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Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016
Vol-1 | Issue-15 | April 02, 2017 | Price ` 5/-
Good News Weekly for Rising India
SULABH’S MALI CAMPAIGN
Now Sulabh International is stepping into Mali to help the government with sanitation
A group of young entrepreneurs After years of struggle, Kher have provided a ray of hope for has established himself as a the differently abled major sufi singer
NARENDRA DAMODARDAS MODI
HEART OF A NATIONAL LEADER
The first quality ingrained in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much lauded ‘Nation First’ project is humanity PREM PRAKASH
HERE is a wax statue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in London’s Madame Tussauds, but unlike his statue, Prime Minister is not made up of wax. He is a strong man whose name instills fear among the black-marketers, corrupt and bribe-givers. Modi is a leader who doesn’t flinch before he takes tough decisions. Yet, the Prime Minister has a heart that seems to be made of wax and that melts at even small miseries of his constituents. Modi has the passion to deal with the country’s enemies and the
ECONOMY THE REFORMED VALLEY
CHAMBAL VALLEY: MUSTERING PEACE! The once dacoit-infested Chambal Valley is a farmers’ haven, with mustard changing both, economic and natural landscapes SATYAM
HE ratatatata of gunfire… bullets whistling from one side to the other, the non-stop police sirens, the neighing of the horses, the shrieks of injured men... and women… Daku Man Singh, Paan Singh Tomar, Nirbhay Gujjar, Seema Parihar, and perhaps the most dreaded of all,
who got hold of 22 Rajputs in Behmai village, had them lined up and then shot all of them, and blood flowed into the nearby Yamuna! Chambal behaad. Even now a train or bus travel across the valley of the river that spans three states, or a sight of the dreaded ravines from the trains, makes people shudder. It is the Valley of Revenge! The Chambal River is likened to the ...Continued on Page 2
Quick Glance The PM has the people’s interest at the core of his strong heart He puts the national and people’s security above all concerns He has helped scores of poor people in various ways
sensitivity to do anything for fellow citizen. The Prime Minister is prepared for both. While writing a new chapter inIndian politics, Narendra Modi never left the side of national and citizen welfare. As the ...Continued on Page 3
02 Chambal Valley ...Continued from Page 1
CHAMBAL VALLEY: MUSTERING PEACE!
open tresses of the humiliated Draupadi in Mahabharat, who wanted the blood of Dusshasan to wash her hair with. So though the popular term is ‘daku’ or dacoits, they call themselves ‘baghees’ or rebels out to take revenge. Like Phoolan Devi did for the Rajputs raping her over and over again. This place had terrified people of three states: Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. But now the guns have
APRIL 02, 2017 advise them to join the mainstream, take up farming and be happy. ” Today, the lazy winter midday sun smiles upon the acres upon of acres of a Van Gogh-esque landscape of bright yellow and green. Monu Devi is the wife of a farmer. She is not sure of her age but says she could be around 60 or 65. She wasted half of her life in the fear of dacoits. Now it’s time to secure the family’s future. When I talked to her she was sitting at the Bhairon
fact that on the way to Etawa, I did not notice the rushing up and down of police patrol cars, which just proved Monu Devi’s point! People here are happy, but for one thing: that outsiders still look upon them as people from the dreaded, dacoit-infested Chambal and not just good and happy farmers. HECTARES AND QUINTALS At the height of the rule of the bandits, farming was restricted to a few areas around the villages of Manjoro and Pura Patto. This year, three lakh eighty thousand hectares of land is under mustard cultivation. There was once a time when the use of the names Bhind-Morena meant gun fights and loot, abduction and ransom… And today? In Morena, farmers are cultivating mustard over
The gold wash of the
Chambal Valley is so pleasing that travellers between Etawa and Gwalior stop to take pictures Quick Glance Chambal was once completely identified with dacoits and cruelties Now the area is swathed in the bright yellow of mustard flowers Mustard has ushered in both economic prosperity and peace
fallen silent. The bullets and guns are still there, but most of the dacoit gangs have been busted and they have more or less come into the mainstream. And doing what? Growing mustard! The arid, dusty soft rock formations of the Chambal Valley are turning a comely bright yellow in the winters. CHANGING CHAMBAL Decades back, people used to avoid this area while travelling. But mustard farming has changed the lives of people in Etawa. Now, people are happily busy with farming. If you talk to the local people you can feel the change in their attitude. A farmer, Ramratan is enjoying the sunny weather of February. He says: “We are not scared of anyone now. Although, we keep ourselves alert but we know we are safe, so even if someone comes and uses the name of Chambal Baghees to terrorise us, we
Chowk of Etawa, taking care of her potatoes and mustard seeds. Now, the only aim of her life is just to help her family in farming. She says: “Mustard has changed our lives. This is the only way we take care of our family.” If one broaches the topic of dacoits, she says “Times have changed a lot. There is no fear. We are not scared of anyone now. Now police is there to protect us. Not only this, we are also aware how to protect ourselves from any kind of problem or attack.” I reflected on the
one lakh fifty three thousand acres. In Bhind it is around one lakh eighty thousand hectares. In Sheopur district farmers have planted mustard on 50,000 hectares land and are expecting 30,000 quintals of mustard seeds. In Chakar Nagar Tehsil of Etawa district farmers have cultivated mustard on a large scale. In terms of productivity, Morena has better yield than even Haryana. In Morena farmers cultivate 30 quintals of mustard on one hectare of land.
Farmers are expecting a very good harvest this year too. HARDY MUSTARD A few decades back during the winters, the region near the river Chambal and the River Kuwari used to be covered with Sonha flowers. It used to look from afar as if gold is flowing down the river. Now, when the region is free from robbers and there are more canals and better cultivation facilities, mustard has replaced Sohna flowers. Bedi is a farmer from the Kanawar village of Bhind district. He told SSB: “We chose mustard because it has a high yield at little investment.” The Agricultural Officer of Etawa district says: “Mustard is a cost-effective cash crop. Farmers need not worry too much about water, as this crop needs very little water in comparison to other crops.” Ramji is a mustard merchant from Etawa. He says in Chambal area water is less available in comparison to other areas. So, people’s attraction shifted towards cultivating mustard. Today Chambal Valley is blooming with mustard flower. This is not only beautifying the valley but also booming the local economy. This harvest is the only source of income for these farmers. For the rest of the year they feed their families by selling mustard seeds. They get money and food both from it. GOLD WASH Food, will you ask? I mean they make chutneys, saag and curries of mustard, and even use mustard as their major spice. They use just a few more spices along with mustard. Even in this area mustard is used in the Ubtan (a kind of face and body pack) made to be applied on bride and bridegroom. The gold wash of the Chambal Valley is so pleasing that people travelling from Etawa till Gwalior stop and click pictures of the vast swathes of golden fields. The residents of this area say: “People are still scared of coming here. We welcome them to our place and say, ‘you come and see it with your own eyes, this area has changed entirely. Neither are we scared of robbers nor robbery. We are trying our best to lead a simple and normal life like any of you.” And now there will no longer be Gabbar Singh sending his Sambha and others to snatch away the food and peace from ‘Raamgad ke vasion’!
APRIL 02, 2017
Modi on Humanity
...Continued from Page 1
HEART OF A NATIONAL LEADER
The security of citizens
has been his topmost priority. It’s the greatest merit that distinguishes him from rest of the world leaders
(Top) PM, The noble benefactor (Above L to R) Baby Kalita, Divyanshu, and Baby Riddhi - the beneficiaries
national leader, he never, even for a moment, forgets his promise of protecting every citizen of the country. Be it hectic electoral activities or diplomatic complexities, he always puts the citizens first. This is the biggest virtue that separates Narendra Modi from other world leaders and politicians. Be it lending a helping hand in a girl’s marriage or an economically constrained school student having difficulty in continuing with education, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) deals with all these issues as efficiently and sensitively as any other serious problem. Interestingly, the PMO received most of these cases through ordinary means such as posts or emails. One such incident is about saving the life of an eight-day-old Assamese girl who everyone is talking about these days. This story has been trending on the social media as well with different hashtags. The girl, suffering from kidney disease, was
airlifted from Assam on the Prime Minister’s initiative and admitted to the Delhi’s Sir Gangaram Hospital. Dhruvjyoti Kalita, the father of the kid said that in order to save his eight days old daughter, suffering from severe kidney disease, doctors at Dibrugarh decided to send her to Delhi through air ambulance. The air ambulance was supposed to land in Delhi at 7 pm. This is the peak hour for Delhi traffic. Under these circumstances, getting the girl to the hospital was a huge challenge. So Dhruvjyoti, spoke to some IPS officers who came from Northeast. The news swiftly reached the Prime Minister’s Office. Prime Minister Narendra Modi immediately made arrangements to ensure traffic-free roads on the girl’s route to the hospital. According to the doctors, the girl is not yet out of danger, but her condition is gradually improving. For Dhruvjyoti, Prime Minister is no less than a messiah. Tears well over
his eyes when he thinks about the help that he received from the PMO. He says: “We were disappointed. We asked for help from numerous people. But nobody was able to do anything. We had no idea as to what would happen to our child. Then the Prime Minister came to us and wiped away all our worries and apprehensions. He came to us in the form of God,” said Dhruvjyoti. This is not just a statement made in a gush of emotions but often Modi has been seen as a father, guardian and mentor who is ready to do anything to protect his family – his constituents from difficulties. Riddhi, an eight-month-old infant is another instance of his magnanimity. Just a few days before this incidence Prime Minister gave succor of Rs 8 lakh to Riddhi who was suffering from cancer. In Dharamshila hospital of Delhi, Riddhi went through chemotherapy five times and then bone marrow transplant. After two
months a report revealed that her cancer has erupted again. Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave Rs three lakh to her father Premendra, who borrowed money from all his relatives and friends for her treatment. Similarly, a woman in Varanasi pleaded for help from the PM for her child. Both the kidneys of her daughter were not functioning. Narendra Modi immediately asked the PMO officials to help her. There is a similar story in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district as a student of Muraul block, Divyanshu was helped by Prime Minister. The central HRD Ministry recommended his name in CBSE board for his admission in DAV school as per Divyanshu’s choice in Muzaffarpur (Malighat). Prime Minister wrote a letter to the principle for his admission. Indeed Divyanshu’s dream was fulfilled. Dorris Francis of Ghaziabad district, adjacent to Delhi, received an aid of Rs three lakh from the PMO. She is a social worker and since a long time she was looking after traffic on National Highway 2 and 4. She is suffering from cancer and is undergoing treatment in a hospital. Apprised of her plight PM gave her an economic assistance. Apparently Prime minister who is stringent about corruption, black money and lax administration has a heart of gold as it is manifest from his magnanimous actions. He has been a paragon for many people who have received his help in grave situations. There are several such instances when Prime Minister came forward to help in and even outside the country. Be it the flood in valley of Kashmir or catastrophe in Nepal, within the border or beyond it, Prime Minister immediately took appropriate action. His sensitivity and agility was apparent. While sitting in the headquarters of Facebook in America, his sensitivity and emotions were quite apparent while talking about his mother. In the Goa rally, he could not check his emotions remembering the martyr soldiers. This is such a facet of his personality that belittles all other aspects of politics.
04 Sulabh’s Mali Campaign
APRIL 02, 2017
SULABH’S MALI CAMPAIGN
A team from Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement visits Mali and finds poor sanitation in the entire African country. Both are set to collaborate now
OU are not building toilets, you are building wholesome humanity. India yet again is offering the whole world, a great leader like Mahatama Gandhi, like Modi ji.” With these words Mr. Niankoro Yeah Samake, Ambassador of Mali to India admired Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, Founder of the Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement, during his visit to Sulabh campus recently. He also expressed great respect towards Dr Pathak for creating silver lining in the lives of millions of people. He was highly influenced by the work done by Sulabh. He felt presence of divinity in the campus. He was so inspired with the model & technology of Sulabh that he vowed to replicate the toilet technology in his country Mali. Ms. Hawa Deme, Founder of Deiya Group, who also accompanied Hon’ble ambassador during the visit, wanted to meet Dr. Pathak for a long time and her desire was ultimately fulfilled. She shared her experience in the morning assembly at campus that she too was confronted with dirty, smelly toilets while she was in school. Some girls of her school even avoided to attend nature’s call because of this unhygienic condition of school toilets. When she discovered Dr. Pathak via digital world, she was overwhelmed by his revolutionary work of sanitation and social reforms. It was then that she
decided to meet him to explore the opportunity to replicate his vision of sanitation in her own country. The event was followed by meetings for induction of Sulabh Sanitation Mission in the areas of Public Convenience, School Sanitation and Households, the eco-friendly Technology of Sulabh in Mali. Consequently, I along with Mr. Sudhakar Sarvottam Kini visited Mali on the directions of Dr. Pathak. Given its expanse, Mali is the eighth largest country in Africa, where we witnessed many heart-wrenching tales. People in this country were battling with poverty, unhygienic conditions and even struggling for their bread and butter even after many years of freedom from slavery. Most of the children were suffering from malnutrition, men and women were down with epidemics for which they had no cure, even in the developed nation. During our five days’ stay in Mali, we found that the root cause of all misery was inadequate hygiene and sanitation. People are compelled to live with infectious diseases such as cholera, hepatitis, meningitis, polio, rabies, malaria and tuberculosis. Women were more prone to gloomy circumstances. Women are generally
(Above) The author Monika Jain (Second from right) & Mr. Kini with Ambassador and First lady Ms Keita Aminata Maiga(in Blue Dress); (Left) Teaching sanitation to students in Mali
expected to take care of infants and kids for whole of their lives. Women in Mali have especially high rates of pregnancy at a young age, compared to other African countries. During the time of pregnancy and at times nearing childbirth, they are forced to do their daily chores, managing household jobs and taking care of the other kids. Clean water is also not easily available; women have to travel a mile or two to bring water for their families. Moreover, they have no access to toilets let alone clean toilets. They have no alternative other than public toilets which we found were dirty and stinking. A person is supposed to pay 25 West African Franc for use of toilet. It is paradoxical to the situation of modern world that Mali is still struggling for basic needs. After looking at their pitiable condition, we researched on ground realities. We tried to alleviate inadequate sanitation and hygiene in Mali. These results seemed to make some headway when Hon’ble ambassador introduced us to the First Lady of Mali, Ms. Keita Aminata Maiga. First Lady of any nation is the reflection of all the women in that nation. Ms. Keita Aminata Maiga represents true spirit of a woman. She discussed many things with us to improve sanitation and hygiene in Mali. We delightfully mentioned Dr. Pathak and his diehard efforts towards sanitation and social reforms in India via PowerPoint Presentation, which she highly appreciated and she was keen to replicate Sulabh Model in Mali. Moreover, we also presented Sulabh’s literatures to familiarise her with Sulabh’s profile and technology. We also got an opportunity to meet Mr. Manoj B Verma, India’s Ambassador to Mali. He assured full assistance to Sulabh while implementing Sulabh model there, in future. We also met Mr. Niaga Diop, representative of Deiya group, to prepare road map of total sanitation in Mali. We were shocked to see the poor
The root cause of all misery was lack of hygiene
and sanitation. People have to live with diseases such as cholera, hepatitis, meningitis, polio etc
Snapshots Mali’s ambassador along with head of Deiya group visits Sulabh campus, seeks cooperation A team from Sulabh visits Mali, finds its sanitation infrastructure poor Both countries to collaborate now, with Sulabh to lead the campaign
condition of public infrastructure in Mali. Roads were narrow and filthy with garbage accumulated on street corners. We noticed sanitation and hygiene were rare practices there. All this depicted a prolonged history of inadequate sanitation and hygiene. We also visited local schools like Bongarona Primary & Secondary School and N Timbu A & N Timbu B secondary School. We taught children briefly about daily hygienic practices and their benefits. Children were captivated by learning new things and looked delighted to follow hygienic regime. We also met with school principals and presented Sulabh literature to them. School principals admitted nonavailability of proper toilets and hygienic facilities in their schools. Mali is one of the nations which are in urgent need of aid in the area of sanitation and hygiene. Any nation can generate prosperity on its own but only when it is able to follow a regime of cleanliness and sanitation. Prime Minister Modi has from the very beginning emphasized on sanitation and cleanliness campaign even before he became Prime Minister of India. His vision is same as that of Dr. Pathak. They both have a fervent urge to have a clean nation. India has now become aware of the importance of sanitation. Same spirit is needed to be infused in Mali at mass level. It can happen only through Dr. Pathak’s endeavour, whose vision is: sanitation for all and not only for our nation. It would be a unique gesture if one nation makes sanitation revolution in another nation. After all, supreme deed is to work towards fraternity as we believe in “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” which can be translated as “whole world is one family”. The synergy between Sulabh and Mali is a step in improving the lot of people in Mali.
