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RNI No. DELENG/2016/71561
Good News Weekly for Rising India MINISTRY OF POWER
LIGHTING THE NATION
Power minister Piyush Goyal has surpassed the task set for the ministry by PM Modi
Vol-1 | Issue-24 | May 29 - June 04, 2017 | Price ` 5/-
YOUTH & SPIRITUALITY
With lakhs of toilets coming Young men and women are up, the Swachh Bharat Mission more and more seeking the is a resounding success inner meaning of life
NARENDRA MODI THE ART OF GIFTING
gita’s gift to pm A lady from Bihar has sent a rare gift to PM Narendra Modi, and he feels others should emulate her.... A look at the gifts to PM and also by him...
RIME MINISTER Narendra Modi must be receiving hundreds of gifts daily; he has a huge fan following and it’s obvious that everyone tries to send him something special. But what happened when a 50-year-old woman from Bihar sent a gift to PM which was something more spectacular than others? Fifty-year-old Gita Devi, a housewife who hails from Samastipur in Bihar, made a basket from garbage and plastic waste. When Gita Devi’s step son Manoj Kumar Jha saw her work, he encouraged her to parcel the same to PM’s office. She did so but had never expected a response from the Prime Minister.
PM Modi himself appreciated the gift and also added many words of praise for it. He said this can be a great initiative and help to government’s Swachcha Bharat Abhiyan and also to small-scale industries. Modi further added that it will reduce plastic garbage and will be an excellent step towards environment protection.
Quick Glance Fifty years old Gita gifted PM a basket made of garbage & plastic waste PM appreciated the effort, and has asked to make it an industry Modi had earlier gifted a stole to a girl who demanded it on Twitter
“The idea of using plastic litter to create beautiful products is amazing. This is not only useful for the ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign but also has vast potential for small-scale industry,” Prime Minister wrote back to Gita. Gita was thrilled to receive a reply from the PM himself. When her family read the letter to her as she is illiterate she said she expressed her feeling with utmost joy, “I am very happy that Modi ji acknowledged my work and has replied to me.” Gita’s husband Ramchandra Jha, who is a farmer with a small landholding, says that Gita’s skills of converting waste products like wrappers, toys, bangles etc, into beautiful things is currently limited to a hobby and now that she is encouraged
by none other than PM himself, they feel confident and would like her to take it to the next level. He, however, mentions the financial problems in doing so. “Now that we have got encouragement from the Prime Minister, we feel it can be done. But we lack money to do any business. May be if we get a loan, we can do this,” Jha says. Prime Minister receives scores of people every day and most bring something or the other for him. And hundreds of other gifts are sent to PM House everyday from different corners of the country. Yet, only few like Gita’s vase stand out from the crowd. We hereby present some of the gifts received by Modi and also presented by him to other foreign dignitaries ...Continued on Page 2
02 PM & the Art of Gifting during past three years. BOOK ON MAHATMA Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary last year was special as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was presented with the first copy of a new book on Mahatma Gandhi, containing coloured pictures reflecting various phases of his life. In the book titled Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Life In Colour’, Gandhian scholars, historians, photo experts and graphic designers joined hands to turn 1,300 black and white photographs into colour images. The book was presented by Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement’s founder Dr Bindeshwar Pathak on the occasion of 147th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. PM himself being an ardent follower of Gandhian philosophy, has launched numerous schemes like Swachh Bharat movement to propagate Mahatma Gandhi’s message. OIL-PAINTING An oil-painting of Prime Minister Modi by a Chinese painter was also gifted to the Indian PM. During his China visit Modi was gifted a portrait of himself by Professor Shen Shu from Hangzhou’s Zhejiang Kaiming Art
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Gallery. The painting took nearly four months to complete. The PM was also presented with Chinese translations of ancient Indian texts including Bhagavad Gita and essays of Swami Vivekananda. He was gifted a set of 10 Chinese translations of the ancient Indian texts by Indophile Professor Wang Zhicheng, who teaches Hindi at the prestigious Peking University. The translations include Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Narada’s Bhakti Sutras, Yoga Vasistha among others. Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-anticipated visit to Israel, Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas recently played the gift diplomacy. Abbas on a visit to New Delhi earlier this month, presented a mosaic and an artwork to PM Modi with his name written in Arabic. Yet, there have been occasions when Modi had to refuse a gift because of certain rules formulated by the government. It is usually considered bad manners to turn down a gift. And if the gift happens to be a present from a host government, rejecting it could even have an impact on diplomatic relations. But there are exceptions to the rule.
Dr Bindeshwar Pathak presenting the pictorial book on Gandhi to PM Modi
Using plastic litter to create beautiful products is useful for the ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign and has potential for small-scale industry
Treasured Gifts, Limited Access
Ministers are allowed to accept gifts worth Rs 5,000. the rest have to be deposited with the toshakhana or treasury
ULE 4.2 of Code of Conduct of Ministers says that a minister can receive gifts when travelling abroad or from foreign dignitaries in India. “Such gifts fall into two categories. The first category will include gifts which are of symbolic nature….The second category of gifts would be those which are not of symbolic nature. If the value is less than Rs.5000, it can be retained by the minister. Gifts are evaluated by the toshakhana (treasury) which is maintained by the ministry of external affairs. “If the value of the gift received exceeds Rs.5000 then the minister or the official has the option to ‘purchase’ the gift from the toshakhana by paying the difference,” said a former ministry of external affairs official on condition of anonymity. Since 2013, the MEA has been putting up a list of the contents of the toshakhana on its website every quarter, detailing the the gift, the name and position of the recipient, the assessed value and the current location. From mementos to books to silver cases to tea seas to gold jewellery and alcohol bottles, the list of gifts makes for interesting reading. One of the first gifts received by Modi
was a pair of silver cufflinks valued at Rs.2,600. It is yet to be collected from the toshakhana. Another gift, a hand crafted silver box with semi precious stones, valued at Rs.20,000. According to an RTI petition filed by activist Subhash Agarwal in 2012, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh received gifts worth over Rs.2.9 lakh during his trips in 2011. Interestingly, Singh seemed to have a fondness for tea sets as he retained five tea sets. But not all gifts are as inexpensive as tea sets or books. Singh was gifted a Rolex watch valued at Rs.9 lakh and Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi was presented a gold necklace valued at Rs.7.04 lakh. Both these items are still at
the toshakhana. The most expensive gift given to Modi in the one year of his tenure has been a pair of gold and diamond cufflinks, valued at Rs.75,000. These too are in the toshakhana. Air chief marshall Arup Raha, the current air force chief, was gifted a Brietling 1884 Blackbird wrist watch valued at Rs.4.1 lakh, which is also in the treasury. In fact, luxury watches seem to be a favourite gift item. Sonia Gandhi was presented with a Franek Muller, Geneve wrist watch in January 2014. Valued at Rs.6 lakh, it is preserved in the toshakhana. Former foreign secretary Sujatha Singh received a Fujilfilm X100S camera valued at Rs.40,000. Other items in the range from wine bottles to carpets and paintings. “Exchange of gifts is an integral part of diplomacy. The presents represent culture, intent, importance of the relations between the two nations. In case of a personal rapport between the leaders, gifts can have a personal touch,” says a former Indian high commissioner. There is a provision for the toshakhana to auction the items that have not been claimed.
Prime Minister Modi had to leave behind the horse gifted to him by his Mongolian counterpart during his visit in May 2015 because, since 2005, the ministry of environment and forests has prohibited the exchange of animals as diplomatic gifts. Diplomats and political leaders can accept animals as gifts, but cannot bring them to India. Kanthakha, the horse gifted to Modi, might be the most exotic of the lot but prime ministers and government officials do get their fair share of interesting gifts when travelling abroad. THE OTHER WAY ROUND Prime Minister Modi also loves presenting gifts to the dignitaries but most of them might not be exquisite or expensive but they do carry significant messages. One thing Modi loves presenting is copies of Bhagvad Gita. On his maiden visit to US in September 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted ‘Bhagvad Gita Interpreted by Gandhi’ to US President Barack Obama during a dinner hosted at the White House. Later, it was Modi’s turn to receive a copy of Bhagvad Gita from Tulsi Gabbard – the first Hindu member of House of Representatives of the United States – when she called on the Prime Minister. After the meeting with the Indian
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The above are some of the gifts PM Modi carried to England for Queen Elizabeth II, and the Varanasi procession (right)
PM Narendra Modi has made gifts, which essentially
Prof Shen Shu’s gift to Modi: his portrait during his China visit
PM, Tulsi Gabbard, wrote a heartfelt note on her Facebook page about it, which read: “Today I was very honored to have the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Modi, where I presented him with a gift of my personal copy of the Bhagvad Gita. Nothing could have been more special and valuable to me than this Gita which I have had with me since a child, and which I took shelter in the war zones of the Middle East, and upon which I placed my hand when I took the took Congressional oath of office. “It is said that the greatest gift you
PM and the Art of Gifting
capture the essence of India, the hallmark of his outreach to world leaders
can give someone is that which is of the greatest value to you, because it is a personal sacrifice to give up something which is very dear to you. So my presenting of my personal Bhagvad Gita to the Prime Minister was my way of expressing just how deep my affection and love is for India, for the Prime Minister, and for the people of India who he represents.” PM Narendra Modi has made gifts, which essentially capture the essence of India, the hallmark of his outreach to world leaders including President Barack Obama, but what’s not known is that his choice of these may not be as
lopsided as was originally thought. Modi also used the extremely rare Rogan art form practiced only by a Muslim family in Gujarat to woo the US president, who seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed Modi’s company at the White House dinner and at the bilateral. Modi gifted a couple of exquisitely handcrafted Rogan paintings to Obama. The 400-year-old Rogan or oilbased art in India is the sole preserve of a Khatri Muslim family based in Kutch region of Gujarat. The paintings, which have a heavy Persian influence, are by Gafoorbhai Khatri, the head of the family and a national award winner. Gafoorbhai, originally from Sindh, has managed to pass on the Rogan art form to his children even though all other Rogan artisans failed to sustain themselves after India’s partition. As much as it is a special gift for Obama with a subtle political message, the paintings are also being seen as a tribute to Gujarat and to Gafoorbhai and his family for keeping a dying art form alive. Modi also gifted a Pashmina stole to Michelle Obama, an exclusive Jammu and Kashmir product symbolising luxury and elegance. GITA IN SANSKRIT AND JAPANESE Modi, on his five-day visit to Japan,
The handcrafted bookends given to then then British PM David Cameron (top) and the GI protected unique Aranmula mirror
gave Bhagvad Gita to his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe. In addition to the Sanskrit version, a Japanese version of the Bhagavad Gita was also presented to Abe. Modi also gave the Bhagavad Gita to Japan’s Emperor Akihito. ‘I have my own commitment and my own conviction that if I meet some great person of the world, I will give him Gita and that is why I brought it,” he said adding, “Today I went to the Maharaja of Japan, I have given one to him because I don’t think that I have anything more to give and the world also does not have anything more to get than this.” After gifting Gita to Abe and to the emperor, Modi said Gita was the best gift one could hope to give or even receive. He has gifted a Gita in Mandarin even to Chinese President Xi Jinping but he has shown now that there is a lot of thought and pragmatism which goes into the choice of gifts. ...Continued on Page 4
04 PM & the Art of Gifting
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This is the Bhagavad Gita that PM Modi presented to former US President Obama
KUFIC QURAN & GHALIB’S POETRY On May 23 last year the Prime Minister gifted the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei a specially commissioned reproduction of a rare seventh-century manuscript of the Holy Quran attributed to Hazrat Ali, the fourth caliph. Written in Kufic script, this manuscript is a prized possession of the Ministry of Culture’s Rampur Raza Library. The Prime Minister also gifted the Iranian President Dr Hassan Rouhani specially commissioned reproductions of Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib’s collection of poetry in Persian, Kulliyat-e-Farsi-e-Ghalib, as also Sumair Chand’s Persian translation of Ramayana. First published in 1863, Kulliyat-e-Farsi-e-Ghalib is a collection of over 11,000 verses by Ghalib. The reproduction is from a rare copy of the book’s 1867 edition to which some missing pages have been added from a copy of the 1872 edition from Maulana Azad’s personal collection preserved in the library of Indian Council for Cultural Relations in New Delhi. Translated into Persian in 1715 and copied in 1826, Sumair Chand’s Ramayana is a rare manuscript at the Ministry of Culture’s Rampur Raza Library, and contains over 260 illustrations – possibly the largest number in any hand-written Ramayana manuscript. QUEEN ELIZABETH -II When Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Queen Elizabeth II over lunch in November 2015, he presented her some photographs of her taken 54 years ago from her first visit to India in January-February 1961. He also presented her with fine organic honey from Jammu and Kashmir, and Tanchoi stoles that are a specialty of his parliamentary constituency Varanasi. A lace shawl gifted to the Queen made
The Mongolian horse presented to Modi, which he could not bring back due to Indian laws
PM Narendra Modi has shown now that there is a lot
of thought and pragmatism which goes into the choice of gifts that he makes to world leaders from yarn spun by Mahatma Gandhi. In a photograph she is riding an elephant in a procession from Nandesar Palace to Balua Ghat in Varanasi, in another she is seen visiting Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, another picture shows her at the Atomic Energy Centre at Trombay and in yet another photograph she is depicted cutting a cake to celebrate first birthday of Prince Andrew. PM Modi presented Chinese President Xi Jinping replicas of a stone casket of Buddhist relics and a stone statue of Buddha that were excavated from a 3rd-4th century AD stupa at Dev-ni-Mori - a site 80 kms east of Vadnagar, Gujarat - in 1957. In addition, the Prime Minister presented archaeological drawings of excavations at Vadnagar which was one of the places visited by the great Chinese traveller Xuanzang - also known as Hieun Tsang - around 641 AD. The
site is referred to as Anandpur in Xuanzang’s writings and recent excavations point to the existence of a thriving Buddhist centre at Vadnagar way back in 2nd century AD. In a bid to boost India-Kenya defence partnership, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July last year gifted 30 ambulances to Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. But to US President Barack Obama his present was a set of recordings from the tour of American singer Marian Anderson in 1957. The recordings consist of Anderson’s interview to AIR & a video capturing her rendition of the hymn ‘Lead Kindly Light’ at Gandhi Smriti.
GOLDEN MOSQUE For Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Modi’s choice of gift was absolutely different. He presented the Saudi king a gold-plated replica of Kerala’s Cheraman Juma Masjid, believed to be the first The gold-plated mosque built in India by Juma Masjid Arab traders around 629 replica gifted AD. to the The mosque in Karala’s Saudi King Thrissur district is believed to be the first mosque built in India by Arab traders around 629 AD. Cheraman Juma Masjid is symbolic of active trade relations between India and Saudi Arabia since ancient times. According to oral tradition, Cheraman Perumal was the Chera King and a contemporary of the Holy Prophet who went to Arabia and embraced Islam
after meeting the Holy Prophet at Mecca, the PMO said. Before he died in Oman due to some illness on the way back to India, he wrote letters asking the local rulers, to whom he had handed over his empire, to extend all help they could to Arab merchants who were planning to visit India. The mosque has an ancient oil lamp that is always kept burning and believed to be over a thousand years old. People from all religions bring oil for the lamp as an offering. Many believe that the mosque is a testimony to Islam’s arrival to India long before the Mughals came in from the northwest. BRITISH PM PM Modi presents PM David Cameron a specially handcrafted pair of bookends made of wood, marble and silver. He also presented Aranmula metal mirror, a unique GI protected handicraft from Kerala, and some pashmina stoles to First Lady of Britain. PM Modi presented PM Cameron David Omissi’s ‘Indian Voices of the Great War’. THE PEACOCK BLUE STOLE A few days ago, social media was abuzz with news of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s generous gift to a Twitter user named Shilpi Tewari. The stole was gifted to Modi by Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev before the PM unveiled the 112-feet Shiva bust in Coimbatore on 24 February this year. PM had nonchalantly put the beautiful stole depicting Buddha around his neck. Tiwari liked the stole so much that she tweeted “I want this stole” while tagging Modi. But she had never thought that Modi would make her dream come true. Two days later, the peacock blue scarf was sent to her doorstep along with a printout of her tweet, complete with an autograph of the Prime Minister, in true celebrity fashion.
