Philanthropy by design : Low Smoke Chulha – Abhimanyu Kulkarni @ Indialogues

Abhimanyu Kulkarni, Design Head, Philips India on Smokeless chulha

Abhimanyu Kulkarni, Design Head, Philips India on Smokeless chulha

Abhimanyu Kulkarni was born in India and graduated from IDC, IIT Mumbai with a Masters Degree in Industrial Design. Upon graduation, he worked in advertising and furniture industry. He joined Philips Design in Mumbai as a product designer and did a number of global short term assignments before moving to Hong Kong in 2000, where he widened his experiences and capabilities to become senior design manager.

As the Design Director and location manager of Philips Design India, He is responsible for the following client portfolio: Philips Lighting, Philips Lifestyle and Philips Healthcare and Philips Design Consulting. He has also worked with Philips Design’s Hong Kong branch as Senior design manager for global account of Audio Multimedia applications (AMA).

His creative team delivers global as well as regionally specific design solutions operating in both professional and consumer markets. It is through an intimate understanding of the diverse needs and complexities of a customer or consumer driven market that his design team is able to deliver the appropriate level of creative differentiation.
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Low smoke chulha – Philips design asked people to design products that is of value to local people

–         Women and children are most affected

–         Equivalent to two packs of cigarette

–         It kills 1mn children, 3 deaths per minute, more than malaria; 6 lakh people die of smoke at home..

–         50% of people cook with biomass in India and china. In Sub-saharan it is almost 90%

 

Key insights – For any design intervention

 

–         The design needs to be fit with the existence ecosystem. Utensils, methods, ingredients; when we started going to more countries these became more glaring

–         Minimal dependence on external resources – it has to be all done within the local community

–         Driven by local communities that brings a great ownership

 

Context of living – a flavor of how we did the deep dive

 

–         Village called Fultan near Pune; prototyping at khervadi

–         We went and lived in the village –

o       Looked at the way they live, cook, wash etc;

o       Rituals of cooking

o       Location of chulha – which is a very significant

§         In Guatamala, chulha is in the center of the kitchen for people to sit around

§         In Kenya, women kneel over

o       Place

§         Outdoor cooking

§         Indoor modern

o       Co-creation with key stake holders

§         Involved them with co-creation workshop (10)

§         Participants from SHG ARTI (3)

§         Designers involved (3)

o       Concept directions evolved and brainstormed

o       We came out with two forms – Saral and Sampoorna

o       We went with prototypes and installed in six homes, got feedback

o       We had a few more iterations

§         College of engineering did work on comparability of impact

o       Ease of use – transporting, installing

§         We made modular so that it is easy

o       Challenge

§         A crack in the chulha in India is considered bad omen

§         Modular design helped in replacing

–         Key improvements

o       Biomass duct for efficient draft

§         Not only inefficient, more heat, more firewood etc

o       Designed to impact the vessel fast – 11 minutes to boil 1 liter of water, down from 22

o       Men go up and clean the chimney usually.

§         We got a connecter in the chimney to make life easy on cleaning

 –         Why soot in the first place. Can we have a soot collector? We create a jig-jag pattern to collect at the base itself

 

Deployment process

–         We want to find a way of community taking up the manufacturing, installing and maintaining.

–         Saral costs 800, sampoorna costs 1500

–         Half of the cost is paid by micro finance

–         Local community promotes it

–         We give molds to the entrepreneur

o       Makes, installs,

o       Local community promotes

o       NGOs bring the feedback

 Partners – for study

–         Junglescapes, Bandipur, Karnataka; Mysore Univ

o       Impact study apart from Economic, social and health benefits

o       Bandipur – 40 chulhas

§         Two thirds of biomass is saved

§         We could use Lantana and that added to saving

o       Three trips down to one trip to forest for wood

o       Painting the kitchen is once a year

o       Health benefits of cough and asthma reduced drastically

 We got people from Kenya – Alfan, a mason

–         Within 3 months he produced 60 chulhas

–         Heartening that one can make it and distribute just by the documentation and moulds