APRIL 02, 2017
REFORMERS’ SCHOOLS Every social reformer leads a way for social change with his own vision of the future. They also pass on their teachings to next generation through schools set up by them ASHIMA
T’S not possible for all social reformers to have similar values. But there is one thing common among them – leaving a legacy through a school or organisation cherishing their values. So, while they stood for their values during their lifetime, they also leave behind structures to educate the next generation. While great leaders work tirelessly to achieve their goals, they can also be spotted connecting with the children from time to time. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam is a great example. While he spent his life in science labs for the development of the country; he died while delivering a lecture to students. Let’s keep in mind that here we are not talking about just schooling and syllabus, it is about instilling morals and values among the children in an institutionalised manner . The sign of a good social reformer is his willingness to propagate his teachings among the children. These organisations and ashrams have been an inspiration to all. The society will keep saluting the ideology of these great personalities and their efforts to develop the society. Today, we talk about their work, comparatively analyse it, even criticise it. But most important is to foster these ideas in the society so the next generation can also work on them. Hence, they decided to establish organisations and schools based on their ideas and to keep their values alive. SAVITRIBAI PHULE, JYOTIBA PHULE SCHOOL The caste system has crippled the country internally. Education among the backward castes is a huge challenge, especially women. That is why unparalleled contribution of Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and his wife Savitribai Phule will always
Snapshots Most of the social reformers leave behind their legacy by setting up schools and institutions Their teachings, ideology and morals are passed on to next generation through them By following their teachings, we can avoid the lessons of hate being propagated by bigots
be remembered. While the independence struggle was at its peak, there was another struggle going on to overcome the country’s basic problems. Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and his wife Savitribai Phule took over the responsibility of educating the women. Opening a girl’s school way back in January 1848 was not only a historic event but also a long shot in accordance with the time. At that time, only the upper castes were deemed worthy proper education. From that day to 15th march 1852, the couple opened up to 15 schools for girls without any financial help from others. Savitribai Phule had a childhood memory behind this. While she was
SHANTINIKETAN AND RABINDRANATH TAGORE Considering the relevance of Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore’s literature these days, it’s not hard to imagine how great his vision was. The pain of women he has etched out in his literatures is incomparable. Shantiniketan has an important role in Tagore’s efforts to spread education. It is situated approximately 180 km north of Kolkata. Tagore wasn’t happy with the Shantiniketan set up ny his father. He therefore, conceptualised a school that brought together both eastern and western education systems. Basically, Tagore was against strict disciplines. He used to argue that the
Awareness, sensitivity, love and respect towards ethical values are also part of our education
leafing through an English book, his father snatched it from her hands and threw it away. Savitribai quietly retrieved it and decided that she will definitely read it one day. Her determination was fulfilled later, when she got married to Mahatma Phule. He taught her to read and write. Later they took the responsibility to educate others from backward castes, especially women. The couple’s farsighted vision is a lesson for the present times. It wouldn’t be wrong to credit the couple for being the pioneers in women’s education in our country. Although their struggle was much more than just education, even the British government at that time acknowledged their efforts by honouring them with awards.
children should not treat their teacher as an administrative figure as it affects the growth of the children. In 1916, Tagore wrote letters to foreign countries saying, “Shantiniketan must be separated from all the castes and geographical boundaries of this world. That’s what my mind says. This will be the place the entire mankind makes its mark. Now onwards, my only goal in life would be to end nationalist pride and bring peace to the world”. Later this organisation turned into an international education destination. Tagore’s vision was to attain world peace beyond all discrimination. Sadly, his concepts still seem farfetched.
TOLSTOY FARM AND GANDHI How can someone forget the messenger of truth and non-violence Mahatma Gandhi? The heritage of Indian education is also flourishing in foreign lands. He established the Tolstoy Farm in South Africa way back in 1910. Tolstoy Farm was basically a residence for the ‘satyagrahis’. They resided there, conducting meetings and while performing their day to day activities, they also grew their own food within the premises. But this farm was like the seed of Mahatma Gandhi’s foresighted vision. This place is the proof of how those people lived together in harmony. Doing all kinds of work together without discrimination, this is a lesson we still need to learn. Mahatma Gandhi’s close friend Herman Kalnebach donated his land for this project. ‘It was like a family to me where I was playing the father’s role,’ he wrote about the farm. Located in South Africa, this institute ought to be recognised as India’s historical heritage. RAMKRISHNA MISSION AND SWAMI VIVEKANANDA Swami Vivekananda’s Chicago speech contributed hugely to India’s pride. His efforts have always been to raise awareness of Indian public. It was the time when India, besides British, was also fighting against its internal problems. Swami Vivekananda was concerned about both these struggles. During his expedition around the country, on 1st May 1897, he established a mission after his mentor Ramakrishna Paramahansa’s name. Through this mission, he wanted to spread Ramakrishna’s teachings. His greatest goal was to gather the ‘Sanyasis’ and ‘Mahatmas’ and spread their teachings among the people. Swami Vivekananda not only dismissed riots and killing in the name of god, but also called them to spread the message of tolerance, love and harmony. The ashrams established by him are still functioning across the country. We need to understand that awareness, sensitivity, love and respect towards ethical values are also part of our education. Education is not simply limited to completion or passing a school curriculum. We need to take lessons from the efforts of these social reformers and develop ways of learning. Because we should realise that these social reformers have left behind solutions to almost every problem. Keeping it in mind, we can formulate better ways to increase our level of learning.
APRIL 02, 2017
INITIATIVE LEMON TREE
NOT SELLING LEMONS People pay lip service to disability and the disabled. But Lemon Tree does not believe in selling lemons. It actually mainstreams the disabled
Snapshots Census reports show that 2.21% of the Indian population, or 26.8 million, are disabled Lemon Tree as a hotel chain has a clear policy of employing such people in its 40-hotels chain To them this is not charity and everyone has to learn Indian Sign Language to seek promotions
S one walks into the Clever Fox Café at Delhi airport, a smiling Shiraz welcomes with folded hands. He displays a card, which reads ‘Hi, I’m Shiraz and I work at Clever Fox Café. I have Down syndrome. If you write down your request, I will be very happy to serve you’. Shiraz then directs you to the available table at the restaurant. After you settle down, he brings the menu card and fills the glasses. Shiraz diligently makes a note of all the orders and puts a star mark against the special request to keep the spices moderate. All this while, not even for a single moment, the broad grin on Shiraz’s face disappears. Cleve Fox Café is part of the Red Fox Hotel, which is an economy hotel of the Lemon Tree group of hotels. Lemon Tree was founded in September 2002 and currently owns and operates 40 hotels in 23 cities, with 4,100 rooms, making it the third largest hotel chain in India. It has got around 4,000 employees, out of which more than 500 employees have some form of physical or cognitive disability. They constitute over 13 per cent of total staff strength of Lemon Tree hotels. Of these, more than 350 are speech and hearing impaired (SHI) people, while around 100 are orthopedically handicapped. There are some who have Down syndrome, Shiraz being one of them.
According to Census 2011 data, persons with disabilities, numbering 26.8 million, account for 2.21 per cent of India’s population. However, only three per cent of them are gainfully employed. This number is as high as 40-50 per cent in the developed world. Interestingly, last year, Parliament passed the Rights of Persons With Disabilities Bill in December. Other than providing for harsher punishment for discrimination against differentlyabled persons, the bill also defines disability as an evolving and dynamic concept. It increased the types of disabilities from existing seven to 21. As per some estimates, around 10 per cent of the Indian population is affected by disability of one form or the other. HAPPY PEOPLE These scary figures used to worry Patu Keshwani, Founder of Lemon Tree. He says, “This vast majority of differentlyabled people don’t get jobs easily in our country, because there is no social net. So, we thought of doing something about it.” That’s how Lemon Tree started employing people who had some form of disability. Keshwani didn’t want to make much fuss about it, and saw it purely as providing opportunity to this segment. He doesn’t bat an eyelid as he speaks: “In our organisation, disability is not treated as abnormal, they are absolutely normal. There is no sense of charity, because I
think that kills someone’s self-dignity”. Today, one needs to walk into any of the Lemon Tree hotels to understand what Keshwani means. All of the specially abled staff are extremely courteous and very proactive in their work. The speech and hearing impaired staff at their restaurant, housekeeping operations or coffee shops, impress the customers with their extraordinary warmth and joyful demeanour. People with Down syndrome deliver food as
well as smiles at your table with equal finesse. And that’s precisely the reason, they are called ‘happy people’ in the staff circle. Priya works as a desk attendant. She explains with a distinctive pride, “I receive calls from the guests and forward them to the designated department. I also handle all the files and reports and pass on the necessary information to my seniors.” Priya is a polio victim and walks with a limp. But that doesn’t become a hurdle in her way of becoming an efficient task handler. She credits most of her success to her seniors who are very supportive. ENABLING CULTURE Lemon Tree is proud of its culture, where alienation and marginalisation finds no takers. Aradhana Lal, Vice President, Sustainability Initiatives at
Ease with which Lemon Tree has employed such people is a brilliant model of sustainability
APRIL 02, 2017 The Lemon Tree Hotel Company says: “It takes a strong vision, support from the top management, meticulous planning, robust sensitisation and frequent reviews to engage with people with disabilities and integrate them into the workforce as the regular staff.” This push from the top management emanates down the hierarchy chain and augurs well for a friendly environment. The sincerity with which the management looks into this is reflected in the fact that entire staff at the Lemon Tree Hotels know the Indian Sign Language. Not only this, it is a part of their performance appraisal system too. Every new employee at the group has to undergo a mandatory training, called ‘Expressions’, on Indian Sign Language, after which they are tested on the same, where it is compulsory to score at least 85 per cent. R Hari, General Manager, HR sees this as a fundamental requirement of the organisation. He explains that regular employees who don’t know sign language cannot be promoted to the supervisory or executive levels as they will not be able to communicate with the SHI employees who make a large part of the workforce.“Whenever we bring in a new disability, we take help from the NGOs. In cases of intellectual disability, it takes demonstration to help the managers and regular staff understand how to interact with the specially abled. We get special educators to be in the field, working with the managers, in the entire teaching process,” explains Lal. The company has partnered with several NGOs like Noida Deaf Society, Sai Swayam Society, Muskaan, Youth For Jobs, etc., for sourcing employees and also for training and sensitising the staff. THE NEW NORMAL The ease with which Lemon Tree has integrated specially abled people and scaled it up efficiently is a brilliant model of sustainability. The group has taken this beyond their organisation and are now actively partnering with external organisations, including National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC), to create training modules for the persons with disabilities. Lal has a very objective, business way of looking at this. “The room boys in housekeeping can normally clean about 16 rooms, whereas a person with SHI does 19 rooms a day probably because they spend lesser time chatting while working. This implies that they are 15 per cent more productive than their colleagues, and which company doesn’t want more productivity.” Clearly, Lemon Tree has shown a brilliant business example where the specially abled people are able to find a dignified life for themselves.
FIGHTING SLAVERY IN FORESTS One gutsy woman in the Kartaniaghat forests has fought to abolish a slavery system which few people know about
nce an alcoholic, she fought against inhuman tyranny and transformed the lives of about 4,000 women in seven villages in Behraich district of Uttar Pradesh. These seven villages are among 3,000 other Indian villages which remained deprived of even citizenship of this country after several decades of Independence. Bhanumati (55), a dalit woman and a resident of non-descript Tedia village in the Kartaniaghat jungles, about 100 kilometres from Behraich, was recently selected among 100 most influential women in the country. She was honoured by the President of India Pranab Mukherjee at a function in New Delhi for ‘Access to Justice’. Her ordeal started when she got married to Sri Bachan about 38 years ago and landed in the village called Tedia. The village is among seven other villages in the district where the draconian British Forest Laws and Begaari Pratha (work with no pay – a form of slavery) were still enforced. She was forced into Begaari along with her husband by the forest department, which treats them as encroachers of its land under the Forest Management Laws of the British rule. DEHAT STUDY In a research paper titled “Slave Forest Villages in Independent India”, Dr Jitendra Chaturvedi, a social activist and founder of Developmental Association for Human Advancement (DEHAT), has depicted the appalling conditions of these hapless victims under Van Grams, otherwise known as Slave Forest villages. “I was forced to work in jungles full of wild animals and carry 80 kgs of woods on my back by forest department officials for no money,” rues Bhanumati. They were often beaten and threatened by foresters for refusing to carry out Begari. Her husband was so terrorised that he fled to Kolkata to work in a jute mill. Bhanumati was not alone, there were about 4,900 more such Begari victims in six other villages. These Van Grams were still being governed by the British laws as there were no provisions for any relief to them in the Indian Forest Management Laws. Residents of these villages were denied benefits of the government schemes. They had no ration cards, no facility of healthcare, drinking water etc. Their names were also not registered in electoral rolls and since independence they had never participated in any democratic process as voters.
Bhanumati was forced into begaari, or British style slavery after her marriage To fight the bodily pain and the hurt to her soul, she had become an alcoholic She stopped drinking, organised women and has today even ensured their voting rights
ALCOHOL, ALCOHOL! After days of hard work, Bhanumati would consume country-made liquor to reduce body pain and catch some sleep. Treated as no less than a slave, her liquor consumption increased day by day and often she would start the day with a pouch of country-made liquor to forget that she was a living soul. To sustain her drinking habit and alternate living, she even started her own bhatti (local distillery) for making hooch at night to earn some extra bucks. Seething with anger, she would hurl choicest abuses on their tormentors privately but had little courage to revolt against them. But there is always light at the end of the tunnel. In 2003, when a practicing homeopath, Dr Jitendra Chaturvedi visited Tedia village, he was shocked to see this slavery. “When I first met Bhanumati, she was in an inebriated state and was hurling abuses after each and every sentence she would utter to describe their status,” recalls Dr Chautrvedi. But Dr Chaturvedi found two startling qualities in her: her leadership qualities and her tremendous grasping power. Dr Chaturvedi held a meeting with these Begari Pratha victims and encouraged Bhanumati to lead them. He organised several training camps and made them aware of their Constitutional rights. MAHILA ADHIKAR The next two years were testing times, and by then, Bhanumati founded a group of rebel begaari victims of seven Van Grams under Mahila Adhikar Manch. The biggest challenge was to say no to liquor consumption. Bhanumati was first to take a resolve and she led a group of women to raze all illegal hooch manufacturing units in these villages. “I faced a lot of resistance but then women and children joined the anti-liquor movement and KailashnangarDhakia became the first alcohol-free Van Gram village,” claims Bhanumati.
Begaari Pratha victims’ fight to restore their Constitutional rights began in 2005, when they held massive demonstrations and organised a protest march to Lucknow. They held captive a polio vaccination team visiting the village for the first time. The news spread like wild fire. Their movement gathered momentum. Since most of them were illiterates, they were trained on government schemes, Constitutional rights, RTI and MNREGA by Dr Chauturvedi, and these women then succeeded in bringing MNREGA in their Van Grams. But women were denied any work under MNREGA. They fought for two years and finally, the authorities issued job cards to women workers as well. “A MNREGA official demanded Rs 100 bribe from each woman worker and we thrashed him so badly that no one ever dared to demand any suvidha shoolk (facilitation bribe) from us,” chuckles Bhanumati. Their voices soon reached the corridors of power in Lucknow and they were issued ration cards and provided healthcare facilities. A branch of Aaganwadi was opened and vaccination facilities were extended to their children. FINAL RIGHTS Emboldened by this, Bhanumati launched the final battle for registration of their names in electoral rolls and ensuring voting rights. Finally, in 2010 they were allowed to vote in Zilla Panchayat elections to bring them into mainstream. “For the first time, we felt that we are also citizens of this country when we voted. Since then, we have been voting in Assembly as well as Lok Sabha polls,” claims Bhanumati, who has contested Village Pradhan polls, and lost by only 34 votes in subsequent years. Her fight against the tyrannical rule and her efforts to fight for the rights of Begaari Pratha victims in seven villages earned her a place among the 100 Most Influential Women in India.
08 Good News
APRIL 02, 2017
NEWS IN BRIEF
CENTRE TO GIVE Rs 30 CRORE FOR SOLAR CITIES
ECONOMY DIGITAL TRANSACTIONS
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu launched the Digi Dhan Mela
The funds will be given to 21 states under the solar cities development programme
ROMOTING clean energy, the central government has sanctioned funds worth over Rs 30 crore to 21 states and union territories under the solar cities development programme. These funds were sanctioned during the last three years till November 30th. Out of the total sanctioned amount of Rs 30.36 crore under the ‘Development of Solar Cities Programme’ for 21 states and union territories, around Rs 12.98 crore have been released, said Power and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal. In a written reply, he said 60 places have been included in the solar cities programme, including Gaya (Bihar), Mysore (Karnataka), Kochi (Kerala), Pune (Maharashtra), Panaji City (Goa), Howrah (West Bengal), Imphal (Manipur), Aizawl (Mizoram), Kohima (Nagaland), Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) and Moradabad (Uttar Pradesh). Goyal said at least one city in each state would be included in the solar cities programme. Central Financial Assistance (CFA) of up to Rs 50 lakh is extended for each solar city. “Financial support up to Rs 9.50 crore is available to eight model solar cities and up to Rs 2.50 crore to 15 pilot solar cities for setting up of renewable energy projects/ systems/ devices,” Goyal said. The money would be given provided that an equal amount is made available by the concerned municipal corporation, city administration, state or from any other resources.
The mela, in Odisha aimed to make people aware of digital economy
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu articulated that digital payments would end the need to run to banks
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
AILWAY Minister Suresh Prabhu recently inaugurated a Digi-Dhan Mela expressing the potential of digitisation saying
cashless transactions will benefit all, including small vendors. The Mela seeks to promote cashless economy through digital mode of transactions in the country. The minister said it was necessary to create awareness about the
RAILWAYS TO MAKE SOLAR ENERGY
INTERNET TO PENETRATE GPS
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
ITH India going digital, proper internet services have become a necessity for the country, and Minister of State for Communications, Manoj Sinha announced that all 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) in the country will be connected with the internet by December 2018 and one lakh of them connected by the month-end. Sinha said in Lok Sabha that the BharatNet project was being implemented with the objective of creating network infrastructure to provide broadband connectivity of 100 Mbps to all GPs in the country. “Phase-I to connect one lakh GPs is
benefits of digital payment among all sections of the society. It would immensely benefit people starting from small vendors and fruit sellers to hair cutting saloons, he said. Speaking at the function, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said there would be no need for the people to visit banks every time, as the Centre was making efforts to shift the focus towards digital payment mode. Several banks, BSNL, India Post, Common Service Centre, UIDAI, oil marketing companies and private e-wallet operators had put up stalls outside Bhubaneswar railway station to make people aware of cashless transactions. A day-long exhibition was organised to sensitise people about digital payment systems and their advantages. Odia cinestars Sabyasachi Mishra and Archita Sahu also participated in the Mela.
