the design of climate responsive green buildings. Green cover should be further improved in the city. Land use and infrastructure development plans of the city needs to take into the consideration of short and long- term climate change trends.
For earthquake risk mitigation measures all the residential, commercial and industrial buildings should be evaluated for their structural safety in a phased manner and appropriate retrofitting measures should be taken up from building code perspectives. There is a need to review and enforce strict building codes and by laws compliance in design and construction of various types of new buildings and infrastructure.
Hazard mapping can be used for analysis of different areas. This helps in identifying areas that are prone to various hazards – both in terms of intensity and in terms of probability. This also facilitates the city in taking appropriate site-specific short, medium, and long-term mitigation measures, which include both structural and non-structural measures. It would also help the city administration to mainstream DRR activities in the city development process. Bhubaneswar city has been selected as one of the eight cities in India for implementing the Climate Risk Management Project on a pilot basis under the framework of the Urban Disaster Risk Reduction project of Government of India (GOI)-UNDP. The ongoing GOI-UNDP Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programme aims to strengthen the capacities of Government, communities and institutional structures by undertaking DRR activities at various levels and develop preparedness for recovery.
The building codes of the city need to be reviewed in light of the hazards in the region.  There should be a mechanism in the city to monitor the adherence to building codes and land use norms to improve urban resilience. Some areas can be easily identified but some areas have to be identified by survey and collection of past data. A number of methods can be adopted for dealing with disaster risk prone areas.
It is necessary to specify the land use zoning for various developmental purposes. All areas should be designed as per the relevant Indian Standards and the Building Byelaws. However building codes, zoning measures and urban planning techniques are difficult to enforce when people occupy land illegally. Therefore illegal encroachment of land should be restricted.

