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RNI No. DELENG/2016/71561


Good News Weekly for Rising India



deaf children

Dr Someshwar is working to develop an app that helps deal with hearing and speech challenges in kids

bihar rising


Vol-1 | Issue-33 | July 31 - August 06, 2017 | Price ` 5/-


photo feature

welcoming president

Talented students who cleared Last week marked the swearing the UPSE and IIT Entrance in of the new President of India, Ram Nath Kovind examinations were awarded

narendra modi

Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power three years ago, he has taken up numerous steps to empower women. Here is a look‌

02 Women Empowerment

July 31 - august 06, 2017

Kovind with Narendra Modi and Amit Shah

Shalini Sharma


rime Minister Narendra Modi completed three years in office recently, and from surgical strikes on terrorist to surgical strikes on black money, and from ‘Make in India’ to ‘Skill India’ we are truly on the path to progress. PM Modi is a leader who also knows that the country cannot thrive without the betterment of its women. That is why Prime Minister Modi has helped shape many well thought out and offbeat welfare schemes for the benefit of women and girl child which infuse us with optimism for a better future. India is a culture that worships the feminine energy in forms of Goddesses for time immemorial, it is time we became a comfortable setting for the living forms of that energy.

Quick Glance Women working from home are doing business worth $ 9 billion Matunga Railway station in Mumbai is being manned only by women Beti Bachao scheme has enhanced sex ration across the country

Narendra Modi said, women are excelling and

performing better day by day in every sector, and from village to Silicon valley, women are leading from the front Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems determined to strengthen the country by empowering women. The Prime Minister has kick-started many schemes which have not only empowered women but have also paved way for their social upliftment as well. The result is there for all to see. Manning a Railway Station With an aim to empower women, government has entrusted running a railway station to them. Central Railway has taken a strong step by making Matunga as an all-women employee station. For past three months, all functions at Matunga station are being carried out by women only. There are 30 women employees posted at Matunga which includes 11 booking clerks, five Railway Protection Force (RPF) workers and seven ticket checkers.

It might be a small initiative towards women empowerment. The government has decided that if the experiment succeeds and people like the change, then it may be replicated in other station as well. In fact, this is not the first step taken by the Central Railway to give women more responsibility and authority. It had appointed Mamata Kulkarni as first woman station master of Kurla station. Now, she has been transferred to take charge if Matunga. Securing the Girl Child To address the issue of declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR), Beti Bachao, Beti Padao (BBBP) scheme was launched in January 2015. This is a major interministerial initiative of Government of India bringing together Ministry of Women and Child Development, the

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the 50th year celebrations of the Ladies’ Wing of the Indian Merchants’ Chamber, via video conferencing, in New Delhi on April 13, 2017

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The key objectives of the campaign are preventing sex selective abortion, ensuring survival and protection of the girl child and ensuring education of the girl child. The BBBP initiative has two major components – the mass communication campaign; and the multi-sectoral action in the 100 selected districts with low CSRs. Regular workshops and discussions are being held to understand the areas in which improvement is required to ensure better, more conducive environment for the girl child and women as such. Some of the suggestions from the District collectors’ workshops in Chandigarh, Guwahati and Delhi were more stringent Anti-Dowry act; prevention of Child Marriage through compulsory registration of marriages; emphasis on education of the girl child; and economic incentives to the poor parents. Under BBBP, the village that succeeds in attaining a balanced CSR will be rewarded Rs. 1 crore. In January 2015, PM Modi also launched the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana. This is another of the promising

July 31 - august 06, 2017

and relevant schemes launched for providing security to the girl child. SSY lays special emphasis on the financial empowerment of the girl child. Through this scheme, the parents of any girl child below 10 years can open a savings account for their daughters and operate it till they attain an age of 21 years. After that time, they can withdraw the money and use it for her marriage or higher education. The scheme offers a high rate of return, even much higher than PPF and the depositor gets complete tax exemption for whatever amount invested under 80 C of income tax. Ever since the scheme has been launched, lakhs of parents have got an account opened for their daughters and enjoying the benefits. Amongst other advantages, it is the investment scheme with highest rate of interest amongst small saving schemes and the proceeds are paid only to the girl child and no one else. Therefore, this scheme is truly designed to make the girl child secure. Also launched in 2014 is the Dhanlakshmi Yojana, which is a conditional money transfer system that incentivizes the family that retains their girl child, vaccinate her, give her an education and prevent child marriage. Under this scheme, an insurance cover is also offered for the girl child. Reducing Infant Mortality Rate As India strives towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), progress in reducing maternal mortality becomes an important frontier. Every pregnancy is special and every pregnant woman must receive special care. Any pregnant woman can develop life-threatening complications, so all pregnant women need access to quality antenatal services to detect and prevent life-threatening complications during childbirth. To provide quality prenatal and

Women Empowerment


Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched various schemes for women. (top left) Gold Scheme, (top right) Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Scheme; (Bottom) Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme

India has a culture that worships the feminine

energy in forms of Goddesses from time immemorial antenatal services to pregnant women of economically backward sections of the society, PM Modi launched the Pradhanmantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan in June 2016 and 6000 Pregnancy Aid Yojana in January 2017. The objective of the PMSMA is to boost health care facilities for the pregnant women, especially the poor. The scheme has been designed to ensure a healthy life for the pregnant women, lowering the mortality rate, making pregnant women aware of their health issues/diseases, and achieving safe delivery and healthy life of the baby. PMSMA covers vaccinations, tests and other services for pregnant women to help them with giving birth to healthy children. The vaccinations offered help to control many conditions like measles and rubella, two conditions that can especially be dangerous to pregnant

women and their children. Under PMSMA, there is a free health checkup organized on the 9th of every month for pregnant women. All kinds of medical checkups under this scheme are completely free. Tests take place at the medical centers, government and private hospitals and private clinics across the country. Doctors follow a specific color coding to mark the medical charts of women based on their health problems for efficient treatment. The 6000 Pregnancy Aid Yojana has been launched across more than 650 districts in the country with the intent to lower maternal mortality ratio caused by poor physical condition, malnutrition, improper medical care or lack of medical assistance or hygiene. Under the scheme, a direct benefit transfer of Rs. 6000 will made

to the pregnant woman’s bank account. This sum of money can be used for vaccinations, hospitalisation and nutritional food. The direct transfer of money into the beneficiary’s account is a step in the right direction. This rules out middle men and any possibility of the money being misappropriated or scammed. India faces a huge problem of corruption which ruins almost every scheme implemented to help the citizens. By the time the money trickles down the chain of government officials and politicians, there is barely any left for the beneficiaries. Many times the schemes don’t work out because the funds completely disappear. The Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) means the money goes directly from the government treasury to the beneficiary’s bank account thus lowering management costs of the scheme, eliminating leakage of funds and slamming corruption. Rehabilitating the Displaced To help women rendered homeless due to difficult circumstances at home, Pradhanmantri Narendra Modi has launched Swadhar Greh in January 2016. It aims to provide temporary accommodation, maintenance and rehabilitative services to women and girls challenged by family discord, crime, violence, mental stress, social ostracism, or if they are being forced into prostitution and are in moral danger. Swadhar envisions a supportive institutional framework for women so that they can lead their life with dignity and conviction. It envisages that shelter, food, clothing, and health as

04 Women Empowerment

well as economic and social security are assured for such women. The core objectives of this scheme are providing the primary needs shelter, food, clothing, medical treatment and care of the women in distress and those who are without any social and economic support; enabling them to regain their emotional strength; providing them with legal aid and guidance to enable them towards readjustment in family/society; rehabilitating them economically and emotionally; acting as a support system that understands and meets various requirements of women in distress. The benefit of the scheme can be availed by any women above 18 years of age and deserted or without any social and economic support; survivors of natural disasters who have been rendered homeless and without social and economic support; women prisoners released from jail and without family or support; victims of domestic violence, family tension or discord who are made to leave their home without any means of subsistence or protection from exploitation and/or facing litigation on account of marital disputes; and trafficked women/girls rescued or runaway from brothels or other places where they face exploitation and women affected with HIV/AIDS who do not have any social or economic support.

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Today, at least 20 lakh women have been doing business worth $8-9 billion from the confines of their homes only

Promoting entrepreneurs This scheme is for the benefit for women looking to find strong jobs. The government will assist women with job training in a variety of key fields. Financial support and necessary skill training will be offered. Today, at least 20 lakh women have been doing business worth $ 8-9 billion from the confines of their homes only. According to a report tracking these transactions, this kind of business has great potential is likely to grow further in near future. Government’s promotion of digital transactions, has made their task easier. They have been using social media platforms like Facebook and Whatsapp to propogate their business, generate new orders and getting a feedback. Upliftment of Minority women To empower the womenfolk of the minority communities Prime Minister Modiji’s government is strongly opposing the triple talaq system and polygamy. The Niti Aayog has suggested the Centre from minority communities should also be given adequate representation in all institutions intended to promote their welfare like national and state women’s

commissions, minority commissions and minority financial commissions. Mudra Scheme Prime Minister’s Mudra Scheme has given wings to women’s dreams of working from home through e-commerce. Women indulging in businesses like stitching, weaving, making pickles and papads, have been the biggest beneficiaries of this scheme. So far 7.5 crore people have benefitted from Mudra Scheme of whom over 76 per cent are women. E-Platform for Harassment There have been numerous complaints of sexual harassment at workplace. Such office atmosphere has been a major deterrent for women willing to work. But, Modi Government is determined to check this malpractice and it has launched an e-platform to report such incidents and take action against offenders. The Central Government alone employs more than 30 lakh women. According to 2011 census, women constitute 10.93 per cent work force at the Centre. Now women will be able to lodge complaints online only. Department of Telecom (DoT) too

Prime Minister Narendra Modi talking to women on International Women’s Day in his Programme Chai Pe Charcha

has made provision of a panic button in all mobiles by effecting amendment in Section 10 of Indian telegraph Act called Panic Button in Mobile handsets and GPS Rules 2016. The amendment was effected on April 22, 2016. These rules stipulate that all feature phones should be equipped with a panic button from January 1, 2017. Fifth or Ninth button on a phone has been earmarked as panic button. Similar feature has been added in smart phones as well. One only needs to press the key-pad on button thrice at small intervals to alert the police and his near and dear ones. The Government has also made it mandatory for phone manufacturers to make provision for a facility that will allow people to find out using GPS the position of a particular mobile handset at any given time. Easy Passport The government has also made it easier for women to get a passport. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement at Golden Jubilee function of Ladies wing of Indian Merchant Chambers on April 13, 2017. He said that women applying for a passport need not change their name post-marriage and they also don’t need to give their marriage or divorce certificate. They can simply mention name of their mother or father in the application.

July 31 - august 06, 2017



app deaf children

Dr Making App to Restore Speech in Deaf Children Dr Someshwar Singh is working to develop an app that helps identifying early signs of deafness in young children to facilitate speech after cochlear implantation ssb bureau


r Someshwar Singh has defied the age old Indian axiom that the hangover of success often leads to a person forgetting his roots and people. After completing medical studies from the nations’ premier medical institute, Dr Singh was offered a job as a medical practitioner in England. His love for his motherland made him resign from his job in England and he returned to India. He started working with an American organisation that focused on the treatment of the poor and poverty struck. Today, Dr Singh, at the behest of the Indian government is developing an app that focuses on children who have lost the ability to properly hear and speak due to lack of treatment in early age. India has an alarming number of cases related to partial to complete ability to hear properly and is spread across all the age groups, from children to older ones, Dr Singh said. The prime reason for this, he said, is the lack of awareness. Timely treatments and early identification can cure the condition and unless people are aware, we cannot fully eradicate this problem

from our country. The technology should be implemented countrywide, but implementing a technology in a country as big as India has its own challenges, he added. Dr Singh’s specialisation was cochlear implants which was very limited till 2009-2010. He researched on the cochlear implant in London and was sure that he can contribute a lot to a methodology of the treatment. In India, numerous babies are born with a disability to hear and as a reason; they lose their ability to speak. The cost of a cochlear implant in India can range from 7 lacs to 15 lacs. A cochlear implant, when done at an early age of 2-3 years is most effective as opposed to 5-6 years, when children lose their ability to speak, due to their prolonged inability to hear. Dr Singh extended his thanks to Indian government who trusted him and his team to develop an app that can solve this problem. He along with his team is researching on features that can identify early symptoms of hearing and speech disability in children and is confident that if the research is successful, he will develop the app in a year. “I chose medical over the law as a profession because of the general

belief of yesteryears that law studies are meant for students who rank average in academics. I was always a bright student and despite coming from a family of judges, I chose a different path” - Dr Singh said. Whatever work we choose in our life, our conscience has to comply with it. I always listened to my heart and that made me contribute to the society, he added. Dr Singh completed his studies from the prestigious JIPMER ( Jawaharlal Institute Of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research). I was never inclined toward making money but nowadays, doctors and hospitals in their heartless pursuit of making money and couldn’t care less about the patients. The Indian healthcare ecosystem needs to be overhauled and strengthened. Till the time corporates continue to hold the strings of healthcare, any constructive change to strengthen the ecosystem remains a distant reality, Dr Singh said. Business people, who have no knowledge of medicine and are only concerned about revenues, have become the decision makers in the hospitals. When salary overpowers the ethos and ethics of a profession, it dilutes the essence of the profession. Doctors, who operate more are paid more has now become the leading policy of healthcare companies and the poor are suffering as a result of this capitalistic mindset in healthcare. The Indian government has started an

With tremendous

experience under his belt, Dr Singh is now working to develop an app to facilitate the early diagnosis of deafness in the young

Quick Glance Dr Singh is developing the app with the support of Indian Govt Dr Singh has performed over 300 cochlear implants till date The new app will help identify signs of hearing and speech disabilities

awareness initiative to combat this system and this should be welcomed by the society. Dr Singh mentioned that Cochlear implant is free nowadays, thanks to the current government and its healthcare policies. Dr Singh has done 300 operations till now with a record 100% success rate. Various institutions have contributed immensely to his cause. We can identify the success rate by examining the patient’s condition. Since this operation is done at the age of 3-5 years, it can only cure the hearing disability of a child, the ability to speak is unaffected due to prolonged presence of hearing disability. If people are aware of these conditions, they would not delay the treatment and the child can be treated and the ability to hear and speak can be restored. Time is the key here. Due to lack of screening options and awareness, the number of affected children is on an alarming rise. The hospital owners have commoditised and for them, the services are merely a product akin to a supermarket. The lack of regulatory systems has resulted in distrust of people on healthcare professionals and we desperately need a new regulatory system. Doctors and business men have different decision-making systems. While the business men are merely driven by profits, only a doctor can understand the requirements of the patients. The parameters of a doctor’s excellence have shifted from quality to money and are directly impacting ethics of the profession. The government needs to take strict measures to curtail all this so that the poor can be served without a prejudice.

