Sharing Session – 28

 Social Entrepreneurship and the Quest for Economic Democracy

  Date and Time: March 16, 2013, 1430 – 1630 hrs

 Venue: IDC Conference Room No.1, IIT-Bombay (Powai)

An excitement about Social Entrepreneurship now dominates the public discourse in India. To a large extent this excitement is a response to the urgent need to address and solve the nagging problems of large scale under-employment and persistent under nourishment. Much of the attention is at present focused on operational details – how to push more finance into Social Enterprise, how to measure its impacts, how to ensure that it reaches small towns and rural hinterland, and so on.

Rajni Bakshi, Joseph Thomas will facilitate and Shambu Prasad will chair the session.

Sharing Session 27: Suicides and the Predicament of Rural India

Public Lecture By: Dr. A R Vasavi

{youtube}4LFGlKQE1fQ {/youtube}Why has rural, agrarian India turned into killing fields? Why are agriculturists resorting to suicide? What is the social and political significance of such deaths? These are the key questions that Dr AR Vasavi seeks to answer in her latest book “Shadow Spaces: Suicides and the Predicament of Rural India” as a way to understand the spate of suicides since 1997 by agriculturists.

KICS Sharing Session #26
The Looming Energy Crisis and Agriculture:
Who will feed India when the sun sets on oil?

Date and Time: Thursday, October 20, 2011, 0430 – 0600 PM
Venue: Conference Hall, Centre for World Solidarity (CWS), Street No.1, Tarnaka, Secunderabad
Facilitator: Steve Hallet (ppt)
Moderator: Sreekumar N

There have been recurring fears that the global population is becoming too large to feed and that we should expect widespread famine. Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 The Population Bomb predicted widespread food shortages in India in the 1970s and 1980s. These predictions proved false and India’s food production increased dramatically through the years of the Green Revolution. India has grown  in many other ways since this time, its economy has been one of the fastest growing in the world over the last quarter century, and India has become a major global economic hub. But the news is not all good. Economic and agricultural growth have been matched by population growth and the accelerated extraction of natural resources.

Many of the challenges that India faces are mirrored around the world, and are linked to emerging global crises. Paramount among these is access to energy resources. The whole world faces the imminent decline of oil, natural gas and coal resources, but India is particularly vulnerable. Oil supplies in India are woefully inadequate, and India already imports the lion’s share of its oil. Natural gas is somewhat more abundant in India, but India has already begun to import natural gas as well. Coal is the mainstay of India’s energy portfolio, but even coal resources are becoming depleted. What will India do to generate its energy needs as fossil fuels go into decline? Some of the biggest challenges will be in agriculture. High yielding cereals are dependent upon gargantuan supplies of fossil fuels: diesel for tractors; natural gas for fertilizer.

How will Indian agriculture fare through the coming energy crisis? I know this sounds like the bleating of yet another Ehrlich or Malthus coming to cry “wolf!”  We have heard all this before: I know. But, the fable of the little boy who cried wolf always ends the same way: the wolf always shows up in the end. India, once again, faces an uncertain future.  How will it respond?

Steve Hallett studied at Lancaster University, UK. His career took him to McGill University, Canada and the University of Queensland, Australia. He is currently Associate Professor of Botany at Purdue University, USA. Steve’s main areas of research activity have been in weed science and sustainable agriculture, and he has published more than forty peer reviewed articles and book chapters in these areas. His project work has taken him to China, Central America and a number of countries in Africa. More recently, he has delved into studying the confluence of energy and agriculture issues and is the author of the recent book “Life without Oil: Why we must Shift to a New Energy Future” (Prometheus Books).  Steve will leave you deeply concerned about the inevitable changes coming to global agriculture, but most importantly, he will provide new insights into the changes that are necessary to make the world a better place.

Sharing Session#  25: "Producing Under-nutrition" by Dr. Veena Shatrugna

on June 18th, 2011 @ 4:30 PM

Conference Hall, Centre for World Solidarity (CWS),

Street No.1, Tarnaka, Secunderabad

The nutritional status of the poor in India maybe described as alarming. Most of the indicators of nutrition status such as adult weights, heights BMI, percentage of children who are severely malnourished, mean birth weights, infant mortality rates, dietary intakes and unacknowledged starvation deaths confirm this fact.  Hunger is as widespread as it is invisible to the scientific eye.  The question that must be asked is how did India get into this trap of under nutrition with such serious consequences?


