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RNI No. DELENG/2016/71561
Vol-1 | Issue-29 | July 03 - 09, 2017 | Price ` 5/-
Good News Weekly for Rising India sulabh in arunachal
Arunachal has tied up an NGO to ensure sanitation for all in the otherwise beautiful state
Palbinder Shergill appointed judge at British Columbia Supreme Court
Central Hindi Institute organizes award ceremony for Hindi scholars from India and abroad
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam Swami Vivekanand enchanted the world with his knowledge and oration. Our salutation on his 114th death anniversary
02 Swami Vivekananda ...Continued from Page 1
July 03 - 09, 2017
Robin Keshaw & Prem Prakash
ndia is a nation with rich agriculture and spirituality. While its hard work and industriousness laid strong foundation of country’s cultural traditions, religion and spiritualism were the foundation on which our social awakening. Today, India is known to have the maximum population of youth. That reminds us of a young saint who enriched us spiritually as well as culturally. Swami Vivekananda was not only famous during his lifetime but also his life and times generate global interest even today. Usually, a saint is supposed to be an aged soul. The term ‘young saint’, in itself evokes a lot of curiosity. He might have lived only for 39 years, five months and 24 days but even in that short life, he introduced the world to the deep meanings of Vedas and Hindu spirituality. January 12 is Swami Vivekanand’s birth anniversary which has been celebrated in India as National Youth Day since 1985. This is because 1985 was declared by United Nations as the International Youth Year. Since then the Government of India decided to celebrate his birth day as National Youth Day to enable the young generation to understand Vivekanand’s philosophy. Swami Vivekanand used to consider the role of youth an important factor in the development of a nation. He used to exhort the youth to jog and play football every day. His thinking was that only physically fit youth can contribute positively to nation building by breaking shackles of orthodoxy and fundamentalism. A ‘cyclonic Hindu monk’, as he was famously called then, Swami Vivekananda, at a very young age had foreseen that the global order will be turning quite fragile. He regarded religious intolerance, cultural exclusiveness, and blind fanaticism as the chief proponents of bloodshed. He didn’t just point out the causal factors he also highlighted the mitigating factors. Culture of acceptance “Our watch-word then”, he had said, “will be acceptance, and not exclusion. What we call tolerrance means that one just allows another to live, even if one is wrong. Is it a blasphemy to think that you and I are allowing others to live?” He propounded that “We want to lead mankind to the place where there is harmonization of the Vedas, the Bible, and the Koran. Mankind ought to be taught that religions are but the varied expressions of the
Religion, that is Oneness, so that each may choose the path that suits him best.’ His stirring message of oneness of religions was and still is one of the pertinent answers to the religious savagery in the world. Rising above cramping creeds and dwarfing dogmas, Vivekananda spoke of harmony, understanding, and universalism in his address at the final session of the Parliament on 27th September, 1893. Vivekananda had spoken with ferocity, “If anything, the Parliament of Religions has proved to the world that holiness, purity, and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world. Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence and drenched it often with human blood, destroyed civilizations, and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now.” One of the key aspects of Vivekananda’s philosophy was the simplicity of his messages, which doesn’t need a scholarship to be understood. What he said about religion is utterly simplistic. “To be good and to do good unto others – that is the essence of Religion”. According to him, religion is the idea which raises the brute to man, and man unto God. Swami Vivekananda preached that Truth is the basis of all Religions and
hence we must always practice acceptance towards other religions – be it Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam or any other Religion. Harmony of religions, universal solidarity, and human beings as the highest manifestation of spiritual consciousness are the basic fundamentals of Vivekananda’s philosophy. Positive education Swami Vivekananda believed that more the masses are away from their inner self, more they will be inclined towards religious fanaticism. And to tackle this, education is the best path. He said, “Education is the manifestation of perfection already present in man”. He said that education which does not enable a person to stand on his own feet, does not teach him self-confidence and self-respect, is useless. Education should be man-making, life giving and character-building. He also said that children should be given “positive education”, i.e they should be encouraged to learn new things till they gain self-confidence and selfrespect. The education which does not help the common masses to equip themselves for the struggle ofr life, which does not bring out strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy, and the courage of a lion–is it worth the name? Real education is that which enables one to stand on one’s own legs.”
Education should be man-making, life giving and
character-building, Swami Vivekanand used to say
Quick Glance Swami Vivekananda died at a young age of 39 years His Chicago speech made him popular across the word His birth anniversary is celebrated as National Youth Day
Swamiji had clearly distinguished between the religion and spirituality and drew the attention of man to the limitations of the former and the unlimited powers of the latter. What he said about sports gives a true insight into his idea of spirituality. Spirituality “Kicking a football will take you closer to the divine than any amount of prayer,” he had said. His juxtaposition of absolute involvement in ‘football and prayer’ alike, and the benefit derived from it, provides a very unique dimension the definition of spirituality. Today, as we tread on the path of making our nation a superpower, we have forgotten much about what Swamiji had said in a time when information was scarcely available. “Each nation, like each individual, has one theme in life”, he would say, and if any nation throws off its national vitality, it dies. He knew that India could teach the world, as the great American historian, Will Durant, believed, “tolerance and gentleness of the mature mind, the calm of the understanding spirit, the quiet content of the un-acquisitive soul, and a unifying, pacifying love for all living things.”
July 03 - 09, 2017 He ignited the minds of millions of people in India and abroad because of his commitment to humanism, egalitarianism, equity, rational thinking and democratic values. He believed that a nation built on the bedrock of education and equality, including gender equality, which guaranteed a level playing field for all citizens, could never be a laggard in the comity of nations. “The base of the national super structure should be that of a knowledge society”, he said and the mantra of equality should be combined with spiritual strength and self belief. When this happenes, a strong and vibrant India would emerge and this nation would once again be a global leader in the market place of ideas. The time is quite opportune today, to heed attention to the wholesome ideas of Swami Vivekananda, or it will be too late. The Young Energy Today, about 60 crore people are under 30 years old and the situation is likely to continue till 2045. So, it will be interesting to see whether our young generation has same energy and intensity which Swami Vivekananda had envisaged. No doubt, Indian youth has achieved big milestones in fields of information technology but there are some other fields which are a cause for concern for us. According to data issued by Indian Statistical Department, number of unemployment is rising unabatedly. Today, there are over 11.3 crore unemployed people in the country. In 2001 census 23 per cent people were without a job but in 2011, the number
the world at the Chicago Parliament of Religions by his exposition of Hinduism grew to 28 per cent. Unemployment obviously is leading the youth to the dark alleys of depression. Great Orator, Poor Student Swami Vivekananda was a great speaker and philosopher but was never a bright student in his childhood. This interesting fact has been revealed in a new book ‘The Modern Monk: What Vivekanand Means To Us Today’. Author of this book Hindol Sengupta says, “modernity of Vivekananda’s thoughts attracts us. He is different from all the saints whom we know so far. He is beyond history and religious ritualism. He always used to question everything around him including himself.” “But, a little known fact about Swami Vivekananda is that the person who held Americans spellbound during the Chicago Parliament of Religions with a speech delivered in English, had scored very low marks in the subject. He had taken three exams – Entrance Exam, First Arts Standard and Bachelor of Arts. In first he scored only 47 per cent marks, 46 per cent in second and 56 per cent in BA. Even in other subjects like Sanskrit and Mathematics, his score was almost
Today about 60 crore people in India are under the age of 30 and the situation will continue till 2045
average”, says Prof Sengupta. His life therefore, is an inspiration for the youth which start sliding into depression if they don’t achieve theire desired results. They need to understand that if you are aiming for a bigger goal, small failures wont be able to stop you from achieving your target. Early Childhood Born on January 12, 1863 to a rich family in Kolkata’s Simlapalli, his childhood name was Narendra Nath. He was inclined towards spirituality from the very beginning. Swami Adeeshwaranand describing Vivekananda’s Chicago address has written that the young sage had left a deep impact on Americans with his style, deep voice and revolutionary ideas. He in fat, inspired a cross section of people in Britain and America to study Indian spirituality. Interestingly, Vivekananda reached Chicago when America was passing through a phase of the civil war, and scientific progress at the time had overtaken people’s religious beliefs. At such a moment, Americans were waiting for a philosophy which could resolve their dilemma. Vivekananda’s philosophy was a ray of hope for
them. Swami’s Teachings Today, motivators are available at every nook and corner to provide success mantras to the youth. Some offer a crash course for personality development and some others offer an instant formula for success as a bestseller. But, these formulae are as confusing and dangerous as attractive they appear to be. But, Vivekananda’s teachings for success were relevant back then as well as they are now. He prescribed three things for success – purity, patience, and determination. Besides these, he also emphasized on love and compassion. He said that he taught only love and his teachings were based on the great truths of the Vedas which propagate the message of equality and omnipresence of atman. Last Days Vivekakanda spent his last days in Ramkrishna Math in Belur. He was not keeping well because of constant and extensive travelling and his health had started deteriorating fast. He had already started telling people that he won’t be able to live up to 40 years of age. His prophesy proved to be correct. He left the material world for heavenly abode on July 4, 1902.
04 Sulabh in Arunachal
July 03 - 09, 2017
sulabh arunachal pradesh
“Sulabh is a paradise of wisdom” Bamang Felix, Minister, PHE and Information and Public Relations, Arunachal Pradesh
Dr. Pathak with Bamang Felix, Minister, PHE and Information and Public Relation, Sanitation, Govt of Arunachal Pradesh, Robin
The state government officials who visited the Sulabh Campus in New delhi were amazed at the gamut of technological solutions offered by the NGO
Quick Glance Arunachal had decided last year to launch a drive to build toilets Sulabh has agreed to collaborate with Arunachal Pradesh Government A survey of the dirtiest of villages, Hong, has been completed
Hibu, IGP and Dr. Gampi Hibu (left)
runachal Pradesh, a state that boasts of unsurpassed natural and spiritual beauty has one problem that will heighten in these monsoon months. The rains will be heavy, and leeches will be thick everywhere, and defecating will be a major hazard. Forget issues like health and ecological problems, relieving oneself will be a challenge. On the other hand, there is Sulabh International in Delhi, with its legendary world toilets museum and its technologydriven sanitation solutions. So it seems just apt that the state government and the Delhi NGO get together and work out what to do about this. Already in December last year, Arunachal Pradesh Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) Minister, Takam Pario, had urged officers of his department to develop a proper strategy to achieve the target of 40,000 Individual Household Latrines (IHHL) during the current financial year. To pursue that target, Sulabh International has agreed to collaborate with the Arunachal Pradesh Government in its ambitious project of “hygienic toilets for all households in the state”. Arunachal PHE & WS, Minister Bamang Felix along with Robin Hibu, IGP, visited Sulabh International Centre at Dwarka Mahavir Enclave, New Delhi last week where the world’s first toilets museum, innovative successful project of turning
Sulabh International will transform Hong village from its dirtiest tag to the cleanest village and create a benchmark
July 03 - 09, 2017
Sulabh in Arunachal
Dr Pathak welcomes Bamang Felix, Minister, PHE and Information and Public Relations, Arunachal Pradesh
Dr Gampi Hibu leads the Arunachal Pradesh delegation taking a tour of the Sulabh Complex
Dr. Pathak and Bamang Felix interact with the students of skill development’s sewing centre
Bamang Felix wonders at the impressive collection at the Toilet Museum at the Sulabh Campus
Bamang Felix, enjoys his time in the kitchen trying his culinary skills using a biogas oven
Dr. Pathak felicitates Bamang Felix, with a memento after his visit of the Sulabh Complex
the crowded dirty public toilets into clean environment, biomas, drinking water into water ATM etc. are being successfully run by the NGO. Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh International, appreciated the Government of Arunachal’s interest for clean and hygienic toilets for Arunachal. He informed, that the team of Sulabh International with the help of helping Hands – an NGO, conducted a detailed survey of Hong village in Ziro, presumed to be the dirtiest one, so that it is transformed. “Survey part is in the final stage after which we shall start our cleanliness stint with construction of international standard toilets,” informed Pathak. Speaking on the occasion, Felix expressed deep gratitude to Sulabh International for choosing Hong village as the pilot project for their maiden initiative in Arunachal. Amazed by the innovative approach adopted by Sulabh International, the Minister assured collaboration with all existing schemes for rural sanitation in Arunachal with Sulabh International. He further requested Sulabh to start phase wise cleaning of the unhygienic villages (by building international standard toilets for poor villagers under CSR schemes) in Arunachal under the initiative of Sulabh International’s outreach programme for vulnerable and poor villagers. Felix also sought Sulabh International’s expertise support in the form of periodical training to sanitation officials of the state government so that they could make
Sulabh is a Paradise of Wisdom Bamang Felix, Minister, PHE and Information and Public Relation, Sanitation, Government of Arunachal Pradesh lauded the efforts of Sulabh and said that “Sulabh is a Paradise of Wisdom”. It was a pleasant experience for the Sulabh family to receive Hon’ble Bamang Felix from the Easternmost state of India namely Arunachal Pradesh who, besides other portfolios is also looking after sanitation. He was accompanied by Hon’ble Mr. Robin Hibo, IPS and his wife Hon’ble Dr. Gampi Hibo. The team saw Biogas plant, water ATM, Health Center, biogas operated kitchen, models of Sulabh “Twin-pit Toilets”, Toilet Museum and Sulabh Public School. After that, in a welcome gathering they were profusely garlanded and presented scarfs along with some gifts including Madhubani painting. The Arunachal Minister, in his brief speech expressed that Sulabh is a Paradise of Wisdom. Later, Dr. Pathak and Felix dwelt upon the need of sanitation in Arunachal Pradesh and declared to join hands to make the state ODF by 2018. A group of 25 Children and 5 staffs from Maa Peace Foundation from New Delhi also paid to visit Sulabh Campus today. They were taken to different units of Sulabh such as, Sulabh Public School, Toilet Museum, Models of Sulabh Technology, Bio gas Plant, Health Centre and Water ATM etc. good use of their knowledge in making Arunachal Open Defecation Free state at the earliest. “I am confident that Sulabh International will transform Hong village from its dirtiest tag to the cleanest village and create a benchmark for future expansion in the field of toilets for all endeavours” Felix assertively said. The PHE & WS Minister appreciated the efforts of the NGO HELPING HANDS
in taking up the much required “clean Hong village project” in collaboration of Sulabh International and said that their initiatives will be remembered by the people of Arunachal Pradesh for a long time. The Arunachal ministry of PHE & Water Supplyhas been conducting day long awareness programmes on rural sanitation under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and implementation of rural water supply schemes under National Rural Drinking
Water Programme (NRDWP) at various villages in the state. Yupia PHE Executive Engineer Bamang Tadh, while informing the sanction and implementation of water supply schemes and Individual House Hold Latrine (IHHL) sanitation toilet to every house hold at Dullung (Ramghat), Radasso, Gaiporiang, and Townbill villages urged the panchayats and villagers to strictly monitor the quality and timely completion of schemes while protecting the catchment of the water sources through Village Water and Sanitation Committee (VWSC). He also informed that the distribution system of water supply from treatment plant to consumer points within the panchayat would be taken over and maintained by the villagers themselves through VWSC. Briefing on the launching of sanitation programme under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan since October 2 throughout the country, he has urged the villagers to keep their houses and its surroundings, schools and, Anganwadi centres neat and clean by organising social service voluntarily from time to time. Pamphlets containing sanitation messages on personal hygiene and safe drinking water were distributed to the participants besides display of sanitation banners. Arunachal Pradesh is now all set to achieve better sanitation standards with the Centre promising to provide all the funds required for Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) programme to make the state open defecation free by 2022.
