The Daily Fix

The Daily Fix: Are protesting farmers the ‘handful of pessimists’ Modi is complaining about?

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

The Big Story: Perception and reality

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday attacked those criticising his government for the economic slow down, claiming that only a “handful” of people were trying to spread despair. “There are some people who sleep well only after they spread a feeling of pessimism,” he told participants at a conference. “We need to recognise such people.” India had a glimpse of some of those pessimists earlier in the day, as images purportedly shot in Madhya Pradesh’s Tikamgarh town, in Bundelkhand, began to circulate. The photographs and videos claimed to show that farmers attending protest rally had been had forced to strip to their undergarments by the Tikamgarh police.

Congress leader Yadvendra Singh, who had helped organised the rally on Tuesday, said he heard about farmers being detained and stripped inside the police station. “I went there and found they had been beaten up,” Singh said, according to the Hindustan Times. “They were made to sit just in their underwear.” The farmers were released afterwards, but the images prompted an inquiry from the State Human Right Commission.

Sadly, Tikamgarh is not the only instance of farmers struggling to make their voices heard amidst an administrative crackdown. Last month, it has happened in Chhattisgarh, when 129 farmers were arrested and prohibitory orders were imposed in five districts of the state. A fortnight before, it happened in Punjab, where 230 farmer leaders were kept in preventive custody before they could start a five-day protest in Patiala. In June, it happened most infamously in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, where five farmers were killed by gunfire after a protest.

Speaking to the Indian Express, an unidentified senior government leader in Chhattisgarh explained why the authorities choose to employ such heavy-handed tactics against protestors. “What we wanted to prevent were these messages of thousands of farmers protesting and the chance of things going wrong, like in Sikar or Mandsaur,” the leader said after the arrests and prohibitory orders in September. “That has been prevented, but the crackdown might leave a longstanding problem for us.”

As always, it is the message that matters for the government. But underlying these efforts at controlling the message is serious economic distress that goes far beyond a handful of pessimists. While much of the country received plentiful rain, as many as 219 of 630 districts received 20% less than normal. Many of these districts are concentrated in central India, including Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh. The agriculture department has said that production of the kharif crop will be 3% lower than previous years in central India, a significant drop.

Faced by an unresponsive government, farmers have been finding ever-more vocal ways to protest, such as Tamil Nadu farmers drinking their own urine or the mass agitations in Sikar, Rajasthan (when the government eventually agreed to some demands). Farm loan waivers have been promised and even handed out by some state governments, but in many cases, they turned into a cruel joke. In Uttar Pradesh, for instance, some farmers received waivers of Re 1. In many ways, the problem is the result of the government simply refusing to acknowledge any distress, let alone work with farmers to alleviate it. If this doesn’t change, more pessimists will be begin to spread despair.

The Big Scroll

  • Interview: We are witnessing the beginning of a peasant rebellion in India, says Yogendra Yadav.
  • Farmers protest: Madhya Pradesh was supposed to be an agriculture success story. What went wrong, asked Rakesh Dixit earlier this year.
  • In Rajasthan, the BJP faces the first serious challenge to its cow politics – from angry farmers, Shoaib Daniyal reported.


  1. Zee News reported on and slammed a leaked confidential note which appears to have come from the office of the channel owner, Essel Group Chairman Subhash Chandra, whose company was among those the document said was a tax defaulter, Manisha Pande reveals in Newslaundry.
  2. “The lack of ideological or programmatic differentiation between parties [in Gujarat] plays to the advantage of the BJP, who can distinguish itself by projecting a strong leadership,” write Christophe Jaffrelot and Gilles Verniers in the Indian Express.
  3. “Ironically for a government elected on the basis of an appeal to a market-friendly constituency, its performance on welfare schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana is commendable,” writes Rohit Prasad in Mint. “But in the absence of a solid growth engine, achievements like these are merely decorations in a party hall where the guests refuse to come.”
  4. In the Farooqui verdict, writes Latika Vashisht in the Hindu, the focus has been shifted from what the woman said to what the man understood.
  5. India should join hands with Myanmar and Bangladesh to collectively solve the Rohingya problem, writes G Parthasarathy in the Tribune.