NEWS IN BRIEF
Minister for communications Manoj Sinha says that 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats will be connected by end of 2017, of which one lakh will be by March 2017
From tea sellers to hair-cutting saloons, everyone will benefit
It has signed a Letter of Intent with the UN Environment Program
A scheduled to be completed by March 2017. The connectivity to all the GPs is to be provided by December 2018,” he said during Question Hour. The BharatNet project is being implemented under the Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF). The Minister said WiFi Hotspots will also be created in every GP and the Communications Ministry has already given approval for it. Plans are afoot to create two Wi-Fi Hotspots in every village in the country after installation of the Optical Fibre Cable networks, he said. Sinha said the government has taken cognizance of the delay in the project and identified the reasons for the same.
Quick Glance India has 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats that need to be digitally linked The government has decided that this will be done by 2018 By the end of this March. one lakh GPs will be connected to Internet
dopting a green initiative, the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu recently announced that the Railways would soon produce 1,000 MW solar energy. Addressing a function to mark the signing of Letters of Intent by Railway Ministry with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to formalise joint cooperation in environmental conser vation, he said the priority of railways was to reduce carbon footprints. “Railway is already taking several green initiatives and is going to produce 1,000 MW solar energy,” he said. Representatives of Indian Railways and UNEP signed and exchanged Letters of Intent. UNEP Executive Director Erik Solheim said that the focus of the partnership was on three main areas - waste management, reduction in water consumption and sustainable public procurement.
APRIL 02, 2017
AQUA FARMERS ACCESS TO INT’L MARKETS Commerce Secretary Rita Teotia has emphasised on export of the best quality of products to the international market INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE
HE Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) launched a Self Sufficiency Project (SSP) at its Hatchery and Training Complex near. The move is aimed to help aqua farmers export their produce in international markets and meet stringent quality norms. Under this project, nursery rearing facilities for genetically improved farmed tilapia (GIFT) seeds have been set up for supply of quality seeds to the aqua farmers. Union Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia, while inaugurating the SSP, said there was an imperative need to provide the best products, as competition from other countries was increasing. “Every single aspect of the product, which is going to the international markets, has to be of best quality. This is the message that has to go to everyone
along the value chain and not just the exporters. Good practices and ensuring the quality should be the cardinal principles,” said Teaotia. “Instead of classifying the product quality standards for the European Union, the U.S. or Japan, we should be able to export best quality products to every country. I believe it is time for us to actually understand that every
MPEDA has launched a programme for making farmers self-sufficient A nursery for genetically inproved farmed tilapiya has been set up Indian aquaculture farmers will now have access to international markets
single country in the world deserves the outstanding quality from us. This will raise our reputation globally,” she noted. MPEDA Chairman A Jayathilak said plans were also afoot to expand the nursery rearing facilities for other species, such as seabass, mangrove crab and vannamei shrimp. “This will ensure quality seed material to the aqua farmers, so that the supply of exportable variety of finfish and shellfish gets a huge boost. It will also create more livelihood opportunities for the stakeholders,” said the Chairman. Teaotia also inaugurated the online business exchange platform, the “Fish Exchange Portal”, developed by the MPEDA for export of seafood from the country. The portal, a “one-stop shop” for the entire gamut of trade needs, would facilitate the buyers across the globe to interact and source seafood from the exporters registered with the MPEDA.
SUNEHRA KAL FOR MOTHER & CHILD
A pilot project aims to provide healthcare service to the mother, child and the adolescent
NEW health project called ‘Sunehra Kal’ is being implemented by Mamta: Health Institute of Mother and Child (HIMC), a New Delhi-based nongovernment organisation under the sponsorship of corporate house ITC in Assam’s Darrang district. It is a pilot project aimed at providing healthcare service to the mother, child and adolescent. The programme which is third of its kind in India after one district each in UP and Bihar would aim at improving women, adolescent and child health and nutrition outcomes to
Quick Glance This project is only the third of its kind in the whole country The programme aims at preventing human trafficking and other ills It also aims at improving women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health
reduce the infant under 5 and maternal mortality as per SDG benchmarks and also provide an enabling environment of child protection for preventing of human trafficking, early marriage and providing safe childhood. Dr Ajay Kr Singh, the Associate Director of MAMTA, pointed out that the programme in a period of next five years has set a goal to cover a targeted 34,600 young population in the age group of 15 to 24 years along with a child (0 to 6 years) population of 8,662 and pregnant and lactating mother with the same (8,662) population. The data has been already collected from a preliminary baseline survey and community profiling in a total of nine gaon panchayats - four within Pub Mangaldai Development Block and five in Paschim Mangaldai Development Block, besides Mangaldai town. Inaugurating the project, Bidyut Bikash Bhagawati, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Darrang, said even after series of government sponsored programmes, the district Health
NEWS IN BRIEF
HEALTHCARE MOTHER & CHILD
Department has failed to achieve the desired result in the quality health care service, especially in the field of maternity and child health. He thanked MAMTA and the sponsors for selecting Darrang as the pilot district of the State and expressed hope that the project with its holistic approach will be able to work as a synergy through the engagement of the government system and the community and thus pave the way for a healthy and beautiful Darrang in days to come.
RAILWAYS FOR RECYCLED WATER
Railways will unveil its water policy, the first of its kind
ITH aims to promote recycling and save up to Rs 400 crore in the process, the Railways has decided to cut down its water bill by buying recycled water from private players. With the dual aim of conserving the precious resource and reducing its consumption, the Railways will unveil its water policy, a first for the national transporter, for extensive use of treated water from water treatment plants for non-drinking purposes. The Indian Railways Water Policy, was rolled out on March 22 (World Water Day). Currently, the Railways buys water from the states and its water bill is about Rs 4,000 crore a year. “The water policy envisages buying treated water from water treatment plants for two paise per litre, while we now purchase water for seven paise per litre,” said a senior Railway Ministry official. The policy has drawn out a detailed framework for setting up water treatment plants with private participation to generate an adequate amount of treated water for non-potable purposes. The private players will be encouraged to set up these plants and the Railways will ensure the purchase of treated water from these units, said the official. The water policy also envisages the revival of all the defunct water bodies on railway land across the country, various ways of recharging groundwater, including rainwater harvesting in all railway buildings. A concrete action plan for water management, water-efficient fittings and regular water auditing is a part of the new water policy of the Railways. The official said the water policy is part of the commitment India has made to the UN under the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to reduce water consumption and the Railways has assumed a pro-active role in it.
10 Health & Sanitation SANITATION NEWS
APRIL 02, 2017
NEW TOILETS FOR ONE LAKH MADRASAS
The government will build toilets in one lakh Islamic learning centres across the country as part of Swachh Bharat
MEDICAL MIRACLE SAVES BABY
In a rare, and daring, halfmatched transplant, doctors have ensured life for an Afghan baby
N eight-month-old Afghan boy was saved after he underwent a rare half-matched bone marrow transplant at Jaypee Hospital, Noida. Mujib suffered from severe Combined Immunodeficiency in which a person is born without a functioning immune system, increasing his or her risk of developing fatal infections and as a result, also had high fever, pneumonia and diarrhoea. Mujib’s two elder brothers had already lost their lives to this illness in their infancy. Doctors at Jaypee Hospital conducted bone marrow transplant from his one surviving brother Arian, aged four years, whose blood tests confirmed normal lymphocyte counts, so he could serve as a donor for his younger brother. But Arian had only 50 per cent match with Mujib. “In severe Combined Immunodeficiency, the patient’s life can only be saved by bone marrow transplant but performing a half-matched bone marrow transplant on an eight-monthold baby was a hugely challenging task,” said Dr Pawan Kumar Singh, Associate Consultant at Jaypee Hospital. The human immune system has white blood cells called lymphocytes which protect the body from infections. Before the transplant, Mujib had almost zero lymphocytes in his blood. “After the transplant, his lymphocyte count has approached normal and is expected to continue to improve over the next several weeks. Mujib can now lead a normal life like other kids without the risk of fatal infections,” noted Esha Kaul, Associate Consultant at Jaypee Hospital.
S part of the center’s plan to revamp the traditional learning centres and uplift sanitation, the centre has planned to build toilets in one lakh madrasas across the country. Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government has also planned to introduce mid-day meal scheme and upgrade skills of teachers in these educational centres as part of its “3T formula -- teachers, tiffin and toilets”. He was speaking to the reporters at his office in Antyodaya Bhawan after the meetings of the Governing Body and General Body of the Maulana Azad Education Foundation, an autonomous non-profit minority welfare institution under his ministry.
Quick Glance The government will build proper toilets in one lakh madrasas There will also be midday meals and skill development programmes Beneficiaries will increase, especially in the girl-centric projects
Naqvi said, “In the meetings, we have decided that the madrasas which are providing mainstream education or those that want to, we will help such madrasas on a big scale. And we have a formula of 3Ts -- teachers, tiffins and toilets. And, under the ‘Swachh Bharat’ mission, we target to build toilets in one lakh such madrasas by the end of the next financial year,” Naqvi said. Minority Affairs Ministry officials said these toilets would be built as part of the welfare initiatives of the Foundation, of which Naqvi is the exofficio President. “Tiffin means midday meal and the third T is for teachers.
We will also identify madrasas where we need to upgrade skills of teachers or train them or through other programmes to improve the pedagogy,” he said. Incidentally, the decision to provide mid-day meal at madrasas was taken during a meeting of the General Body of the Foundation in December, ahead of the assembly elections in five states. “We also plan to modernise a few madrasas by including imparting of education of science and technology. Some of the members of the Foundation will travel to different states to find out those who wish to associate with this paradigm,” Naqvi added. The minister also said that the Foundation wants to increase the number of beneficiaries of its various schemes like the Begum Hazrat Mahal National Scholarship for girls and Garib Nawaz Skill Development Centres. “20,000 girls have benefited from the Begum Hazrat scheme so far and we wish to expand that number to 45,000 by the end of this financial year. And, next year, the target would be to benefit five lakh students. “For Garib Nawaz Skill Development Scheme, a proper budget has been finalised and about 100 skill development centres are to be opened,” Naqvi said. “We are also planning to build worldclass institutions and plans are being worked out,” he said.
RESEARCH ‘T’ CELLS
CLOSER TO MALARIA VACCINE
Lead researcher Hayley McNamara says this has helped answer the mystery of “T-cells” SSB BUREAU
USTRALIAN scientists have discovered a ‘key molecule’ which can kill microbes that infect the human liver, and according to some experts, it could help in making a malaria vaccine. Researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) announced the breakthrough after they tracked cells and discovered a molecule which kills microbes that infect the liver - such as malaria, Xinhua news agency reported. Malaria kills around half a million people every year in warm climates such as in Africa and Asia, but lead researcher Hayley McNamara from the ANU said the findings helped answer questions about the mystery of “T-cells” - immune cells which hunt down infections in the body. “We know T-cells can protect against
Quick Glance Australian researchers have found a key molecule that infects liver This will help unravel the mysteries of the immune cells, called ‘T’ Cells Eventually this will lead to the creation of a malaria vaccine
most infections, what we still don’t fully understand is how these T-cells find the rare cells infected with viruses or parasites like malaria - a needle in a haystack problem if you like,” McNamara said. “We’ve found that without a key molecule called LFA1, that cells don’t work - they can’t move quickly and can’t kill malaria parasites effectively,” he added. Associate professor Ian Cockburn from the ANU said that because the T-cells were able to effectively hunt down malaria parasites, they could one day become a major component of future malaria vaccines. “What we want to do is understand how to make a vaccine that induces these types of immune cells. There are vaccines in clinical trials that work by inducing antibodies, adding a T-cell component would create stronger immunity by arming different parts of the immune system,” he said.
APRIL 02, 2017
ONGC’S HEALTHCARE GIFT TO ASSAM
The energy behemoth has tied up with an Aurangabad-based hospital to create a 300-bed hospital in Sivasagar district
Health & Sanitation
GENDER IMF REPORT
SANITATION = GENDER EQUALITY
According to IMF, improved access to sanitation facilities increases women’s labour force participation
HE Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has inked a memorandum of agreement with the Aurangabad based Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Vaidyakiya Pratishthan (BAVP) to set up a multi-specialty hospital in Upper Assam’s Sivasagar district.As part of its CSR initiatives, the ONGC board has approved setting up of the hospital at Rajabari in Sivasagar. The hospital will be developed in three phases at a total cost of Rs 313 crore. The ONGC board has accorded sanction of Rs 99.09 crore towards construction of the first phase of the hospital. The implementing agency – BAVP – is operating a 400-bedded hospital at Aurangabad for more than 25 years now. ONGC’s acting CMD, Shasi Shankar, said the new hospital at Sivasagar will cater
Quick Glance In a major CSR project, the ONGC will build a large hospital Rs 313 crore has been granted for the Sivasagar project Ambedkar Vaidyakiya Pratishthan will be the collabarotor
I to patients of Upper Assam, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. There will be 10 beds on completion of the first phase and on completion of the third, there will be 300 beds. ONGC expects to complete the hospital construction within two years. A 50-acre land has been already acquired at the site for an amount of Rs 3.75 crore. The oil PSU has also constructed a two-km approach road from the national highway to the hospital site. “The hospital will change the medical scenario of Upper Assam. It will be a flag bearer project for ONGC in northeast. It is the single largest CSR initiative of ONGC in the country,” Shankar said. It will be a non-profit facility and any revenue generated from it will be invested in the hospital itself. The pricing will be 70 per cent lower than the market rates, officials said.
NO TOILET, NO NIKAH! The Islamic leadership has said having a toilet is a condition for wedding ceremonies Maulana Mahmood A Madani
N sync with the countrywide sanitation campaign the maulvis and muftis in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab have decided not to solemnise marriage in a house where there is no toilet. Maulana Mahmood A Madani, Secretary General of Jamiat Ulama-iHind said having a toilet has been made a mandatory condition for Muslim marriages in the three states and will soon be applied in all other states in the country. “Maulvis and muftis in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana have decided that they will not solemnise the ‘nikah’ or Muslim marriage in a house where there are no toilets,” he said. Madani, who is also a former
MPROVING access to sanitation is essential for achieving gender equality and economic growth in India, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said. In its annual country-report on India, IMF said, “Poor sanitation not only adversely affects the availability and quality of water, but also has detrimental effects on education, welfare, and on people’s time-use and safety, as well as their life opportunities”. IMF said its research suggests that improving access to sanitation is essential for achieving gender equality and economic growth in India. The economic benefits of improved sanitation may also include savings in health system costs, and reduction in illness-related days of work lost, it said.
The IMF says improving access to sanitation is a gender issue It says without proper sanitation, gender equality can’t be ensured Improvement in public sanitation can help boost India’s GDP
According to the world-body’s recent research on India, improved access to sanitation facilities, by reducing the unpaid home and care burdens of women and by improving public safety of women, increases their labour force participation, leading to a positive impact on India’s real output and real per-capita incomes. “Specifically, an improvement in public sanitation provisions which reduces women’s time spent in home and care work by close to 10 per cent leads to a 1.5 per cent increase in female labour participation and a 1.4 per cent gain in real GDP,” IMF said. In addition, cross-country analysis shows that it also leads to higher female literacy rates. Indeed, a simple scatter plot analysis of the data suggests that states with higher sanitation coverage have greater female literacy and female labour force participation, the report said.
Quick Glance Jamait Ulama-i-Hind has said building toilets in every house is a must Muslim clerics in three states have said that no toilet means no nikah The states are Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab
Rajya Sabha MP, stated this during the inauguration of Assam Conference on Sanitation (ASCOSAN) 2017 conducted in Khanapara. “I feel that all religious leaders from all the religions throughout the country should decide that they will not conduct any rituals in houses where there are no toilets,” he said. Emphasising on cleanliness and sanitation, he asked people to use toilets and also to make not only Assam, but the country as a whole clean. “There are two types of cleaning - one is external and the other internal. Both are interconnected, we will only be able to achieve the internal cleaning if our body is clean,” he said.
TATA’S CANCER HOSPITAL IN RANCHI The project has been given the green signal recently
HE Tata Trust has agreed to open a cancer research centre-cumhospital in Jharkhand capital Ranchi, official sources said. Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata’s consent for the project comes after he and Chief Minister Raghubar Das discussed it during a Global Investors’ Summit here in February. After Das wrote to Ratan Tata, the Tata Trust sent a consent letter to the government on March 10.
12 State News
APRIL 02, 2017
STATE NEWS IN BRIEF
STATE NEWS IN BRIEF
ASSAM’S FIRST MODEL VILLAGE
Gandhigaon in Golaghat now has a recreational house, solar lighting for homes and streets as well as an RO filter plant RAJ KASHYAP
‘MAKE IN RAJASTHAN’ An allocation of Rs 535 crore has been passed by the state assembly
N sync with the countrywide ‘Make in India’ campaign, the Rajasthan Cooperatives Minister Ajay Singh Kilak has announced that the state government would now promote the ‘Make in Rajasthan’ concept. Answering to the debate on the Cooperatives Department in the state assembly, he said that appointment to more than 1,550 posts lying vacant in cooperative societies will be made soon. Following the debate, the House passed the grant of over Rs 535.51 crore with voice vote. The minister announced that women cooperative societies in dairies would be set up in state and the government will also start a pilot project in Jaipur.
TEXTILE PARK IN YAVATMAL The Park would ensure large scale employment for the youths
HE Maharashtra government has reserved 93 hectares of land in Lohara MIDC of the district for setting up a Textile Park, work on which will begin soon. A joint meeting of the concerned departments and the district administration was held at Mantralaya on March 16 to discuss the issue. The meeting was chaired by the minister of state for energy and district guardian minister of Yavatmal, Madan Yerawar. “The setting up of a Textile Park in Yavatmal MIDC area was pending for a long time due to unavailability of adequate land. The proposal was initiated by the then chief minister Prithviraj Chavan himself,” told Yerawar.