World Water Day 2017


The United Nations’ (UN) World Water Day is an annual event celebrated on March 22 as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for sustainable management of freshwater resources. Each year, the day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater.  In 2017 the theme is ‘Wastewater.’
Water quality in majority of rivers flowing in Odisha has been found to be polluted due to rapid industrialisation and waste water released from drainage systems in the urban areas. The pollution level is alarmingly above the danger mark in most of the places. The river water is polluted mostly with biochemical oxygen and Coliform bacteria.
Bhubaneswar’s increasing population growth has resulted in excessive wastewater generation and currently estimated at 180 million litres per day (MLD). The increased population and waste load, combined with the absence of a regular sewerage system, has led to untreated and semi-treated sewage, flowing into the city’s water bodies and creating unsanitary conditions.
The present drinking water sources of Bhubaneswar Municipal area includes surface sources (rivers) and ground water sources. The important rivers of the area are Mahanadi, Daya and Kuakhai. These rivers supply around 80 per cent of the total daily demand of potable water, while the balance is obtained from groundwater sources through production wells and tube wells. Many authorized and unauthorized slums exist in the area, which are fed from hand pump tube wells or stand posts provided by BMC.
Bhubaneswar is having a network of 10 major drains that are aligned from west to east and are situated in an arrayed layout (north to south) perpendicular to the Gangua Nallah. These major drains are maintained by the Water Resources Department (WRD) of Bhubaneswar. The storm water of Bhubaneswar City flows into these 10 drain channels. Drain No.1 opens to the Kuakhai and the remaining nine drain channels (No.2 to No.10) flow into the Gangua Nallah which in turn transports the river water and the pollution load to the river Daya. The minor drains comprise of secondary and tertiary drains. These drains essentially convey storm water runoff from the road surface, household roof drains and from the catchment area in undeveloped or partially developed portions of the city to the major drains.
In absence of a sewerage system, people are using septic tanks and soak pits. In most of the places sewage is discharged into open drains without any treatment, which is ultimately discharged to Gangua Nallah. Pipelines carrying drinking water are running close to drains and often dirty water is seeping into these supply lines. Water leakages are being one of the major issues which every town is facing. Water leakages occur due to aging of pipeline. Excavation across the road also causes pipe damage. Leakages are hard to detect as they can be in the underground pipes. Leaks are detected by the local people if it is visible.
The slow pace of replacing the leaking water pipelines by the Public Health Engineering Department has worsened the jaundice scenario in the city. Quality of ground water is also emerging as a major problem due to un-regulated urban waste disposal. Groundwater environment is extremely sensitive and once degraded would take hundreds of years to revive.
Odisha lags far behind in terms of access to toilet facilities. Major reason for perpetuation of diseases like diarrhoea and jaundice can be attributed to the non-availability of safe drinking water with poor sanitation facilities and practices. A majority of people in rural areas still depend on open water bodies i.e. river, stream and pond etc as source of drinking water. Mostly women and children are being engaged to fetch water for domestic consumption. The natural drinking water sources are getting polluted due to a number of reasons, including environmental and ecological, which affect the quality of drinking water. Very often, it has been reported that water borne diseases are a major cause of poor health of women and children in rural areas.
In order to avoid ill effects of water pollution on the human and animal health and agriculture, standards/rules/guidelines have been devised for discharge of effluents from industries and municipalities, quality of drinking water, irrigation water, criteria for aquatic life in fresh water by various authorities including central pollution control board (India), World Health Organisation (WHO), Indian Standard Institution, Indian Council of Medical Research, etc. The effective implementation of these rules, standards and guidelines, etc. will prevent water pollution in future.
The CPCB issued directions in April, 2015 to the State Pollution Control Board/Pollution Control Committees regarding setting up of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) and utilisation of sewage generated in their respective States. Sanitation Safety Planning (SSP) is a step-by-step risk based approach to assist in the implementation of the 2006 WHO Guidelines for Safe Use of Wastewater, Excreta and Greywater. The approach can also be applied to all sanitary systems to ensure the system is managed to meet health objectives. The SSP approach requires identifying health risks in the sanitation system, implementing an improvement plan and conducting regular monitoring. SSP can be used at the planning stage for new schemes, and to improve the performance of existing systems.
A holistic approach to water and wastewater management is required to make the Smart City initiatives. By treating water and wastewater, we help protect fast depleting water resources and improve our quality of life. Hence choosing the right treatment with smart technologies to obtain potable drinking water and reusing wastewater is inevitable.
Therefore we need to improve the collection and treatment of wastewater and safely reuse it. Awareness must be created among people regarding present condition and upcoming water stress issues and the method to save water.

