MD Speaks
Dear IPEans,

We need an electrician perhaps once every month; a plumber once in 3 months; a doctor (god forbid) once in 6 months; a CA once a year. But have you thought of a professional whose hard work and skills we need atleast 3 times every day?

Yes, at breakfast, lunch, dinner or on the many snacks in between, we depend on the efforts of the poor, simple, nondescript farmer.

Farming is perhaps the most risky business in the world - with variables ranging from the quality of seed to the timing of activities, soil nutrients, irrigation availabily, weather, storage, and then the uncertain prices. And yet, we have the most vulnerable group engaged in these - small and marginal farmers who just do not have the capacity to take these risks.

No wonder the recent unseasonal rains in north India has led to more than 100 farmer suicides in the last few months

As the Polish Proverb says "If the farmer is poor then so is the whole country."

Agriculture is a magical activity - the only factory where output is more than input. Yet, its entrepreneurs are unable to survive.

Isn't it time to plant new seeds of thoughts for their security - to help them reap a harvest of prosperity?

Our Wallpaper this month seeks to highlight this issue. While using it in May 2015, spare a thought for the farmer.

On another note, the recent Nepal earthquake in which more 10,000 people have perished is another reminder of the human species' vulnerability to nature. On behalf of IPE Global, we convey our deepest condolences to the families of those deceased. And may we learn to work in harmony with nature.

Best wishes
- Ashwajit Singh
Editorial

Dear *|FNAME|*

As Nepal digs deep to clean the rubble of debris and cremate its dead the international community is saddled with questions of disaster management, preparedness and response mechanism.

How prepared are we? Does the fact that the disaster did not happen in our country assures us that we are safe and secure from Nature’s fury? Are our contingency plans for disaster management equipped to withhold the impact of such high magnitude earthquakes.

The news of the month in edition explores why an earthquake prone Nepal is not prepared to withstand the large scale destruction and devastation.

You can also read about aid received from donors agencies and some development sector highlights

Happy reading and be inspired!

- Rebika Laishram , Kriti Pandey

News Of The Month

As the landlocked Nepal struggles with the aftermath and trail of death and destruction left behind by the Himalayan earthquake of April 25, the world is forced to answer raging questions. Could the scale of this catastrophe have been mitigated if Nepal had invested in disaster management and some preparedness for the tragedy beforehand? Why there was no implementation of the studies, assessments, contingency planning exercises, and simulations conducted over the years which had profusely predicted deaths in hundreds and thousands. Over the years there was no proactive preparedness and risk reduction practices implemented in the region.

In the past Nepal is not the only country which was caught off guard by nature’s fury leaving behind a wide swath of devastation. Some of the large scale natural disasters in recent years also include names of some of the developed countries such as the United States which had to succumb to the anger of the Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The severity of the destruction and the problems that arose in Katrina's awake shook previous notions of government planning and response to large-scale natural disasters. A rather less developed and largely populated Haiti in 2010 had horrifying images of death and destruction which were hearth wrenching clearly showing how man had to pay the price of large scale rapid development. Time and again the world has seen natural disasters cannot be stopped but their impact as well as scale can certainly be reduced. So, why are Governments hesitant in developing a good disaster management policy and invest in disaster preparedness?

Case in point: Nepal April 25 earthquake

Nepal is a country which lies on a geographical fault line below which tectonic plates have been constantly moving leading to release of pent up energy. An earthquake is most difficult to predict out of all the

natural disasters but why were the Nepalese not prepared at all? One of the foremost reason why developing countries like Nepal are not able to focus on disaster management is due to its fragile structure of governance and lack of leadership. The constituent Assembly of Nepal is yet to conclude its political processes. Had Nepal been a federal Republic with a strong settled economic base with roads connecting its hilly towns and villages, the government would have been more prepared in dealing with such natural tragedies. The Nepalese government officials would have been seized by the urgency of a disaster risk waiting their doors.

To build the base of the disaster management, the Nepalese government should discard their Calamity Act of 1982 and adopt a new disaster legislation since legal preparedness is the first and foremost factor crucial for emergency planning, disaster preparedness and resilience. Another shortcoming still widely apparent is the widespread unplanned, poorly regulated urbanisation of Nepal. The country needs strict implementation of building codes, earthquake resistant buildings and even safety inspections specially when its lies in one of the high seismic regions of the world.

With a GDP of $ 20 billion in 2014 and an annual per capital GDP of only $1,000, the smallest landlocked hill country hardly has the capacity to fund and invest in disaster relief or any kind of long term reconstruction initiatives. The people of the country do not have access to basic amenities like road connectivity, railway, transportation, how can disaster management be a top priority even when the government knows a disaster is imminent.

The aftermath of this natural tragedy has left Nepal with a task at hand which includes not just rebuilding and providing relief to its people but also coming up with a strong response architecture. A new policy on disaster and risk management along with strengthening of the weak public health capacity which lacks emergency preparedness and response flow when huge influx of victims of such large scale tragedy come in.

Aid Round Up

Better sanitation could be worth $5.5 Billion to Indian economy

A memorandum was signed between a Tokyo bank and one of India’s leading umbrella business groups. The memorandum was about a project that could help left the economy of a South East state, India’s eighth biggest...... Click here

World Bank approves US $50 million to train youth in Punjab

The World Bank today approved US$50 million to improve skills training programs in priority growth sectors in Punjab. The project aims to improve the quality, labor market relevance and access to the training....... Click here

Andhra Pradesh government to set up regional airport development fund

The Andhra Pradesh government plans to set up an Andhra Pradesh Regional Airport Development Fund (APRADF) with an initial amount of Rs 100 crore to provide financial support for regional......Click here

Development News Round Up

India for deeper engagement of Asian Development Bank for smart cities, railways, says FM Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley sought “deeper engagement” of the ADB for development of smart cities, industrial corridors and railways as part of flagship initiatives like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’...... Click here

Global under-5 deaths dip; inequality mars Delhi show

Government interventions at various levels seem to have brought down the under-five child mortality rate worldwide with as many as 17,000 children saved everyday, as compared to 1990. The global....... Click here

Big push for Edu with CBSE Pattern schools, skill development centres

In a bid to upgrade school education, Chief Minister N Rangasamy, in his budget speech, on Wednesday announced the adoption of CBSE pattern in all the English medium middle schools across the......Click here

 
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