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Sulabh Skill Development Centre
SULABH SKILL DEVELOPMENT CENTRE
A CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE The Sulabh Skill Deveklopment Centre at Ukhral in Jammu is scripting a saga of success by transforming the lives of hundreds of adolescents Quick Glance The Sulabh team is making efforts to provide job opportunities to computer trained students The Sulabh collaborates with the local bodies as well for this purpose It organises camps to make students aware of basic issues affecting day to day life
OING beyond the realm of comfort zone and creating a landmark in a non-descript region of the landscape requires indomitable courage and missionary zeal. And these are to be found in abundance in the visionary man called Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of the Sulabh International Social Service Organization. It was at his benign initiative, coupled with that of the then Honourable Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, that the Sulabh Skill Development Centre was started way back on 1st August 2014. The noble idea of starting a vocational
So far, around 175
students have been skilled in the fine art of cutting & tailoring and in computer applications
training centre at an extremely remote village of Ukhral, falling in the district of Ramban in Jammu, must have been prompted by the passionate desire and sagacious vision of honing and transforming skills in different forms of trades into a craft among adolescents, both girls and boys, with the pious purpose of enabling them to eke out a living on their own. And it bore fruition. The Sulabh team conducted a Bench Mark survey with the sole objective of assessing and figuring
out the most basic needs and requirements of the region as well as the area of interests prevalent among the adolescent youth. The contents of the each course at the centre contain the basic tenets of skill-honing and processing of untidy attributes. The courses are designed in a manner that they must provide the help needed for the trainees for acquiring skills which would finally lead them to getting the selfemployment avenues. Every activity at the Centre is predecided, focused and goal-orientated. The day for the students start with the morning prayer after which all of them disburse; but only to head for and congregate at their class rooms. The Sulabh skill development centre has been weaving the saga of success in transforming the quality of lives of
TRAINING MODULE Keeping in mind the interests of the youth and the needs of the area, a training module was developed for their overall personality development and divided into various segments like: • Cutting and tailoring • Computer software application • Awareness programme on health, hygiene sanitation • Personality development • Exposure visit
COURSE DURATION Normally, the courses are designed for one year but it will be for one and a- half years. Because of the severe chill of the winter season the centre remains closed for four months. Sulabh Skill Development Centre organised an educational tour on 9th September, 2015, to Kashmir Haat at Srinagar to make the students well equipped in their trade. Educational tour is an important medium of the social and cultural development of students. The objectives of the tour were the following:
1. To analyse market standard and demand of customer 2. To maintain team work between students 3. To make students capable to communicate effectively.
the students undergoing the sustained training session there. So far around 175 students have been skilled in the fine art of cutting & tailoring; and in computer application. At least 50 girls are earning Rs. 200 to 400 every day as self-employed tailor. The then Chief Justice of India, Honourable Tirath Singh Thakur, visited Sulabh Skill Development Centre on 9th October 2016 along with his team. Mrs. Jyoti Chopra, the controller of Sulabh Skill Development Centre, introduced him to students and elaborated the activities of the centre. Honourable chief Justice talked with students and praised the activities of the centre and said “Continue your Good work I am very happy”. The students were abuzz with excitement as they learned a lot about how to make handicraft products and formulate marketing strategy.
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MINISTRY OF POWER, NEW AND RENEWABLE ENERGY
LIGHTING THE NATION Within three years of coming to power, the Narendra Modi government has demonstrated a sterling performance in the power sector
here was neither shortage of coal nor of other resources, but the country was struggling for power supply for a long time. The situation however, has vastly improved during past three years since National Democratic Alliance led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power. Today the country boasts of a situation where surplus power to the tune of 3000-4000 mw is available on real time basis at any time of the day to states and distribution companies and at affordable rates on the power exchange. Not only that the country which was facing power shortage for past 70 years, has now actually become exporter of power. According to Central Electricity Authority, for the first time in history India exported power around 5,798 Million Units units power to Myanmar, Nepal and Bangla Desh during 2016-17, up to February 2017 only. It also imported around 5,585 Million Units units power from
Bhutan. That makes India a net exporter of 213 million units of electricity. The ease of getting power at affordable rates comes on the back of focussed reforms unleashed by the Modi government over the past three years in the power sector. NON-CONVENTIONAL ENERGY Swift thrust in government policies has seen a sudden spurt in production of both conventional and nonconventional energy. India has been putting lot of emphasis on production of solar and wind energy. It has also emerged not only as a big market in this sector but also a global player as far as solar energy production is concerned. Modi government had fixed a 2022 deadline for provide uninterrupted power to every household. But the speed of ongoing work in power sector indicates that the government is likely to meet the target much before the deadline. The power generation growth in the past three years is 6.4% from 2014-2017. Generation growth would
have increased further but for Energy Efficiency activities like UJALA, which have been the focus of the Modi Government since 2014. As generation alone could not drive the sector, appropriate measures were initiated in the power transmission sector which witnessed an impressive growth over the past three years. In line with the government’s “One nation, One price and One grid” initiative, the transmission sector witnessed as much as 36% (One third) increase in transmission. Alongside, the transmission lines saw a 26% increase from 2.91 lakh circuit kilometres to 3.66 ckm. EACH VILLAGE TO BE LIGHTED The growth in the sector was aided by simultaneous reforms on the rural front under the Modi government’s flagship program to provide electricity across all villages in the country. Rural Electrification under Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) was a program announced in 2014 to connect un-electrified villages and transform the lives of rural people. The number
Quick Glance India for the first time, has become net exporter of power Has been meeting targets in every sector ahead of deadline Government schemes have lit up millions of poor households
of un-electrified villages in 2014 stood at 18,452. This program, that was given a special focus under the reform programme of the government, achieved a new milestone of more than 13,123 villages electrified so far. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised the nation from his Independence Day speech in 2015, that the 18,452 villages would be electrified within a 1000 days. So while the target set by the Prime Minister for electrification of all villages was May 2018, the Union Minister for Power, Coal, Renewable Energy and Mines Piyush Goyal has preponed this deadline to December 2017. This in itself will set a record of sorts. The talk of reforms in the power will be incomplete in the absence of a mention of the energy efficiency movement through UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All). Rs 20,000 crore per annum saved The energy efficiency drive saw distribution of nearly 23 crore LED bulbs by the Government along with 33 crore by the private companies, a move that resulted in savings of over Rs. 20,000 crore per year in electricity bills of consumers. Government’s lead agency for this program, the Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) did not restrict this drive to mere distribution of energy efficient bulbs but also fans, air-conditioners, tube lights for urban areas along with energy efficient agricultural pumps for the farmers in rural India. The largest contributor in India’s power reforms story is the government’s Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana or UDAY scheme for turnaround of state distribution entities that were considered as the weakest link in the entire chain of power sector reforms. According UDAY was launched by the government to develop sustainable power distribution companies. Within three years, a total of 27 States and Union Territories joined this scheme for financial and operational turnaround. The scheme has already yielded savings of nearly Rs 12,000 crore to the state power distribution companies. Almost 85% UDAY Bonds
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The target set by the
PM for electrification of all villages was May 2018. Power Minister Piyush Goyal advanced it to December 2017 worth Rs. 2.32 lakh crore, have already been issued leading to less rate of interest for DISCOMs. REFORMS THROUGH TRANSPARENCY Transparency has been the major driving factor behind this government’s major reform initiatives. In the power sector alone, in order to empower customers track the working and performance of the ministry and its companies on real time basis, the power ministry has launched various mobile Apps and websites to ensure transparency and accountability. These includes the GARV (Rural Electrification) App that provides updates related to the electrification of villages and households in India; the Ujala (LED bulbs) App provides real-time updates on the LED distribution; Vidyut Pravah (Power Availability & Price) App giving realtime information on electricity price & availability; URJA (Urban Jyoti Abhiyaan) APP to help enhance consumer connect by showing DISCOM’s performance in cities and gives data of the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS), the TARANG (Transmission System Monitoring) App to monitor the progress of Transmission System in India;Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) that gives the progress of the UDAY yojana which assures the
permanent resolution of all past, present and future issues of DISCOMs along with the latest kid on the block or the Urja Mitra APP that enables the citizen to access real time and historic outage information for DISCOMs. India’s power sector has indeed taken rapid strides over the past three years and the reforms continues unabated. The reforms are recognised by all across the globe. From ranking 99th at the global level in 2014 in terms of electricity accessibility ranking, India today has come up many notches and is sitting at the 26th spot.Nothing better to sum this up in minister Piyush Goyal’s own words, “Many problems had set India back for many years but now the mood has changed.”
International Relations on climate change, was the main architect and motivator to launch this programme during such a short period. Delegation from the French Embassy was present too on this occasion. The International Solar Alliance is an initiative jointly launched by the Honourable Prime Minister of India and Honourable President of France on 30th November 2015 at Paris, in the presence of the Secretary General of the UN, on the side lines of COP21. The main objective of ISA is to undertake joint efforts required to reduce the cost of finance and the cost of technology, mobilize more than US $ 1000 billion of investments needed by 2030 for massive deployment of solar energy, and pave the way for future technologies adapted to the needs of 121 countries lying fully or partially between the Tropics. So far 31 countries have signed the Framework Agreement of the ISA, which is the first international and intergovernmental organization to be headquartered in India. Solar prices hit a record low twice this month. On May 10, India finalised a new auction at the Bhadla solar park in Rajasthan with the award of a power tariff at a record low Rs 2.62/kWh, at least 12 per cent below the previous record low Rewa solar tariff awarded only just three months ago in Madhya Pradesh. This new record only lasted two days with the latest 500MW solar auction coming in at Rs 2.44/kWh, down yet another seven per cent. This tender was also for projects at the Bhadla Phase IV solar park. “The ongoing Indian electricity transformation, which can be increasingly spearheaded by NTPC, will have global ramifications not least for the thermal coal sector which faces a technology driven structural decline,” says Tim Buckley, Director of Energy Finance Studies Australasia with the IEEFA. Energy Minister Piyush Goyal’s plan to cease thermal coal imports by
A POWER-PACKED PERFORMACE Within past three years, India’s total power capacity has increased by by almost one third
TOTAL PRODUCTION March 2014 March 2017 243 GW 320GW CONVENTIONAL ENERGY 214 GW 270 GW
Diff 31% 26%
the end of this decade is being led by NTPC which has already stopped them this past fiscal year. “Coal exporters that are looking to India to prop up volumes as China continues to reduce coal consumption are going to be disappointed,” he said. SOLAR PUSH The report, also authored by energy finance analyst Simon Nicholas, says Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, overseas investors are now seeking Mines and New & Renewable Energy, more opportunities in Indian Piyush Goyal, has said that renewable projects. International Solar Alliance ( ISA) can act as a medium to spread lessons Goyal called for deeper IndoAfrican cooperation, saying Indian on energy security which can help renewable energy sector offers lessons achieve universal energy access target such as lower and innovative financing set up in SDGs before 2030. He was models, risk reduction, setting up speaking at the launch of “Scaling large scale solar projects through Solar MiniGrids” by France and India energy parks. “India has achieved grid on the sidelines of 52nd Annual parity in solar tariffs”, he added. Meeting of the African Development Shri Piyush Goyal also said that Bank (AfDB) in Ahmedabad. Scaling Solar MiniGrids shall work in Recently Expressions of Interest tandem with ISA’s over all objectives have been received from Indian and already existing two programmes, companies to install 664,000 solar namely Scaling Solar Applications for pumps, 56 MW of minigrids and train Agricultural Use and Affordable 5,400 mechanics in African countries Finance at Scale launched on 22nd who have signed and ratified the ISA April, 2016. The main activities under Framework Agreement. Government the programme shall include-design of India is extending a US $ 10 billion and deploy small grids, adopt common line of credit for undertaking standards, aggregate demand, help developmental work in African establish global credit enhancement countries. On the request of ISA, Government of India has agreed to and de-risking mechanisms, call for expression of interest, assess demand earmark 15-20% of this line of credit and costs requirement for mini grid for undertaking solar related projects. projects, identify/develop attractive H.E. Mrs. Ségolène Royal, Minister payment models for consumers, and for Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs of France, in charge of persuade member countries with overseas assistance budgets to earmark a portion of their soft loan for the Third Programme. The objective of the event is to cater to the energy needs of ISA SECTOR FY- 2016-17 Member states in identified areas with TARGET ACHIEVEMENTS unreliable or no grid(s), and in island member states having abundant Wind Power 4000.00 5502.38 potential to tap solar energy. Such Solar Power 12000.00 5525.98 participating member countries can Small Hydro Power 250.00 105.90 take advantage of the available solutions to promote universal energy BioPower (Biomass & access and reduce electricity costs and Gasification and Bagasse tariffs through introduction and Cogeneration) 400.00 161.95 promotion of mini, micro, and nano Waste to Power 10.00 23.50 grids with smart features for harnessing solar power, in a time Total 16660.00 11319.71 bound manner.
THE POWER TARGETS
08 Good News
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GOOD NEWS IN BRIEF
SUPPORT TO ASSAM SELF HELP GROUPS
Assam Chief Minister launches a revolving fund to help such groups and village organisations
‘KAYAKALP’ TO IMPROVE SOIL QUALITY ORGANICALLY The product developed by NOCF enriches soil properties and its water holding capacity IANS
NSECTICIDES (India) Ltd, an agro-chemical manufacturing company, last week launched the ‘Kayakalp’ bio-product, which acts as a natural catalyser to improve the soil’s organic capacity and strengthen its nutrient value. The Kayakalp product is approved by the National Centre of Organic Farming (NCOF), which comes under the Ministry of Agriculture. As per a release, Kayakalp improves the soil’s organic carbon, enriches soil properties and its water holding capacity. It also serves to promote the growth of other beneficial micro organisms that re-establish a healthy soil and allow plants to thrive. “The product is very important for changing soil physical as well as chemical conditions. We have tested in farmers’ field and noted the change in soil,” the release quoted Krishan Chandra, Director, NCOF, as saying. Overuse of fertilisers, excessive tillage and lack of appropriate crop rotation has resulted in soil degradation and loss of fertility, which are emerging as major challenges for the Indian farmers. Insecticide (India) said Kayakalp will transform the health of the soil, making farmers grow better crops and produce more. “This will certainly prove to be a major step towards realizing the vision of our Prime Minister of doubling the income of our farmers within six years,” said Rajesh Agarwal, Managing Director, Insecticides (India). The company also plans to reach out to over 10 lakh farmers in the country to educate them about protecting and rejuvenating the health of the soil.
SSAM Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal distributed a Revolving Fund to some of the Self Help Groups (SHGs) and Village Organisations at a programme held at Bihutoli in Duliajan recently. Assam State Rural Livelihoods Mission is implementing Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana in the state with the objective of enhancing the social and economic empowerment of the rural poor in Assam. It has been designed as a multi-pronged approach to strengthen the livelihoods of the rural poor by promoting SHGs. Speaking on the occasion, he said women are the strength of our society and they must be empowered. Saying that today’s programme reflected the government’s commitment to uplift women folk Sonowal
asserted that women now-a-days are not less than men. Referring to Ujjwala programme which was ceremoniously launched in the state just a day ago, where women from BPL families were given LPG connections free of cost, Sonowal said that the Centre under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is relentlessly working for the financial
Quick Glance The fund is aimed at ameliorating the condition of rural poor The state budget has earmarked Rs 25000 to each to one lakh SHGs The most efficient SHG will be given a subsidised loan of Rs 5 lakh
independence of the poor women. He also said that this year’s state budget has kept a provision for giving Rs 25000 each to one lakh SHGs. He also said that those SHGs that performed exceedingly well would be provided with a loan amount of Rs 5 lakh at a subsidized rate of interest. Mentioning that women in every household always save money for the future need of the family, Sonowal said that there have been very few instances where women SHGs have mismanaged the money. Urging the SHGs to set an example of diligence and dedication, Sonowal said that these SHGs can be inspiration to their surrounding population to work hard and be financially independent. he also said that government is committed to all round development of the girl students so that they can achieve their full potential and bring laurels to the state.