Don’t miss

Rayan Naqash writes about a new play that is chronicling Kashmir’s pain, even as the Valley’s traditional storytellers have disappeared.

“‘Theories of theatre of the oppressed evolved in Western societies around mid-19th century,’ said Arshad Mushtaq, filmmaker and theatre director. ‘There was already something similar happening in Kashmir for centuries. Bhand pather would only pick contemporary issues, it was a resistance against the power centre and it sought justice.’

The theatrical form has been described by scholars as a powerful instrument against social cruelty. Small groups of actors would enact pathers or plays at open air shows across the Kashmir Valley, highlighting political and social issues faced by Kashmiri society at that time. More often than not, the current moment would be laced with turmoil and uncertainty.

Scholar Triloki Nath Ganjoo said: ‘It was never an amusement. They were lamenting, they were mourning, trying to get their cries and sorrow to reach the king’s ear. It was a people’s instrument that was very strong and communicative.’

Historically, according to Ganjoo, bhand pather aimed at doing away with the ills of the rulers, society, and governments. Ganjoo traces its existence in Kashmir to the 5th or 6th century CE. ‘Almost every zilla of the Valley had a group,’ said Ganjoo. ‘Their traditions and styles differed, they were not educated but belonged to families that had been in the art for generations.’

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

What hospitals can do to drive entrepreneurship and enhance patient experience

Hospitals can perform better by partnering with entrepreneurs and encouraging a culture of intrapreneurship focused on customer centricity.

At the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, visitors don’t have to worry about navigating their way across the complex hospital premises. All they need to do is download wayfinding tools from the installed digital signage onto their smartphone and get step by step directions. Other hospitals have digital signage in surgical waiting rooms that share surgery updates with the anxious families waiting outside, or offer general information to visitors in waiting rooms. Many others use digital registration tools to reduce check-in time or have Smart TVs in patient rooms that serve educational and anxiety alleviating content.

Most of these tech enabled solutions have emerged as hospitals look for better ways to enhance patient experience – one of the top criteria in evaluating hospital performance. Patient experience accounts for 25% of a hospital’s Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) score as per the US government’s Centres for Medicare and Mediaid Services (CMS) programme. As a Mckinsey report says, hospitals need to break down a patient’s journey into various aspects, clinical and non-clinical, and seek ways of improving every touch point in the journey. As hospitals also need to focus on delivering quality healthcare, they are increasingly collaborating with entrepreneurs who offer such patient centric solutions or encouraging innovative intrapreneurship within the organization.

At the Hospital Leadership Summit hosted by Abbott, some of the speakers from diverse industry backgrounds brought up the role of entrepreneurship in order to deliver on patient experience.

Getting the best from collaborations

Speakers such as Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman and Managing Director - Medanta Hospitals, and Meena Ganesh, CEO and MD - Portea Medical, who spoke at the panel discussion on “Are we fit for the world of new consumers?”, highlighted the importance of collaborating with entrepreneurs to fill the gaps in the patient experience eco system. As Dr Trehan says, “As healthcare service providers we are too steeped in our own work. So even though we may realize there are gaps in customer experience delivery, we don’t want to get distracted from our core job, which is healthcare delivery. We would rather leave the job of filling those gaps to an outsider who can do it well.”

Meena Ganesh shares a similar view when she says that entrepreneurs offer an outsider’s fresh perspective on the existing gaps in healthcare. They are therefore better equipped to offer disruptive technology solutions that put the customer right at the center. Her own venture, Portea Medical, was born out of a need in the hitherto unaddressed area of patient experience – quality home care.

