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The CM's Good Governance Fellowship Chhattisgarh: An outsider's perspective

The Government of Chhattisgarh has recently launched the CM's Good Governance Fellowship to provide young enterprising minds with an opportunity to contribute to the development of the state by using their IT and Project Management skills.
While the nitty gritty about the application process is available online on http://cmggfcg.in, most applicants would have doubts about the job role and benefits of joining the programme. This blog post is my attempt to share my perspective on these. For a brief background, I am a rural development professional having worked at the District and State level in Chhattisgarh (mostly on rural development issues) in a similar fellowship called Prime Minister's Rural Development Fellowship (PMRDF) over a period of 4 years from 2012 to 2016. So, as mentioned CMGGF is looking for bright individuals to contribute to the development of Chhattisgarh by bringing in their technical  and project management skills that the government system often lacks. F…

The Dunning-Kruger effect

Today, I came across this interesting article on the Dunning-Kruger effect. It perhaps is a psychological issue where individuals with low IQs (and the resultant low performance levels) overestimate their performance and believe themselves to be better than the rest or the 'experts' in the field.

Interesting because haven't we all come across such hyperbolic individuals who speak (or show) more and do less? I have personally met quite a few who I have wanted to give a big reality check to.

But here is the interesting part. How do I know if I myself am a sufferer of the Dunning-Krugger effect? Well, it seems that the reverse of the Dunning-Krugger effect holds true as well.

That is, individuals with greater IQ (and abilities) overestimate the abilities of others and so, always remain conservative in assessing what they can achieve. In other words, the experts never declare themselves as the experts. They remain modest about their performance while it is the others who labe…

My Designs

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From starting to learn basics of CorelDraw in 2011 to being able to use most of its tools, it has been a fruitful hobby. On the way, I have been able to use it to design logos and posters for my activities and projects. Obviously these are non-commercial designs and I still have a long way to go before I can start monetising them. Here are the designs.. help me design better!

The logo and visiting card designed for Unnati Cooperative Society:






The logo designed for a cooperative dairy run by women:  (This was helped by Sumit Singh)

The logo and posters designed for Voter Awareness Campaign in Surajpur:





Other Logos designed initially:







My first random poster:

Note: The designs are not for commercial re-use!

When women take wings

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A women's cooperative, started off with an aim to reduce the usage of plastic in Balrampur, is slowly taking wings for a flight that we hope will lead to freedom - both economic and social. 
It was in October, 2014 that the District Balrampur, located further north - east from Surajpur on the border with  Jharkhand, became my second district of posting. The district, apart from being much more disconnected and backward than Surajpur, is also one of the first 4 resource districts for National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) in Chhattisgarh. Thus, we have a young hard working team of District and Block Programme Managers who have taken it upon themselves the task of women empowerment and poverty alleviation by organizing women in Self Help Groups (SHGs) since 2012.
It was with this background, that I was assigned the task of overseeing implementation of the scheme when I joined. The scheme had been intensively running in three of the six blocks with almost 1800 SHGs already formed. A…

An Experiment with Azolla

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Azolla? What's that? the question reverberated in my mind for quite some time before I actively started searching for answers.

The government, as per the latest provisions under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), had included construction of 'Azolla' tanks along with cow sheds in villages. The search for answers led me to Google and then, some videos and blogs posted across the web. The Wikipedia suggested that Azolla (sc. name Azolla caroliniana), is a type of fern with very small leaves that is mostly found floating over still water bodies - lakes & ponds. Its nitrogen fixation properties make it useful as a bio fertilizer and fodder for animals. So that's where everything connected. Azolla tanks were to be constructed along with cow sheds to provide for additional fodder for the milch animals.
That cleared some air about what we were trying to do. Further exploration on the internet brought me across some videos (mostly from South India) about h…

From Where We Stand...

Its been almost two years since I became a fellow and was posted in one of these so called backward districts - Surajpur. Time and again I have been asked questions like what am I here for what is the agenda that I'll pursue here. Some have probably gone far ahead and labelled me as the crazy guy to leave home to spend time a 1000 miles away. But there is something about the job that we do as fellows that makes waking up every morning and slogging it out very addictive.

May be its the power that we derive out of our knowledge. This isn't a generalization, but most of the mid level and lower level staff in the government have low educational qualifications and haven't had anyone to guide them or teach them efficient ways of doing everyday work. Teaching new tricks for analyzing data on excel or using cloud computing for syncing files or even basic techniques in any software makes the staff look at you in awe and the more interested youngsters are always eager to learn thes…

Soaking in the Sunshine @ Surajpur

18th August 2012: All bags were packed and I was suddenly traveling to a district whose name i had only heard a couple of days back - the Surajpur district in North Chattisgarh!
After our two day state orientation in Raipur, we were asked to report to our districts by 21st August (Monday being a holiday for Eid). But, having no place to stay in Raipur, we decided to leave for our districts on Saturday itself.With the other five in our group having departed to their districts in South Chattisgarh by busses, i took my train to Surajpur with great uncertainty of what i was about to discover.
The train route to Surajpur is mesmerising - and no less so than the Rayagada - Koraput Route or even the Konkan route sans the tunnels. Bright green paddy fields with dark green trees dotting the landscape meet the eyes for as far as they can wander. And you immediately fall in love with the place that invites you to its fold with such a view early in the morning.
I landed in Surajpur on  Sunday mor…