Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. Presently, he is teaching Mathematics at JCRE Global College. Jugeshwor can be reached at: [email protected] Or WhatsApp’s No: 9612891339.

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The career is an individual’s metaphorical “Journey “through learning, work and other aspect of life. There are a number of ways to define Career and the term is used in a variety of ways. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word “Career” as a personal course or progress through life or distinct portion of life. Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions one will make in life. It’s about so much more than deciding what one will do to make a living. To start with, think about the amount of time we spend at work. The importance of selecting a career with which we are satisfied cannot be overemphasized.
Career choice or career exploration is an important step in helping a student fulfill long term employment goals. These exploration can help a student connect to path that is appealing, fulfilling and leads to desired career. Career choice or exploration is one way to find out about multiple career options. During different phases of exploration, students take part in a variety of activities that can assist in figuring out their unique interests, skills and talents. Students who have this knowledge are better prepared to identify next step in postsecondary schooling or other means leading to a future career. Career exploration is an important tool in helping to find a desired career. The step can help in making positive well informed educational and career decisions. Students benefit from taking advantage of this by their exposure to a variety of career options. These options can include those areas a student is interested in exploring and needs more information about. Over a period of time, students work with several different individuals who will help them explore various careers and develop a career path. Parents can be key members of the team. Other team members may include teachers, school guidance counselor, siblings, peers and employers. A student with disability may want to discuss and begin to get some of their career exploration goals with their Individualized Education Program (IEP) team. Career exploration can occur in home, at school and in the community. At home, students can talk with parents, older siblings and relative about career options and choices. For example, a student can prepare a list of questions for parent, gathering information on how they chose their career and what skills and interests they found important in making their career choice. They might ask, if you could chose today what career would you chose and why? In community, a student might talk to a small business owner and find how they chose to go into business. Students can take opportunity to discuss a variety of career options in the business, nonprofit and government sectors.
There are numerous ways that students learn about career and workplace opportunities. There are many resources available to help students to explore and locate information about careers. Going online to research is only the beginning but can prove a comfortable way to begin on a student’s path in career exploration. Listening to career related guest speakers who share information about a company and its career opportunities, providing information about the skills needed for business success will also helpful to a student. In addition to these, attending career fairs, career days and career camps, attending workplace tour and visits, participating in summer employment career opportunities and also participating in job shadowing will help a student to explore the right choice of career. Students with disabilities face many obstacles as they transition from school to work. The process of deciding future career options can be challenging and involves careful considerations. Although there are many careers to choose from, individuals with disabilities have traditionally been limited in their career capabilities or are unaware of the range of work place accommodations that can broaden their career options. One study concluded that a major attribute of highly successful adults with learning disabilities is a “strong Sense of control over career-related events and conscious decision to take charge of their life”. In order for students with disabilities to have a strong sense of control over career-related events, they need current and comprehensive career information and skills. They need to know how to identify careers that play on their strengths, the specific ways their disability impacts their work and the supports necessary for success in the workplace. Self-determination skills are important skills for students to develop as they prepare to shoulder more responsibility for managing necessary supports and making adults life decisions. Self-determination skills include self-advocacy, design-making and self-awareness.
Students with disabilities should develop a clear understanding of helpful accommodations and specific ways in which their disability affects their desired work goal (both positively and negatively). The individual with Disabilities Act (IDEA) of 1997, required that Individual Education Programs (IEP) include consideration of students transition service needs beginning at age 14(or earlier if determined appropriate). Assessment conducted for transition purposes can generate valuable information for career preparation (Students strength, interests, challenges and support needs). Transition goals in the IEP can include workplace experience that allow students to learn about employment settings and vocational opportunities. IEPs should also include specific plans for developing or strengthening self-determination skills. Students need to participate in the planning process as much as possible. Community professionals, such as vocational rehabilitation course or postsecondary education representative and others should be actively involved in transition Planning. Interagency collaboration can make students transition experiences more successful and less frustrating. Parents need to have daily contact with their child and are expert in the area of what makes their child unique. Their guidance and encouragement can make a significant differences in their child’s career success. Parents of students with disabilities should: pay close attention to their child’s skills and interests; provide opportunities for their child to make choice and practice self-determination skills ;provide opportunities for their child to experience work settings ;provide disability-specific and career –specific information; make use of community connections and resources ;encourage their child to dream and to plan; participate in services, trainings and workshops on career guidance that improve their ability to support their child in this process; accept assistance rendered by peers, friends, community, agencies and professional in career guidance.