–         This has moved to many many countries – Peru, Gautamala,

We have created www.lowsmokechulha.com. We encourage people to exchange, interact, training programs etc..-

 

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Magsaysay award winner Selco’s Harish Hande and Kalpavriksh’s Ashish Kothari @ Indialogues

Harish Hande and Ashish Kothari @ Indialogues

Harish Hande and Ashish Kothari @ Indialogues

Dr. H Harish Hande is the managing director of SELCO-India, which he co-founded with Neville Williams in 1995. Dr. Hande earned his Doctorate in energy engineering (solar specialty) at the University of Massachusetts (Lowell). He has an undergraduate degree in Energy Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur.

The aim of SELCO is to operate and grow a company focused on providing sustainable technologies and energy services to rural markets in India and other developing countries. Collectively their management has over 44 years of grassroots experience in the field of providing sustainable energy services to the under-served. The team along with other staff has proven the fact that there are strong linkages between poverty alleviation, sustainable energy, social business and micro-finance: linkages that are not easily proven to be commercially viable.

Dr. Hande serves on the boards of many organizations, both national and international, and hopes to empower the rural community by providing a complete package of product, service and consumer financing through grameena banks, cooperative societies, commercial banks and micro-finance institutions.

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Ashish Kothari began working on environment and development issues in his school days in 1978- 79, as one of the founders of Kalpavriksh, an Indian environmental NGO. He remains active with Kalpavriksh’s Conservation and Livelihoods Programme.

A graduate in Sociology, Ashish has taught environment at the Indian Institute of Public Administration in the 1990s, and been guest faculty at several universities, institutes, and colleges.He has been Co-Chair of the IUCN Inter-commission Strategic Direction on Governance, Equity, and Livelihoods in Relation to Protected Areas (TILCEPA) (1999-2008).He has served on the Board of Directors of Greenpeace International, and currently chairs Greenpeace India’s Board. Ashish also coordinated India’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan process.

KALPAVRIKSH is a non profit organization working on environmental and social issues. The group began in 1979 with a campaign led by students to save Delhi’s Ridge Forest. Kalpavriksh believes that a country can develop meaningfully only when ecological sustainability and social equity are guaranteed, and a sense of respect for, and oneness with nature and fellow humans is achieved.

Ashish is the author or editor of over 30 books, and over 250 articles.

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For Harish Hande’s complete interaction with youngsters Kindly click here

Why Solar has not taken off?

Wind and pico-hydro, Biogas, solar.. we should look at combination of possibilities. We should look at efficiency. A school came and said can you power 10 computers. Sewing machine needs only 40w, but minimum available is 110w.. are we being efficient? Roof cut and glass placed for pani puri wala…

We need to be very efficient. Rural India is more into solar and unconventional… 300,000 households run on Solar in Karnataka.

Govt not realizing why we should not have tax on solar?

Chidambaram said talk to state. You are providing subsidy and taking back through tax. Should we not make Solar, the way of life?

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Ashish from Kalpavriksh

It was started about 32 years back. I was in high school in Delhi. Started as trees being cut, pollution etc. We gave this name because ‘wishwell’, the tree that grants you any of the wishes, in mythology. Nature grants all of our wishes that we live on. Let us protect ourselves by protecting the environment.

I often start with – Oxygen comes from where? Plants give oxygen. One thing on which we really survive, we do not know where it comes from? – Marine algae

Air we breath, water we drink, food that we eat… we do not know where they come from??

When food is grown on land, how many of us really know about that land? We know everything about market, shares, bonds companies, business models; We do not know what we really live on. That is a fundamental point.

We started on environmental issues. Schools are not addressing. We wanted to see what people are seeing and talking. In those days chipko was a happening movement up the hills, women hugging tree when someone cuts. Bishnois started in Rajasthan 300 years ago by 150 women losing their lives when the king ordered to cut trees.