ENTRAL oil PSU Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) has completed its first Model Village project at Gandhigaon in Assam’s Golaghat district. To usher in direct grassroots intervention through CSR activities, the integrated development plan for village Gandhigaon near Khumtai was conceived, NRL Senior General Manager (HR) A K Bhattacharya said. To turn the backward village into a smart model one, he said work was done in three verticals -sanitation, drinking water and solar energy for home and street lighting. Construction of a community house with various recreational facilities was also done. For drinking water, a Reverse Osmosis (RO) plant was completed and commissioned in only eight
weeks, NRL DGM (CSR) Pankaj Kumar Barua said. Managed by the Village Development Committee, the villagers have to pay a token monthly fee to the VDC for its maintenance and self sustainability. Barua said 77 toilets were completed and handed over to the beneficiaries within five months, thereby solving problems of the women and reducing sanitation-related illness. The village was electrified by NRL but 10 houses could not be reached as the village was bisected by a railway line, he said. As a part of the initiative, ten Solar Home Systems have been installed in the homes of those without access to regular electricity supply. Two solar Street Lighting Systems have been installed and strategically located in the village. These works created an atmosphere of hope and positive thinking in the village, Bhattacharya added.
JHARKHAND REVAMPS EDUCATION SYSTEM
Online studies and bio-metric attendance systems for teachers have been planned PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
N efforts to shake up the state’s education system, the Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das recently announced a number of plans. Das said every school in the state will be provided tabs to keep up with the changing times during the fiscal 201718. Now teachers would not be asked to do any government work, Das said while addressing a ‘Bal Samagam’, where he released ‘Pankh’ (a children’s magazine) and inaugurated on-line computer education in 240 schools. According to an official release, Das also said gas connections for schools were
underlined in the budget. Efforts to fill up teachers’ posts have been made after 14 years, he said, adding that more than 18,000 teachers have been appointed and the recruitment process was on. The government would train teachers at national and international levels to provide quality education, said Das. The Chief Minister said bio-metric systems would be installed in schools to ensure teachers’ presence. Das said through meets like ‘Bal Samagam’,
GOVT LAUNCHES URBAN POOR HOMES
MP, Bihar, J’khand, K’taka, Kerala and Odisha will benefit
he Central government has recently approved the construction of over 1.10 lakh houses for urban poor in six states at a cost of Rs 5,773 crore under Prime Minister’s Aavas Yojana (Urban) scheme. Out of the total investment, the central assistance will be Rs 1,816 crore under the Prime Ministers Awas Yojana (Urban), an official release said. “The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation today approved construction of 1,17,814 affordable houses for the benefit of urban poor in six states,” it said. Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, Karnataka and Odishsa and Jharkhand will benefit from this.
talent was being unearthed from villages, blocks and districts and effort was on to change the face of government schools. “Earlier, girls used to drop out due to nonavailability of toilets, but now all schools have toilets,” the Chief Minister said, adding the attitudes of guardians have also changed in rural areas. Let girls study and the government would take care of their marriage, the release said quoting the Chief Minister. He said the government was planning to set up health camps in all government schools in April. School Education and Literacy Secretary Aradhana Patnaik, who was present on the occasion, said this was the third successful year of ‘Bal Samagam’ and the government’s aim was to unearth hidden talents of students.
APRIL 02, 2017
Quick Glance An agreement has been inked with EdCIL to make smart classes Rs 30 crore has been earmarked for the fiscal 2017-2018 Adhunik Shiksha Yojna will be implemented in phases in the state
EDUCATION SMART CLASSES
ARUNACHAL TO HAVE SMART CLASSES
‘K-Yan’ projectors with inbuilt study materials in animated forms for teaching will be used with Rs 30 crore budget SSB BUREAU
RUNACHAL PRADESH government has inked an understanding with Educational Consultants India Limited for introducing smart classes in the state. Officials said the agreement was signed with the Department of Education for starting smart classes in schools of Arunachal Pradesh from 2017-18 onwards. The agreement was signed among three parties, namely EdCIL, the Department of Education and
Department of IT. EdCIL is a PSU of the Government of India under the human resources ministry that offers Project Management and Consultancy services in the entire education and Human Resource Development value chain. Since 1981, EdCIL has been designing comprehensive and readyto-use solutions for educational institutions, PSUs and autonomous bodies, including IITs, IIMs, Kendriya Vidyalaya and Navodaya Vidyalaya to help them overcome their social, economic and cultural challenges. They use ‘K-Yan’ projector with
NEW DELHI ENVIRONMENT
The state’s Deputy CM, at an industry body meet, invited the private sector to join hands with it INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE
HE Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia has recently proposed a publicprivate-partnership model for combating rising pollution levels and addressing traffic and sanitation issues in the national capital.Addressing the CII Delhi State Annual Session, Sisodia said the previous governments appeared to have “failed” to address these issues and that there is a need of having partnership with industry to deal with such problems. He said the PPP model will also provide business opportunities to industry besides solution to the city’s
inbuilt study materials in animated forms for teaching and supplementing conventional classroom teachings. The scheme will be taken up under Chief Minister’s “Adhunik Shiksha Yojana”, for which Rs 30 crore has been earmarked for the financial year 2017-18. When implemented, technicians of EdCIL will visit all the district headquarters and impart training to teachers. During the first phase, the project is proposed to be implemented in all the 100 higher secondary schools and 182 secondary schools in the state. Further, the project will also be taken up in selected 153 middle schools and 202 primary schools, covering the entire state. The remaining middle schools and primary schools will be covered in a phase-wise manner during 2018-19 and 2019-20. The first phase of the project is proposed to be implemented from June 2017. In the second and third phases of the programme, schools located in interior areas will be covered and provided with solar battery backup facility.
various problems. Pollution is the biggest problem in Delhi. Although it is the responsibility of government to reduce it, industry also has an opportunity to take it forward. “Similarly, there are several
Delhi’s air quality is highly degraded and this needs urgent attention Manish Sisodia has admitted cleaning up is governmen’t job But he told industry leaders they can come on board in many ways
issues where industry can be roped in including development in unauthorised colonies, garbage, sanitation management and traffic. We can deal with these issues in a partnership with the industry,” the Deputy Chief Minister said. He said a solution to rising pollution, traffic woes, poor sanitation and garbage management cannot be found until the government works together with private players. He said, “with my two-year experience (in government), governments appears to have failed to work on these issues. Before coming to power, I was an activist and I have seen that we cannot find a solution to garbage, traffic, pollution.”
NEWS IN BRIEF
HELPLINE SOON FOR MEGHALAYA WOMEN Along with the helpline, a research on such crimes, training experts on DNA analysis are also on the cards
HE Meghalaya government will soon launch a helpline for women. The Director of Social Welfare has been entrusted with the job of installing the helpline soon, official said. Also, fast track courts have been revived for disposal of pending sexual harassment cases, while the forensic laboratory building would be inaugurated this year. Meghalaya government has already procured equipment for DNA analysis and forensic scientists have been sent for training outside the state in DNA sample collection and analysis. Elaborating about the steps taken to control the state’s crime
graph, Home Minister HDR Lyngdoh said three anti-human trafficking units have been set up in Shillong, Tura and Jowai with central funds. A proposal has been made to create antihuman trafficking units in all the 11 districts. He said allwoman police stations have been created in seven districts and the government is considering similar moves in the four new districts. “All district SPs have been requested to enquire about job placement agencies, number of persons whom jobs were provided, details of jobs provided and address of agencies,” he said. “A research study is being conducted by North Eastern Hill University on ‘Crimes against Women and Children: Socio Psychological Study’ to analyse the reasons of crimes committed against women and children and to study the present status of victimised women and children in selected case study from different districts of the state,” he said.
14 Science & Technology SPACE TWO TUNNELS
ISRO’S NEW FACILITIES
APRIL 02, 2017
GLAUCOMA TASK FORCE
Glaucoma, which damages the optic nerve, is the cause of 12 per cent blindness that occurs in our country
These will help minimise costs of the access to space SSB BUREAU
FTER numerous achievements these past few years ISRO has now commissioned two major facilities -- a Hypersonic Wind Tunnel and Shock Tunnel -- at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram. These facilities have been launched as part of ISRO’s continuous and concerted efforts to minimise cost of access to space. ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar said commissioning of such facilities would provide adequate data for design and development of current and future space transportation systems in the country. He said commissioning of the facility symbolises the country’s capability in establishing such world class facilities wherein technology from
HE health ministry, in hopes to counter and reduce the incidence of irreversible blindness caused due to glaucoma, has launched a national task force against it. “The aim is to train district opthalmologists across the country on early diagnosis
and appropriate management of glaucoma to prevent loss of vision. If detected and treated early on, blindness can be completely prevented,” said Dr Ramanjit Sihota, HOD of Glaucoma at AIIMS. Glaucoma is caused when the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged, and it is prevalent in the country and is the cause of 12 per cent of blindness seen in India, Dr Sihota explains. There is lack of awareness in district ophthalmologists, especially in rural areas and thus it is necessary that they are trained and made aware about the importance of early detection, she said. According to Chief of RP Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, AIIMS, 50 per cent of people in India do not know they have glaucoma as it is generally asymptomatic. Also regular eye
OLDEST FOSSIL FOUND
Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh, is now the centre of scientific curiosity with the oldest known fossil found there PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
outside is restricted or not available. These facilities, indigenously designed, developed and ‘Made in India’ with the support of Indian industries, are the third largest in terms of size and simulation capability in the world. A few critical technologies, which are under embargo, have been jointly developed by ISRO and industries for realisation of these facilities. VSSC Director Sivan in his presidential address said though excellent modeling capabilities exists with the advent of powerful computers, there was no other replacement for wind tunnel testing for aerodynamic characterisation. He said, “The new facility would help aerodynamic characterisation of advanced space transportation systems”. The facilities were dedicated in the memory of Satish Dhawan, a pioneer in the field and named as the Satish Dhawan Wind tunnel Complex. ISRO is also planning future missions such as Reusable Launch Vehicles, Two Stage to Orbit, Air Breathing propulsion systems and Human Space Flight Programme.
ONDON Scientists have discovered 1.6 billion-year-old fossils of red algae in central India, which may be the oldest evidence of plant-like life found on the Earth. The finding in Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh by researchers from the Swedish Museum of Natural History indicate that advanced multicellular life evolved much earlier than previously thought. The earlier traces of life on earth are at least 3.5 billion years old. These singlecelled organisms, unlike eukaryotes, lack nuclei and other organelles. Large multicellular eukaryotic organisms became common much later, about 600 million years ago, near the transition to the Phanerozoic Era, the “time of visible
Quick Glance Scientists from London have found these red algae The fossils have been found in Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh These are 3.5 billion years old, but the previous ones came much later
life.” Discoveries of early multicellular eukaryotes have been sporadic and difficult to interpret, challenging scientists trying to reconstruct and date the tree of life. The oldest known red algae before the present discovery are 1.2 billion years old. The Indian fossils, 400 million years older and by far the oldest plant-like fossils ever found, suggest that the early branches of the tree of life need to be recalibrated. The scientists found two kinds of fossils resembling red algae in uniquely well-preserved sedimentary rocks at Chitrakoot. One type is thread-like, the other one consists of fleshy colonies.
Quick Glance If detected at an early stage, glaucoma can be cured District opthalmologists are not wuite aware, especially in rural areas AIIMS, PGI, RML and Shroff’s Hospital specialists form the team
practise is not prevalent in India. “It is a progressive eye disease which may lead to irreversible blindness, usually without warning, until it reaches an advanced stage. It is more prevalent among people over the age of 40,” Dr Sihota said. The national task force comprises of four members - Dr Sihota, HOD of Glaucoma at Dr R P Centre, AIIMS, Dr Sushmita Kaushik from PGI, Chandigarh, Dr M D Singh from RML Hospital and Dr Suneeta Dubey of Dr Shroff’s Charitable Eye Hospital. The doctors stressed that people who are over 40 years, have a family history of glaucoma, are using steroids or are diabetic and hypertensive should go for a yearly eye check-up when they go to change their glasses. According to the World Health Organisation, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. The scientists were able to see distinct inner cell structures and so-called cell fountains, the bundles of packed and splaying filaments that form the body of the fleshy forms and are characteristic of red algae. “You cannot be hundred per cent sure about material this ancient, as there is no DNA remaining, but the characters agree quite well with the morphology and structure of red algae,” said Stefan Bengtson, Professor at the Swedish Museum of Natural History. “The time of visible life seems to have begun much earlier than we thought,” said Bengtson. The presumed red algae lie embedded in fossil mats of cyanobacteria, called stromatolites, in 1.6 billionyear-old Indian phosphorite. The thread-like forms were discovered first, and when researchers investigated the stromatolites, they found the more complex, fleshy structures. The research group was able to look inside the algae with the help of synchrotron-based X-ray tomographic microscopy. Among other things, they have seen regularly recurring platelets in each cell, which they believe are parts of chloroplasts, the organelles within plant cells where photosynthesis takes place. They have also seen distinct and regular structures at the centre of each cell wall, typical of red algae. The research was published in the journal PLOS Biology.
APRIL 02, 2017
Science & Technology
ENERGY WASTE RECYCLING
WASTE TO POWER
A CLEAN BOWL OF RICE Arsenic has become a scourge in many eastern states, seeping into the food cycle from contaminated groundwater
RSENIC is an element widely distributed in the earth’s crust, and in groundwater in many countries. Long-term intake of arsenic contaminated water leads to arsenic poisoning or arsenicosis, with cancer of skin, bladder, kidney or lung or diseases of skin (colour changes, and hard patches on palms and soles), or blood vessels of legs and feet. Fresh evidence indicates possible association between intake of contaminated water to onset of diabetes, hypertension and reproductive disorders. Arsenic contamination of groundwater is a form of groundwater pollution which is often due to naturally occurring high concentrations of arsenic in deeper levels of groundwater. It is a high-profile problem due to the use of deep tubewells for water supply in the Ganges Delta, causing serious arsenic poisoning to large numbers of people. MILLIONS AFFECTED A 2007 study found that over 137 million people in more than 70 countries are probably affected by arsenic poisoning of drinking water. Arsenic contamination of ground water is found in many countries throughout the world, including the USA. In India, the states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Chhattisgarh are reported to be most affected by arsenic contamination of groundwater above the permissible level. World Health Organization’s (WHO) provisional guideline value for arsenic in drinking water is - 0.01 mg/l (10 μg/l) (Source: Guidelines for drinking water quality, 4th edition, WHO, 2011). Permissible limit of arsenic in India in absence of an alternative source is- 0.05 mg/l (50 μg/l). (Source: Indian Standards for Drinking Water, second revision of IS 10500, 2004).Less is better. That much is clear about arsenic, the naturally occurring metal in soil and rock that sneaks into well water and infiltrates food crops. High levels in drinking water are linked to multiple cancers, lung and cardiovascular disease, and
Quick Glance Arsenic is found in nature at deep subsoil levels in many countries Arsenic tends to contaminate groundwater and creates problems It finds its way into the food cycle and damages people’s health
neurodevelopmental delays in children. But it’s not so clear exactly what levels are acceptable in food, and how best to limit our exposure. And concern is growing—particularly when it comes to rice, which is known to accumulate arsenic more readily than many other plants.
THE CHEAT CHEMICAL Arsenic gets into plants through a “case of mistaken identity”. It offers no benefit to a plant, but enters its roots thanks to mechanisms meant to bring in nutrients such as silicon. Several labs are working to describe the mechanisms of these cellular transporters, and eventually to render them more selective. That could happen through genetic engineering with a system such as “Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats” (CRISPR), which is a segment of prokaryotic DNA containing short, repetitive base sequences. But it might also be possible through traditional breeding of plant varieties with a natural tendency to keep arsenic out.
DR RAHUL KUMAR MISHRA
Salt and others are now testing the arsenic uptake in hundreds of rice varieties to identify relevant regions of their genome. In parts of Asia, dangerous arsenic levels can arise when rice and other crops are irrigated with well water drawn from deep within arsenic-rich rock. And growing rice in flooded fields has been shown to increase its levels in the grain 10fold by converting arsenic to a form that the roots take up more readily. Some researchers are exploring the effect of water-conserving strategies that allow fields to dry partially before reflooding. But plant biologist Mary Lou Guerinot of Dartmouth College, notes that those strategies will have to balance arsenic risk against another risk—higher uptake of the toxin cadmium in unflooded fields. US SCENARIO For US policymakers, even the scale of the arsenic problem is hard to estimate, explained panelist Keeve Nachman, an environmental health scientist with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. Since 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration has proposed limits on allowable arsenic levels in apple juice and infant rice cereal. But there’s still heated debate about what levels of exposure actually increase risk of cancer or other illnesses. Nachman, who is part of a two-year effort known as the Collaborative on Food with Arsenic and Associated Risk and Regulation, aims to inventory the foods that can contain arsenic and prioritise those that may contribute most to our overall intake. Pressure on regulators and farmers to keep levels low will likely come from consumers, he says. “They’re the ones that drive change in the first place.” (The author cracked IIT-JEE and secured a position in the merit list. He did his PhD in Chemistry from Israel and now he is pursuing research in antibacterial agents and industrially important chemicals)
A solid step has been taken in solid waste management, turning waste into energy in a proposed new plant in Delhi
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
IDDING for the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ under the Delhi’s out of control waste, the Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the country’s largest waste-to-power plant in Delhi. The Urban Development Minister Naidu, inaugurating the 24 MW plant at Narela-Bawana said, solid waste management was one of the challenges in the country. An effective scientific solid waste management system will help us face one of the biggest challenges the country is facing.The plant would not only dispose of 1,300 MT waste on a daily basis but also produce compost and energy, he said. “This plant can be taken as an example by other corporations to emulate the model,” Naidu said. The project, built at a cost of Rs 650 crore and spread across around 100 acres at Narela-Bawana, will use 2,000 metric tonnes of solid waste every day to generate 24 MW of energy. Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan, who was also present on the occasion, said tonnes of sewer and solid waste everyday is generated in the country and its disposal was a challenge. “Narela-Bawana Plant is a right step in facing the challenge,” said Harsh Vardhan. Power generated would be sold to distribution companies for a price fixed by electricity regulator.
