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Chakradhar, an unsung hero helping distressed tenant farmers in Telangana

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Chakradhar

Tea-vendor-turned-entrepreneur Gadhagoni Chakradhar Goud doesn’t find happiness in stashing cash bundles in the safe or seeing his bank accounts swelling. For him, pleasure comes from his hard earned money wiping the tears of a bereaved tenant farmer’s family. Or, in preventing a farmer from abruptly ending life, and making him a fellow entrepreneur.

Chakradhar, whose life is a perfect live example for the ‘Rags to Riches’ idiom, spends half of his income on helping poor tenant farmers. Having been supporting the farmers in different ways since his young age, he founded Farmers First Foundation in 2020, to extend the help in an organized manner.

He succeeded in preventing many farmers from committing suicide by extending support to shape their future. For instance, when he knew from his volunteer about a farmer in Tirupati attempting suicide, Chakradhar arrived there and extended Rs 2 lakh help to enable him to buy an autorickshaw. Now, the farmer-turned-auto-owner is leading a happy life with his family, taking care of 8 women of three generations dependent on him.

Another distressed farmer rescued from suicide by Chakradhar in Hyderabad has married his daughter to a police sub-inspector. 

Who is Chakradhar Goud? 

Now 35, Chakradhar Goud was born in a poor family in Siddipet district of Telangana. His father was a van driver. With it becoming difficult for the five-member family to survive on his meager income, the family ran a small tea stall in Siddipet. Like his elder brother and younger sister, Chakradhar used to go to school and work at the tea stall during free time.

In 2005, he moved to Hyderabad in search of a job, even before completing his graduation. He worked as a clothes vendor in the streets and asba helper in a disposable cups company, before joining as a loans executive at a leading private bank.

During this period he did his graduation and LLB through correspondence course and learned computer. It was because of the helping hand extended by his friends settled abroad; he became an entrepreneur by establishing a small company to execute software projects. “There was no looking back. I entered real estate also simultaneously and this CLIX SENSE group took birth. Now, there are 50-55 staff in my enterprises”, he reveals.

Though he didn’t have any agriculture background, his passion to work for the betterment of farm community kept increasing by the day. Friends convinced him to go in an organized way to help farmers. He registered Farmers First Foundation in 2020. He and his wife are directors and they don’t accept contributions. “When people approach us seeking to join our mission, we guide them to help the farmers directly”, he said.

Three pronged approach to help tenant farmers

In the last three years, Chakradhar helped 300 agriculture families that were distressed by the unnatural exit of their breadwinners from the world. Through his volunteers in the villages across Telangana, he would get the actual reasons for the farmer’s suicide ascertained and take a decision on the kind of help to be extended to the family. From his experience, Goud realized that moral support and advices are secondary for families that are under pressure from the financiers.

“They can think of tomorrow, only when they are out of the stress today”, he believes.

“A vast majority of the nearly 8000 farmers suicides reported since formation of Telangana state in June 2014 are tenant farmers. They borrow for cultivation and, if the crop fails, they are under tremendous stress of loss on one side and the pressure to clear the debts on the other. This gives birth to suicidal tendencies”, he analyses. 

Apart from 300 bereaved tenant farmers families, the Foundation so far extended help to about 100 tenant farmers to diversify and weddings of their daughters. “Mere mangalsutra and toe rings will not help perform a wedding. There are many things, many requirements. That’s why I extend financial support, rather than forcing the family to perform the wedding with the material we give” Goud explains.

During the peak of COVID-19 pandemic, he supplied 2.5 lakh meals, at the rate of 2,000 a day, to the people in need.

On a Mission to rationalize Rytu Bandhu scheme

Chakradhar Goud is now on a mission to convince the Telangana government to put a ceiling on the landholding for eligibility for benefit under Rytu Bandhu scheme. Having conducted surveys and collecting data, he stresses that farmers holding more than 5 acres of land should be excluded from the scheme. “A farmer who owns more than five acres of cultivable land should ideally have the capacity to cultivate on his own. Most such farmers prefer to lease out their lands to tenant farmers, than dedicating their time for cultivation. Thus, extending the Rytu Bandhu scheme benefits to such landholders is injurious to the exchequer “, he says.

According to the estimates prepared by Chakradhar, about Rs 6000-7000 crore would be saved every year, if the big landholding farmers are excluded from the scheme.

The money saved thus should be spent on further support to the genuine cultivators. He bats for rationalization of the farm budget (allocation to farm sector in the budget).

