On the Contrary by IDR

India Development Review & Maed in India

On the Contrary by IDR is a show about listening to people not like us. In every episode, the host chats with guests as they share their diverse experiences, perspectives, and expertise on an issue—gender, climate change, caste, mental health, and more. The goal is to get people to explore their similarities and differences, and find a new, shared understanding. New episode out every Wednesday.

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3 mins
Schools in India: Public vs private
Can investing in government schools result in an improved education system? Or does the answer lie in developing affordable private schools? In this episode, Aditya Natraj, CEO of Piramal Foundation, and Parth Shah, founder-president of the Centre for Civil Society, discuss the pros and cons of government and private schools, and why both systems need to work together to ensure quality education for children.  Highlights: The pandemic has thrown up many challenges for both government and private schools. The entire education system needs to be reassessed to ensure children don’t suffer any further learning losses.  A monopoly of either system takes away parents’ right to choose the kind of education they want for their children. It is important for affordable private schools to co-exist with government schools. There is a huge gap between the perception and reality of both schooling systems. The perception of either system’s performance vis-a-vis national surveys and popular media does not usually paint the whole picture. For more information about IDR, go to www.idronline.com. Also, follow IDR on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram.  Read more: 1.  The purpose of education: Learn, do, become. 2.  Are private schools really better than government schools? 3.  “Let us not give up on government schools” 4.  Can we ensure all children return to schools? 5.  How reliable is India’s learning outcomes data? 6.  State of the sector report on private schools in India 7.  Without accountability, there’s no pressure to improve 8.  What standardised testing doesn’t tell us about learning 9.  What the National Education Policy means for India 10.  Why Indian children can’t read 11.  Education in India needs an overhaul 12.  Teacher shortage: A problem of distribution or scarcity? 13.  The billion dollar opportunity in affordable private schools 14.  Charting the rise of budget private schools
40 mins
What should India learn from disasters?
In this episode KK Shailaja, former health minister of Kerala, and Liby Johnson, executive director of Gram Vikas, discuss why disaster preparedness is about more than just building back better. What is needed is a model of development that is inclusive and prioritises the well-being of all citizens. Highlights Socio-economic factors play a huge role in how a particular state or region is affected by a disaster. The marginalised population of a state is worst-hit during a disaster.   Disaster management is an ongoing development issue that requires long-term disaster preparedness, where planning and building resilience precedes the calamity. The urban local bodies and panchayats must be decentralised and given more power as they can play a decisive role in resilience and trust-building among communities. There should be less parenting and more partnerships between the citizens and the state to have a more involved citizenry. Nonprofits can play a significant role in bridging the gap between local governance and the people. For more information about IDR, go to www.idronline.com. Also, follow IDR on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram.  Read more: 1. Rethinking our approaches to disaster relief 2. Climate change, disaster, and what philanthropy can do 3. NREGA: A pathway to climate resilience 4. IPCC Report 2022: How climate change impacts the most vulnerable countries 5. Unpaid claims for natural disasters at over INR 1,705 crore, says IRDA report 6. Buffeted by cyclones and floods, Mumbai enacts its very own climate action plan 7. Lessons to be learned from 'Kerala flood response' and building disaster resilience 8. Following the Odisha example for developing community based disaster management in India 9. Odisha’s affordable and disaster resilient houses 10. India needs state-specific disaster readiness plan
34 mins
Philanthropy and power
Would philanthropy be more impactful if donors took a trust-based approach? In this episode Reshma Anand, CEO of Hindustan Unilever Foundation, and Anand Sinha, India country adviser at Packard Foundation, discuss the role of trust in philanthropy and why power needs to be shared in order to create a more just and equitable society.  Highlights: Power dynamics in philanthropy are deeply entrenched. Changing this to share power with others requires donors to significantly change how they do business and think about accountability. If philanthropy wants to bring about sustainable, long-term social change then it needs to focus on enablers and capabilities and not just on activities.  A strategic approach to giving is compatible with a trust-based approach. Trust works both ways—grantees and donors must build and earn each other’s trust so they can communicate more effectively. For more information about IDR, go to www.idronline.com. Also, follow IDR on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram. Read more: 1. Why can’t more philanthropists think like MacKenzie Scott? 2. Where Indian philanthropy has gone wrong 3. Reflections: Philanthropy in India during COVID-19 4. The Trust Based Philanthropy Project 5. It’s time for funders to pay-what-it-takes 6. How funders in India can better manage the risks of big philanthropy 7. Love, not log frames 8. “Philanthropy is not only for the wealthy” 9. Is philanthropy really changing anything? 10.  Making philanthropy more business-like is a big mistake