International Women’s Day 2017

The English News Daily “Daily Pioneer” Bhubaneswar Edition 08.03.2017


In order to encourage advocacy for women’s advancement, the International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8. The day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. The theme for 2017 is ‘Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.’
Against this backdrop, only 50 per cent of working women are represented in labour force globally, compared to 76 per cent of men. The majority of women are in the informal economy, subsidizing care and domestic work, and concentrated in lower paid, lower-skill occupations with little or no social protection. Achieving gender equality in the world of work is imperative for sustainable development.
The post-2015 global agenda offers a historic opportunity to pursue transformational measures to ensure equality for every woman and girl, everywhere. All women and girls have the right to live free of discrimination, violence and poverty. Grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the UN Charter, work on gender equality calls for elimination of discrimination against women and girls; empowerment of women; and achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action, and peace and security. Some key targets of the 2030 agenda focus to ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education; end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere; eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, and other types of exploitation.
Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and therefore also half of its potential. Improving the status of women and girls in society can accelerate and strengthen efforts towards better governance, health outcomes and sustainable development. It is impossible to think of a sustainable future wherein the rights, dignities, and capabilities of half of the world’s population are neglected.
The word gender refers the way societies distinguish men and women and assign them social roles. Gender inequality is therefore a form of inequality which is distinct from other forms of economic and social inequalities. Gender inequality has adverse impact on development goals as it reduces economic growth. It hampers the overall well being because blocking women from participation in social, political and economic activities can adversely affect the whole society.
Gender inequality in India refers to health, education, economic and political inequalities between men and women in India. Gender discrimination continues to be an enormous problem within Indian society. Traditional patriarchal norms have relegated women to secondary status within the household and workplace. This drastically affects women’s health, financial status, education, and political involvement. As per the United Nations Development Programme’s Human
Development Report 2013, India ranks 132 out of 187 countries on the Gender Inequality Index (GII), which is a new index for measurement of gender disparity that was introduced in the 2010 Human Development Report.
Gender equity and empowering women and girls are critical goals for India, with women continuing to lag on key socioeconomic indicators. While the male literacy rate in the country is 82.1 per cent, female literacy lags at 65.5 per cent. The workforce participation rate of males and females in the country is 54.4 per cent and 21.9 per cent, respectively. In Odisha the male literacy rate is 82.4 per cent and female literacy rate is 64.4 per cent.
Data from around the world show that increased education is associated with the empowerment of women. Educated women are more effective at improving their own well-being and that of their family. They are better equipped to extract the most benefit from existing services and opportunities and to generate alternative opportunities, roles, and support structures.
The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Indian Constitution in its Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles. India has also ratified various international conventions and human rights forums to secure equal rights of women, such as ratification of Convention on elimination of all forms of discrimination against women in 1993. During the last 50 years, there is a change in perception towards women. Constitutionally, the women of today enjoy similar opportunities with men. The participation of women in the mainstream workforce is continuously increasing. They are largely employed in different organizations and server sector industries.
Women have been finding place in local governance structures, overcoming gender biases as a result of 1993 amendment to the Indian Constitution requiring that 1/3 rd of the elected seats to the local governing bodies be reserved for women. The Government also announced the National Policy for Empowerment of Women in 2001 to bring out advancement, development and empowerment of women. The Government has also drawn up a draft National Policy for the empowerment of women which is a policy statement outlining the State’s response to problems of gender discrimination.
The city is important for both working and nonworking women. So, development of new policies and revisions of the policymaking process are crucial to meet women’s needs and ensure their full participation in the process of development as a complete citizen.
Communities can take up responsibilities and play a role in improving the situation of women by designing safe public spaces for women. Besides, Municipal Governments have a role to play in helping women enter the decision making process. Equal representation is certainly one way to ensure that the needs of men and women will be addressed in municipal planning and management.
All cities should be inclusive, convenient and safe cities for women. Inclusive by helping women fully access and participate in the social, cultural, economic and political life of the city. Convenient by adapting the urban infrastructures and services to women’s needs in a fashion that embraces their nature, social role and schedule. Safe by creating a safe urban environment for women to allow them regain their right to the city. It is important for the policymakers to adopt a gender-inclusive urban planning to ensure better participation of women in urban planning process.
Today women are organizing themselves to meet the challenges that are hampering their development. There are a number of women who have proved that they are at par with men; the others are still struggling for equal rights. Equality should be for all regardless of gender. Gender inequality cannot be fully eliminated merely by the legal and administrative measures. There is a need for changes in perception towards women to improve on gender equality. The year 2030 is the deadline for the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include targets on achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls, as well as ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning. Everyone has a role to play to make gender equality a lived reality by 2030.