06 Good News
July 03 - 09, 2017
good news in brief
Meditation benefits body and mind Recent study shows the benefits of Mind-Body interventions
COMPOSER SEEKS HELP FROM PM TO FINISH PROJECT PTI
omposer and musicologist Shail Vyas wrote to PM Narendra Modi seeking help for the successful completion of a project on “Music in Ancient India”. Founded in 2011, ‘Songs of Mystery’, attempts to discover and recreate music and musical instruments from Indus Valley Civilization, Vedic, Ramayana, Mahabharata and later times in India. “This ambitious mission to recreate the incredible journey of Indian music cannot succeed without your help. It is my humble and hopeful request to you to kindly give an appointment for just 12 minutes out of your very busy schedule. “I understand the seriousness of my request very well but it is extremely important for the successful completion of the project. Your active involvement will take it to new heights for which, not only me but Indian music will forever be grateful to you,” Vyas wrote in the letter. The project in its first phase has already completed prototypes of 10 instruments like the Nandi Veena and Kumbha Tarangini from the Indus Saraswati Civilization. It has also identified more than 30 ancient instruments from different time periods with help of experts on archaeology, music and history who have come on board. The organisers also posted a video along with the PDF of the letter sent to the PM on Twitter. “H’ble Sir, this crucial project on Ancient Indian music needs your help. was tweeted from the ‘Songs of Mystery’ handle. Experts on board include R S Bisht, Joint Director General (Retd.), Archaeological Survey of India, B R Mani, Director General, National Museum, and senior arranger and composer Kersi Lord, among others.
ew Study has examined the positive effects of yoga and meditation on DNA and gene expression. The study revealed that meditation and yoga reversed the harmful stress and anxiety related molecular reactions within the DNA. The study published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology reviewed decades of research into how Mind-Body Interventions like meditation and yoga affect gene expression. The researchers noticed patterns in the molecular changes
caused by yoga and meditation in over 18 different scientific studies that included over 846 participants over a span of 11 years. Researchers studied how gene expression is affected by these activities. Gene expression is how specific genes activate to make proteins that affect the body. The review studied a molecule called nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) that is produced when a person is exposed to a stressful event. The body triggers the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) which activates the “Fight or Flight” mode in response to stressful events. This in turn ramps up the production of NF-kb in
Quick Glance Yoga has positive effects on DNA and gene expression Gene expression is how specific genes help make proteins In today’s society, stress leads to increase in cellular inflammation
the body. The molecule NF-kb processes stress by activating genes to produce cytokines, a type of protein. Cytokines cause inflammation in the body at a cellular level. This mechanism is believed to have been useful as an evolutionary response to stressful events. Ideally, this mechanism doesn’t last long but persistent stress causes this mechanism to go into overdrive. This increases harmful inflammation in the body leading to a higher risk of ailments like cancer and psychological disorders like depression. The study noted that people that practiced Mind-Body Interventions like yoga and meditation had reduced levels of NF-kB and cytokines. This reversal of inflammatory mechanisms of the body in turn reduced the risk of cancer and other ailments in people that engaged in these MBI’s. The authors of the study speculate that this stress response and cellular inflammation must have been vital in human evolution during the Paleolithic era. However, in today’s modern society, psychological stress is extremely prevalent and persistent. Indeed, some experts feel this has attained epidemic proportions. This persistent stress leads to increase in cellular inflammation in the body which in turn increases the risk of physical and mental ailments.
VIJAYAWADA water project
CM INAUGURATES TWO WATER PLANTS The government earmarked Rs 100 crore under the RWS. Along with some philanthropists, it can set up the water plants in 50:50 ratio
hief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu inaugurated two water plants under NTR Sujala Pathakam at Harischandrapuram and Venkatapalem villages in Capital city Amaravati. The AP Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) in association with the NTR Trust has set up the two water plants, which provide drinking water to 29 villages in the Capital. A 20 litre water can would be supplied at a cost of Rs 2. The NTR Trust will extend technical support and maintain the water plants.
Naidu said that the two water plants would quench the thirst of villagers. The NTR Trust has set up the plants with latest technology. Stainless steel pipes were used to avoid pollution. The NTR Trust is also taking up many programmes and launching services such as skill development, blood bank, and educational institutions. Health cards would also be issued in every village in the near future, he said. Narasaraopet MP, Rayapati Sambasiva Rao took the initiative in setting up nine water plants through the NTR Trust.
Philanthropists would have to come forward in setting up the water plants in villages. The government would provide power, water and land. The government earmarked Rs. 100 crore under the RWS. The government and philanthropists can set up the water plants in 50:50 ratio, he said. The Chief Minister said that steps were being taken to set up the water plants in Kanigiri where fluoride problem was acute. Also, the government would provide water in the Uddhanam area where kidney-related problems were high, by July-end, he added.
July03 - 09, 2017
disability new technology
new potential of human echolocation Study reveals that blind and visually impaired people use mechanisms similar to bats when navigating via echolocation IANS
esearchers are exploring insights into the ability of visually impaired people to use echoes from a cane or other sounds to navigate safely – known as echolocation – to help people who lose eyesight later in life. People who become blind early in life often learn to use echolocation more efficiently.But for individuals who become visually impaired later in life, a training in echolocation can help them to move through the world with greater independence and safety. “Eventually, I hope the research can give a result that can aid blind and visually impaired people,” said Bo Schenkman, an associate professor with the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.
The study showed that blind people not only use the pitch and loudness of echoes, but they also use the timbre – perceived quality of sound – especially the sharpness aspects of timbre. Further, visually impaired people were found to be better than sighted individuals at perceiving the quality of two sounds that are close together in time, the
San Francisco facebook
Zuckerberg unveils FB’s new mission Facebook is broadening its mission to increase online community engagement and bring the world closer together IANS
acebook’s new mission is to give the people the power to build community and bring the world closer together, the social network’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said. Zuckerberg unveiled Facebook’s updated purpose on Thursday at the social network’s first Community Summit, a gathering in Chicago of leaders from 120 different Facebook Groups, Forbes.com reported. Facebook’s earlier stated mission was “to make the world more open and connected”. Facebook’s new mission does not mean that the company is shifting away from connecting friends and family, but rather that it is broadening its focus to enabling people to connect with meaningful communities too, Zuckerberg was
quoted as saying. “For 10 years, we focused on doing everything around connecting people with their friends and family,” Zuckerberg said. “Now I think that there is a whole lot of similar work to be done around communities: Meeting new people, getting exposed to new perspectives,
good news in brief
Blind people use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes Blind are better than sighted at perceiving the quality of two sounds Studies on echolocation may help train people who are blind
researchers said. The findings will be presented at the ongoing Acoustics ‘17 – the joint meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and the European Acoustics Association in Boston. Human echolocation was also found to share some similarities with animal echolocation, though people use the skill to compensate for their sight, rather than as an additional sense. For both humans and bats, there is an ideal interval to emit sounds to most effectively echolocate. Humans, however, listen for the sound as well as its echo, while most bats seem to rely on just the echo. “I think one can learn much from differences between humans and bats, to compare how the systems work,” Schenkman added. Research into echolocation can inform training which helps people who are blind or visually impaired to navigate their environment.
Quick Glance Facebook aims to connect users with communities online Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook will broaden its focus FB aims to build communities and expose people to new perspectives
making it so that the communities that you join online can translate to the physical world, too,” he said. Zuckerberg described this ‘new mission’ as an extension of Facebook’s original mantra that will guide the company over the next decade. “Connecting friends and family has been pretty positive, but I think there is just this collective feeling that we have a responsibility to do more than that and also help build communities and help people get exposed to new perspectives and meet new people -not just give people a voice, but also help build common ground so people can actually move forward together,” the Facebook CEO said. He noted that the importance of community groups and leaders, like pastors and local advocates, and the impact of declining community membership had been visible to him on his “50 states tour”.
2 Indian-origin men in Queen’s birthday IANS wo persons of Indian origin were among 891 Australians recognised by Queen Elizabeth II in her birthday honours list for 2017 for their contribution to the community. Queensland-based Professor Rajiv Khanna received the Officer of the Order of Australia Medal for his work in medicine -- specifically his contribution to the development of cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancers, infectious complications and chronic disease. Khanna said he and his team were honoured to be recognised by those outside the scientific community. Khanna had been working on a new cancer treatment alternative -- a treatment he said was safer. He said his hard work shows how the Indian community values education. “We tend to value education very highly in India. You go to any Indian parent, they all want their kids to become a doctor or an engineer or something,” he was quoted as saying by SBS Television network. “But in terms of what it brings to the Australian community is that the highly educated Indian community... whether they’re in a medical area or an engineering area, they contribute hugely. “And I’m part of that and I’m very proud of that heritage, to be from the Indian community,” he said. UnnikrishnanVelayudhanPilla from Queensland was awarded the medal of the Order of Australia in the general division (OAM) for service to the Malayali community in the state. Other notable mentions who received the award included Hollywood actress Kate Blanchett, Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce and the departing mining industry heavyweight Jacques Nasser. The list was announced by Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove on Monday and the honours were awarded for service to the country to mark the Queen’s official birthday in June each year.
July 03 - 09, 2017
Himachal Pradesh Toilets
Sanitation A Fundamental Right: Himachal HC Two judges in separate cases have clearly held sanitation as a Fundamental Right within the meaning of the Constitution Quick Glance
imachal Pradesh High Court has recently held that right to sanitation has been now virtually accepted as constitutional right as fundamental rights like right to water, health, healthy environment, education, and right to dignity are directly related to right of sanitation. A Division Bench of Justices Sanjay Karol and Sandeep Sharma held that in view of ever expanding definition of right to life, citizen of the country are certainly entitled to civic amenities and medical aid, during the course of his / her travel, which he / she undertakes, by whatsoever mode of transport, on the State / National Highways. “Bare necessities of life includes proper sanitation facilities, as the practice of open defecation or a life with polluted drinking water source and environment cannot be considered as a life of dignity as understood in the context of Right to Life under the constitution,” the court held. The Bench also observed that with a large number of pronouncements having been made by various constitutional courts of this country, more particularly, Supreme Court, Article 21 of the Constitution of India protects right to life as a fundamental right, wherein its meaning / scope has been considerably expanded by the judicial pronouncement, as a result of which, enjoyment of life and its attainment including the right to life with human dignity has been imparted as a basic fundamental right right of citizen of the country. While dealing with another Case, Justice Sanjay Karol called for the status report on the availability of various sanitary facilities, if any, on the National/State Highways in the State of Himachal Pradesh. The government informed the Court that on a broad estimate, more than 500 buses daily ply in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Then the Court registered this matter as a PIL. In the aforesaid background, the
The judges said that this comes within the ever expanding definition of Right to Life The court has warned that if highways lack toilets, the state could face major crises The court has issued detailed suggestions on what needs to be done to implement this
Court was of the definite view that the state is under obligation to provide basic amenities to the citizens of the country while ensuring that their right of sanitation is not defeated. Definitely, citizens travelling on State/National Highways, need to be protected from open defecation, untreated disposal of waste into streams and contamination of water supplies, which could be caused by the heavy influx of tourists and lack of proper amenities in the state. The Court held that the non availability of public conveniences on the state as well as National Highways in the State of HP shall further add to pollution in the state. Apart from that, Himachal Pradesh being most favourite fascinating tourism destination is bound to receive lots of tourists from various states of the country as well as other parts of the world. “The situation is alarming and in case adequate steps are not taken by the respondents immediately, great damage would be caused to the ecology of the state and apart from that, there may be outbreak of epidemic which may cause serious
threat to the citizens of the state.” The Court held that it is required to be done at war footing by the respondents to provide public convenience on the State as well as National Highways that too at after certain distances. The Court has issued the following suggestions; • Public toilets can be constructed at places, which could be easily located by the public at large and in this regard sign boards of “ Public Toilets” or “ Private Toilets” should be displayed; • Free services should be provided in cases of public toilets and charges could be prescribed for private toilets and in all toilets, staff should be provided to take care and maintain the same; • The facilities should be easily accessible by the ladies walking or driving on the roads, and not be dangerous or inconvenient so as to encourage its use by the ladies; • The facilities should have proper disposal system for disposal of sanitary napkins; • It is necessary to ensure the safety and security of women, proper action should be taken against the male
The situation is alarming… there could be great damage to the ecology of the state...
members/attendants, if they are found sitting outside the ladies toilets in a drunken state; • Authorities may also consider it to make it necessary/mandatory for all the Dhabas/ Restaurants on the highways to make available public toilets for the use of general public, rather authorities while granting permission to such Dhabas/ Restaurants shall consider incorporating specific conditions with regard to provision of toilets and rest rooms and to maintain hygiene of the same, failing which their registration/ permit to carry out the business could be cancelled; • Apart from above, there is emergent need to provide medical aid on the highways at appropriate places, so that immediate relief/help is provided to the commuters/travelers in the event of emergency. Needless to say, such medical aid centres aid should be well equipped so that best possible first aid is provided on the requirement basis. • Authorities may also involve Driver/ Conductor driving their vehicles on these highways in this campaign by specifically directing them to stop their vehicles at a place where commuters/ travelers can avail facility of toilet apart from taking refreshment; • Authorities may also involve public sector undertaking or private operators in the State of H.P.in this campaign, who come forward to render their help in the greater public interest; • To engage with Active Civil Society organizations, active individuals as they are key elements that may improve the success rate of campaigns at grassroots level.
