Articles by Prachi Pinglay-Plumber

Prachi Pinglay-Plumber is a freelance journalist based in Bengaluru.

What does the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) mean to the 23.8 lakh students aspiring to become doctors? "Blood, sweat, tears, repeat" — this is how a second year MBBS student described her years of preparation for the NEET, while studying in classes 11th and 12th. At least a year before that is consumed by anxiety, decision-making, determination and planning for the preparation. And, all this does not include the financial aspect, which amounts to lakhs and sometimes even crores.   Shalmali (name changed) is a second-year MBBS student in the Government Medical College in Dhule. She recounts the long…

Read more

Two months ago, a report by Global Forest Watch, said that India had lost 2.33 million hectares of tree cover since 2000. Given the push for infrastructure development in the country and closer home in Mumbai, forests such as Aarey, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, and wetlands and mangrove forests in Navi Mumbai are constantly at risk.   While successive governments promise afforestation in other areas as compensation, activists and citizens often find that the biodiversity and fragile ecological balance are lost forever. However, the argument that development at the cost of the environment is unavoidable, seems to be getting stronger. Those…

Read more

Loretta Maria Pereira, 66, a committed and enthusiastic voter for decades, had noticed a discrepancy in her voter profile, where she was marked as male. She had applied online for correction, well in time, and was all set to vote in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha 2024 elections on May 20th. But to her shock, the clarification was not updated in the electoral rolls and the polling officer wouldn’t let her vote.  Loretta spent the next three hours calling people who could help, going online, and going to the Khar election office from her polling booth in Chimbai,…

Read more

Finally, it is that time again, after five years. Voting for the 18th Lok Sabha is on May 20th for Mumbai and people are watching the high-pitched campaigns by candidates. And many voters — young and old — are perplexed at political developments over the past few months and years.  It is hard to tell when it started, or that it was always there. At one time, defecting to another political party was looked down upon. Political leaders who party-hopped were quizzed by the media, questioned by the people at public meetings and had to work doubly hard to convince…

Read more

“Just, I mean, I don’t feel like voting. This politics and all. I didn’t even apply, I think I was late,” rattled one of my students when I asked if they had all registered to vote as most of them had turned 18 one or two years ago.  This was pretty much the chorus. They spoke about how it was too late when they tried to register, how it was so difficult (which was promptly rejected by those who had done it), how they were in a different city, how they were not interested in politics and how it was…

Read more

Another year goes by and most of us, who are not directly affected, are watching the world in turmoil helplessly from a distance. Whether it is extreme violence and massacre of human rights in Gaza or the tepid COP 28 commitments for climate action. Closer home, there is a record number of suspensions of members of our parliament and passage of bills without debates, raising disturbing questions about India's democratic structures. And then in Mumbai, one has almost gotten used to the fact that the city has not had the municipal elections so as to expect our elected representatives to…

Read more

It has become a norm now. We go all out for festivals. We need to fulfil our desires to celebrate and conform to practices laid down by ancestors or traditions that simply happened over time. And then, in hindsight, we take stock of everything - the money we spent, the bills we ran, junk we ate and the waste and pollution that we contributed to. We promise ourselves every year to do better next time. Until the cycle repeats over and over. This Diwali was no different. Not to mention the World Cup fever that only added to the feelings…

Read more

Mumbai was once known for local tournaments of games such as Wrestling, Kabaddi and Kho kho, which required minimal infrastructure and were popular among city's youth. They provided opportunities for the players to succeed at state, national level as well. Lack of open spaces has many repercussions. Particularly worrying is shrinkage of spaces that are dedicated for playing - playing any sports such as Football, Cricket, Hockey, Kho kho. Playgrounds help the younger generations stay fit, active, build team spirit and channelise their boundless energy positively. Organisations and people have dedicated themselves to save the green cover, preserve mangroves and…

Read more

Mumbai is the financial capital of India, a city of dreams with an underworld beneath its dark belly, and Bollywood that glitters over it. It’s a congested, over-crowded city that feeds everyone who comes with hope and hard work… so on and on… Mumbai and neighbouring Thane is all this and more. Beyond what is obvious, the city is also its millions of common people that work tirelessly to make a living and keep the city moving. Citizen Matters focuses on those people and issues that matter to them, to make every city a little bit better. For most of…

Read more

In March 2020, when the pandemic set in and lockdown was first imposed, spread of the virus, lack of adequate medical care, the lack of vaccines and loss of livelihoods of millions of citizens were the primary concerns among the government and the people. However, as time progressed and the radical changes to lives, livelihoods and lifestyles became more pronounced, increasingly, the discussions – both at a personal and at policy level – turned to the pandemic's impact on mental health. Add to that the several reports about skewed access to education and problems related to online education among children…

Read more