MyIndia Initiative- Digital Volunteer Programme

The Concept: The Digital Volunteer Programme is aimed at people who are keen to use their personal social presence on different  social media platforms to talk about Government schemes and programmes. Deeply rooted in the ideals of Participative Governance, the programme aims at helping the Government of India achieve a real time engagement with people leading to a personalized interaction with the target groups. 

You may associate with this Initiative if you:
1.Have an active Twitter and Facebook account
2.Are Proficient in using social media group collaboration tools like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite etc.
3.Have an active and regularly checked email account
4.Access to a Computer/Smartphone with Internet
5.Are willing to use your personal social presence to help Government spread a word about its policies and programmes

To facilitate a personalised interaction, a Digital Volunteer
1. may like to talk  about Government Initiatives by retweeting the  messages tweeted  by MIB's Twitter Handle @MIB_India
2. may share  Ministry's Tweets (@MIB_India), Facebook Posts  (,  Blog posts (  and share YouTube Channel videos( on Social Networking sites
3. may mention Official Twitter handle of MIB @MIB_India in tweets to facilitate real time engagement.
4. may suggest ways to reach out to people on social media

“Mass awareness required on simple steps to control diarrhoea”

Dr Harsh Vardhan calls for CSR funds to back plan to build toilets

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister, today appealed to India’s corporate sector to contribute to a nationwide project to build toilets. An endeavour on such an extensive scale has not been attempted by the government before and its success hinges much on the consensus that open defecation is a national curse which should end, the Health Minister said.

“Our Prime Minister has pledged to stop the practice,” the Minister said while inaugurating the Ministry’s first ever “Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF)”. The injection of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds would help make his dream of a toilet for every Indian a reality, Dr Harsh Vardhan said.

The Health Minister said that the government has placed unprecedented emphasis on out of the box solutions to long –standing problems. “So much has been done for so many years. What we now need are ideas which defy the trodden path and call for courageous action,” the Minister said.

The fact that India’s health administrators failed to spread mass awareness on diarrhoea management speaks volumes of the inefficiency of previous programmes, he said. It is therefore time to think up novel communication vehicles. Diarrhoea kills more than 1.36 million children annually, the third biggest cause of child mortality, he noted.

The Minister said, “We don’t have forever to bring down the death rate. By September 2015 we have to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. I have therefore called for large scaling pooling of synergies to challenge the scourge of child deaths.”

Outlining the rationale of IDCF, the Minister said it would mobilise health personnel at both central and state levels and from the volunteer sector to give momentum to diarrhoea control measures. It is essentially a set of activities which include enhancing advocacy, step up awareness generation, establish more ORS-Zinc corners, enthuse ASHA volunteers to reach Oral Rehydration Solution packets to families with children as well as detect children in need of treatment, the Health Minister stated.

The Minister appealed to mothers not to stop breast feeding children under six months with diarrhoea symptoms. This is covered under IDCF’s programme of spreading knowledge of best practices of infant and child feeding.

Elaborating on the programme through a presentation, Dr Mathuram Santosham of John Hopkins University, Maryland, USA and Dr Rakesh Kumar, Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry, said that during the fortnight intensified community awareness campaigns on hygiene and age-appropriate childhood feeding practices and promotion of ORS and Zinc Therapy will be conducted at the state, district and village levels.

Mr Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF’s India Representative, felicitated the Ministry for organising IDCF saying it would re-energise India’s efforts to prevent child deaths in the country by increasing access to life-saving interventions.

Dr Nata Menabde, World Health Organisation’s chief in India, said, “Many children in the developing world cannot access urgent medical care for severe illnesses for want of hygiene, sanitation, safe drinking water and exclusive breast feeding. These should be the critical components of diarrhoea control.”

Mr Lov Verma, Union Health Secretary, said that there had been a decline in infant and child mortality rates in recent years owing to increased access to immunisation and child health services.

Advertising campaign to be launched to popularize Science Express- Biodiversity Special- Prakash Javadekar Biodiversity awareness to be raised through Science Express; to cover more than 50 locations Science Express Biodiversity Special flagged off

Minister of State (Independent Charge) Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar along with Minister of Railways, Shri D. V. Sadananda Gowda and Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science and Technology, Dr. Jitendra Singh flagged off the 3rd phase of Science Express Biodiversity Special (SEBS) at Safdarjung Railway Station today. An innovative exhibition on wheels, this train aims to create awareness amongst masses in general and youth in particular about the exceptional biodiversity of India. It is a flagship venture of Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Ministry of Science and Technology and Indian Railways. 