36 mins
Notes on anti-caste allyship: Christina Dhanaraj and Dhanya Rajendran
How can anti-caste allyship move beyond lip service and cede power? In this episode, Christina Dhanaraj and Dhanya Rajendran discuss what it really means to be an anti-caste ally, the role institutions must play, and why caste-marginalised people should take centre stage in the anti-caste movement. Highlights While affirmative action has played a role in bringing caste-marginalised people into formal institutions, higher positions continue to be occupied by those belonging to the dominant castes.  We still have caste-powered people at the centre, thinking of how they can be better allies. Instead, caste-oppressed people need to be at the fore, holding the power and being the ones originating anti-caste discourses.  Social media has been a powerful platform for anti-caste voices and conversations. However, the call outs that have been happening seem to be taking up more real estate than the issues we should be talking about.  It is important to educate and speak to younger generations about caste exclusion and oppression, and make them aware of their privileges early on.  For more information about IDR, go to www.idronline.com. Also, follow IDR on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram. Read more: The politics of mental health and well-being. Who tells our stories: Representation of marginalised caste groups in Indian newsrooms  IDR Interviews | Bezwada Wilson “I want to build a better life for those around me” A story of caste, class, and activism Photo essay: Justice delayed is justice denied Caste, friendship and solidarity How caste oppression is institutionalised in India’s sanitation jobs  Readings for an anti-caste education  We tell our stories ourselves: Young Bahujan artists on Instagram This podcast is a Maed in India production, you can find out more about us https://www.maedinindia.in/
42 mins
Have gender attitudes really changed in our country?
Have gender attitudes really changed in our country? In this episode, writer and professor Nivedita Menon speaks with Sujata Khandekar, founding director of CORO, about gender identities and norms, the need to challenge them, and how we can change traditional attitudes towards gender. Highlights While there have been certain visible shifts in gender attitudes, these have not been uniform for all women and across all domains. There is considerable backlash when people do not conform to traditional gender identities, especially for those who may identify as non-binary, transgender, etc. This is often the price that people pay for threatening the existing social order.  Dialogue is an important tool to initiate change, not just with people outside the home who may have differing opinions, but also within our immediate circles—family, friends, and those we consider allies. The institution of traditional heterosexual marriage and the normative concept of a family further reinforce strict identities of a man and a woman.  For more information about IDR, go to www.idronline.com. Also, follow IDR on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram. Read more 1. 7 years after SC judgment, third genders say they feel like second class citizens 2. Gender inequality: What really needs to change 3. What does NFHS-5 data tell us about women empowerment in India? 4. “We want the same rights as cisgender women” 5. India’s health systems exclude LGBTQ+ people. This needs to change. 6. “There’s a story behind each of those self-inflicted wounds” 7. We need to change how we report crimes against women 8. It’s time to compensate women’s unpaid labour 9. Learning from the grassroots This podcast is a Maed in India production, you can find out more about us https://www.maedinindia.in/
39 mins
Mental health at work: Productivity vs well-being
Is mental health and well-being an individual or an organisational responsibility? In this episode, Raj Mariwala, director at Mariwala Health Initiative, and Santrupt Misra, director of Group HR at Aditya Birla Group, discuss the importance of talking about mental health at work and how organisations can be more inclusive. Highlights  Mental illness is often treated just like physical health, that is, a set of symptoms that needs to be cured. But the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that mental health is deeply connected to our lives, the environments we inhabit, and our contexts.   A well-run organisation realises that there is no dichotomy between revenue generation and employee well-being. They understand that organisations are productive precisely because of their employees.  Workplaces need to make reasonable accommodations for mental health, and this can include extra days of leave and decreasing daily working hours, among other measures.   If senior leadership can display authenticity and vulnerability, it makes people around them feel more comfortable to share. Workplaces mirror the larger prejudices of society. Therefore, mental health policies in an organisation need to include other anti-discrimination policies and safeguards. Organisations need to look at different ways to measure productivity. For more information about IDR, visit www.idronline.com. Also, follow IDR on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram. Read more 1. COVID-19 and unresolved grief: How workplaces can respond 2. Productivity at the cost of well-being 3. Supporting well-being in resource-scarce environments 4. Mental health in India: Underserved and underfunded 5. Employee mental health: A guide for the social sector 6. It’s a New Era for Mental Health at Work 7. Who is ‘self-improvement’ for? 8. The problem with resilience as we know it 9. The politics of mental health and well-being 10.  Are our cities making us lonely? 11.  Community mental health: Not a silver bullet 12.  Why we need to take a systemic approach to suicide prevention This podcast is a Maed in India production, you can find out more about us https://www.maedinindia.in/