HARYANA URBAN WASTE
GURUGRAM TO BE MADE DEBRIS-FREE Waste processing plant to convert construction debris material into bricks and tiles IANS
HE first construction and demolition waste processing plant of Haryana will be set up in Gurugram, adjoining national capital Delhi, to make the city debris-free. The processing plant will be set up in over three acres in village Basai of Gurugram at a cost of about Rs 13 crore to make the city debris-free, a state government spokesman said here on Monday. “The plant would have capacity to process 300 tonnes of waste per day,” the spokesman said, adding that plant would
be constructed and operated by IL and FS Company. The company has assured to start production at the plant by the end of this year.“The Municipal Corporation would earmark different sites for dumping of construction and demolition waste. The company would lift the debris from these places and bring it to the plant, where it would be used for making cement bricks,
Quick Glance Haryana government is setting up a construction waste treatment plant The plant spread over 3 acres can process 300 tonnes of debris This will prevent the waste being dumped on the roadsides
block tiles, tiles and other products,” he said. He said that the quantity of construction and demolition waste had increased in Gurugram due to rapid urbanisation and development of infrastructure, and it was expected to increase by 10 per cent every year. “As there is no scientific system in place for processing of the waste, it is being dumped on roadsides, in the Aravalli area or reaches landfill mixed with garbage. This results in blockage of drains, besides air and water pollution,” he added.
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017
SAFE WATER STATION OPENED IN TELANGANA
This is 75th such water station in the parched districts badly affected by fluoride contamination IANS
AFE Water Network and Honeywell India last week launched their 75th water station, providing safe water access to more than 200,000 people in Telangana districts affected by groundwater contamination, including from fluorides. They also announced that they will add 75 more safe water stations in 2018. Consumers use RFID cards at water ATMs which dispense 20 litres of safe drinking water for Rs 5. These locally-owned and locallyoperated safe water stations deploy a state-of-the-art six-step treatment process, including reverse osmosis and ultraviolet to purify water, they said in a statement here. Unique technology interventions such as solar power, water ATMs, and remote monitoring system ensure uninterrupted and sustainable supply of clean drinking water.
The initiative has generated over 200 local livelihoods contributing to drudgery reduction amongst women. “We are committed to ensure that communities have access to safe water, especially the poor. We focus on driving sustainability by building local capabilities to operate safe water stations, and mobilise strong grassroots community support,” said Safe Water Network CEO Kurt Soderlund. “Safe water stations in Medak district is empowering local community by
GREEN CORRIDOR BEING PLANNED Corridor planned by the Ministry of Renewable Energy will transport excess power to deficient states IANS
BSCURED somewhat by developments in the solar space, wind energy in India has experienced steady development in the last 7-8 years as the government plans a major ‘green corridor’ project to transport surplus renewable energy to deficient states, a top official has said. “In fact, wind has had a faster development. One may call it steady development over the last 7-8 years. Many global leaders in the field have set up base in India,” says New and Renewable Energy Secretary Rajeev Kapoor. “Of course, wind generation is concentrated only in a few states like Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and it is our aim to facilitate interstate transfer of renewable energy to deficient states,” he said.
These developments come at a time when solar tariffs being discovered through the bidding process have hit record low. The Secretary pointed out that his ministry had last year held a successful tender for 1 gigawatt (GW) of wind power for inter-state sale. “The next auction of 1 GW for inter-state sale is going to take place very soon,” Kapoor said. “One
GOOD NEWS IN BRIEF
75 more such water stations to be set up in Telangana next one year 20 litres of water being made available from water ATMs for Rs 5 Roughly 50,000 people benefitted from the initiative in each district
providing safe drinking water access to over 50,000 people for their good health. The price is affordable and the program is sustainable,” said District Collector Bharathi Hollikeri. “Not only are we helping build Telangana into a technology hub through our thousand engineers and global technology work they do here, we are also tied to community through this program. It is important to understand that safe water is not just about health. It allows children to go to school every day, parents to work and improve living standards - it can transform lives,” said Honeywell India President Vikas Chadha. Over the last two years, Safe Water Network and Honeywell India have set up safe water stations across Karimnagar, Adilabad, Warangal Rural, Warangal Urban, Jayashankar, Mahabubabad, Jagtiyal, Peddapalli, Badradri, Mancherial, Suryapet, Khammam, Medak, and Nalgonda districts.
Quick Glance Wind energy gets a major boost with globalsleaders in India now Indian wind forecasting model India is up to 92 per cent accurate Next auction of 1 GW for inter-state sale is going to take place soon
massive green corridor project is being planned to ensure that surplus renewable energy is transported to deficient states,” he added. In this connection, the official said the three main challenges in wind energy were forecasting, transmission and the competitive bidding framework for trade. “The National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) has worked with Tamil Nadu government to develop a wind forecasting model to forecast on a day-in-advance and intra-day basis,” he said. “This model has shown good results and the NIWE can forecast in up to 92 per cent of occasion,” Kapoor said. “With better forecasting, there can be better scheduling of generation. We also plan to start forecasting for solar,” he added.
BOLLYWOOD CELEBRITIES’ GREEN INITIATIVE Celebrities plant 1000 trees and pledge more to protect Mumbai’s environment
GROUP of Bollywood celebrities including Sunny Leone, Arjun Rampal, Pooja Batra, Arshad Warsi among others gathered on Tuesday for a tree plantation drive to protect the environment of Mumbai city. Initiated by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and Bhamla Foundation, the celebrities planted 1,000 trees and pledged to plant more. Arjun Rampal who is associated with the cause for quite a few years told the media: “It is quite alarming how global warming is affecting the climate and environment, so we have to take a stand to protect the earth. It is our responsibility.” Designer Manish Malhotra said: “I think Asif Bhamla of Bhamla Foundation is doing a great job and I support the cause. Apart from our profession, I think we should pay attention to the environment because this is where we are living.” Considering the fact that Mumbai is an megapolis where builders are cutting trees for industrial development, Asif Bhamla said: “everybody is active enough to create awareness and that is why a few years back the metro project of Arey Colony has stopped and now it is in a negotiation phase.” Meanwhile, many of Bollywood’s icons have been campaigning for tackling climate change. Abhay Deol is building a house in Goa with solar power and rainwater harvesting. Rahul Bose, who has been very active and vocal on issues of climate change, gives his most of his free time to working with Oxfam for the endangered tribal people of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017
HYPERTENSION MAY PROVE FATAL!
It is a silent killer that puts you perpetually at risk of suffering a stroke Quick Glance
F you are suffering from high blood pressure and prefer to go untreated, you are simply playing with your life. It is a common disease but carelessness can take a life. Gone are the days when ignorance was considered to be a bliss. In case of hypertension this bliss could prove deadly if untreated over a prolonged period. The reason: it can damage the blood vessels in the brain and cause a stroke as per health experts. What amplifies the problem of hypertension is the fact that it often goes unnoticed as it attacks the body surreptitiously, without showing up symptoms of its own. Its prevalence in India is widespread. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Hypertension, about one-third of India’s urban population and one-fourth of the rural population are hypertensive. “High blood pressure can cause blood clots to form in the arteries leading to your brain, blocking blood flow and leading to lack of oxygen supply to the brain cells and tissues, potentially causing a stroke,” said Tapan Ghose, Director of Cardiology at Fortis Hospital located in Vasant Kunj of New Delhi. High blood pressure damages arteries throughout the body, creating conditions where they can burst or clog more easily. Weakened arteries in the brain, resulting from high blood pressure, put people at a much higher risk of stroke, according to the American Heart Association. There are primarily two types of strokes -- “ischemic stroke” which can happen due to a reduction in blood supply to the brain, and “hemorrhagic stroke” that is due to bleeding in the brain. But early detection of blood pressure and its management may reduce its complications and risk of death. Some symptoms for early detection of high blood pressure include headache, chest discomfort, palpitations, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, nosebleeds and feeling numb or weak. Gunjan Kapoor, Director, Interventional Cardiology Department of NOIDA-based Jaypee Hospital, said: “High blood pressure is responsible for almost half the ischemic strokes that are also called brain attacks, akin to a heart attack. It also increases the chances of
Weakened arteries in the brain put people at higher risk of stroke, especially in aged people About one-third of India’s urban population and one-fourth of the rural population are hypertensive Common symptoms of hypertension include headache, chest discomfort, palpitations and irregular heartbeat
hemorrhagic strokes.” “It is one of the leading causes for stroke that contributes over 50 per cent in blockages (ischemic stroke) and leads to bleeding in the brain,” Vipul Gupta, Director, Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon, added. The exact causes of high blood pressure are not known, but several factors and conditions may play a role in its development, such as smoking, lack of physical activity, too much salt in the diet, consumption of alcohol, stress, and genetic family history of high blood pressure. “Being overweight can also put you at risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and Type-2 diabetes, all of which increase your risk of a stroke,” said J.D. Mukherji, Senior Director - Neurology, Max Super Specialty Hospital in Saket, New Delhi. Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, cutting down on full-fat milk, cream and cheese, as well as fatty meat and takeaways may also help control hypertension. Rachit Dua, a Delhi-based fitness coach and nutritionist, opined: “Exercise also plays an imperative role to strengthen your cardiovascular health. It reduces hypertension and other heart-related issues to a great extent, but it should always be done under a certified fitness
professional.” “The best way to control high blood pressure is to diagnose it. Once diagnosed, the doctor may prescribe medicine, drugs, diet and exercise to help keep the blood pressure in control. Making certain lifestyle changes can keep a check on your hypertension. Avoid a sedentary lifestyle, quit smoking and limit alcohol,” Anil Kansal, Neurosurgeon, BLK Super Specialty Hospital, New Delhi, suggested. Primary hypertension is predominantly associated with a positive family history of hypertension, obesity, and lifestyle factors. And among the pediatric population it could be due to the wellestablished childhood obesity epidemic. Identifying children with hypertension and successfully treating it should have an important impact on long-term outcomes of heart diseases. One of the most important components of the successful management of childhood hypertension is determining whether or not there is an underlying cause that is amenable to treatment. There are increasing evidences that adult hypertension has its antecedents during childhood, as childhood blood
The exact causes of high blood pressure are not
known, but several factors and conditions may play a role in this major killer disease
pressure (BP) predicts adult BP. Children with hypertension are largely susceptible to cardiovascular risk factors. Although death and cardiovascular disability do not occur in hypertensive children, organ damage, such as left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), thickening of the carotid vessel wall, retinal vascular changes, and even subtle cognitive changes are detectable in children and adolescents with high BP. Left ventricular hypertrophy occurs commonly in children and adolescents with high BP. Among children and adolescents with primary hypertension, the presence of obesity could be associated with marked LVH. Carotid artery intimal medial thickness (CIMT), assessed by ultrasound, has been found to be greater in young adults who had had multiple risk factors since childhood. For these reasons, referral for more specialised evaluation should be considered. Secondary hypertension (high BP caused by another medical condition) should, in particular, be suspected if patients do not respond to the initial treatment recommendations for younger patients. This condition also increases your risk of developing the known complications of high blood pressure -- namely heart disease and stroke. For both clinical and public health benefit, identification, examination, and treatment of children with high risk BP is an important step in reducing the excessive burden of cardiovascular disease. Teenagers who know they have prehypertension or even high blood pressure can most likely avoid needing to take medication and developing complications of high blood pressure if they make some changes to their diet and lifestyle.
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017
‘NO CAUSE KNOWN FOR HALF OF WORLD’S DEATHS’- WHO In absence of any record about the cause of deaths, the WHO finds itself high and dry IANS
HE World Health Organization (WHO) has come out with a startling revelation that no recorded cause is ascribed to more than half of all deaths have no recorded cause, making effective health monitoring and policymaking far more difficult. However, improved collection of statistics meant that 27 million of the world’s 56 million estimated deaths in 2015 were registered with a cause compared with only about a third in 2005, the U.N. health agency’s latest global health report said. The WHO said several countries, including China and Turkey, had made “significant strides” in data collection. In Iran, it said, 90 percent of deaths are now recorded with details of the causes, compared with 5 percent in 1999. While things have improved
significantly in recent years, many countries still do not routinely collect high-quality health data, MariePaule Kieny, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health systems and innovation, said in a statement. “If countries don’t know what makes people get sick and die, it’s a lot harder to know what to do about it,” she said. The WHO is working with countries to strengthen health information systems and improve data quality, she said. The WHO’s report issued this year focused on the U.N. Sustainable
MUFFIN PANACEA FOR CHOLESTEROL
A scientist has developed a blueberry muffin that could lower cholesterol
HERE is good news for those tired of taking cholesterol-lowering medications. Lowering cholesterol may be as easy as munching a muffin, researchers have found out. A scientist at the University of Queensland in Australia, has developed a “good heart” blueberry muffin, that could help lower cholesterol as well as the
risk of heart disease. High cholesterol levels can limit blood flow, increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke. The low-fat blueberry muffin contained three grams of beta glucans - a healthy soluble fibre - that occurs naturally in the cell walls of oats and cereals, and meets the food standard guidelines for cholesterol-lowering properties. Previous studies had demonstrated that beta glucan fibre in oats can slow
HEALTH NEWS IN BRIEF
Unrecorded cause of death is a major hurdle in health monitoring About 830 women died daily due to complications of pregnancy in 2015 Many countries still do not routinely collect high-quality health data
Development Goals (SDGs), a set of internationally agreed targets adopted in 2015 which track issues such as health, climate, sanitation and economic inequality. It found that while maternal and newborn death rates are declining, the 2015 global neonatal mortality rate was 19 per 1,000 live births and the underfive death rate was 43 per 1,000 live births. About 830 women died every day due to complications of pregnancy or childbirth in 2015, it said. Looking at infectious diseases, it found that an estimated 2.1 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2015, 35 percent fewer than in 2000. There were an estimated 212 million malaria cases globally in 2015, the report found, and about 60 percent of the population at risk of the mosquitoborne disease had access to an insecticide-treated net 2015, compared to 34 percent in 2010..
Quick Glance High cholesterol levels can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke A newly discovered blueberry muffin that helps in controlling this The muffin contains three grams of beta glucons, good for the heart
absorption of fats to reduce blood cholesterol. “There is good evidence that three grams or more of oats beta glucan consumption a day can help reduce cholesterol levels,” Nima Gunness, Food Sciences scientist and keen baker at the University of Queensland, said in a statement. “I wanted to turn my discovery into a product, like a muffin, that people could eat to help reduce the amount of cholesterol in their blood stream, lowering the risk of heart disease,” Gunness added. “We are not suggesting that people go off any cholesterol-lowering medication,” Gunness continued. “Rather, we are aiming to provide a convenient, healthy and very tasty way of helping to reduce cholesterol levels...eating a muffin a day is a convenient way for people to improve their heart health,” Gunness said.
ZIKA VIRUS TO FIGHT BRAIN TUMOUR This virus is believed to be able to cross the blood-brain barrier and thus could target cancer cells IANS
HE possibility of using the Zika virus to destroy brain tumour cells is being explored by the researchers which might lead to new cancer treatments, Cancer Research UK recently announced. The research will be carried out by a team led by Harry Bulstrode at the University of Cambridge. The team will use tumor cells in the lab and in mice to test the effect of the Zika virus on glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive form of brain tumour. Zika virus is believed to be able to cross the blood-brain barrier, and could target cancer cells, sparing normal adult brain tissue and potentially opening up a new way to attack the disease. “Zika virus infection in babies and children is a major global health concern, and the focus has been to discover more about the virus to find new possible treatments,” said Bulstrode. “We’re taking a different approach, and want to use these new insights to see if the virus can be unleashed against one of the hardest-to-treat cancers,” Bulstrode added. According to Cancer Research UK, Zika virus infection in pregnancy causes severe disability in babies by attacking stem cells in the developing brain. But since the brain of an adult is fully developed, Zika usually causes no more harm than mild flu-like symptoms. Though the research is at the early stage, the team plans to explore how the virus targets stem cells and provide the starting point to develop new treatments that seek out the tumour and spare the surrounding healthy brain tissue.