06 Felicitation

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felicitation voice of bihar

Bihar candidates honoured for passing UPSE Exam

Talented students who cleared the UPSE Examinations and IIT Entrance examinations were awarded by the Voice of Bihar at the Constitution Club in Delhi. The star junior hockey coach from Bihar, Harinder Singh was also honoured

Quick Glance The ceremony was attended by Dr Bindeshwar Pathak and Abhyanand, former DGP of Bihar Coach of the Junior Hockey Team, Harinder Singh was also felicitated in the programme 17 students who cleared the IIT Entrance exams were also awarded by Voice of Bihar

is now on their shoulders.

SSB Bureau


he mention of Bihar begins a discussion of the declining education system and scandals, but the talented few of Bihar that have successfully passed the UPSC exam and thus made the state proud of their achievement. These talented people have told the world that it is not just Rudy but many other prestigious bureaucrats in the country that have been born from this soil. Bihar’s successful students were awarded by the Voice of Bihar this year for their success in the UPSC examinations. This program was organised at the Constitution Club, New Delhi. On this occasion, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of the Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement, and Abhayanand, the former Director General of Police, Bihar were present. Both of the attendees spoke on the importance of the government’s role in society. At this talent award ceremony,

Abhayanand said that maintaining coordination between society and the governments is very necessary for the new bureaucrats who are now going to take charge of their responsibilities. There is a thin line between the two, which should be kept in balance to benefit the society and the country. He said that his entire life has been an innovative experiment. The summary of his experiments, Super 30 is a part of it. There are many problems in the society, most of which are in the field of education and health and we believe that this is the government’s work and the government only can diagnose these problems. All this means that the government will find a solution to every problem in society. The question is what - will the society also do something to address these problems? Why is there the need in society to be dependent upon the government? This is a question addressed to people on either side of that line. The main point of this issue is that till now the new officers were

part of ‘society’ but now have become part of the ‘government’. Their responsibility increases at this very point. The new officers were told that they are not just officers; they are going to run the country. Their families are also linked to the job. Such services are demanding. In this kind of job, they have to take the family as well as the society into consideration. Then there is also retirement waiting at the end of their service, which may not visible to them right now, but it is definitely going to come. After retirement, there is a certain emptiness in life. It becomes difficult to fill the vacuum. It is important that the officers become socially involved in a way that postretirement emptiness does not happen in the coming time. All the successful officers deserved commendations for getting into the UPSC and it is hoped that they will handle their new posts very well. But it needs to be mentioned that they must remain connected to the society because the responsibility of creating this society

People of Bihar should be proud of themselves - Dr. Pathak Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of the Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement, who presided over the program, congratulated all the successful candidates and said that everyone should make a goal in their life and work hard towards it. Only then success will give come to them. The secret of Sulabh’s success that most of it is from Bihar! The people of Bihar are very hardworking and culturally strong, they work day and night. Our work has been on not for one or two years but fifty years. People will be surprised to know that one magazine has prepared a list of 50 eminent people in the world and in this list, one person is from Bihar. It is a matter of pride for all Bihar people. Not only this, the US Mayor has named a day, April 14, 2016, after Dr Pathak, which is an honour not given to any other Indian. We must believe in our culture, our hard work. The people of Bihar are successful in every field. Stairs are needed for them, who wish to reach the roof, Whose sights are on clouds, must chart their own path... Sulabh has played a seminal role to help reduce the practice of manual scavenging the country. if the Sulabh toilets were not invented, the practice of manual scavenging in the country would not have ended. We liberated the scavenger brothers from this hell, to give them the right to live with respect. Today they go to the temple with everyone, eat food along with everyone else with respect,

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and live a life with the head held high. This invention of Sulabh has been listed by BBC in the world’s five top inventions. Dr Pathak explained to the newly elected bureaucrats through a story that we have to treat people equally, treat all with due respect. The officers should maintain the dignity of their post and not discriminate against any person. After 14 years the hockey team becomes world champions The biggest problem with the people of Bihar is that they forget Bihar after reaching higher positions. The person who forgets his motherland can forget everything else in the world. We all owe a responsibility to our society, and it increases with time. Bihar has contributed a lot in the upliftment of the country. In this scheme of things comes the Indian junior hockey team coach Harinder Singh, who is from Chhapra of Bihar. After 14 years, he made the hockey team the world champion. He first greeted the newly elected bureaucrats and said that he came to Delhi in 1979, with a dream from Bihar. He said that during the course of his studies, we saw an India-Pakistan’s hockey match and seeing the bad condition of India, he decided at that very moment

Abhayanand awarded the new

bureaucrats, students, and coach at a ceremony in Delhi wherein they were felicitated and reminded of their duties towards the people

that he would play hockey and beat Pak. He started practising at 11 o’clock because all friends used to study till 11 o’clock. When the college played for the first time, the captain of his team threw away his hockey stick and said that Biharis only run rickshaws in Delhi. After that, he never looked back. He said he was thankful to those people who compelled him to play hockey. Harinder Singh won the best award in coaching, the Dronacharya award in 2012. Simultaneously, the Bihar government, the UP government, and the Maharashtra government have also honoured him. Rana Yashwant Singh wants to bring Bihar’s talent centre-stage On this occasion, Rana Yashwant Singh said that the Biharis have the country’s talent. We should try to change society.

When we reach high positions, our identity becomes one with the post. The better we do, the better it will prove to be for our land and region. The people of Bihar imbibe many national identities, but they do not take pride in themselves. This year, 17 children from weaver families in Bihar have qualified for IIT. We need to bring these talents in front of the world. This ceremony was attended by people working in many other fields besides the newly-elected bureaucrats who were invited to be honoured. Among these was Shashank, who is working for the farmers. Shashank was a student at IIT Delhi. After completing his studies, he got a job in a company, but he left the job and thought of working for the farmers. For this, he has created a forum called Farm and Farmer. This institution solves every problem faced by farmers under one roof. This



institution is working with 25 thousand farmers of Bihar. On this occasion, Shashank said that this honouring ceremony is going to encourage him and his organisation. Bhojpuri film director Pallavi Prakash, NCD Congressman Sanjay Thakur, language expert Nivesh Kumar, Swayodymi Nirmal, Vandana Bhardwaj, Sandeep and Maithili Thakur were honoured. Anand Vardhan (7th rank), Somesh Kumar Upadhyay (34th), Arif Ahsaan (74th), Shashi Prakash Singh (75th), Sumit Kumar Jha (111th), Sunny Raj (132), Prabhat Ranjan Pathak (137th) were some who reaped honours for Bihar by getting selected in UPSC; Nitesh Pandey (141st), Keshav Kumar (222nd), Brij Shankar (274th) Vivek Kumar (278th), Satyam (374), Omnkar Rai (458th), Priyatosh (495th rank), Rituraj (682nd) and Niranjan Kumar (728th) too were felicitated. Voice of Bihar is an institution, in which about 250 people work as members. Brijesh Kumar, the organiser of this program, said that he has been trying to make Bihar’s voice audible to the world for the past three years through this institution. He said that he is working to improve Bihar’s negative image and to make the world aware of talents there.

08 Good News

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good news in brief

toilets self cleaning

Self-cleaning public toilets now a reality A new automated self-cleaning public toilet was officially opened at the Canley Vale Town Centre recently ssb bureau cradle reception

Baby reception centres for safe abandonment of babies


new automated self-cleaning public toilet was officially opened at the Canley Vale Town Centre, Australia, recently. Before this toilet, there used to be two sets of toilets available for the Canley Vale Centre which was demolished for the construction of a commuter car park.

“The business community was great in opening their doors to people who needed to go to the toilet, but we needed our own toilet,” Mr Fornasier said. “We had mothers with children and people coming from the train station and it was a concern because every corner was blessed. “I was putting pressure on the council and they have responded and it is a great thing for the community. A

As per the request of WCD Ministry, several states across the country have set up cradle baby reception centres to allow safe abandonment of babies

ssb bureau radle baby reception centres have been set up in several states to enable safe abandonment of babies by their bio logical parents/guardians who do not want to reveal their identities before the child welfare committee while relinquishing their children The Ministry of Women & Child Development has requested the States/UTs to activate and facilitate this provision. So far, cradle baby reception centres have been set up in 11 States at over 265 locations and already 205 babies have been received in these palnas/cradles so far. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Minister Women & Child Development, quoted these figures in response to a question in the Rajya Sabha. Replying to a supplementary question, Maneka Gandhi mentioned that the WCD Ministry has asked every state to set up the cradle system preferably at Primary Health Centres, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Swadhar Units, Short Stay Homes and the office of District Child Protection Unit to receive abandoned babies. A considerable number of cradles have been set up in the states of Haryana, Assam, Gujarat and Odisha, Smt Maneka Gandhi added. Punjab, Delhi, Karnataka, West Bengal, Manipur and Meghalaya are also among those States which have started putting up cradle baby reception centres. Replying to another supplementary question, the WCD Minister said that all these abandoned babies will be placed for adoption through a proper process after being declared legally free.


President of Canley Vale Chamber of Commerce, Tony Fornasier finally has his toilet after years of pressuring Fairfield Council

win for Canley Vale.” Some of the benefits of the new toilet include: • Electronic doors with automated locking and unlocking features. • Automated seat and floor wash with drying at pre-arranged times. • A timed occupation which minimises the potential for vandalism. Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone mentioned at the opening of the toilet – located adjacent to the commuter car park – he was glad to be delivering “Tony’s toilet” for the community. “The new toilets will have a high level of cleanliness with an automated self-cleaning cycle, as well as the normal cleaning service conducted by Council,” he said. “The Canley Vale facility is part of a partnership between Fairfield City Council and Transport for NSW for the construction of the multi-storey car park. “The modern toilet facility is the final element of the car park, which is providing parking for commuters and shoppers. It will be open from 5am to 11pm, seven days a week.” The automated self-cleaning public toilet is one of two to open this week along with one at Cabravale Memorial Park. Council will deliver up to two automated self-cleaning toilets each year.

candidates skill training

85,000 candidates for skill training

A placement linked skill development programme is being implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development ssb bureau


he government on Thursday said a total of 1,62,586 candidates have been skilled and 84,900 placed after skill training under Deendayal Upadhayaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) in 2016-17. Replying to a question in the LokSabha, Minister of State for Rural

Development Ram Kirpal Yadav said that training under the scheme enabled a youth to seek wage employment. He said that during the Financial Year 2016-17, a total of 1,62,586 candidates had been skilled and 84,900 placed. Deendayal Upadhayaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) is a placement linked skill development programme for the rural poor youth being implemented by the Ministry of Rural

Development. Another component is skill development through Rural Self Employment and Training Institutes (RSETI), which enables a trainee to seek self-employment with bank credit. A total of 4,45,106 candidates have been trained and 3,63,111 settled in 2016-17.

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Good News


good news in brief

cow hiv cure

Cows indeed are Holy, Now That They May Help Fight HIV Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies discovered in HIV infected cows may help researchers successfully develop a vaccine against all HIV strains

Quick Glance Researchers found HIV fighting antibodies in cows after 42 days Only 1 per cent of HIV-infected people eventually generate antibodies Antibody region HCDR3 has been discovered as the key for HIV vaccine

ssb bureau


he cow has emerged as an unlikely hero in the quest to fight HIV for good. Researchers report that four cows that were injected with a type of HIV protein rapidly produced significantly powerful antibodies against the menacing virus. Now they are trying to replicate and induce similar antibodies in humans which could be the vital element in creating a successful HIV vaccine. Antibodies called ‘Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies’ are able to fight infections from a plethora of HIV types. These antibodies were generated in cows about 42 days after immunization, the researchers reported. For the infinitesimal portion of the human population that is able to develop similar antibodies against HIV after a natural infection, it can take several years. The work identifies “a new and much more efficient method to generate broadly active antibodies against HIV,” says immunologist Justin Bailey of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.Since the virus mutates periodically, it has been difficult to synthesize a viable vaccine against it. This is because many strains exist for this virus all over the world and on top of that, the virus mutates within the

infected person’s body. Usually, people develop antibodies specific to only one strain staying vulnerable to others. The vaccines tested so far have never led to the production of broadly neutralizing antibodies discovered in cows. Only 1 per cent of HIV-infected people eventually generate broadly neutralizing antibodies that are especially potent and effective against many types of HIV. While these antibodies don’t benefit those who already are infected, these antibodies are shown to prevent infection when monkeys are exposed to viruses similar to HIV. One of the quirky features of broadly neutralizing antibodies specific to HIV is the presence of a long stretch of amino acids that sticks out from the antibody surface. The viral site remains the same between strains even though the protruding part of the antibody binds to the viral site because because the virus needs it to gain entry to a cell. The thick coating of surface sugars makes the viral binding site difficult to access. What does

After isolating antibodies produced in cows in response to HIV exposure, researchers have successfully tested their efficacy

seem to work though is a long stretch of amino acids that are able to pierce through “and reach in, almost like the long arm of the law,” says Vaughn Smider, a molecular immunologist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. The antibody region called HCDR3 has about 30 amino acids that are produced in people infected with HIV that develop broadly neutralizing antibodies. These amino acid chains are twice as long as the human antibodies. Although on the long side for a human, “that’s actually kind of short for a cow,” Smider says. And so the idea to immunize cows was born. Since cows naturally make longer HCDR3s, Smider explains, perhaps they’d have this sought-after response to HIV. Taking serum –blood leaving antibodies behind, Smider and his colleagues tested it against different types of HIV virus in a test tube. Surprisingly, all of the cows developed broadly neutralizing antibodies. Then, one cow’s antibodies were tested on more virus types. 381 days after exposure, the cow’s antibodies successfully prevented over 96 per cent of 117 HIV types from infected cells in a lab dish. An antibody that had a long HCDR3 was also isolated which was one of the 60 amino acids and stopped infection by 72 percent of the HIV types. If researchers could induce antibodies with long HCDR3s in humans, “then that could be the basis of getting a vaccine to work,” Smider says. “You need a step before the immunization that helps expand the rare antibodies.” Because cows are so efficient at making broadly neutralizing antibodies, it also might be possible to turn the cow’s handiwork into drugs for HIV treatment, if bovine antibodies are effective at stopping the virus in other animals, he says.