39 mins
How to fix India’s healthcare system
Dr Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), and Dr Sangita Reddy, joint managing director of Apollo Hospitals, talk about India’s public health system—what the largest gaps are, where the greatest needs are, and what the role of private players and the public sector needs to be. Highlights We need to identify the largest gaps in India’s healthcare system and prioritise the aspects that need to be strengthened over the next few years. Mere infrastructure strengthening will not be enough—we need a multi-layered and multiskilled healthcare workforce as well.Technology can help reimagine healthcare by creating a system of disease surveillance and prevention through detailed personal health records. For a robust health system we must acknowledge both—the needs of individuals and the social, economic, and environmental contexts that impact their choices and access to healthcare. Read more The healthcare skew What the numbers say about the performance of Ayushman Bharat A pathway to universal healthcare in India India’s push for universal healthcare depends on women’s safety The trouble with developing a framework for primary healthcare delivery Healthcare: 5 Non-COVID Areas To Focus On In 2021 Can private healthcare provide more value to consumers? Young adults in India want better healthcare 8 Ways in Which India's Public Healthcare Can Change for the Better India: Health of the Nation’s States. The India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative A replicable model for urban healthcare COVID-19: A unique opportunity to reform our health systemsWhat is keeping the doctors away? Are India’s healthcare goals inclusive of tribal peoples?IDR Interviews | Dr Rani Bang Reimagining the role of ASHA workers A day in the life of: A community health workerThe ecology of an itch This podcast is a Maed in India production, you can find out more about us https://www.maedinindia.in/
27 mins
Social impact: What does it mean and how do we measure it?
In this episode, Hari Menon, who heads the India office of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Vineet Rai, founder and chairperson of Aavishkaar Group, discuss all things social impact—what it means, how the investing world calculates it, and why we need to expand our definition of what ‘counts’ as impact. Highlights  What social impact means, how we should measure it, and what needs to change in how we approach it.Who gets to decide what counts as impact—funders, social impact organisations, or the people they are meant to serve?What are the trade-offs between impact, sustainability, and scalability? When it comes to social impact, can investors realistically move away from quantitative metrics in favour of more qualitative ones? Read more IDR Explains | Impact investing Scaling out, scaling up, scaling deep: Advancing systemic social innovation and the learning processes to support it Is size the right metric to measure impact? Rethinking participatory development in the context of scale The social innovation paradox: Why it’s hard to be both innovative and scalable Are social change and scale mutually exclusive?Lessons in scaling with the governmentQuestioning scale as we know it ‘Who determines what impact matters most?’ Building purpose beyond CSR Funders, it’s time we change our relationship with data For more information about IDR, go to www.idronline.com. Also, follow IDR on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram. This podcast is a Maed in India production, you can find out more about us https://www.maedinindia.in/
27 mins
Technology: Democratising or dividing?
Kiran Karnik, former president of NASSCOM, and Osama Manzar, co-founder of Digital Empowerment Foundation, discuss the promises and pitfalls of technology, the gaps in its application in India, and the role the government can play in making access to technology more equitable. Highlights (for the app only): How digital technologies have enabled people, even in the remotest parts of India.Why we cannot look at technology in isolation and need to address the systemic flaws creating unequal access.Why the government’s primary objective when it comes to using technology must be to create more equity for its citizens.Why the purpose of technology must be very clear. Whose interest does it serve? Does it benefit the least empowered people in the world? Read more: The missing link in technologyIndia urgently needs an EdTech policy How the social sector thinks about tech is wrongDeveloping our digital commons How to think about funding technology in the social sector Four things to think about with tech for social goodAre we ready for EdTech? When internet comes home: E-learning in Indian villages during COVID-19Connecting the disconnectedOpen-source tech for nonprofits India’s gendered digital divide Non-linkage with Aadhaar has impeded access of the poor to welfare entitlements An offline alternative for Aadhaar-based biometric authentication How COVID-19 deepens the digital education divide in India This podcast is a Maed in India production, you can find out more about us https://www.maedinindia.in/
29 mins
What makes a good city?