APRIL 02, 2017
begin thinking “Welikemust a river if we are to
leave a legacy of beauty and life for future generations” David Brower Environmentalist
SHARAD GUPTA A journalist with 30 years experience of working with various publications
NHP COULD BE OUR PANACEA The National Health Policy approved by the Union Cabinet last week envisages a much improved healthcare in a time-bound fashion metros like Delhi and Mumbai, shows that they have been overflowing with patients. There is more than one patient per bed – sometimes even three patients per bed. That forces them to either share the bed or lie on the floor in inhuman conditions. But looking at the contents of the new policy, it appears to be the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. It has taken a long-term view of problems. For example, it talks of increasing the allocation for health sector from present 1.4 per cent to 2.5 per cent of the GDP by 2025.
THE CASHLESS DRIVE
A LAUDABLE STEP Lowering cash transaction limit is another step towards cashless India
N yet another of the series of steps taken to reduce corruption in public life, the Government has lowered the maximum limit for cash transactions from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 2 lakh. For any violation, the Government has decided to levy a 100 per cent penalty – that means the total payment to be made would be twice the amount involved. This amount would be charged by the income tax department. Suitable changes have already been made in the Finace Bill passed by the Parliament last week. It is a historic move aimed at curbing corruption. The Government wants all payments to be made either through cheque or through bank transfers. These are the instruments where transactions can be tracked easily and the payee will be held accountable in case of non-payment of taxes. Most of the cash transfers, on the other hand, can’t be traced and it is very easy for people to evade taxes thereby causing loss to the state exchequer. This is a laudable step in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s long drawn campaign to have a cashless India. He apparently wants to bring an end to all cash transactions and subsequently abolish income tax, replacing it with bank transaction tax.
KUMAR DILIP Edited, Printed and Published by: Monika Jain on behalf of Sulabh Sanitation Mission Foundation, owned by Sulabh Sanitation Mission Foundation Printed at: The Indian Express Limited A - 8, Sector -7, NOIDA (UP) Published at: RZ - 83, Mahavir Enclave, Palam - Dabri Road, New Delhi - 110045 (India) Corporate Office: 819, Wave Silver Tower, Sector - 18, NOIDA (UP) Phone: +91-120-6500425 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
HE public health care system in India is sluggish and inefficient. A large number of government hospitals don’t have doctors and those which do have, lack medicines. Funding of the National Health Mission that governs public hospitals is aimed at catering to the poorest of the poor, but remains stagnated at 1.2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or Rs 19,000 crore for a long time. In such a scenario, the National Health Policy approved by the Union Cabinet last week has come as a ray of hope. The policy has been deferred earlier, but as they say, it’s better late than never. The last health policy was formulated in 2002 – a good 15 years ago. The Union Government as also various state governments have been bringing various schemes to provide succor to the poor. Yet, our health infrastructure remains as weak as ever. LAST HEARD… The previous government had projected Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) as a panacea for all problems, as it was a cashless health insurance scheme for 30 crore people living below poverty line, that too, at a token sum of Rs 30 per annum. The poor could avail modern treatment for a host of ailments at the best of hospitals in the country. Yet, even that scheme failed to take off. The basic issue remains lack of hospitals, lack of beds, lack of medicines and lack of medical and paramedical staff. A cursory look at major government hospitals in
CRUSHING EXPENSES Expensive healthcare is an issue with not only poor but even the middleclass is hit by the burgeoning costs. According to a World Health Organization study, India has high out-of-pocket expenditure on medical care, where 89.2% of the expenses of medical treatment are borne by the patients. That means the government bears only 11.8 per cent cost of the medical care of its people in India. According to the National Health Policy (NHP), about 63 million people have turned towards penury so far because of such high out-ofpocket expenses. In accordance with what has now become a standard practice of the Modi Government, this policy was not formulated just by a bunch of bureaucrats to be thrust upon the people. It was actually formed by a process of consultation which lasted over two years during which a committee of experts considered more than 5,000 suggestions from the public and medical community before being endorsed by the government. This government has been making most of its policies whether for education or for aviation sector through consultations with experts and feedback from public. Aiming to provide healthcare in an “assured manner” to all, the policy will strive to address current and emerging challenges arising from the ever-changing socio-economic paradigm.
The National Health
Policy proposed by the Modi Government is a step in the right direction at a very appropriate time
HISTORIC MOMENT Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself put it succinctly it saying The National Health policy has marked a historic moment in our endeavour to create a healthy India where everyone has access to quality healthcare.” The policy has proposed distribution of free drugs,
APRIL 02, 2017
The policy aims to
allocate major resources to primary health care & availability of two beds per 1,000 population and availability of free diagnostics, free emergency and essential health care services in all government hospitals to all and sundry. The new policy has put a major thrust on integration of AYUSH systems. The policy also proposed to have an effective grievance redressal system. The policy aims to allocate major proportion of resources to primary care and intends to ensure availability of two beds per 1,000 population distributed in a manner to enable access within the golden hour - the first hour after traumatic injury, when the victim is most likely to benefit from emergency treatment. The policy has set targets that mortality rate for children below the age of five should be brought down to 23 and that neonatal mortality rate should be brought down to 16 (meaning 16 deaths per 1,000 live births), both to be achieved by 2025. These rates would still be more than twice of what Sri Lanka has already achieved – 9.8 for mortality of children under five years and 5.4 for neonatal mortality. Clearly, the National Health Policy’s targets are a decade or more behind what our South Asian neighbours have already achieved DATA BANK World Bank data shows that India is only ahead of Pakistan and Bangladesh in health expenditure and countries like China and Sri Lanka are way ahead of it in facilitating health care to the citizens. As per the report, India spends a meagre 1.4% of its GDP, which is a few steps ahead of Pakistan and Bangladesh, the neighbouring nations that spend 0.9% and 0.8% of their GDPs respectively on the health sector. At a time when the United States of America is debating abolishing Obamacare and Britain has plans to revamp their National Health System (NHS), the National Health Policy proposed by the Modi Government is a step in the right direction at a very appropriate time. This step will not only provide much needed relief to the poor in far-flung areas where they need to trudge daily several miles to fetch drinking water, but also in urban centres where more than half of the population has been living in slums in inhabitable circumstances. The old saying was a human being’s basic necessities are roti, kapada aur makan (food, clothes and housing). Now we need to add proper health care, clean drinking water and sanitation to the list. The way Modi government has been working, it seems such issues would be resolved to a large extent sooner than later.
The author is the Managing Editor of Parliamentarian and has been writing on socially burning issues as well as culture matters for over two decades
The aim of the government is to provide tap water on a sustained basis in every household by 2030, as per the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
N World Water Day let’s pledge to save every drop of water. When Jan Shakti has made up their mind, we can successfully preserve Jal Shakti.” The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has urged people to take the pledge to save every drop of water. He stated that, “This year, the UN has chosen a valid theme - wastewater. It will help further awareness on water recycling and why it is essential for our planet.” According to a UN report approximately 600 million children will live in areas with extremely limited water resources by 2040, and by 2050, close to 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities, compared to 50 per cent today. At present, most cities in the developing countries do not have adequate infrastructure and resources to address wastewater management in an efficient and sustainable way. So the stress on safe drinking water availability is extremely high in almost 36 countries including African and Asian countries. Water scarcity is a point of issue in our country too. Almost 63 million people in rural areas are living harat.com sulabhswachhb Press/ 2016
100 YEARS OF CHAMPARAN
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ARAN ESSENCE OF CHAMP of his experiments Gandhi launched many health and in Champaran, including sanitation as well as education
and keeping By remaining peaceful proved that the media in check, he undone be the indigo insult could
attention to the importance of small places like Champaran which made a big contribution. Hoping to know more about the movement. Yogesh Yadav, Ghazipur
MA FROM MK TO MAHAT Champaran The epic struggle to free farming indigo farmers from forced Mahatma brought him the title
ARAN GANDHIJI’S CHAMPthe dreams Sulabh India is fulfilling toilets and of Gandhiji in installing rs freeing human scavenge
LENCE POWER OF NON-VIOnon-violence over In the heated debate but proved it he was opposed by many weak is not a weapon for the
ery of is revisiting the discov on its centenary aran Satyagraha s drawn from them Recalling Champ s of protest and lesson non-violent method
without access to clean water. This is almost the population of the United Kingdom. Last year, 11 states suffered this problem and global warming has exacerbated the situation. In rural areas, people are facing acute problem of safe drinking water due to contamination of groundwater with arsenic and fluoride. According to Ground Water Resources Assessment, more than one-sixth of the country’s groundwater supply is currently overused. To tackle the challenge of drinking water, the Centre has launched National Water Quality Sub Mission on Arsenic and Fluoride to provide safe drinking water to about 28,000
affected habitations in the country by March 2021 with an outlay of Rs 25,000 crore. Inaugurating the mission in collaboration with the states, the Union Minister for Rural Development, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Narendra Singh Tomar said that while West Bengal is badly affected by the problem of arsenic, Rajasthan suffers from presence of fluoride in drinking water posing serious health hazards. Tomar has said that 77 per cent rural households have been provided with safe drinking water of more than 40 liters per person per day and about 4 percent of the habitations are suffering from problems of water quality. The aim of the government is to provide tap water on a sustained basis in every household by 2030, as per the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, for which Rs 23,000 crore of central fund will be required annually till the target is achieved. About 2,000 blocks in the country with an acute shortage of surface and groundwater sources, and called for conservation of water on war footing through convergence of schemes like MGNREGA.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
100 Years of aha Champaran Satyagr 02
PRESERVATION OF JAL SHAKTI
Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45)
GANDHI’S SHADOW had many top
In Champaran Gandhi Braj Kishore associates, but it was leave his side Babu who he never let
LIVING IN THOSE TIMES Reading the article ‘Significance of the Champaran Movement’ by Arvind Mohan was like living in those times. It was presented in a way that made me feel like reading more about it. In modern India, the youth need to be informed that the freedom they we are enjoying is the biggest gift presented by Bapu. The way the article was presented attracted our
QUESTIONS ANSWERED The youth are taught that we used to grow indigo for the East India Company but what happened afterwards was always a question that was not very clear. After reading the article ‘Indigo Insult’, a lot of questions were answered. It was a very knowledgeable and informative piece about Raj Kumar Shukla and his thoughts about indigo plantation. Manish Tiwari, Sonipat WELL ARTICULATED Reading the article ‘Power of NonViolence‘, I came to the conclusion that the method used by Bapu discussed in the article ‘Non Violent
and Non Co-operation Movement’ was much better than any form of violence. Bapu showed us the better alternative of showing disagreement. The idea was a great success in the past and sets an example for the future. Rajiv Ranjan Giri has presented his thoughts in a very articulate manner. Raman Ahuja, Patiala GOOD READ The article ‘The Kripalani Friendship’ was a fact I never knew about. I always believed him to jbe ust a comrade of Bapu. After reading the article I came to know the truth that they were good friends indeed. The letter between both of them was great to read and even during the Champaran movement the friendship carried on. The article also gives a brief info about the events taking place during that time. Aman Bhala, Paharganj
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18 Photo Feature
APRIL 02, 2017
Rashtrapati Bhawan is one of the most expansive and magnificient buildings in the country today. But it is not accessible for common people. Exquisite Mughal Garden however, is opened to public for a few days in the winters. A peek into its majestic grandeur
Photos: SIPRA DAS 1
1. A panoramic view of the Mughal Garden in its full bloom 2. President Pranab Mukherjee taking stroll in the majestic garden 188.8.131.52.7.8. The garden has varieties of winter flowers like Calendula, Antirrhinum, Alyssum, Dimorphotheca, Eschscholzia, Larkspur, Gaznia, Gerbera, Godetia, Linaria, Mesembryanthemum, Portulaca, Brachycome, Metucharia, Verbena, Viola, Pansy, Stock, Dahlia, Aster, Carnation, Chrysamthemum, Clarkia, Statice, Lupin, Marigold, Nicotinia, Nemesia, Bells of Ireland, Poppy, Stock, Salvia, Cosmos, Linum, Sweet Sultan, Sweet Pea, Cineraria, Sweet William etc. 8
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9. Water in earthen pots to satiate thirsty birds 10. The President cherishes the multicoloured floral design of India 11. The gurgling fountain enhances the beauty of the garden 12. President Mukherjee clicked in a pensive mood 13. Press photographers vying for the right click 14. The President with his entourage surveying the orchids 15. Plants like Moulsri, Putranjiva Roxburgi, Cypress, Thuja Orientalis and China Orange trees give it an evergreen texture 16. Bidding goodbye to visitors
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NGT HOLDS GLOBAL GREEN MEET
NGT chief said that since environment is a global issue, different juridical systems need to come on one page
INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE
HE National Green Tribunal (NGT) recently held a twoday world conference at the capital New Delhi, in order to explore the possible solutions to myriad environmental issues. The conference was held under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Program in collaboration with Ministry
ENERGY NATURAL GAS
of Environment, Forests and Climate Change as well as the Ministry of Water Resources. President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the conference, presided over by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave were present, along with many other luminaries. Foreign delegates from over 80 countries, chief justices from Indian
The NGT has been working not just as a tribunal but holistically It organised a global meet of judges to see what are the alternatives The meet tried to assess the green laws of participating countries
high courts, judges, environmentalists, lawyers, academicians and others also participated in the event at Vigyan Bhavan. The NGT chief Justice Swatanter Kumar said there were 10 technical sessions by foreign judges, judges from the Supreme Court, high courts and experts from different fields. He further added, “People on international level were very interested to know about the role of NGT. The objective of this conference is to bring on one platform the various legal systems of the world to find resolution to the issues of environment.” “Environment is not geographically limited. What will happen in Atlantic is going to affect other parts as well. We want all jurisdictions to come together and deliberate on serious environmental issues,” Justice Kumar said. The former apex court judge said the green panel has achieved global recognition for its progressive approach on environmental issues, rather than merely as a tribunal adjudicating disputes.
CGD activities. GAIL officials also launched four mobile vans to spread awareness on how natural gas will transform the lives of people as it will be supplied directly to domestic kitchens and used in vehicles and for industrial sector as well. The economic, social Natural gas is much more environmentally sound and and environmental benefits of natural Bhuvaneshwar and Cuttack will benefit from this gas will be highlighted through these mobile vans. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA The 2,619 km JHBDPL Petroleum Minister project is being executed at Dharmendra Pradhan Rs 1,750 crore City Gas an investment of Rs 12,940 Distribution (CGD) project crore. It will pass through is set to be launched in five states of Uttar Pradesh, Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack, that will Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha also bring environment friendly natural and West Bengal, covering gas to state of Odisha. 49 districts. Natural Gas Natural gas will be supplied to these will be supplied to Fertilizer cities through the Jagdishpur Haldia & Sector, Power Sector, Bokaro Dhamra Natural Gas Pipeline Refineries, Steel, CGD and ( JHBDPL), titled ‘Pradhan Mantri other sectors through this Urja Ganga’, GAIL Director (Projects) pipeline, they said. Ashutosh Karnatak and GAIL Gas With assured Gas Limited CEO PK Pal have announced. supply, Fertilizer Plants at Households and small industries in Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), the two cities can avail Piped Natural by the Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Barauni (Bihar) and Sindri Gas (PNG), while vehicles can use Pradhan, who will also inaugurate the ( Jharkhand) have been approved Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) once city office of GAIL (India) Limited for revival. This pipeline will also the CGD network becomes operational, which is implementing JHBDPL as meet the gas requirements of Matix they said. well as the CGD networks. GAIL Gas Fertilizer Plant at Durgapur (West The CGD project would be launched is a subsidiary of GAIL engaged in Bengal).
ODISHA TO GET ECO-FRIENDLY GAS
HIMCHALI ROOFS TO TRAP SUN POWER The state produces 25 % of the entire hydel power of India
he Himachal government feels it will be a profitable venture to tap rooftop solar energy. Officials say the remote district of LahaulSpiti also has enormous potential for generation of solar power and the state will soon take the lead in generating it. The state electricity board and the Himachal Pradesh Energy Development Authority (HIMURJA) have been asked to promote solar energy. At the inaugural session of a workshop it was found that hydel power is the backbone of energy in hilly states and it has now decided that Himachal Pradesh will now tap the other vital renewable energy source: solar, especially in Lahaul-Spiti.
Quick Glance A Rs 1,750 crore City Gas Distribution will be set up This will distribute natural gas in Bhuvaneshwar and Cuttack The CGD will distribute natural gas which is much less polluting
Besides Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, GAIL has been entrusted with developing CGD network enroute the pipeline in Varanasi, Patna, Jamshedpur, Kolkata and Ranchi. In Odisha, the pipeline will be constructed at an estimated investment of Rs 4,000 crore and have a length of about 762 km covering 13 districts, GAIL officials said. Bhubaneshwar CGD project will benefit around 25 lakh people in Khordha district and around 2.5 lakh households will be supplied with piped domestic natural gas. Moreover, 24 CNG stations will be commissioned in the first three to five years to supply CNG fuel to around 1 lakh vehicles. Similarly, in Cuttack around 26 lakh people will be benefited by this project while 2.5 lakh households will get PNG connections, they said.