Speaking at the occasion, Shri Javadekar said in order to evince interest amongst the people, an advertising campaign would be initiated so as to sensitize and educate the masses on the nuances of the rich biodiversity of the country. Shri Javadekar emphasized that Science and Technology had commenced a successful journey today to sensitize the richness of India’s diversity amongst the masses. In order to take the issue associated with biodiversity forward, society needed to base its foundation on the rationale of scientific temper. It was important in the backdrop of India comprising 2.5% of land mass on earth, 17% of world population and yet being home to 8% of world biodiversity. The Minister added that this was no ordinary train. It is a journey of learning, spreading the message of Bio diversity conservation and telling people that even in these modern times, we still have to depend on bio diversity. The train covering a span of 194 days at 57 locations would benefit 30 lakh students, he said. 

Highlighting the importance of the initiative, the Minister mentioned that the train was in fact the brand ambassador of the COP 11. It showcased the rich biodiversity of India to delegates from over 190 countries. For this the train was stationed at Secunderabad in October 2012 to facilitate visit of delegates to the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity. Indeed, there were quite a few records and milestones that we believe this train has achieved. It was perhaps the world’s most visited train exhibition. Within India, it had gone to the highest rail track possible for broad gauge, and also covered some extreme locations in the north, south, east and west. 

In his address, Railway Minister, Shri Sadananda Gowda stated that this initiative was unique and innovative as it touched “real India”. It provided a platform to showcase the achievements of science to the people. Minister for Science & Technology, Shri Jitendra Singh mentioned that science needed to be utilized for the larger picture of social transformation. This implied using science for optimum social progress and scientific transformation. 

The present run of the train is in the 3rd Phase. In this phase, the train is envisaged to cover 57 locations on Broad Gauge network of Indian Railways across the entire length & breadth of the country. Of the 16 coaches of the Science Express- Biodiversity Special, 8 are solely dedicated to showcasing the myriad biodiversity spread across all the bio-geographical zones of India through a variety of interactive exhibits, short films & videos that are shown on Plasma & LED TV screens, large format displays, kiosks and back lit panels. The remaining coaches have interesting & informative exhibits on Climate Changes, Energy and Water conservation and other topical issues. 

The current decade (2011-2020) has been declared as the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity and United Nations Decade for Deserts and Fight against Desertification. The `Science Express – Biodiversity Special`, therefore, primarily addresses the theme `biodiversity`. The state-of the- art exhibition aboard SEBS aims to create wide-spread awareness on the unique biodiversity of India, Climate Change, Water, Energy Conservation and related issues among various sections of the society, especially students. 

Since its launch in 2012, the Science Express Biodiversity Special train has covered 114 stations and travelled across more than 37000 kms in the first two phases. Phase-I of the SEBS was launched on World Environment Day (5 June, 2012) from Safdarjung Railway Station, New Delhi. Phase-II of the SEBS was launched on April 9, 2013 from Safdarjung Railway Station, New Delhi. It covered 62 locations and over 22 lakh people, including 5 lakh students and 29000 teachers from 6005 schools, enjoyed learning in a fun filled way. 

The present phase would culminate on 4th February, 2015 at Gandhinagar, Gujarat after covering 57 locations whereby the SEBS train would have covered most of the major stations across the country. 

Courtesy : Press Information Bureau (

Prime Minister launches MyGov: A platform for Citizen Engagement towards Surajya

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today launched MyGov, a platform that empowers the citizens of India to contribute towards Surajya. Speaking on the occasion, which also marked the completion of sixty days of the new Government, the Prime Minister said the success of democracy is impossible without participation of the people.

Stating that in the past, there used to be a big gap between the people and the processes of governance, the Prime Minister said that in the past sixty days, the experience of his Government was that there were many people who wanted to contribute towards nation-building, and devote their time and energy. The only thing they required was an opportunity to shine and showcase their contribution. The Prime Minister said the MyGov platform is a technology-driven medium that would provide this opportunity to contribute towards good governance.

The Prime Minister expressed confidence that the people would welcome this initiative. He also invited suggestions to strengthen and improve the platform. He hoped that everyone would join hands through this platform to take the country forward, and to meet the aspirations of the poorest of the poor. He said he was confident of success in this mission, because he recognized the strength and capability of 125 crore Indians.

The Prime Minister said he looked forward to receiving the suggestions, views and ideas of the people.

The platform - MyGov - presents an opportunity to the citizens to both ‘Discuss’ and ‘Do.’ There are multiple theme-based discussions on MyGov where a wide range of people would share their thoughts and ideas. Further, any idea shared by a contributor will also be discussed on these discussion forums, allowing constructive feedback and interaction.