What makes a city liveable? Who should benefit the most from the growth of a city—financial investors or its residents? On this episode, Sheela Patel, director of SPARC, and Ireena Vittal, former partner at McKinsey, answer these questions and more. Highlights: Who are our cities built for? Whose voices do we prioritise in order to plan our cities better?Climate change is not a separate space, but a lens that we must adopt while planning resilient cities. We need to ensure continuous dialogue between those governing the cities and everyone living in the cities.Citizens must be active participants in the planning and operation of cities. Read more Want a better quality of life? ‘Project spending’ can only take our cities so farIDR Explains | Local government in IndiaHow can we empower city governments?Fighting COVID-19 in cities Six things we learned from Dr Armida FernandezThe gaps and opportunities in low-income housing How can Indian cities shield vulnerable migrants from climate change? With better affordable housing What India can learn about effective rental housing for migrant workers Photo essay: How sanitation workers live and work in urban India It’s time to reimagine water systems in cities Mumbai’s climate adaptation plan: Designing the city for water Make India climate smart: We have big infrastructure plans but forget to review them through a climate change lens Finding the missing pieces of urban planning puzzle in India This podcast is a Maed in India production, you can find out more about us https://www.maedinindia.in/
30 mins
Climate change: Top down, bottom up
In this episode, we discuss how global climate policy is made, how it negatively impacts communities on the ground, and what needs to change when it comes to policy at a national level. Speakers include Nitin Desai, Indian economist and key draftsman of the landmark Brundtland Commission report, and Ulka Kelkar, Director of the Climate programme at World Resources Institute. Highlights How is climate change affecting marginalised communities on the ground? What the focus of global climate policy has been so far, and what it needs to be going forward.How can we balance scientific expertise with local knowledge on climate change?Why we need to adopt a climate lens at an individual, organisational, and societal level. Know more  IPCC climate change report: What does it mean for India? Essential climate change terms, explained What will it take to prioritise climate change? What is COP26 in Glasgow and why does the climate change summit matter?The Health Argument for Climate Action: COP26 Special Report on Climate Change and Health How to make climate action popularClimate change, disasters, and what philanthropy can doIDR Interviews | Dr Vandana Shiva Humanity’s greatest ally against climate change is Earth itself P Sainath: The water crisis is not caused by drought Can solar power initiatives provide sustainable self-employment?COVID-19 has exacerbated climate concernsEcology is economyEconomic growth vs climate security: We can have it all The environmental movement has made a few mistakes This podcast is a Maed in India production, you can find out more about us https://www.maedinindia.in/
32 mins
COVID-19: Vaccine vs Virus
Microbiologist and virologist, Dr Gagandeep Kang speaks with Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the founder-chairperson of one of India’s largest pharmaceutical companies, about India’s flawed vaccine roll-out, and the trade-offs between patents and pricing.  Highlights India’s vaccine roll-out programme: How does one decide who gets priority and who does not?What does the Indian government need to do to ensure vaccines are affordable and available for everyone?What role should the private sector play in India’s vaccine roll-out programme?Should COVID-19 vaccines be protected by patents?  For more information about IDR, go to www.idronline.com. Also, follow IDR on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram. Read more India’s COVID-19 vaccine drive is excluding millions of citizens India’s COVID-19 response limited by strong urban and tech bias Fighting the pandemic: Two contrasting approaches[T1] How rebuilding trust in the public healthcare system can help combat vaccine hesitancy in rural communities A ‘corona demon’ raises awareness about COVID-19 in rural Andhra Pradesh A pathway to universal healthcare in India Engaging communities is critical to the COVID-19 response Is the COVID-19 vaccine in India a public or a private good? Upholding trust in vaccination Covid-19 Pandemic: Shortages, Hesitancy and Pricing Plague India’s Covid-19 Vaccination Programme All work, no vaccines: Security guards and COVID-19Learn more about the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations or Cepi ‘None are safe until all are safe’: COVID-19 vaccine rollout in low- and middle-income countries Covid: The vaccine patent row explained This podcast is a Maed in India production, you can find out more about us https://www.maedinindia.in/
35 mins
The purpose of education: learn, do, become.Fighting the pandemic: two contrasting approaches
Nachiket Mor, expert in health systems design, and Dr Abhay Bang, public health expert with deep experience working at the grassroots, debate the approach India must take when fighting the second wave of COVID-19. Mor is in favour of a more centralised approach, grounded in science and trust. On the contrary, Bang believes local communities know best when it comes to their problems. Highlights –  The current catastrophe we are facing in India points to the need for a stronger governance model, and a health system that inspires trust, and better serves the people. Comprehensive, high quality primary care informed by expertise has to be the bedrock of any health system.We need both science, as well as the knowledge, experience, and buy-in of local communities at the grassroots, to fight a pandemic like this one. Communities need to be at the centre of this fight, with the government, the private sector, and civil society, doing more.  For more information about IDR, go to www.idronline.org. Also, follow IDR on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram. Read more:  How you can support nonprofits in their COVID-19 relief efforts in 2021 How is rural Bihar dealing with the second wave of COVID-19? A pandemic, an infodemic, and the fear of vaccinationMental health and COVID-19 in IndiaMaking virtual volunteering workResearch, for whom? A day in the life of a hospital ward worker, who cares for COVID-19 patients at a government hospital A day in the life of a sero survey field manager, who works in the slums of Mumbai. The Wisdom of the Crowds You cannot bypass the power of communities Photo essay: The everyday lives of migrants This is a Maed in India production. To find out more visit www.maedinindia.in.