July 03 - 09, 2017
Uttar Pradesh open defecation
PM lauds UP, AP work on ODF Modi has praised the districts of Bijnaur in Uttar Pradesh and the people of Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh for exemplary work on sanitation SSB Bureau
rime Minister Narendra Modi has praised two villages in Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh for taking initiatives to make themselves free of open defecation and setting an example for others under the ‘Swachh Bharat’ movement. In the 33rd edition of his monthly radio programme ‘Mann ki Baat’, Modi mentioned how villagers in a small district of Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh on their own returned Rs 17.5 lakh to the government sanctioned to construct toilets. “I am surprised and at the same time happy to see the way people of Mubarakpur, a small Muslim dominated village in Uttar Pradesh, have made their village ODF (Open Defecation Free). Though they got the government aid of Rs 17 lakh to construct
In total, over two lakh
villages and 147 districts have been declared ODF across the country
mumbai urban sanitation
The official brand ambassador for Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is leaving no stone unturned to clean up the Aarey colony
e are trying to get permissions to build toilets if they have space for these,” says
Salman Khan. The Bollywood action hero has rebuilt more than 3,000 toilets in the Aarey colony, Mumbai. Last year, the actor was appointed as the brand ambassador for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) campaign; that aims to remove the problems of open defecation in the city. Salman Khan had earlier donated five mobile toilets with six seats each to the BMC and had urged the colony people to stop defecating in the open. During his second visit to the colony, Khan promised to build more toilets and repair the existing ones. “For the rest of the houses, we will try to get permissions to build toilets if they have space for it. It feels good to do something for the
news in brief
The PM has said that these are works that should inspire others He was surprised thatBijnor returned the sanctioned money In AP, officials and people built 10,000 toilets in 100 hours
toilets, they returned it,” said Modi. Modi also appreciated the villagers of Vizianagaram district in Andhra Pradesh where they had set a record by setting up 10,000 toilets in 100 hours in 71 villages. “Recently I came across a wonderful incident. This happened in the Vizianagaram district where its administration undertook a huge task with people’s participation. From 6 am on March 10, till 10 am of March 14, the administration and the people together constructed 10,000 toilets in one hundred hours successfully, making 71 villages ODF,” said Modi. Praising the people, Modi said that these were very inspiring examples. Five Indian states have been declared ODF, the latest ones being Uttarakhand and Haryana. In total, over two lakh villages and 147 districts have been declared ODF across the country.
Salman Khan Rebuilt 3K Toilets
Khan has already rebuilt 3,000 toilets in private suburban homes He has donated five mobile toilets to the Corporation For the other homes, he is seeking permission, provided they have space
cause but this is just the beginning. I think there are more than 3,000 houses here and six to eight people live in each of these houses. Also, some of these houses had toilets. We just rebuilt them and gave them water connections.” This initiative has been taken in collaboration with the BMC that had listed 118 locations across the Mumbai city where people still practice the open dedication system. Although, almost 97 of these areas are now open defecation free but still there remains a huge lacunae since 21 more areas still lack proper toilets. Earlier, BMC had declared 12 out of Mumbai’s 24 wards ODF and chalked out an action plan for other wards.
Brides: “Toilets Before Nuptials” There is an increasing number of young women getting married but refusing to go to their husbands’ homes if they do not have toilets SSB Bureau
bride in Haridwar, Monika, refused to go to her husband’s house after marriage as they did not have a toilet and also asserted that she won’t come to in-laws house until the toilet was built. The woman’s sister-in-law claimed that the family tried to build a toilet in the house but could not manage to do this. On April 17, a woman named Neha refused to tie the knot with a man in Kanpur after he failed to get a toilet built at his residence. Justifying her decision, she said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Clean India Mission’ inspired her. Prime Minister Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on October 2, 2014 at Rajghat, New Delhi. The drive is inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, who championed cleanliness.It is India’s largest ever cleanliness drive with 3 million government employees, and especially school and college students from all parts of India, participating in the campaign. The efforts are showing results now as awareness over health and sanitation is increasing even in rural areas.
10 State News
July 03 - 09, 2017
Bamboo Technology Park
Assam just opened its first Bamboo Technology Park in Chayygaon, inaugurated by industry minister Chandra Mohan Patowary
ssam industry minister Chandra Mohan Patowary inaugurated the state’s first Bamboo Technology Park at Chayygaon in the outskirts of Guwahati. Patowary said that while it is
the government’s duty to establish industries, it is the people’s fundamental duty to protect and support them as new industries can usher in large scale employment generation. The Park has been set up at the initiative of Industries and Commerce Department, Assam
with the help from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Government of India. The total project cost of the Park is Rs. 62.28 crores and is built on an area of 60 bighas with road, drainage, electricity and water amenities. “Assam is the highest bambooproducing state, but we are yet to use it commercially to its optimum level. This Park is the first step of the Government towards harnessing the potential of bamboo,” the minister said. He further mentioned that the Park will act as an institution by introducing the latest technologies in bamboo processing, skill building, employment generation and changing the economic and industrial landscape of the entire state. Ranjan Das, Chairman, Assam Industrial Development Corporation, Mission said that bamboo can be grown with minimum effort and
The Bamboo Technology Park project is worth Rs 62.28 crores and has roads, drainage systems, electricity and water amenities
Guwahati to have an e-waste recycling unit
oncerned over the growing volume of e-waste and the health hazards associated with it, Assam’s IT minister Keshab Mahanta has asked the state-run Assam Electronics Development Corporation Limited (AMTRON) to prepare a project for establishing a formal e-waste recycling unit near Guwahati. Presently, there is no scientific mechanism to handle such waste in and around the capital city. The e-waste recycling project will be part of the Digital India Initiative.
The project will cost 62.28 crores and will be built over 60 bighas. The Park will have roads, drainage, electricity, and water amentities.
through bamboo processing, building materials can be produced which can last longer than wood as it is termiteand-maintenance-free. Dr Kamala Kalita,Chairman, Assam Khadi and Village Industries Board, said “a long cherished dream has been fulfilled with the setting up of the Bamboo Technology Park and called upon industrialists and entrepreneurs to maximise the utility of the facilities in the Park to create quality goods.” According to Chief Secretary VK Pipersenia, the Bamboo Park will be a common facility centre for bamboo processing and will give the local entrepreneurs a competitive edge in the global market. Dr KK Dwivedi, Commissioner, Industries and Commerce, hoped that the Park will facilitate entrepreneurs to take up the manufacturing of various products made from bamboo by utilising the sophisticated machinery at the Park at a very nominal charge.
AMTRON will create an e-waste recycling unit in Guwahati The e-waste recycling unit will be a part of the Digital India Initiative Environ to spread awareness about the environmental risks
Assam Electronics Development Corporation Limited (AMTRON) has been tasked to create an e-waste recycling unit Speaking at a workshop organised by Environ – a group promoting environmental management, the Minister stated that the health risk associated with the mishandling of electronic waste cannot be ignored in regards to the growing usage of electronic items. Guwahati is one of the ten cities that have been selected by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) for creating awareness about environmental hazards of electronic waste. As a ground level implementation partner of the programme, Environ has organised several such sessions at educational
Assam’s first Bamboo Technology Park was recently launched
institutions and among other stakeholders. AMTRON managing director MK Yadava also stressed the need to start the practice of careful handling of electronic waste to avoid future complications. Dr Amarjyoti Kashyap, president of Environ said that with the growing use of devices and electronic items, environmental risk is also increasing. “Unlike the metros, our recycling units are not well equipped to segregate the plastic and heavy
metals in a scientific way to avoid hazards. This is creating a great environmental risk gradually. As we dump the electronic items along with municipal solid waste, most of the time the circuit boards and batteries are left untreated on the garbage dumping grounds. Such items emit toxic material that gets mixed with the soil. Moreover, due to a craze among people to use the latest equipment without the existence of a proper mechanism to dispose of old devices, we are piling up such waste in our homes, offices etc.” he added. India is the fifth largest generator of electronic waste producing 1.7 million tonnes of electronic waste annually.
July03 - 09, 2017
state news in brief
state news in brief
FB to support Arunachal entrepreneurs The social networking behemoth explained that it wants to boost businesses for budding entrepreneurs
Seminar on wet waste
Assam to use new tech to build roads
he efforts to speed up the campaign to keep Mumbai free from open defecation, to keep the city clean and to ensure better garbage management have began. Although, there are many problems in the way of achieving this goal in this heavily populated city, the administration hopes that if people provide their support, then Mumbai could rise up in the Clean- India ranking. The administration says that according to the rules if a toilet is provided within the distance of five hundred meters, the city can be made free from open defecation. Mobile toilets and community toilets are being provided along with new restrooms to make progress in this direction. It is believed that for every 30 people, there should be a toilet built, but as of now, there is just one for 200 people. But people are being told that till the time the facility is available, they should try private means of meeting the need for cleanliness. The administration is slightly upset that some people are deliberately not cooperating in the plan. They are being persuaded to help in keeping their city clean because Mumbai has a reputation to uphold throughout the world. Mumbai’s image in the minds of those who come from outside should not seem misplaced. In this endeavour, film actor Salman Khan has become the brand ambassador of Clean- Mumbai campaign. People listen to him. Salman is offering every possible collaboration. There is a huge problem in the dumping grounds of Mumbai. The administration has taken steps in this direction.
acebook has joined forces with the government of Arunachal Pradesh to promote state entrepreneurs and also boost skill development initiatives in the state. Facebook is organising a ‘Boost Your Business Session’ on Digital Marketing, as part of which an event would be launched in partnership with the state government and course curriculum on digital marketing will be provided by Facebook for entrepreneurs of the state.During a meeting with officials of the Department of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Department of Industries, Policy Programme Manager (India & South Asia) of Facebook, Rajat Arora explained Facebook’s endeavours to boost business programmes for budding and existing entrepreneurs. He highlighted that nano, micro, small, and medium enterprises in India are among the biggest winners of receiving access to the internet. At least 49 million MSMEs in India employ 40 percent of India’s workforce, contribute 45 percent to manufacturing output, and drive 40 percent of India’s exports. More than two million SMEs already have an active presence on Facebook. The artisans and entrepreneurs could build a digital presence, free of charge, thus avoiding expensive
Quick Glance Facebook takes up initiative to promote local entrepreneurs Arunachal Pradesh Government has joined forces with Facebook ‘Boost your Business’ seminar being offered
fees associated with creating and hosting websites and by creating a Facebook page for their products/ services, entrepreneurs will be able to tap into the growing mobile economy of the country – more than 186 million people in India and more than 1.9 billion people across the world use Facebook every month, of which 95 percent of them use it on their mobile phones. Arora also called for a video case study development to provide details of entrepreneurs from Arunachal Pradesh who are actively using Facebook and have helped their local communities in economic growth. Director, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, SubuTabin and Director Industries, TaruTalo requested the officers of their departments to be digitally and IT savvy in order to facilitate other stockholders to disseminate information through social media. Arora said that the booklet on the usage of Facebook in local language/ dialects will also be published for the convenience of local entrepreneurs.
ssam’s Public Works Department has decided to use a new technology to build roads that will be more durable and would require less maintenance. The department will use a soil stabiliser and pavement material which will increase the strength of the roads. Of the 9000 km of proposed PMGSY roads in the state, the Central government has sanctioned around 4000 km this year. PWD officials said the new technology will be used in around 5 per cent of these newly sanctioned roads as an experimental step. Application of the material before the commencement of the road construction will increase the strength of the roads, reduce the time of construction, make the soil water resistant and prevent damage to road foundations.It will also cut down construction and maintenance costs. Road construction in several districts of the State, especially Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup, Nagaon, Darrang, Goalpara and Bongaigaon has been hit by the shortage of construction materials. Around 100 projects – small and big – are ongoing in Guwahati alone and most of them have been stalled due to the shortage of construction materials. The soil stabiliser will create a strong and irreversible impermeable layer which is resistant to adverse climatic conditions, and will provide a stabilised base that will be highly resistant to the formation of potholes in the future, the official said. The officials hoped that 20 percent less construction material will be required with the application of the soil stabiliser.
July 03 - 09, 2017
research: reduced incidences of strokes and heart attacks Promising research from Yale University shows reduction in the incidences of strokes and heart attacks in areas where Trans-Fats are restricted in food items.
Researchers Able To Stop Sugar cravings Yale University researchers have found ways to eliminate sugar cravings in fruit flies mihir paul
he research studied a single pair of neurons in the throats of fruit flies that shuts down the cravings for sugar when it is sensed by the neurons. “This was very surprising because most sugar-sensing taste cells promote eating, but these are doing just the opposite,” said John Carlson, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology and senior author of the research study. This has major implications on human health because humans and fruit flies both have the same mechanisms when it comes to processing food. Especially considering the obesity epidemic in society, this study shows promising results with the possibility of replicating the same effects in humans. The research team at Yale consisting of first author Ryan M. Joseph, Jennifer S. Sun, and Eric Tam studied a fruit fly gene called IR60b that is present only in the larynx(throats) of fruit flies. They further experimented with disabling and activating this gene or the associated nerve cells and seeing its effect on sucrose consumption of the fruit flies. It was noted that when the gene or nerve cells were disabled, the flies consumed more sucrose and when the gene or nerve cells were activated via red light ontogenetic, the flies consumed less sucrose. The researchers now want to investigate the same for mammals to see if their bodies use the same mechanisms to control sugar consumption. National Institute of Health funded this research.
AMA Cardiology Department of Yale University conducted a study in 2017 comparing the reports of hospitalization due to heart attacks and strokes in areas with restrictions on Trans-Fats versus areas where Trans-Fats are not restricted in food items. Trans-fatty acids are present in fried foods and food items where trans-fats are used in preparation of food items like potato chips, crackers, and even some baked goods. Trace amounts of these Trans fats have been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In the past few years, areas within the United States such as New York City implemented policies for the restriction on the use of trans-fats in food items. The study in Yale University conducted by Dr Eric Brandt and his colleagues studied the after effects of the restriction in Trans-fats by comparing areas in New York City with and without
Trans-fatty acids are present in fried food items like potato chips These are the main causes behind heart attacks and strokes Less incidence of hospitalisation in areas with food restrictions
the restrictions. The study took in a sample of hospital admissions for strokes and heart attacks from areas with and without the trans-fat restrictions. The data was obtained from the Department of Health and Census for the time period – 2002 to 2013. The study showed promising observations on people living in areas with the restrictions. The areas with restriction showed much fewer hospitalisations for strokes and heart attacks within 3 years of the enactment of the ban. “It is a pretty substantial decline,” said Dr. Eric Brandt citing the decline for the combined conditions being as high as
hair growth T cells
Regulatory T Cells Possible Treatment For Baldness? New research reveals the ability of T cells to trigger stem cells in the skin to promote growth of hair follicles
n online study published in Cell on the effects of T Cells on hair growth stated that defective Tregs could be responsible
for Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disorder that leads to hair loss and could be related to other forms of baldness as well. T cells are types of immune cells that are involved in managing inflammation in the body are now known have the ability to start healthy hair growth by activating the stem cells in the skin. “Our hair follicles are constantly recycling: when a hair falls out, a portion of the hair follicle has to grow back,” said Michael Rosenblum, M.D., Senior author of the research study and an assistant professor of dermatology at University of California at San Francisco in the United States. He further added “This has been thought
6.2%. The study proves the efficacy of well thought out public policies and its effects on public health. The study gives the hope for widespread benefits world-wide if such policies get enacted in other countries as well including the United States wherein the FDA is set to enact the complete country-wide restriction on Transfats in 2018. “Even though some companies have reduced the amount of Transfat in food, current FDA labeling guidelines allow up to 0.49 grams of Trans fat per serving to be labeled as 0 grams, leaving consumers to scour labels for hidden trans-fats.