12 Women Artisans
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017
GENDER EMBROIDERY ECONOMICS
THREADING COLOURS IN THAR
Undeterred by displacement from Pakistan during the 1971 war and resettled in the unforgiving Thar Desert, women artisans have used their skills of traditional embroidery to earn a living with dignity
Quick Glance Paaro Bai’s group has helped many women earn between money Rangsutra is a company of artisans set up to ensure regular work Rangsutra’s biggest buyer is Fab India, a popular chain of stores
HE women of Dandkala village in Kolayat block of Bikaner district in Rajasthan are really a class apart. Although they are refugees from Umerkot district in Sindh province of Pakistan, they fought displacement by taking ownership of their traditional embroidery skills, which has enabled them to be breadwinners for their families. Located 140 km away from Bikaner city in the Thar Desert, which is harsh, arid and tough with shifting sand dunes and extreme temperatures, the lives of rural women in Dandkala are not easy by any means. But it has not stopped the women artisans to earn a living with dignity. Settled in 1988, the villagers had earlier stayed at refugee camps in Barmer and Jaisalmer for almost 17 years. There were lakhs of people ousted from Pakistan in those camps, who had fled to the adjacent states during the 1971 India-Pakistan war. The Rajasthan government had at that time allotted land to those ousted from Pakistan. In 1987, western Rajasthan suffered its worst drought of the century and Bikaner was one of the badly hit districts. Lack of
The refugee families suffered miserably, especially after the 1987 drought, till they decided to employ the skills in their special Kashida embroidery
food, water and fodder left thousands of families desolate and wiped off about half of the livestock. In these extreme conditions, the villagers either migrated to cities or earned a pittance at road construction sites. “When my husband was allotted 25 bighas of land at Dandkala, we were living in abject poverty. When we came first to settle in the village from the camp in Barmer, we were shocked as it was entirely a tough dry patch without trees, shrubs, shade or water. We, like other 250 families in the village, had no option but to cultivate the virgin land, which had never been cultivated earlier,” 58-year-old Paaro Bai told VillageSquare.in. “The drought in 1987 further aggravated our problems. It was difficult to get a square meal in a day. It was such a miserable condition that we had not taken bath for months together. My son and daughters were full of lice and used to stink badly.
In that terrible condition, to earn a livelihood I used to accompany my husband along with our infant children on our laps wherever the thekedar (contractor) took us to work for road construction. Most of the women like me, who came from Sindh province of Pakistan, have the only skill that was special kind.” Paaro Bai was referring to Kashida, a special kind of embroidery that includes various styles such as taanka bharat, soof, pakka, kambiri, kharak, kachcha and Sindhi. “At our camp in Barmer and here in the village, middlemen took advantage of our situation as most of us were illiterates, unorganized and were in need of money,” she said. “The middlemen were exploiting us for a very long time by giving us very less for our exquisite hand embroidery.” Sitting nearby, Santosh, who had been working among the women artisans, said, “The village falls in the command area of the Indira Gandhi
Canal and in 1988 the URMUL Trust expanded its activities in these areas. URMUL Seemant Samiti was formed at Bajju in Kolayat block to work in 113 villages.” “Earlier, Sanjoy Ghose accompanied by URMUL functionaries had seen me toiling hard in a road construction work. He had seen my son and daughters sleeping under the scorching sun subject to dust, heat, noise and multiple hazards. Then after that when URMUL health workers visited the village for treating the tuberculosis patients, then I showed the handicraft,” says Parro Bai. “Their visit to my hut proved to be watershed in my life. They acted positively and started income-generation project of embroidery.” URMUL supported the women artisans to upgrade their traditional skills, provided technical support and linked them with national and international markets. The nonprofit also freed them from the stranglehold of the exploitative middlemen. Women artisans in Dandkalan, Gokul, Bhaloori Bijeri, Bikendri and other villages of Kolayat and Pugal blocks of Bikaner district started getting organized in self-help groups (SHGs) and further enhanced their skills in kashidakaari
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017
KERALA WOMEN’S HYGIENE
URMUL supported the women artisans to upgrade their traditional skills, provided technical support and linked them with global markets
(embroidery). “Constant orientation by famous designers like Laila Tyabji and graduates from National Institute of Design (NID) and National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) helped women to hone their skills,” Santosh told VillageSquare.in: “Now these women earn between Rs 3,500 and Rs 6,000 a month.” “Kashida mharo khet bhi suu aur fasal bhi (Embroidery serves us a field, crop and produce for us). When I started working with URMUL my husband created lot of hurdles but when he saw that my earning is helping the family, he stopped. Earlier we were not able to feed ourselves and our children a square meal but now there is no such shortage,” said Paaro Bai. Paaro Bai is a founding member of an SHG and she has helped 40 to 50 women of her village to earn between Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000 every month. She had trained her daughters, Manguri and Mathri, who are now married and live in Barmer district. They have trained other women of their villages. Women artisans involvement in Kashida work help them to remain in their villages, rather than migrating to the cities. Most of the work is done in homes and not under controlled conditions. Their own homes are their workplace and they earn with dignity. Capacity building trainings, regular interaction with URMUL functionaries, designers and buyers enables them to see the world in a wider perspective. Paaro Bai does her embroidery work along with her daughters-inlaw, nieces and other women of the village, which operates like a Rangsutra Centre. Shubham Sharma Sen, a graduate of NIFT, explains
about Rangsutra. “It’s a company of artisans set up by social activistturned entrepreneur Shumita Ghose 12 years ago. It was created to ensure regular work and market access to artisans. Artisans are coowners and shareholders in the enterprise. They are part of board of directors and have a say in costing, planning, production and wages,” Sharma Sen told VillageSquare. in. “Paaro Bai is a shareholder in the company. Over 3,500 weavers, embroiderers and artisans from Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Assam and West Bengal have formed the company. Seventy percent of Rangsutra’s artisan ownerworkers are women. The work and money they earn through this work have given these women more say at home. These women now want to send their daughters to school and some have become group leaders in their villages, motivating other women to follow in their footsteps. The traditional embroidery used for making personal trousseaus is now market linked and kept alive.” Rangsutra is now a successful enterprise. “Rangsutra’s biggest buyer is Fab India (which is a sort of icon in the fashion chain of clothes across India). It also exports in small quantities to France, the Netherlands and the UK,” says Sharma Sen. “The global attention means that there is continuous need to augment the strength of the existing groups and increase their capacity by speeding up the work while maintaining the quality. Retaining the cultural identity, the traditional embroidery used for making personal trousseau is now market-affiliated and kept alive.”
SANITARY NAPKIN VENDING MACHINES MANDATORY IN KERALA SCHOOLS Every woman has the right to menstrual hygiene, says Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan
ERALA has become the first state in India to make sanitary napkin vending machines mandatory in all higher secondary schools. With just weeks left for the schools in the state to reopen after summer vacations, the government has mandated all schools to have vending machines from the beginning of the new academic year. The number of machines should be proportionate to the number of girl students in the school. This will be implemented under the state government’s She Pad’ scheme which aims to provide sanitary pads to all girl students. The education department has also directed all government, private, aided and unaided schools in the state to ensure clean drinking water and and separate toilets for boys and girls. In a Facebook post, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, “Every woman has a right to menstrual
Quick Glance Kerala becomes the first state to implement such scheme It is part of the “She Pad” scheme to provide sanitary pads to all girls An eco-friendly disposal system will be distributed as part of the scheme
hygiene. The government’s ‘She Pad’ scheme is aimed to distribute healthy and clean sanitary pads to all school students across the state. An eco-friendly disposal system and distilleries for used pads will be distributed as part of the scheme. An estimated Rs 30 crore will be spent on this scheme in the next years. The project is being implemented with the support of local self-government institutions under the leadership of the State Women Development Corporation.” According to the government figures, there are a total of 1845 higher secondary schools in Kerala, including both private and government sector.
14 State News
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017
STATE NEWS IN BRIEF
TRIPURA TO KICKSTART PANCHAKARMA THERAPY
It is an attempt to figure on medical tourism map of India
ARUNACHAL PRADESH WELFARE STATE
ARUNACHAL TAKES SLEW OF WELFARE MEASURES
From free cancer care to education aid, Arunachal government splurges on welfare measures
SSB BUREAU / AGARTALA
RIPURA government is planning to link Panchakarma therapy to medical tourism. Noting the growing popularity of the Ayurveda treatment, the state’s forest department is contemplating to expand the Panchakarma therapy centers in the state. Panchakarma is Ayurveda’s primary purification and detoxification treatment. These five therapeutic treatments eliminate toxins from the body, they are : Vamana, Virechana, Nasya, Basti and Raktamoskshana. The series of these five therapies help remove deep rooted stress and illness-causing
toxins from the body while balancing the doshas (energies that govern all biological functions). The Panchakarma Training and Research Institute near Hatipara in has been witnessing increasing number of footfalls of people desiring to undergo traditional therapy. Forest officials said the department is planning to give a new look to Panchakarma therapy by expanding its facility to other areas. “In today’s stressful life, Panchakarma therapy is very essential and people are coming up to take the traditional method of treatment,” they said. The officials said a medical tourism center will come up near the Panchakarma Training and Research Institute. “This will attract more people to visit the state to see its natural beauty as well Panchakarma therapy,” they felt. A fifteen-day training programme for therapists has already got underway at the Institute.
SSB BUREAU / ITANAGAR
RUNACHAL Pradesh government has decided to tie up with the Tata Memorial Hospital to provide cheaper medicines and free chemotherapy to cancer patients in the Tomo Riba Institute of Health and Medical Sciences Hospital. The decision comes days after a Tertiary Cancer Centre was inaugurated at the institute. The government has allocated Rs 3 crores for free chemotherapy for cancer patients for up
to 500 patients in the hospital, with a ceiling of Rs 10 lakh per patient. Announcing some key decisions taken by the state cabinet yesterday, state government spokesperson Bamang Felix said the cabinet approved and allocated Rs 50 crore for rural local bodies to empower the Panchayat bodies in the state. To meet the needs of the security and safety of the citizens and to ensure that more youths of the state are provided employment in an even manner, the district wise distribution and recruitment
Quick Glance Free chemotherapy for cancer patients with help of Tata Memorial Rs 50 crore to village panchayats to strengthen grassroot level welfare Grant increased for Vivekanand Kendriya Vidyalayas
of posts of constable and centralised recruitment of general category posts at Itanagar-Capital Complex were also approved on Thursday. The Cabinet approved amalgamation of Finance & Planning departments into an integrated Department of Finance and Investments, which will be headed by a Development Commissioner. The posts of Director of Border Affairs and Director of IT too were approved. The cabinet also approved calling of ‘Expression of Interests’ from Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) or Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) for construction of Arunachal House at New Delhi, Guwahati and Shillong on turnkey basis. The Cabinet appreciated the contribution of the Vivekananda Kendriya Vidyalayas in the education sector of Arunachal since it arrived to the state on the invitation of then Chief Secretary in 1977-78. Considering that the VKVs Arunachal Pradesh Trust has not been provided grants-in-aid for a long time, the Cabinet approved to enhance the grants-in-aid to the trust for infrastructure development, for which the Education Department has been entrusted to work out a proposal.
ASSAM CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY
ASSAM GOVT TO AWARD BEST CONTRACTORS
CM announces reward for contractors meeting both deadline and quality standards SSB BUREAU / GUWAHATI
WD contractors who maintain quality in their works and complete their tasks within stipulated time frame would be awarded with cash prizes by the Assam Government. Chief Minister
Quick Glance CM Sonowal announces Rs 10 lakh award for the Best Contractor Second prize will be Rs 7 lakh and third one for Rs 5 lakh Awards have been announced to promote quality and punctuality
Sarbananda Sonowal said that the government is striving to ensure top notch quality in construction in the state. This will make that people realise the difference the government seeks to bring to their lives. Reviewing the functioning of the State PWD Department today in a meeting at the Chief Minister’s Conference Room at Janata Bhawan, the Chief Minister said that the first prize for best performing contractor would be 10 lakh rupees, second prize 7 lakhs and third prize would be 5 lakhs rupees so that contractors are motivated to deliver quality services and compete among themselves in maintaining top quality in
their works. Sonowal also said that the names of the concerned contractor and the PWD engineer for a specific construction work have to be published in the form of advertisements so that people are informed about those who are responsible for carrying out the work and make them accountable. The contractors will also have to inform the PWD department weekly about the progress of their works, he added. The PWD will monitor the process.
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017
UTTAR PRADESH INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY
MUSLIMS TO PARTICIPATE IN UP YOGA DAY EVENT
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be participating in the event in Lucknow on June 21
HE International Yoga Day event on June 21 is likely to witness participation of Muslims in Lucknow in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “At least 300 Muslim men and women will participate in the International Yoga Day celebrations, which would be held in Lucknow’s Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan. The number of participants may go up,” says Mahiraj Dhwaj Singh, national co-convener (organisation) of Muslim Rashtriya Manch for UP and Uttarakhand. Spokesperson of All India Shia
GARBAGE COLLECTION Municipal corporations threatens it will stop collecting garbage from June 1 if they don’t install processing units SSB BUREAU
OUTH Mumbai Municipal Corporation has threatened to stop collecting garbage June 1 onwards, if big hotels, restaurants, cinema houses, housing societies, sports clubs etc did not implement its order for putting up the garbage disposal /processing centres in their areas. The SMMC has issued warning to 227 institutions in this regard.
Personal Law Board Maulana Yasoob Abbas when contacted said, “We are open to the idea of participation in the International Yoga Day celebrations. We are exploiting all the options in this regard.” Syed Babar Ashraf, president of Sada-e-Sufiyaain Hind was of the view that if yoga is good for an individual’s health, then it must be practiced. “We are all for yoga and will participate in the International Yoga Day festivities. Problem arises when religion is mixed with yoga. As far as we are concerned, there is no problem with yoga,” he said. On May 14, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief
300 Muslim women and men will likely participate in UP’s International Yoga Day celebrations
The municipal administration had earlier issued a notice to these institutions to set up a garbage processing centre at their own expense so that the pressure on the dumping grounds could be reduced. It is worth mentioning that about 100 kg of garbage comes out daily from each of these institutions. Transporting it to the dumping ground and disposing it off has increasingly been becoming difficult for the municipal corporation. That’s why the administration had said that these institutions should themselves take an initiative in this
STATE NEWS IN BRIEF
Many Muslims are expected to participate in International Yoga Day event PM Modi along with 55,000 people is likely to participate in the event This will be third edition of International Yoga Day
Minister Yogi Adityanath reviewed the preparations for the event. Prime Minister Modi along with 55,000 people is likely to participate in the event. A UP government spokesperson on Wednesday said that Rajnath Singh met Adityanath to discuss and review the preparations of the International Yoga Day. Union Ayush minister Shripad Yesso Naik was present at the meeting. Adityanath said that for convenience of ordinary citizens, LED screens will be installed at different parks in the city, so that they could also participate simultaneously. He also issued directions to hold a 28-day workshop for the participants prior to the International Yoga Day (IDY). The Union Ayush Ministry had proposed Lucknow as the venue for the main function for IDY celebrations this year. Earlier, the government was considering Bhopal, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Ranchi and Bengaluru as possible venues for the event. The Union Ayush Ministry is also planning to organise a major yoga event in at least one city in each of the districts across the country. The ministry zeroed in on Lucknow as the possible venue at a review meeting for the June 21 event.
Quick Glance All hotels, restaurants and cinema halls must dispose garbage Garbage produced by them must be disposed systematically Corporations say dry and wet garbage must be segregated
direction. But SMMC is annoyed because the order is not being taken seriously. In the notice, it was explicitly mentioned that dry and wet waste should be separated. These institutions were also suggested to adopt waste disposal processes like Vermicomposting and vachomethanation etc. According to Municipal Commissioner Kiran Dighavkar, the institution and the city, both will benefit if these institutions implement the scheme for disposal of garbage in their premises. The increasing weight on the dumping ground too will be reduced. If the order is ignored then the administration will stop the garbage collection.
