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Ila Reddy

Here's How 1000 Women Mustered The Courage To Fight UP Panchayat Elections

More than 1000 women from self-help groups contested the kshetra (block) and zila (district) panchayat elections this year. Most of them were first-time candidates with no prior political experience. Four hundred of them won, fighting against all odds -- from threats, to mud-slinging, to family pressures, to acts of violence. Anyone who is familiar with the feudal, patriarchal context of Uttar Pradesh (especially vis-à-vis panchayat elections) will know this was no easy feat!
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How Payments Banks Could Help Pave The Way To A Less-Cash Economy

The dominance of cash transactions in India comes at a cost, with the RBI and commercial banks spending Rs 21,000 crore annually in currency operations. It is opaque, facilitates tax evasion and is generally system inefficient. The biggest challenge before payments banks (which essentially promote financial inclusion by making it easier to set up an account) is to get this cash routed through formal banking channels, mostly electronic, and thus start a silent revolution to dethrone the king of inefficient times -- cash.