J&K sets new milestone and goals for sanitation A new public toilet cum bathing facility was officially opened in the railway station in Jammu and Kashmir ssb bureau


he foundation stone for a new public toilet cum bathing facility near the Taxi Stand, Railway Station, Jammu and Kashmir was laid by Speaker Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, Kavinder Gupta and Member Parliament Jugal Kishore Sharma The foundation laying ceremony was also attended by senior Railways officers, social activists, and members of Taxi union. The Speaker mentioned that the new facility would improve the sanitary and hygiene conditions of the area while also urging on public transporter operators, traders, and local people to help out in ensuring cleanliness in and around the area. “Poor sanitation causes diseases and the provision of adequate toilet facility in the crowded places like Bus stands Railway stations is necessary for maintaining hygienic surroundings” the speaker asserted. The officers of Railways were applauded by the speaker by the Speaker Railways for their efforts as a result of which the Jammu railway station has been ranked 3rd in the country in cleanliness. The new facility would cater to tourists, taxi operators and other passengers, which travel to Jammu daily from different parts of the country A massive renovation project has already been approved for Jammu railway station to improve and upgrade the facilities for the passengers. The initiative taken by the Taxi union along with railway officers to create better sanitation facility for the people was appreciated as well.

10 Science & Technology earth energy

NASA eyes eclipse to understand Earth’s energy

Using advanced 3-D radiative transfer technology, NASA scientists are ready to simulate the solar eclipse in lab conditions to study the radiated solar energy



n a bid to learn more about Earth’s energy system, scientists at NASA are planning to explore the moon’s eclipse of the sun, the space agency said in a statement. With the help of an advanced 3-D radiative transfer computer model, the scientists are working to simulate the eclipse that will occur on August 21 and pass across America. This will help them understand how energy is propagated on Earth. The team of NASA scientists led by Guoyong Wen of Morgan State University in Baltimore will be stationed in Casper, Wyoming, and Columbia, Missouri to gather information on the amount of energy that would be transmitted to and from Earth before, during and right after the eclipse. The Earth’s energy system is in a constant dance to maintain a balance between incoming radiation from the sun and outgoing radiation from Earth to space, which scientists call the Earth’s energy budget. The role of clouds, both thick and thin, is important in their effect on energy balance. Like a giant cloud, the moon during the total solar eclipse in August will cast a large shadow across a swath of the US. The scientists will use ground and space instruments to learn how this large shadow affects the amount of sunlight reaching Earth’s surface, especially around the edges of the shadow. If successful, the scientists would further develop new calculations that could improve the estimates of the amount of solar energy that reaches the ground. The experiment will help improve the current model calculations and the knowledge of clouds.

July 31 - august 06, 2017

phone jio

Jio to bring new era of innovation ‘JioPhone’ is turning heads with its technological specifications when compared with its price in the market ians


ith Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) announcing the launch of an affordable ‘intelligent’ JioPhone, industry analysts have given the thumbs up to the move, saying this will bring a new era of innovation for the feature phone market in the country. As the smartphone industry is going through a massive revolution, the feature phone market has not seen many innovations while internet connectivity grew from 2G to 4G. “JioPhone is a move to reach out to the next 100 million users. With an installed base of 400 million feature phones in

India, the market is big enough for Jio to target feature phone users with disruptive offers and an effective price of Rs ‘zero’ for a device,” Tarun Pathak, Senior Analyst, Mobile Devices and Ecosystems at Counterpoint Research, told IANS. “The feature phone segment is still very active in India and close to half a billion such handsets will be sold in the next five years,” he added. The details are yet to emerge but the phone appears to have a 2.4 QVGA resolution, near-field connectivity (NFC) technology, four-way navigation, an alphanumeric keyboard, SD card slot, a microphone and a speaker, headphone jack and FM Radio, among other specifications.

twitter anti-abuse

Anti-abuse measures and actions in twitter Twitter is taking action 10 times the number of abusive accounts every day as compared to last year’s operations. IANS


While there is still much work to be done, people are experiencing significantly less abuse on Twitter now than they were six months ago, the micro-blogging website has said. In an update on its efforts to improve user safety and antiabuse measures on its platform, Twitter said its team is now taking action on

10 times the number of abusive accounts every day compared to the same time last year. “We also now limit account functionality or place suspensions on thousands more abusive accounts each day,” Ed Ho, General Manager, Consumer Product and Engineering at Twitter, said in a blog post late Thursday. There are repeat offenders who create

Quick Glance Jio plans to reach out to 100 million users across the country JioPhone will come with NFC technology and expandable memory Estimated phone shipments this year is 130 million already

JioPhone is going to completely change the feature phone market for other players in the segment, feel experts. “The replacement cycle of feature phones was normally four years till date but JioPhone will now shorten that cycle and you will expect a lot of people upgrade to the new VOLTE-enabled JioPhone,” Pathak said. According to Counterpoint Research, the feature phone shipments in India will be around 130 million this year. Since the base for 4G feature phones is somewhat 400 million and even if onethird of these users plan to upgrade, this will lead to 133-150 million new user opportunity in the short-term period, Pathak predicted. The pre-booking for JioPhone will start from August 24 and it will be given away on a first-come-first-served basis. It will be available for all from September. JioPhone will offer free voice calls and SMS to customers. For 4G data, customers need to pay Rs 153 per month. The phone is preloaded with applications like Jio Cinema, Jio Music and others. For Narinder Kumar, an analyst at Cybermedia Research, the “world’s cheapest feature phone” will certainly impact the current market of 2G handsets as well as the entry-level smartphones segment. “Initially, JioPhone holds greater potential for feature phones moving end of life in the near future,” Kumar told IANS. new accounts after being suspended for violations. “Our new systems, in the last four months alone, have removed twice the number of these types of accounts. Beyond the technology, our teams are continuing to review content daily and improve how we enforce our policies,” Ho posted. In its bid to reduce abuse, the microblogging website recently introduced new optional filters to prevent a user from being notified when certain accounts tweet at them. Twitter is augmenting the new filters with machine learning. “Accounts that demonstrate abusive behaviour are now limited for a time, and told why. Accounts that we put into this period of limited functionality generate 25 per cent fewer abuse reports, and approximately 65 per cent of these accounts are in this state just once,” the post further read.

July 31 - august 06, 2017

Science & Technology

AUSTRALIA first settlers

FIRST SETTLERS OF AUSTRALIA MAY HAVE ARRIVED 65,000 YEARS AGO Using modern dating methods like optically stimulated luminescence dating, archaeologists were able to study artefacts to determine the date of settlement of humans in the continent



blipper: the New AR-based facial recognition A visual discovery application uses a new in-app feature to change face profiles into digital format using Augmented Reality (AR)

Quick Glance Artefacts were dug up and dated from Madjedbebe, Australia Archaeologists discovered tools, paints, and other artefacts Optically stimulated luminescence and carbon dating were used


ssb bureau

ew glimpses into the early life of humans living in the Land Down Under – Australia have been provided by tools, paints and other artefacts excavated from an ancient rock-shelter in northern Australia. The first settlement of humans on the continent may have been as far back as 65,000 years ago – 5,000 years earlier than previously speculated. Three distinct layers of artefacts were unearthed by archaeologists at Madjedbebe, Australia’s oldest known site of human habitation during excavations in 2012 and later in 2015. More than 10,000 relics of human handiwork were discovered in the oldest deepest layer of the dig site. World’s oldest polished axe heads, Australia’s oldest seedgrinding and pigment-processing tools, stone points that may have been spearheading, as well as hearths were some of the items discovered in the cache. “When people think about our ancient ancestors, they either tend to have a view that our ancestors must have been primitive, less culturally

diverse, or they take the view that our ancestors were probably extraordinarily culturally impressive,” says Peter Hiscock, an archaeologist at the University of Sydney who was not involved in the study. “This indicates the latter view. The moment people get to Australia, they’re doing all this really smart stuff.” They were probably building fires to light nighttime activities, grinding seeds for food and using ochre paints to decorate cave walls or their own bodies, Hiscock says. Early speculations date human habitation of Australia between 47,000 and 60,000 years ago. These came from artefacts discovered at Madjedbebe in 1989. As there were no detailed descriptions of the artefacts and it was unclear whether

These new findings

give way to discovering the migratory behaviour of our ancestors

the artefacts were the same age as the surrounding sediment, the scientists were doubtful of the dating of these artefacts says study coauthor Zenobia Jacobs, an archaeologist at the University of Wollongong in Australia. A method called optically stimulated luminescence dating was used to estimate the ages of the newly uncovered artefacts by more precisely locating the artefacts underground. This revealed the last time a mineral grain was exposed to sunlight, to the sediment where the artefacts were found. These results combined with the results of radiocarbon dating of charcoal remains from human-made fires, a more precise estimate for the age of sediments surrounding artefacts at various depths was calculated. To say that humans first set foot in Australia exactly 65,000 years ago may be “a somewhat optimistic interpretation of the data,” Hiscock says. Since buried items in sand can shift around due to tectonic activity, these can only be estimated. A more conservative estimate of human arrival between 55,000 and 60,000 years ago is suggested by him. Still, this exercise narrowed the dating range which is a massive improvement compared to the previous uncertain time span that archaeologists were speculating before. The new dates may provide clues into the migratory patterns and dates of humans who moved from Africa. These new discoveries could pave the way for determining when humans interbred with archaic hominids on other continents — such as Neanderthals in Europe and Denisovans in Asia – whose DNA still lingers in the modern populations today.


n a bid to change the way people interact with each other, Blippar – a visual discovery application – has announced a new in-app feature that changes face profiles into a digital format using augmented reality (AR). The AR-based start-up on Wednesday announced the launch of “Halo”, which will introduce the users to an innovative way of expressing themselves and find information about those around them. The new application offers some unique features which include creating and customising personal AR face profiles and connecting with other users by “blipping” (scanning) their face. “The face is one of the most unique and expressive forms of communication. Our new in-app feature, Halos, the AR face profiles, changes it into digital format for the very first time, providing an innovative and dynamic way of expressing ourselves and discovering the world around us,” Ambarish Mitra, Co-founder and CEO at Blippar, said in a statement on Wednesday. The facial profile can be scanned either in person, through printed images or television. The users of “Halo” will have complete control over their AR face profile and content, the start-up said. The high-end technology also allows people to connect with other users by scanning their faces either personally or via images. Also, the version, for the first time, allows the user to directly access the face recognition technology through smartphones. The new feature is based on its existing real-time facial recognition capabilities, which is the fastest, lightweight, and most accurate facial engines with over 99.67 per cent accuracy.

12 Sanitation

July 31 - august 06, 2017

sdmc public toilets

CENTRE, SDMC LAUNCH CAMPAIGN FOR PROPER USE OF PUBLIC TOILETS Swachh Shauchalaya Campaign seeks to change the citizens’ behaviour towards sanitation and generate a sense of responsibility in making sure that public toilets are clean Quick Glance Urban development ministry and SDMC joined forces to launch the Swachh Shauchalaya Campaign The Swachh Shauchalaya Campaign aims at improving SDMC’s cleanliness rank Cricketer Suresh Raina, brand ambassador of Swachh Bharat Mission, also participated



eeking to instill greater civic sense among people towards proper use of public toilets, the urban development ministry and the SDMC today joined hands to launch a sanitation campaign. The launch took place at GyanBharati Public School at Saket in south Delhi and was attended by cricketer Suresh Raina, one of the brand ambassadors of the Swachh Bharat Mission, besides, Secretary, Urban Development Ministry D S Mishra, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, and area Mayor KamaljeetSehrawat, among others. The ‘Swachh Shauchalaya

SDMC has launched the Swachh Shauchalaya

Campaign partnering with the Urban Development Ministry with the aim to improve sanitation in the locality Campaign’ seeks to change citizens’ behaviour towards proper use of public toilets, generate a sense of responsibility and ownership in ensuring that public toilets are treated in a similar manner as one would do with facilities at home, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation said in a statement. Raina on the occasion also

launched a number of TV commercials and radio spots to disseminate the message of keeping all public toilets clean. Tiwari said the message of keeping public toilets clean is being disseminated through school children, and when it is spread by the children, it brings a real change. He expressed confidence

that Delhi will change for the better and become cleaner. The challenge is to improve the ranking of SDMC in ‘SwachhtaServekshan’ (cleanliness survey) from the present 202 to within the top 50. In the recent Swachh Bharat reckoning of 434 cities for 201617, areas falling under the three municipal corporations were at a low — the EDMC (196), SDMC (202) and NDMC (279). Raina said, “We must realise that maintenance of public toilets is of paramount importance as maintenance of our own toilets at home”. The star cricketer also distributed postcards to students for further distribution to citizens in colonies and near public toilets. Mishra said his ministry is focusing on various themes including eradication of open defecation, source segregation of waste to inculcate mass behaviour change towards safe sanitation, clean public toilets and hygiene practices. “Only because of poor maintenance, our facilities are not being utilised. The person using the public toilet must ensure that it remains clean so that the next person could use it with confidence,” he said. Sehrawat said the campaign is committed to ensure proper use of public toilets and instil a sense of responsibility and ownership among people. Municipal Commissioner P K Goel said the SDMC will be successful in maintaining a level of sanitation and cleanliness in all its localities like the New Delhi Municipal Council.

July 31 - august 06, 2017



appreciation drinking water and sanitation

UNICEF lauded Centre’s approach to solving drinking water and sanitation UNICEF commends the Centre’s straightforward approach towards solving issues relating to absence of clean drinking water and sanitation. The approach is seen as innovative strategy that works SSB Bureau

Quick Glance


n official from UNICEF India official commended the Center’s approach towards comprehending issues concerning the absence of drinking water and sanitation, saying the straightforwardness and receptiveness with partners will be gainful towards undertaking new measures. “The approach is really good because this helps to find innovation and its working very well as the door is open at the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation for people to propose things and react on strategies and approaches promoted by the government,” said Chief of WASH (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene) Unicef India, Nicolas Osbert while addressing an ASSOCHAM conference titled ‘Wash for All: Innovative approaches.’ “We believe that this is a very strong asset to continue to foster innovation to address the challenges at the scale required in India,” added Nicolas. Be that as it may, Osbert stressed on the requirement for advancement on making the toilets as useful, instead of the current coercive stage. He said cleaning must be a profession that isn’t brought down to a caste but instead to professionals. He also added that this was an area that still needed innovation. Osbert referred to a recent toilet

WASH Chief, Nicolas Osbert lauded the Centre’s strategy towards improving sanitation He mentioned how these strategies are assets to continue fostering innovation Nicolas Osbert mentioned how cleaning must not be brought down to caste

“This is a very critical innovation on the sanitation value chain because the whole sustainability of Swachh Bharat Mission depends on the fact that we can empty and reuse those pits of mineralised faeces so that they can last many years,” added Osbert. Being a part of UNICEF’s efforts to work on sanitation value chain, he urged that there is still a lot to do in solid and liquid waste management For Urban Sanitation, the innovation

they try to introduce is based on public-private partnerships to mobilise small scale service providers to facilitate them in making money out of supporting the government for the service of dealing with waste, in particular fecal sludge as 70 per cent of is produced in urban areas and gets released in the environment which leads to diarrheal disease and stunted growth. Osbert mentioned that as per an estimate, about 11 percent neonatal deaths in India occur due to hospitalacquired diseases, while 14 per cent of maternal deaths in hospitals occurs due to poor prevention and control of infection. “The number might have been exaggerated but this is the range because of the diseases, morbidity, health expenditure and workdays lost, so this is huge and more than all the income generated by India in tourism is lost because of poor sanitation and its consequences,” said Osbert.