TRAINING AGAINST SUPERSTITIONS A one-day camp being organised to make people aware of hollowness of superstitions SSB BUREAU
AHARASHTRA’S Blind faith (Superstition) Control Committee has decided to set up workers’ training camps during the summer vacations. The camp will start from Ambarnath on May 28. The purpose of this camp is to develop a scientific approach among people to eliminate superstition. The youth are being called upon to develop a scientific attitude themselves. Wherever superstitions are being promoted, they should become proactive and not only alert people against it, but also expose the people perpetrating and propagating superstition. This camp will be a one- day programme, and it will educate people through various methods and instruments. Social scientists and scientific-minded resource persons and speakers will be invited to talk so as to develop make people develop belief in power in the inherent power instead of depending on ‘miracles’and ‘tantra-mantras’. In the camp, a special session of Q & A will be held so that the volunteers/workers coming there and the other people too, can clear their doubts. At present there exist many major superstitions. Seeing a black cat is one of them. Again, if a cat crosses a road, many drivers will screech to a halt. Similarly, the number 13 is supposed to bring ill-luck, though such things are baseless
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017 Take up one idea. Make “that one idea your life –
think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success”
ROBIN KESHAW The author is a graduate in Computer Science from BITS, Pilani. He is presently helping to settle a migrant community, focusing on their education needs
‘MERA NAAM MUKESH HAI’ While Mukesh’s story has shaken the people, the government has also been very proactive in tackling the tobacco menace
THE VALUE OF THE COW GOES BEYOND FAITH There is a science behind why the cow is of special worth
HE recent hullabaloo over cow vigilantism has truly mired the issue beyond recognition and all logical limits. True science says that the value of the cow goes much beyond faith, or anything to do with Hinduism. It is a fact that the Hindu seers first spoke of the values of the cow, and to ensure that this unusual bovine is not put to harm, they termed it as a Mata or Mother. But what about Rudolph Steiner, the early 20th century Austrian philosopher and seer, who invented the highest school of organics, or bio-dynamics? It was he who developed the system of putting certain organic material, such crystal, dandelion, chamomile, etc., inside cow horns and bury them underground, and later bring them up to be used on the soil. Without getting into the complexities of biodynamics, the question is why did Steiner do it? Because he knew it from the ancient Indian sciences that the cow is, first, the most peaceful animal, and second, the hollow of the cow horns have a double helix pattern, which helps the animal trap cosmic energy. It is not for no reason that the very scientific system of panchagavya had been developed in India, in which proportionate mixtures of cow dung, urine, milk, curd and ghee are used for vary many purposes, especially in agriculture. This has been proved in a farm by a scientist near Bengaluru. So, it will be healthy to have an informed debate about the cow.
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 ad featuring Mukesh Harane has been imprinted in the memory of every cinema goer. In the ad, Mukesh regrets his habit of tobacco consumption, and shows signs of repentance. Yet he dies at a young age of 24. The gory images of the patients battling mouth cancer has unnerved many. Numerous other campaigns have been initiated in India focusing on visual imagery and classical conditioning of the audience to deter them from tobacco usage. Yet the statistics related to tobacco use in India is appalling. As per National Family Health Survey-4 data in 2015, nearly 47% of Indian men use tobacco in one form or the other. Even though the percentage has fallen from 50% in 2005-06, the absolute number is on rise and that’s a cause of worry. Smoking alone kills more than a million people in India. If we zoom out of the statistics, the socio-economic impact of tobacco consumption is even more terrifying. Financial issues, passive smoking, domestic violence, defacing of public spaces, etc are dangerous repercussions of tobacco use. Indian government has been quite serious about tackling this issue. When World Health Organisation adopted the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in May, 2003, India was one of the first countries to sign the treaty and ratify the convention. After signing the WHO FCTC, smoking was completely banned in many public places and workplaces in India — with the new law permitting establishments to create smoking zones within restaurants, airports and hotels having 30 or more rooms. Last year, New Delhi hosted the Conference of Parties in November. India has come down hard on promotion of tobacco consumption , with a complete ban on advertising under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and
Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA). Despite a strong resistance by tobacco industry, India implemented 85% pictorial warnings on the cigarette packets. Juvenile Justice Act has a provision which makes sale of tobacco products to minors punishable with 7 years of rigorous imprisonment. When more than enough is required As tobacco users grow in absolute terms, it becomes imperative to not only strengthen the regulation framework of current laws, but also introduce new systematic and behavioural changes in the society. Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) is an initiative by WHO to monitor the tobacco usage and its pattern in the member countries of WHO FCTC. It rightly puts forth its vision – “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. GATS has come out with a simple formula to curb the tobacoo usage, which is acronymed as MPOWER. Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies, Protect people from tobacco smoke, Offer help to quit tobacco use, Warn about the dangers of tobacco, Enforce ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and Raise taxes on tobacco are the six essential it
As per the National
Family Health Survey-4, at least 47 per cent Indians use tobacco in one form or the other, a serious matter of concern
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017
About 241 million in
22 GATS countries have decided to quit, seeing the scary ads on cigarette packets prescribes for the reduction in tobacco consumption. India has been an active participant of GATS since its inception. Its Family Health surveys also track the tobacco consumption on a regular basis. However, the more indirect form of tobacco such as khaini, beedi, etc, especially in rural areas remain out of the purview of these surveys due to the social stigma attached to it. Experts say that there is a need of better tracking starting from the production stages itself. Passive smoking is a latent monster, which has intrigued the policymakers for a long time. In India, one in every four person is exposed to second hand smoking at the workplace. Second hand smoke is quite lethal as it contains over 4,000 chemicals, many of which are irritants and toxins, some of them even carcinogenic as well. Globally, second hand smoke is killing over six lakh people annually, including 1.65 lakh children before they reach their fifth birthday. More than the government interventions, it requires the societal efforts to curb passive smoking. A simple no, especially from the near and dear ones, can go a long way in pushing the people to stop smoking. Studies show that children are the biggest motivators when it comes to quit smoking and tobacco use. Our school system should focus not only on imparting knowledge related to tobacco consumption and its hazards, but also training the young minds in offering help to people to quit tobacco use. Around 241 million people across 22 GATS countries have considered quitting because of health warnings on cigarette packets. This is clear evidence of how smart targeting of warnings can affect the mindsets. We require much more aggressive campaigns, where public places are filled with anti-tobacco hoardings and posters. Government’s anti-tobacco campaign has hit the bottomline of ITC, largest tobacco company in India. Also, it has been forces to diversify into other segments, such as foods and apparels, to reduce its reliance on tobacco earnings. World No tobacco Day falls on May 31st. Government agencies, activists and the common man need to pull up their socks and fight with the tobacco monster head on. We need to create a safe environment for us and especially our young ones to breathe. Let’s not allow more Mukeshs to die at such tender age.
A BRAVEHEART GOES
A journalist with 30 years experience of working with various publications
The nemesis of Punjab terrorism KPS Gill passes away due to cardiac arrest
E didn’t know fear. He combated terrorism of all kinds throughout his life. That was why, KPS Gill’s services were requisitioned by a number of state governments including Chhatisgarh, Assam and Gujarat and even countries like Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. His methodology in curbing terrorism is known as the Gill Doctrine. Scores of books have been written on him. One can gauge his impact from the fact that in an academic paper, “The Gill Doctrine: A Model for 21st Century Counterterrorism”, analysing his tactics in the successful fight against the Punjab insurgency was presented at the annual meeting of American Political Science Association on 30 August 2007. KPS Gill retired as Punjab’s Director General of Police (DGP). He was credited with winning the fight against militancy in the state which is why he was christened ‘Supercop’. An IPS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre of the 1958 batch, Gill was posted as DGP of Assam. However, it was in Punjab,
during his two tenures as the state DGP, 1988-90 and 1991-95, that Gill earned his stripes for crushing the Khalistani militancy in the state. Operation Black Thunder II could have been a repeat of Operation Blue Star. Militants had captured Golden temple in May 1988. Gill laid a siege to the Golden Temple, positioned snipers on rooftops and starved the militants by cutting away their supplies, including water. The snipers would pick their targets
as they came to drink water from the Temple’s ‘sarovar’. Militants surrendered soon thereafter. He succeeded where even top military strategists had failed in 1984. As Punjab DGP, Gill took a very strong stand against militancy. He would not wait for them to strike. Instead, police would go after terrorists, searching for them and eliminate. This boosted the morale of the force which had become demoralised after their families were being targeted by the militants. This broke militancy’s backbone and gradually the state returned to normalcy. He was hired by then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in 2002 as Security Advisor to control post-Godhara riots, and later by Chhatisgarh CM Raman Singh in 2006 to counter naxal activities. Gill was highly agitated after the recent naxal attack which claimed lives of 25 security personnel. “Had the three roads totaling 55 Kms been built as per my recommendation, naxalism would have the same fate as Punjab militancy”, he wrote in an article last month.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR popular demand in the international market and that products like the India mangoes are some of the more loved fruits in foreign markets. It is gratifying to know that we are able to export 50,000 tonnes of good quality mangoes to Malaysia and as time passes the demand will increase. It is good news for me personally as now my daughter who works in Kuala Lumpur will never miss the Indian mangoes. VP Nair, Kerala
INSPIRING STORY The article ‘Odisha Mangoes To Reach Malaysia’ was a very inspiring story. After reading the article I felt proud of the Indian products that have such
ENRICHING ARTICLE The article ‘Why should Hardayal Municipal Heritage Public Library Not be Proud of its Historicity’ was an interesting read. There is a great need to preserve the history of India which includes buildings, literature, and culture. This history also needs to be taken care of for
the future generations to admire and learn more about the richness. I was surprised that although I knew about this library for very long I did not know about its history. Piyush Bhatia, North Campus, Delhi BENEFITTING SOCIETY The article ‘Police Officer As An Actor’ was excellent. The story makes the point that even when we are working we can still follow our passion in a serious way. It is good if it also helps society in some way. Tejaswani Gautam has set an example for others to follow and to fulfil their dreams. This has not just impressed her seniors but the entire nation I really am inspired by this news and would like to read more such stories. Yash Yadav, Faridabad, Haryana
Please mail your opinion to - firstname.lastname@example.org or Whatsapp at 9868807712
18 Photo Feature
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017
The visit of the President of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas was another landmark in India demonstrating its commitment to the Palestinian cause and its continued support to all development projects in the beleagured country
Photos: SIPRA DAS 1
1. PM Modi greets President of India Pranab Mukherjee 2. Modi awaiting the arrival of President Mahmoud Abbas 3, 4, 5.The two Presidents and the PM 6. PM, the President and Ministers honour the National Anthem 7. President Abbas receives the Guard of Honour 8. The PM and President Abbas outside the PMâ€™s office
9. A courteous gesture from PM Narendra Modi 10. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Abbas exchange agreements 11. The joint addressal by the PM and President Abbas 12. More agreements are exchanged between minister of the two countries in the presence of the two leaders 13. A very firm handshake between India and Palestine
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017
SWACHH BHARAT MISSION A GRAND SUCCESS Government data shows that around 25,000 toilets being built every day
1.6 per cent of households across the country did not use an improved sanitation facility -- a system that separates human excreta from human contact -- between January 2015 and December 2016. Even as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has sent India on a toilet-construction spree between January 2015 and December 2016, household toilet availability has improved from 41.93 per cent in 2014 to 63.98 per cent in 2017, according to the figures available with the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Kerala have achieved 100% open defecationfree (ODF) status. However, almost all the progress reported by the ministry has been through no third-party verification. Swachh Bharat MissionGramin guidelines clearly envisage a yearly, country-wide, independent thirdparty assessment of the sanitation status of rural areas. As many as four crore household toilets have been constructed since 2014. Between May 1 and May 21, 2017, 4.89 lakh individual household latrines were constructed across the country, data accessed from the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin website show. That’s an average of nearly 25,000 toilets
Between May 1 and May 21, 2017, as many as 48.9 lakh individual household latrines have been constructed across the country
constructed per day. Gram panchayats have self-declared 193,081 villages to be ODF, according to Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin, which accounts for 85 per cent of Swachh Bharat Mission’s budget. Villages are considered “open defecation-free” when no faeces are openly visible and every household and public/community institution uses safe technology to dispose of faeces in such a way that there is no contamination of surface soil, groundwater or surface water; excreta is inaccessible to flies or animals, with no manual handling of fresh excreta; and there are no odour and unsightly conditions. Usually, an “ODF village” declaration is made by the village or gram panchayat. The state government is supposed to carry out a first verification within three months, and a second verification around six months after the selfdeclaration. As of 2016, 36.7 per cent of rural
households and 70.3 per cent of urban households -- 48.4 per cent of households overall -- used improved sanitation facilities, data from the National Family Health Survey 4, which was conducted between January 2015 and December 2016, show. Improved sanitation facility means having a system that separates human excreta from human contact which includes piped sewer system, septic tank, pit latrine, etc. About 47 per cent of those who defecated in the open said they did so because it was pleasant, convenient and comfortable, a 2014 survey of 3,200 households in five states with the highest rates of open defecation found. Among households that had built a latrine, 40 per cent had at least one family member defecating in the open, the study conducted by the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics found. “Programmes must concentrate on behaviour change and promoting
Quick Glance 4.89 lakh individual toilets built across the country in May alone Four crore household toilets have been built since 2014 Eight per cent expenditure needed on increasing awareness
latrine use, rather than building latrines. Although building latrines could be part of a successful policy package, little will be accomplished by planning to build latrines that will go unused,” the authors noted. Indians’ preference for open defecation has to do with the practice of untouchability and beliefs about purity, according to this 2017 study by the same institute. Through quantitative and qualitative studies, they found people considered having and using pit latrines impure and polluting. “Open defecation, in contrast, is seen as promoting purity and strength, particularly by men, who typically decide how money is spent in rural households,” the study found. Since the focus of Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin is on behaviour change, the guidelines require that eight per cent of the funds be allocated for information, education and communication (IEC) activities. During the 2016-17 financial year, one per cent of the total expenditure had been made on IEC up to January 2017, according to Accountability Initiative’s budget brief. In contrast, 98 per cent of the funds had been spent on construction of toilets in individual households. Duplicate entries, ghost beneficiaries and missing households were the first stumbling block that researchers from the Accountability Initiative of the Centre for Policy Research faced while tracking beneficiaries of the government’s sanitation interventions across 7,500 households in 10 districts and five states in a December 2015 study. Eventually, they studied 1,500 households that they could identify from the list. They found that a third of the households that government records showed as having achieved “sanitation status” actually had toilets, while 36 per cent that had constructed toilets said these were unusable. Of the households with a latrine which had at least one member of the family defecating in the open, the most common reasons cited were absence of water and the pit being too small. As many as 3.1 million (88 per cent) household toilets have been built in urban areas, against a target of 3.5 million for 2017-18, according to the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban website. Also, 115,786 (56 per cent) community toilets have been built against a target of 204,000.