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Wednesday, 25 August 2021 16:53

Role of Social Sciences to Fight Covid-19

Science has been central to informing policy in the response to Covid-19. But ensuring the successful implementation of these policies and direction of a long-term recovery is the role of social sciences. Covid-19 has devastated communities and economies around the world and profoundly changed the ways in which we live and work. Many of those effects will no doubt prove to be temporary, but the pandemic has also created opportunities for us to “Build back better “once the immediate threat recedes. While medical sciences have been front and Centre of the response to the virus itself, social scientists have a powerful role to play in our recovery from it. The social sciences don’t produce much in the way of patentable widgets or indeed, life-saving vaccines. However, the analysis and insights they generate can and do underpin better-evidenced decisions and help guide and target insights from the “natural “sciences. There are no point devising lockdowns that nobody will follow or developing a vaccine that nobody will take. Social Scientists can help policy- makers and STEM colleagues develop solutions that people are able and crucially willing to follow through on. Work by social scientists on the effective, acceptable delivery of mass vaccination programmes,for example, might soon be highly relevant. Because they tell us important things about human behaviours, relationships and institutions, social scientists can help deliver these outcomes.
Social sciences also have an urgent role to play in ensuring that the voices of communities affected by an issue are represented in discussion of it and that relevant stakeholders are able to be involved in decisions that affect them. For example, we might usefully revisit lessons learned from anthropological work delivering rapid, real -time advice and guidance during the Ebola crisis which saved lives and reduced the spread of the outbreak. These and many other examples of the impacts of social science demonstrate the importance of having local knowledge, which the social sciences can provide. This capacity to support inclusion is crucial to the work that lies ahead to rebuild things the right way rather than (necessarily) just the old way. A recent report by the Centre for Economic Performance and Grantham Research Institute on climate change and Environment emphasizes the importance of involving business and communities in developing a strategy for inclusive and sustainable recovery. A “better “post-recovery world will undoubtedly also benefit from the well-documented contributions that social sciences make in areas such as improving the resilience of our democracies and financial systems, exposing and addressing social and economic inequalities and promoting good mental health and more sustainable ways of living.
To fully realize these potential benefits, this may be a good time for the social sciences to get their house in order by reducing some of the major barriers to impacts. We might think, forexample, about ways to increase support for collaboration with industry, communities and third sector organizations, as well as with policy makers. These diverse stakeholders have different needs. They work to different timescale and are interested in different academic angles and outputs. Understandably, researchers usually need help with the navigation (and administration) of engagement with them. An effective response will also entail collaboration between and within academic disciplines, including with STEM colleagues. Many universities are good at promoting and supporting interdisciplinary research, bolstered by recognition in the Stern Review of its essential role in addressing complex problems. This support should be maintained and increased where appropriate to continue to leverage the insights that cross-disciplinary work yields. If we want communities, business and policy- makers to recognize the contributions that social sciences make, we need to improve our visibility. The social sciences could further want to work to improve their visibility and accessibility. Doing so, might help increase activity on the ‘’demand’’ side of the impact equation; that is, in terms of external partners coming to them for help. It’s generally extremely difficult to know who and where to go to for academic insight. This is true in a general sense of universities which, from the outside (and sometimes the inside) appear impenetrable mazes of confusing acronyms and intimidatingly -titled people: even I would still hesitate before cold calling ‘’Professor The Lord’’ anybody. However, it’s perhaps especially problematic for social scientist because most people don’t really know who they are or what they do. If we want communities, business and policy-makers to recognize the contributions that social sciences make, we need to improve our visibility. An important step in that direction is the SHAPE (Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts for People and Economy) launched recently by the British Academy as a way to level up the visibility of these disciplines.
