India Ink Vol. 2: Democracy, giant trees, and Farmers’ TV

The best news on India from around the web, every Friday.

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Read of the week

“The advice I give to today’s graduates is to decline the job offers from big companies and to instead join promising start-ups. Better still, if they have the ideas and ability, I encourage graduates to start their own companies and to be masters of their own destiny.” Vivek Wadhwa writes in the Washington Post that there has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur.

+ Agriculture: Farmers’ TV is coming to a screen near you, and will “showcase how food goes through the processing and supply chain” according to Arun Jaitley, India’s Information Minister. Not must-see-TV to the layman, perhaps, but “for the farmers what is crucial is a daily five-minute news bulletin which gives them the prices of agricultural commodities in their farm belt,” an official said. (via the Wall Street Journal)

+ Energy: The government of Karnataka is trying to make it easier for citizens and businesses that install solar power systems to sell excess power back to the grid. Their goal is 3% of total power usage by 2022. (via Times of India – Bengaluru)

+ Environment: The US Ambassador to India says that there is no divide on climate change between developed and developing countries. “We’re moving out…of [the] early 1990s world, which was divided into two camps. We are not in two camps anymore.” He added: “India is working hard on its proposed contributions…” (via the Economic Times)

Meanwhile, scientists in Britain have figured out how to make trees grow faster and bigger, which they say could potentially help beat climate change. Can ents be far behind?

+ Health: Melinda Gates says that India needs to increase its spending on health, currently about 1% of GDP, in order to realize its economic aspirations. For contrast, she says, China spends 2.9%. (via IBN)

+ Housing: Housing activist Jai Sen tells The News on Sunday: “The fundamental precept of a modern city, at any time in history, has to be that it [is] democratic. It has nothing to do with a smart city or better infrastructure, etc. It has to be democratic, participatory.”

+ Water: “I am always scared of going down the well. The stairs are narrow and hazardous. What do we do when there is no water? Can we live without it?” Villagers in Madhya Pradesh in a desperate, daily search for water. (via India Today)