Quick Glance Defective Tregs could be responsible for autoimmune disorders and hair fall T-cells are immune cells involved in managing body inflammation Fixing Tregs may help regrow hair as a solution to balness
to be an entirely stem cell-dependent process, but it turns out Tregs are essential. If you knock out this one immune cell type, hair just doesn’t grow.” The study found the possibility of Tregs helping wound repair as well since Tregs are clearly shown to help in repairing the skin following an injury like severe burns. Tregs (T-Cells) relay information to the immune system about chemicals in the bloodstream. Faulty Tregs lead to development of allergies to common substances, and other disorders. Tregs are present in the lymph nodes of the body and help with immune functions throughout.
July 03 -09, 2017
children premature birth
premies Perform At Par with Peers in School
A study measuring the educational performance of children born prematurely shows reassuring results
he Institute of Policy Research at Northwestern University and Northwestern Medicine conducted a large scale study into the academic performances of children born prematurely compared to their peers with normal births. The study revealed that two-thirds of premature babies born at 23 or 24 weeks into pregnancy become ready for kindergarten at the
same time as their peers. It was noted that even though extremely premature babies scored lower on standardized testing, pre-term babies at 25 weeks or higher had almost negligible difference in scores than their full term peers. JAMA Pediatrics department of Yale published this study online on June 12, 2017. This type of study is rumored to be the first of its kind in the United States. This study gives parents of premature babies hope because past speculations of premature babies performing poorly in school compared to their peers was a big cause of concern to parents. “What excites me about this study is that it changes the focus for the clinician and families at the bedside from just focusing on the medical outcomes of the child to what the future educational outcomes might be for a child born early,” said first author Dr. Craig Garfield, associate professor of pediatrics and of medical social
Quick Glance Extremely premature babies score lower on the standardised tests Past speculations on this issue now give way to hope for parents
sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. This study took in a sample of more than 1.3 million babies from Florida born between the years 19922002 with birth ages between 23 and 41 weeks who started schooling in Florida between 1995 and 2012. The researchers compared the vital statistics of premature babies to their school performance records to determine the relationship between early birth and academic performance. “Many studies look at premature babies but very few of them look at their educational outcomes into middle school in such a large population,” said Garfield, who also is an attending pediatrician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. He further added “What’s special about this study is it speaks of the importance of administrative data sets and the ability to combine different data sets.
pink noises enhance Memory
A study conducted in Northwestern Medicine reveals enhanced deep sleep and memory in older adults who listened to pink noise sounds
eep sleep and memory consolidation are interlinked and starting in middle age, the amount of time spent in deep sleep decreases drastically which is directly linked to memory loss caused by aging. Sound stimulation infused with specific brain wave frequencies significantly enhanced scores on memory tests and time spent in deep sleep. “This is an innovative, simple and safe non-medication approach that may help improve brain health,” said senior author Dr. Phyllis Zee, professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine sleep specialist. “This is a potential tool for enhancing memory in older populations and attenuating normal age-related memory decline.” The study was conducted with a sample of 13 participants of ages 60 and older who received both acoustic and placebo stimulation. The participants of the study took memory tests both at night and in the morning after being exposed to the stimulation. While the placebo stimulation led to a slight increase
The study was conducted with 13 participants of 60 and above Such people don’t get enough deep sleep and suffer failing memory Sound stimulation with specific frequencies helps this condition
in memory test scores, the Pink Noise stimulation caused an improvement in test scores by 3 times that of the placebo stimulation. The participants of this study came from the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s disease Center at Northwestern University. Dr. Phyllis Zee said that even though long-term effects of this kind of stimulation hadn’t been studied yet, this study shows great hope for future long term treatments of age related memory disorders. While there were studies in the past that showed promising results of acoustic stimulation on younger adults, this study focused exclusively on older adults. The approach used in the study involved real time analysis of the individual’s brain
Babies born within 25 weeks are at par with their peers in academics
wave patterns and the locking in of gentle sound stimulation at precise times of neural communication that occurred during deep sleep. It was discovered that after the sound stimulation, the slow wave patterns (deep sleep) of the brain increased significantly. This approach was developed by Giovanni Santostasi as an algorithm that would provide the acoustic stimulation right as a person’s neural activity would slow down during sleep. This was seen to greatly enhance the neural synchronisation. Larger studies are needed to confirm efficacy of this method and then “the idea is to be able to offer this for people to use at home,” said first author Nelly Papalambros.
Exercise – Now an Evolutionary Need University of Arizona study reveals the benefits of exercise in improving brain structure and function ssb bureau
n article published in Trends in Neuroscience, researchers suggests the presence of a strong connection between exercise and brain health and exercise being an aftermath of our evolution from hunter-gatherers to modern humans. University of Arizona anthropologist David Raichlen and psychologist Gene Alexander proposed an “adaptive capacity model” in their research for observing how physical activity impacts brain structure and function from an evolutionary standpoint. They argue that humans evolved from sedentary lifestyles to active lifestyles when humans were on the hunter-gatherer diet which included complicated mental and physical tasks that were demanding which would explain why the brain evolved to allow more efficient physical activity and more physical activity led to more efficient brain function. “We think our physiology evolved to respond to those increases in physical activity levels, and those physiological adaptations go from your bones and your muscles, apparently all the way to your brain,” said Raichlen, an associate professor in the University of Arizona School of Anthropology in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “It’s very odd to think that moving your body should affect your brain in this way — that exercise should have some beneficial impact on brain structure and function — but if you start thinking about it from an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense.
July 03 - 09, 2017
first turbaned judge Palbinder Kaur Shergill, the newly appointed judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia sets new milestones for the Sikh community worldwide
ndian-origin Sikh human rights advocate Palbinder Kaur Shergill has been appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in New Westminster. Shergill is the first turbaned Sikh to be appointed to the judiciary in Canada, the World Sikh Organisation (WSO) of Canada said, news portal Voice Online reported. Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced the appointment on Friday under the new judicial application process announced on October 20 last year. Welcoming the decision, WSO President Mukhbir Singh said: “The appointment of Justice Shergill is another milestone for the Sikh community in Canada. It is a matter of great pride that today we have the first turbaned Sikh appointed to the judiciary in Canada.” The appointment was made with immediate effect as Justice Shergill replaces Justice EA Arnold-Bailey, who retired on May 31, the report said. Regarded as a leading human rights advocate, she has been instrumental in helping shape human rights and religious accommodation law in Canada through her work as general legal counsel
She is the first Sikh to be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court Before her appointment, Shergill was practicing as a lawyer She aslo received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for community service
for the WSO since 1991. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Shergill practised as a lawyer and mediator with her law firm, Shergill & Company, Trial Lawyers. She has extensive trial and appellate experience and has appeared before courts and tribunals across the
Finishing secondary education is crucial
New study conducted by UN suggests that if all adults finished secondary education, the global poverty rate would be halved IANS
ata from a new United Nations study shows that the global poverty rate would be cut down by half if all adults finished secondary education. “The new analysis on education’s far-reaching benefits released today should be good news for all those working on the Sustainable Development Goal to eradicate poverty by 2030,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). “It shows that we have a concrete plan to ensure
people no longer have to live on barely a few dollars a day, and that plan has education at its heart,” she added. Analysis by UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report team reveals that over 60 million people would escape poverty if all adults completed two more years of education. “If all adults completed secondary education, 420 million could be lifted out of poverty, reducing the total number of poor people by more than half globally and by almost twothirds in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia,” according to UNESCO UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS)
country, including the Supreme Court of Canada. Shergill was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2012 and is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for Community Service. She lives in Surrey with her husband, daughter and twin sons. She was born in Punjab and
immigrated to Canada with her family at the age of four. She grew up in Williams Lake, British Columbia, and received her law degree from the University of Saskatchewan. Called to the British Columbia Bar in 1991, she has held leadership positions both within and outside the legal community. She has been involved with the Cabinet of Canadians, the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia, and the Canadian Bar Association. Shergill volunteers as a high school debate coach, plays the tabla and harmonium, and is kicking her way towards a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She is fluent in English and Punjabi, has a conversational knowledge of Hindi, and is aspiring towards fluency in French.
published a paper that showed the vital role of education in ending poverty globally. This paper was released ahead of the UN HighLevel Political Forum (HLPF) that focuses on poverty eradication as part of its 2030 agenda of Sustainable Development. Studies have shown that education provides the necessary skills needed for employment opportunities and that it, directly and indirectly, affects both poverty and economic growth. This expansion of education will reduce income inequality, the study suggested. Although, if the current rates of education among primary school children around the world continues, 17 million out of 61 million primary school age children would never set
foot in school. The paper stresses the pressing need for the reduction in the direct and indirect costs of education for families since children from the poorest 20 per cent of families are eight times as like to be out of school as compared to children from the richest 20 percent in lower-middle-income countries.
July 03 - 09, 2017
Want to educate women about menstrual hygiene: Miss India Manushi Chhilar pledges to spread awareness about menstrual hygiene. Her plans to finish medical school and to participate in Miss World won’t derail her from life’s mission Quick Glance
he comes from Haryana, is all of 20, is studying medicine and has just won the Miss India World 2017 crown. Manushi Chhillar is focused on winning the Miss World title for India, but her life’s mission, she says, is also to spread awareness about menstrual hygiene through her initiative Project Shakti. “The poor menstr ual management in our country and across the world has always bothered me as a person...That’s one cause that I will take forward with me,” Manushi told IANS over the phone from Mumbai, while talking about the social responsibility that comes with the Miss India crown. “I feel it is a very basic factor that is inculcated in every woman. I started a project called Project Shakti and through that, I educated women about menstrual hygiene as that’s one cause I really feel for.” Manushi was announced the winner at the 54th Femina Miss India World 2017 held at Yash Raj Studios in Mumbai on Sunday night. The first runner-up was Sana Dua from Jammu and Kashmir and the second runner-up was Priyanka Kumari from Bihar.She studied at St. Thomas School in Delhi and Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonepat. With dancing, singing, poetry writing and painting as her favourite interests, Manushi believes in just one motto: “The sky is the limit. We are limitless and so are our dreams, we must never doubt ourselves.” This is the thought her parents brought her up within Haryana, which had the worst sex ratio among states in the 2011 Census. She says she was born blessed. “I was blessed because I never had to sit my parents down and tell them what I wanted to do. They were observant. They always knew what I wanted. Since childhood, they
Project Shakti aims to educate women about menstrual hygiene Inspired by Reita Faria, Manushi wants to follow in her footsteps She is also finishing her studies at BPS Medical College for Women
The students want to empower the women from rural areas by training them to make and sell these home-made sanitary pads
Miss India World 2017 winner, Manushi Chhilar’s life’s mission is to educate women on menstrual hygiene through her Project Shakti initiative
used to say that ‘Sky is the limit, have the courage to pursue your dreams’. It just happened to me, I never felt in any way that I couldn’t do it... So, that worked out well with me,” she said. The world of modelling is new to
her family. “I come from a family where people believe in education and they don’t really step out into any big entertainment related industry or beauty pageants. I am the first one from my family and friends to step into the world,” said
the young beauty, who belongs to a family of doctors. “Even I am pursuing medicine myself and my sister is an advocate. My younger brother is still studying in school,” said Manushi, who is open to Bollywood too if an opportunity arises. Currently, her only focus is competing at the Miss World pageant - a title no Indian has won since Priyanka Chopra brought back the crown in 2000. Other Indians who won the title in the past include Reita Faria (1966), Aishwarya Rai (1994), Diana Hayden (1997) and Yukta Mookhey (1999). Talking about her inspiration in life, she said she is motivated by Miss World 1966 Reita Faria. “She is not only the first Indian to represent the country in Miss World, but also won it. The best part about her is that she followed her passion. The moment she was done with her duties as Miss World, she went into education as she was passionate about becoming a doctor,” said Manushi. Is that her plan too? “Well, I would definitely complete my education but as of now my focus is representing the countr y internationally.” Manushi, born to doctor parents, is enrolled as a student of medicine in the all-women Bhagat Phool Singh (BPS) Government Medical College for Women at Khanpur Kalan in Sonepat district of Haryana, around 90 km from New Delhi. She enrolled for the MBBS course in 2015 and took the first professional examination in July 2016.
July 03 - 09, 2017
I think education is power. I think that being able to communicate with people is power. One of my main goals on the planet is to encourage people to empower themselves”
mrigank devam The author is a passionate journalist who originally has a tech startup company
Leap of Faith - The New Indian MiddleClass
The Indian middle class is no longer eying secure jobs only, they are also following their passion and creating high standards of professionalism
Roads constructed at scorching pace PM has given special thrust to infra development
ndia is moving on a developmental highway as far as road infrastructure are concerned. From hills to borders, road construction is in full swing at the moment, thanks to Narendra Modi government’s thrust on strengthening infrastructure. How can a nation become a superpower without strong infrastructure that includes roads, transport, bridges, buildings, energy, power, schools and healthcare? It is because of this thrust that Surface Transport Ministry is constructing almost 40 kms of roads per day and the Minister Nitin Gadkari claims to have set a target of 100 kms road construction per day. The way the highway ministry is working, the target seems quite achievable. A total of 6,604 km out of the 15,000 km of target set for national highways in 2016-17 had already been constructed by the end of February 2017. In the Union Budget 2017-18, the Government of India has allotted Rs 64,000 crore to NHAI for roads and highways and Rs 27000 crore for Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana. The Road Transport & Highways Ministry has invested around Rs 3.17 trillion, while the Shipping Ministry has invested around Rs 80,000 crore in the past two and a half years for building world class highways and shipping infrastructure in the country.
t’s 5:00 am in the morning, I could hear someone talking in the phone with a little put on american accent. I am curious; I get out of bed and advance towards the other room only to find that my room-mate has acquired his first US client after 4 months of his struggle to sustain his new start-up. As I stood on the door, happy for him I told myself “Following one’s passion is possible today”, even if few TED Talks don’t agree with me. Many would argue that not all the start-ups succeed in-fact only a handful do, but that’s a different discussion with many data points and has to be looked from a plural perspective. I am talking middle class’s newly developed brawn of taking risks and following passion. There are many who have left plush corporate jobs to follow their passion. Not every passion requires creating a start-up but it requires some appetite for risk. This trait of taking risk is not necessarily related with always creating something new, more and more mid age professionals are taking sabbaticals to follow their passion and convert it into a living. You can switch a job if you don’t find the work culture appropriate as opposed to earlier times where you would have to wait wait for your senior’s retirement or transfer. There are more photographers, writers, artists, film makers and countless other artists than ever. Technology has played a significant role in uplifting this middle class. Your market is on internet, if your passion can be transformed into products or services, you can survive and survive well. The market place is on your fingertips in your smartphone in the form of apps. The constant demand of skills apart from engineering, medical, law or civil services (The Holy Grail of secure jobs) has resulted in people following their passion full time.