What motivates women to do it at the cost of their lives. Fertility, leaves, enriching of soil facilitate people. In 1983, on a walk along the Narmada river, 1300 kms over two months, we learn that these huge dams, temples of modern India cause far more destruction than create advantages, especially to all the people and adivasis who live on it. It gives advantage perhaps to the urbane but not for rural. We started questioning the idea of development.

In the last 30-40 years, the process called development as a concept evolved. In India WB etc initiated it. Development means opening up, opportunities for people. Development now has come about being only a few percentages. Is there any co-relation between 9% growth and eradication of poverty?

Is it of ecological value. % growth, GDP? 50-60% of Indians do not have electricity, 40-50% go hungry, no clean drinking water.

Four of the top 10 billionaires are Indians but 400mn people do not have anything to eat and drink. Serious deficit, sustaining this population!

India is already using double the minimum needed – Importing timber and palm oil from Indonesia, buying land elsewhere to grow cash crops. Ecological destruction is unimaginable. It has not just had impact on nature, 60mn people displaced due to projects. 700mn people are snatched of their resources. That is the deficit and bad news. Some one has to pay the cost.

Why the eggs have to be of poor people, why not the mine under this building, why only the forest or a adivasi hill.

Agriculture

30 years we have a model of pumping chemicals – that make them depend on corporations and government etc.

Deccan development society in Andhra – dalit women : In the last 30 years they have transformed agriculture with organic and sustainable methods and completely changed the economy of Nazibabad – public distribution system, organic restaurants, reaching the poorest of the poor, social revolution. They have gained confidence, creating social and gender revolution

Water

Govt thinks of big dams. In Rajasthan, Alwar district, 600-700 villages have take up the projects that are collective and have transformed through small check dams. Villagers have come back and agriculture is flourishing.

Ralegansiddhi – Anna created along with other villagers, a model of rural development with internal resources. Reverse migration is happening; people wish to be with families.

Governance

India is not a democracy. Once in five years you vote and trust these people sitting in Delhi and Bhopal do something. It is all about capacity to participate every day and impact, that is democracy. We may not use it, but we have the capacity to do it.

In medhalekha, Maharastra, Gonds took this decision. “dilli Mumbai mein humari sarkar, hamari gaon mein hama hain sarkar”. We take the decision on all that impact us in our govt. No government can take any decision that impacts our community and area.

In cities too there are Area Sabhas, we can meet face to face. In pune, participatory budgeting has started. We need the budget to reflect our issues.

We should be able to do these every day.

Putting all of these together, we want alternative to current iniquitous situation. We should be able participate in ecologically and socially sensitive to other species beyond people too.

There are incredible innovations taking place. Energy, housing, water, agriculture, education, health,… amazing work is happening across the country.

Next year onwards we are thinking of alternative mela. We intend to look a lot of innovations taking place.

World will get answers from India, especially in rural spaces.

I agree in whatever you are saying. What does industrialization mean? Even in pre-industry Europe the life expectation is 20-25, now it is 64. People have started living longer. Livelihoods are being taken away.

I do not mean that we should go back to pre-industrial era. Even democracy has been borrowed from modernity, though it has existed in India for ages. In the last 200 years, deprivation and good water, have happened. If we can change these through modern systems is always welcome.

We need to go beyond just an Engineer. We should be good at quite a few things, but great in one. We cannot be doing only one, without thinking of anything else.

Specializations become compartments – it becomes part of the problem than being a solution.

Subsidy for forests and you say goats cannot be grazing there?

