Showing posts from July, 2012

When Solutions Become Problems

For some time now there has been talk about how indoor air pollution kills more people than anything else in the world, and how this is prevalent in rural India. A lot of it has been attributed to cookstoves, and while it is true that they are a major cause, the solutions that have been bandied about for some time now are all in the same direction. Let us improve the cookstoves is the unanimous voice that resonates across the world. But there seems to be more to it than this. A recent paper by Esther Duflo, Rema Hanna and Michael Greenstone has been doing rounds for a while now. For those who have seen the program upfront as well as others who are familiar with it, the paper seems to have confirmed the worst - the problem of women's health in rural areas has not been mitigated in any way. The paper goes on to highlight how the distribution of cookstoves has been an abysmal failure because people stop using them within a year. Why is it so? The question does not have a difficult

The Mess of Basic Infrastructure

Seeing the amount of hot air over the various issues of chalta hai attitude that afflict this country, I wonder why people think this is appalling. Anyone who has travelled across the country would tell you horror stories of the terrible infrastructure (or mostly lack of it) in this country across a range of public services that would otherwise be considered a public right in developed nations (I do not count the United States in this). Lack of beds in hospitals, horrifying mental asylums. incessantly long queues at hospitals, strips of roads in potholes (and not the other way round), open manholes and deep flowing drains. no remediation of the annual breakouts of dengue, malaria and chikungunya across the country during monsoons - you name the problem, you find its evidence in abundance across the country. Nobody however seems to be trying to diagnose the disease. This country has a law that can declare strikes of people working in 'essential services' illegal. There are al