Nati Imli Dhoopchandi, Aurangabad Sonia, Sunderpur Natbasti, Raja Bazar Nadesar, Nagar Nigam Office premises. Speaking on the occasion Mohle said,

“these toilets have been constructed with inspiration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Construction of more such toilets is underway and the targets already are likely to be met shortly. He also appealed to people and officials of Japan International Cooperation Agency ( JICA) to launch a massive awareness campaign among people to use toilets. Among distinguished guests present on the occasion were City Municipal Commissioner Dr Nitin Bansal, Deputy Commissioner Sachchidanand Singh, Chief Engineer Kailash Singh, Executive Engineer Lokesh Jain, Corporators Anil Sharma, Ashok Maurya, Om Prakash Chaurasia, Sanjay Shah Munna.

UNICEF India has been actively involved via WASH in the ASSOCHAM conference in improving India’s sanitation and drinking water issues. It has lauded the Centre’s approach too

pit emptying exercise carried out by Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Narendra Singh Tomar, and Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, wherein a team of senior State and Central government officers were led to a house in Madhya Pradesh village, that had adopted a twin pit toilet model, and emptied the filled pit of the toilet to demonstrate its safety and to remove attached stigma.

UP Toilets

Ten Sulabh Toilets Inaugurated Varanasi Mayor Ram Gopal Mohle inaugurates 10 public toilets Agencies


aranasi Mayor Ram Gopal Mohle inaugurated 10 newly built public toilets in Nadesar slum last week. These toilets constructed

by Sulabh International are situated at Kamachha Temple, Maldahia garbage dump, Central Hindu Boys School, Sunderpur Primary School,

14 Dr Mallika Nadda

July 31 - august 06, 2017

sulabh visit dr mallika nadda

“Sulabh has attempted to eliminate serious evils like untouchablity from society” Dr Mallika Nadda on the occassion of her visit to Sulabh Campus

ssb bureau


he Sulabh family is engaged in such work the value of which we cannot even imagine. Dr Pathak comes from a Brahmin family but that did not stop him from fulfilling his lifelong dream of eliminating untouchability from our society. We congratulate Dr Pathak for this commendable work.” These are the words of eminent social worker Dr Mallika Nadda, Assistant Professor in History, Himachal University, and Secretary, Chetna Sanstha, Bilaspur during her recent visit to the Sulabh village. She met all the technological centre staff of Sulabh, children from Sulabh school, Sulabh training centre staff, widow ‘mothers’ from Vrindavan and the community who worked as scavengers earlier. Sulabh founder Dr Bindeshwar Pathak welcomed and congratulated her, and the other guests were welcomed with flowers and shawls. Dr Pathak said: “We have to remember that we are not the only people on earth, there are other people too. What we are doing for those people that is the question. We have to think about this, only then the society can move forward. This society remembers only those who think about others and do something for them. For the first time in history, people who are scavengers are eating food with everyone and going to the temples. With pride, they call themselves Brahmins and are lifting their heads high in society. No

one can do it; no one would have thought that those who are scavengers will get the Brahmin status. Sulabh has fulfilled that dream of Mahatma Gandhi. Dr Mallika Nadda said that Dr Pathak is like our father, his personality is great. Dr Pathak is a guide for us. He not only made many inventions to remove untouchability from the country, but also implemented it in the Sulabh village. Together with the Sulabh techniques, the government needs to do further work, which can change the picture of India. In today’s Sulabh village we all get to see an item which cannot be seen anywhere else. Dr Pathak and Sulabh family have understood the pain caused to the scavenger women. Along with this, the scavenger sisters have been given the highest position in the society by making them Brahmins, which is very commendable. With this initiative of Dr Pathak, a serious evil like untouchability will end soon. Today all of us should take inspiration from here that we will work to build toilets in the villages and towns. He said that we all dream about an India where there are love and equality among

all. And that dream will be fulfilled under the leadership of Dr Pathak and Prime Minister Modi. BJP member Rupam Singh who came to the program said that Sulabh is a place where our Prime Minister Modi’s dream is coming true. All of us are thankful to Dr Pathak that he has developed a toilet technique which can be built in a poor person’s house at low cost. The Sulabh family has done very commendable work for women and the scavenger community. I did not know before coming here that I would get to see such new things. I will plan to apply this technique in Andaman Nicobar so that people of that region too can derive the benefit of this technique. Tejaswini Anand Kumar said that it was very necessary for women in India to have a toilet, for which Dr Pathak has worked tirelessly. For this, we thank him and the Sulabh family very much. Dr Pathak is doing commendable work to realize Gandhiji and Prime Minister Modi’s dream. Sulabh Village has introduced us to a different world today. We have not seen such good technology earlier. Toilets

Commending the significant

achievements of Sulabh International, Dr Mallika Nadda attributed its success to Dr Bindeshwar Pathak for actualising Ghandhiji’s dream of equality

Quick Glance Dr Mallika Nadda visited the Sulabh Village to see its inner workings She attributes Sulabh’s social success to Dr Bindeshwar Pathak Sulabh has uplifted the social status of scavengers to Brahmins

were needed especially for rural women, which was made possible by Dr Pathak. Sulabh International Chairman SP Singh said that poor people face very hard conditions in this country, but nobody thinks about them. Sulabh family has been working successfully on key issues such as untouchability, cleanliness and toilets in the country for the past 50 years. In these fifty years, many people came here to meet us, and we said to all of them that the poor people need help. If you do not help them then society will never improve. People responded positively, they helped with their money. But Dr Pathak said that if the problem is solved only by giving money, then anybody can do it. For this, we needed more than just money. To give them dignity in society we need to work in a planned manner. Sulabh, under the leadership of Dr Pathak, has written a new dimension in the country to transform the society. With this, on the behalf of Sulabh family, I welcome and congratulate all the guests who have come here.

July 31 - august 06, 2017



urdu poetry

While mushairas are going out of fashion, the need to spread the good word about Urdu poetry has seen Shiraz Hussain put them on T-shirts and coffee mugs Quick Glance

Somrita Ghosh

The glorious tradition of mushairas, Urdu poetry recitals, is receding from the landscape


here was a time when Urdu couplets written by Faiz Ahmed Faiz or Ghalib were read from books or heard at ‘mushairas’ (poetry recitations). But now a Delhi-based artist is giving a pop-culture twist to Urdu literature by taking it to t-shirts, coffee mugs and posters. Meet Shiraz Husain, who is attempting to revive the Urdu language. When pages failed to get enough attention from readers, especially from the youth, Husain adopted the path of the visual arts to reach out to larger audiences. “There are artists like Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Manto, Amrita Pritam, Jaun Eliya, Parveen Shakir, Mukti Bodh who are less celebrated. My attempt is to draw much deserved attention towards Urdu and try to revive its fading glamour,” Husain told IANS. The 30-year-old artist’s life shuffles between his day-time job at Jamia Milia Islamia where he is an assistant professor of applied art, what else and turns into an artist by night. All the illustrations available, be it on mug or t-shirt, are done by him. He said, “I often see youngsters wearing t-shirts of Che Guevara or Bob Marley. I thought why not bring in Urdu poets and writers on tees and coffee mugs. These artists are never celebrated much; why not make them more popular?” Husain has been selling his products through a community page on social media platform Facebook titled “Khwaab Tanha Collections”. His project is not just about recollecting the quotes by poets and writers but he also adds illustrations to his work, giving people the face behind those lines. “Many people don’t even know how poets like Majaz Lakhnawi and Ramadhir Singh ‘Dinkar’ look like. So my focus was not just on the lines of poetry, but I also want readers to

Shiraz Husain took a leaf out of the modern culture of faces of famous men on T-shirts Apart from painting of faces of Urdu poets, he is now working on Tagore and other Bengali poets

He learned Urdu poetry from his father, who is a poet, and in school. He says people also need to see the faces of the famous poets. He sells his creations through the Facebook page titled “Khwaab Tanha Collections”

know the artists by face,” he said. Husain feels that the mushaira culture is now fading away and hard to find, and old languages are struggling to exist as readers are fast disappearing or they are often identified with a particular community. “The depth of emotion and richness of Urdu literature is incomparable. Urdu is a language which can be enjoyed by all. I want to convey the beauty and the

power that Urdu possesses and want people to start reading the works of these writers once again,” the artist said. Though he was never inclined towards shayari during his youth, his upbringing nevertheless planted in him the seeds of love for poetry. He was brought up in an environment where reading Urdu and listening to ghazals was always encouraged. “My father writes poetry, teaches Urdu at the Anglo-Arabic school and

even writes for Urdu newspapers, while my sister is an avid listener of ghazals. I used to hear my parents praising Ghalib, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and others, started reading books by them at home out of curiosity, and eventually fell in love with their writing,” he said. Husain also remembered how his school too shaped his interest in Urdu poetry. “During my school days, teachers used to encourage us to play ‘antakshari’ not with Bollywood songs but with poetry. So, automatically, I ended up learning many couplets,” he further added. The Jashn-e-Rekhta in 2015 turned into a good platform for him and gave his initiative muchdeserved limelight. However, Husain said that popularity or success doesn’t bother him much; it’s appreciation of his efforts that makes him happy. “A family member of Jaun Eliya once visited my place and praised my work; that brings happiness to me. That’s something I would call as my achievement, not financial profit,” he noted. When asked about his plans for the future, Husain said that he is working to highlighting the works of regional writers as well. “Apart from Rabindranath Tagore, I am working on Bengali poets Kazi Nazrul Islam, Michael Madhusudan Dutt and Malayalam writer Vaikom Muhammad Basheer,” he said.


July 31 - august 06, 2017

It does not “ matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop” Confucius

sharad gupta A journalist with 30 years experience of working with various publications


World Moving Rapidly Away From Coal India is likely to generate enough renewable power, making coal-energy redundant


Booming Economy Modi Govt policies are making the economy surge to greater heights


he fact that stock markets in India are touching dizzying heights, is a pointer to robust economic situation, the country is at the moment. The highest ever levels touched both by Sensex and Nifty, is obviously due to confidence the global investors have shown in India’s capabilities to grow and develop. A major reason for such confidence is the policies being made by the Narendra Modi government at the centre and the way they are being successfully implemented in the country. This structural change has occurred across various dimensions, and is continuing. Whether it is economics, politics, social politics, foreign policy – Modi government is leaving a distinct stamp on all these arenas. In terms of growth and inflation, the combination suggests that the Indian macro economy, is the best it has ever been. The UPA1 had held the record for best macro performance across the dual indicators of GDP growth, and inflation. For the first three years of the UPA regime, GDP growth averaged 8.7% per year, and inflation (GDP deflator) averaged 5.4%. However, during the last three years of Modi regime, GDP growth has averaged a healthy 7.5% and an average GDP deflator inflation rate of only 2.9%. Part of the sluggishness emanates from the baggage left by the previous government. The achievement is specially creditable considering the fact that this has been achieved despite border tensions, natural calamities like floods and drought and politico-social instability in some regions like Gorkha hills. That is why economists feel, Indian economy has more potential than it had demonstrated so far.


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:,


ustralia is one of world’s biggest reserves of coal mines. Yet, there is a huge demand from within the country to put a blanket ban on coal fired power generation plants. The reason being cited is that they not only cause air pollution but also contribute to climate change and global warming. Australia’s largest power generation company has urged the government to exclude coal from its planned clean energy target and said there is no appetite among private investors to fund new coal-fired power plants.The company, AGL, which sources 77 percent of its electricity generation from coal, said including the fossil fuel in the target would send the wrong signal for the industry, which should prioritize more low-cost, efficient clean energy alternatives. The development is an indication of the global trend which prefers clean energy over fossil-fuel generated energy. Britain too is hoping to phase out all diesel and petrol driven cars by 2040. As the prospects for coal-generated electricity recede globally, India is one of the last bastions of the world’s dirtiest energy source–coal, although construction of new coal-fired power plants is falling rapidly in the country. From January 2016 to January 2017, development of coal-fired power capacity fell around the world–pre-construction activity dropped 48%, start of construction fell 62%, ongoing construction fell 19%, and the number of completed projects fell 29%, an Indiaspend report said. According to Global Coal Plant Tracker, an online database, construction of coal-fired power plants in China and India together would add 68 GW–over a fifth of India’s total installed capacity– of additional coal capacity. There are around 100 such project already underway, 13 of them in India. The primary reason for the slowdown in India is “reluctance of banks and other financiers to provide further funds”. Over half (56.5%) of India’s installed power capacity will be nonfossil fuel-based–renewables, nuclear & large hydroelectric– within 10 years. In India, as of February 2017, at least 15 coalbased thermal power projects with an aggregate capacity of 18,420 MW (18.42 GW) were stalled due to financial

reasons, the power ministry told the Lok Sabha was informed recently. “The slowdown in the coal power pipeline brings the possibility of holding global warming to below 2°C from pre-industrial levels within feasible reach,” the Boom and Bust report stated. However, this hinges on countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey and Japan limiting their future coal power development, China and India reinforcing and increasing the slowdown, and developed countries (historically largest emitters) retiring coal-based power plants faster than they have been doing. To restrict global temperature rise to 1.5°C, an immediate doubling of the current pace of retirement would be needed, meaning plants as young as 20 or 30 years would have to be retired even though the average lifespan of a coal plant is 40 years. India does not plan on expanding its coal-fired capacity during 201722, according to the Draft National Electricity Plan proposed in December 2016 by the Central Electricity Authority. It bases this projection on the presumption that non-fossil fuel capacity addition will continue as targeted–4.3 GW of gasfired plants, 15 GW of hydroelectric plants, 2.8 GW of nuclear installations and 115 GW of various renewable sources, which would come online during 2017-22. The plan, however, does take into account 50 GW of coal-based installations that are currently under different stages of construction and are likely to yield benefits during the 2017-22 period, concluding that no coalbased capacity addition is required until at least 2027, an

In 2014-15, India’s

coal imports were 212 million tonnes (MT) and cost over Rs 1 lakh crore

July 31 - august 06, 2017

56.5 per cent of India’s

installed power capacity will be hydro and renewable within the next 10 years IndiaSpend report said. Can renewables replace coal? In 2015, India accounted for 7% of total global emissions, lower only than China (29%), the United States (14%) and the European Union (10%), according to this 2016 joint report by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. In the same year, the share of coal-fired power plants in India’s total CO2 emissions was just short of half at 47%, the report said. In 2016-17, India’s estimated peak demand of 165.2 GW was significantly lower than total installed capacity of over 300 GW. Coal-fired capacity of over 180 GW alone was higher than the peak demand. Despite this, the country continues to face acute power shortages due to coal supply problems, transmission and distribution losses and poor health of power utilities. Estimated electricity consumption between 2005-06 and 2014-15 increased by a compounded annual growth rate of 8.72%, growing to 9.48 lakh gigawatt-hour, even as an estimated 240 million Indians are still without access to electricity. Already, use of imported coal is costing the country. In 2014-15, India’s coal imports were 212 million tonnes (MT) and cost over Rs 1 lakh crore–up more than five times from 38.5 MT in 2005-06, due largely to poor quality of domestic coal, lack of competition among producers, and insufficient investments. On the other hand, investing in renewables brings environmental benefits like reduced pollution while creating employment opportunities. Therefore, renewable energy has the potential to solve the energy trilemma of ensuring energy security, energy access and sustainability, according to this 2015 report by the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog). Challenges ahead To capture the benefits of renewable energy (RE), the NITI Aayog report said, “India would need to make available the necessary capital, and get comfortable with managing the variability and uncertainty of RE generation in conjunction with the existing and planned fossil fuel-based and large power plants”. Tariffs for renewables in India, especially solar, have fallen heavily–by 73% since 2010. In February 2017, at the Rewa solar park auction, a levelised tariff of Rs 3.3/kilowatt-hour was achieved, competitive with the cost of new coalfired power generation. Wind tariffs, too, fell to a record low of Rs 3.46/unit in the same month. The jury is out on whether these low tariffs are sustainable, but the trend is undoubtedly positive for renewables.