India’s Quest for Olympic Golds – Geet Sethi @ In’dialogues’ – India’s TED

Geet Sethi, eight time world billiards champion - founder OGQ

Geet Sethi, eight time world billiards champion - founder OGQ

Born in Delhi on April 17, 1961, Sethi’s precocious talent blossomed when he shifted to Ahmedabad at a young age. Geet Sethi startled billiards aficionados when he defeated the mercurial Michael Ferreira to win the National senior title in 1982. Carrying on the good work, he won the IBSF World Billiards Championship in 1985 by defeating Bob Marshal in a marathon 8-hour long final. He went on to win an amazing nine world titles – five World Professional, three IBSF World Billiards Championships and one IBSF World Team Snooker Championship. In a tribute to his achievements, the nation has conferred on him some of its most prestigious awards – Padma Shri (1986), Arjuna Award (1986) and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award (1992-93).

The Indian sporting legends Geeth Sethi and Prakash Padukone, and their belief in India’s Sport potential, gave rise to the program called Olympic Gold Quest. Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) is a program of the Foundation for Promotion of Sports and Games which is committed to bridging the gap between the best athletes in India and the best athletes in the world thus helping Indian athletes to win Olympic Gold medals. OGQ endeavors to create a level playing field for Indian athletes to enable them to be competitive at the highest level of sport.

Geet Sethi is also author of Success vs. Joy, an Inspirational book on Mind Control.
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I wonder why I have been called to address Indialogues. I see most of the speakers here have been to an IIT, IIM or NID. The nearest I went to IIT was when I played national billiard championship organized in IITD a couple of decades ago and to NID when I was dating a girl, Kiranbir, who was a student then and now my partner in life.

I will talk about, Olympic gold quest (OGQ) – an endeavour to get support from Indians all over to support talent that can get India gold at Olympics.

In 1998, or the first time Billiards was included in Asian Games. Till then as a professional, I was playing for myself. For the first time I got an opportunity to represent the nation. I was delighted. As part of Indian contingent I headed to Bangkok – 435 strong contingent to Bangkok of which 262 were officials only 180 odd athletes!! That is the skew!

For the first time, I witnessed from very close quarters, complete lack of any kind of involvement by the federations and government. Athletes were treated with no dignity. Imagine the youngsters with dream in their eyes, pride to be nation’s flag bearers!!

I came back from Bangkok, disappointed and disillusioned, about the way sportsmen treated in our nation. Wrote a lot, came on TV, lashed out at IOA and Kalmadi. In 2000, I went to Sydney Olympics. I saw despair in every eyes except for a few like Leander, Mahesh, Karnam Malleswari etc who have done well in their life; rest of the athletes were treated shabbily and had no confidence. They have not practiced, nor built up for the occasion, have no shoes, no kit. What did the federation and government do?

I thought – “am I going to write more articles, however emotional or articulate?” In the flight, the idea of OGQ was sown. I must do something rather than shout, I thought. I took immediate flight to Bangalore and met one of India’s greatest athlete, Prakash Padukone, 1981 all England champion. Prakash was delighted at the Idea and bought over the idea. Kept on meeting every six months, but nothing happened. Not aware of how to go about. Where to get money? How?

Then met two gentlemen one day, entrepreneurs, Shitin Desai and Ramnath, and shared my idea of OGQ and told them that I want to raise funds from Indians around the world. Within three seconds of my sharing, these two people wrote cheques of 25 lakhs each!! Soon Neeraj Bajaj, Neeraj Bharadwaj and many more gave the much needed push with their contributions

Then we pulled in Viren Rasquinha as CEO. Viren was the captain of Indian Olympic Hockey team. While he was captain, and young, he went to Indian School of Business (ISB). Now we have 4-5 people team, like Vaibhav Tandon, working fully.

Over 200 athletes, monitored daily from all sports. Whenever we find consistent performance and growth, we pick them up to mentor and facilitatate.

I have seen a shift in the government as a run up to CWG. They gave huge money to athletes to train to perform. I hope the trend continues. But there is a dire need to invest intelligently and efficiency.

Saina Nehwal, latest Badminton star, after every match needs a physiotherapist, to relax her. She trains with Gopichand (Another All England champion). We hired a personal physiotherapist, who travels all the time. Costs may be $10000 every year, but that gives the immense push to Saina.