National Science Day 2017


The National Science Day is being celebrated every year on February 28 all over India to commemorate the invention of the Raman Effect by the Indian physicist Sir Chandrasekhar Venkata Raman on the same day in the year 1928.
For his great success in the field of science, Sir Raman was awarded and honoured with the Nobel Prize in Physics in the year 1930. Besides, the National Science Day offers an opportunity to widely spread a message about the significance of scientific application in the daily life of people.
The theme for the National Science Day 2017 is “Science and Technological Solutions for Specially-Abled Persons”.
The World Health Organization (WHO) in a 2011 study estimated that 15.3 per cent of the world’s population deals with some or the other kind of disability. In India there are more than 27 million people have a physical or mental challenge.
As per the 2011 Census, the total disabled population is 12, 44,402, registering a growth of 21.84 per cent during the decade. The percentage of the State’s disabled population to total population has increased from 2.78 in the 2001 Census to 2.96 in the 2011 Census.  It is revealed from the disabled data that the highest percentage of disabled persons in Odisha is found in the age group 10-19 years (15.09 per cent) followed by the age group 20-29 (13.34) while 4.03 per cent of the disabled persons are reported in the age group 0-4, 6.69 per cent in the age group of 5-9, 12.22 per cent in the age group 30-39, 11.75 per cent in the age group 50-59, 12.69 per cent in the age group 60-69, 9.28 per cent in the age group 70-79, 3.54 per cent in the age group 80-89 and 0.88 per cent in the age group of 90 and above. It is revealed that the disabled persons are found more in the medium age group compared to child and older age groups.
India passed a law for equal opportunities and rights for persons with disabilities in 1995. The Odisha State Government has also enacted Persons with Disabilities (Equal opportunities, Protection of right and full participation) Odisha Rules, 2003.  However people with disabilities still face numerous challenges.
In recent decades, new technologies have a dramatic impact on the way we live. Not only have new innovations transformed the way we communicate with one another, but they’ve also had a transformative effect on how we go about our daily routines. However, those with disabilities often find it difficult to operate technologies in the way able-persons do. But there have been a wide range of innovative methods aimed at making these technologies more accessible.
The disabled students have long been subject to inadequate and unequal educational opportunities. But the rapid development and application of computer-based technology has created a large change in available options for disabled students. Computer programmes have been designed to make it easier for disabled students to communicate their ideas and work.
There are examples of a number of advanced technologies which helped the persons with disability to prove their talents. World-famous genius Stephen Hawking   suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and has almost no ability to move or speak on his own. Instead, he uses speech-generating technology in which computer software translates what he types on a keyboard (which he can do only with small physical movements of two fingers or his cheek) into a synthesized voice. In addition, the computer software includes auto-correct, so that he only needs to type a few letters before the computer recognizes and types out the entire word for him. Stephen Hawking is one of the best examples of how assistive technology has changed education without which Hawking would not have been able to make his major contributions to our understanding of the world, and students would not be able to learn from him.
There are technologies for every category of disability. Students dealing with blindness/visual impairment, or with physical limitations that prevent them from typing on a keyboard, can use text-to-speech devices (mobile and otherwise) to compose their assignments. When using these programmes, students speak into a microphone, which then translates their words into typed documents. This kind of assistive technology helps students with visual impairments by allowing them to listen to the text that appears on a computer screen. This is a huge improvement over Braille because once the programme is installed on the computer it can read anything on the screen with no waiting for a Braille translation. This enables students to participate in online activities, use email and text, and have immediate access to course materials.
An increasing number of people with disabilities are participating in sports, leading to the development of new assistive technology. Assistive technology can enable sports enthusiasts who have disabilities to play. The technology may be used in disabled sports, where an existing sport is modified to enable players with a disability to participate; or, assistive technology may be used to invent completely new sports with athletes with disabilities exclusively in mind. Assistive technology for sports may be simple or advanced. Accordingly, assistive technology can be found in sports ranging from local community recreation to elite Paralympic games. Some of the assistive devices currently available for different impairments are mobility impairments like light-weight wheelchairs for basketball, tennis, and racing, gym equipment that lets users stay in a wheelchair while using arm exercise machines and sport wheelchair etc.
Technology can help all kinds of user groups irrespective of their ambulatory conditions or any other impairment. Technology, and making the benefits of technology accessible, is an essential component to realising the rights of persons with disabilities and ensuring they are included in development. The Smart City Bhubaneswar should be more inclusive for every citizen and the benefits of technology need to be translated into an inclusive development agenda to offer a better life to the specially-abled persons. 