Chakradhar also insists that like the budget for defense, there should be a separate budget for kisaan community. “Jai Jawan – Jai Kisaan’ is our slogan hence we should have equal respect for the two organs in our budget”, he argues.

Chakradhar is now gearing up for a legal battle against the indiscriminate implementation of the Rytu Bandhu scheme in Telangana. He is gathering public support, before raising a public interest litigation. “The fight will go on till the goal to exclude rich farmers from the scheme is achieved”, he stated.

Will quit business, if I join politics: Chakradhar

Chakradhar is not averse to politics. “I will enter politics only if I am convinced that my presence would help the farmers and the farm sector. When politics become my career, I will cease to be a businessman”, he declares. Chakradhar strongly believes that politicians should not have businesses and businessmen should not enter politics because the objectives are obviously contradictory. Facebook Link – https://www.facebook.com/politicallaboratory/

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Rajasthan Digifest 2022 – Chitransh Jain Shake hands with famous YouTuber Amit Sharma (Crazy XYZ) & Elvish Yadav to promote the startup ecosystem

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Rajasthan DigiFest 2022, an effort of the Rajasthan government to encourage startup innovation in the state, began on Friday (August 19). At Jaipur’s Birla Auditorium, the two-day conference that aims to bring together entrepreneurs, students, and supporters of the startup community officially took place.

 Rajasthan CM Shree Ashok Gehlot Ji inaugurated the event. The DigiFest received an overwhelming response of over 15K participants on the very first day of the event.

The state’s Department of Information Technology and Communication hosts the Rajasthan DigiFest 2022, which continues to celebrate that entrepreneurial spirit by focusing a special emphasis on youth and presenting the newest technology and solutions from companies throughout the state.

It was a two-day event that strives in providing a platform for startups, industry leaders, mentors, and students as well as showcased recent developments in IT and technology which will help improvise the interaction between stakeholders in society for ease of doing business.

Chitransh Jain along with the famous YouTuber Amit Sharma of channel Crazy XYZ & Elvish Yadav visited the event to promote the startup ecosystem.

“Government initiatives, combined with technology adoption and individual efforts, are helping Rajasthan rise among the ranks of India’s top startup hubs. They will also be signing Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with many investors to ensure that startups in Rajasthan receive the monetary support they need to help them achieve success”, says Chitransh Jain.

A knowledge session and interaction between the influencers promoted the idea of nurturing the startup industry effectively. YouTuber Amit Sharma and Elvish Yadav interacted with the students and youngsters answering them about the know-how of the industry and how a startup will help change lives, added Chitransh.

The DigiFest also highlighted the developments in an entrepreneurial ecosystem with various knowledge sessions which will decode the present state of startups and encourage upcoming innovations in Rajasthan.

While talking about the startup ecosystem, Chitransh also highlighted the growth and revolution in the tech world. The drone, Metaverse, and Artificial Intelligence are changing the way India transacts and also the various ways technology will be helpful for the startups.

Chitransh concluded by saying, “DigiFest is a really good platform that would allow Rajasthan’s youngsters to launch themselves to become a member of the startup ecosystem and professional IT workforce. The government will be helping to provide the funds necessary for the innovators to succeed.

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All or Nothing? The Case for Regulated Online Gaming

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Online Gaming

Newspapers in India often describe online gambling as a literal “death trap” for its youth. But is that really the case, and how can the government put some order on the market?

Breaking Down Criticism of India’s Online Gaming Industry

The immense potential of India’s youth is often credited for the growth rate of its economy in recent years, as well as the expectations that the desi society has for the future. In all of this, some of the younger generations’ favorite pastimes – online and mobile games – have often been stigmatized as one of the few obstacles to brighter times.

Loud and catastrophic headlines appear in newspapers almost every day, calling out the imaginary menace. Some even claim that once a young person starts playing online games for money, they almost inevitably end up killing themselves over uncontrollable debt. This, however, pictures the desi youth as incapable of making their own decisions and taking control of their actions – quite to the contrary of any hopes the Union might have for its future.

But there is certainly more to such a short-sighted standpoint. A young person playing andar bahar for real cash at Pure Win is obviously not supposed to see this as a family tradition around festive times. Rather, they should be ashamed about it, which only worsens things if they really need help with their gameplay spending.

Occasionally, critics take a shortcut and blame the British Government for introducing gambling in India (for its tax revenues). Others point to the proliferation of online gaming during long periods of Covid-19 lockdowns when people became used to shopping, working and having fun out of their mobile phones.