We might further think about ways to maximize the credibility of social scientists who like all ‘’experts’’ have taken a pounding in the last decade or so. Part of rehabilitating social science research expertise is getting better at tracking, evaluating and describing the impacts of social science research. It’s typically hard to draw even correlative, let alone casual links between specific impacts and specific social science research, making it hard to prove the nature and value of the contribution and research makes. Getting better at evaluating and communicating the benefits of social science research – even (or especially) when that can’t be counted in pounds, shilling and pence- is essential. Whatever one’s thoughts on the sickness and utility of the research Excellence Framework in the round, its inclusion of impact case studies has been a boon in this respect. Finally, it’s time to think hard about how we incentivize and reward busy researchers to participate in all of this. The reputational and potential financial incentives for institutions are clear. For individual academics, though taking time away from research and teaching to work on knowledge exchange and impact often seems like a luxury they can ill afford, even if they’re keen for their research to make a difference beyond academia. Proper provision of time, expertise and resource to support their efforts and sincere and enthusiastic celebration of their success, might partly determine the extent of social sciences participation in recovery. This can be expensive but it is an investment worth making for a better- and more evidence-based future.
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Wednesday, 18 August 2021 18:00

Inorganic vs Organic Farming

Agriculture has been one of the biggest innovations in the human history, with the first domestication of food crops occurring over 10,000 years ago. This domestication of food allowed for communities to base themselves in one area, growing tending and harvesting foods to sustain larger populations. Simple manual agriculture dominated for the first 8,000 years- focusing on the sowing and harvesting of grain crops, husbandry of animals and planting orchards of nut and fruit trees. The next 2,000 years brought massive technology changes that moved from mostly manual labour (both human and animal labour) to the manufacture of farming implements that allowed larger areas to be farmed with less labour. Coupled with the sharing of foods crops around the world, this again boosted the ability of humans to farm and feed larger populations with agriculture. What started as the simple understanding of plant biology (that is the planting of seeds to grow a replica) grew into the most important and largest industry in the world as well as the fuel for massive population growth. Food was grown with what was naturally available and if modern standard were applied to ancient agriculture, it would most definitely be ORGANIC. The 1900s brought massive change that not only modified how humans produced food but also much food humans could produce.
In the space of less than 150 years, humans discovered how to artificially create fertilizers as well as build machines that could do the work of many humans. There was revolutionary as it allowed for significant yield increases in labour. Interestingly one could easily correlate this change with the acceleration of human population, suddenly humans were able to produce more with less, allowing massive growth in population (from 1.5 billion in 1900 to more than 7 billion today). The 1940s brought what has been called “The Green Revolution”, which is the loose description given to the discovery of more artificial fertilisers and their distribution; creation of chemical herbicides and pesticides and genetic modification of plants and animals. This shifted food production into mass production that continues today. Driven by the artificial boosting of soil nutrients and application of poisons that reduced the impact of pests, genetic modification of plants has led to plants producing more yield than they would naturally produce and insertion of other animal and plant genomes to modify the properties of the plant. Again, the boom of food production in this time could be linked with the increase in human population. “The Green Revolution “brought more food to the World and with it brought huge volumes of artificial inputs to agriculture. In Australia alone, there is approximately 1.7 million tonnes of artificial fertilisers applied to farming (which has increased from 0.7 million tonnes in 1983). Pesticides use in Australia has also grown rapidly with over 5,000 tonnes of herbicides. 5,000 tonnes of insecticides and 3,000 tonnes of fungicides sprayed every year and growing rapidly. This awareness and the toxicity of many of these inputs has led to the (re)emergence of organic agriculture combines modern agriculture method with natural inputs and pest’s management. There has been a focus in the past twenty years plus on the food we eat and how it is grown. Many people are asking questions about the inputs that are applied to their foods and the impact that it could be having on the earth as well as their bodies. 1987 saw the emergence of biological farmers of Australia, a group of farmers who advocated and championed the natural farming approach that work with nature rather than against. They championed and adopted farming technique that now form organic certification, a process that is incredibly stringent and bound by consumer Law.