Anuj and Umesh, the duo behind a popular Film Blog “Blog To Bollywood” are engineers by qualification but have pursued their passion and made a good name for themselves in serious film business blogs. When I met them for the first time, they were working at a multinational IT company but they kept the blog alive and kicking so much that they were approached by few production houses to promote their upcoming films. Never could have one imagined 20 years ago that two engineers in Delhi would be approached by a production house in Mumbai for a film promotion. This is just one example, there are star bloggers, photographers, cooks and free lance artists in India whose monthly earnings can put a corporate salary to shame. What is most interesting about Indian middle class is security isn’t their first priority when deciding their endeavour, it is satisfaction that tops security when it comes to life choices. There are countless social forces that have supported this new behaviour. Reality shows, dance shows and abundant demand of multiple genres on television and society has given rise to new professionals who din’t exist before. Yoga Trainers, Event Planners, Photographers,
The modern Indian
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middleclass is opting to make their passion, their livelihood and it’s aspiration of carving a niche is unstoppable
July 03 - 09, 2017
There has been a fast
rise of new professionals who are becoming anything, from yoga trainers to photographers and even event planners Choreographers etc are some of the services that were available to only a privileged few in the 90s. The demand was less and occasional and so the were the suppliers. With the dramatic surge in the purchasing power of the middle class in India, the demand of lifestyle services has gone up and so has the supply. Youtube has given rise to not just stars but also film makers, writers, make-up artists, home chefs and almost everyone who has a craft to display. The quality can be sometimes doubted, but not the fearlessness. Saurabh Jain who is a Charted Accountant by profession is also a known name in photography in Udaipur. A thorough professional in visual storytelling through photograph his work speaks for itself. When he goes on shoot, none of his are short of a confident and professional photographyr who know what he is doing. I didn’t meet through a personal introduction or by a mutual friend which was the only way few years ago to meet an offbeat professional. I met him through a website that acts as a mediator between artists and audience. You can search for the service and filter down the choices by your budget, location or calendar. In my recent visit too Mumbai, it came across and app that delivers food cooked by home chefs. You get all kind of cuisines, prices, and offers that you can choose from. If you can win the taste buds of your audience, you can create a sustainable living by Cooking and all of this without an investment of a single penny. You get paid the moment you deliver the first order. In this avalanche of foreign investments by venture capital firms, middle class has found a goldmine that is financially rewarding and emotionally satisfying. Finally, if we look at the films of recent timesvVs the ones in 90’s, there is a remarkable difference in the ‘Hero. Today’s ‘hero’ is not a lower class boy who fights the rich to get married to a rich girl, instead he is a middle class boy who has aspirations and dreams of following his own path and earning name and fame from it. There is still a great struggle involved, which will always be present because there is no academy of “excellence”. Yet, nothing stops the once secure-maniac Indian middle class.
Desires and Fulfillment in Life
Mihir Paul is a graduate of Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States
If we start looking for peace, happiness from within us, we can create an everlasting equilibrium of peace and love
ny human desire if backtracked enough, ultimately comes down to – Happiness, Love, and Peace. We spend our entire lives trying to fulfill these desires in the hopes of permanence yet the pursuits of our desires never end because the satisfaction that we get from fulfilled desires is temporary. Our thirst for meaning and purpose in life is quenched every time our desires get fulfilled until the next moment when we start desiring something else. The problem here is not the desires themselves, but the place we look toward to getting them fulfilled. We look towards external circumstances for happiness, love, and peace in our lives. If our happiness, peace, and love come from external circumstances then we give those external circumstances the power to take it away as
well. If my happiness comes from acquiring material objects, power, and fame in life then I stand to lose my happiness the moment the objects, power, and fame get taken away from my life. Same goes for peace and love. So as long as I look for my happiness, peace, and love externally; I will always stand a chance to lose them given
their temporal nature subject to the trials and tribulations of life. Now if we start looking for the same internally, our happiness, peace, and love become impervious to external circumstances. True happiness, peace, and love come from within when we are aligned with our deepest desires and intentions and stop looking for their fulfillment outside of ourselves. This is the way to an everlasting equilibrium that paves the way to a fulfilled and purposeful life. Happiness is the lack of desire for external objects, Peace is equanimity with one’s present moment, and Love is living in true Oneness with everything and everyone.
letters to the editor been a distinguished participant in several national and international conferences on diabetes. It will be great to know more about such leaders who have not only contributed to public service but also in their respective fields. Setting up a technical education centre is a great suggestion. Neemesh Singh, Lucknow
Get, Set, Tech! I thoroughly enjoyed the feature on Dr. Jitendra Singh’s visit to the Sulabh’s premises. It was great to know about Dr. Singh and that he has
Out of the Park! We have grown up watching cricket legends and different institutions named after them. It was a pleasant surprise to see a pavilion in HPCA’s newly build Gumma’s stadium named after Sushma Verma , the fact that she is the first woman cricketer to receive this feat is truly a great news as this sets up a example for other girls in the area. Hats off to HPCA & congratulations Sushma. Raja Sen, Kolkata
without Lights & Camera Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has set up a brilliant example for the film fraternity. Constructing 800 toilets in the slum he has been shooting for the past four years is truly a signature of a role model. I wish him all the best and hope that in the times to come Indian film Industry will level Hollywood in terms of giving back to the society. Vikram Arora, Mumbai Amazing Compilation I find SSB a very unique compilation of the best of news. Good News, science and technology, health and sanitation... these are issues rarely covered regularly by any magazine or newspaper. In fact, I find no negative news at all, which is what makes this product such amazing and refreshing. Raj Bhaskar, Navi Mumbai
Please mail your opinion to - firstname.lastname@example.org or Whatsapp at 9868807712
18 Photo Feature
July 03 - 09, 2017
After the maddening and deadning heat this summer, the rains have finally arrived across the country, bringing not just relief but joy as well. The greenery is back, ACs are shut, fans run at low speed, and no one is complaining... hope this lasts...
Photos: prabhat pandey
Life is back to its joyous self as birds have their first bath after a year. What a splash it is for the birds in their grass-water pool! The pools in the streets offer shower to those who will never have one at home. And boys try their hands at becoming the next Michael Phelps.
July 03 - 09, 2017
Children have always been fond of splashing about in water, but what about their elder brothers, three of them inside the bowl of a fountain? And when it comes to a splash, there is nothing like the forceful flow from a borewell pipe which beats down from head to toe
20 Science & Technology space
world’s lightest satellite
NASA launches India-made 3.8 cm cube satellite
July 03 - 09, 2017
Play Video Games For A Better Brain Playing video games leads to significant structural and functional changes in the brain, new study reveals
young team that built the world’s lightest and first 3D printed satellite “KalamSat”, launched by the US space agency NASA was felicitated by a social group. The KalamSat team –l ed by RifathSharook, an 18-year-old student from Tamil Nadu – built the 3.8 cm cube satellite (Femto category) weighing 64 gm. It was launched by a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sounding rocket. The satellite’s structure is fully 3D printed with reinforced carbon fibre polymer. The satellite operated for 12 minutes in a micro-gravity environment of space and its main role was to demonstrate the performance of 3D printed carbon fibre. The satellite is named after former President, the late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, said a statement by the All India Social Activist & NGOs Association.
nion Science Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday praised Indian scientists for their contribution toward the world’s biggest telescope -- Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), which is under development. The Minister said that it’s a matter of pride that India is working on the project being developed by an international consortium. “India is collaborating with the US, Japan, and other countries for the world’s biggest telescope project. It’s a matter of great pride for us,” Vardhan said. The TMT is being built at an estimated cost of USD 1.47 billion by an international consortium consisting of India, the United States, Canada, Japan and China. According to a report, TMT will enable scientists to study fainter objects far away from Earth in the Universe, which gives information about early stages of evolution of the Universe.
tudies looking at the effects of playing video games on brain structure and function have been compiled and summarized by scientists. Playing video games regularly has shown to make the brain’s attention and visuospatial regions more efficient. Scientists have also looked into the brain’s mechanism involved in video game addiction. Ever since the rapid evolution of technology, video games have been an integral part of our daily routines. The average age of a person playing video games was 35 in 2016 which only shows that more and more adults are incorporating playing
video games in their lifestyles. Playing video games isn’t for children anymore. The recent developments in smartphone technology have led to an increase in number of “casual gamers” that play on their smartphones and tablets during spare times throughout the day. This emerging trend has piqued the curiosity of scientists and researchers about studying the behavioral and structural changes that occur whilst playing video games. “Games have sometimes been praised or demonized, often without real data backing up those claims. Moreover, gaming is a popular activity, so everyone seems to have strong opinions on the topic,” says Marc Palaus, first author on the review that was published in Frontiers in Human
Quick Glance Video games have long been demonised for their addictiveness The number of video game users now include a lot of grown ups Studies have shown playing video games helps improve attention
Neuroscience The review conducted by Palaus and his colleagues compiled results from over 116 different scientific studies with 22 studies looking into structural changes in the brain and 100 studies on the behavioral and/or functional changes caused by playing video games. The studies showed compelling evidence of video games causing significant structural and functional changes in the brain along with notable behavioural changes as well. The studies revealed that playing video games clearly improves attention, both sustained and selective. Furthermore, the studies showed that the brain regions associated with attention perform more efficiently in gamers. Playing video games has also shown to improve the efficacy and size of the visuospatial regions of the brain. It was also concluded that people who played video games regularly had an enlarged right hippocampus. The researchers also studied video game addiction called “Internet gaming disorder” and how it affects the reward circuitry in the brain. It was found that people suffering from video game addiction showed the same structural and functional changes as those found in people who are addicted to substances. “We focused on how the brain reacts to video game exposure, but these effects do not always translate to real-life changes,” says Palaus.
studies to help blind
Eventually, the research will come to the aid of the blind people and those who are visually impaired
esearchers are exploring insights into the ability of visually impaired people to use echoes from a cane or other sounds to navigate safely -- known as echolocation -- to help people who lose eyesight later in life. People who become blind early in life often learn to use echolocation more
efficiently. But for individuals who become visually impaired later in life, a training in echolocation can help them to move through the world with greater independence and safety. “Eventually, I hope the research can give a result that can aid blind and visually impaired people,” said Bo Schenkman, an associate professor with the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. The study showed that blind people not only use the pitch and loudness of echoes, but they also use the timbre -- perceived quality of sound - especially the sharpness
aspects of timbre. Further, visually impaired people were found to be better than sighted individuals at perceiving the sound quality of two sounds that are close together in time, the researchers said. The findings will be presented at the ongoing Acoustics ‘17 -- the joint meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and the European Acoustics Association in Boston. Human echolocation was also found to share some similarities with animal echolocation, though people use the skill to compensate for their sight, rather than as an additional sense.
July 03 - 09, 2017
Science & Technology
Secret to domestication of cats hidden in DNA Analysis of 9,000 years of cat remains suggests two waves of migration
Previously, Researchers only had modern cat’s DNA to study but with the development of new techniques, Researchers were now able to analyze ancient cat DNA. Molecular biologists Eva-Maria Geigl and Thierry Grange of the Institute Jacques Monod in Paris and colleagues collected mitochondrial DNA from 352 ancient cats and 28 modern wildcats. Scientists analyzed variations of mitochondrial DNA called mitotypes that mothers pass on to their offsprings to track maternal lineage. ssb bureau
he mystery behind the domestication of cats from wild animals to house pets has started to unravel. The DNA of cats suggests they were first domesticated in the Middle East. They later spread, first by land, then by sea, to the rest of the world, researchers report June 19 in Nature Ecology & Evolution. Cats went through two waves of migration. First, they were brought to Europe from the Middle East by early farmers. The second wave of migration via ships led to cats colonizing Europe and Middle East 1,500 years ago.
Tracking tabby The blotched tabby coat pattern present in domesticated cats first popped up in Southwest Asia. This tabby mutation from the usual tigerstriped, mackerel coat most probably changed because it helped people distinguish domestic cats from their wilder counterparts. However, in Africa, about 10,000 to 9,500 years ago African wildcats tamed themselves by eating rodents and scraps from farms. They were used by early farmers as a means of vermin control. The arrangement “was mutually profitable for both sides,” says Grange. A person buried with a cat in Cyprus 9,500 years
The DNA of cats suggest they were first domesticated in Middle East Scienstists have studied the DNA of 352 ancient cats for the study
ago indicates that at least some people also had special relationships with the felines by that time (SN: 4/10/04, p. 227), Geigl says The mitotype associated with domestication was first observed in Bulgarian cats about 6,400 years ago and Romanian cats 5,200 years ago. This was before early farmers started migrating with their cats from the Middle East to Europe where the European wildcats (Felissilvestrissilvestris) carried one mitotype, called clade I. Domestic cats in Africa had another domestic mitotype called IV-C. The Egyptian cat DNA began to show up in the Middle East and Europe about 2,800 years ago. This spread may be attributed to cats being carried on boats to other places. Cats may have benefitted from convenient travel along established shipping and trade routes. Earlier cats may have been just as popular, but fewer people covering ground on foot would have had a harder time transporting them.
