Tenth CSE Media Fellowships: JNNURM and Indian cities: misguided mission or reform blueprint?

But has the scheme really benefited cities? What is the current status of implementation of the projects proposed under JNNURM? Have there really been any long- or short-term reforms in the way India’s cities are growing? The Planning Commission's half-term review of the scheme is due this year. What is the review most likely to find?

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) offers a media fellowship to journalists to study, investigate and report on JNNURM in our cities – with respect to two key components: transport and water supply, sanitation and sewerage. The fellowship offers a unique opportunity to travel to JNNURM cities to look at the issues and concerns at close range and to write and comment on them.

Who can apply
These fellowships are open to Indian journalists only, including freelancers, photojournalists and television/video/radio journalists.

Suggested areas of research
Proposals must focus on either transport or water supply, sanitation and sewerage, or both in JNNURM cities only. Under either head, applicants can opt to investigate a wide range of issues:

  • State of infrastructure
  • Proposals and projects
  • State of implementation
  • Economics: the money trail
  • Corruption, controversies and conflicts
  • Impacts and benefits

See here the complete list of JNNURM cities.

Two months – March 2010 to April 2010 – with one month of travel time and another month for research, writing, publication and submission of stories and features.

Compensation and funding
Selected fellows will each receive a stipend of Rs 40,000 (subject to tax deductions at source) to support research, travel and writing between March 2010 and April 2010.

The stipend will be released in two installments – the first as a travel grant at the start of the fellowship programme and the second after its successful completion.

Applications must be accompanied by the following documents:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • For print journalists, three samples of published work on development issues. By ‘published work’, we mean articles published by/in national or regional newspapers or magazines.
  • Those writing in regional languages must have at least one of their articles translated into English.
  • For television and radio journalists, two samples of telecasted/broadcasted programmes on development issues – those telecasting/broadcasting in regional languages must also give a short written summary of the programme along with the CDs of the samples.
  • A letter of support from the editor that the output under the fellowship will be published/broadcast (mandatory for all candidates, including freelancers).
  • A comprehensive fellowship proposal outlining (a) the city/cities/state on which the proposal is focused, (b) the subject/s and story ideas that the applicant proposes to focus on, (c) tentative travel plans and (d) a list of people who might be interviewed.

Last date for submission of applications
February 20, 2010

Fellowships output
Selected applicants from the print media will be expected to generate feature and news article/s totaling 5,000 words, based on the research carried out under the fellowship. Original clippings of these articles will have to be submitted at the completion of the fellowship programme.

Selected applicants from the audio-visual media will be expected to generate either a single film/broadcast or a series of episodes, based on the research carried out under the fellowships. CDs of these outputs will have to be submitted at the completion of the fellowship programme.

Applicants who complete the fellowship programme successfully, will receive certificates of merit.

Additional research opportunity
CSE might offer some shortlisted applicants a separate and additional research opportunity -- to survey urban transportation projects in selected JNNURM cities. Under this, shortlisted applicants will be expected to investigate and collect/collate information on the basis of a specific format/questionnaire prepared by CSE.

CSE would expect the shortlisted applicants to complete this research project on a priority basis within the fellowship time-frame. CSE will pay an additional small stipend to each applicant for doing this research on its behalf.

Please contact Souparno Banerjee (souparno@cseindia.org / 9910864339) of The CSE Media Resource Centre.