Lose The Thoughts To Lose The Stress

mihir paul

Mihir Paul is a graduate of Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States

The more present you are, the more equanimity you bring into your experience of life



here are always two streams of life running in our perception. One is that of constant thoughts and the other of our experience/awareness of the present moment. We can only inhabit one of the streams at a time and unfortunately because of our rigorous conditioning via society and culture we get stuck in our thought streams and are never able to escape the loop of thoughts raining tyranny on our well being. The constant chatter going on in our awareness deludes us into believing that our thoughts reign supreme and have control over our actions. Our thoughts narrate our present experience and activities and often take us on mini day dreaming vacations into our past or our future. Rest assured, constant thinking becomes habitual like an addiction and we can’t seem to stop thinking. This eventually turns into stress, anxiety, worry, fear, depression, and unhappiness. Breaking this chain takes some time and effort because we’re so conditioned to constantly

think and analyze all our actions rather than just being mindful to our actions and activities. The easiest way to cross from the thought stream to the present stream is to bring our locus of attention back into the NOW and it’s as easy as paying attention to our breathing

in the moment. Remember, it’s only paying attention to each inhale and exhale. The goal isn’t to breathe deeply or control the breath. Its effortless effort. The more you get good at staying in the moment and paying full attention to whatever

task you are doing even if that means being on the computer, reading a book, or just paying attention to your breathing, you will notice that thoughts gradually stop bothering you as much and you feel the tension and stress melting away into oblivion. Fears and unhappiness become a thing of the past. The more present you are, the more equanimity you bring into your experience of life. Life starts to become a beautiful symphony of love, happiness, and peace. These virtues become everlasting parts of your experience as you start living life fully without the interruption of constant thinking. You finally notice that even if you stop thinking, your life goes on. Your world doesn’t stop, your body doesn’t stop either, neither do your actions. On the contrary, everything seems to fall into place as you start feeling your own alignment and oneness with the manifest universe.

letters to the editor carpet or not given importance as a subject, not just in India but also at the international level, has been taken up by Sulabh. This makes it an inspiring story. It felt very nice that even the princess of Thailand took interest in knowing in detail about this subject. It feels great to know that people from all over the world come to explore the system developed by Indians in Sulabh. Prashant Mehta, Mumbai

Thai Princess in Sulabh The article ‘Thai Princess in Sulabh, ’ is an article that made me feel proud of Sulabh’s work, history and progress. What is usually brushed under the

First Among Equals The article ‘First Among Equals’ based on the rise of Ram Nath Kovind from a humble background to the highest office in the country is a documentation of the unique power of democracy. The article brings out in detail the growth of a young boy who fought against the odds in his life and single-minded manner focused on his work and

his duties. In a world in which most people try to sell their names for personal benefit, here is a man who truly believes in the worth of quiet determination and hard work. Hope his tenure will strengthen India’s democratic structure and principles. Neelima Rao, Delhi trump village ‘US Republican in Trump Village’ is an article that spells good news for Marora village and its residents. Wherever the development projects are begun by Sulabh International, there is no doubt that it will not bring happiness to the people and progress to the area. Till recently Marora was another unknown village in Haryana, but already five toilets have been built by Sulabh International and 90 more are to be built. Devi Chaudhuri, Bhopal

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18 Photo Feature

July 31 - august 06, 2017

Ushering in the New Prez

Last week marked the swearing in of the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind. The outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee handed him over the baton in an elaborate ceremony followed by Guard of Honour by Presidential Guards...

Photos: sipra das

Both the outgoing and the new President, together came out of the Rashtrapati Bhawan after which Ram Nath Kovind inspected a guard of honour.

Photo Feature


Send off of the outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee too was equally grand. He also inspected Guard of Honour by Presidential Guards one last time before going away to his abode in Presidentianl car. Entire family of the new President Ram Nath Kovind turned out to witness his grand entry into the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

20 Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan

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radio Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan

50,000 Uttar Pradesh Students Learn English Over Radio Under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, students are now learning English speaking and writing over the radio in all schools Quick Glance The Abhiyan in UP has started ‘Aao Angrezi Sheekhe” programme Over 60 episodes on speaking and writing English have been made ‘Maa’ Group has been established for parent-school communication

srawan shukla


mboldened by the grand success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ program on Radio, the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan in Uttar Pradesh has started ‘Aao Angrezi Sheekhe” program on Radio to teach English to about 50,000 higher primary students of Uttar Pradesh. The project is funded by the UNICEF. About 15,000 students of the Kasturba Gandhi Residential Schools have also been brought under this unique program of learning English learning through Radio. About 60 episodes of the English teaching through radio program have already been made. Each episode contains 15 minutes of English learning, speaking and writing on a verbal module. The first English classes on Radio were aired all over Uttar Pradesh on July 17, 2017. The English teaching classes will be aired thrice a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11.00 am to 11.45 am. Teachers in higher primary schools in all 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh have already been trained about

Teaching English, the program ‘Aao Angrezi Seekhain’

with over the air English speaking and writing lessons with 70-80 % attendance has been successful the program. They were given two-day training between June 28 and July 6, 2017. Under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, each higher primary school is equipped with a Radio set. Before the launch of the Radio programme, heads of these schools were directed to ensure that the Radio sets were in a functional state. Teachers in these schools have been directed to ensure full attendance on these days. “Their main job is to revise what is taught through the Radio and help those students who face difficulty in understanding the verbal module through Radio,” stated Dr Vedpati Mishra, Director, Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, Uttar Pradesh. The Education for All Project Director has also sought help from the Basic Education department in the state and parents to make the new program successful. The newly-created Maa Help groups have also been roped in.

Maa Help Groups was formed in the directions of Deputy Chief Minister Dr Dinesh Sharma, who also holds the education portfolio. He had directed all principals of primary schools to create a group involving mothers of students. The group was named ‘Maa’. The purpose was to bridge the gap between school authorities, students and parents. The group is to hold monthly interaction with school teachers in order to keep a watch on the progress of their wards when in school. The formation of this new group is yielding good results in terms of improved attendance and making a qualitative difference in studies of students. All schools have been directed to put up the scheduled program of ‘Aao Angrezi Shekhe’ in the classroom so that the students get to know in advance what they are going to be taught over the Radio session. A register has also been provided

to all trained teachers with program details of each episode. “They have been directed to write their remarks on English learning of students after each episode,” said the Director. Teachers will also ensure that each student recites and writes the English words, meaning and sentences learnt during each 15-minute episode of English Classes on Radio. The makeover session will last for another 15 minute after the program is aired. Students will also get homework and are being directed to speak newlylearnt English words, their meanings and sentences before their parents and siblings. “This may help the parents, who are usually not so well qualified, to pick up a few routine English words and understand its meaning. The program is designed in such a way that it not only helps students to pick up in English but may also give an opportunity to his / her parents to learn English faster than any other modem” claims the Director. Students are quite excited. About 70 to 80 per cent attendance was registered on the first day of the launch of this program on July 17, 2017. On the first day, students of Class VI of the higher primary schools were taught three sentences – What is your Name? Where do you live? Which school do you go to? The meaning of each sentence was explained by the announcer on the Radio and correct pronunciation was taught. “I am really thrilled to go beyond ABCDEFG. My mother was shocked when I asked her name in English. She called my father to announce that bitiya angrezi bolat hain (your daughter speaks in English). Now I would daily practice each sentence learnt over Radio classes with my brother and parents,” exclaimed Rinku, a student of Class VI in Allahabad.

July 31 - august 06, 2017

English Proficiency


mahadalits education

Bihar Mahadalits gain jobs with fluent spoken English Proficiency in English Language is creating a whole new opportunity for the backwards ssb bureau


rakash Chandra Azad, a native of Bihar who comes from the Mahadalit community and works with the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), is now doing well and leading a happy and prosperous life. “Training in spoken English by British Lingua under the aegis of Dashrath Manjhi Kaushal Vikas Yojana – a state government-sponsored scheme – not only helped me in getting employment but also enhanced my confidence,” he said in fluent English. For Azad, who hails from Danapur, a city close to state capital Patna, inhibitions while speaking in English is a thing of the past now. Like Azad, training under the scheme has transformed lives of thousands of Mahadalit boys and girls in Bihar. Trained in spoken English, Chitranjan Kumar and Munilal Sudhanshu, also from Patna, are among the Mahadalit youths who are working in the fields of their expertise. One can easily see the glimpses of socio-economic change that is transforming their lives and leading

them to the path of material gains at par with their counterparts from other strata of the society. This scheme has also been beneficial to the Mahadalit girls who are now working in government or private companies as full-fledged staff instead of being forced to take short-term employments here and there. Indu Kumari, a Mahadalit girl, also from Danapur near Patna, now welcomes her guests in English. “Earlier, when I attended interviews at various organisations, I couldn’t discern the questions which were asked. Now, I duly understand the queries and accordingly respond to them in English without any extra effort,” said Indu, reflecting on the changing state of affairs leading to emnacipation of Mahadalits. The Kaushal Vikas Yojana was launched by the Bihar government in 2012 under the Bihar Mahadalit Vikas Mission.

The state government roped in British Lingua, an institution imparting English learning and personality development courses, to provide spoken English skills of Mahadalit boys and girls. Initially, Mahadalit youths from six districts – Patna, Vaishali, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Madhubani and Samastipur -- were trained in spoken English by British Lingua. “After achieving success in these six districts, spoken English training was implemented in all districts of the state,” said an officer associated with the programme. “In the four years of this mission, more than 30,000 Mahadalit youths were trained in spoken English skill. The training brought in huge transformation in their economic and social condition,” he added.As the government decided to discontinue the scheme last year, Mahadalit youths are demanding that

In the four years of this mission, more than 30,000 Mahadalit youths were trained in spoken English skills

Quick Glance Their Inhibitions while conversing in English language is a thing of the past now They duly understand the queries and accordingly respond to them in English without any extra effort Indu Kumari, a Mahadalit girl, also from Danapur near Patna, now welcomes her guests in English

this programme be resumed. Yogendra Paswan, a member of the National Scheduled Castes Commission, told IANS that the Mahadalit youths need skill besides basic education. Asserting that the state government’s decision to discontinue this scheme could not be termed right, he said getting skilled was leading them to various employment opportunities. The former union minister raised apprehensions over the government decision to discontinue this scheme aimed for welfare of the Mahadalits. “I fail to understand why the scheme was discontinued. This scheme had been training thousands of Mahadalit youths in spoken English skill. They were getting job and employment,” said Paswan. Dr Birbal Jha, Managing Director of British Lingua, said that knowledge of English language was the only criteria to “bring in any economic and social development in one’s life”. “English-speaking people are a privileged group in India today. But in the changing scenario, sections of Dalits or marginalised communities also cannot be discriminated against on the basis of language,” he added. The Managing Director of British Lingua says one cannot ingore the fact that “communication skill” is a requisite for suitable employment, without which one cannot pursue any career. The Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Bihar Mahadalit Vikas Mission, Bihar State Scheduled Castes Commission, and former Minister of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and Backward Class as well as former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi have lauded the scheme.