Cracked Screens no more soon
The new material being tested is almost invincible
team of scientists from various universities have put together a new ‘miracle material’ that would be extremely durable and energy efficient and would completely change how smart devices are made. This team has been working to create durable hybrid devices that conduct electricity at high speeds, are energy efficient, and easy to manufacture in large scale. The team of scientists comprised of Dr Elton Santos from Queen’s University’s School of Mathematics and Physics and other top scientists from University of California, California State University, and
Stanford University. The scientists discovered the ‘miracle material’ by combining layered materials like hBN and graphene with semiconducting molecules C60. This works extremely well since hBN provides stability, electronic conductivity and isolation charge to the graphene and C60 converts sunlight to electricity. The combination of these would make a smart device that would have unique benefits like more durability, more energy efficiency, and better flexibility. Dr Elton Santos explains: “Our findings show that this new ‘miracle material’ has similar physical properties to Silicon but it has improved chemical stability, lightness
Biodegradable Plastic: Now A Possibility Scientists at MIT have found a structure of a bacterial enzyme that can create biodegradable plastic
In Africa, wildcats domesticated themselves by eating farm rodents
and flexibility, which could potentially be used in smart devices and would be much less likely to break. “The material also could mean that devices use less energy than before because of the device architecture so could have improved battery life and less electric shocks.” He added: “By bringing together scientists from across the globe with expertise in chemistry, physics and materials science we were able to work together and use simulations to predict how all of the materials could function when combined -- and ultimately how these could work to help solve every day problems.
esearchers have discovered an enzyme called PHA that is used by bacteria to produce long polymer chains that are structurally similar to plastic. This discovery will assist chemical engineers to tweak the enzyme to produce industrially useful polymers that can replace plastic. And these polymers will be completely biodegradable. PHA stands for Poly Hydroxy Alkanoate Synthase. It is produced by almost all bacteria and is used for the production of large polymers that store carbon when food is not available. This enzyme creates long polymer chains that can produce both hard and soft plastics, depending on the starting material that goes into their production. By knowing more about this enzyme, Engineers would eventually be able to manipulate the polymers’ size and composition. These polymers would be biodegradable and not harmful for the environment like regular plastics created using oil. “I’m hoping that this structure will help people in thinking about a way that we can use this knowledge from nature to do something better for our planet,” says Catherine Drennan, an MIT professor of chemistry and biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. “I believe you want to have a good fundamental understanding of enzymes like this before you start engineering them.” She added.Drennan and JoAnne Stubbe, the Novartis Professor of Chemistry Emeritus and a professor emeritus of biology, authored the study. This study was published in Journal of Biological Chemistry. The lead author of the paper was graduate student Elizabeth Wittenborn. What nature can do in this case and many others is make huge polymers, bigger than what humans can make.
July 03 - 09, 2017
women’s Empowerment: One Hand pump at a Time
She first sought the help of an NGO in her village to enroll herself in training and then ultimately opened her own successful hand pump repair shop in her village in Bundelkhand Shrawan Shukla / Lucknow
eople laughed at her when she tried to enter the male bastion 20 years ago. But Shivkalia slapped the faces of her male critics with her passion, persistence, and hard work. She became the first female Hand pump mechanic in parched Bundelkhand. At a time when stepping out of the house was prohibited for women, she broke the curse of gender bias and myths related to the physical power of males and rewrote history in female empowerment in a region that is considered one of the most backwards areas of Uttar Pradesh. Shivkalia (50), a resident of Raipura village under Manikpur block, about 25 km from district headquarters in Chitrakoot, has never looked back since then. “Even my husband used to discourage me fearing what people would say about me taking up a man’s job,” said Shivkalia. But she was determined. “I had no choice other than showing them that women too are physically capable enough to take up their jobs,” she recalled. With the help of MahilaSamakhya, an NGO which had just set its foot in Chitrakoot, she went to several districts to receive training in Hand pump repairing. With whatever little savings she had, she bought all the equipment necessary for carrying out the repair work. But, she had to cross yet another hurdle. The gender bias in her village proved to be a major obstacle in people calling her for repair work. She cleverly joined an ageing male mechanic as an assistant. “People used to watch me carry out the entire repair work with precision and speed. Moreover, my honesty, dedication, and passion played a major role in breaking the gender bias. People
in my village soon started praising me and calling me for fixing their Hand pumps. I eventually started my own repair shop once I gained the confidence of my clients,” she said. Married early at the age of only 12 years, Shivkalia is the mother of two sons and three daughters. Her daily-wager husband had insufficient income to run the family, therefore, Shivkalia started to contribute towards her family income and started sending her children to school. Within three years of Shivkalia taking up self-employment, her husband passed away and she
became the sole breadwinner of her family. “Had I not learned the skills, we would have been discarded by society and my children would have died of hunger,” she recalled. For the last 17 years, Shivkalia has been running from one village to another to fix out of order Hand pumps. Initially, the Bundelkhand region had fewer hand pumps due to its rocky surface and low water table. But, with technological advancements, the numbers increased manifold in each district. However, there are only a handful of mechanics available in the village to attend
Despite all odds, Shivkalia showed great
persistence, hardwork and dedication towards her passion of becoming a hand pump mechanic
Quick Glance Female hand pump mechanic Shivkalia breaks gender bias She learned hand pump repairing despite strong opposition She eventually opened her own hand pump repair shop and is doing well
out of order hand pumps. One has to run around a lot if a government or private hand pump goes out of order. With Shivkalia around, people are at ease that their repair requests will be attended to quickly and with affordable rates. “She is prompt in her service and she does the repair work with perfection and quality. Her charges are competitive in comparison to male mechanics that cheat us by charging more and doing poor repairs,” says Ram Avtaar of Ramnagar. Shivkalia claimed that her business flourished when she bought a mobile phone. People now have her number and they call her up to attend to their complaints. “Daily I get about three to four calls. I give priority to those who are in distress and facing a water crisis,” she said claiming that she earns about Rs 300 toRs 700 a day depending on the number of complaints she receives. Her workload increases every summer when the entire Bundelkhand population faces a water crisis. “I am now thinking of keeping an assistant to attend more complaints on the same day and also thinking of training one of my sons to carry out the job after my death,” says Shivkalia about the future. “I am proud of my mother who braves the scorching sun and sweltering heat to earn a livelihood for us. I would be happy to learn her skills and assist her in her work,” said Hari, her son.
July 03 - 09, 2017
awards hindi scholars
Honoring Hindi’s proud persona Central Hindi Institute organizes award ceremony for Hindi scholars from India and abroad for their contribution towards the language.
Hindi Scholar Mrs Chandrakanta receiving the award from President Pranab Mukherjee
Hindi Scholar Mr. Baldev Bhai Sharma receiving the award from the President President Pranab Mukherjee and Prakash Javadekar with all the Awarded Hindi Scholars
Dr Ashok Kumar Jyoti
resident Pranab Mukherjee honored 26 Hindi scholars for the year 2015 at the Central Hindi Institute, Human Resources Development Ministry. On this occasion, Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar, Vice President of Central Hindi Institute Dr Kamal Kishore Goenka and Director Dr Nand Kishore Pandey were also present. Prof S. Shesharatnam Dr M Govind Rajan, Prof Harmahendra Singh Bedi and Prof H. Subadani Devi received the ‘Ganga Sharan Singh Award’ for their outstanding work in the publicity and propagation of Hindi and Hindi speaking. Shri Baldev Bhai Sharma and Shri Rahul Dev were honored with the ‘Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Award’ for their remarkable contribution towards Hindi Journalism and Hindi Mass Communication, Dr Girish Chandra Saxena and Dr Phani Bhushan Das
Hindi scholars were awarded for their contribution in various fields like Agriculture, Science, Anthropology, and Education among others
received the ‘Atmaram Award’ for their contribution in the fields of Science, Medicine, and Engineering. Prof Surya Prasad Dixit and Ms. Chandrakanta received the ‘Subramaniam Bharti Award’ for their writings in the Historical sector. Mrs. Chitra Mudgal and Dr Jayprakash Kardam received the ‘Maha Pandit Rahul Sankrityayan Award’ for their contribution in various Hindi-Medium fields of knowledge, tourism, and environment. Prof Fujii Takeshi of Japan and other foreign scholars like Prof Gabriela Nik Ilieva from the United States received the ‘Dr George Grierson Award’ for their remarkable work in propagating and publicizing Hindi
speaking and writing abroad. Nonresident Indians from Netherlands, Dr Pushpita Awasthi and Padmesh Gupta from London received the ‘Padma Bhushan Dr Moturi Satyanarayan Award’ for their contribution towards the propagation and publicity of both spoken and written Hindi. Dr B. R. Chipa and Mr. Daya Prakash Sinha received the ‘Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Award’ for their writings in the fields of Agriculture, Science, and National Integrity. Dr Mahesh Chandra Sharma and to Dr Rakesh Sinha received the ‘Deen Dayal Upadhayay Award’ for their remarkable work in the fields of Anthropology and Indian tradition of thought. Mr. Shridhar Paradkar and
Quick Glance 26 Hindi scholars honoured by President Pranab Mukherjee Scholars awarded for their contribution towards Hindi Non resident Indians and foreign scholars also among the recipients
Acharya Sriranjan Suridev received ‘Swami Vivekanda Award’ for their extensive contribution in the field of Indian Education. Educationist and Management expert Prof Nityananda Pandey and Prof Singhal worked via Hindi-medium in their respective fields and received the Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya Award for their contributions. Prof Shivdutt Sharma and Prof Ashok Kumar Sharma were honored with the ‘Rajarshi Purushottam Das Tandon Award’ for their contribution in the field of Law and Public Administration.
24 Transforming Lives
July 03 - 09, 2017
Transforming Lives An IIT alumnus & a school dropout are skilling underprivileged students to get IT jobs in a year SSB bureau
hivam, a resident of Delhi, had been living in a shelter home since he was in Class 6. He was always interested in science and wanted to pursue the subject for higher studies. However, restrained by the high cost of studying science in the field and lack of funds, he ended up studying commerce. After school, he started working as helper at a local bakery for Rs 5,000 per month. A few months later, Shivam came across NavGurukul, a non-profit organisation that trains underprivileged students in ‘software engineering’. He joined the course with the desire to learn about computers. From not knowing how to copy and paste files, he can now write complex programming codes and is planning to apply for jobs in the IT sector. Started in November 2016 by Rishabh Verma and Abhishek Gupta, NavGurukul aims to transform the state of higher education in India. “We want to challenge how the higher education space functions. Most of the students who join us are typically those who might be attending some distant education programmes but are not going to conventional colleges, or those who have not been able to join college at all,” Rishabh told Betterindia.com. An IIT Delhi alumnus, 25-year-old Abhishek founded two startups before he joined the education department of the Delhi government as a volunteer. Rishabh is a 22-year-old self-taught programmer who quit school after studying till Class 10 because he didn’t find the education system useful for his aspirations. He founded a technology company that unfortunately shut in a few years. He then travelled for a year before founding NavGurukul. “I was always passionate about changing the way education works in India because I had already gone through the process of feeling disconnected from the system,” Rishabh says. It was while working on their own initiatives that both Abhishek and Rishabh started volunteering in the education sector and their experiences paved the way for their startup. starting point The duo realised how the kindergarten to Class 12 journey of students is lined with a series of broken promises. “For example, there is the promise of good jobs after graduation and post
graduation. But, many of these students are studying in mediocre government schools where little attention is paid to their individual needs. And the outcome is really discouraging. They are not equipped with the kind of basic knowledge required to find jobs,” says Rishabh. He adds that the Indian college system creates multiple barriers of entry in the form of test scores and high fee structures. Young people from underprivileged backgrounds often tend to fall short on these counts. Moreover, the co-founders opine that college curriculums are disconnected from the reality of the jobs market. The syllabus ignores skills like problem solving and critical thinking that have become crucial for career development. It also implies that
We want to challenge how the
higher education space functions in India employers must spend time training people with skills that they should have learnt in college. Abhishek and Rishabh were inspired to start an organisation that would give all students the opportunity to learn in a way that would actually help them in practical matters of the world. Like A Gurukul NavGurukul offers a year-long residential programme where students live and learn together. Currently, 10 students in the age group of 18-22 are enrolled in the programme and the founders are working towards enrolling more students. The institute plans to conduct yearlong residential programmes, where students will live and learn about software
For instance, every application code in the curriculum is restructured into a list of about 500 questions, with additional theoretical information. Students have to take their own initiative to solve these questions while Rishabh and Abhishek act as facilitators and help them through the course. Students work on small projects using HTML and Python in the first three months. The course intensifies in the next five months as the facilitators introduce practical projects and applications. These might include developing apps for farmers, devising solutions for education in slums, etc. On completing this module, students apply for internships in the industry and get ready for full-time employment.
Quick Glance Two friends set up a start up in education field last year It teaches basics computer programming to school drop outs Young students are helping people solve everyday problems
Keeping in mind the difficulties these students face with communication skills, their enrolment in NavGurukul is based on a visual aptitude test followed by games on mobile phones to test logical knowledge. While the course is free, Rishabh and Abhishek have developed a revenuegenerating model for students to learn while they earn. They accept freelance projects from different companies and help students work on these for a fee. They also translate books from English to Hindi, which improves their communication skills. While the duo bootstrapped the organisation in the beginning, they have now raised some funds and are working towards a more sustainable model. In the future, they plan to set up a model where students will pay back to NavGurukul only if the organization gets them a job with a minimum salary of Rs 15,000. The amount to be paid will depend on the salary. Success Rate Many of the students enrolled with NavGurukul come from families with a total income of Rs 6,000 – 10,000. Today, they are working on codes, solving real-world problems with technology, participating in hackathons and taking up paid projects, all while paving their way towards a rewarding career. Take for instance Rahul, who wanted to run his own business while in school. His father is a driver and his family couldn’t afford his college education. Rahul started working in a restaurant after Class 12. Today he has different goals, thanks to NavGurukul. Interested in farming and education, he wants to teach other students once he graduates. In the future, Rishabh wants to expand to more Indian cities and reach students interested in fields other than software engineering as well. He and Abhishek are also inspiring their students to take time and indulge in community development activities like teaching students, developing apps that can help rural areas, etc. once they graduate.
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GOOD NEWS FOR RISING INDIA
July 03 - 09, 2017
Making ODF Successful
Villages and communities across the country are adopting innovative ways to make Bharat a Swachh country Quick Glance Focus shifted from toilet construction to ODF People being discouraged from defecating in the open Four states have already become 100 per cent ODF
ven as the Narendra Modi government has announced to make the state open defecation free (OFD) by 2018, there is an urgent need to address the requirement of some communities and villages that need toilets more than others. According to government expenditure data, the centre had spent 89% of its annual budget by early January. Importantly, the measure of success has moved from the mere construction of toilets to achieving “open defecation free” (ODF) status and village after village have been busy trying to meet this goal. Between April 2016 and January 2017, the total number of villages that had declared themselves ODF almost tripled from 49,599 in 2015-16 to 146,775. Two states, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh joined Sikkim to
T wo states, Kerala
and Himachal Pradesh joined Sikkim to achieve the status of being ODF states
achieve the status of being ODF states. In 2015, not a single village in Kerala was ODF. By October 2016, the entire state had achieved this distinction. And to enable this, toilet construction activity increased
significantly. The state reported construction of 165,898 toilets in the month of October alone. Various state governments, in view of Centre’s thrust on ODF, have been making their own strategies to achieve maximum success. Some have been adopting persuasive tactics while some coercive. Whatever the means, the aim simply is to achieve the target and make Swachh Bharat Abhiyan a success. For people in rural India, defecating in the open used to be a leisurely activity. People used to go out in groups chatting and gossiping. It used to provide them a whiff of fresh morning air and some physical exercise thrown in. But, not any more.