For those who wish to go beyond discussions and wish to contribute on the ground, MyGov offers several avenues to do so. Citizens can volunteer for various tasks and submit their entries. These tasks would then be reviewed by other members and experts. Once approved, these tasks can be shared by those who complete the task and by other members on MyGov. Every approved task would earn credit points for completing the task.

National Informatics Centre (NIC), Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) would implement and manage the platform “MyGov” which would facilitate Citizen Engagement in Good Governance.

Groups and corners are an important part of MyGov. The platform has been divided into various groups namely Clean Ganga, Girl Child Education, Clean India, Skilled India, Digital India, Job Creation. Each group consists of online and onground tasks that can be taken up by the contributors. The objective of each group is to bring about a qualitative change in that sphere through people’s participation.

The Minister for Communication and IT, Law and Justice, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, and senior officers of the Government of India were present at the launch of the platform.

Road Ahead

The inauguration of MyGov is a small step towards the larger mission of becoming a one stop centre for citizen engagement towards good governance. Over time the number of groups, tasks and discussions will increase. MyGov would also be used as a comprehensive knowledge repository, giving insights from the sharpest and brightest minds across India.

Ratification of Second Commitment Period of Kyoto Protocol by all Parties is the urgent need of the hour – Prakash Javadekar

Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar has said that India would continue to play a proactive role on the issue of climate change and has already announced a voluntary 2020 mitigation goal of reducing emissions intensity of its GDP by 20-25% over 2005 levels by 2020.  The Minister stated this during a meeting with the UK Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, Mr. Edward Davey.

During his meeting with the British Secretary of State, Shri Javadekar gave an overview of some of the key initiatives that had been introduced in the Budget to address the global challenge of climate change. He appraised the visiting Secretary of State on initiatives such as Allocation of Rs. 500 crores for Setting-up of Ultra Mega Solar Projects in Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Laddakh to promote the Renewable energy; Allocation of Rs 100 crores for the "National Adaptation Fund" for climate change;  Allocation Rs.100 crores for new scheme “Ultra-Modern Super Critical Coal Based Thermal Power Technology; Allocation of Rs. 400 Crore for launching a scheme for solar power driven agricultural pump sets and water pumping stations;  Allocation of Rs. 100 crore for the development of 1 MW Solar Parks on the banks of canals; Allocation of Rs. 500 crores for strengthening of transmission and distribution infrastructure in rural areas under the ‘Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna’.

Elaborating further, the Minister suggested that the  scope of the Co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) negotiations should be extended to all the elements like mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, transparency of action, and support and capacity-building.
During the meeting, both the parties discussed on various aspects of climate change including Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), Green Climate Fund (GCF) and other issues related with the Kyoto Protocol. Shri Javadekar emphasized that immediate up scaling of ambition in the Kyoto Protocol second Commitment period and its early ratification by all Kyoto Protocol Parties is the urgent need of the hour.  The Minister also mentioned that technology mechanism must be fully operationalized and suggested that funds from the GCF can be used to purchase Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) of climate friendly technologies and provide to developing countries free of cost. He added that the scientific data should be shared through appropriate technologies in order to provide the intended benefits to the concerned stakeholders.

5th India-US Strategic Dialogue

The External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj will host US Secretary of State John Kerry in New Delhi from July 30 to August 1, 2014. EAM Smt. Sushma Swaraj and Secretary Kerry will co-chair the fifth India-US Strategic Dialogue on July 31.

This will be Secretary Kerry’s first visit to India since the entry into office of the Government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It will be the first Cabinet-level meeting between India and the US. During this visit, Secretary Kerry is expected to call upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Secretary Kerry is also expected to visit Bengaluru. Secretary Kerry will also be joined by the Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, who will be visiting Mumbai prior to participating in the Strategic Dialogue on July 31.

Secretary Kerry will be accompanied by a high-level inter-agency delegation. Apart from Secretary Pritzker, the delegation includes Deputy Secretary of the Department of Energy Daniel Poneman, Under Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Francis X. Taylor and the US Special Envoy for Climate Change in the Department of State Todd Stern.

India and the United States launched the Ministerial-level Strategic Dialogue in July 2009, focusing on five pillars of mutual interest, namely: Strategic Cooperation; Energy and Climate Change, Education and Development; Economy, Trade and Agriculture; Science and Technology, Health and Innovation. The first Strategic Dialogue was held in Washington DC in June 2010, followed by successive rounds in New Delhi (July 2011), Washington DC (June 2012) and New Delhi (June 2013). 


