If you happen to be in the Luteyns’ Zone and bump into a colourful Swachh Bharat mascot telling you to use the bin or not to spit on the road, don’t be surprised. The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has deputed these mascots to educate the general public against such civic ills, including open defecation and spitting in public places.
The civic body has deputed 28 mascots in 14 sanitation circles under its jurisdiction to monitor the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi two years ago. “The decision has been taken by the Council taking into consideration the upcoming Swachta Sarvekshan 2017 being conducted by the Ministry of Urban Development from January 4 onwards,” a senior official said.While some of these mascots are the civic body’s own sanitation staffers, others involved in the sector have been hired for the job as well. The mascots will be deputed in crowded places, such as markets, parks, bus stops, railway lines and slum clusters. “Special attention has been given to spots such as JJ clusters and along railway tracks under the jurisdiction of NDMC to curb the practice of open defecation and urination,” the official said.
The mascots will be working in two shifts, the same as the sanitation staff. The civic body had experimented by sending mascots to slum clusters settled along the railway lines a week ago before launching the initiative properly.
“The idea is to educate people about basic civic duties. Though the Council also has a provision of issuing fines for spitting, it is not always viable. From the experiment, we observed that people listen when being educated about an issue by another person. There is a human connect that fines and bill board notifications cannot achieve. We hope to make it a successful campaign,” the official added.
While the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has given the Delhi government some time to come up with a phase-out plan for disposable plastic, a group of young nature activists have already come up with the solution to replace plastic with ‘cool bags’ (cotton cloth bags). The complete ban on all disposable plastic in the Capital, as ordered by the green court, is to set in from January 1, 2017.
The south Delhi-based group — New Delhi Nature Society (NDNS) — has been distributing these cotton bags to grocery shops and departmental stores to promote the concept. Also, they have tied up with city schools to create awareness regarding the issue.
“In a bid to assist people with the ban as well as to save the environment, the NDNS has come up with these biodegradable cloth bags. We have named them ‘cool bags’, because they are reusable, washable and cost just Rs 20,” said, Verhaen Khanna, 28, founder of the society. The group has procured 2,000 bags for the pilot project.
“The bags are being made by a group of women in a village on the outskirts of Delhi. It is a major source of livelihood for them,” Khanna said. His team has also tied up with the Meera Model School to distribute over 2,000 bags to students there.
“When children go to stationery, shopkeepers give them free plastic bags. These cool bags can be rolled up and easily stored in a handbag or a school bag or laptop bag and carried everwhere,” said Ashna Talwar, a volunteer in the campaign.
She said some shopkeepers and customers have given them a good response but the city needed to be more aware.
In 2012, the government had issued a notification prohibiting the sale, storage, manufacturing and transport of all kinds of plastic bags. The manufacturers, however, moved the High Court against the order soon afterwards.
In a bid to help teachers attain an in-depth knowledge of their subjects, the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) launched a software named ‘online in-service teacher capacity-building programme’ on Monday .
In the first month, the software will help as many 50 mathematics teachers and 70 mentor teachers working in different schools operating under the Directorate of Education. As part of the programme, topic-based training will be provided to teachers. These topics will be chosen from textbooks. The programme is aimed at training as many as 50,000 teachers.
“It is a unique, flexible and convenient programme, with an aim to enrich the knowledge, competency and efficiency of teachers to enable them to develop a holistic instinct among students and sharpen their thirst for new developments in the field of crucial subjects that matter to them,” Education Secretary Punya Salila Srivastava said.
The overall objective of the programme is to enhance teacher-to-teacher communication, to enable student-centred teaching approaches, to provide 24×7 accessibility to course material and to build the capacity of in-service teachers.
The total duration of the online training will be eight hours in a single sitting, since the programme has been conceived to facilitate training as per the convenience of the trainees, i.e. in-service teachers, by devoting at least half-an-hour a day during staggered 15 sittings on mobile app or web from anywhere. “It will not only help teachers to ensure qualitative improvement in the teaching-learning process, but will also encourage sharing among teachers as a community,” Srivastava added.