Public Policy Effort – Launched

As we speak…

Efforts are under way on a significant policy effort involving advisory, insights, intervention and support – on evidence-based policy a the state and central levels of the Indian Government. Partners include NGOs, foundations, institutions and the private sector.

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Girls School CAP Project


As a part of Cleanliness Amenities Program (CAP) project, Empower Tamizhagam joined hands with BeWo and Revolution by design to build an innovative girls restroom, to encourage cleanliness and hygiene in Government higher secondary school, Aathithanar Nagar, Iyyappanthangal Chennai, India. 

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Chennai Rains: Emergency Helpline Numbers

Chennai has been roiled in rains. A state of emergency in this coastal city in Southern India…

Chennai:  Chennai Corporation (Local Government) has announced emergency contact numbers for all the regional zones in the city. People can contact the following numbers in case of any emergency due to the floods.

  • Tree fall, waterlogging – 1913
  • Sewage overflow – 45674567, 22200335
  • State Emergency – 1070
  • District Emergency – 1077
  • Electricity – 1912
  • Fire & Rescue -101

Other office numbers:

  • 1st Regional Office (Tiruvottiyur) – 9445190001
  • 2nd Regional Office(Manali) – 9445190002
  • 3rd Regional Office (Madhavaram) – 9445190003
  • 4th Regional Office(Tondiarpet) – 9445190004
  • 5th Regional Office(Royapuram)- 9445190005
  • 6th Regional Office(Thiru. Vi. Ka. Nagar) – 9445190006
  • 7th Regional Office(Ambattur) – 9445190007
  • 8th Regional Office(Annanagar) – 9445190008
  • 9th Regional Office(Teynampet) – 9445190009
  • 10th Regional Office(Kodambakkam) – 9445190010
  • 11th Regional Office (Valasaravakkam)- 9445190011
  • 12th Regional Office(Alandur) – 9445190012
  • 13th Regional Office (Adyar)- 9445190013
  • 14th Regional Office(Perungudi) – 9445190014
  • 15th Regional Office(Sholinganallur) – 9445190015

Additional info on NGO/other contacts:

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Empower Tamizhagam Presents Camp for the Differently Abled

We would like to request your presence and support for a Handicapped Fair (Mattru Thiranaalli Mughaam) scheduled for Saturday, May 5, 2012 from 9am – 2pm. The special screening camp for differently abled persons is being presented by the Alandur MLA Mr. Panruti S. Ramachandran in concert with Empower Tamizhagam, the Tamil Nadu Udavikkaram Association for the Welfare of Differently Abled, and the Govt of Tamil Nadu Kanchipuram District Differently-Abled & Rehabilitation Office.

Overview of the Camp

  1. Differently abled persons of Alandur MLA Constituency will be assembled, screened by doctors and requirement of assistive devices will be identified.
  2. The expected beneficiaries will comprise Loco motor disabled including Cerebral Palsy, Hearing impaired, Visually challenged and Mentally handicapped.
  3. MLA Fund of Rs.5 lakhs has been allocated to grant Aids, Appliances and Assistive devices for differently abled persons.
  4. Disability ID Card to be issued at the camp by the DDRO office Kanchipuram Dt. For beneficiaries to avail of Govt. schemes like scholarships, disability pension, bus pass,etc.
  5. The PHP applications (for Govt. monthly pension of Rs.1000/-) will be processed during the camp by the Special Tehsildar.
  6. Applications for Monthly Maintenance Grant of Rs.1000/- will be received during the camp from eligible MR beneficiaries by the DDRO of Kanchipuram District.
  7. Other government, banking and corporate groups will be participating to assist with self-employment, training, employment, and loans.
  8. Sponsorship to cover event, appliance & outreach expenses.

Should you have any questions or concerns, do contact us.


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Empower Tamizhagam Presents Free Health Fair

Empower Tamizhagam Presents Health Fair at the Iyyapanthangal High School (Tamil Nadu, India). Thank you for participating and making the event a success.

இலவச மருத்துவ முகாம் சென்னை ஐயப்பன்தாங்கல் அரசு மேல்நிலை பள்ளியில் நடைபெற்றது.

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Empower Tamizhagam Provides Relief for 20 Burnt Homes

Last night, 20 huts burned down in VOC Nagar, Alandur. We visited the site this afternoon and provided assistance (mats, pillows, school notebooks, utensils, clothing, rice, etc.) to the poor affected families.

The Empower Tamizhagam Team

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Empower Tamizhagam Provides Flood Relief in Chennai

As flood levels have gone up over the last several weeks theEmpower Tamizhagam has been hard at work to bring relief to Alandur, Iyyappanthangal, Mugalivakkam, and Mowlivakkam.

Our team was in Kannan Colony (Alandur) to distribute food to hard hit areas on Sunday. We also visited Kovoor, Gerugambakkam and other related areas to assess local needs and escalate with the Collector’s office, Tehsildars, appropriate local administration officials, PWD and other departmental leadership. We shall be onsite in Iyyapanthangal again this afternoon to provide food and relief for severely affected constituents.

Our goal is to provide both immediate relief to address hardship today; and to deliver longer term enduring solutions that will minimize such occurrences for years to come.

பருவ மழையினால் பாதிக்கப்பட்ட இடங்களை நேரில் சென்று ஆய்வு செய்தார். உடனடியாக வெள்ளம் சூழ்ந்துள்ள பகுதிகளில் வாழும் மக்களுக்கு உணவு அளித்தார்.

The Empower Tamizhagam Team

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What Price the Environment?

A very compelling article appropriately titled Wealth of Nations in Seed Magazine brings up some essential issues. Indeed, how do you balance the environmental common good with the more mundane matters of economic survival and growth.