International Migrants Day 2016


Throughout human history, migration has been a courageous expression of the individual’s will to overcome adversity and to live a better life. Today, globalisation, together with advances in communications and transportation, has greatly increased the number of people who have the desire and the capacity to move to other places. Because of this, migration draws increasing attention in the world nowadays.
To recognise the efforts, contributions and rights of migrants, the United Nations’ International Migrants Day is observed on December 18. The day is celebrated to identify and curb all kinds of violence and abuse faced by the migrants and their family members and advocate respect for their primary human rights.
According to the 2011 Census of India, about 61.8 per cent of the working populations are engaged in agricultural activities. However, the country suffers from major issues of inter-State migration. Migration has been considered as an endemic problem of Odisha for a long time. The State suffers from distress migration, mostly from south west regions, including KBK districts. According to the 2011 Census of India, Odisha has got a working population of 17,541,589, among them 61 per cent are main workers and rest are marginal workers. The level of urbanisation increased from 27.86 per cent to 31.16 per cent in the Census 2001-2011, while the proportion of rural population declined from 72.19 per cent to 68.84 per cent. It had a rural unemployment rate of 8.7 per cent and an urban unemployment rate 5.8 per cent as per the 68th National Sample Survey (2011-2012).
The prevalence of small farmers having small sized land holdings and seasonal unemployment in Odisha forced the people to search for alternate sources of livelihood. Besides, migration is an outcome due to the repeated disasters that strike Odisha at regular intervals. Cyclones, floods, droughts and famines hit the State at different times in different regions. Due to this, thousands of people from Odisha leave their native village in search of food and employment. They work in brick kilns in the neighbouring State of Andhra Pradesh and other States besides construction sites of the other cities. Thousands of Odia people visit Surat every year in search of work. Today there is also mass migration of villages where the whole family migrates in search of job.
Economic reason is the main motive behind most of the migrations. Migration will become more urban-oriented, but increasingly this will happen within expanding regional urban system. The relationship between rural-urban migration and development is conclusive and very complex. The process of migration is related to the concept of development. Even though the migration cannot be entirely stopped but due focus must be made for the holistic development of the migrants.
The inclusive growth policy can do more to address the problems of exploitation and exclusion of migrants. Migrants can be directly supported by providing skills training, and information about jobs and risks of migration. The trend of migration should be thoroughly checked to avoid various socio-economic hazards. Both the State and Central Governments have to adopt thorough statistical measures to represent realistic assessment. The State Government should focus on agriculture and food safety programmes in order to avoid migration in such areas. The Food Security Act, the Public Distribution System and all other information and awareness systems must be facilitated to bring overall improvement of these regions.
Areas with urban centres, administrative headquarters like Bhubaneswar, and business sectors attract the migrants from backward areas where employment opportunities are very less.  Migrant labourers of Bhubaneswar are the construction workers, shop man, rickshaw pullers and daily workers. Some are also engaged as street vendors, hawkers, domestic jobs like house and utensil cleaning etc. The migrant labourers of Bhubaneswar generally settle in the Bastis of various slum pockets of the city. Some of them are attached to some labour contractors who engage them in jobs of relatively long term nature. Many of them reside in kutcha houses in Basti and some have no house in Basti also. They sleep on the verandahs of the shops and markets in night. Lack of employment in the surrounding rural pockets is the main reason for their migration to the capital city.  In the town, they get better wage compared to their villages.  Some of them are seasonal migrants. Whenever agricultural works start they go back to their villages and during the off – season, they come to the city in search of work.
Bhubaneswar is one of the fast growing cities in India which has lost its earlier planned status due to massive growth of migrant population and increased informal sector activities in the recent years. During the initial planning stage, construction workers, people engaged in service sector were not envisaged as a permanent sector of the city’s growing population. In fact, cities grow in different ways, which can be difficult to distinguish. It may be through migration or the natural growth of the city’s population.  Migration to cities significantly contributes to urbanisation. Therefore, the city should plan for the migrants. 
Unplanned migration can be a serious problem for the city. Migrant population should be included in the city planning process. If well planned, migration can enhance dynamism of cities making them healthier, more profitable and more interesting places to live.