These days, it is fraught with challenges. One could find the details of his morning ritual narrated like a cricket match commentary. Or people could be denied ration and government documents for failing to build a toilet at home. “In Indore, temple loudspeakers were used to narrate a commentary when someone went out to defecate in the open. Photographs of people defecating in the open being interrupted by strangers offering flowers did rounds on social media. In Rajasthan’s Ajmer district, the administration has formed citizens’ groups to blow whistles if they spot anyone defecating in the open. According to a local media, Sawai Madhopur collector KC Verma has directed ration shops to stop giving people grains if they don’t build toilets. In Maharashtra’s Solapur, the administration has resorted to public shaming to curb open defecation. Those failing to use a toilet would find their name on a list in the town square or a local paper. Repeat offenders would find a musical band
July 03 - 09, 2017
chasing them home or could be locked up for two hours by the police. Kapasi village, which was declared the first ODF village in Balod districts In Chhattisgarh, CCTVs have been installed to stop people from open defecation. In South Sikkim, people are denied government documents including OBC/ death/birth certificates, if they don’t build toilets. “We put two types of pressure— one positive and the other negative. Positive pressure was put through campaigns and social messaging. Negative pressure was applied by restricting and denying government benefits to those who haven’t constructed toilets or haven’t given up ODF,” Rajkumar Yadav, district collector, South Sikkim. But, there is no better story to explain the efforts for ODF and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan than the one coming from a village in Banda district of Uttar Pradesh. In Bhujanpurwa, a tiny hamlet in Banda district landless Dalits and lower castes pay Rs 40 per family a month as ‘toilet tax’ for defecating in the fields of landowners for giving them permission to defecate in their fields. Pradeep Srivastava, a social worker, who visited the village, said that this unusual toilet tax is levied on landless daily-wagers for the past many years here. “It is charged from those who have no toilets at their homes and use fields of others for defecating in open.,” he said. According to 2011 census, about 77 per cent rural households have no toilets in Uttar Pradesh. Till 2015, about 29.7 lakhs toilets were constructed in rural areas in the state. Like any other caste-ridden village in Uttar Pradesh, Bhujanpurwa too is
In Kapasi village, which was declared the first ODF
village in Balod districts In Chhattisgarh, CCTVs have been installed to stop people from open defecation divided between land owners and landless. Majority of the village population works in the fields for their survival. It all started when village population grew and there was no place left for people to relieve. Dalits and others having no toilets at home used to be shooed away by influential land owners when some dared to defecate in their fields. Finally, influential land owners came out with a unique solution to the problem. They offered their fields for defecation for a price. Initially Rs 20 was fixed for a month but later it was increased to Rs 40 a month per family due to growing inflation. Permission is given to only those families who pay the toilet tax in advance. “The toilet tax is deducted from our wages once in a month. Where will our women and girls go for defecation? quipped Suresh, a dalit of the village. “We have no choice than to pay for using their fields to relieve ourselves. At least that’s secured and our girls are not scared of being raped or abducted after dark when they go to relieve themselves,” says Rama Devi. Ironically, the Banda district administration is unaware of the practice in Bhujanpurwa. “We have not come across with any complaint in this regard. Since the matter has been brought to our notice, we are sending a team to inquire into the
matter,” stated Additional District Magistrate Ganga Ram Gupta. Significantly, the Yogi government has announced to take some tough measures also to make state OFD by 2018. The Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed district magistrates to cancel arms licenses of those having no toilets at their houses. Elsewhere in the country too, stern measurers are being taken to make the ODF programme a reality sooner than later. Last week, a 70-year old man in Tuticorin, filed a case in the Madras High Court, stating that his village has denied work under the rural employment guarantee scheme because he failed to build a toilet. “The district official’s action violates Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution,” he said in his petition. “While threatening citizens may enable officials to participate in the ODF race, ODF will only be achieved and sustained when people demand facilities,” activists said. “Pressure has to be put on people to end socially deviant behaviour. But before that happens, two things have to be done: One, there are enough toilets and second, the community is on board,” said Meeta Rajiv Lochan, former director, municipal administration, Maharashtra. One of the reasons why users are not demanding toilets is that the message about the importance of latrine use is not reaching people.
“The SBM allocates only 3% of the total budget to Information, Education and Communication (IEC). Worse, that money is not being spent,” explained Diane Coffey, executive director, RICE. RICE has been conducting a phone survey, which applies similar techniques used by Gallup poll, in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, on whether the sanitation message is reaching people. “In 2016, 2,708 people answered questions. One question asked respondents whether they have heard of the SBM: 62% of people in Delhi claimed to have heard of the SBM, similar to 63% of urban UP. The figure was 45% in rural UP,” Coffey says. To people who said they had heard of the SBM, RICE asked: What do you think the SBM does? Very few people included among their responses the idea that the SBM had anything to do with toilets or latrines: 5% in Delhi, 6% in urban UP, and only 4% of rural UP. “Among over 700 women interviewed in UP, not a single one without education beyond secondary school mentioned that the SBM includes a goal about toilets or latrines,” Coffey says. The other problem is that the payment mechanism for toilets is also slow. An analysis of public data by Accountability Initiative, SBM-G guidelines require 8% of allocations to be utilised for IEC. However, in FY 2016-17, till 10 January 2017, only 1% of total expenditure had been spent IEC activities. “The huge gap in the percentage spent between construction of toilets and communication for behaviour change indicate disconnect between SBM guidelines and implementation. Behaviour change takes time. So there needs to be a strong focus on diverse, localised, multiple and repeated modes of communication. This is missing now,” said Dr Khurana. Akshay Kumar Rout, Officer on Special Duty (OSD), SBM, however, denied that coercive measures are being used to meet the 2019 deadline. “The Centre does not approve of any coercive measures. The programme has moved from toilet building to ensuring behaviour change,” he said. He, however, agreed that some states need training on better usage of IEC funds. “We are piloting new programmes to spread message about the link between health and improved sanitation,” Rout said.
28 Climate Change
July 03 - 09, 2017
Apple orchards moving to higher altitudes Rising temperature, courtesy of climate change, is ushering in the movement
new trend in apple cultivation has emerged in Himachal Pradesh -apples are being grown in sparsely vegetative areas at higher altitudes such as Lahaul and Spiti valley, courtsey climate Change. Fruit production industry in hilly zones is seeing a rise in temperature. Because of this, production of apple has moved to higher altitudes, which earlier were not suitable for this fruit. A study conducted by the Regional Centre, National Afforestation and Ecodevelopment Board and Dr Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Himachal Pradesh, points out that the rising temperature in Himachal due to climate change has driven the shift. The study says that apple growing belt in low-lying valley areas like Kullu -- once considered good for apple production -- has now become extremely marginal, resulting in diversification to other fruits like kiwi and pomegranate, and vegetable seed production. “The snow line once considered as ‘white manure’ for the apple crop and forest cover necessary for conservation and recharge of natural water bodies has also shifted upward to higher hills. Therefore, the quality apple production has shifted to higher hills and dry temperate zones of Kinnaur and Spiti areas,” the study says. It said that the drier and warmer weather will ultimately result in a shorter growing season and lesser crop yields. Himachal Pradesh has been divided in four zones on the basis of agro-climatic conditions. Zone I comprises low hills sub-tropical zone up to 1,100 metres, Zone II of mid hills sub-humid zone (1,100 to less than 2,000 m), Zone III of high hills temperate wet zone (2,000 to less than 3,000 m), and Zone IV the high hills temperate dry zone (above 3,000 m). According to National Horticulture Board, apple can be grown at altitudes 1,500-2,700 m above sea level in the Himalayan range which experience 1,0001,500 hours of chilling (when temperature remains at or below 7 degrees Celsius each season). The temperature during the growing season should be around 21-24 degrees Celsius.
Rise in atmospheric temperature in HP is changing horticulture Kullu which used to have bumper Apple crops, having marginal crops Kullu people are now growing kiwi and pomegranate
Planting is usually done in the month of January and February. Loamy soils, rich in organic matter and having proper drainage and aeration are suitable for cultivation. For optimum growth and fruiting, apple trees need 100-125 cm of annual rainfall, evenly distributed during the growing season. Excessive rain and fog near the fruit maturity period result in poor fruit quality with improper colour development and fungal spots on its surface. Apple constitutes about 49 per cent of the total area under fruit crops. In Himachal, apple is mainly cultivated in the districts of Kinnaur, Kullu, Shimla, Mandi, Chamba and some parts of Sirmaur. Himachal Pradesh Additional Chief Secretary Tarun Sridhar says that erratic weather patterns are now often seen affecting the apple production in Shimla
and other districts. “Several progressive farmers of the state are now opting for industrial crops such as mushrooms, flowers, off-season vegetables, mostly because of climate change,” Sridhar told IANS. He says that due to climate change the use of pesticides, insecticides and chemical fertilisers has drastically increased and new crop diseases are coming up. He said December and January snow months were often going dry. Himachal Pradesh’s average annual production of apple is around five to six lakh tonnes but the maximum production was recorded in the year 2010-11 when it crossed nine lakh tonnes. Apple production in the state in 2013-14 was 7.39 lakh tonnes, which came down to 6.25 lakh tonnes in 2014-15.
The drier and warmer weather will ultimately result in a shorter growing season and lesser crop yields
Richard Mahapatra, who has worked extensively on climate change issues and is managing editor of Down To Earth magazine run by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said that Himachal Pradesh has added more orchards at higher altitudes than before. “In high altitude areas, the temperature is gradually becoming congenial for apple crop. It means we have opened a new geography for apple as it is being grown at higher and higher altitudes now,” Mahapatra told IANS. He said that it might be good news for the apple growers but it will also enhance various kinds of human activities in the pristine areas which will adversely affect the environment. “Since Himalaya is the youngest mountain range, it is more vulnerable to the effects of climate change and human interference at higher altitudes. It will eventually lead to further degradation and pollute the atmosphere,” Mahapatra added. Senior Fellow and mentor at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) Suruchi Bhadwal, who has worked widely on apple crop and climate issues, echoed the same views and said the similar phenomenon was also seen in Uttarakhand. “Because of impact of climate change, production is affected at low-altitude areas. High-altitude areas (dry temperate zones) are now becoming congenial for apple cultivation,” she said. She, however, stressed that the scientists had developed some varieties of apple which were more tolerant to high temperature. Bhadwal agrees shifting of apple crop would have its adverse effect. “High level of human activities and encroachment in the unspoiled region will also bring along certain complexities which may damage the environment,” she told IANS.
July 03 - 09, 2017
NEKI KI DEEWAR
The idea imported from Iran is changing the lives of the poor and street dwellers
ndia is innovating ways for common people to help the needy in day-to-day life. ‘Wall of Kindness’ is the latest charity and welfare innovation enabling people to help the underprivileged with basic needs. Importing the idea from Iran where it was first initiated, the Wall of Kindness is making waves across India. The Wall of Kindness is a colorfully painted roadside place where people
from surrounding neighborhoods can leave clothes, blankets, shoes, bed sheets, food, books and other useful things to be picked up by the needy. “Take what you need. Leave what you don’t,” is the official motto of this country charity phenomenon called “Neki ki Deewar” in Hindi. Walls of kindness inspire people to pursue acts of kindness and benevolence for the welfare of those in dire need of basic things. This sort of unconventional charity is a boon in a developing country like India where around 78 million people, including 11 million street children, are homeless as per the 2011 census. Approximately 20% of the total homeless population lives in urban India. The Wall of Kindness in India has been lauded as a wonderful gesture of compassion and social responsibility towards the destitute. Widely known as ‘Neki Ki Deewar’ across north India, the Wall of Kindness is a covered with colorful graffiti, attention-grabbing motifs and hangars.
Quick Glance People leave clothes, blankets near the Wall of Kindness Needy people pick up goods of their use, leaving the rest for others The concept has spread to Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, MP, UP and Delhi
With the help of youths, NGOs, social activists and municipal corporations, the Wall of Kindness in India has spread like wild fire to Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. There are walls of kindness in Ahmadabad and Allahabad too. Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh and Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh have got walls of kindness. Recently, Hyderabad City got the Wall of Kindness. Located at two places in Rajendranagar, one of the neighborhoods, the Wall of Kindness in Hyderabad has elicited a huge response from citizens. People keep visiting the walls of kindness in Hyderabad to donate things for the poor. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation is planning to build more walls of kindness across the city. Since it is monsoon in Hyderabad, the walls of kindness in the city are being protected with sheds, so that acts of generosity are not disrupted in rains.
Swachh Kerala Drive launched
Kerala CM, ministers launches cleanliness drive in Kannur, which is facing an ecological and health disaster
erala government’s three-day ‘massive’ cleanliness drive, aimed at checking the spread of mounting fever cases, got underway today with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan leading the programme. Vijayan removed the piles of garbage from the premises of a mosque in northern Kannur district. The drive has been taken up to remove garbage piles in public places and clear the mosquito breeding sources in the wake of spread of various types of
Quick Glance Kerala CM, ministers launches cleanliness drive in Kannur The drive would be continued at the local level too Pirayi Vijayan posted photographs of the drive on Facebook
fevers, including dengue and H1N1, across the state that have claimed more than 100 lives and affected two lakh people this year. Ministers, MLAs, political leaders, socio-cultural activists, NGOs, government staff, students, police and general public took part in the state-wide drive in various districts. Besides Vijayan, his cabinet colleague Kadannappally Ramachandran and CPI(M) Lok Sabha Member PK Sreemathi along with a large number of party workers and civic body officials attended the sanitation programme in Kannur. CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan led the cleanliness drive at the premises of government General Hospital here. In a facebook post, Vijayan said the three-day initiative, scheduled till June 29, would be continued further
at the local level with the support of public. “The three-day sanitation drive, aimed at checking the spread of fever and other contagious diseases, began today. I took part in the drive held in the premises of Valiyakulam Juma Masjid in Kannur city,” he said. An all-party meeting, held recently, had decided to conduct the drive, he said adding such a meeting was called at the local self government institutions also to ensure the participation of public in the programme. Besides the volunteers of NCC, scouts and Students Cadet, the entire students community is participating in the initiative, he said.