Food quality and safety are the two important factors that have gained ever-increasing attention in general consumers. Conventionally (inorganically) grown foods have immense health effects due to the presence of high pesticide residue, more nitrate, heavy metals, hormones, antibiotic residue and also genetically modified organisms. Moreover, conventionally grown foods are less nutritious and contain lesser amounts of protective antioxidants. In the quest for safer food, the demand for organically grown foods has increased in the last decades due to their probable health benefits and food safety concerns. Organic food production is defined as cultivation without the application of chemical fertilizers and synthetic pesticides or genetically modified organisms, growth hormones and antibiotics. Organic agriculture is a production system that regenerates the health of soils, ecosystem and people. Organic farmers rely on natural processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions rather than the use of synthetic inputs like chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides. GMOs are not allowed in organic. On the other hand,conventional (Inorganic) farming is that relies on chemical intervention to fight pests and weeds and provide plant nutrition i.e., synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers. Organic farming relies on natural principles like biodiversity and composting instead to produce healthy, abundant food. Importantly, “Organic production “is not simply the avoidance of conventional inputs, nor is it the substitution of natural inputs for synthetic ones. Organic farmers apply techniques, first used thousands of years ago, such as crop rotations and use of composed animal manures and green manures crops, in ways that are economically sustainable in today’s world. In organic production, overall healthsystem is emphasized and the interactionis of primary concern. Organic producers implement a wide range of strategies to develop and maintain biological diversity and replenish soil. Conventional (Inorganic) and organic farming methods have different consequences on environment and People.
Conventional (Inorganic) agriculture causes increased greenhouse gas emission, soil erosion, water pollution and threatens human health. Organic farming has a smaller carbon footprint, conserves and builds soil health, replenishes natural ecosystem for cleaner water and air without toxic pesticide residue. The popularity of organically grown foods is increasing day by day owing to their nutritional and health benefits. Organic farming also protects the environment and has a greater socio-economic impact on a nation. India is a country that is bestowed with indigenous skills and potentiality for growth in organic agriculture. Manipur falls under the eastern Himalayan agro-climatic zone with two broad topographic divisions- plains and hills. Manipur is within the monsoon belt of the country with sub-tropical to semi-temperate climate in the valley and semi-temperate to temperate climate in the higher altitudes most suitable for organic farming. So, farmers in Manipur have been practising organic farming religiously and for many this has become a sustainable source of income. But Manipur is one place where the farmers are still using different varieties of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in spite of the blanket ban imposed on use of these harmful chemicals all over India since 1998 making hue and cry between the farmers and state government for the chemical fertilizers as reported in the head line stories of local print and electronic media. This is in contradiction to government’s (MOMA) campaign “’Go Organic’’.Although India was far behind in the adoption of organic farming due to several reasons, presently it has achieved rapid growth in organic agriculture and now becomes one of the largest organic producers in the world. Therefore, organic farming has a great impact on the health of a nation like India by ensuring sustainable development. Soorganic farming is the sole alternative for our clean and sustainable future.
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Manipur, one of the eight sisters of the northeastern region of India, is a hilly grit state situated at the lower tip of the sub-Himalayan range. Resembling most of the northern states of India, the economy of the state primarily depends on agriculture and allied activities. Though the total land under agriculture is only 6.74% of the total geographical area, it provides livelihood of more than 52% of the total population of the state. Rice being the staple food crop, accounts about 95% of the total food grains productions and covers about 72% of the total cropped area of the state. Besides rice, other cereals such as maize, wheat etc. and pulses along with various kinds of fruits and vegetables are also grown in both valley and hilly regions.
Irrigation is a very important non-physical inputs in agriculture as the crop production of an area largely depends on the existing irrigation facility. Crop production can be amplified from boosting the arable land, cropping intensity and yield per unit area of the cropped land. However, almost all of the agricultural fields in the state depends on monsoon rainfall as the irrigation facilities in Manipur are completely failed. Even though government departments like WRD (Water Resource Department) and Command Area Development Agency (CADA), constructed major and minor irrigation facilities, none of them have been successful in providing water to the fields. With dried rivers and canals, all of the River Lift Irrigation (RLIs) facilities are lying defunct. As agricultural fields in the state remains dry till date due to rainfall deficit and late arrival of south-west monsoon, fear of a possible draught has descended among the public, especially the farmers. Normally, pre-monsoon arrives in the state by the last week of March. However, rainfall deficit was significantly high this year and the whole state has been facing water scarcity since then. Meanwhile, meteorology department predicted late arrival of south-west monsoon by at least one week. Even though the south-west monsoon arrived in the state recently, widespread rainfall is still a dream. On the other hand, decreasing crop yield coupled with wide cracks developing in all over farmland of Manipur due to scanty rainfall are causing worry to the farmers who are hoping that the rain God soon smile on them to start sowing paddy seeds for the season.
