OPEDS

Four hundred and twenty people continue to lose their lives on Indian roads every single day. In 2022, India recorded 4.43 lakh road crashes, resulting in the death of 1.63 lakh people. Vulnerable road-users like pedestrians, bicyclists and two-wheelers riders comprised 67% of the deceased. Road crashes also pose an economic burden, costing the exchequer 3.14% of India’s GDP annually.  These figures underscore the urgent need for effective interventions, aligned with global good practices. Sweden's Vision Zero road safety policy, adopted in 1997, focussed on modifying infrastructure to protect road users from unacceptable levels of risk and led to a…

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The transformation of Chennai, from a trading post entrenched in the bylanes of Fort St. George, to a bustling metropolis with gleaming skyscrapers along the historic Mahabalipuram road underscores its economic progress and growth. The visionaries of the city exhibited exemplary foresight in establishing an extensive road network and suburban train systems that set a precedent for the future. The city’s continued investment in the Metro Rail, connecting important nodes of the city, is encouraging use of public transport. As per the Ease of Moving Index — Chennai City Profile report, Chennai leads the way with the highest mass transit…

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Chennai received one of its worst rains in the last 80 years in December 2023*, and we should not be surprised if the city is primed to break more such records in the future for the worse. The scenes of boats out on the streets, families stranded on rooftops, and news media outlets asking what happened to all the funds sanctioned for building stormwater drains are painfully familiar for Chennai come monsoon-cyclones season. Since 2015, this ‘water-stressed’ city has endured brutal cycles of extreme rainfall and destructive flooding, most recently from Cyclone Michaung. The 2015 deluge saw nearly 50 cm…

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As a teenager residing in Chennai, I observed a noticeable difference in the level of concern for safety between boys my age and myself, when in parks or outdoor spaces. While boys could play freely without feeling threatened, my own experiences were quite different. I would often be approached by unfamiliar men asking invasive questions, making me conscious of my vulnerability. This seems to be a shared experience among girls, not only confined to parks but extending to various public spaces. It brings to light a gender disparity in outdoor experiences, emphasising the need to establish a more inclusive and…

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The basic necessities of democracy are timely elections, as well as formation and continuance of an elected government without any delays or truncated tenures. The idea of 'one nation, one election' has caught the attention of the people as the Government of India wants to adopt a policy of simultaneous elections across the country. It has formed a high level committee (HLC), headed by the former president of India, Ram Nath Kovind, to examine the matter comprehensively and make recommendations for holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha, the state Legislative Assemblies, the Municipalities and the Gram Panchayats. Even though…

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COP28 emerges at a crucial juncture for global climate action amid escalating temperatures and unprecedented climate-related events. It is placed historically – as per the UN's global stocktake synthesis report - to align with the Paris Agreement's goals and address numerous issues, steering the world towards a more sustainable trajectory.  COP28 includes the inaugural global stocktake, a pivotal mechanism for evaluating progress under the Paris Agreement, putting into action the loss and damage fund from COP27 and figuring out a plan for the global goal on adaptation in the Paris Agreement. Also, parties are discussing aspects like a switch to…

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As I write this, Hyderabad is gearing up to vote in the Telangana state assembly polls scheduled for November 30th. Political rhetoric and slugfests have both been at a peak over the last few months leading up to these elections. But in the usual noise, what is often lost are the real needs of the city and its people. What Hyderabad needs most urgently is good governance. There is a vacuum of participatory governance, ethical governance, transparent governance, and accountable governance. The city faces several social, economic, environmental and other challenges, the resolution for which can come about only through…

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I was randomly browsing through my Linkedin feeds when I came across a post on a seminar advocating for inclusion of waste workers in the city’s formal waste management system. Convened by a reputed institution, the seminar had its heart in the right place, but what made me cringe was the term used to describe the people in waste.  ‘Rag pickers’.  They simply got the language wrong.  What’s wrong, you may ask. We all use the term  ‘rag pickers’ to describe someone who makes their living out of waste  - and after all they do collect some rags.  Even the…

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Bengaluru has attracted people from all walks of life. In addition to long term inhabitants, it is a city for students, factory workers, small vendors, and sees a lot of migrant population. The Bangalore Urban district mostly comprises the Bangalore metropolitan area. In 2011, this district was 90% urban, and it may be assumed to be almost entirely urban in nature.  Understanding the healthcare needs of migrant workers Migration is a complex process with far reaching effects on individuals, societies, and health systems. The urban migrant population often experiences significant barriers to accessing health services, including limited availability of services,…

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The Rajasthan Right to Health Care Act (the RRTH Act) passed by the legislative assembly of the state of Rajasthan on March 21st this year, draws our attention to the quintessential issue of patients’ rights in healthcare. In the doctor-centric health care system in India, patient rights seldom feature in public debate, are rarely considered integral to realising our citizenship, and are not legally defined. Yet, patient rights form a very significant component of  citizens’ fundamental right to health care.  The Right to Health Care Act is framed with the objective of ensuring health for all, and also conversely, that…

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