Similarly, a 20 year old, promising Nanao Singh, Boxer broke his thumb while practicing at SAI, Patiala. His coaches told him to go to ‘nature healers’. We would have completely lost him, but for the timely medical intervention we were able to provide. Now he is back and has qualified for London Olympics.

We need to support and have mental trainers for Luka, a very promising athlete at PT Usha school. She gets trained overseas and funds provided for that

We have short listed six sports – Shooting, Athletics, Boxing, Baddy, Wrestling, Archery – for supporting in the first phase of OGQ, looking at the potential we as a nation have to gain medals.

A few of the medal hopefuls that we have under our wings are –

Mary Kom – 5 Time world boxing champ
– After two world boxing championships under her belt, she took a break for marriage
– After delivering twins, within a couple of months she started to gear up again
– In seven years, she has not lost a single bout

Gagan Narang – 4 golds in CWG
– 10 meter world rifle world champion

Saina Nehwal –
– Joke in the baddy circles is that it is Saina Vs China

Usha School of Athletics –
– 19 athletes in her school – Tintoo Luka (800)

Many more including Tejaswni, Annu raj singh, Sagun chowdhary, Rakesh Manpat, Sanjeev Rajput, Vijay kumar, Omkar…

We want to support 100 olympic medal potential athletes by 2016.

For example, young 16 year old PV Sindhu in baddy – If you look at her progression – ranked 240 in the world in March 2011 and has reached 46th by October, since our involvement in the last six months.

It takes just 6 grams of Gold to lift the worth of a Nation. Only prime minister or President can do what a GOLD Winning athlete can do – Get the national flag hoisted in an alien land!!

Why only cricket gets that attention – money and exposure happened only recently…

Sportsmen do not have anything against cricket.

In every country a team sport has a manic following. It brings the public together as a nation. Cricket in India is managed and market it effectively. They have done a great job.

The alarming part of the skew – 99.9 to .1 that is the skew.. Only way is to get Indians perform in other sports. Anand has done a remarkable contribution to chess. Sania, Leander and Mahesh have done to tennis. If we have consistence performance then we will change the skew..

Riding on success, why not have a cricketer on the board to get greater attention?

We have been brainstorming about it for a few years now. You will see it happen very soon

Not govt, but private enterprise can bring the change. What are the challenges?
Viren works closely with federations, ministry. We are making an attempt to work with them. Compliment their efforts. Bureaucracy by nature is slow and inefficient. When Gagan does not get a ticket in hand till 5pm for a 10pm flight, we step in and get him on air.

We go out of our way to work with federations and SAI. I raise about Rs 2.5 crores every year. I will need about Rs 40 crores for supporting 100 athletes. I was surprised to find there are many people who are obsessed with sports. There are many people who are making it happen. People like Rakesh Jhunjhunwala is always ready!

I want to make this into a movement. I want people to give just 10 rupees a month. Reaching out to masses is the challenge.

You see partially developed talent and take them under your wings. What way do you go about identifying talent.

We keep talking about it. Three years into operations. Young organization. We want to go to grassroot level. We need more partners. Tie-up at organizational level and also fund is needed. We will head there.

In’dialogues’ – India’s TED – Tribal Knowledge systems and contemporary education : Ganesh Devy

Ganesh Devy : literary critic and activist working for tribal welfare

Ganesh Devy : literary critic and activist working for tribal welfare

I would never like to call them Adivasis – tribals – janjati. They are the real stake holders of the land.

Knowledge and education – Not all knowledge is placed in formal education system. Huge amount of knowledge systems is outside – Music, arts, agriculture, engineering, medicine and healing, astronomy etc.

Education is not knowledge – there are many people who have a great amount of understanding on agriculture and cultivation, which an agri-scientist does not. Knowledge is inclusive… knowledge has time and space… plato to poulomi to Newton..