Excerpt in italics below:

Ecosystem services have passed beneath the financial radar in part because they are accessible to almost anyone—in economic parlance, they are non-excludable. Also, demand does not affect supply, since one person’s enjoyment of the services doesn’t diminish that of the next user, a characteristic economists dub non-rival. These two basic properties place things like clean water and carbon sequestration in the economic category of public goods. And the problem with these goods is that since everyone can enjoy them free of cost, no one has an individual incentive to provide them. Their value goes officially unrecognized, and their supply is not maintained.

Public goods are not a new idea; many of them, like the atmosphere, the geostationary orbit, and the electromagnetic spectrum, existed long before humans, notes public-goods scholar Inge Kaul, former director of the United Nations Development Program. The paradox of provisioning such goods is not a new idea either, even to non-economists.

Today, however, acknowledging the worth of such goods is more pressing than ever. The increasing connectedness of the world’s ecosystems—largely through human mobility, international commerce, and accumulated environmental degradation—means that the fallout from the abuse of public goods shakes communities from the Maldives to the Andes. National governments have traditionally managed the provisioning of goods like public health and clean air, but in this connected world, the goods that each nation desires, or doesn’t, in the case of pollution, are unattainable without incorporating the interests of other states. As Kaul puts it, “A growing number of national public goods have gone global.”

In developing nations, the challenge is at both the macro and micro levels. At a macro level, the local government or industry may not see the point of spending money and resources to address pollution issues. Unless they reach a critical stage and negative media attention. At a micro level there is the individual factory worker. A case in point is an Indian town that specializes in knitwear manufacturing for domestic and global markets. They suffer the biggest water and environmental pollution issues. But the poor people living in that area are dependent on textile manufacturing jobs for their livelihood, so health issues for them and their children are a lower priority. Their other choice is a nicer environment but starvation.

Especially in the consistently unstable financial environment in developing nations, economic prosperity remains the only priority and yardstick. And developed ones too are similarly afflicted in these days.

Even if there are any environmental regulations of note, they are typically circumvented by companies. It then falls to well-meaning government officials and non-profit organizations to step in. Regrettably, they typically work at cross-purposes with each other at best, and in an antagonistic manner at worst..

Success in this setting is more a matter of the relationships and being able to sustain consistency in environmental quality. Local champions and pockets of excellence serve the needs to a point.

A scalable and financially sustainable model can only be possible with a private-public-NGO partnership approach. This has been the strategy for several of our initiatives in India and other global Bottom-of-the-Pyramid segments. Cobbling together the global and local coalitions while navigating the power structures and motivations – is a long and arduous journey.

But the results are absolutely worth it!

– By R Sampath. All rights reserved.
More on the original article at

economic prosperity being the top priority among developing nations. And developed ones these days.

e.g. the town of Tiruppur as the t-shirt and knitwear manufacturing capital of India has the biggest water and environmental pollution issues. But the poor people living in that area are dependent on textile manuf jobs for their livelihood, so health issues for them and their children are a lower priority. The other choice is nicer environment but starvation.

The companies typically pay off the local regulators to minimize their cost of doing anything for water treatment, etc. The govt  and NGOs have to step in to get anything done.

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Most of India’s ‘middle class’ earns between 1K and 2K

Despite its shaky empirical foundations, the myth of the Great Indian Middle Class persists. A new Asian Development Bank report lauds the rise of the Indian middle class and projects it as the engine of global growth. However, according to the definition used in the report itself, the vast majority of this middle class earns between Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,000 per person per month. Only 0.0009% of Indians earn more than Rs 10,000 per month.

The ADB’s Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2010 report released this week has a special chapter on the Rise of Asia’s Middle Classes. Projecting that the Asian middle class will dominate the next two decades (including crossing a billion in India alone by 2030), the report says that Asia’s emerging consumers are likely to assume the traditional role of the US and European middle classes as global consumers, and to play a key role in rebalancing the world’s economy.

However, the definitions used to arrive at such conclusions scarcely fit with the traditional definition of the middle class, as those who have not inherited wealth, hold regular jobs and enjoy a degree of financial security that allows them to consume and save and support the maintenance of law and order. The ADB report defines the middle class as those earning between $2 and $20 per person per day, measured in international dollars, ie adjusted for purchasing power parity. The ADB does add further nuance by splitting the middle class into three sub-sections
: lower middle class ($2 – $4), middle middle ($4 – $10) and upper middle ($10 – $20).

The vast majority of the Indian middle class 82% of it, or 224 million people – however, fit into the first category. Since $1 PPP is Rs 17.256, this means that the vast majority of the Indian middle class earns between Rs 1035 and Rs 2070.

The ADB report shows that middle-class Indians systematically define themselves as poorer than they actually are in surveys. Even by this fairly stingy definition, in all of developing Asia, only Uzbekistan , Lao, Nepal and Bangladesh have a middle class that is a smaller proportion of the total population than in India . China’s middle class is 63% of its population, Sri Lanka’s 59% and Pakistan’s 40%.
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‘More poor’ in India than Africa

The new measure of poverty assesses household poverty. Eight Indian states account for more poor people than in the 26 poorest African countries combined, a new measure of global poverty has found.

The Indian states, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, have 421 million “poor” people, the study found. This is more than the 410 million poor in the poorest African countries, it said. The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) measures a range of “deprivations” at household levels. Developed by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) with UN support, it will feature in the upcoming UNDP Human Development Report.

The measure assess a number of “deprivations” in households – from education to health to assets and services. “The MPI is like a high resolution lens which reveals a vivid spectrum of challenges facing the poorest households,” said OPHI director Dr Sabina Alkire.

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