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017
A SUPREME GIFT
A 75-year-old lady, instead of getting her cataract operated, gifts a toilet to her 110-years old mother-in-law SRAWAN SHUKLA
HAT a 75-year-old daughter-in-law, can gift to her Supercentenarian mother-in-law by selling her five goats – her pride possession? A gold bracelet, a silver waist-band or a Banarasi saree? But the answer is a big no. Instead, she gave the most invaluable gift to her mother-in-law – a toilet. The rare and priceless gift should make those involved in pushing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’ Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan bow their heads in shame. The septuagenarian daughter-in-law had made several rounds to the Gram Pradhan and the Bock Development Officer for getting financial aid for the construction of a toilet in her house for her 110-yearold mother-in-law. But except for verbal assurances, she failed to move officials responsible for running the PM’s toilet scheme. Each time she went to them, she was asked to wait for hours and bring papers which was impossible for her to procure though she qualifies for the scheme. Red-tapism in Uttar Pradesh overrides her age, BPL status and financial condition. Realising that her frailing voice will find no echo in officials, Chandana, a resident of Anantapur village under Malaasa bloc in Kanpur district of Uttar Pradesh, took up the daunting task herself even though she had no financial means to take up the challenge. Her husband had expired eight years ago and left only a kuccha house and a few goats for their survival. Their only son Ram Prasad takes care of his mother and Dadi (Grand Mother) by doing petty jobs. Supercentenarian mother-in-law Phulmati had wished to have a toilet when she had completed 100 years of her life. But financial condition of the family did not allow them to construct a toilet for her. “Our survival depends upon the little money earned by my son. But when I heard about the Prime Minister’s toilet scheme, I had a ray of hope of fulfilling my mother-in-law’s dream. But that dream was shattered when officials turned down my pleas,” rued Chandana. The biggest question before
Chandana was to raise money for the construction of the toilet. She consulted her son. Ram Prasad expresed inability as he had no savings. Both Supercentenarian mother-in-law and Septuagenarian daughter-in-law loved their goats more than anything. But Chandana had made up her mind. She sold five goats to raise money for construction of the much delayed gift. For the past 60 years Chandana would accompany Phulmati for defecation in the open twice a day. But for the past few years, age and
illness have caught up with Phulmati. Most of the time she would remain confined to four-walls of the family kuccha hutment. “It had become extremely difficult for me to take my mother-in-law to a field outside village for defecation, particularly at nights after her illness. A toilet was a must for her,” she points out. Her son bought the building material with the money they got from selling goats. The soak-pit was dug by son Ram Prasad and in four days the toilet was constructed with a door for
Except for verbal assurances, she failed to move
officials responsible for running PM’s toilet scheme. Red-tapism in UP overrides age or BPL status
Quick Glance 110-yrs old Phulmati had difficulty in going for open defecation She could not get government grant under Swachh Bharat Mission His mother sold the family’s five goats to generate money for the project
privacy. “Now she has to walk only a few steps to relieve herself,” claims Chandana with a twinkle in her cataract-blurred eyes. “I could have gone for my cataract operation and glasses but gifting her a toilet was a bigger and more important task than getting back my eyesight,” the daughter-in-law says. Ram Prasad claims that he is very happy with the sacrifice made by her mother for his grand-mother but is pained at the apathy of the the babus in charge of implementing the scheme. “Officials have little respect for Modi’s Swachch Bharat mission. By turning down genuine requests and requirements of poor families, they might hamper the PM’s mission,” alleged Prasad. “We are happy that my grandmother uses the toilet regularly ever since it was constructed but I and my mother know what cost we paid for it. We did the government’s job by selling our goats. The PM should call off the scheme if his officials favour only few and turn blind eyes on the poor and the needy,” he fumes. Sumit Sharma, a local journalist who visited Anantapur village, apprised the District Magistrate Kanpur Rakesh Singh about the anomalies in implementation of the scheme. Instead of holding any inquiry or initiating action against the guilty, the DM has announced to felicitate the Septuagenarian daughter-inlaw’s sacrifice in gifting a toilet to her Supercentenarian mother-in-law. “It is a matter of great pride and inspiration for us to follow her great feat. We will honour the lady,” he declared. But will Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister take corrective steps to ensure that genuine beneficiaries are not being denied their rights under the toilet scheme?
22 Different Strokes
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017
KENYA BEST OUT OF WASTE
MAKING CLEAN FUEL FROM HUMAN WASTE
People are using human waste to make fuel briquettes tackles sanitation and health problems in Kenya
OULTRY farmer Josephine Mbithe used to get up three times a night to add charcoal to her stove just to keep her newborn chicks warm. But since she started using fuel briquettes made with human waste, the stove burns all night, leaving her to sleep in peace. Mbithe is one of many Nakuru residents who have embraced the briquettes manufactured from human poo and sawdust collected around the town, northwest of Nairobi, in the Great Rift Valley. Before the briquettes find their way into Nakuru’s poor households, they undergo processes to ensure they are free from harmful pathogens that could cause diseases, and are safe to use. Human waste - the main raw material for the briquettes - is collected from pit latrines and septic tanks around Nakuru by truck and transported to a waste water treatment plant run by the Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company (NAWASSCO), where the manufacturing takes place. At the plant, the sludge is discharged into drying beds in a greenhouse, and left to dry for two to three weeks. The greenhouse heat reduces the moisture content from around 95 percent to below 20 percent, to prepare it for carbonisation. The dried-out sludge is then treated at temperatures of about 700 degrees Celsius, with the accompanying sawdust carbonised at 300 degrees Celsius. Next, the carbonised materials are ground into fine particles using
NGT BAN ON DEFECATION IN YAMUNA NGT had passed the order imposing a fine of Rs 5000 on violaters
Kenya had a major problem in disposal of human waste They make briquettes of human waste, sawdust and molasses They burn longer with less smoke than firewood & charcoal
WATER CONTAMINATION Reinilde Eppinga, a sanitation advisor with SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, which is a partner in the briquette project, said only 27 percent of Nakuru residents are connected to the town’s sewerage system, highlighting the need for a better way to dispose of the large quantities of human waste generated each day. “Most (people) use pit latrines, and when these fill up, they are emptied, but nobody is asking where the human waste is taken to,” she said.
The threat of water contamination in Nakuru is real, she added, as human waste is often dumped in storm drains and rivers, or is buried in low-income areas. In turn, faeces are finding their way into nearby Lake Nakuru, polluting the ecosystem. Cees Lafeber, who works for Vitens Evides International, a Netherlandsbased water operator that is collaborating on the sanitation project with the EU, SNV and NAWASSCO, said the briquette initiative helps protect the environment and forests, while improving sanitation. It also generates income through sales of the briquettes by NAWASSCO, and reduces health risks from inhalation of smoke, he added. In addition, the project is supporting households and landlords to construct more than 6,000 special toilets in poorer parts of Nakuru, as well as in schools, to help collect human waste. “Unlike normal pit latrines, our latrines are designed not to allow water to seep into the ground,” said Lafeber. “The toilets have a lining to contain the waste, and also a place where the waste can be collected with ease.”
of Yamuna. The order also says that violators would pay a fine of Rs 5,000. Activists of the River Connect Campaign -- Ranjan Sharma, Devashish Bhattacharya & Shravan Kumar Singh --say that the river police will need to be activated. “Right now they do not have a boat which will have to be provided. Hundreds of locals can be seen openly defecating on the river banks everyday. So far no
action has been taken, although we have a river police squad,” said the activists who assembled at the Etmaduddaula view point park here on Friday evening. The river activists, in a memorandum to the District Magistrate on Friday, demanded that before the monsoon rains, the stretch within the city limits should be cleaned up till the Taj Mahal. Another activist Jugal Shrotriya said: “There is a need for dredging and desilting on a large scale. Heaps of polythene have accumulated and choked the aquifers of the river.”
The greenhouse heat reduces the moisture content from around 95 percent to below 20 percent, to prepare it for carbonization
a hammer mill, before being mixed together in an equal ratio using motorised equipment. Molasses is added as a binder, before the mixture is transformed into small, round balls in a rotating drum. John Irungu, NAWASSCO’s site manager, said impurities, harmful pathogens and the foul smell of the waste are removed during the carbonisation process, with the molasses adding a sweet aroma. Margaret Japaso, a resident of Kaloleni neighbourhood in Nakuru town who uses the briquettes, said they burn longer with less smoke compared to firewood and charcoal. Initially she IANS
iver activists have welcomed the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order banning open defecation in the river Yamuna and a fine of Rs 5,000 on violators. The NGT order on Friday prohibits defecation and dumping of municipal waste or construction debris in the flood plains
was worried about the smell, but her fears have been laid to rest.
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017
SCHOOL TOILET PLASTIC BOTTLE
TOILET RICH REVAMP
SCHOOL TOILET MADE OF PLASTIC BOTTLES
$254,000 LUXURY LOOS ARE A HIT IN NY
Used plastic bottled filled with sand, iron ore dust and slag ash is replacing bricks
It requires $2.71 lakh per annum to maintain each toilet in New York
Quick Glance An entire school had only one toilet for students They were unable to afford construction material Bottles filled with sand are as eco-friendly as bricks
ITH only one toilet for an entire school, the students and teachers at Manav Vikas School in Jamshedpur were facing many troubles. An ecofriendly initiative, however, is going to puncture their many problems with one go. The school, managed by retired employees, plans to build a toilet made of used plastic bottles instead of conventional bricks. The bottles filled with sand, iron-ore dust and slag ash will act as bricks. Sanjay Kumar Pandey, Deputy Collector in the chief minister’s camp office, said that this initiative will also help keep the environment clean as only waste materials would be used to build the toilets. It would also send out a message to the society that unused items can be
ELEPHANTS DECLINING Causes... electrocution, road accidents and migration
utilised for constructive purpose, he said. The toilet building, that would need approximately 3,000 bricks, will be collected by the students, making them a part of project. Mondrita Chatterjee, a Class 7 student of the city-based Hill Top School, and her family would bear the financial expenses to be incurred for the toilet. In the past too, Mondrita had spent her savings for the construction of toilets in the periphery of the city and was felicitated in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das at a function held few months ago. The project which will begin within a couple of days is targeted for completion before June 5, World Environment Day. Depending upon the success of the first toilet, more such toilets would be set up in the future, Mr Pandey said.
LASSICAL music, framed watercolors and vases overflowing with fresh flowers -- welcome to New York’s poshest public toilets refitted with a $254,000 upgrade, where tips are banned and the facilities are free. Gutted and re-decorated before re-opening in late April, one million people a year are expected to frequent the spotless Beaux Arts premises in Bryant Park on Fifth Avenue. Porcelain tiles were imported from Europe. Plastic toilet seat covers rotate at the wave of a hand, air conditioning circulates the air and piped orchestral music almost drowns out the sound of the automatic flush.
HE pair resides in the frigid outskirts of Elephant population has gradually declined in Jharkhand in the last 15 years with many succumbing to electrocution, railway accidents and poaching, officials said. There were 772 elephants in Jharkhand in 2002, which declined to 624 in 2007 and this year the elephant population is just 588. In 2012, the elephant population had increased from 624 to 688. The elephant census took place earlier this month in the six regions of the state. In Palamau Tiger Reserve area, the elephant population has declined to 186 from 238. In Dalma Sanctuary, only 46 elephants are remaining out of 156. In other regions, the elephant population has either increased or declined slightly.
Quick Glance The ultra-luxurious complex is one fifth avenue in New York It is free to use for public and tips are strictly banned It has classical music, framed watercolors and fresh flowers
The polar opposite of the filth of most public restrooms, they cost $271,000 a year to operate and pay attendants to keep pristine two-to-a shift . A stone vase of flowers stands at the entrance before a giant mirror as if in a stately home -- blooms changed twice a week by a florist. The rules are simple - no tipping, no smoking, spitting, teeth brushing, doing the laundry or jumping the queue. Original watercolors grace the wall -- courtesy of a “painter in residence” program that commissions artists to imagine the park “en plein air.” “People don’t want to leave,” confides attendant Antoinette Smalls adding, “Some people tell me this bathroom is cleaner than their bathroom at home.”
Quick Glance Elephants population is declining fast in Jharkhand As many as 184 elephants went missing in past 15 years Migration, poaching, poisoning are reasons for the decline
“The death of elephants and migration are two reasons for the decline. Some died naturally and some died due to electrocution, hit by running train or killed due to conflict with human beings,” a senior forest official said. As many as 32 pachyderms have died due to electrocution and 22 elephants were killed in train accidents. Poaching, poisoning and age factor are other reasons for their deaths.
24 Science & Technology
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017
NEWS IN BRIEF
VARANASI CAN GENERATE 676 MW FROM SOLAR ROOFTOP PANELS
TELEPHONES RISE 0.51% IN MARCH Rate of rising more in rural than urban areas
The target can be achieved using only 8.7 per cent of the total eligible roof space within municipal limits of Varanasi
Quick Glance BHU VC got a report on solar power potential of Varanasi Of this, 300 MW power can be produced by 2025 only Project already underway at airport, BHU and Vikas Bhawan
RIME MINISTER Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency Varanasi has the potential to generate 676 MW power from solar rooftop panels alone. However, outdated grids and a huge line loss pose a challenge, said a report. The Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) report “Vibrant Varanasi, Transformation through Solar Rooftop”, released here by Girish Chandra Tripathi, ViceChancellor, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), also set a road-map for the historic city to generate 300 MW by 2025. The recognised potential -- 676 MW can be achieved using only 8.7 per cent of the total eligible Varanasi roof space within the 69 sq. km of built up area in
MOON FOUND AROUND DWARF PLANET NASA discovered the moon using Hubble Space Telescope IANS
ombining the power of several space observatories, including NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have uncovered
the city’s municipal corporation area. “However, given the 40-42 per cent of distribution loss, against a national average of 24 per cent, and inefficient grid of Varanasi based discom Poorvanchal Vidhyut Vitran Nigam Ltd, it would take at least till 2032 to tap the entire potential,” Abhishek Pratap, DirectorProgrammes CEED and lead author of the report, told IANS. Pratap said while the present annual power demand of Varanasi is 861 MW, the growth of the town is set to increase the demand to 1700 MW by 2025. “Power generation in Varanasi is growing by 5-6 per cent annually like any other tier-2 city. But the growth in construction and industries around the city projects need 8 per cent growth. Our roadmap aims to produce 300 MW from solar rooftop by 2025, but there will be
a moon orbiting the third largest dwarf planet, catalogued as 2007 OR10. The pair resides in the frigid outskirts of our solar system called the Kuiper Belt, a realm of icy debris left over from our solar system’s formation 4.6 billion years ago. The team uncovered the moon in archival images of 2007 OR10 taken by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3. Observations taken of the dwarf planet by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope first tipped off the astronomers of the possibility of a moon circling it. Kepler revealed that 2007 OR10 has a slow rotation period of 45 hours. “Typical rotation periods for Kuiper Belt Objects are under 24 hours,” said Csaba Kiss of the Konkoly Observatory in Budapest,
hurdles,” Pratap said. As per the survey, despite having huge potential, the development has to go slow in order to avoid grid tripping or failure. “We can’t add even 300 MW suddenly, to avoid grid failure it should be 175 MW... so, the plan is to add 20-25 MW per year to the grid and updating the grid, lines and meters accordingly,” Pratap said, adding that grid expansion and upgradation is a must. At present, the city of Varanasi through the ongoing individual solar rooftop projects at the airport, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and Vikas Bhawan, produces power in the range of a few kilowatts. Meanwhile, the entire state of Uttar Pradesh produces only 40 MW of solar power at present against the target of producing 10.7 GW (10,700 MW) of solar power and additional 4.3 GW (4,300 MW) of power from solar rooftops by 2022.As per Prime Minister Modi’s aspirations, India’s domestic solar programme targets to achieve 175 GW.
Hungary. “We looked in the Hubble archive because the slower rotation period could have been caused by the gravitational tug of a moon. The initial investigator missed the moon in the Hubble images because it is very faint,”
HE number of telephone subscribers in India rose from 1,188.55 million at the end of February 17 to 1,194.58 million at the end of March 17, a monthly growth rate of 0.51 per cent, data published by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said on Friday. Urban subscription increased from 692.15 million to 692.97 million and rural subscription from 496.39 million to 501.61 million during the same period. The monthly growth rates of urban and rural subscription were 0.12 per cent and 1.05 per cent respectively. The overall tele-density in India went up from 92.59 to 92.98. Total wireless subscribers increased from 1,164.20 million at the end of February 17 to 1,170.18 million at the end of March 17, a monthly growth rate of 0.51 per cent. During the month of March 17, a total of 6.03 million requests were received for mobile number portability (MNP). With this, the cumulative MNP requests increased from 266.73 million at the end of February 17 to 272.76.