There are enough examples of hospitals that have gained significantly by partnering with or investing in such ventures. For example, the Children’s Medical Centre in Dallas actively invests in tech startups to offer better care to its patients. One such startup produces sensors smaller than a grain of sand, that can be embedded in pills to alert caregivers if a medication has been taken or not. Another app delivers care givers at customers’ door step for check-ups. Providence St Joseph’s Health, that has medical centres across the U.S., has invested in a range of startups that address different patient needs – from patient feedback and wearable monitoring devices to remote video interpretation and surgical blood loss monitoring. UNC Hospital in North Carolina uses a change management platform developed by a startup in order to improve patient experience at its Emergency and Dermatology departments. The platform essentially comes with a friendly and non-intrusive way to gather patient feedback.

When intrapreneurship can lead to patient centric innovation

Hospitals can also encourage a culture of intrapreneurship within the organization. According to Meena Ganesh, this would mean building a ‘listening organization’ because as she says, listening and being open to new ideas leads to innovation. Santosh Desai, MD& CEO - Future Brands Ltd, who was also part of the panel discussion, feels that most innovations are a result of looking at “large cultural shifts, outside the frame of narrow business”. So hospitals will need to encourage enterprising professionals in the organization to observe behavior trends as part of the ideation process. Also, as Dr Ram Narain, Executive Director, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, points out, they will need to tell the employees who have the potential to drive innovative initiatives, “Do not fail, but if you fail, we still back you.” Innovative companies such as Google actively follow this practice, allowing employees to pick projects they are passionate about and work on them to deliver fresh solutions.

Realizing the need to encourage new ideas among employees to enhance patient experience, many healthcare enterprises are instituting innovative strategies. Henry Ford System, for example, began a system of rewarding great employee ideas. One internal contest was around clinical applications for wearable technology. The incentive was particularly attractive – a cash prize of $ 10,000 to the winners. Not surprisingly, the employees came up with some very innovative ideas that included: a system to record mobility of acute care patients through wearable trackers, health reminder system for elderly patients and mobile game interface with activity trackers to encourage children towards exercising. The employees admitted later that the exercise was so interesting that they would have participated in it even without a cash prize incentive.

Another example is Penn Medicine in Philadelphia which launched an ‘innovation tournament’ across the organization as part of its efforts to improve patient care. Participants worked with professors from Wharton Business School to prepare for the ideas challenge. More than 1,750 ideas were submitted by 1,400 participants, out of which 10 were selected. The focus was on getting ideas around the front end and some of the submitted ideas included:

  • Check-out management: Exclusive waiting rooms with TV, Internet and other facilities for patients waiting to be discharged so as to reduce space congestion and make their waiting time more comfortable.
  • Space for emotional privacy: An exclusive and friendly space for individuals and families to mourn the loss of dear ones in private.
  • Online patient organizer: A web based app that helps first time patients prepare better for their appointment by providing check lists for documents, medicines, etc to be carried and giving information regarding the hospital navigation, the consulting doctor etc.
  • Help for non-English speakers: Iconography cards to help non-English speaking patients express themselves and seek help in case of emergencies or other situations.

As Arlen Meyers, MD, President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, says in a report, although many good ideas come from the front line, physicians must also be encouraged to think innovatively about patient experience. An academic study also builds a strong case to encourage intrapreneurship among nurses. Given they comprise a large part of the front-line staff for healthcare delivery, nurses should also be given the freedom to create and design innovative systems for improving patient experience.

According to a Harvard Business Review article quoted in a university study, employees who have the potential to be intrapreneurs, show some marked characteristics. These include a sense of ownership, perseverance, emotional intelligence and the ability to look at the big picture along with the desire, and ideas, to improve it. But trust and support of the management is essential to bringing out and taking the ideas forward.

Creating an environment conducive to innovation is the first step to bringing about innovation-driven outcomes. These were just some of the insights on healthcare management gleaned from the Hospital Leadership Summit hosted by Abbott. In over 150 countries, Abbott, which is among the top 100 global innovator companies, is working with hospitals and healthcare professionals to improve the quality of health services.

To read more content on best practices for hospital leaders, visit Abbott’s Bringing Health to Life portal here.

This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the marketing team and not by the editorial staff.