Sweltering heat makes people moody Ambient temperature shapes our behavioural reactions
hen it is uncomfortably hot, people tend to become moody and also less helpful or ‘pro-social.’ A study, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, could help explain how and through what mechanisms ambient temperature influences individual helping. “The point of our study is that ambient temperature affects individual states that shape emotional and behavioural reactions, so people help less in an uncomfortable environment,” said Liuba Belkin, Associate Professor of Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, US. Data provided by a large Russian retail chain for part one of the study allowed the authors to analyse differences in individual behaviour under hot versus normal temperature conditions. Clerks working in an uncomfortably hot environment, according to the data, were 50 per cent less likely to engage in pro-social behaviour including volunteering to help customers, listening actively and making suggestions. As a result of a randomised online experiment, the researchers found that only 34 per cent of participants, who were asked to recall a time when they were uncomfortably hot, were willing to help in a task afterwards, compared to 76 per cent in a control group. This revealed that mere recollection of being uncomfortably hot reduced a person’s likelihood to be helpful.
30 Environment warning system human-wildlife
early warning systems to save crops Early warning system would better manage human-wildlife conflict to protect crops, livestock, and property
July 03 - 09, 2017
calamities forest fire
NASA detects drop in WORLD’S forest fires
NASA shows a 24 per cent decline in forest fires between 1998 and 2015. Human activity is the main cause for the decline
arnataka and Madhya Pradesh have recorded high levels of damage to crops and human life by the wildlife. The solution is deploying early warning systems and awarding adequate compensations, says a new study. It says up to 32 wildlife species are damaging life and property in India as they are not only endangering local livelihood but also they are fighting for their survival. The study “History, Location and Species Matter: Insights for HumanWildlife Conflict Mitigation”, was published in the July 2017 edition of Human Dimensions of Wildlife. Resolving human-wildlife conflict requires revisiting the goals of conservation policies and investments by people and organisations, Wildlife Conservation Society scientist Krithi Karanth said. This is especially true with respect to effort and money deployed associated with mitigation and protection. People may be better served by deploying early warning, compensation and insurance programmes rather than by focusing heavily on mitigation, she said. The study examined the patterns of human-wildlife conflict and mitigation use by 5,196 families from 2011 to 2014 from 2,855 villages neighbouring 11 wildlife reserves. Its basic aim was to help inform better policies to mitigate humanwildlife conflict. The research surveyed more than 5,000 households and found crops were lost by 71 per cent of households, livestock 17 per cent and human injury and death were reported by three per cent of the households.
lobally, the amount of land being burned by fire is declining and this is largely due to human activities, says a study based on NASA’s satellite data. The researchers, however, found that in some parts of the world including in India, China and Brazil, the amount of land being burned by fire has increased. The total acreage burned by fires each year declined by 24 per cent between 1998 and 2015, showed the findings
published in the journal Science. “Climate change has increased fire risk in many regions, but satellite burned area data show that human activity has effectively counterbalanced that climate risk, especially across the global tropics,” said study co-author Doug Morton, a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “We’ve seen a substantial global decline over the satellite record, and the loss of fire has some really important implications for the Earth system,” Morton said.
drought-resistant crops development Australian researchers have identified a molecular pathway that controls a plant’s ability to close its pores ians
team of Australian researchers believes that they have made a breakthrough in developing drought-resistant crops after being able to “close the pores” on leaves. The breakthrough was made by the team from the Australian National University (ANU), reports Xinhua news agency. In a statement, Barry Pogson from the ANU said the team was able to identify a molecular pathway which controls a plant’s ability to close its pores, a process which naturally
Quick Glance Human activities have led to a decline in forest fires around the world However forest fires have increased in India, China, and Brazil Fires due to climate change have been offset by human settlements
Shifting livelihoods across the tropical forest frontiers of South America, the Eurasian Steppe, and the savannahs of Africa has altered the landscapes and led to a significant decline in the amount of land burned by fire, NASA’s satellites data showed. The researchers said that the ongoing transition from nomadic cultures to settled lifestyles and intensifying agriculture has led to a steep drop not only in the use of fire on local lands, but in the prevalence of fire worldwide. The decline in burned lands was largest in the savannahs and the grasslands, where fires are essential for maintaining healthy ecosystems and habitat conservation. The impact of human-caused changes in the savannahs, grasslands and tropical forests is so large that it offsets much of the increased risk of fire caused by warming global temperatures, Morton said. Still, the impact of a warming and drying climate is seen at higher latitudes, where fire has increased in parts of Canada and the American west. Regions of China, India, Brazil and southern Africa also show an increase in burned area, the study said.
Quick Glance Scientists say that closing the pores of crops helps water retentsion The team identified a molecular pathway that helps do this The team used a chloroplast signal to stimulate closing of the pores
conserves water. “This basic scientific research has the potential to be able to improve farming productivity not just in Australia, but potentially in other countries that suffer from drought stress,” Pogson said. “If we can even alleviate drought stress a little, it would have a significant impact on our farmers and the economy.” The team was able to use a chloroplast signal to stimulate a plant’s cells and close the pores, in a finding described as “completely unexpected”.
July 03 - 09, 2017
e-waste warrior aims at Bengaluru cleanup The startup has been doing socially relevant business IANS In a mushrooming urban landscape where waste disposal is becoming big business, meet one of India’s new breed of waste warriors -- Saahas Zero Waste (SZW) is an enterprise with the motto of making the maximum social impact in the area of sustainable urban development. Started in 2013, Saahas describes itself as a socio-environmental company that believes in the conversion of all waste to resources. Its clients in this IT hub, which disgorges large amounts of e-waste, are an array of major names such as Bosch, Shell, GE, JP Morgan, JLL, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, Tetra Pak, Aadhar and HCL. Recognised as a start-up by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), SZW operates onsite solutions for bulk waste generators including tech parks and residential complexes, client manager Sabira Lakhani told IANS. “For smaller waste generators, we offer holistic waste management which includes collection and processing at our units. Our focus is to help our clients become zero waste entities with emphasis on segregation at source,” she said. What facilitated Saahas’s pioneering work in this area is the fact that Karnataka has been ahead of many other states in enacting a law on e-waste management and action on mandatory segregation, says Lakhani, an American of Indian origin and now a Bengaluru resident. Indian waste management is governed by various legislations rolled out by the Union Environment Ministry in association with state pollution control boards, state governments and municipalities. On World Environment Day on June 5, Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu launched the programme of solid waste segregation at source in the National Capital Region. He flagged off seven special garbage trucks to launch the segregation of municipal solid waste at sources like households, hotels, restaurants in Delhi, besides Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad. According to the government, while 100 per cent door-to-door collection and transport of solid waste have been achieved in over 41,000 of the total 81,000 urban wards in the country, processing of such waste is only about
22 per cent. Lakhani explained that SZW partners with packaging companies and e-waste producers to implement a “reverse logistics mechanism” that facilitates bringing back large volumes of post-consumer waste into the recycling chain. “Our USP is that we help minimise the amount of waste that goes into city landfills,” she said, pointing out that they were the first to arrange collection of used TetraPak cartons off Bengaluru streets, besides their on-site waste management agreement covering the campus of the packaging giant. As a part of its “closing the loop” initiative, SZW offer products
Quick Glance SZW wants to make maximum social impact It provides on-site solutions with bulk waste generators Karnataka is far ahead of other states in making an e-waste law
the number of their companies and personnel present here. A survey by business research organisation Novonous says the Indian waste management market is expected to be worth $13.62 billion by 2025, with an annual growth rate of 7.17 percent. The Union Labour Ministry expects the e-waste market to grow at 30.6 percent during 2014-19. Saahas estimates that India will be generating nearly 300 million tonnes of construction and demolition waste per annum by 2020. While the government has linked waste management to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-inspired
Medicos exhibit their passion for wildlife Eleven doctors reveal their love for wildlife at a photography exhibition at Nandan Hall in Kolkata
made from waste of its units, including compost and a range of other recycled products like roofing sheets, chipboards and stationary items. The potential of waste management in India can be gauged from official figures that around 62 million tonnes of solid waste are produced in the country every year -- of which only 43 million tonnes is collected, only 12 million tonnes treated and the rest dumped. This figure is expected to rise to 436 million tonnes by 2050. Around 4.5 million tonnes is hazardous waste that includes biomedical waste. Three million tonnes of plastic and 3.2 million tonnes of e-waste is generated annually in India. SZW, which also has operations in Chennai, Hyderabad and Surat, handles 25 tonnes of waste a day in Bengaluru, which has become a city that Americans could perhaps feel adoptive about, given
Clean India initiative, the current fragmented nature of the industry, at its beginnings, is hampering fuller tapping of this potential. It is only in 2016 that the government has notified the rules of waste management for items such as plastic, construction and demolition waste, e-waste and hazardous and other wastes. To “close the loop” in a holistic sense, Lakhani says she is sustained in her work by the values imbibed through her faith as an Ismaili Muslim, which is a small but popular community found in various parts of India and elsewhere, and whose spiritual head is the Aga Khan. The Shia Ismailis are renowned for their philanthropic institutions that are expressions of the Ismaili social conscience which valorise the giving of one’s competence and sharing one’s resources with those among whom they live.
cheetah pouncing on an antelope in the wilds of Africa, or two tigers displaying their fondness for each other in a National Park in India - these are among a series of rare moments frozen with the camera by some renowned medicos struck by the wanderlust that adorns an exhibition here. Keeping their stethoscopes and scalpels aside for a while, eleven doctors converged to showcase their passion for the lens in the three-day photography exhibition that concluded recently at Nandan Hall 4, in Kolkata. Around 55 photographs, the bulk of them dealing with wildlife and nature, were on show with each doctor having five or so clicks of their own. According to the organisers Photography Charcha, it was the first time in the city that so many doctors came under one umbrella to display their talent with the camera. “I have been taking photos for the last eight-ten years in various geographies including the wild surroundings of Africa. This is an escape from the mundane day-today life of a doctor,” Kalyan Kar, a city-based general surgeon, told IANS at the exhibition. Among Kar’s spread, the silhouette of a tower of giraffes captured in the backdrop of the setting sun - giving the frame a reddish hue - attracted a lot of eyeballs. “I had to compose this photograph,” Kar revealed when quizzed about the work that went behind the magnificent click. “Most of the photographs here are moments.”
generation of farmers
An organic farmer by chance, this woman now helps connect other farmers directly to consumers
July 03 - 09, 2017
t was one weekend that changed her life and Purvi Vyas, a Masters in Environmental Management from Australia’s Western Sydney University, turned into a full-time organic farmer. She is now preparing the next generation of farmers and youngsters to adopt a sustainable lifestyle.
32 Unsung Hero
or illness. After finishing her “Even the kids masters in 1999, knew about these Purvi came back to HERO plants so well! It was India and started an eye opener for me working for several that I was an educated NGOs for sustainability ignorant and so are most of and development. It was in 2002 when she joined the famous us in the cities. These people Environmentalist Bina Agrawal to were living a much healthier life than us and on the other work on one of her research hand, I observed a huge gap projects that Purvi between what people were happened to get her first saying about the environment brush with the farming and how they c o m m u n i t y. actually The research She was surprised to know were living their lives took her to a that these apparently in the cities, small tribal me. area of Netrang illiterate women had all the including knowledge about plants This paradox a n d Dediyapada in made me and herbs south Gujarat. unhappy and I She was surprised to know that was constantly looking for a way these illiterate women had all the to implement what I was saying,” knowledge of the plants and the she says. trees available in the jungle. They Purvi had no clue that just a knew what plants has medicinal weekend a couple of weeks later values and what should be would give answers to all her consumed for a particular disease questions.
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India’s former wrestler and gold medalist winner, Kavita Devi selected to appear in WWE
outh Asian Games gold medalist and former powerlifter, Kavita Devi is set to appear in World Wrestling Entertainment. She will be the first Indian female wrestler to have been selected to participate in Mae Young Classic, WWE’s first tournament for women. Devi hails from Haryana and underwent rigorous training under former WWE Champion, The Great Khali at his Punjab-based
wrestling promotion and training academy. The wrestler came into limelight after participating in the WWE Dubai try-out in April this year. Her strong performance impressed the talent scouts. Former WWE Champion, The Great Khali has been training Devi at is Punjab-based wrestling promotion and training academy. She was selected after participating in the WWE Dubai try-out this year. The WWE scouts were impressed by her talent and performance. Devi started her journey as a successful Kabaddi player in high school. She is known for her special roundhouse kick that has gotten her many victories. In 2016, she won the gold medal in women’s 75kg weightlifting. A viral video was Devi’s claim to fame where she wrestled a woman wrestler, BB Bull Bull at Continental Wrestling Entertainment which is promoted by The Great Khali. The Mae Young Classic will be a single-elimination tournament wherein 32 of the top female competitors from around the world will participate. “I am honoured to be the first Indian woman to compete in WWE.
cyclist messenger Yewatkar cycles for 120-km and speaks at about five schools on an average day
26-year-old Indian social worker has embarked on a three-year ‘Pedaling for Peace’ cycling expedition across the world to spread Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings among school children. Dnyaneshwar Yewatkar, who hails from Sewagram Ashram at Wardha in Maharashtra, said he has completed 8,642 Km of 70,000 Km of his global cycling expedition. His expedition will be completed on October 2, 2019, in Pakistan, on Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary. “I have travelled over the last eight months through the Indo-China border and ASEAN, meeting beautiful people who have been very warm in hosting me and giving me opportunities to share my thoughts and knowledge about the teachings of Gandhi,” he told PTI.
Dnyaneshwar Yewatkar “There are challenging times in this solo-cycling tour, but there are moments I cherish as teachers gave me accommodation in schools or in their homes as they understand my mission” said Yewatkar, who has also been hosted by Sikh gurudwaras in Thailand and Malaysia. “I am sharing with them the message of Gandhiji, which inspires many people like us to work for peace... and take its new relevance today,” Yewatkar said. Sewagram Ashram is the place where Gandhi had launched the ‘Quit India’ campaign in 1942 against the British government.
RNI No. DELENG/2016/71561, Joint Commissioner of Police (Licensing) Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016 Volume - 1, Issue - 29 Printed by Monika Jain, Published by Monika Jain on behalf of SULABH SANITATION MISSION FOUNDATION and Printed at The Indian Express Ltd., A-8, Sector-7, NOIDA (U.P.) and Published from RZ 83, Mahavir Enclave, Palam-Dabri Road, New Delhi – 110 045. Editor Monika Jain