Commonwealth Games 2014: Glasgow’s moment of glory arrives

There is an air of excitement in Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland, as it plays host to the 20th Commonwealth Games. Organizers are eager to play down comparisons with London’s hosting of the Olympic Games in 2012 and put on a world-class event of their own. This is the third time the Commonwealth Games are being held in Scotland, after 1970 and 1986 when the games were held in the capital Edinburgh. The games has united the 2.3 million strong residents of Glasgow, under the mascot Clyde, ever since they won the bid in 2007 beating the Nigerian city of Abuja. Glasgow gave an indication of things to come by putting out an impressive show at the closing ceremony of the 19th Commonwealth Games, four years ago in New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Opening Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony was held at Celtic Park, Glasgow. Queen Elizabeth II read out the message written on the Queen’s Baton which has travelled to 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth in a relay for 248 days, before declaring the Games open.

The opening ceremony featured a parade around Celtic Park by thousands of athletes taking part in the Games. India, as the previous host, led the parade, which ended with the current host, Scotland. The centrepiece of the opening ceremony a live show consisting of about 2,000 people. The Opening Ceremony also featured a near 100 metre wide and 11m high LED screen erected in front of the South Stand at Celtic Park to broadcast images of the night. In 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games the Aerostat was the showpiece during the opening and closing ceremonies.

India’s cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar was present but only through a video message during the ceremony in his capacity as the Global Goodwill Ambassador of the UNICEF, which has partnered with the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in a first-of-its-kind initiative to spread awareness about problems being faced by children all over the world.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and his cabinet colleagues, Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond and his colleagues in the government and other dignitaries from Commonwealth nations also attended the inaugural ceremony.

The games

More than 6,500 athletes from 71 Commonwealth nations and independent states would contest in the 11 day sporting spectacle. There would be 261 medal events in 17 sports. There were 21 sports events in the previous edition of the games held in 2010.

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt is the biggest name at the Glasgow games, but he will only compete in 4x100-metre relay. British long distance runner Mo Farah, who won both the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the London Olympics in 2012, is scheduled to run in both events.

Hosts Scotland have made pretty good preparations to put up a solid show and better their medal tally. England too is optimistic and will vie for the top spot or the second. New Zealand will concentrate on Rugby, while India, the largest country in the Commonwealth, will be expecting a lion's share of medals from shooters, boxers, wrestlers and shutters. Khumukcham Sanjita and Mirabai Saikhom, the Manipur girls gave India Gold and Silver on Day one Women’s 48kg weight lifting event.

India in the Commonwealth Games

This time around India has a sizeable contingent of 224 athletes competing in 14 disciplines. The shooting team comprises an Olympic champion in Abhinav Bindra and two Olympic medallists in Gagan Narang and Vijay Kumar. In badminton, with defending champion Saina Nehwal skipping the event, India will be pinning its hopes on PV Sindhu, P Kashyap and the pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa to repeat their success.

India had a great outing in the track and field in 2010 with discus thrower Krishna Poonia winning the first gold medal in athletics for India in 52 years since Milkha Singh's triumph at the 1958 Cardiff Games. This time also the focus will be on Krishna and fellow discus thrower Vikas Gowda, who finished an impressive eighth in the London Games.

The men's hockey team will be looking to salvage some pride after their disappointing show at the World Cup. The men's squad settled for the silver in Delhi but also had to endure the Brazil type ignominy of a 0-8 loss against Australia in the final.

The Indian contingent had finished second in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. The 101 medals overall in that edition was a record that the country would hope to better. But it would be hard to replicate the unprecedented success achieved at home in this edition, especially after the scrapping of archery and tennis and the reduction in the number of medal events in shooting and wrestling. Therefore the most realistic target for India would be a third-place finish with the top spot expected to go either to Australia or England.

Whither Commonwealth Games

The Commonwealth Games have more history than most other games. Glasgow is hosting the 20th edition, after it was first staged in 1930 in Hamilton, Canada. It was called the British Empire Games until 1950, then the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, then the British Commonwealth Games and, since 1978, simply the Commonwealth Games.

Even as the Games press on into the 21st century, debate continues about their relevance. Whether it is worth the expense and trouble to carry on with the colonial legacy, when more geo-politically coherent forums like Asian Games, African Games have emerged.

As usual, the Commonwealth Games suffer from a lack of star power. The three nations who won the most medals at the last Summer Olympics, in 2012 in London - the United States, China and Russia - do not participate in the Commonwealth version.

Yet, the games continue, often providing a fine spring-board to higher altitudes for young athletes.

Photo courtesy:

- Manish Desai, Director, PIB Mumbai