So many times I have been told, Indians are cyclical sense of time while others have linear. Barthruhari who wrote on grammar, wrote an additional book on time. He spoke about four characteristics of time..

  • Time – Water … cyclical
  • Time – straight road – we move along the linear
  • Time is like birds – trained to fly – fly differently but controlled by some body
  • Time is segregated, linear, aggregated.

One can be both rational and irrational, and be taker, maker and follower of knowledge

Theory and knowledge are not separated. Practicing people theorize. Learning happened when practice happened. Apprenticeship made it happen.

With the arrival of British, these practices have been trashed. Most important fact is all that is oral is not considered to be knowledge, that goes to the extent of instructions and to contracts. Only written books are allowed into the university. British intervention failed to understand the knowledge share, it actually did not understand the formation of the society.

University system was introduced. We still follow with minor modification. Our education system may be contemporary but not growing within.

Branding of people happened. States who became part of the people’s existence altered everything. How come this river and hill that belonging to us becomes part of the kingdom. I have become non-existent? Every thing was taken away…

Private enterprise or people made coins earlier. Coin-making was made part of the state, those who made coins earlier were made to be counter-feiters.

Agricultural yield was taxed on the area held, rather than on the yield that can change. Colonial system wanted the land to be listed. Wandering communities and entertainers became criminal tribes. A law was made in 1871, criminal law was changed to take care of this – 191 communities were declared criminal community. 690 were termed into tribal communities. They are not indigenous. They were engaged in economy and knowledge of India. We made them primitive, not knowing any idea of what it means.. We have become incapable of imagining tribes to be modern.

Language is the most distinguishing mark, differentiating one human being from the other. Voice along with body and eyes are used. Colonial understanding that, only that is written is valid, has made most of them invalid.

In early 19th century, when official printing was started, only a few languages were picked up. They were not picked up due to their richness and social spread of the languages. More developed languages were not the ones that came to print. We used paper since 13th century. Authors wrote and signed – Takuram, Kabir.. Voice and letters had no gap. With printing that gap came.

States were given to only those languages that are printed, when India got independence. Gujarati does not have any epics but state was there because it was printed. But Billi language has more epics but not printed.

One language can be written in different scripts – Sanskrit in three. One language can be written in different scripts, we limited it. Scripts came into existence for economic interest.

If you notice, script’s geographical forms come from number systems of the language.

How many languages in this country? 22 state languages, 26 languages get awards…In India we had 1652 mother tongues in 1961 census; In 1971 census it became 109;

Bangladesh came about due to Language. They declared only those languages that have more than 10000 speakers will be recognized, rest of the languages became all ‘others.’

If 3.9% of GDP is going to be for education, it is for only for those listed in 8th schedules. So all the languages that are not in there is not going to get any money for furthering. So all other languages and knowledge prevailing traditionally are weeded out.

Aphesia – either brain fails to communicate instructions or speech mechanisms do not identify. India has imposed Aphesia, 96% of languages are not heard in India. Every language has different ways of looking at the world, and they are not heard. We have imposed our likes and dislikes on vast number of people in this country.

We want in official forums to start thinking about it. In a recent meeting on intangible heritage, people were discussion about Interactive devices?!! 96% of the heritage has been left out!!

Adivasis always saw the earth as the place they belong. They did not see earth belonging to somebody. We are consuming natural resources, we are worried, climatic changes are drastic and beyond our control. Adivasis are at the receiving end of what these ‘knowledge’ owners push them into.

When we think of traditional knowledge, we need to understand that apprentice… those uneducated know more about agriculture than the agri scientists!

Degrees and affiliations are denigrating. Let us recognize the knowledge unrecognized. If we want to have sustainable development – not sustaining oneself – we need to sustain the mother earth. We need to recognize that knowledge. We need to evolve a system to recognize every body’s knowledge. We need to think education radically; we need to give the world a way, a paradigm of existence in future. Let us have dialogue with the ignored and bring them to the fore. It will give the world a word of hope.