45 mins
A Message from IDREnvironment vs Economy
In the race for economic growth, who wins and who loses? In this episode, Bittu Sahgal, environmental activist and writer, and TV Narendran, CEO and Managing Director of Tata Steel, discuss the conflict between the economy, industry and environment. Highlights –  The need to move beyond GDP and economic growth to include environmental indicators when assessing a country’s performance.What has been and needs to be done to ensure that industry, government, and society engage in more conversations about sustainable long-term economic growth. How the needs of industry, government, and community can be better balanced when it comes to policy-making. How to persuade businesses and governments to think and act long-term when it comes to growth strategy as well as the environment.  For more information about IDR, go to www.idronline.org. Also, follow IDR on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram. Read more:  Sustainable Economic Development Assessment (SEDA) The Vision of a Well-Being EconomyEcology is EconomyEconomic growth vs climate security: We can have it all The need to invest in climate change education India ranks 168th on Environmental Protection Index  India ranks 120th of 122 countries in a global water quality index CSR and sustainable development: Do Indian companies care about the environment?  The environmental movement has made a few mistakesIDR Interviews | Dr. Vandana ShivaClimate finance for MSMEs Climate change cost India over 2000 lives and $37 billion in just a year Production by Maed in India find out more at www.maedinindia.in.
25 mins
The architecture of good markets
In this episode, business leader and ex-President of the Confederation of Indian Industry, Naushad Forbes, speaks with former journalist and philanthropist Rohini Nilekani, about what a good market looks like. They discuss what markets must include, whom they should serve, and the role they must play in enabling inclusive economic growth. Highlights –  - There’s a need to create a better balance between the public (government), private, and civil society sectors, such that the benefits of the market are evenly distributed across all.  - What is the role that markets can play in creating a more inclusive pattern of growth, one with less environmental degradation, and more equity, more justice? - What needs to change about the processes currently in place for economic reforms, to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth? - We need to create democratic and safe platforms to listen to and talk with all citizens, not just experts and people at the top, in order to ensure a more equitable economy. For more information about IDR, go to www.idronline.org. Also, follow IDR on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram. Read more: Transforming systems: Why the world needs a new ethical toolkit Redesigning the aeroplane while flying: Reforming institutionsAddressing inequality in India  Wealth of India’s richest 1% more than 4-times of total for 70% poorest: Oxfam India must come to terms with inequality: Thomas PikettyIDR Interviews | Muhammad Yunus Amitabh Behar on the changing nature of civil society Why we must listen to farmersCreating resilience to the dream Bringing informal workers to the forefront of our economy How do you solve a problem like livelihoods?  The Tyranny of Merit: What’s become of the Common GoodWe need new practices and ideasA new paradigm for rural livelihoods This is a Maed in India production, to find out more visit www.maedinindia.in.
41 mins
Caste discrimination: Fighting it, ending itProductivity vs poverty
Manish Sabharwal, Chairperson and Co-founder of Teamlease argues that in order to compete in a global economy, India needs greater productivity and formal employment. Renana Jhabvala, best known for her long association with SEWA (Self-Employed Women's Association) where she organised women into trade unions, argues the opposite. India’s informal economy is large and here to stay, and our labour laws must accommodate informal workers. Highlights – The size and shape of the informal labour economy in India, including its role in India’s economic growthThe trade offs between a focus on greater productivity and on supporting small and informal enterprisesHow the policy environment excludes informal workersThe need for a stronger social security net for informal workers For more information about IDR, go to www.idronline.org. Also, follow IDR on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram. Read more: Reduce state-level regulatory cholestrol to aid job creation Education, labour and agriculture reforms will usher in individual freedom It’s time to compensate women’s unpaid labour Labour rights have worsened post lockdownMaking labour systems work Labour reforms can help reshape India’s growth trajectory There is much in the labour codes that needs to be discussed and debated Promise and pitfalls of new labour deal Remaking India: One Country, One DestinyMaking movements resilientQuestioning the informal-formal binaryA day in the life of labour rights activist Production by Maed in India
30 mins
Farmer protests, dissent, and disappointment