Some admit that games like poker and rummy may also be a source of income for those who lost livelihoods in the digital transition. The article in question also cites a KPMG report which shows the Indian online gaming sector as the fastest growing Media and Entertainment segment, creating thousands of jobs and crores of investments and revenue.

The issue, then, is to find a way to make the best of this global phenomenon called online gaming but doing it in conditions that allow the Government to protect the average player.

Regulated Gaming Is a Foregone Conclusion – When Will India Make It?

The answer is quite simple, actually, although not so quick to deploy across State jurisdictions. Numerous market studies and best practices around the world have shown that regulation is much more effective than any sort of a ban on real-money games.

By creating (or copying) proper legislation for platforms that offer betting and online casino India will take a step towards market maturity. The only meaningful way of protecting players is to create stringent rules and requirements for licensing and impose high standards for consumer protection, even advertising.

Failing to do so will only repeat mistakes of the past. Banning alcohol, for example, has never worked and only exposed people to homemade and illicit substitutes.

Regulated real-money gaming comes with a series of safety nets – licensed and well-monitored operators (websites and apps), age and spending limits, exclusion registers. There is also much more in terms of responsible gambling policies and transparent gaming and financial operations. This is the way it has been done for years in Europe, Australia and the US. And it works.

Even those that criticize the very existence of the industry admit that things would improve with measures such as affordability checks as part of wider legislation. We have to be certain, however, that a blanket ban on Indian sites will only push people to unregulated gambling elsewhere on the internet.

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No Correlation between Suicide and Online Gaming, Experts Say

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Suicide and Online Gaming

Government officials in Tamil Nadu had asked an independent panel to evaluate the possible link between gambling and self-harm in view of banning online games. Psychiatrists say mental health is a separate issue and deserves a serious, systematic approach.

University Psychiatrist Submits Report to TN Authorities

There is no direct causal relation between indulging in online gaming and committing suicide. This is the ultimate conclusion that an independent research into the matter has reached, shedding light onto a sensitive issue that has repeatedly been a matter of public debate.

The report was requested by Tamil Nadu authorities a few months prior in an effort to justify upcoming legislation seeking to ban online games for money. However, the study – carried out by a leading Gujarati psychiatrist – revealed that there could be no possible link between playing a baccarat game online and committing suicide somewhere down the line.

Dr Sandip H. Shah, Professor of Psychiatry and Dean of the Government Medical College in Godhra, Gujarat, is the author of the elaborate “Suicide and Online Gaming” research paper. It was further peer reviewed by Dr. Ajay Chauhan, MD, the Medical Superintendent of the Ahmedabad Mental Health Hospital.

On one hand, the study states that there is no data in the public domain which could justify claims of such a correlation. On the other, scholars puts the emphasis on the fact that suicide is a complex matter, with separate deep rooted personal reasons that require an attentive approach.

Regulation, not Sensation

The research was part of the efforts of an independent panel of experts summoned by policy makers in Tamil Nadu. Over the past year, they have been trying to introduce legislation to regulate online gaming. The TN government formally invited feedback from teachers, parents, youth, psychologists, consumer groups and NGOs, gaming companies and the general public.

Notably, psychiatric evaluations and market experts agreed that the best way forward is to establish proper regulation of the market, based on in-depth studies from the scientific community and best practices around the world. Moralistic statements and sensational media coverage of personal tragedies have never helped and have only led to miscalculated attempts at blanket bans on online games.

Dr. Shah’s research, the basis of psychiatric support to government officials, points out that rash legislation is usually the result of misinformation. The study repeatedly evokes the lack of any causal correlation between online gaming and suicide. It evokes the need to gather more data, before and after having legalized online gaming with precise rules.

A “rational” regulation should be supported by further studies from scientific and technical communities, he goes on. Even coincidences do not lead to proper conclusions of causation, while suicide prevention policies need to be based on statistics, case reports and broader strategies. Media reports into financial fraud and personal distress usually lead to ad hoc interventions which are never well thought through.

Indeed, the consequences of extreme bans have proven to push real-money games into the black market and online games into the offshore scene. Thus, Indian players are less protected and exposed to stress and more direct and indirect threats.

Researchers explicitly recommend collaborative efforts between regulators, gaming companies and the medical community. Those should lead to a set of responsible gaming practices, licensed operators in TN (and the Union as a whole), as well as more consumer protection through strict rules and requirements.

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