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BIOFUEL MIX CUTS FLIGHT POLLUTION A recent study by NASA showed that mixing conventional and biofuel half-and-half, emissions were down by up to 70 % PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
engine exhaust mixing with the cold air that is typical at cruise altitudes several miles above Earth’s surface, and are composed primarily of water in the form of ice crystals. The tests involved flying NASA’s workhorse DC-8 as high as 40,000 feet while its four engines burned a 50-50 blend of aviation fuel and a renewable alternative fuel of hydro processed esters and fatty acids produced from camelina oil. A trio of research aircrafts took turns
IIT-KGP’s GREEN PROJECTS Students have been told to make study projects that have minimal carbon footprint, from conception to commission
Aviation fuel is one of the biggest carbon footprint culprit
The flight of the plane was carefully tracked by three other planes
ENGINEERING GREEN DESIGN
N an effort to make aware of environmental responsibilities, aspiring entrepreneurs at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur have been asked to go green with their innovations. The students have been asked to design their innovation in such a way
Quick Glance A mix of conventional and biofuels have been tried by NASA
AVIATION FUEL COMBO
CCORDING to a recent study by the US space agency NASA, substituting the currently in use fuels for powering the jet engines with biofuels can cut the particle emissions in their exhaust by as much as 50 to 70 per cent. “We show that, compared to using conventional fuels, biofuel blending reduces particle number and mass emissions immediately behind the aircraft by 50 to 70 per cent,” researchers said in the study published in the journal ‘Nature’. During flight tests in 2013 and 2014 near NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, data was collected on the effects of alternative fuels on engine performance, emissions and aircraft-generated contrails at altitudes flown by commercial airliners. Contrails are produced by hot aircraft
that it goes green right from the stage of sourcing for material to delivering finished products and services to end users, a statement said. “In the Indian context, our students have to focus on three areas while designing new technology: usage of renewable energy, going for environment friendly materials and ensuring the whole process has
flying behind the DC-8 at distances ranging from 300 feet to more than 20 miles to take measurements on emissions and study contrail formation as the different fuels were burned. “This was the first time we have quantified the amount of soot particles emitted by jet engines while burning a 50-50 blend of biofuel in flight,” said study lead author Rich Moore of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. “Our observations quantify the impact of biofuel blending on aerosol emissions at cruise conditions and provide key microphysical parameters, which will be useful to assess the potential of biofuel use in aviation as a viable strategy to mitigate climate change,” the study said.
KIDS ENVIRONMENT AWARENESS RALLY The theme rally was environment awareness on water conservation, air and water pollution, and recycling
PREADING the word of saving environment, around 5,000 school students took part in an environment awareness rally on Rajpath. The rally was held under the Swachh Paryavaran Campaign initiated by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and was attended by Union Minister of Environment, Forest, Climate Control Anil Madhav Dave and Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel, according to a release. The theme of the rally was environment awareness with the underlying sub-themes of water conservation, prevention of air and
Quick Glance IIT Kharagpur has asked its students to think green in their projects The insistence is on building in green concepts in total design Students have been asked to develop a zero-carbon ambulence
minimum or no carbon footprint,” said Bhaskar Bhowmick of Rajendra Mishra School of Engineering Entrepreneurship, IIT Kharagpur. “Our overall objective is to develop a perspective on the role of Green Entrepreneurship in transforming current production and consumption systems for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) especially developing responsible consumption and production habit among our innovators,” Bhowmick added. The fact remains that green thinking is a comparitively new area of industrial planning. The present crop of engineering students have read about environment but have not imbibed it into a central concern for developing innovative projects And in order to ensure that the students start thinking green, they were asked to design a green ambulance ensuring minimum carbon footprint.
water pollution, encouragement of afforestation and recycling. Another significant issue that was highlighted in the drive was the need for protecting endangered animal species due to environment degradation, depleting forests and water sources. Colourful tableaux (jhaankis) with students dressed in traditional costumes, along with dancers, and informative displays were showcased at the rally, the release said. “The students marched holding placards, banners. Some of them also had their face painted on environmental themes to convey the message of protecting the environment and responsible use of our precious natural resources. Cyclists, school bands and choir teams also added to the gaiety and carnival-like atmosphere,” it said. Fortis Healthcare Ltd. also participated in the campaign by providing medical support with two ambulances and doctors for the duration of the rally.
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CHINA TRAFFIC SNARLS
TRAFFIC CONGESTION: CHINESE SOLUTIONS
Since before the Beijing Olympics, China has been using information technology extensively for its traffic management system been widened, so that a larger number of buses can be deployed and successfully run. It is pertinent to mention here that there has been a considerable rise in the lifestyle of residents. Earlier, most Chinese used to ride bicycles, but now most of them use cars or motorcycles. The result has been that the city roads are choked with cars, more than half of which are privately owned.
HE efforts to clean up the traffic mess all over the world is not something that has been started now, but is as old as the 19th century. The search for alternative to road transportation for local commuting started picking up pace in the 20th century. And it is a fact that particularly in the cities of southeast Asia, all the efforts made so far to smoothen the traffic snarl-ups has come to naught. For India and China, especially, this has remained a massive challenge. It is reported that over the past three decades, the length of roads in these two countries has increased to the extent that it is perhaps more than that of all other countries put together. BUS POPULARITY In the context or road transportation, there is no gainsaying the popularity of buses as the medium of mass transport. If the bus system stops, entire cities collapse. While we wait at bus stops for a bus, it seems we are spending too much time doing nothing. This is because we most often do not know when the bus will arrive. This is why the number of buses are being increased in countries across the world. But in the Chinese capital of Beijing, some special measures have been taken to tackle the bus problem. This unique bus transportation system has been
working successfully for more than a decade now. Initially the system was tried on some select routes, but now it has covered the entire megapolis. In this system, an electronic display board informs commuters of the arrival time of the next bus. This has become useful for the commuters. Knowing the time of arrival of the next bus, commuters need not waste time at the bus station. This had been started in India too some time ago, but has not been implemented properly. Most of the bus stations in Beijing have these display boards, which function properly. Apart from giving the information on buses, the boards also display other information, government decisions, important news and weather predictions. So the commuters can get a lot of information sitting at the bus station itself, which they find very useful. TECH BENEFITS Part of the wonders of this system is that even visually challenged persons can access all the information. This is an instrument that these persons can wear in their hands and this allows them to access all the relevant
Snapshots China has the largest population in the world and its problems naturally are huge Improved lifestyle has seen more cars in Chinese cities, causing huge traffic congestions China is using high technology for traffic management and improved commuter facilities
information. In the eventuality of any emergency, these persons can send messages asking for help using the same machine. In this circuit, people can access the internet, watch television and commuters can themselves renew their bus passes. The integration of all the buses into the system was completed in 2008, before the Beijing Olympic. Even in Shanghai, the second largest city in the country, this bus transportation system is operational. After the completion of a decade of the system, major improvements have also been made. The city roads have
Public transport is being accorded topmost priority on Chinese roads
BURSTING AT THE SEAMS There has been a commensurate increase in the number of roads. Over the past decade, the government has spent 500 billion yuan in improving roads and extending them to more than 50,000 kilometres. Of this length, 10 per cent are expressways. The average annual increase in road construction in China is three per cent, whereas the annual increase in the number of private vehicles is 15 per cent. This has increased the stress on roads. The transportation management in China is weak, and a large number of traffic signals remain on the blink. This poses the threat of a collapse of road transport. To resolve this crisis, the Chinese government decided to implement the ITS system. According to a senior official of the Chinese government, this was part of their policy. â€œWe are implementing Information Technology System to maximize road usage, and at the same time, cut down on both traffic jams and air pollution. The ITS system means the usage of information technology in traffic management, including use of computers and electronics in traffic control. This idea had come to China some 20 years ago from some of the developed countries. Then Chinaâ€™s Transport Ministry and Science and Technology Ministry had developed a core team for setting up and running the ITS management system. The team would be responsible for implementing it across the country. China has the largest population in the country, and the number of cars in 15 of its cities has vastly increased. Some cities also have cycles and motorcycles in large numbers. Resultantly, cycles, cars and motorcycles use the same road all the time. Naturally, the traffic problem in Chinese cities is far more intractable than in other cities of the world.
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Despite all the
technological improvements, China now needs to open up to international cooperation UNIQUE SYSTEMS One member of the automated traffic control system says: “We have developed this according to our specific needs. Because China’s history, society and culture is so different from those of other countries, that is why our management systems are also vastly different. That is why our automated transport management system works in a different way. In recent years, the government at different levels have taken steps to further develop the Chinese automated system. And they supported more than a hundred researches on traffic management and environmental protection. Major changes have been made after studying these researches. CCTV cameras have been set up at all major junctions, so that the police can stay abreast of traffic conditions at all times. This allows them also to bring in evidence when investigating street accidents. On both sides of the roads, there are electronic boards, which gives information to drivers on the conditions ahead. Apart from this, traffic radio also streams information all the time. The police can reach any spot of problem within two minutes. OPEN DOOR Public transport is given the highest priority on Chinese roads. For the facilities of commuters, technology has been widely used. In Shanchen city, the electronic boards at bus stations give the details of arrivals according to bus numbers. In big cities like Guangzhou, commuters purchase bus tickets from electronic vends using IC cards. And use of the GPS has become very common in buses in Beijing and Shanghai. But despite all these, officials feel that given the needs of the country, the technology is still not adequate. China now needs to stress on international cooperation in this regard. An official of the technology department says that to improve transport management, the country needs to keep our doors open for international cooperation. And now that China is a member of the World Trade Organisation, this is the opportune moment for the government to gain out of this.
US HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
INDIAN-AMERICAN TO HEAD HEALTHCARE Seema Verma will be running the USD 1 trillion healthcare agency of President Trump SSB BUREAU
EEMA VERMA, an IndianAmerican has been selected to head a key healthcare agency in the Trump administration. Verma has been sworn in as the head of the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services. She would be heading the USD 1 trillion federal agency that provides health services to 130 million Americans. “President Trump has chosen one of the leading experts in America on state-based healthcare solutions to lead this important agency,” said US Vice President Mike Pence at the White House swearing-in ceremony. Noting Verma’s extraordinary record, Pence said that after graduating from Johns Hopkins University with a master’s degree in public health, she went to work in Indiana for the Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County. In recent years, she had played a key role in healthcare reforms in Indiana, where Pence was the Governor, and few other states such as -- Iowa, Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan. “Seema, President Trump has now asked you to bring your expertise to Washington, DC. As Administrator of the Centers for
Quick Glance She is an Indian American and has an excellent track record Trump has chosen her to head Centres of Medicare and Medicaid She has a budget allocation of one trillion USD for US healthcare
Medicare & Medicaid Services, we’re confident that you’ll help restore health care decision-making to the states, and in the process, help make the best health care system in the world even better,” Pence said.However, Verma is only the second Indian-American to be inducted
into the Trump administration. The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley was the first cabinet rank official from the community to serve in any presidential administration. Verma was elevated to the top federal position after her successful career in private health sector, spanning two decades. As a result of her efforts, Pence said today Indiana’s program is leading the nation with its emphasis on personal responsibility and effective care for people who need it most. “I’m grateful and appreciative of President Trump not only for asking me to be the administrator but for putting together an incredibly talented group of individuals that he’s brought from the private sector into government service, people like Dr Tom Price. “And I am proud to be a part of this team,” Verma said. She said that today the country’s healthcare stands at a crossroad and they have no choice but to fix it. “Under President Trump’s leadership and vision, we finally have an incredible opportunity to move our healthcare system into one that puts Americans in charge of their healthcare and will ensure that all Americans have access to quality healthcare which they can afford,” she added.
JAPAN SOLAR POWER
APPLE FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY The tech giant will use 100 per cent solar power in its Japanese operations
INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE
N a big step towards the use of clean energy, tech behemoth Apple has decided to partner with component supplier Ibiden to power all of its manufacturing in Japan with 100 per cent renewable energy. To meet this commitment, Ibiden will invest in more than 20 new renewable energy facilities, including one of the largest floating solar photovoltaic systems in the country. “We are proud to partner with suppliers like Ibiden who recognise
that renewable energy investments are good for the environment and good for business,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President for Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, said in a statement. Ibiden’s products help bring together the integrated circuitry and chip packages in Apple devices. Their renewable energy projects will produce over 12MW of solar power, more than the energy they need for Apple manufacturing. and give the rest to Japan to cut carbon emissions. “Our products help Apple devices run smarter, and now we are powering our operations with smarter energy too. We are pleased to partner with Apple and lead the way in helping Japan meet its clean energy goals,” said Kyoichi Yamanaka, Managing Director of Ibiden’s Environment Group. Apple and its suppliers will be generating over 2.5 billion kilowatt hours per year of clean energy for the manufacturing of Apple products by the end of 2018, equal to taking over
400,000 cars off the road for a year. “As we continue our push to power our global operations with 100 per cent renewable energy, it is more important than ever that we help our manufacturing partners make the same transition to cleaner sources, and set an example for other companies to follow,” added Jackson. Apple has taken significant steps to protect the environment by transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy. Today, the company is powering 100 per cent of its operations in 23 countries with renewable energy. The report provided insight into key global statistics such as connection speeds, broadband adoption metrics and notable Internet disruptions, among others. At 26.7 Mbps, the District of Columbia led the United States in average connection speed. Global 4, 10, 15 and 25 Mbps broadband adoption rates increased 15 per cent, 31 per cent, 37 per cent and 45 per cent year over year, respectively.
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S India stares at a huge problem of pollution and water management in its rivers, the issue of tackling water woes takes centrestage. Just a few weeks ago, Punjab and Haryana were at loggerheads on water sharing and Tamil Nadu and Karnataka too are facing similar situation for quite some time. While such water sharing challenges raise hackles amongst the public of competing states, there is little angst at how rivers are polluted by all and sundry all along its flow course. While sharing water might be a vexed issue, the very quality, flow and state of pollution in the rivers remains the foremost challenge above all. India’s rivers remain polluted to a large extent. This is also the state of most rivers in the Asian neighborhood. A look at how other countries in the neighborhood handle pollution issues in their rivers might be quite instructive. A case in point is the Pearl River in China. The Pearl River has set an example for those nations throughout the world where much-needed and necessary progress does not negatively impact the working environment. The Pearl River Delta in south China’s Guangdong province has been one of the fastest growing regions in China, mostly due to large inflows of direct foreign investment. The high economic growth came at a very heavy environmental cost. The Pearl River, China’s third longest river, became highly polluted, with many of its tributaries becoming worse than the lowest national surface water quality standard. It became totally unfit as a drinking water source. In this area, domestic wastewater was largely discharged to the river systems without treatment, with the exception of a few larger municipalities where only a portion of the wastewater was treated. In 2005, only 22 per cent of the wastewater in Jiangmen Municipality was collected and treated, and about 55 per cent of the wastewater in Foshan Municipality was treated. China’s efforts to tackle one of the most serious environmental challenges facing the country was sorted out with the assistance of IBRD financing and expertise and the World Bank. The
Snapshots Pearl River Delta in Guangdong province has been one of the fastest growing regions Pearl River water became worse than the lowest quality surface water due to industrialization China took five major steps to check the water pollution which has been brought under control
RIVER CLEANSING PEARL DELTA
LESSONS FROM THE PEARL RIVER
Management of waste and pollution as exemplified by the Pearl River shows how China plans to manage its rivers
The Pearl River project shows that by working
with local municipalities on river banks, a large part of effluent flow can be efficiently managed Pearl River system in South China was cleaned up by expanding waste water treatment capacities of Foshan and Jiangmen to reduce pollution originating from these two municipalities. It directly benefited 1.7 million residents in the project areas. The World Bank, with the first Guangdong Pearl River Delta Urban Environment Project, approved in 2004, supported the Guangdong Provincial Government’s efforts to clean up the Pearl River Delta and improve its water quality. In the provincial capital of Guangzhou, the most concentrated pollution source area. The project financed wastewater treatment facilities and other investments. Foshan and Jiangmen together accounted for 15 per cent of the pollutants in the Pearl River system. The Second Guangdong Pearl River Delta Urban Environment Project, approved in March 2007, focused on these two areas. The project took up the challenge to reduce water pollution in the Pearl River system. Through initiatives like wastewater treatment and sludge disposal, water quality monitoring, sediment removal from waterways, and flood protection and river embankment
improvements, the project planned to meet its aim. Between 2007-13, the Second Guangdong Pearl River Delta Urban Environment Project has resulted in the reduction of pollution discharges entering the river system from the municipalities of Foshan and Jiangmen and also by supporting improvements in several key problematic areas. In Foshan, the four new sludge treatment facilities with a total daily capacity of 220 tons ensure sludge is properly treated and safely disposed off. Secondly, 6.7 kilometres of embankments along the Fenjiang River were raised, redirecting the waste matter to the wastewater treatment plant and elevating the river banks to a height sufficient to protect against a 50-year flood. Thirdly, four automatic water quality monitoring stations and a water environmental management information system were established, to facilitate rapid reaction from the environmental protection agency towards uncontrolled discharge of pollutants in the river. Fourthly, staff training, an international conference, and study tours helped strengthen the capacity of the
relevant municipal agencies. In Jiangmen, wastewater treatment capacity rose from 22 per cent in 2005 to 70 per cent in 2013, due to the capacity expansion of the Wen Chang Sha Wastewater Treatment Plant from 50 thousand to 2 lakh cubic meters a day. Also technical assistance was provided to enhance operational and business management capacities of the staff. 600,000 people in Jiangmen and 1.1 million people in Chancheng district in Foshan are direct beneficiaries of the project. Pollution reduction and water quality improvement in the Pearl River Delta waterways have also contributed to welfare of the people who live downstream of the project area. Liang Jingzhou, head of village committee, Xiebian Village observed, “Sewage water that used to be everywhere in the village is now collected through the sewer system. Our living conditions have improved, and we are all very happy.” A future challenge for both Jiangmen and Foshan is to continue improving the collection networks through sewer rehabilitation. Also needed is its extension to new city areas where more households can be connected. Foshan Water Group Company has a contract with Foshan Municipality up to 2030. The company plans to expand future investments and operations through PPP arrangements in the form of BOTs beyond Foshan Municipality. Both utilities have clear strategies. Jiangmen Biyuan Wastewater Treatment Company is also in the process of implementing its business and financial plans. The company has set up a centre to monitor operations of all the wastewater treatment plants. The increase in wastewater tariffs in 2013 had positive effects on the key financial performance indicators of both the utilities and on the sector in general that can become more financially independent and less dependent on government subsidies. The Pearl River project clearly shows that by seamlessly working with local municipalities of towns and cities on the banks of major rivers, a large part of effluent flow can be efficiently managed. That naturally results in less strain on water and promotes clean rivers which are beneficial to all.