22 Environment waste dumping fisheries

NITI Aayog plans to develop marine fisheries CMFRI would formulate a National Marine Fisheries Action Plan for the development of marine fisheries in the country

July 31 - august 06, 2017

projects climate change

Projects for climate change adaptation

NSCCC approved the Detailed Project Reports submitted by the state Govts of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Sikkim

Quick Glance NSCCC headed by Environment Secretart Ajay Narayan Jha The project is under Mukhya Mantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan During the last two years, 21 such projects were approved

SSB Bureau


SSB Bureau


he NITI Aayog has asked the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute to initiate a string of programmes for the development of marine fisheries in the country. CMFRI director A. Gopalakrishnan has been asked to prepare a National Marine Fisheries Index (NMFI) to derive a comparative picture of marine fisheries development across maritime states, including the Andaman and Nicobar and the Lakshadweep islands. The decision was taken at an interaction between Gopalakrishnan and Manash Choudhury, Deputy Advisor (Fisheries), NITI Aayog. Choudhury has asked the CMFRI to formulate a National Marine Fisheries Action Plan (NMFAP) covering all the maritime states and the islands following an alignment with the “Sagarmala”, a programme of the Centre to boost the blue economy growth centering on the improvement in coastal logistics, skill development etc, said a CMFRI statement on Tuesday. Choudhury said the action plan needs to be prepared based on the prospects and limitations of marine living resources and environmental factors in coastal states. Choudhury also pointed out that the coastal state-wise marine fisheries policy briefs, presently being prepared by the CMFRI, has an important role in developing strategies for enhancing marine capture fisheries production in the country. “CMFRI may complete the exercise at the earliest, giving due emphasis to factors such as income, infrastructure, fishing facilities and availability of resources and it may also be ensured that the briefs are in synergy with the basic spirit of the National Marine Fisheries Policy-2016, recently introduced by the Central Government,” he said.

he Environment Ministry last week approved the projects for climate change adaptation submitted by Rajasthan, Gujarat and Sikkim. The National Steering Committee on Climate Change (NSCCC), headed by Environment Secretary Ajay Narayan Jha, approved the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) submitted by the three state governments for funding under the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC). These projects aim to address a range of climate change vulnerabilities in these states which are not addressed under the ongoing schemes of the Central and state governments. An official statement said that in Rajasthan, the project seeks to build on work carried out under Phase I of the Mukhya Mantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan to enhance the adaptive capacity of villages by making them self-reliant in terms of water requirement. The project in Gujarat seeks to enhance the adaptive capacity of natural resource dependent communities to climate change in targeted villages of Kutch district, while in Sikkim, the project aims to address the issue of water security which is directly identified as climate resilience building

interventions under the State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC). NAFCC is a flagship scheme of the central government, which provides 100 per cent grant to the state governments for implementing

Central Government’s

flagship scheme, NAFCC approved the DPRs submitted for projects that address climate change

environment cycling

Environment Minister urges use of bicycles once a week

Environment Minister says using bicycles once a week would prove beneficial to the environment as well as one’s health ians


nion Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday urged people to use a bicycle at least once a week to protect the environment. “Use cycle at least once a week, as it will prove beneficial to the environment as well as our health,” the minister said

climate change adaptation projects. The scheme is designed to fulfil the objectives of National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and to operationalise the SAPCCs. “The government is encouraging states to come up with innovative and scalable projects to develop resilience against climate change and mainstream it in the planning processes,” the statement said. During the two year period, 21 projects were approved at a total cost of Rs 435.72 crore, said the statement, adding these projects address vulnerabilities in climate sensitive sectors like agriculture, animal husbandry, water, forests and coasts among others. here while leading a plantation drive. Harsh Vardhan also called upon people to protect and conserve the flora and fauna. Terming planting trees a “divine work”, the Environment Minister said that one should treat them like a family member.“They not only help in making the environment pure but also provide life-giving oxygen, fruits, flowers, shade and cool the environment,” the minister said. “People should plant more and more saplings to stop the imbalance in nature,” he added. Harsh Vardhan pointed out that after becoming the Environment Minister, he had the opportunity to plant saplings at several places in the country, but the pleasure that he got on Thursday in planting saplings while getting drenched in rain was an unparalleled experience.

July 31 - august 06, 2017



pune farming

Climate-resilient farming model in Pune wins Equator Prize Growing crops on 3.5 acres of land, Vanita Sahebrao cultivates vegetables, wheat, pulses, turmeric with 100 perc cent organic inputs that are resilient to climate changes IANS


ill 2012, 60-year-old Vanita Sahebrao More used to spend Rs 40,000 every year on cultivating soybean, sorghum and cotton on seven acres of land in her village in droughtprone Nanded district in Maharashtra. The district is part of Marathwada, infamous for crippling droughts and farmer suicides. Vanita’s husband was working in a sugar cane factory, which left the responsibility of managing the farm entirely on her. She used to grow some vegetables and pulses as well but all of this came at a hefty cost as she was totally dependent on chemical inputs and seeds purchased from the market. Moreover, she used to allocate two acres of land just for growing cotton. Focusing on the cash crop meant that those two acres remained underutilised in terms of farming capacity as the crop blocks the fields for a whole year. Neither she nor her family had an alternate means of livelihood to ensure steady income during adverse climatic conditions and changing market scenarios in the raindeficient land. This changed five years ago when she adopted the so-called one-acre model, an innovative way of practising climate-resilient agriculture. Starting off with half an acre, she today manages around 3.5 acres of land and cultivates vegetables, wheat, pulses and turmeric with 100 per cent organic inputs. Instead of the traditional approach of focusing on cash crops, Vanita has been trained to put the nutritional needs of the family first. She grows mainly food crops for the family’s consumption, crucial during the far-too-common drought years. She sells the surplus in the market, which fetches Rs 45,000. Vanita is one of the 72,000 women farmers in Marathwada whose lives have been transformed by Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP), a Pune-based non-profit that is empowering women to take up sustainable farming practices and effectively manage available natural resources to derive benefits such as continuous income, better health, food and water security in the region. For its efforts to help women farmers to cope better with extreme events, SSP is among the 15 winners selected for this

year’s Equator Prize by the UNDP. The initiative that began in 2009 to promote a climate-resilient agroecological farming model and entrepreneurship has empowered over 20,000 women farmers to act as decision-makers in the area in the last two years alone. It goes a step further. Engaging at the nexus of nutrition, sustainable agriculture and gender, the initiative has created 5,500 self-help groups that support women to engage as

programme is specifically for women. “Men tend to focus on cash crops to generate income, while women understand the nutritional needs of the family and it is important that they make decisions on which crops to grow to ensure that food is available for family consumption during any crisis while generating income at the same time,” says Anjali Verma, Programme Manager, SSP. In Marathwada, where hundreds of

Pune NGO SSP, Swayam Shikshan Prayog, has

empowered many women like Vanita Sahebrao to use sustainable farming practices farmers, entrepreneurs and leaders. The programme trains them to negotiate with their families to obtain their own plot of land for cultivation, usually about one acre each. “After being trained by SSP, I began farming on half an acre of land in 2012. But elated with the incredible results, my husband gave me legal land rights for 3.5 acres,” says Vanita. Under the one-acre model, multiple crops are grown to boost nutritional security, soil fertility, agrobiodiversity and income viability. Women who run family kitchens and raise children to understand the nutritional requirements of their family better than men, a reason why this

farmers have committed suicide during five consecutive drought years, life gets tougher for women who are left to look after their families. “If you see the suicide cases, it is always the men who quit,” says Verma. “For women, quitting is not an option. They fight for their families till the end.” “Marathwada is not just about farmers’ suicide,” says ShailaNarore, another woman farmer from Marathwada who has benefitted from the programme. “It is also about people like us who have challenged drought and destiny.” Under the model, low-input sustainable farming techniques including efficient water use, organic farming,

Quick Glance Persistent droughts forced Vanita Sahebrao to grow cotton She adopted the one-acre model for climate resilient agriculture SSP is the winner selected this year for the Equator Prize by the UNDP

mixed cropping, and increased crop cycles are adopted to enable the women to improve food security, increase climate resilience, enhance agrobiodiversity and reduce stress on water resources. “This model addresses the issues of food security, income security, natural resource management and women empowerment, all at the same time,” says Prema Gopalan, Executive Director, SSP. Under the one-acre model, women are also trained in other means of livelihood and sources of nutrition such as livestock and poultry. With the integration of livestock, Vanita has also eliminated a big chunk of the farm input costs which earlier amounted to almost 30 per cent of the net earnings. The model is now being scaled up in 600 villages to develop a cadre of trained women farmers who will act as resource people and reach out to support other women farmers. “We are working towards forming farmer producer cooperatives for women producer groups led by women who can claim space in that market,” says Verma. The 15 winners of this year’s Equator Prize have been selected from a pool of 806 nominations across 120 countries. Each winner will receive $10,000 and the opportunity for a community representative to join a weeklong summit in New York during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly. SSP has come as a ray of hope in the Marathwada region which is known as the suicide capital of the country. It is providing a space for local women to create their own development solutions and play a pivotal role in bringing sustainable change. More is also embarking on the journey of personal and professional growth. At the age of 60, she has got a license to drive a small truck. She now looks forward to transporting her farm produce from Nanded to other parts of the country.

24 Cleanliness

July 31 - august 06, 2017

Cleanliness pourakarmikas

Pourakarmikas to pick up cleanliness cues

Pourakarmikas get started for their training trip to Singapore, sponsored by the state government Quick Glance A batch of 40 pourakarmikas left for Singapore from India on July 4, 2017 The trip abroad is for purakarmikas to study and train in civic cleanliness from other countries A sum of Rs 2 crore has been released for the travel expenditure by the state government Three of the Bengaluru Pourakarmikas with their passport and ticket on the eve of their departure to Singapore

various urban local bodies. We will first send three to four batches and take stock of how much they learn and how will it help them. Then we will send the other batches,” he said.



angalore Mahanagara Palike, the city corporation, has launched a unique mission- to train its civic workers abroad. And, what better place for them to learn about civic cleanliness than the tiny state of Singapore? This army of civic workers—who toil during the night and early hours to keep the city roads clean –are called Pourakarmikas. On July 4, the first batch of 40 pourakarmikas, accompanied by two officials from the State, left for Singapore to study the civic cleanliness and manhole cleaning system adopted there. In a massive exercise, the corporation has planned to send 25 batches to Singapore in the next few months.

The State government has also announced that the services of 11,000 pourakarmikas will be regularised. Till now they have been working on contract basis –some on monthly salary and many on daily wages. In all, about 1,000 pourakarmikas will be sent on a study tour to Singapore. A sum of Rs 2 crore has been released for this purpose and final clearances for the trip from the State and Singapore governments have been obtained. Social Welfare Minister H. Anjaneya says they would be studying

the state-of-the-art manhole cleaning system in place in Singapore. “Although our State has progressed in terms of cleanliness, manhole cleaning still remains a challenge. Despite the use of machines, we are repeatedly witnessing manhole deaths and other accidents involving pourakarmikas in this process. We need to put an end to this,” he says. Each of these 25 groups who are being sent on a staggered basis will be guided by one environmental engineer and one sanitary health inspector from

Pourakarmikas have been selected to go to Singapore

to train in civic cleanliness. The state sponsored project is going to send approximately 1,000 abroad

Not many women Although the Municipal Administration Directorate wanted adequate women representation in the teams, there are not many women pourakarmikas for the tour. Not a single woman worker had been identified from nearly seven urban local bodies. The corporation wants at least 25% women participation in the team of 1,000 workers. The teams will spend four days in Singapore and will be put up in twinsharing hotel rooms. The approximate expenditure on each worker is around Rs 75,000. We will also be giving them some money in hand for their personal expenses, said one of the top officials. Only three women are part of the 40-member contingent. In the first batch, there are only three women. Close to 90 % of pourakarmikas clearing garbage every day from Bengaluru homes are women. But, when a rare opportunity comes their way for a free trip to Singapore, courtesy the State government, they seem to have turned it down. The three women are SavithriGutti, Alnavar Town Panchayat in Dharwad district; Vijayalakshmi, Mangaluru City Corporation; and Environment Engineer B.J. Ashwini. Only permanent workers, aged between 30 and 55, have been selected for the tour.

July 31 - august 06, 2017

wedding gown toilet paper

Brides-in-need get winning toilet paper

The popular TV show is giving away its exhibits of gowns fashioned from toilet paper to brides-to-be ians


he New York Fashion competition’s first prize worth USD 10,000 was awarded to a toilet paper wedding dress with 1,500 hand-cut butterflies made by a mother of two. 20 of the top gowns are being donated by Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Show to the brides affected

by wedding dressmaker Alfred Angelo’s recent bankruptcy. It took Kari Curletto over three months to work on her winning entry “Quilted Enchantment”, which has a six food cathedral train. This was her first entry ever out of a total 1,517 entries in the in the 13-year-old toilet paper dress competition. The competition was sponsored by Cheap Chic

Using toilet paper,

glue, glitter and tape, Las Vegas actress Kari Curletto created a toilet paper wedding gown

Weddings and Quilted Northern toilet paper. “It kind of feels like I’m dreaming right now,” Curletto said in an interview after her win. “Halfway through I was going to quit. I was crying and thinking, ‘Well, I just can’t do it. It’s too much,’ and a butterfly flew into my yard and landed on my hand.” Making the dress from toilet paper, glue, glitter and tape, Curletto, an actress from Las Vegas worked at nights after her children went to bed. July 28 is the date for all brides-in-need to contact Ripley’s show and get their gowns. The ones that will be donated are yet to be decided by the artist. The winner in 2015 and 2016 was Florist Roy Cruz of Chesapeake from Virginia in the United States, whose submission for this year was a two-piece floral ball gown featuring snowflake cut-outs which were chosen as the fan. Meanwhile, the popular television show Ripley’s Believe It or Not has decided to give away the winning entries to brides in need. Twenty such weding gowns fashioned out of toilet papers have been selected by them

Jammu Kashmir ODF


The Government of Jammu Kashmir is actively participating in the efforts to make Jammu and Kashmir free from Open Defecation sSB bureau


siea Naqash, Minister of State for Housing & Urban Development Department, Social Welfare and Health & Medical Education, stressed that the Government is indeed making efforts in making Jammu and Kashmir ODF to ensure good health and hygiene. The remarks by the Minister were made during the inauguration of the one-day workshop, ‘Open Defecation Free (ODF) Certification’ organised by Directorate of Urban Local Bodies, Kashmir at SKICC recently. She mentioned that a comprehensive scheme for scientific disposal of solid waste was devised by the Union Government. She also mentioned the role of Urban Transport Management and effective and efficient drainage

systems. As the prime objective of Swachh Bharat Mission is to ensure ODF cities and Towns with the establishment of individual household toilets, community toilets, and public toilets. A target of 94091 individual

household toilets has been given out that Housing & Urban Development Department against which 78235 applications have been received and 33987 has been approved for construction. While the remaining 450900 are still under verification. It was mentioned that the programme has been designed to achieve predetermined goals by the end of 2019. Appreciating the efforts made by the Directorate of Urban Local Bodies Kashmir, Naqash stressed for creating more awareness among the local masses about the importance of having proper sanitation facilities so that the State is made ODF within the stipulated time.



news in brief

Swachh Bharat well on its way to target : Centre With Swachh Bharat constructing more toilets than expected every year, the dream of a ‘Swachh Bharat’ are soon to be actualised SSB Bureau


he Government’s Swachh Bharat Mission has gained significant momentum now and it is hopefully going to achieve the target of a truly Swachh Bharat by October 2nd 2019 Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation Shri Ramesh ChandappaJigjinagi mentioned that the Sanitation Coverage, which was 41.80% on 2/10/2014, has increased to 65.07% on 17/07/2017as a reply to a question in the Lok Sabha. a total of 2, 09,099 Villages, 95,521 Gram Panchayats, 1,411 Blocks and 149 District have been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) as on 17/07/2017. In addition, 5 States namely Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Uttarakhand and Haryana have also been declared ODF. The Minister said while giving comparative figures that as against the expected outcome of 50 lakh individual latrines for the year 201415, 58,54,987 latrines were constructed, which is already an achievement of a whopping 117% of the target. In the last two years before 2017, over 127.41 lakh toilets were built against the expected outcome of 120 lakh. The next year 2016-2017, 219.24 lakh toilets have been constructed, over 146% of the expected outcome of 1.5 crore individual toilets.

