Dailies 2012, Issue 3
Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Bangalore
November 29, 2012
Threats to kill won’t stop me, claims RTI activist EXCLUSIVE
Jayalalithaa walks out of Cauvery meeting. >> Pg 2
A lab technician who had a spat with a State minister claims his life was threatened moments after the heated exchange. S. Lokraj claims he was told his family would be murdered if he spoke to the media after the row at Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology on Tuesday. Father of one, S. Lokraj, 48, found himself at the centre of a heated row with minister SA Ramdas on Tuesday after the politician paid a surprise visit to the hospital where he works. During the visit Mr Ramdas threatened Lokraj with the sack over sloppy records. In retaliation, Lokraj, an RTI activist in his spare time, told the minister and the assembled press that he would lift the lid on a 36 crore missing cash scandal he claims to have unearthed at the hospital. Moments after the heated exchange, as Lokraj was leaving Kidwai, he claims a man on a scooter threatened to kill him and his family if he spoke to the media about his claims. An angry Lokraj said: “A man on a scooter stopped in front of the gate right after the event, came over and threatened me. He said that me and my family will get destroyed and murdered if I speak up about anything in front of the media. “I stay alone in Bangalore
Photo: Shruti Tiwari
By Amrita Ray
Industrial development reduces forest cover. >> Pg 3
RTI activist, S Lokraj (left) had a spat with Health Minister, SA Ramdas (right) moments before the RTI activist was threatened over his fraud claims at Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology while my wife Geeta, my son and my mother stay in Mysore. My son is just eleven years old; on top of that I am getting such threats. I will be going to the police commissioner to complain about this, today or tomorrow. “I am not scared of anyone. I won’t back off. God is with me.” Lokraj also claims that documents related to the missing money at Kidwai have also been removed from the Karnataka Information Commission. He claims that the financial black hole is in the foundation that runs Kidwai’s pension fund and claims to have access to the documents. “The foundation got Rs. 48 crore as handling charges from the hospital. This had to be deb
ited to the pension fund but nothing like that happened,” he said. “They have misappropriated funds of over 36 crore and I have documents to prove it. Four directors and in-charge directors are part of this scam. “First they sent me a suspension notice and now they are threatening me. They are suspending me on the grounds of not maintaining records but there is nothing like maintaining records here. “I have been working here for fifteen years and I know better. We draw blood samples and submit reports. There is a separate section which maintains records. That is not my job.” One RTI activist has died and
another three were harassed and threatened in the past two weeks around Bangalore. TJ Abraham was arrested for a ten-year-old assault case when he tried to expose three ministers. Activist Lingaraju was murdered and Dinesh Kallahalli received threatening calls. “This is one of the major obstacles that RTI activists face. The moment someone raises his voice for justice, they face suppression from ten different sources in our country” said RTI activist Vikram Simha. M Vijay Kumar, the director of Kidwai Hospital, said: “ I cannot comment on the issue before knowing the whole story. He should have come to me before approaching the media.”
Karnataka to remain organic capital of Asia. >> Pg 5
The Observer interviews ‘hospital on wheels’ fouunder. >> Pg 7
Slum land promises golden returns PROPERTY prices in one of Bangalore's oldest slums are sky-rocketing. Slum dwellers in Rajendranagarwere moved there 35 years ago. At that time there were complaints that the new land was filthy and lacked the most basic amenities. Under a project initiated by the Government of India, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Rural Development Mission, 2008, slum dwellers were given khata (legal rights of their property) and 20 percent financial assistance to develop their homes. Most of them went on to build two or three storey extensions onto their existing homes. "Rent of the houses with basic facilities is Rs. 3,000 1BHK. If the customer demands more than only cement flooring like marble flooring, tiled bathroom and toilet with other facilities like
Photo: Nikita Malusare
By Nikita Malusare
A residence in one of the city’s slum. Insight picture: Sheikh Saleem fan, light or television set then the rent may vary from Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000," said Abdul Salim,59, a carpenter. Less than a decade ago the value of the same property was Rupees 5000 per square foot. In today's market, these properties are commanding no less than rupees 18,000 per square feet. Sheikh Salim, a resident of the slum since childhood, be
lieves that the development of the surrounding areas like Koramangla has led to the rise in property value. “Corporate offices and malls are a walkable distance that is why migrants prefer purchasing houses in our area,” he said. Ten years ago, Salim’s house cost Rs. 2.5 lakh but today his property is valued at around Rs. 25 lakh. All the basic amenities are at
easy reach. Apart from mall and corporate offices, schools and hospitals are very near. There are 2,000 slums in the state of Karnataka out of which 570 alone are found in Bangalore. Among them the biggest slum areas are Rajendra Nagar, Ragigouda. The property value of Ragigouda a couple of years ago was as low as rupees 3,000 to 4,000 per sq ft. But since government took the initiative of slum free city and demolished the slums the demand for the area hiked by rupees 5,000 per sq ft. Bengaluru Bhoomi, a real estate consultant in the city, said: “Very few come here to take plot at Ragigouda as it is infamous for slums. Even the residents of this area were willing to leave. However since the time the slums are dismantled and building is being constructed the price of the property has gone up. After all it’s a prime location.”