Kiss, who is the lead author of the study published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, said. The astronomers spotted the moon in two separate Hubble observations spaced a year apart. The images showed that the moon is gravitationally bound to 2007 OR10 because it moves with the dwarf planet, as seen against a background of stars. However, the two observations did not provide enough information for the astronomers to determine an orbit. The astronomers calculated the diametres of both objects based on observations in far-infrared light by the Herschel Space Observatory, which measured the thermal emission of the distant worlds.
MAY 29-JUNE 04, 2017
NATURAL FARMING COULD BE PANACEA
Helianti Hilman, a progressive natural farming expert from Indonesia, has taken several innovative steps SAURABH KATKURWAR
armers should increasingly become entrepreneurs to find homegrown solutions to their problems rather than relying on the government, Helianti Hilman, a progressive natural farming expert from Indonesia, has urged. “When you are an entrepreneur, you think of innovations. An entrepreneurial mindset is very important for farmers because most of the time they keep complaining that they are small farmers and do not have access to finance or markets. “But if you introduce the concept of entrepreneurship among them, the more you have problems, the more excited and challenged you are to find solutions,” Hilman told IANS on the sidelines of a natural farming summit organised by the Sri Sri Institute of Agricultural Sciences & Technology Trust (SSIAST) here. Being an entrepreneur “you always think of solving problems. That is what entrepreneurs do. It is interesting to push yourself to solve problems and find solutions”, Hilman said.
Hilman is Chief Executive Officer of Javara Indigenous, a social entreprise that works with over 52,000 smallscale farmers to preserve and promote Indonesia’s food biodiversity, traditional techniques and indigenous wisdom and help farmers to get market opportunities at local and global levels. Hilman spoke about how brainstorming over the immediate use of vegetables that may otherwise rot led to the creation of 14 types of vegetable noodles that became a huge success in Indonesia. Javara Indigenous produces about 747 different organic products, about 80 per cent of which is exported. According to Hilman, Indonesia has reduced to just 1,100 its rice varieties due to chemical fertilisers compared to 7,000 that existed before the Green Revolution in the 1950s. She said there was need to influence and educate government as most of the time it is found “not to be helping farmers” but rather “bothering them”. “Government does not think like an entrepreneur. Their mindset is that they have a budget to spend.” Hilman said it was more difficult to get permission to sell organic products
I Have been working with experts on ancient
manuscripts to find any documentation of food systems we have had in the past
Science & Technology
Quick Glance Farmers instead of looking at government, should solve their problems themselves Trying to use vegetables before they rot led to the creation of 14 types of vegetable noodles Use of chemical fertilizers reduced type of rice varieties in Indonesia from 7000 to only 1100
in her own country than in other countries due to stringent regulations, which other countries have done away with. “Government’s insensitivity is same everywhere. I had a privilege to meet the President of Indonesia about two years ago where he called me a frontrunner for export of rural products. I told him that it was because it was more difficult to get a licence from the Indonesian government than getting it from the FDAs (Food and Drug Administrations) in countries like the US, Switzerland and Japan. He was shocked. He asked ‘How come?’” she said. Hilman said she then showed the President all the regulations that stopped Indonesian farmers from selling their organic products within the country. She said governments across the world must be facing pressure from powerful global seeds and fertiliser companies, for whom organic farming may cause financial losses. “I think it happens everywhere. But now, the Indonesian government has started realising the situation and has started promoting organic farming. Whether it is right or not, they have to safeguard that,” she added. Hilman said exchange of indigenous seeds among different countries helps in creating different kinds of breeds. “There are small, tiny islands in Indonesia that have 14 different colours of corn, from black to orange, purple to white. It is not native to Indonesia. People do not know when it came to Indonesia. It is assimilating with the culture,” she said. “Seeds have been travelling around the world. There has been exchange of seeds, which have been assimilating and adapting with the local ecosystem and it created different kinds of breeds.” Hilman said she has been working with experts on ancient manuscripts in her country to to find what has been recorded in them on different types of plants, culinary practices and agricultural practices. “I have been working with experts on ancient manuscripts to find any documentation of food systems we have had in the past. It is very interesting to know different types of techniques so we can adopt them,” she said.
NEWS IN BRIEF
INSTAGRAM ‘WORST FOR YOUNG MENTAL HEALTH’ This is according to a poll conducted by London-based Royal Society for Public Health
nstagram is rated as the worst social media platform when it comes to its impact on young people’s mental health, a poll conducted in the UK says. The poll conducted Royal Society for Public Health (RCPH) asked 1,479 people aged 14-24 were asked a series of questions about whether YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter had an impact on their health and well-being, the BBC reported. Participants were asked to score each platform on 14 health and wellbeing issues. Based on these ratings, YouTube was considered to have the most positive impact on mental health, followed by Twitter and then Facebook. Snapchat and Instagram were given the lowest scores overall. The RSPH report warns that “social media may be fuelling a mental health crisis” in young people, reports the BBC. It can also be used as a tool for good, the report said, and companies should be doing their best to make platforms a safe place to be. About 90 per cenr of young people use social media - more than any other age group - so they are particularly vulnerable to its effects, although it is not clear what these are on current evidence.
26 Photography for Blind
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017
PHOTOGRAPHY FOR BLIND
CAMERA IS THEIR EYE
The Beyond Sight Foundation is taking the art of photography to India’s visually impaired Quick Glance Photography by visually impaired might seem weird, but has been happening They have been not only clicking pictures but holding exhibitions as well The project ‘Blind with Camera’ now has 80 persons learning to click without sight
EING the art of capturing light, does photography mean anything to the millions who live in complete darkness? Even the most optimistic among us would have our doubts. Not so Partho Bhowmik. His not-for-profit organisation, Beyond Sight Foundation, takes the art of photography to India’s visually impaired. “When a blind person touches a cup, he is also seeing it with their mind’s eye,” explains Bhowmik, who initiated the project “Blind with Camera”. Bhowmik, who works in the corporate sector, was transferred to Mumbai from Kolkata, his hometown, in 1999. “I came to Mumbai purely for professional reasons, but Bombay as it was known then has a tremendous ability to grip an individual and make him feel at home. Slowly, I started to get into the social circles of Mumbai, and as photography had always been a passion, I started visiting the Photographic Society of India. And one day my book vendor called to inform that there was this new book which I should check.” Although Partho did not buy that book, he happen to lay his hands on an old issue of “Times Journal of Photography” that carried a story on Evgen Bavcar, one of the world’s most well-known blind photographers. “As a photographer, I had even exhibited
They serve as a reminder that touch and sound are equally effective ways of understanding the world — as effective as vision.
my photographs of reflections but this was phenomenal. I was intrigued, deeply interested to know more about this kind of photography.” That was the beginning of a long phase of gaining newer understanding about the art. Bhowmik got in touch with Bavcar and a host of other blind photographers to learn how they take photos. The project “Blind with a Camera” started to crystallise in Bhowmik’s mind — he could visualise starting a workshop and seeing the world through the eyes of the blind people. But quite predictably, he faced endless questions but he was prepared; “Even I had initial doubts in my mind. So it’s natural that others would have them
too.” A few months later he got a call from the Victoria Memorial School for the Blind. The school gave students and infrastructure; Kodak gave cameras and film rolls; and he was ready to take on the challenge. “Quite a challenge,” admits Bhowmik. “It meant adapting ways to communicate the process of creation. The idea was to prove that photographs could be shot by the mind as much as by the eye. Their pictures are their point of view, a reflection of their experience of reality and anchored to what they feel. I taught myself from zero. The results were surprising.” To start with, there was only one student, Mahesh Umrannia, but now
there are 80. “In one of my first exhibitions, hardly anyone from the students’ family came. When I asked them why, they said they didn’t find it surprising.” Bhowmik recalls. “The blind are considered a burden to the family and are dumped by society. Just a remark by parents or loved ones such as how the blind could possibly take pictures can keep a student away from class. Some students experienced this but they returned after a gap, but this is the perennial obstacle.” At the workshop, the participants learn the basics using point-and-shoot in 35mm or SLR cameras. They use tools such as raised images, Braille notes, visual aids and audio descriptions of illustrations to get a feel of subject before they shoot. “During indoor shoots they feel the subject first and then they frame the photograph in the mind before they capture it,” says Bhowmik, who was awarded Karmaveer Puraskaar 2009, the national award for social justice and citizen Action given by the Indian Confederation of NGOs. “For outdoors they use sound, warmth of light and help from friends. Those who had sight for a while rely on visual recollections of the subject. Driven by strong instinct, they place the camera in relation to the object, space and light and click.” The final composition, the “thoughtfully different” picture, depends on their life experience, the extent of blindness, clarity of visual memories, ability to think and judge, and their involvement with the subject. “Understanding of the individual is very critical before even attempting to teach,” Bhowmik says. “Each student’s present condition of sight, memories of times when they could still see (if they were not born
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017
EDUCATION GOOD SAMARITAN
A SCHOOL BEING RUN ON RAILWAY STATION
Ajit Kumar has been teaching underpriviledged children on a platform of Barauni railway station for a long time
Partho Bhowmik’s not-for-profit organisation, Beyond Sight Foundation, takes the art of photography to India’s visually impaired
blind) and their daily routine. I ask them to describe their house, the layout of objects in it, and their mostloved space at home. I ask them to describe the last new place they visited, faces of parents or loved ones.” The photographs by people with visual impairment present an inimitable vista of the “inner gallery” of the photographer and serve as a reminder that touch and sound are equally effective ways of understanding the world — as effective as vision. There photographs also require a different approach from the viewer, who must actively participate in understanding the expression of their world, one that is experienced differently at the very elementary level. But why do the blind need to be photographers at all? “Like all art forms, photography is an extension of an individual,” Bhowmik explains. “Like a normal person, a visually impaired person feels creative and communicative, and most importantly, it gives a feeling of contentment. “Society always wants a disabled person to be independent, primarily financially, but it is also a way of shedding off a burden. But independence doesn’t mean only that. It also means the ability to contribute to art and culture, thereby enriching the society he or she lives in and giving rise to self-esteem,” says Bhowmik, who now wants his students to make photography a profession. “A number of professional photographers are eager to help us. What I am planning to do is to ask some of my more matured students to work under them. Then we will do an exhibition. This will help them both financially and make them better photographers.” Today, Bhowmik is working on his most ambitious project of getting his students to earn as photographers and
also getting the youth of India not to show sympathy to the visually impaired but to give them the support they deserve as fellow citizens. “Most of the students come from the underprivileged sections of our society. They cannot afford to take up a hobby as costly as photography if there is no financial support,” Bhowmik says. “Whenever a group of students visits a home of those affected, there is lot of sympathy among them. But that is not channelised and it eventually gets lost in the quagmire of careers and a materialistic world.” So, Bhowmik has been organising workshops to “not only trying to sensitise the youth and future business leaders but also to develop a process where they become instrumental in using the funds of their future organisations to help the blind”. In these workshops participants are blindfolded and for few hours darkness takes over their world. Then the learning begins, where the visually impaired are teachers, and the sighted the students learning to click photos with the help of the mind’s eye. These workshops have not only generated lot of interest but have also opened up a new horizon for the members of Beyond Sight Foundation — they have started to believe they have a place in society, where they live on equal terms with the rest, without evoking any sympathy. “We have conducted a number of such workshops in various schools and business colleges all over India. These have not only generated some income for my students but have also helped them believe that they are contributing to society ’s understanding of life and making it even richer for their fellow citizens,” says Bhowmik, with a smile.
SANJEEV KUMAR / PATNA
memory is not bad. The reason I say this is because I haven’t been able to forget a day when I saw a messiah! It was the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti, January 14 and I was on my way to Patna from Begusarai, covering a distance of 120 km in the Intercity Express. When the train resumed journey after a brief halt at Barauni station, I saw something uncommon and catchy. A group of children, most of them in patches that barely fit the definition of clothes, were praying. They were accompanied by a couple and all of them stood quietly at a platform which was full of noises and hustle-bustle of passengers. This appeared as a Jigsaw puzzle and I was curious to find out the missing pieces. Giving in to this curiosity, I reached Barauni station again where I saw a moment that stuck with me. What followed after that was a realization that reaffirmed my faith in humanity. This is a story about unmatched determination, perseverance and service to mankind. At a tender age of 4, Ajit accompanied his father who was a tea-vendor at one of the platforms of Barauni railway station. Amidst the speeding trains and a busy platform, there was hardly a room for Ajit to think of an alternative life but destiny had some other plans. During the day, Ajit switched trains selling tea and during evenings he would crash at the platform. Next morning, he
Quick Glance Ajit Kumar used to accopany his father, a tea vendor, on Barauni railway station since childhood He educated himself though his own efforts and became a primary school teacher Then he decided to educate poor children roaming on railway station aimlessly
would again aim to sell tea in the first train that reached Barauni junction. Like Ajit, his friends too were poverty struck but Ajit was different in his approach to life. Gradually, his ways started changing and he eventually succeded in graduating in Arts from Begusarai. But his days of a poverty ridden and unpurposeful life were still clear in his conscience. Ajit had witnessed many orphans and poverty struck childrens on the railway platform where he sold tea. His conscience clubbed with his bitter experineces made him take a decision that changed many lives. He wanted inclusion of these socially isolated children in the respected sections of the society. As destiny would have it, he was appointed as a teacher and his dream of educating the children started shaping up. Ajit’s found his soulmate who shared the same vision and strengthed his determination. Ajit created a makeshift school on the platform and started teaching. Since these children were unattended by well informed elders.
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017
ASSAM DHOLA-SADIYA BRIDGE
MODI OPENS INDIA’S LONGEST RIVER BRIDGE The bridge will save Rs 10 lakh worth diesel daily
ECONOMY IT INDUSTRY
25 LAKH JOBS IN NEXT 5 YEARS
IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has promised that there will be a major boom
RIME MINISTER Narendra Modi on May 26 opened the Dhola-Sadiya Bridge, the country’s longest bridge and second largest in Asia. Located in the eastern-most tip of Assam, the 9.15 km bridge across River Lohit is 3.55 km longer than the Worli Sea Link in Mumbai. “A long wait of several years has ended. The bridge has been dedicated to the people,” Modi, who witnessed the beauty of the area through a few minutes’ walk on the bridge, said at the public gathering. Modi said under the present BJP government, the problems of the region are being addressed gradually. He said for sustainable development, infrastructure is of topmost importance. “Both physical and social infrastructure is required in a balanced way. We should understand the importance of these.
Otherwise developmental initiatives would be short-lived,” the PM said, adding that the bridge would open floodgates of economic development. Referring to the high quality ginger produced in Sadiya, Modi urged farmers to adopt organic method of farming which will take the product to the global market and claimed that the bridge will bring about a new economic revolution. He also said the eastern and northeast India is the most potential region of the country and so facilities need to be created here. “If we give the proper facilities, NE can do magic,” Modi said. The bridge will save Rs 10 lakh worth diesel daily, as people will no longer have to take ferries to cross the river. It will reduce the travel time between Arunachal Pradesh and Assam by up to four hours. Its importance for the military is huge. It has been designed to accommodate
ARUNACHAL PRADESH ECONOMY
GOVERNMENT LOAN FOR WOMEN WEAVERS The government has cleared highly subsidized loans for women weavers under DDUBY scheme SSB BUREAU
RUNACHAL PRADESH Government has launched a new scheme for weavers under which subsidised working capital loan will be provided.
Under the scheme, christened as the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Bunkar Yojna, the state government will provide interest subsidy of seven per cent on working capital loan up to Rs two lakh, irrespective of the quantum
Quick Glance The bridge is 3.55 km longer than the one in Mumbai The bridge has been built to allow movement of tanks to
Travel time between Arunachal & Assam will reduce by 4 hours enter Arunachal Pradesh
the movement of tanks. Till now, there was no existing bridge in the region that was strong enough to allow movement of tanks to Tinsukia, from where troops would enter Arunachal Pradesh. The construction of the bridge began in 2011 and the costs were to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore. Since there is no operational airport in Arunachal Pradesh, the Dhola-Sadiya Bridge will become the most convenient way of travel.
of loan extended to women weavers by the bank. The notification in this regard has been issued by the Finance Department.