Sharing Session - 24

Kisan Swaraj Yatra


Starting on Gandhi Jayanti in 2010, nearly 220 people went around the country for 71 days, on a "Kisan Swaraj Yatra" which tried to draw fresh attention to the continuing agrarian crisis in the country and to highlight solutions as well as to put forward some demands to the government on behalf of our anna daatas. This Kisan Swaraj Yatra, which culminated in Rajghat on December 11th 2010 had 'FOOD, FARMERS & FREEDOM' as its main theme and was organised by a loose coalition of more than 400 organisations around 20 states of India called Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA).


In this session, the facilitators shared their experiences from Kisan Swaraj Yatra along with the main demands in the Kisan Swaraj Policy that ASHA has evolved. This was be followed by a discussion. The session was held on Saturday, April 30, 2011 at the Conference Hall, Centre for World Solidarity (CWS), Secunderabad. The facilitators were Kavita Kuruganti (Convenor ASHA), supported by Ramanjaneyulu (Centre for Sustainable Agriculture) and Kiran Vissa (Association for India's Development)

A report of the sharing session can be downloaded here.


with Ranjeet Ranade & Bablu Ganguly

CREAM is a  barefoot management course for grassroots level entrepreneurship managers.  A group of mainstream managers have got together and devised a field based management course for people from NGO and CBOs. The course was crafted such that certain basic knowledge from the mainstream is adapted culturally and organizationally to suit the NGO and CBO environment, and ethos.  Two years and several graduates after, Ranjeet will share with us the knowledges and learnings of the CREAM experience.  Bablu from Timbaktu took a hard look at three decades of his activism and nature work, and went into Timbaktu Organics full steam to test his dream of a strong local and decentralised economics.

The genesis of CREAM is from the thoughts of Bablu Ganguly of Timbaktu Collective which were on these lines – “The people we work with should participate in larger markets and they should do so from a position of strength. We must work on equipping them with skills and knowledge to do so…”

Rural attitude towards entrepreneurship is changing in a positive way. NGOs want to encourage the population they serve to take on livelihood (business-like) initiatives. But people involved in these initiatives often don’t know how to own, start, and manage a business. Supply can’t handle these challenges as the standard MBA is high cost, elitist and hence beyond access for this population. The current scope of Bachelor of Commerce and other degrees don’t address their needs. CREAM (Course in Rural Entrepreneurship, Administration and Management) attempts to fill this gap between the demand and the supply.

CREAM is a travelling program which is spanned over 6 months with 5 days of teaching every month. The delivery is bilingual (English and the local language) and the coverage does the balancing act between breadth and depth of a number of business management areas such as finance, sales & marketing, operations etc.

The first program and was conducted in Andhra Pradesh from June 2009 to December 2009. There were 18 participants which had business managers managing businesses initiated by NGOs. The second program was run in Kerala for its state government poverty eradication mission (Kudumbashree). The objective was to train 30 micro-enterprise consultants who in turn are providing business consulting services to 15,000 micro-enterprises started with the help of Kudumbashree. The next program was for Vikas Bazar Network which is a network of 15 or so organizations in the state of Jharkhand. Their work is in the field of providing market-based intervention. The focus of this program was to cover basic business functions as well as basic project management processes such as planning, monitoring, and risk management.

Unediting transcript of the Sharing Session is here.

Short film on the Certificate in Rural Enterprise Administration & Management course offered


Sharing Session 22:  Open Source, Knowledge & Civil Society

with Hemant Babu, Venkatesh Hariharan & Rajni Bakshi

March 15, 2011, CED, Mumbai

The transition from Analog to Digital based knowledge is bound to be painful, said Hemant Babu,  activists working for community media. He called for creating an Open Source Community Media Movement.

Venky Hariharan, who worked for developing open source hindi software said that open source is a threat to the entrenched interests of those seek to continue extracting rent from every user of their inventions.

Thr four hours we slotted for sharing their experience, truned out to be insufficient, and the discussion started going deep into various issues beyond time.

Two of the participants involved in teaching, spoke of the difficulties with the googled out cut and paste presentations. In fact some institutions are paying for software which helps seek out such infringements. So watch out students!

Hemant made a compelling case for treating spectrum as a "commons" and not being sold to the highest bidder, who then has to extract his costs from the 'common' user, whose property that spectrum is in the first place. He therefore called for more information on use and purposes of 'spectrum' and a more transparent disclosure of the allocation as well as usage of that spectrum. Since State may not be willing to do this, perhaps each one of us can monitor spectrum in their locality and feed this to a central pool.

He also called for civil society to use the open spectrum ( 2.4 Ghz for Wifi, and 5.2 Ghzfor Wi Max) in a more creative way.

