EDUCATION: Political opponents may have disagreements with the Delhi government, but no one can ignore their track record on education. Since 2015, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi has taken bold steps to improve the quality of infrastructure and teaching in government schools, and the impact is evident.
The 2018 CBSE class 12 results are a case in point. With nearly 91 per cent of the examinees achieving a passing score, government schools in Delhi have overtaken private institutions (pass percentage of 88.35)—an achievement that would have been a distant dream some years ago, when the state of many of these schools was in a shambles.
The government in Delhi had set aside as much as 26 per cent of the 2018–19 budget for education—compared to just 3.3 per cent of its total expenditure by the union government in the 2019 interim budget. Other administrations could sure learn a lesson or two!
Clean solutions for water
CONSERVATION: According to the 2018 edition of the UN World Water Development Report, India is staring at a severe water crisis which will intensify around the year 2050 when 40 per cent of renewable surface water will be depleted from many regions in central India. One proposed solution to combat this is to recycle and reuse sewage water. The Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has demonstrated how to implement this on a massive scale. Three years ago, the NMC could treat only 130 million litres per day (MLD) of sewage. Today, however, it is on the cusp of raising this limit to 480 MLD—more than 90 per cent of the 525 MLD produced daily in the city. With the National Thermal Power Corporation and the Maharashtra State Power Generation Company committing to purchase the treated water for their power plants, the NMC hopes to bear the operational costs of this undertaking, while also providing a model for other cities to tackle water crises.
WILDLIFE: Leopards are among the most feared predators in India—and with passing years, their conflicts with humans have only risen. However, the people in the Pali district of Rajasthan are an exception. They have worked out a unique formula to peacefully coexist with their feline neighbours.
The Rabari, a tribal group of semi-nomadic cattle herders, inhabit the villages in the district, and worship leopards. Devout Hindus and worshippers of Shiva, the villagers welcome leopards since they keep away gazelles and nilgais from their fields. In fact, if and when the predators carry away livestock, the villagers simply accept government compensation and consider it a portent of good fortune, instead of mourning. The leopards, on their part, have mostly stayed away from settlements. Consequently, the outcrops in the area now boast the largest concentration of leopards in the world.
Heroes: One Heroic Deed Begets Another
In January 2019, Darini Mahender was driving a state transport bus from Godavarikhani to Secunderabad in Telangana, when he suffered a heart attack. Braving the searing chest pain and severe breathless-ness, Mahender managed to drive the bus up to five more kilometres, bringing it to a safe halt before collapsing on the steering wheel. Sensing the severity of the situation, a doctor stepped in from amongst the passengers to offer first aid. Meanwhile, efforts to arrange an ambulance proved futile. A second passenger then drove the bus to a nearby hospital where, unfortunately, there were no doctors or equipment. The bus conductor then suggested moving Mahender to another hospital in a private ambulance. When funds for the transport fell short, the passengers pitched in to make up the deficit. Who says acts of goodness aren’t reciprocal?