APRIL 02, 2017
MIZORAM TEA EXPORT
MIZO CUPPA: NGOPA TEA Though Mizoram had plots growing tea since 1940s, it now has its own brand of tea for the export market RAJ KASHYAP
IZORAM has embarked on an ambitious programme of tea cultivation encouraged by the experience of neighbouring Assam, which contributes more than fifty per cent of the country’s exports. The origin of tea plantation in Mizoram can be traced to Biate village in 1918, under the initiative of Thangchuanga, the son of the village Chief Lal Kairuma. After two decades, the villagers were allotted plots of one bigha at Halzawl with the goal of engaging more people in the programme. By the early 1940s, the cultivation extended to Tuilut and the surrounding hills. In 1995, several families of Biate village selected tea cultivation as their trade under the schemes offered by
the soil & water conservation department. However, plans by the industries department to set up a tea processing unit could not materialise and as a result, many cultivators were not able to make a profit for a long time. The first tea factory came into being in 2004 at Ngopa which was inaugurated by governor AR Kohli. Set up by F Kapsanga, who owns the FK Tea Estate, the factory has the capacity to produce 400 tonnes of leaves annually. Loans for the scheme were provided by the North Eastern Council and the North East Development Finance Corporation. Before the factory started functioning, tea growers of Mizoram had to sell their produce to factories in the adjacent Cachar tea belt of Assam. In 2011, the Mizoram government gave a boost to tea plantation under
its flagship programme New Land Use Policy (NLUP), through which 115 households of Biate village were assisted in tea cultivation. Now there are more than three hundred small plantations that produce high quality tea leaves which experts believe can rival Assam and Darjeeling tea. TEA SCENARIO Tea production in India is concentrated in the Nilgiris, Darjeeling and Assam. Small tea growers are also found in Kerala, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh among other states. China, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Vietnam and Indonesia are the leading tea exporters in the world. A cool and moist climate and hilly terrain are the primary prerequisites of tea cultivation. Tea needs a few conditions to grow well. First, it needs shade, and tea is supposed to be grown under natural forests. Second, it needs a lot of rain, but that rain water should not accumulate under the trees, otherwise the roots will rot. This means that it needs sloping, or undulating land so that the water drains away after the trees have had their ‘drink’. Mizoram offers all these conditions admirably well. Most of the tea estates in Mizoram are located in the hill slopes of Ngopa and Biate. The average area does not exceed 10 to 12 hectares, which is the maximum limit for any plantation to be labelled as “small” and given grants by the Tea Board. According to statistics available with the Tea Board, tea is being cultivated on 877.15 hectares across the hill state.
Mizo villages with waste land are being encouraged to take up tea cultivation, so that adequate volumes for export are grown
HIGH-YIELD GRANTS Buoyed by the development, the Tea Board has begun providing grants to the growers to set up nurseries for high-yielding varieties. Officials are of the opinion that tea produced in Mizoram could rival the best if the small growers focused on raising the yield per hectare without compromising on the quality of leaf, which d e ter m i n e s the characteristics of tea. Tea Board is providing subsidy limited up to 25% of the total cost of plant and machinery for tea processing factory. To further assist the cultivators, the Small Tea Growers’ Society was constituted with self help
Snapshots The son of a tribal chief had started tea cultivation in Mizoram as early as 1918 Mizoram has all the ideal conditions for growing high quality tea in the state Now the government and Tea Board are giving a big push to make Mizoram a tea exporter
groups in every village. Technical expertise of tea cultivation was availed from the Assam based Tocklai Tea Research Institute. Clonal cutting, manure and other specification of cultivation have been followed as per the recommendation of the institute. The state government has also trained six engineering and botany graduates in the institute. Most of them are currently engaged with self help groups that have been earlier established. This apart, the government has facilitated the training of twenty small growers from five self help groups at other different tea estates in Assam like Dhekiajuli, Tezpur and Jorhat and another group of twenty growers were sent to the tea gardens in Nilgiri in south India for a first hand exposure. In June last year, the first Mizo tea brand Ngopa Tea was inaugurated at the Aizawl Club premises by Health Minister Lal Thanzara. Welcoming the development, the minister explained that tea growers had been highly successful among the NLUP beneficiaries and referred to the plantations that have mushroomed in Biate, Darzo, Baktawng, and Ngopa hill ranges. He added that there was a huge global demand for tea which could be of great advantage to planters in Mizoram. CUPPA VISION The Mizoram government has firmed up a future vision for tea plantation in the state. For expansion of the plantation, villages with waste land would be encouraged to take up tea cultivation. The border state, incidentally, is one of the worst affected by shifting (jhum) cultivation where large tracts of forests are slashed and burnt for cultivation of food crops. The farming techniques are obsolete and the yield is low. After a few years, another area is selected for the same purpose and the cycle is continued. The government hopes to convert the denuded hill slopes with tea cultivation by engaging more farmers in the programme.
APRIL 02, 2017
Snapshots Nanammal has been learning yoga from age five from her father and practices till date After her marriage, she started training under her new guru, her father-in-law She has come to be noticed for having developed her own unique technique
NOT OUT @ 97
At 97, Nanammal defies her age. This nonagenarian practitioner of Yoga has earned innumerable laurels for her unique and innovative Yoga techniques helping many to learn PALLAVI VATSA
ORN in a middle-class agricultural family at Coimbatore’s Jaminkaliyapuram village, Nanammal won a gold medal in International Yoga competition in 2003. It was held in Andman & Nicobar Island. “I have participated in 100 competitions so far.” She has received dozens of awards till now. She won her very first prize at the age of 14. She had contested for ‘Silambattam’, (a weaponbased Indian martial art from Tamil Nadu). It was a district level competition. Her journey as a winner started here, and she hopes it will be continued for some more years. At this age too, she performs more than 50 poses of yoga. Her family is also into it for the past five generations. She started learning yoga at the age of five. Her first guru was her grandfather. She says “I got married at an early age. My husband was a Siddha (system of traditional medicine originating in ancient Tamilakam in South India) doctor. YOGA AFTER MARRIAGE After marriage she continued learning
yoga under her new trainer: her fatherin-law. Those days, yoga was supposed to be only a ‘village exercise’. Now she has three daughters and two sons. All are working as Yoga teachers at different places.Nanammal is known to be the country’s oldest woman yoga teacher. She credits regular yoga practice for her good health and long innings. “I can read even the smallest letters in newspapers without any problem. I never went to any doctor and never went for any kind of medication,” she told SSB. Apart from this, she does follow her diet chart strictly. For breakfast, she just goes for green veggies and buttermilk. For her lunch, she has pulses, spinach and milk whereas she takes just two bananas and a glass full of milk for her dinner. She avoids rice and nonvegetarian food items. Although she likes ginger tea, she abstains from too much intake of tea and coffee. AGELESS TRAINEES Nanammal teaches yoga every day to at least 100 students at her house. She has
students of all age-groups. Her students include two women in their 70s, some 60-year-olds and the youngest one is a girl of six. Till now she has taught Yoga to thousands of students. She claims her students “feel great” after the yoga sessions. The yoga instructor has even developed a motherly feeling for her students, who consistently attend her classes. She calls them “paethees,” (granddaughters in Tamil). One of her students Meenakshi says, “She can still do asanas that we struggle with. “I’m 55, and she calls me a youngster. I aspire to achieve her fitness”. “She can do things we find too difficult to do even after several years of practice,” said another student. Amazingly, she can support her entire body on her two hands. She begins each class with about a dozen asanas and ends with a guided relaxation exercise followed by meditation. “I’m inspired to bring yoga to others’ lives along with helping people unearth new talents,” the nonagenarian said. Nanammal’s son V Balakrishnan, who
Nanammal hopes to enter the Guinness Book of
World Records by teaching yoga to 20,000 students
is also a yoga instructor, says, “My mother can do all the difficult asanas, including the painful “peacock” asana, where the body is held in a horizontal position by the strength of the arms alone.” He said his mother can also demonstrate a complicated raised “lotus”, “bridge” and a headstand with ease. According to him, Tao PorchonLynch, 93, from the United States is at present the world’s oldest Yoga teacher. WOMEN’S BOON Nanammal never went for pants or special yoga dresses for classes or demonstration. “I wear only our traditional sari. Still I can do more than 50 asanas,” she claims. Yoga is good for everyone but for women, it is a veritable boon. Nanammal suggests, “If a lady wants to have a normal delivery she should practice yoga every day.” Today, when the number of caesarean deliveries have increased, Yoga is the best effective way to avoid it. Including her three daughters and two sons, a total of 36 members of her family are into training yoga in different parts of the world. Apart from her family, he 600 students are also in the same profession. In this way, her legacy is being passed on to different regions. Nanammal has developed her own technique. This technique even caught the attention of the Indian Yoga Masters’ Federation. Its president invited her to take classes at various colleges in the region. “She is not only instructing, she is practicing,” said Federation Chairman S Krupakar Murali. Murali was astonished to see her doing yoga at this age. He frequently travels to several countries and see masters doing yoga. He explained, “I never saw anyone doing the difficult ‘halasana’ like Nanammal.” “She had to reject offers from several yoga federations across the world as she does not know English” said Nanammal’s younger son, V Ellusami. She is also trying to resister her name in the Guinness Book of World Records. For this, she has recently attempted to teach a few yoga moves to more than 20,000 students at one go at Coimbatore.
APRIL 02, 2017
INDIAN “WOMEN ICONS” Three women are making a huge difference in training women in various fields and they believe that they have just one mission in life: women empowerment INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE
OMEN’S empowerment and childcare remains on the minds of these women, who are the recipients of the awards organised by Business Excellence & Research Group Pvt Ltd and supported by Nanyang Technological University of Singapore. Among the award winners was Vandana Sharma, who served for a decade in the Indian Armed Forces, broke several stereotypes around ‘Women in Uniform’ and ventured into the corporate world. Speaking after the awards, Sharma said she mentors a lot of young start-up founders on building effective organisations. The aim is to drive a more productive environment and culture within different environments at startups, said Sharma, who is currently the chief people officer at HolidayIQ and comes from a family of officers in the Indian Armed Forces. Sharma’s contribution during the 1999 Kargil War has been recorded and commended in the Military History of Army Ordnance Corps. Keeping with her ‘Women Empowerment’ campaign is Revathi Siddharth Roy, who holds a Masters degree in Economics, but drove a taxi for 10 months in Mumbai to support her family after her husband died in 2007. Roy now runs a training school, Zaffiro Learning, for women to learn to ride twowheelers and serve as “last mile” delivery persons for e-commerce companies. Roy said Zaffiro Learning will put 10,000 women on two-wheelers under the ‘HeyDeedee’ brand in Mumbai, Bangalore,
Vandana Sharma worked with the Indian Army for ten years and took part in Kargil War
INDUSTRY HANDSET FACTORY
The Chinese handset vendor’s next manufacturing unit in Andhra Pradesh will have mostly women workers
Dr Kesan trains girls in aerospace and aeronautics to make them future scientists
Dr Srimathy Kesan
Pune, Nagpur, Nashik, Chennai and Kolkata by the end of this year. She has already put 120 women with two-wheelers for making deliveries for e-commerce companies in Mumbai and Bangalore in the past six months. “I only work for ‘Women Empowerment’. My life is all about transforming women’s life,” said the social entrepreneur and a winner of NITI Aayog’s Women Transforming India 2016 award. SPECIAL SPACE Joining in the awards was Dr Srimathy Kesan, who motivates children into aerospace and aeronautics subjects at her
Up to 30 women professionals will be mentored by the bank
N an effort to help professional women resume their careers, HSBC India has launched an internship initiative, ‘Take Two Programme’. This programme is aimed at women professionals with at least six
Revathi Roy is training 10,000 women as two wheeler drivers to work as ecom delivery girls
HELPING WOMEN PROFESSIONALS PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
years of work experience, who have taken a break from work, HSBC India said in a release. The 12-week programme will provide a structured, full-time internship course for the successful participants and will help them to plan for potential future careers at HSBC, the bank said. It will be
Chennai-based company, Space Kidz India. Kesan draws children to science with the aim of building a pool of scientists in the coming years, saying India’s pool of scientists was depleting as more and more students were opting for engineering or medical studies. “I want to encourage and motivate them to do much more in science,” said Dr Kesan who aims to have an aerospace research park in India, building on her working relationship with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the US and the Russian Space Agencies. Kesan said her students have built and shipped to NASA a cube satellite which will be launched on a US rocket. Other winners were: Dr Aparna Hegde of ARMMAN, Deepshikha Kumar of SpeakIn, Kanika Gupta Shori of Square Global, Minal D’Rozario of Ideosphere, Mini Dwivedi Gopinathan of PlayStreet Specially Abled Educare Trust, Saloni Mardia Kothari of Mtlexs Online, Sonia Kulkarni of Ketchum Sampark PR, and Swati Nathani of Team Pumpkin. piloted in the Hyderabad Global Service Centre (GSC). The first batch of 25-30 participants will begin the internship in mid-April 2017. “There are many experienced women professionals who leave the workforce for personal reasons and may find it a daunting task to restart their careers. ‘Take Two’ programme offers an unique opportunity for women professionals to restart after extended breaks, thus creating support routes back to work for returners,” said Subir Mehra, HSBC Global Service Centre Global Head of Operations. During the programme, each of the 25-30 participants will be provided with a mentor, who will be an experienced Global Supply Chain (GSC) project manager.
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
N a move to support both ‘make in India’ and ‘women empowerment’, the Chinese handset vendor Xiaomi has partnered with Foxconn to set up its second manufacturing unit in India at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh with mostly women employees. The head of Xiaomi India, Manu Jain said, “While I cannot disclose the exact capacity, I can tell you that we will be able to manufacture one phone per second whenever the lines are running. The two factories combined will provide employment to about 5,000 people, 90 per cent being women.” Xiaomi had entered India in July 2014 and started local manufacturing just over a year later. The new facility will be exclusive to Xiaomi, while the older one may see Foxconn making handsets for other vendors too. The move will help Xiaomi meet about 95 per cent of its demand in India from these two facilities. However, it will continue to import accessories, ecosystem products and its premium product, Mi5 from China. While the company declined to comment on the investment details, it said Xiaomi will be able to make “one phone per second in India”. According to research firm IDC, Xiaomi had a 10.7 per cent share of the Indian market, putting the company just behind Samsung (over 25 per cent share) at the end of December quarter.
28 Toilets for Pets
APRIL 02, 2017
TOILETS FOR DOGS
TOILET, A NECESSITY FOR DOGGIES Toilets for dogs are a new trend in many countries. Civic regulations are making it all the more necessary for have doggy toilets. The trend is catching up fast in our own country as well
Snapshots Over 33 per cent of doggies in Tokyo, Japan, have their own toilets Heavy fine is being imposed on the owners of dogs if their pet is found defecating in the open This Trend is catching up fast in India as well, with doggy toilets being constructed
HE impact of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘cleanliness Drive’ is such that people are building separate toilets for their pet dogs. It is believed that when human beings started domesticating animals, dog was probably the first one since dogs helped them in hunting. Now we may not use dogs for hunting, but they are useful for security of our homes. Now we treat dogs as our friends and family members. They are not confined to our doors; they have entered bedrooms and become our family members. But they could not enter our toilets so far. Therefore, it has beome part of people’s everyday schedule to take out their pet dogs every morning and evening to let them answer nature’s call. The practice of making pet animals pee or poo in public places including roads and parks, is prohibited. The owners of pets have to shoulder the complete responsibility to keep the roads free from filth. In Japan, people who keep pets, also carry a bottle of water along with them so that if their pet animal passes urine or stool on the roads, they can clean it up. In 2012, the Tokyo metropolitan
government bureau of social welfare and public health conducted a survey according to which 33 per cent dogs have their own toilets. Usually, the owners of pet dogs are advised to clean up the roads after their pets have relieved themselves and not to leave the pets loitering on the roads. As many as 91 per cent pet owners follow the rules there, the survey found.In Spain, people who do not clean up droppings of their pet dogs are kept under close surveillance. To take full care of such carelessness, construction of toilets for pets is becoming common. El Vendrell, a small town in Spain is particularly known for manufacturing doggy toilets. A toilet for dogs is in many ways similar to the toilet for human use. In this toilet, there is a lid covering a hole made in stainless steel. The owners of pets are expected to flush it necessarily. On flushing, the waste passes through underground pipes into the sewer. In addition to this, there is a doggy urinal in which dogs can sit on a small hole. In the midst of these two conveniences, there is a water fountain for the dogs. The maker of this toilet, Enrick Gerona says that this toilet is dedicated to the town as a pilot project. Upon the citizens’ acceptance, then he will bid for constructions in the
If we can train our dogs to stand up on two legs,
to jump and play, and so on, then is it not possible for us to teach them how to use the potty
municipalities the world over. Dog owners have vowed to support the apparatus if the mayor did not levy a heavy tax on this. In several other countries, efforts are being made to construct a similar toilet for pet animals. At several airports across the world, good toilet sare being made for pets. In many cities in the United States of America, plastic bags too are used as a workable alternative for the purpose. In China’s Luh District, 30 bathrooms for animals have been constructed on an experimental basis. There is another plan to build 1000 bathrooms for animals. In Paris, this matter is being activbely debated since 1998. During this period, notices were put on the famous paths of Paris prohibiting owners from allowing dogs to use the area for defecation and plastic bags dispensing program was initiated. Special toilets were constructed for dogs to keep Paris footpaths free from dog poo. In these areas, cleaning is done 4 or 5 times a day. In Paris, there are fines for all owners of dogs who do not follow the rules. For few years, Paris has supported the ‘Moto-cross’. This is a special kind of motorcycle fitted with a vacuum cleaner which cleans dog poo from the roads. Despite heavy fines, only 60 per cent owners in Paris clean up their pets’ filth. While dog toilets are being made throughout the world, it is seen that a German shepherd named Baron uses the toilet at home with great ease. This dog which is five months old, lifts the toilet sheet in the bathroom and then climbs up the seat balancing itself on its paws. After using the
toilet, it closes the toilet sheet and flushes it before making an exit.Now several toilets are available in the market which are made with special attention to pet animals. Such toilets are made with synthetic grass that looks like real.In India too, people must learn to keep a bag with them for the toilet needs of their pet animals. This can be flushed after they return home. A marked area should be defined for pet animals in the premises of apartments. The owners should train their animals to use the toilet in the area marked for this purpose. If we are able to make arrangements for flushing too, then we can perhaps contribute in the direction of Swachh Bharat. It seems the times are a changing and people are giving serious thought to this problem in some cities of our country. Strict rules are being imposed to check it, with Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh setting the trend. Doggy toilets are being constructed in this city. To maintain cleanliness in the city, the municipality has taken appreciable initiative. It is to prevent roads and parks from getting dirty during morning and evenings when people take their dogs out for walks. After the construction of these toilets heavy fines will be imposed on people who take their dogs out in public places. Similar strict rules regarding cleanliness have been imposed in Ghaziabad’s Krishna Apara Garden Society. Rs. 2000 fine is being imposed on people who take their dogs out in the society campus. This rule which is aimed at creating hygienic conditions, should be applied to other parts of the country too. Such attempts indicate that people have become conscious about the necessity of cleanliness drive. If we can train our dogs to stand up on two feet, to jump and play, and so on, then is it not possible for us to teach them how to use the potty? Then not just human beings, but even dogs will not be seen defecating in the open.