ENYING the reports of a downturn in employment in the country’s IT industry, Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad last week said in the coming four to five years, almost 20-25 lakh additional jobs will be created in the sector. “I completely deny and refute that there is any downturn in the employment in the IT sector. It is robust. Once the digital economy is here, you will see how much it will progress,” the Minister said during an interaction with reporters at a press meet in the ministry. “Indian IT companies are spread across 200 cities and 80 countries around the world, which provide direct employment to 40 lakh people and indirect employment to almost 1.3 crore people. As the industry is moving forward, Nasscom’s claims that in the coming four to five years, almost 20-25 lakh additional jobs will be created,” he added. The Minister said in the next five to seven years, India’s digital economy will be of an estimated $1 trillion, which is almost Rs 600 lakh crore.
The scheme will encourage women weavers across the state to access affordable credit from banks for working capital requirements has been now officially notified. A target of 3000 women weavers have been fixed for this financial year and the bank wise and district wise targets are being formalised. In order to fix responsibilities on banks to fulfill their given targets, defaulting banks will be reported to the RBI. The scheme once implemented will empower rural women and provide sustainable livelihood to thousands of women engaged in traditional weaving but have been discouraged in recent times for want of proper support.
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017
PRAGATI MAIDAN REVAMP
PRAGATI MAIDAN SET FOR A REVAMP The sprawling complex will be redeveloped as the state-of-the-art exhibition-cum-conference center
ragati Maidan, the name invokes visage of one of the biggest and most vibrant exhibition centers in India. It is also the place where all kind of Industries and states showcase their development and progress – their pragati - that too in the heart of national Capital. The most popular exhibitions being organized here regularly are World Trade Fair and National Book Fair. The only problem here though, has been that of unmanageable traffic especially at the time of World Trade Fair. There have been traffic snarls during peak traffic hours, often spreading to few hours. Of late, its infrastructure too had come under strain. All that is set to change now as Pragati Maidan complex is set for a major revamp. It will not be rebuilt but will also be rechristened as International Exhibitioncum-Convention Center (IEECC). The Chairman and Managing Director of Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) L.C. Goyal and President of NBCC (India) Director, Dr. Anup Kumar
There will also be provision for land for 500 hotels for the complete implementation of the entire project
Mittal announced recently the implementation of this modern project at a joint press conference in New Delhi. The project will cost of about Rs 2,500 crore. Goel and Dr. Mittal presented the outlines of this comprehensive project and suggestions to control the heavy traffic around Pragati Maidan. They said that after the renovation it would become a historic place in Delhi and will be a symbol of the Prime Minister’s vision of a new India. IEECC will be developed with the latest architectural design by the joint efforts of NBCC’s M/s ARCOP Associates Pvt. Ltd. and AEDAAS PTE Ltd of Singapore. In this there will be the facility of comprehensive transportation of 4800 vehicles, including basement parking facilities. The 32.4 meter high Convention Center will be the tallest building in the
world. The exterior of the center will have capacity of 7000 packs. This will include 3000 packs for seating arrangement and 4000 packs of multi-function full hall and 3000 packs for Amphitheater. This structure will be included in the rich architectural heritage of Delhi with its on unique sloping facade. It will have 30 meeting rooms of different sizes and capacities and the entire structure of the center will be made with a blend of red marble and white Dholpur marble put together with GFRC mixture. There will also be provision for land for 500 hotels for the complete implementation of the entire project. The exhibition segment of the integrated center will include 7 new modern exhibition halls, with an area of one lakh square meters of extra space. Food and Beverages facility will be offered in each exhibition hall.
Quick Glance Pragati Maidan complex is set to undergo a major overhaul Main focus will be easing traffic congestion around the complex The whole project will cost Rs 2500 cr & will be completed by July 2019
The exhibition’s open space (15 acres) will be decked with two colorful fountain areas and 4 open amphitheaters, (two out of 900 and two out of 600 packs). The premises will include strolling paths, ceilings and skywalk connectivity along with the Pragati Maidan Metro Station. There will be entrance and exit for smooth traffic flow, and for the basement parking for 4800 vehicles. For better access to the IEECC and for the benefit of the general public, care will be taken to provide important provisions like traffic directions and guidelines for the upcoming events. The traffic problems will be addressed by connecting the Mathura Road/Purana Qila road on Ring Road by building a 6-lane tunnel in Pragati Maidan. It will make Mathura Road signal free. Goyal and Mittal informed that the CCEA approved and granted the IEC an estimated cost of 2254 crore on January 24, 2017. He also said that (except the costs due to traffic expense), all statutory approvals for design and concept by the Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC), National Monuments Authority (NMA), South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), Outline and Building Plan by the Fire Services Department of the Government, have been obtained from Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Center (UTTPEC) in DDA, Delhi. He said that the environment clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) is in process and they hope soon it will be obtained.During the proceedings, the two stakeholders disclosed the detailed time period of the prestigious project. It stated that the (vendor/tender) will be done the end of June, 2017 for both the IEECC Project and Traffic Intervention. The construction work will start from July 2017. They said that the Convention Center will be completed by November-December 2018 and the project will be completed by July-August 2019. Goyal and Dr. Mittal reiterated that this first attempt of its kind would be to provide comprehensive relief to the common people in Pragati Maidan. Along with this extensive improvement in traffic solutions to overcome the problem of heavy traffic will be made. He also gave the assurance that people will appreciate this historic project and will welcome a new era in the national capital.
30 Youth & Spirituality
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017
RAW, YOUNG SPIRITUALITY Information age is taking its toll on young minds as we are constantly drowned in this hubbub. The quest for peace is taking the youth to new realms of spirituality
ERCHED upon the Dhauladhar range in Mcledoganj, overlooking the Kangra valley, is Dalai Lama temple. This is the seat of His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama, the supreme spiritual leader of the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhists. Right outside the prayer hall, there is a group of 13 college students, who were engrossed in their conversation with Buddhist monks. Their topic of discussion is ‘non-attachment’, one of the central ideas of Buddhist philosophy. It came as a bit of surprise for me to see these twenty-something young lads constructively engaged in a topic which is considered the province of monks. Once their discussion got over, I decided to join them to understand their motivation behind all this. Their story took me by a surprise. They belong to different engineering colleges from NCR, Jaipur and Chandigarh. They were separated by geographies, but united by one common theme: their quest for peace,
via spirituality. They got to know each other through a Facebook group and once enough confidence was generated, they decided to go on a tour exploring spirituality. They started with Golden Temple in Amritsar. This is their second stop, post which they are headed to Vaishno Devi. They are going to end their trip at dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya in Delhi. My next question was about the purpose of such a trip, to which Snehanshu, the civil engineer from MNIT Jaipur, replied: “You see, there is a lot of chaos and confusion in the world. Everywhere around us, on the roads, in the markets, in our homes, all we are exposed to is noise. This noise is slowly dragging us away from our own sub-conscience and we have
started behaving irrationally. We wanted to understand the root-cause of all this. We knew every religion has a different interpretation of these answers and we wanted to enlighten ourselves with different opinions and then make an informed choice.” The half an hour discussion that ensued with this group, left me astounded. Youth in our society, however miniscule in number, is talking about spirituality at an age, when pubs, drinks, bikes, games and girls seem most appealing. They are trying to question their own worldview and willing to learn from others to develop a more comprehensive outlook. RELIGIOUS OR SPIRITUAL? We have always been a religious society.
Youth is talking about spirituality at an age
when pubs, drinks, bikes, games and girls seem more appealing
Quick Glance A group of youth got to know each other from a Facebook page on spiritualism Most of them were in the age bracket of 22-23, educated but seeking spiritual solutions The information blast that has been unleashed is gradually turning youth from chaos to spiritual solace
The number of religious places in our country are living testimonies of our faith in religion. Plethora of religious practices, customs and festivals we follow in our country is enough proof that we have been a staunchly religious society for long. But across the generations, there has been a remarkable shift in the way religion is perceived. Abhishek Anand, an ISB grad, is a Business Consultant at ZS Associates, Gurgaon. He explains, “I have grown up in a highly religious family. As I was growing up, I had numerous questions in my mind, the answers to which were
MAY 29 - JUNE 04, 2017 not readily available in religion as we were told about it. In the way religion is practiced today, I see it more as a refuge from fear and darkness. There is a blind following of rituals, narrow and self-serving interpretations of religious texts and archaic sets of practices, which confine the individual space. On the other hand, spirituality is about self-awareness and freedom to explore. It allows us to navigate through our conscience freely and unrestrictedly.” In previous generations, the question of self was driven by the quest of security and stability. In that sense, it was quite normal for our parents and grandparents to take refuge under religion and seek their answers there. Of course, there were rebels who questioned these ideas, but their numbers were limited. As a result, the dichotomy of religion and spirituality didn’t become mainstream enough. The hard work of our parents resulted in a very safe and secure upbringing of our generation. As we were growing up, we had enough opportunities and choices in almost every aspect of our lives, be it career, relationships or self-exploration. As the younger generation started looking for their own interpretation of selfawareness, they realised that existing religious paradigm has a very uncompromising approach towards self-awareness. It carries a historical
burden where each religious structure is out to establish its supremacy over other and leaves very small room for people to experiment and invigorate themselves. The rift between the religion and spirituality started widening and the younger generation had a much clear choice ahead of them. CULTURAL INFLUENCES Many a times, we have heard our elders proclaiming, “In our times, we used to ___”. The blank space is often filled up with numerous instances from their childhood days. Even though these examples would be picked up from different aspects of their lifestyles, one thing which is invariably common to most of them is the amount of free time available in those days to do such things. Contrast this to the time a 90s kid or a millennial kid gets for oneself. In the age of “cut-throat competition”, our school plus tuition system has degenerated in such a way that it hardly allows the youngsters to have their own personal time. The youngsters are so badly caught up in this vicious cycle that they have hardly
Youth & Spirituality
any time to think about their own self. The free time which they get is also sucked away by the TV, mobile games, Whatsapp, Facebook and other social media platforms. ShrutiNaik, a psychotherapist at Apollo Hospital, Hyderabad, has a very interesting insight to offer: “Human brains are designed to process a certain amount of information on a daily basis. The brain requires its personal, peaceful time to keep getting re-energised for smoother functioning. But day after day, and week after week, it is forced to operate without giving it enough time to get recharged. By the time a youth approaches 22-23 years of age,s/he has only two options left – nervous breakdown or seek solitude within one’s self.” As counter-intuitive as it sounds, the information overload, in a way, acts as a precursor to spirituality. Even though the number of youth able to break out of the mould is quite few, over the years, their numbers are increasing. For example, Snehanshu, the lad from MNIT Jaipur, had a major nervous breakdown before his second
We need to create a generation of individuals who along with being healthy and educated, are also self-aware
year exams. But instead of keeping it under wraps, he took medical help and followed a mindfulness regime, which helped him get over his depression. It also propelled him to venture deeper into the realms of his mind, and turn towards spirituality. JUST A VIRAL TREND? Many believe that this pursuit of spirituality is just a fad amongst the youngsters and will fizzle itself out in due course of time. The whole idea of pursuing something which is bigger than ourselves seems to be quite incomprehensible for young minds. Vignesh Krishnan, a Program coach with Teach For India, differs, “That is gross underestimation of the capabilities of human mind. While I agree that there are many youngsters, for whom the quest of spirituality is merely a topic to brag about, but there are many who are out-rightly sincere about it”. As part of his work, Vignesh interacts with scores of young girls and boys on a daily basis. He continues,” Look, understanding spirituality and practicing it is a continuing journey in itself. There isn’t an end result attached to it. There would be many who seem lost in their quest for spirituality, but that’s perfectly fine. It took Buddha umpteen years in his quest. Hence, I find no reason to believe that youngsters’ quest for spirituality is going to fizzle out soon.” The causal and circumstantial factors around the spirituality are not going to mitigate away anytime soon. The information bombardment will continue to increase, the brain’s continued occupation will keep rising and the rift between religion and spirituality will keep widening. This, along with the obvious benefits of practicing spirituality, is going to propel the youth more towards spirituality. And this will create a selfsustaining cycle of spirituality seekers, which won’t require any external push. Indian society is at the cusp of demographic revolution. The demographic dividend, which we are supposed to reap in the coming years, is not going to magically appear. We need to create a generation of individuals who along with being healthy and educated, are also selfaware. The ripple effect of this new found self-awareness is going to kick in much later. Until then we need to keep supporting the youth who are intrinsically drawn towards spirituality. We also need to create systemic interventions in schools and colleges to draw more youngsters towards spirituality. A society doesn’t become a utopian one just by accident. There has to be consistent, large scale efforts to transform it into one.
29 MAY-04 JUNE, 2017
AKE RAVI KRISHNA
IPS OFFICER ADOPTS A VILLAGE
Ake Ravi Krishna, Superintendent of Police in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh has adopted the entire village of Kapatrala
HIS comes the construction of around the roads and starting H right time for literacy programmes EROE the village that has in the village. reportedly jeopardized The IPS officer is also by a series of faction killings on a mission to raise awareness and revenge murders, for which on eye donation amidst the 21 people might face villagers. He had earlier incarceration including life composed a song, encouraging imprisonment. people to donate their eyes after The determinant Ake death, which was reported R av i Krishna, and shared on several social Superintendent of Police media platform. in the Kurnool Titled ‘Kallanu district of Having pledged to donate daanam chey, A n d h r a , nee choopunu his organs, Ravi has decided to act daanam chey’, upon the inspired 1.5 lakh people for meaning ‘donate matter and your eyes, donate eye donation took the first your vision’, the step towards song was sung by the development of the village. the officer himself. Starting with getting the district Having pledged to donate his collector to sanction an amount organs last year, the IPS officer has of Rs. 60 lakh for the construction since inspired around 1.5 lakh of rooms in a government school, people to register for he has been actively involved in a eye donation and become a great variety of initiatives including source of inspiration for others.
32 Unsung Hero
ER N ENW MA SSM EW AKK ESR S ANSHU JAMSENPA
INDIAN MOUNTAINEER BREAKS RECORD 37-years old Anshu Jamsenpa climbs Everest summit twice in a week, a record
N Indian climber reached Mount Everest’s summit of for the second time in less than a week, setting a women’s record for a double ascent of the world’s highest mountain in a single season. Anshu Jamsenpa, 37, returned from the 8,848-metre (29,028-feet) peak on May 16, before turning around after a short rest to repeat the feat. The current female record, certified by Guinness World Records, is held by Nepali climber Chhurim Sherpa, who in 2012 became the first woman to scale the peak twice in a season. Anshu intended to make the summit in 2014 but the climbing season was cancelled after an avalanche killed 16 Nepali guides. Another attempt the following year was foiled after an avalanche killed 18 people at Base Camp. Last week Nepali climber Lhakpa Sherpa broke her own record for the greatest number of summits by a woman after scaling the peak for eighth time.
43-YEAR-old UK entrepreneur has become the first Indiaborn woman to be elected as a councillor to a ward in the UK. Rehana Ameer, who was born and raised in Chennai, contested from Vintry ward in the City of London County as an independent candidate. She was elected as a councillor to the Court of Common Council, becoming the first India-born woman to be elected to the City of London Corporation. “As an elected councillor, my key focus areas are road safety, improved air quality, mental health and better representation of all types of businesses as part of the Brexit negotiations,” Rehana said. She aims to promote the city’s business international markets and develop the city’s presence overseas. The City corporation is the richest local authority in the country which controls the 1.3 billion pounds city cash fund. The City of London is divided into 25 wards and elected councillors represent each ward.
INDIA- BORN WOMAN IS LONDON COUNCILLOR In a first, a woman born in India is elected in city of London
RNI No. DELENG/2016/71561, Joint Commissioner of Police (Licensing) Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016 VOLUME - 1, ISSUE - 24 Printed by Monika Jain, Published by Monika Jain on behalf of SULABH SANITATION MISSION FOUNDATION and Printed at The Indian Express Ltd., A-8, Sector-7, NOIDA (U.P.) and Published from RZ 83, Mahavir Enclave, Palam-Dabri Road, New Delhi – 110 045. Editor Monika Jain