26 Health

July 31 - august 06, 2017

eye freckles

smoking Lancet

Higher sun exposure may up risk of eye freckles

Cut smoking, reduce stress to ward off dementia: Lancet Better management of risk factors including smoking and hypertension shown to reduce the risk of dementia in over 35 per cent cases Quick Glance Mitigating risk factors is a powerful way to reduce the global burden of dementia Managing risk factors can reduce the incidence of dementia by 20 per cent Nearly 47 million people across the world have dementia

New findings show the risk of developing eye freckles due to long term exposure to sunlight IANS


higher lifetime exposure to sunlight may increase the risk of developing eye freckles or dark spots on the coloured part of the eye (iris), researchers warned. The findings showed that eye freckles could indicate the presence or risk of sunlight-triggered eye diseases like cataract or macular degeneration. Further, the development of eye freckles also correlated with increasing age, lifetime number of sunburns and a history of severe sunburns resulting in blisters, the researchers reported. “While we do not know the exact role of sunlight in several eye diseases, we now have a biomarker (iris freckles) indicating high amounts of chronic sunlight exposure,” said Christoph Schwab, an ophthalmologist at the Medical University of Graz in Austria. In addition, people with dark coloured eyes were found less likely to have eye freckles, as well as those who maintained better sun protection habits like using sunscreen or covering up. For the study, published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, over 600 swimmers at public pools in Styria, Austria, had their eyes examined for freckles and filled out a questionnaire that asked about their lifetime sun exposure and sun-protection habits.



anaging lifestyle factors such as smoking, hypertension and depression could prevent one-third of the world’s dementia cases, a Lancet study has claimed. The findings showed that better management of nine risk factors (that included smoking, hypertension and depression) in early, mid- and late life could reduce the increased likelihood of developing dementia in about 35 per cent cases. “The potential magnitude of the effect on dementia of reducing these risk factors is larger than we could ever imagine the effect

that current, experimental medications could have,” said Lon Schneider, Professor at the University of Southern California. “Mitigating risk factors provides us with a powerful way to reduce the global burden of dementia,” Schneider added. By increasing education in early life and addressing hearing loss, hypertension and obesity in midlife, the incidence of dementia could be reduced by as much as 20 per cent. In late life, stopping smoking, treating depression, increasing physical activity, increasing social contact and managing diabetes could reduce the incidence of dementia by another 15 per cent, the

researchers said. Nearly 47 million people across the world have dementia and by 2030, the number is expected to climb as high as 66 million and by 2050, it will reach 115 million. The study also highlighted the beneficial effects of nonpharmacologic interventions such as social contact and exercise for people with dementia. Psychological, social and environmental interventions such as social contact, group cognitive stimulation therapy and exercise were found superior to antipsychotic medications for treating dementia-related agitation and aggression. They also conferred some benefit in improving cognition. “Antipsychotic drugs are commonly used to treat agitation and aggression, but there is substantial concern about these drugs because of an increased risk of death, cardiovascular adverse events and infections, not to mention excessive sedation,” Schneider noted.

Google’s Trends

Tool that uses Google Search data to track dengue An analytical tool combining Google Search Data from Google Trends with Govt provided clinical input has been developed to rapidly track dengue in less-developed countries IANS


esearchers have developed an analytical tool that combines Google Search data with governmentprovided clinical input to quickly track dengue in less-developed countries. The tool provides a near real-time monitoring that could enable faster response to outbreaks. “The wide availability of internet throughout the globe provides the potential for an alternative way to reliably track infectious diseases, such as dengue, faster than traditional clinical-based systems,” said senior author Mauricio Santillana in a

paper published in the journal PLoS Computational Biology. “This alternative way of tracking disease could be used to alert governments and hospitals when elevated dengue incidence is anticipated and provide safety information for travellers,” added Santillana. The new research builds on a mathematical modelling tool, known as “AutoRegression with Google Search queries” (ARGO), used to track influenza in the US a few years ago.The research team modified ARGO to explore its potential to track

dengue activity in Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, Singapore and Taiwan. The researchers used Google’s “Trends” tool to track the top 10 dengue-related search queries made by users in each country during the study period and gathered historical dengue data from government health agencies and input both datasets into ARGO. Future work could investigate whether this method could be improved to track disease on finer spatial and temporal scales and whether environmental data, such as temperature, could improve estimates.

July 31 - august 06, 2017

Indian government helping develop homoeopathy in Ghana Ghana’s C4C hospitals now have Indian homoeopathic experts to provide training through a joint partnership between the Indian Government and a Ghanaian company IANS


he Indian government is partnering with a Ghanaian company to build the capacity of the country’s professionals in providing homoeopathic education and treatment and recently sent two experts from the Ministry of Ayush to train doctors and staff at the company’s chain of C4C Hospitals. “We would be ready to assist through capacity-building - be it in the form of visiting experts or through extra-curricular or subtechnical advice,” Indian High Commissioner Birender Singh Yadav said of the initiative, which could also see the hospital chain expand into other West African nations. During their stay in Ghana, the two Indian homoeopathic experts visited the Presidency where they met Minister of Health Kwaku AgyemanManu, who promised that the ministry was ready to collaborate with the Indian government and the C4C Hospitals to promote homoeopathic healthcare and education in Ghana.

The team also met the heads of the various departments of the National Professional Board For Techinical Examinations (NABPTEX) to discuss how to incorporate homoeopathic education into the curriculum of the Technical Universities in Ghana. “Officials of NABPTEX expressed their readiness to collaborate so that homoeopathy can be taught in all their institutions, starting with a pilot scheme at the Accra Technical University for the award the Higher

WHO tobacco

WHO calls for more tobacco control worldwide to save lives

With tobacco use claiming seven million lives each year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on countries to do more to prioritise life-saving policies via tobacco control IANS


hough the population worldwide protected by tobacco control measures has grown almost five-fold than ten years ago, the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday called on countries to do more to prioritise these life-saving policies. In the latest report on the global tobacco epidemic, the WHO said about 4.7 billion people, or 63 per cent of the world’s population, are covered today by at least one comprehensive tobacco control measure. Ten years ago, in 2007, the number was only one billion, or 15 percent


Quick Glance

health homoeopathy

of the world’s population, Xinhua reported. However, tobacco use has still become the leading single preventable cause of death worldwide, killing over seven million people each year. Its economic costs are also enormous, totaling more than $1.4 trillion in healthcare and lost



Experts from Ministry of Ayush have been sent to Ghana to train doctors and staff The team of experts also met heads of the NABPTEX C4C hospitals plan to make homoeopathic treatment accessible

National Diploma in Homeopathic Medicine for graduates of the C4C Homeopathic Medical College,” C4C Hospitals Director Michael KojoKyeremateng told IANS. The C4C chain has 10 branches in all the 10 regional capitals of the nation and some districts to make homoeopathy accessible to all Ghanaians. Kyeremateng, an Indian-trained Ghanaian alternative medical practitioner, has been recognised by the Indian government and the Ministry of Ayush for his passion and zeal in promoting education and homoeopathic treatment in Ghana. He recently represented Africa at the International Convention On World Homeopathy Day in New Delhi organised by the Ministry of Ayush. Under the terms of assistance to the C4C Hospitals, “Indian experts would provide training for a continuous professional development programme for C4C staffers to enhance their practice and to lecture to the students of the homoeopathic medicine college,” Kyeremateng explained.

Quick Glance About 4.7 billion people are covered by tobacco control measures Ten years ago, in 2007, the number was only one billion WHO suggests even countries with limited resources can monitor tobacco

productivity, according to the WHO. Meantime, the tobacco industry continues to hamper government efforts to fully implement life- and cost-saving interventions, by, for example, exaggerating the economic importance of the tobacco industry, discrediting proven science, and using litigation to intimidate governments, the report says. “Governments around the world must waste no time in incorporating all the provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control into their national tobacco control programs and policies,” says WHO Director-General Dr TedrosAdhanomGhebreyesus..

A dirty stethoscope may spread superbug infections Hygiene was observed in hospitals which concluded an alarming zero occurrence of stethoscope sanitation among staff IANS


f your doctor is monitoring you with unhygienic stethoscopes, chances are that you may contract infections by antibiotic-resistant superbugs, researchers have warned. Infection control guidelines from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention state that reusable medical equipment, such as stethoscopes, must undergo disinfection. However, the study showed that healthcare providers rarely perform stethoscope hygiene between patient encounters, despite its importance for infection prevention. Potential pathogens cultured from stethoscopes include Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Clostridium difficult, and vancomycin-resistant enterococci -responsible for diseases such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and skin infections, which can also be life threatening, the researchers said. “Stethoscopes are used repeatedly throughout the day and become contaminated after each patient exposure, so they must be treated as potential vectors of transmission,” said Linda Greene, President at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) in Virginia, US. “Failing to disinfect stethoscopes could constitute a serious patient safety issue similar to ignoring hand hygiene,” Greene added. In the study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, the researchers observed stethoscope hygiene at the start of a four-week rotation for medical students, resident physicians, and attending physicians at a tertiary care academic teaching hospital. The results showed zero occurrences of stethoscope sanitation among the staff.

28 North East

July 31 - august 06, 2017

assam floods

Assam Seeks Special Package to Check Floods Assam government has made a case for a special financial package from the Centre for safeguard against floods Raj Kashyap


he Assam government has made a case for a special financial package from the Centre for strengthening the network of embankments in the State as a safeguard against floods. Last week, a delegation of BJP MPs from Assam led by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his Parliament House office and discussed several issues concerning the State. The delegation which included Ramen Deka, RP Sharma, Bijoya Chakravarty, Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, Rameswar Teli and Pradan Baruah also urged the Prime Minister to depute a high-level Central team to assess the damages caused by floods and erosion in the state. The Prime Minister has sought details about the damage caused by floods in Assam. The dikes in Assam have not been repaired for the last six decades or so which are essential to check floods. The delegation also sought a package of Rs 1138.5 crores to repair embankments that have a length of over 5000 km under

the Flood Management Programme (FMP). The amount sanctioned in the last financial year had lapsed. The representation from Assam comes close on the heels of a CAG report that has found a 60 per cent shortfall in the release of Central funds to the state for flood management schemes. Assam, along with Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Sikkim and Manipur are among the states that saw delays in 48 flood management projects, the report noted. During 2007-08 to 2015-16, the 141 flood management projects in Assam were to get Rs 2,043.19 crore as Central share. However, only Rs 812.22 crore Central funds were released, leading to a shortfall of Rs 1,230.97 crore, said the CAG report. The floods in Assam this year has led to the death of 76 persons

including eight in Guwahati. A press release by the government said around 90,000 people were suffering in Lakhimpur, Biswanath, Barpeta, Morigaon, Nagaon, Karbi Anglong, Golaghat, Jorhat, Sivasagar, Karimganj and Cachar districts. An estimated 1.65 lakh people were affected across 14 districts in the state. The worst affected is Golaghat, where over 31,000 people have been affected by the deluge, followed by Barpeta with more than 17,000 people. Authorities are running 58 relief camps and distribution centres in eight districts, where 11,611 people are currently taking shelter. According to data released by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), 2017 has been the worst floods in the last four

With devastating floods affecting millions of

households and families, the Assam administration has set its eyes on special financial packages from the centre in hopes of providing much needed relief

Quick Glance Assam delegation requested PM Modi for flood relief financial package A package of Rs 1138.5 crores has been requested for embankment repairs The primary reason for floods in the state has been erosion

years. In 2014, due to floods, 1,846 villages were affected and about 1.6 million people were displaced. In 2015, the number of affected villages was 1,031 and about 1.5 million people were displaced. The numbers rose higher in 2016 with 2,893 villages affected and about 1.7 million people being displaced. This time around, altogether 19 breaches have been reported in the embankments of the rivers in eight districts. Two of these breaches were found to have occurred at the embankments in Mikirgaon area of Morigaon district and in Jadavpur area of Barpeta district. Officials explained that erosion has been the primary reason for the breach in the embankments in the Ranganadi embankment that resulted in the flood havoc in Lakhimpur, and at Golandi in Baksa district. However, the highest number of breaches in the embankments occurred in Majuli district, the constituency of the chief minister and one of the biggest riverine islands in the world. Officials explained that except the Brahmaputra embankment at Mikirgaon, which was damaged by erosion, none of the embankments repaired earlier this year suffered any damage due to the floods. The Brahmaputra, a transboundary river and among the mightiest rivers in Asia, is braided and unstable in its entire reach in Assam except for a few places. As per the Brahmaputra board’s latest annual report, the main reasons behind the instability of the river are high sedimentation and steep slopes. Additionally, the entire area falls in an earthquake-prone zone and experiences high rainfall.