We have a large class that wants to satisfy the urge very fast – Instant gratification:  Management of pain is anesthetics while pleasure is aesthetics. We have lost real aesthetics in the process. What we have developed over centuries – knowledge including all art forms – we put them into 3 min and 30 min idiot box and we do not have time and patience for them.

We need to open our mind and hear to integrate and help the world sustain. Let us do it.

Indialogues – India’s TED – India future of change

Amit Shahi, founder Idea Works and initiator of Indialogues welcoming

Amit Shahi, founder Idea Works and initiator of Indialogues welcoming

Amit Shahi

Engaging with the youth was the main aim behind these intrepid entrepreneurs. AISEC international conference in Hyderabad was where we launched. We felt the best way to connect was through competition that leads to collaboration and then co-creating.

Five competitions – poster, essay, photography, product and business plan competition.

Over today and tomorrow, we will hear out the contestants presenting their ideas for India’s future of change.

Navdeep Suri, public diplomacy, has been instrumental. Indialogues is a catalyst for bringing youth from all over the world to contribute to the cause of India. This conference is to bring them together to brainstorm and share…

Navdeep Suri, diplomat and head public diplomacy division, MEA

Navdeep Suri, diplomat and head public diplomacy division, MEA

Navdeep Suri –

India communicates too much, but we hear multiple voices.

What is public diplomacy – changing attitudes or influencing attitude in broadest of the terms. It is overt. It is a tool to influence hearts and minds of men and folks alike; has been in existence since Chanakya in 4th century.

Public is being informed, not just be govt, but by TV, social medial 24 X 7. Old way of govt to govt is not the way any more. We have multitude of factors going into this. We diplomats and govt need to evolve as the technology is changing rapidly. Joseph… We are trying to put all effort in fostering cohesive narrative and creating soft power of India. We can be a catalyst in creating soft power.

We have magnificent history – culture, yoga, dance…then iconic Gandhi, Tagore…. IT industry, pharma, automobile, emerging industries… Can we work on communicating by partnering with organizations like IDEAWORKS, taking Idea India to youth at all universities. It is about integrating and collaborating between youth of India and in other world. Government will be in the back seat as a facilitator of this process.

At the Africa-India summit in Ethiopia, we were asked whether we could take the dialogues beyond the conference rooms of government. That is how India- Africa shared program came about. We want people under 35, brilliant people and entrepreneurs, across the continents to come together and make the ideas happen.

Can we create a series on any conceivable facet of India in the format of TED Talks, in the public domain? We want to create a body of content on India specific ideas that can spread across.

In public diplomacy, how do we engage the youngsters – we moved into social spaces – FB, Twitter and You Tube. This platform is growing and is enabling us to do a few things, can we create communities of friends of India, with whatever background you are from. Can I engage you, can I use twitter to get relevant, pertinent issues across to you. If you have interest in any of the areas, we would like to build the rapport and connection.

In this age, propaganda is dead and it is all about credibility. We cannot do a fast one, we have to engage, that is where social media can be of immense value and public diplomacy of external affairs, we are keen on engaging with young people.

Is there any guidelines for engagement?

We have created a basic set and now about 50 embassies are on FB. We have sent fairly common sense set of dos and donts. First walk in, quiet and observe. When once it is obvious, then slowly plunge into conversation.

Government postings have to be different from individuals. It has to be of value in building the national interests.

How do we handle criticism, how do we handle the unparliamentary postings? Governments are used to being lambasted. Ignore but do not block, is the guidelines.

We need to engage. Even criticism is a way of getting feedback.

What are the battles?

We need to make the backend solid. We need to have mechanisms to address the issues. The response is immediate, communicating happens. Action is conveyed. At least the movement happens.

Mobilizing International talents

How do we engage international talents to get them into challenges? Cultural and language barriers have to be overcome.

Young visionaries programme would bring the visionaries who have solved issues elsewhere to bring in the dialogue with similar youngsters here to address those issues.

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