The Daily Fix

The Weekend Fix: The disappearance of Modi’s ambitious skilling targets, plus nine great reads

Everything you need to know for the day (and a little more).

Weekend Reads

  1. As India gears up for its semi-final match against Australia in the Cricket World Cup next week, Dileep Premachandran in Mint takes a look at how far the women’s team has come in the last few years.
  2. “A lot of adjectives are thrown around when the subject is the Mumbai Suburban Railway,” writes Bhanuj Kappal in Blink. “But in recent years, as the 164-year-old railway system struggles to ferry over 75 lakh passengers a day, the adjective that comes up more often is ‘deadly’.”
  3. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had planned to provide skills training to a massive number of Indians under a scheme with a Rs 6,000-crore budget. R Srinivasan, in the Hindu, says that it is now evident that, as per the ministry’s own findings, the scheme has “turned into a gigantic racket for milking state funds”.
  4. Pranav Dixit in Buzzfeed News tells us how Silicon Valley content companies, like Netflix and Amazon Prime, censor their products even if they don’t legally have to, hoping to not offend the Indian audience.
  5. “I never looked back, all the while running. The idea was to just outrun him to the traffic lights and get on the first auto I could find. Everything else was a blur.” Titash Sen in the Ladies Finger writes about the constant fear women are subjected to, and how banning ladies night will not solve anything.
  6. Ankita Dwivedi Johri in the Indian Express talks to three girls of Madhya Pradesh’s Umaria district, said to have the worst menstrual health management in the country. “Twice every day, we change our langots, wash the stained cloth and dry it under our clothes so that the men don’t see it. I don’t go to school or to play, but even then my clothes stain.”
  7. “In their pantheon of fake news, nothing beats a pamphlet of 1946 that emanated from Bengal and soon spread through the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh) and even Maharashtra,” writes Akshaya Mukul in the Hindu, recounting a story of viral falsities decades before social media.
  8. “Don’t be shy about asking your teen where she has been, who she has spent time with, or why she has receipts from Cypriot bank wire transfers hidden under a false bottom of her jewelry case.” Tom Russell in McSweeny’s, has a useful guide on how to talk to your teen about colluding with Russia.
  9. “The beauty of mathematics only shows itself to more patient followers.” Read an interview with Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal, who died this week.
  10. Jeet Heer, in the New Republic, finds similiarties between the Coen Brothers’ movie Burn After Reading, and real life: “The plot of the movie is driven by imbeciles who have only the most limited understanding of the world around them. As such, they call to mind figures like Donald Trump Jr.”

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How sustainable farming practices can secure India's food for the future

India is home to 15% of the world’s undernourished population.

Food security is a pressing problem in India and in the world. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), it is estimated that over 190 million people go hungry every day in the country.

Evidence for India’s food challenge can be found in the fact that the yield per hectare of rice, one of India’s principal crops, is 2177 kgs per hectare, lagging behind countries such as China and Brazil that have yield rates of 4263 kgs/hectare and 3265 kgs/hectare respectively. The cereal yield per hectare in the country is also 2,981 kgs per hectare, lagging far behind countries such as China, Japan and the US.

The slow growth of agricultural production in India can be attributed to an inefficient rural transport system, lack of awareness about the treatment of crops, limited access to modern farming technology and the shrinking agricultural land due to urbanization. Add to that, an irregular monsoon and the fact that 63% of agricultural land is dependent on rainfall further increase the difficulties we face.

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While sustainable agriculture through soil, water and seed management can increase crop yields, an efficient warehousing and distribution system is also necessary to ensure that the output reaches the consumers. According to a study by CIPHET, Indian government’s harvest-research body, up to 67 million tons of food get wasted every year — a quantity equivalent to that consumed by the entire state of Bihar in a year. Perishables, such as fruits and vegetables, end up rotting in store houses or during transportation due to pests, erratic weather and the lack of modern storage facilities. In fact, simply bringing down food wastage and increasing the efficiency in distribution alone can significantly help improve food security. Innovations such as special tarpaulins, that keep perishables cool during transit, and more efficient insulation solutions can reduce rotting and reduce energy usage in cold storage.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of BASF and not by the Scroll editorial team.