July 31 - august 06, 2017

education pre school

UNICEF study on 4-year-olds Majority of four-year-olds in rural areas are attending preschools, either private or government-run Anganwadi centres



ajority of four-year-olds in rural areas of Assam, Rajasthan and Telangana are attending preschools, either private or governmentrun Anganwadi centres, a UNICEF study revealed on Friday. The study, which highlighted that even one year of participation in a quality early childhood development programme leads to higher school readiness levels and thus better learning outcomes in the early primary grades, however, noted that most of these children had low readiness levels for schools. The five-year longitudinal research followed a cohort of 14,000

children from age four to eight. The “Indian Early Childhood Education Impact study” was launched here by UNICEF in partnership with the Centre for Early Childhood Education and Development (CECED), Ambedkar University Delhi and ASER Centre. The study said that the children do not necessarily participate in preschool and primary school at the ages and in the order that policies prescribe and, therefore, there are children below the age of six in primary schools and children above age six in preschools in some states. “Early childhood education is critical in laying a strong foundation for lifelong learning and holistic development,”

UNICEF Deputy Representative Henriette Ahrens said at the launch. “This research provides robust evidence that investments in promoting quality early childhood education are essential to achieving better learning outcomes in the early primary grades,” she said. However, a key concern emerging is that most children in the study entered primary school at the age of five with school readiness levels which were far below expectations. They were thus “unequipped” to meet the demands of the curriculum and had low learning levels. The study concludes that these low school readiness levels in children are clearly related to the quality of preschool education. Existing models commonly available across the country do not use age and developmentally appropriate curriculum, methods and materials to engage children. The study identifies formal teaching of the three Rs -- reading, writing, and arithmetic, as detrimental to children’s development. Given the impact of preschool education on children’s outcomes in primary education, the study recommends the inclusion of pre-primary education as an integral part of the Right to Education (RTE) Act. Since age is a significant factor in influencing children’s school readiness and learning levels, the study further recommends ensuring that children begin primary education only when they are developmentally ready, adhering to the norms of school entry as per the RTE Act, which requires that children begin grade one at age six. It emphasises the importance of a flexible, play-based foundational curriculum for three-to-eight-yearolds along a continuum, for a seamless transition from pre-primary to primary education.

drinks nitrogenated

Haryana bans use of liquid nitrogen in drinks The move is in line with the nationwide food fortification initiative of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India IANS


ollowing hospitalisation of a Delhi businessman for drinking a cocktail containing liquid nitrogen this month, the Haryana government has prohibited flushing/mixing of liquid nitrogen with any drink or food article, an official said on Friday. Food and Drugs Administration Department’s Commissioner (Food Safety) Saket Kumar said orders to this effect haved been issued under Section

34 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, (Central Act 34 of 2006). Kumar said according to expert medical opinion, any drink or food article whose preparation involves flushing/mixing of liquid nitrogen is harmful for humans. “Due to its low temperature, liquid nitrogen could be extremely damaging to body tissue, causing frostbite and cryogenic burning on contact. Moreover, if ingested, it could lead to severe internal damage, destroying tissues in the mouth

and intestinal tract,” Kumar added. He said as it evaporates, liquid nitrogen releases a large volume of gas, and could burst open the stomach if ingested in sufficiently large quantity. A Delhi businessman ended up in a hospital with a perforated stomach after consuming the cocktail containing liquid nitrogen at a Gurugram pub. Doctors who attended on the victim said his condition was so critical that his stomach looked like an “open book”.



news in brief

Mamata extends Kanyashree scheme IANS


xtending the Kanyashree scheme to higher education, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said NRIs will sponsor research aspirations of 10 meritorious woman students from the state. Banerjee launched the extended version of the UN-lauded Kanyashree Prakalpa, the targeted conditional cash transfer scheme, aimed at checking child marriage and retaining girls in schools and other educational institutions. She said the project is being extended to boost post-graduate studies. “The non-resident Indians (NRIs) had come to meet me on Thursday and gave a proposal. They will bear the total expenses of 10 meritorious girl students who wish to pursue research. They

will help even in future research work,” Banerjee said at a celebration for the success of the scheme. The Kanyashree scheme has brought almost 41 lakh adolescent girls in its fold, covering over 15,500 institutions in West Bengal. It was awarded the first prize at United Nations Public Service Award ceremony this year. In the project, the government provides an annual scholarship of Rs 500 to girls between 13-18 years (class eight to class 12) to continue their studies, provided they are unmarried and their parents’ annual income is below Rs 1.20 lakh. If the girl continues her studies up to the age of 18, a one-time grant of Rs 25,000 would be deposited in her bank account, provided she is unmarried. “At 18, the amount of Rs 25,000 they are getting will continue (if they don’t marry and continue studies). We have had K1 and K2. Now we are starting K3 (extended version) which means after passing out from school and college, students who go for universities (postgraduate), if they score 45 per cent, then in science stream, we will give them Rs 2,500 monthly while for arts section, we will give them Rs 2,000 per month,” she said. “We are taking them right from childhood to university level,” she said, adding: “It is not a crime to be born poor. You must conquer poverty.”

30 Jatra

July 31 - august 06, 2017

kolkata jatra

Jatra’s rejuvenation in Bengal

Photo: Debashish Nandi

The 19th century Bengali opera, typically with audiences sitting on three sides of the stage, is seeing a comeback in Calcutta

Prasanta Paul


s Achhe Din back in the corridors of Chitpur, home to jatra (Bengali opera) houses in the serpentine lanes of north Kolkata? If the number of bookings and the latest flurry of activities are any indication to go by, the industry, limping for several years, might hopefully expect good days ahead. The season of mirth and merry-making has just begun in West Bengal coinciding with the Rathjatra. Every year, the industry welcomes this period of fortnight beginning with Rathjatra as the bookings for the shows of every season start in this holy month. And much to the cheer of the opera owners and their staff, bookings have started pouring in from the districts, heralding a promising season which is going to begin shortly after the Durga Pujas and will continue all through winter and beyond. The garish billboards, motley posters and lithoprints that flank the lanes and pathway corners, have loudly been advertising the forthcoming shows with over-the-top titles such as “Raatparir Roopkotha”(Fairy Tale of a Night Angel) starring Satabdi Roy, (who is also the Trinamool Congress MP), “Kolkatar Nagini, Gramer Baghini”(Serpent of Kolkata, Tigress of Village), “ Sangsar Mondire Soitaner Thaba” (Paw of Satan in the Family Temple), “Padmafule Keuter

Basha”(Nest of a venomous snake in Lotus), so on and so forth. The billboards are bedecked with faces of Tollywood stars and jatra starlets who stare down at stray onlookers in gibberish smiles. On the face of it, everything seems fine; in the last six or seven years, some jatra houses have downed shutters and some have not. Presently, the industry boasts nearly 50 houses with an approximate workforce of 1.4 lakh and a turnover close to Rs 45 crore. It is not exactly known how much of the total turnover originates in the city and how much in the districts. But there is a broad unanimity of opinion over the fact that Kolkata generates the highest business. The Paschim Banga Jatra Sammelan, the erstwhile apex body of the industry, underwent structural changes and has been rechristened as Paschim Banga Jatra Academy a few years ago and the West Bengal government had promised to render all possible assistance to revive and promote this 19th century form of folk art.

“Jatra is an addiction, a passion and a kind of attraction which pulls people, particularly the rural audience, into this industry,” explains Kanak Bhattacharya, the secretary of the Academy. “Not that the industry has come out of the red; there are still some houses that have been struggling. But the depression that once afflicted it and threatened almost a closure of this glorious tradition has been over.” Bhattacharya has been pinning high hopes of return in his production – the Satabdi Roy-starrer “Raatporir Roopkotha”. Every year, like theme-oriented Durga pujas, jatra houses too always strive to come up with a play that deals with the latest issue or something the rural audience could easily identify with. One of the hit jatras “ Milan Thithir Purnima Chand” ( The Full Moon heralding the moment of Nuptial union) or “ Bekar Swamir Lofar Bou”(The Runaway wife of an unemployed husband) dealt with social issues that caught the imagination of the audience. In fact, “Bou Hoyeche Ronger Bibi”( The Bride has turned a colourful Bibi) produced by Bhairab Opera set an all time record (in the last decade) of 195 nonstop shows across the state. Meghdoot Ganguly, the main brain behind this opera, is extremely busy as bookings have started for the pre-Puja season in anticipation of another hit production this year. Ganguly however, declined to disclose the theme of his latest show “ Sesh Pata Go, Shakhay Tumi Thako”( Oh, the last leave, may you remain on the branch). A multiplicity of themes coupled with crisp and racy dialogues with oblique reference to politics and raging social issues are among the major ingredients to pull the rural crowd, admit both Ganguly and Bhattacharya. “And if you can spice it up with some element of family drama or tit-bits of the who’s who, then you’ve to deploy bouncers to control the crowd,”

A multiplicity of themes coupled with crisp and racy

dialogues with oblique reference to politics and raging social issues are among the major ingredients

Quick Glance The names of the plays are truly garish, but they are socially relevant The jatra employs a workforce of around 1.4 lakh people The highest draws are those which star some of the top Bengali actresses

they agree. Hence, it is in fitness of things that the opera houses are grappling with some latest themes to convert them into jatras. First, the skeleton mystery and the murder in the Robinson Street House which is now called the Horror House and where some of the Bengali TV serials are being shot at the moment. “We’re much excited as nearly 95 per cent of the script is ready and bookings are just pouring in,” says Goutam Chakraborty of Manjari Opera. The mysterious findings of a family living with the skeletal remains of one of its members and the pets is not an everyday case for police. Since the suicide of septuagenarian Arabinda De opened the doors of the Horror House in Robinson Street, bizarre turn of events kept pouring in. Partho De, his only son and the sole living member, kept the death of his sister and two pet dogs under wraps for nearly six months. Partho who lived with the bodies for months, was later admitted to Pavlov Mental Hospital and ended his life in a mysterious way. With Partho’s death, the lid had finally been put on the horrifying tale of the dead living alongside the alive, providing enough room to Chakraborty to frame a screenplay for his next jatra. “We’ve injected all the ingredients of a crime thriller of an unprecedented nature. Plus, we’ve organised skeletons and other necessary stuff to add a surreal touch to the entire production,” adds Chakraborty with a smile. It goes to the credit of Manjari Opera that it had the credit of holding such productions as a trilogy on chief minister Mamata Banerjee (Mahakaran e Mamata, Ghare Ghare Mamata and Maa Mati Manush er Mamata), a jatra on the hanging of the child-rapist Dhananjoy Chatterjee, Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

sulabh sanitation

Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, New Delhi is organizing a Written Quiz Competition that is open to all school and college students, including the foreign students. All those who wish to participate are required to submit their answers to the email address, or they can submit their entries online by taking up the questions below. Students are requested to mention their name and School/College along with the class in which he/she is studying and the contact number with complete address for communication

First Prize: One Lakh Rupees Second Prize: Seventy Five Thousand Rupees


Third Prize: Fifty Thousand Rupees Consolation Prize: Five Thousand Rupees (100 in number)

500-1000) ti on (W or d Li m it: ti pe m Co iz Qu en tt Qu es ti on s fo r W ri nounced? rt was ‘Swachh Bharat’ an Fo d open Re the m fro y da ich uses and there should be no ho 1. On wh the all in d cte tru ns co by 2019, toilets should be 2. Who announced that l. defecation? Discuss in detai Toilet? 3. Who invented Sulabh ovement? Cleanliness and Reform M 4. Who initiated Sulabh t? ve features of Sulabh Toile t? 5. What are the distincti used in the Sulabh compos r ise til fer of ge nta rce pe d an 6. What are the benefits of the Sulabh Toilet? ’? 7. What are the benefits be addressed as ‘Brahmins to me ca g gin en av sc al nu ople freed from ma If yes, then elaborate it by s? 8. In which town were pe ste ca r pe up of s me ho take tea and have food in the 9. Do these ‘Brahmins’ person. discussing story of any such entions of Sulabh? 10. What are the other inv


ritten Quiz Competition W of on si is bm su r fo te t da

: September 30, 2017

For further details please contact Mrs. Aarti Arora, Hony. Vice President, +91 9899 855 344 Mrs. Tarun Sharma, Hony. Vice President, +91 97160 69 585 or feel free to email us at SULABH INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL SERVICE ORGANISATION In General Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council Sulabh Gram, Mahavir Enclave, Palam Dabri Road, New Delhi - 110 045 Tel. Nos. : 91-11-25031518, 25031519; Fax Nos : 91-11-25034014, 91-11-25055952 E-mail:, Website:,

Harmanpreet Kaur

Learning cricket with the boys

Despite her family’s limited financial means, Harmanpreet Kaur realised her dream of playing international cricket


unjab girl Harmanpreet Kaur virtually led India singlehandedly into the final of the Women’s World Cup in England with her superlative unbeaten knock of 171, edging out title holders Australia. When she was growing up and showed interest in sports, her father got her a hockey stick. But she preferred to use the bat instead and play cricket – that too with boys of her neighbourhood as no other girl played cricket. Hailing from Moga district in Punjab, Harmanpreet’s family has been rejoicing for the past 18 hours in their daughter’s glory, achieved in Derby. The mobile phone of her father, Harmandar Singh Bhullar, the house telephone and phones of other family


July 31 - august 06, 2017



32 Unsung Hero


members have not shows a lot of aggression stopped ringing for the on the field. Some of her past few hours. With tempers were clearly HERO friends, relatives and other visible on the ground on people streaming into the Thursday when her fellow ‘Bhullar Niwas’, the home of player almost got her run out the cricketer’s family, in Moga, it is when she was on 98. The cameras all about celebrations, dancing and caught Harmanpreet yelling at the other sweets. “I am so proud of my daughter. player for the mistake. Harmanpreet’s She has put Moga on the mother Satinder Kaur said: “She has international map. She is done proud to the country and to us. better than boys,” a proud People should give their daughters a Harmandar Singh, who is chance to excel.” an assistant with a lawyer Punjab is a state which is notorious in Moga town, nearly 180 for the killing of the girl child in the kilometres from here, told womb with most people preferring a IANS. Despite the family’s son. It is among the states with the limited financial means country’s worst gender ratio. On Friday, and the bigger challenge a string of celebrities from Bollywood that girls in the area did and sports like Amitabh Bachchan, not opt to play cricket in Sachin Tendulkar, Shah Rukh Khan and the first place, did not Virat Kohli lauded India’s win against deter Harmandar Singh in Australia in the second semi-finals of helping his daughter realise Women’s World Cup, particularly her cricketing dream. Harmanpreet’s heroics. Her scintillating Often referred to as the 115-ball unbeaten 171 helped India “female version of (Indian thrash Australia by 36 runs and set a men’s cricket team captain) date with hosts England in Sunday’s Virat Kohli, Harmanpreet final at Lord’s in London.

er N eNw ma ssm ew akk esr s


Nathan Baptiste

UK teen builds $54,000 empire Nathan Baptiste created his own $56,000 a year sugar empire by selling sweets

oing from selling chocolate bars in his school’s bathrooms to selling sweets and fizzy drinks across three schools, a 15-year-old successfully scaled his business with earning close to $1,200 a week.The money earned from selling the sweets allowed him to lead a lavish lifestyle. Nathan mentioned how he learned to make money during a talk with a millionaire which was part of a development programme. He was inspired by the talk and began selling sweets to students who attended his school. Orders for his sweets were made via Snapchat and he delivered sweets during break time. Nathan’s tenacity and persistence earned him the name ‘Wolf of Walthamstow.’His business was shut abruptly by the school just as he was about to make $56,000 a year. Despite being discouraged, he still has his eyes set on the prize and hopes to make millions in the future. “You win some, you lose some, but at least this ‘Wolf ’ has a winner’s ambition,” John-Baptiste said.


NICEF appointed Indianorigin Canadian YouTube star Lilly Singh as its newest Global Goodwill Ambassador at a special event in New Delhi last week. Lilly was in the National capital to support UNICEF’s Youth4Change initiative, a programme for youth that brings them together to support their peers and communities in taking action on issues such as health, hygiene, child labour and gender equality. “I’m honoured to join UNICEF as a Goodwill Ambassador and to use my voice to support its mission of reaching every child. It’s time to stand for what your kids want and not society,” Lilly said. The YouTuber, famous as ‘Superwoman’, said she would come up with few videos in Hindi and would try to put Hindi subtitles in her English videos to increase the reach of her video blogs and channel. As the UNICEF ambassador Lilly, who has around 11.9 million subscribers on the video sharing website, will use her channel to showcase the organisation’s work and urge millions of her followers to work for children’s rights.

lilly singh

UNICEF APPOINTS LILLY SINGH Lilly Singh plans to use her channel to showcase the organisation’s work

RNI No. DELENG/2016/71561, Joint Commissioner of Police (Licensing) Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016 Volume - 1, Issue - 33 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