An interesting example is in music.. check out

The issue was also to protect content and software which is in the commons. He gave the example of licensing under creative commons: for dertails

link to unedited transcription of the session

Venkatesh Hariharan, an open source professional, having worked with Red Hat, Google and an active blogger @

Hemant Babu, A Community Radio activist, also developing systems for Community TV, Open source electronic archiving of oral history of the marginalized. He set up the hardware for multi-channel translation at the World Social Forum, and we plan to work together on “ To Durban Without Flying”. net  etc.

Rajni Bakshi, author/activist whose recent book Bazaars, Conversations, Freedom ( sees in the open source story a pathway towards a new economics – an alternative economic system, based on conversation, engaged exchange, as opposed to a purely monetarist view of sustainability.



a KICS Sharing Session

Friday, 11th February 2011,


Session I:Mumbai & Climate Change

The City Calling: A Discussion Trigger Film by CED. 10 mins

Weather Mumbai: As seen from Colaba Observatory, Dr. R V Sharma, Deputy Director, Indian Meteorological Department, Mumbai.

Future Tense: What my Crystal Ball sees - Darryl D'Monte, Forum for Environmental Journalists, Mumbai

Session II:Cancun Comes a Cropper?

Negotiating Realities & Carbon Budgets – Prof. T. Jayaraman, Tata Institute for Social Sciences, Mumbai.

A Feel of Cancun - Bolivia to Ramesh! - Meena Menon, The Hindu, Mumbai

No, Thank You- Praful Bidwai, Journalist, New Delhi

Session III: Amchi Mumbai, Amchi Vaat -Low Carbon Paths.

City Farming: A short film by CED, 17 mins.

Nurturing the Waste-SSS style- Jyoti Mhapsekar, Stree Mukti Sanghatana, Mumbai

City Maker’s as Homeless in Mumbai - Abhishek Bharadwaj: Alternative Realities, Mumbai:

Connecting Growers and Consumers- Ubai Hussein, MOFCA/Hari Bhari Tokri, Mumbai

To Market, To Work through Public Transport - Ashok Datar.




KICS Sharing Session: KNOWLEDGE IN AN INTERNET ERA: Role of DCs in Info-digital Society

Avinash Jha


Political Documentation in the Internet Era

Political Documentation?

The documentation centres which meet here and the activities they have been carrying out on day-to-day basis are rooted in a vision of documentation which aspires to have a political significance. They were conceived in an atmosphere of challenge to the prevailing and dominant conceptions of knowledge and also in significant ways challenged dominant conceptions of politics. These documentation centres have facilitated this contructing and reconstructing this social knowledge; this was more from the organisational knowledge but there were critiques of conceptualisation .. like say Gender Doc centres tried to create the whole universe of knowledge and the work of knowledge looks different. These were some of the challenges that documentation were rooted. We that way felt at the frontier of knowledge of politics ... now things are changed .. we are now in the era of knowledge. In this sense, we could say that they worked on the frontiers of knowledge and politics.

FROM DHARAVI TO DHARAVI BHET: Climate Change by Fr. Allwyn D’Silva

he session was attended by students and teachers from St.Xavier's College, NGOs : Abhishekh Bharadwaj from Alternatives Surabi Sinha from Vikas Adhyayan Kendra, Ruchi Jain from Climate Change and professionals: Ajay nayak Architect, Inir Pineiro, social entreprenuer,  Rajni Bakshi, writer journalist, The session was co-hosted by the Xavier Institute for Social Research and in fact was held there.

EXPLORING A NEW ECONOMICS A Sharing Session with Rajni Bakshi

Rajni Bakshi is an activist and a journalist, and her search for alternatives has taken her from Lokayan to a path-breaking book - Bazaars, Conversations and Freedom which now makes her a writer and pioneer-thinker as well. She shares this journey which took her to re she took her to a wide variety of pioneers and challengers -- some working at the heart of the mainstream and others raising challenges from the fringes.

A friend called her a story teller – that is what she will do, while sharing information and perspectives, which might assist some of us, civil society organizations to navigate this terrain and sift the substance from the empty rhetoric.

For details of her book please see: She is also author to two CED publications: Economics for Well Being and LETS make it happen.
Some of her recent columns in include
Capitalism that we can be proud of, March 15, 2010
Trusteeship and how it can spawn development, March 02, 2010
Bt brinjal and the politics of knowledge, February 15, 2010


Doing ethics: a European and glocal perspective

Axel Carlberg <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>;

presentation by Pankaj Sekhsaia
Date: 17 May, 2009