Last year, the state faced flood at the start and draught like situation at the end resulting reduced crop yield. It further sparked price hike on local as well as imported rice. There is a constant fear of possible crop failure like last year among the farmers due to rainfall deficit. Generally, tilling the fields began by May last week. Seed sowing in June first week and transplantation by July first week. However, all these activities are being put on hold due to rainfall deficit. Considering the situation, there are high chances of delaying the agricultural activities till last-July. Rainfall deficit this year and policy failure on the part of the government in improving rainwater harvesting and irrigation facilities are the main reason for the draught like situation in the state.Loktak Lift Irrigation (LLI) used to supply irrigation water to Imphal Main canal and Moirang Low level canal by drawing water from Loktak lake. The authority concerned had stopped the service for long and it has made the Project unable to supply irrigation water to the command areas. Villagers of Bishnupur district like Toubul, Khoijuman and Kwashiphaiare the main producers of local vegetables sold in key markets of the state like Bishnupur, Imphal, Moirang and Churachandpur. Each farmer invests a handsome amount of money to grow vegetables commonly consumed by the people of the state. Unfortunately, rainfall scarcity and total failure of ensuring irrigation facility have hampered the vegetable productions in the farms of these villages and due to lockdown of Covid pandemic, a little produce after hard toil also damaged considerably resulting huge losss.
At the same time, the story of non-availability of Urea and other fertilizers is the head line story of most local print and electronic media despite Government claim of enough stockpile of fertilizers. This is the same old story every year. It is true, it is not practically possible for subsidized fertilizers to reach every farmer in just a few days. But the sincerity and effort of the state agriculture department should be visible enough to be appreciated. Every day, one hears farmers complaining about the scarcity of fertilizers or the way they had to wait in long ques at the district headquarters not knowing whether they will get their share or not. Again, most of the farmers in Manipur are tenants, they fail to produce proper documents of paddy fields and face the problems in availing the fertilizers provided by the state government. Thisreason, farmers have suffered enough due to covid restriction affecting agricultural activities. Despite the huge need of fertilizers, there was only one distribution center for fertilizers per district and farmers had to wait in long ques for availing fertilizers. Not just this, but due to the long wait, the black market for fertilizers is thriving across the state. Perhaps, who knows, the black market in fertilizers is thriving with the active connivance of local politicians and officials, as alleged by some groups. We all know, some MLAs and powerful politicians are stockpiling fertilizers for distribution among his constituencies and this is an important factor for the scarcity of fertilizers at a time when it is most needed.
Two parallel realities fast unfold in Manipur. The efficacy of several commissioned mega dams like, Khuga dam, the Khoupumm dam and Singda dam and even 105 MW Loktak Project is increasing exposed as evident by wide reporting on their non-functioning of their vital components of regular breach of canals and dams lying idle and defunct since decommissioning. Small scale farmers, fishing communities in and around Loktak wetlands will willfully testify the unfulfilled promises and the under-performance of 105MW Loktak HEP in Manipur. Amidst all such stories and realities of failures and under-performing of mega dams as exposed and highlighted by the media, what should be the lessons learnt? Is the government taking seriously of such realities and the message within? Why is there no investigation of such reportages to prove the veracity of such reportages and to effect necessary rectification measures? Are there no lessons learnt from such dams’ failures? One wonders, why the government of Manipur insist only on building more dams despite failures and non-performance of its previous mega dams. Any responsible and people-oriented state, which believes in democratic process will be sensitive to people’s complaints of fraught and violations by communities harmed by such destructive development onslaught. One needs to ponder who benefits out of mega dams, the contractors, the politicians, dam builders, equipment suppliers or is it the people? Why should indigenous people of Manipur sacrifice their land, forest and other survival resources for such large-scale projects which only benefits the contractors, the politicians, the engineers and the suppliers? Dolaithabi Barrage seems to be another white elephant, fast emerging in Manipur’s Northern Landscape, as though similar failed structures, Khuga dam in the south, Khoupum dam in the west and Mapithel dam in the east are simply insufficient for Manipur.In fertilizers sector, the recent move by the state government to entrust DCs with the task of availing fertilizers to farmers and at centers other than the district headquarters is a good move. But people’s apprehension is – how transparently and effectively this will be done? Irrigation and Fertilizers are the two main components to increase the farmers income by double at the end of 2022 as claimed by PM along with monetary assistance of PM KISHAN scheme in which many ghost beneficiaries are found which is a problem not yet resolved in Manipur. However, the story of irrigation and fertilizers(urea) in Manipur appears to be a curse for our farmers.
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