APRIL 02, 2017
Sufi Rocker Kailash Like any other talent landing in Bombay, Kailash Kher once sang film songs to survive. But the passion of this essentially sufi singer was hugely influenced by maestros Kumar Gandharv and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan ASHIM CHAKRABORTY I am overwhelmed and happy that my song in the film ‘Shivaay’ is being liked by one and all. Before saying anything about myself, I would like to mention that people say that I am an arrogant person, that I cancel my recording if it is not according to my taste. Well, I am fortunate that people change their perceptions after meeting me. People who know me closely can certify how much struggle is hidden behind the rise of this popular singer Kailash Kher, and this is the very reason that I love to remain grounded. In the year 2002, I ran away from my home in Delhi to Mumbai but returned to Delhi after a few months, as I was unable to adjust there. But I returned to Mumbai in 2003 against all odds. Well it was not my cup of tea to do playback singing in Hindi films and because of this fact, till date I have never approached any producer/ director for any assignment. I came to Mumbai to sing in my own voice and in my own style, as Mumbai was considered to be the haven for artists. I thought of searching my favourite music directors and then to compose music for them. I then got an opportunity to sing jingles. Initially I was paid Rs 5,000 per jingle, then it rose to Rs 7,000, then Rs 10,000, and it went on increasing. By that time, I got accustomed to the climate of Mumbai. TOUGH LIFE Like all the other friends of mine, my days were not a bed of roses and I had
Snapshots He ran away from home to reach Mumbai, the haven of talents, but came with little money He wanted to become a sufi singer and sing his songs in his own way, not just film songs Ismail Darbar gave him his first break in Baaz... and he sang with Sunidhi Chauhan
to struggle hard. Definitely, I also faced the same problems which my friends have faced. Let me be frank. I came to Mumbai from my house with Rs 2,000 in my pocket and occupied a PG accommodation for Rs 50 per day, which gave me a bed and a common washroom. I used to eat outside. On the whole, my accommodation and food would cost me Rs 70 per day. I had brought two things from my home, an ordinary mobile phone and a bike. Whether I had food to eat or not, but my mobile phone had sufficient talk time balance as well as sufficient fuel in my bike. There were times when I had to skip my food just to fill petrol in my bike, and it was during those hard times that I often used to question the Almighty God as to when my struggling period will get over, and whether everybody else had also faced these hardships. Then I heard a voice from within, that everybody does not even get this chance to struggle and make a career in Mumbai and that was a consolation for me. Many people used to give up hope and return without waiting for the
day when the doors would open. I did not give up and worked hard waiting for the new day to be ushered in. My first playback debut was for the film ‘Baaz - The Bird in Danger’. My music director was none other than Ismail Darbar. I was fortunate enough to have sung the song with Sunidhi Chauhan. After the song was released, I called up my elder sister and told her that she can see my name on the cover of the cassette, and that too along with Sunidhi Chauhan. Sunidhi’s name was in the beginning followed by my name in the corner. I just could not forget the happiness which I had experienced that day. CHANGED TIMES Change is the need of the hour. Many people opine that melody has lost its significance in today’s music. I don’t consider myself competent enough to comment on this, but would like to say that there was a time when transistors and bicycles were all we had, but these are gone. Now it is all about smart phones and mobikes. Therefore, we have to mould ourselves with the passage of time, whether it is your professional or personal lives. If you put on a blue clip on your hair people might ridicule and make fun of you. But my question is, why? Is it necessary that whatever you don’t understand is always wrong? Everything may have been at their best during the previous generation. But that does not mean that
everything in this generation is all bad. We have to accept everything with an open heart. But to some extent it is true that we have to take care of our generation as it is drifting towards marketing of every item. MY FAVOURITES I have often been asked as to who is my favourite singer or whose songs I love the most. I would say that I rarely listen to any film songs. If I have liked some song, it could be by some unknown singer. May be a folk singer who puts his soul into the song. One thing really hurts me. And that is, to remain in the market a classical singer has also to sing disco songs. In my 12 years of singing career, I have sung songs in more than 20 different languages. I say it with pride that never have I sung a song against my desire. Since I also sing folk-rock, one can see me singing dance numbers in between. Basically I happen to get offers for these kinds of songs which I normally turn down, but sometimes I feel that singing a few songs away from the mainstream should not be such a huge issue. One more thing, my wife Sheetal is a great fan of my songs. Her favourite songs are ‘Daulat Shohrat’ and ‘Sach Na Batana’. Sheetal herself is a short filmmaker and writes editorials for a paper as well. Apart from this my five year old son is a hard core devotee of my songs. He listens to ‘Beetles’ and also tries to tune in to my song ‘Teri Deewani’.
30 Book Review
APRIL 02, 2017
BOOK REVIEW OLYMPUS: AN INDIAN RETELLING OF THE GREEK MYTHS
CHAOS TO COSMOS “There is no one world, different eyes create different ones. And the mismatch creates the soup of experience” - Author
Olympus: An Indian Retelling of the Greek Myths by DEVDUTT PATTANAIK Publisher: Penguin ANUPAMA YADAV Within infinite myths lies an eternal truth Who sees it all? Varuna has but a thousand eyes Indra a hundred You and I, only two.
rom Indian mythology to Greek mythology, author Devdutt Pattanaik in his book Olympus: An Indian Retelling of the Greek Myths reverses the gaze magnificently through the lenses of ancient Indian tales. Interestingly, this time the writer has shed some light on the tales of the West, amidst several western scholars and writers writing about India and her tales. The book begins with Greek creation myths moving on to the story of Titans, Olympians through the semi-divine human heroes and their vivid enigmatic description, touching the realms of ancient divine history. The writer holds the narrative together and imagines a conversation between Alexander the great and a gymnosophist during his Indian expedition. As a historical human hero who believed he was the son of god and destined for Olympus, Alexander is the perfect narrator. He connects the worlds of History and mythology often diminishing the lines. Besides, all ancient cultures come with certain myths, however, Greek mythology arouses a special interest as Greece is often considered the cradle of western civilization. The book aims to compare and contrast the Greek and Indian myths. In pointing out conceptual equivalents such as Hermaphroditus and Ardhanarishvara, Eros and Kama, Zeus and Indra, Dionysus and Shiva, or Heracles and Krishna, the
author manifests our similarities amidst peculiarities. Moreover, he does not confine to Hindu mythology but goes on further to bring elements of folk religion, Jainism, Buddhism, Christianity and even ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian myths. CULTURAL PANORAMA Above all, the author has written a lucid cultural history of the world. Suffice it to say, that he presents a case for crosscultural exchange that has gone on from bygone. Throughout the book, it is apparent how Alexander’s numerous conquests opened the floodgates for these exchanges. This became evident in the swapping of storytelling templates. Greek models in the Hindu Puranas, Puranic stories in Iran, or Egyptian tales in Greece; the amalgamation is ubiquitous and complete with enigmatic illustrations. The paradox is what we think of sunlight as probably another part of cave. Perhaps, the
In this brilliant narrative Devdutt covers almost everything about Greek Mythology
cave is a labyrinth that one can never leave and we keep imagining that my portion of cave is sunlight and there is vast symposium and argument that may be the cave is vast and bright. Until we realize there is no sun and may be the sun is inside, awaiting discovery while we are searching outside and this is the way Indian story tellers talk about the cave, an entirely unique way of looking at things, the god who sits inside the cave, and the wise man gets into it. He is inside labyrinth that is where wisdom resides, not outside. The book throws light on how the old god Cronus eats his own son, Saturday eating the week time. One thing apparent in Greek mythology is old gods the titans who eat and consume and Olympians. The Olympians overpowered the old gods, the titans unlike the way Greeks would imagine. The author has imagined it as Hindu god symmetrical with gestures of vairagya mudra ‘I will give you what you want’. In Bharatnatyam dance, holding the thunderbolt the new gods defeat old gods and are uncomfortable with future god (humans). They are terrified with future gods in the form of humans. Early translations of Hindu mythology depicted the conflict between devas and asuras (demons). But, however, the asuras were the old gods. The structure didn’t work as it was linear, in which the old god tries to eat the new generation but the next generation triumphs. It’s about triumph of the younger generation. OEDIPUS PHILOSOPHY In Oedipus philosophy, it works the other way, as the older generation prevails. The idea of an angry god who can punish you is not quite fitting in puranic stricture. On the contrary, the idea of a judgemental god is not there in Hindu mythology. Significantly,
Indians believe in Karma, where fate is determined as one lives. Action creates reaction which is the real punishment. Pattanaik also marks several names derived from Greeks that are used in the fields of astrology, geography, sports, popular culture and even technology. In this book, there is always an intervention of gods to create extraordinary beings. Pointedly, Hero as a concept does not exist in Hindu mythology. The most striking part is that the Greek story structure revolves around chaos and order. Cave with shadows is chaos, ignorance and absence of reason because you are subjected to mythos of other people until you leave the cave and come to sunlight out of shadows towards knowledge. There is linearity in the narrative. What were shadows to a philosopher was chaos to a bard. What was sunlight to a philosopher was cosmos to a bard. If there was a difference between the Greek Philosopher and the Greek bard it was this, the former shared what he understood whereas the latter simply transmitted what he received. But neither really abandoned the finite linear structure from chaos to order, from shadows to sunlight, from here to there. PHILOSOPHY VS MYTHOLOGY Interestingly, Greek mythology has always been at loggerheads with Abrahamic mythology which forms the basis of Judaic, Christian and Islamic faiths. Greek mythology placed greater values on individual contemplation of nature and culture while Abrahamic mythology demands submission to supernatural force. Abrahamic mythology speaks of wilderness of false gods and instead of cosmos, it speaks of the Promised Land of one true God of Abraham. If Greek mythology is about destination, adventure and discovery, Abrahamic mythology is about frustrated adventurers returning to a lost home. The struggle between these two finite linear mythologies Greek and Abrahamic shapes much of Western thought. Modern secular thought is just an avatar of Greek mythology and philosophy and this becomes evident as we see western history as a series of attempts to define what constitutes shadows and what constitutes sunlight, many gods, one god or no god. The west here refers to the world that stretches from Persia and Arabia through Mesopotamia and Mediterranean to Europe and now America. The ancient Greeks believed in Polis (city states) not empires, in democracy, not monarchy, in consensus, not authority and in heroes who will hold their own before capricious and whimsical gods. Greek art was individualistic and realistic, seeking to mimic reality. The west dismisses the Indic worldview as chaos, thus closing its mind to any new possibility but its own. There are many books by western scholars that explain Hindu mythology but very few by Indian scholars that bother to observe western mythology. This book is an attempt to bridge the gap.
APRIL 02, 2017
UNSUNG HEROES GAUTAM KUMAR
A SAMARITAN IN HYDERABAD
Gautam Kumar left his corporate job to take care of the homeless and hungry, not just as a passion but profession
HILE a majority of the people toil hard throughout their lives trying to fulfil their own needs, a young man in Hyderabad has left his regular and cushy job in order to take care of the homeless and hungry people around him. Formerly a corporate employee, Gautam now feeds the hungry and homeless in the city. Gautam and his team hits the streets at midnight, strolling around the city for parties and functions. When they find one, the team convinces the organisers to let them take the leftover food and directly take the food to the homeless peoples. Gautam has experience working in
a multinational company such as Expedia, and has travelled across the country. About five years ago, Gautam decided to start an NGO and said goodbye to his job. He says, “I started my NGO because I wanted to serve others. But, I wanted it to be my profession, not just a passion to be followed just once or twice a week. I was sure that this would be my sole purpose in life.” With the help of his family, Gautam formed an organisation called ‘Serve Needy’ in 2014. As of now, he is working on 14 different projects, one of which is ‘Anna Daata Programme’. Even before ‘Serve Needy’ appeared on the horizon, Gautam used to work
for the rehabilitation of homeless children roaming on the city streets. And now it is one of his many projects called ‘Save Life’. Gautam mostly focuses on children and senior citizens. He explains, “We treat them with respect like our family members and often they recount their life stories. We collect them as case studies and then offer them our support.” ‘Serve Needy’ also reunites homeless children with their lost families. In the process, the NGO also seeks proper legal counsel in order to identify the families. The NGO gives the children a shelter in its own
orphanage when they can’t find their families. Gautam says, “We have 22 children living with us, a mix of kids of single parents, orphans, and some who have been rescued from trafficking.” This orphanage was set up back in 2015. Gautam ensures these children get a decent education and a good environment to develop. The NGO also has an open door policy that allows any wellwisher to spend time with these kids. It’s trule heart-warming that Gautam’s family also supports and helps him in his campaign for social work. Members of his family also gladly participate in his work. While clearing his goal, Gautam says that his life does not want to see anyone orphaned or poor. Explaining his life’s mission, Gautam says, “I started ‘Serve Needy’ because I wanted to do my part as a human being, I don’t want anyone to feel orphaned while
GIFT FROM NEW DELHI
Shilpi Tiwari was pleasantly surprised to receive a personal gift from an unknown sender!
HE Prime Minister wore the stoll while the short 112-ftof statue NDIA hasunveiling never been child of ShivaAt in Coimbatore on 24th prodigies. an age when most February. The programme of the youngsters are was busyorganised clicking by Spiritual Guru Jaggi Vasudev under the Instagram pictures and forwarding aegis of Eshamessages, Foundation.Rohan Shilpi saw Whatsapp Surithe has
programme and liked the peacock blue stole on the Prime Minister’s shoulder and expressed her desire to have one on Twitter. What she didn’t know was that her wish was to be fulfilled so soon. Shortly after her tweet, Shilpi received a packet from the Prime Minister, which contained the Prime Minister’s stole along with a picture of the event signed by Prime Minister himself. Prime Minister is Shilp’s follower on Twitter. He saw the tweet and ordered his staff to sent the stoll to Shilpi straightaway. However, it wasn’t the first time Shilpi was in the news. Professionally an architect, Shilpi left her home back in 2014 when she was five month pregnant. Last year, Shilpi went to Srinagar with the national flag and a letter. There she presented the flag and letter to a group of students protesting at the National Institute of Technology. A social reformer at core, she has also taken arms along with the government and fights for all the right things. Most importantly, Shilpi is not just a common Twitter user. She is a popular Twitter personality, with over a lakh of followers, including national leaders like the Finance Minister Arun Jaitly. She regularly tweets about the current affairs, media and social issues.
HIGH FLYING AYESHA AZIZ She became the youngest student-pilot at 16 and is now planning to fly Mig 29’s in Russia’s Sukhoi Airbase
T’S She is flying high, she really is. The daughters of this country are bringing in laurels and scoring new successes every day. Just such a daughter the country can be proud of is Ayesha Aziz. Though she is all of 21 today, she had made history when she
became the first girl pilot of the country at the tender age of just 16. She bagged her student pilot’s license in 2011, and she is now poised to get here commercial license and fly passenger carriers. This daughter of a Worli businessman put in hard labout to make her dream come true. This Bombay Flying Club aviation graduate says while training, she flew a single engine aeroplane for 200 hours. The young lady, of course, gives all the credit for her success to her father, Abdul Aziz. Asked of the opportunities of woman commercial pilots today, Ayesha says in India there sre no dearth of opportunities. She herself says: “The global ratio of women pilots is just three percent, whereas in India it is 11.3 per cent. Women have a lot of opportunities to take up this challenging career in the country. Ayesha herself had visited the US to train at the US space agency, NASA. There she met Sunita Williams, which became not just a memorable occasion for her, but an highly inspiring one as well. And Ayesha’s next big dream is to fly the Mig 29 fighter jets in the Sukhoi Airbase in Russia. That will also be a first!
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Joint Commissioner of Police (Licensing) Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016 VOLUME - 1, ISSUE - 15 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 â€“ 110 045. Editor Monika Jain