An assessment of Millennium Development Goals. >> Pg 8
The Daily Observer
November 29, 2012
Karnataka refuses water sharing, Jayalalithaa storms out
Self-induced abortions can prove doubly fatal
Chief Minister, Jagadish Shettar addressing the press at Leela Palace. any such statement of not releasing a single drop of water. He said: "We requested her that we will come to Chennai and reassess the situation. He says that Jayalalithaa welcomed him to Chennai but said she will discuss the water issue only in the Supreme Court. Water resources Minister, Mr Baasavraj Bommai read out the three points that they had requested to be implemented. "An expert committee should be formed which would consist of farmer represantatives,” said Mr Bommai. One of the points he made was regarding disciplined farming
THE Cauvery Water meeting between the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka came to an abrupt end when J. Jayalalithaa reportedly stormed out of the talks. Claims that Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister walked out of the meeting were denied but she failed to attend a press conference held after talks ended in stalemate. The current minister for water resources in Karnataka, Mr Basavraj Bommai said: "I personally went to see her off in her car. How can the media claim she walked out?" Jayalalithaa claimed that her request to the Karnataka Chief Minister to release 30 thousand million cubic metres of water for the next 15 days was flatly rejected by Karnataka’s Chief Minister. "We cannot release a single drop of water, is what we got as an answer," said Jayalalithaa. She said that they will go to the Supreme Court's hearing that is scheduled for tomorrow. Karnataka Chief Minister Jagdish Shettar denied making
Jayalalithaa, after she walked out of the discussion
NASA scientist unearths secrets of the stars By Deepu Aby Varghese
named in honor of Jonannes Kepler, a 17th century German philosopher. This space observatory was launched by NASA on 7th march 2009 and has been active since then. Dr. Batalha also described the children the techniques used by Kepler mission to identify earth like planets. She shared some of mission discoveries to this date. Dr. Batalha says that Kepler mission is alone responsible for the discovery of 150,000 earth sized planets. “Since the last three years our Kepler team was constantly monitoring light intensities from stars inside milky way. We record the changes once in every thirty minutes,” she added. Dr. Batalha spoke about the dooms day fear in people around the world. She said, “These ideas have no basis in science.”
Dr. Natali Batalha addressing the students at VITM
Ultrasound image of a fetus
Insurance firms cashing in on BPL card holders
Photo: Deepu Aby Varghese
NASA’s Kepler mission scientist Dr. Natalie Batalha addressed school children in a lecture in Bangalore. Dr. Batalha enlightened the school children assembled in Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum (VITM) on NASA’s well known Kepler mission. She addressed the children on how the Kepler mission team was so far successful in its ventures. She said, “The universe is more peculiar and incredible than we can imagine and the purpose of Kepler mission is to create statistics of stars which are orbited by earth like planets.” Kepler mission is specifically designed to survey our Milky Way galaxy.It works to discover earth like planets in or near around our galaxy. The spacecraft was
practice in the Cauvery basin. Jayalalitha left after the meeting without coming to the conference hall to speak to reporters. The Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal ruled that Karnataka should release water to its neighbouring state in 2012. This was rejected by the Karnataka State government. Cauvery river water is a serious conflict between the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The Chairman of the Cauvery River Authority, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, directed the Karnataka State to release 9000 Cusecs of water on daily basis to the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu but there was widespread protest regarding this and the State was brought to a total shut down on one occasion. As she left the meeting, Ms Jayalalithaa said: "The current active storage of water in Tamil Nadu is only 16.2 TMC feet. Out of this five TMC feet is drinking water and another five TMC feet is left for farming purposes. So we are left with only 6.2 TMC feet of active storage.” She added: "The Monsoon is yet to come in Tamil Nadu and the farmers need 65 days of irrigation water.”
NATIONWIDE protests over Savita Halappanavar’s death, have now given many pro-life advocates a new perspective on termination of pregnancy— an insight that it is sometimes necessary to end a life to save one. Yet self-induced abortion is a perilous decision women choose to make to terminate a pregnancy for many reasons like social pressures and financial troubles. . In India, under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, the length of the pregnancy must not exceed 20 weeks in order to qualify for an abortion. It is believed that roughly 6.7 million induced abortions are performed in India every year, even though only about 632,000 are reported in government statistics. Mifepristone and Misoprostol are two pills that are to be taken in combination to abort the pregnancy. They are licensed drugs yet, they are treated as over-thecounter drugs in many pharmacies across the country. Dr. Meenaksi Bharat, a gynecologist at B.G.S. Global hospital said: “Women are terrified or embarrassed to approach a gynecologist, especially if the pregnancy has occurred out of wedlock. Buying a pill at a local pharmacy at a higher price might be easier at first, but the complications that follow after taking the pill are very hard to deal with.” Side effects of these drugs involve symptoms similar to a miscarriage such as severe cramping and vaginal bleeding. Nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, chills or hot flushes and fatigue are symptoms that arise indefinitely. In exceedingly rare instances,
as with miscarriage, suction abortion and childbirth, death may occur. Bharat said: “The procedure to take these pills is a little complicated, it is a two step method. A woman who takes these pills without a physician’s guidance doesn’t know what side effects to expect, leaving her traumatized because of the experience.” The majority of women who seek abortion fall within of the age group of 20-29. The MTP Act also states that “[n]o pregnancy of a woman, who has not attained the age of eighteen years, shall be terminated except with the consent in writing of her guardian.” Radhika (name changed), a student from Bangalore said: “My friend told me that these drugs would safely terminate my pregnancy. I didn’t go to a hospital because I knew I would have to sign a declaration to terminate the pregnancy. I couldn’t risk my family finding out about it.” Dr. Anjali Mehta, a psychiatrist said: “In most cases the woman’s partner compels her into aborting, but there are cases when partner isn’t even aware of the pregnancy. After the termination, many women become severely depressed because of the guilt. It’s very important for a woman to seek counseling and have her loved ones to support her.”
Dr. Meenakshi Bharat
By Romana D’Souza
By Nikita Malusare INSURANCE companies benefit more from Below Poverty Line benefit cards than some of the country’s poorest. Kavitha N and Varun S, research assistants at the Centre for Budget and Policy Studies, critically analysed the accountability and effectiveness of the government insurance scheme, Rashtriya Sawsthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), at the CBPS seminar on public health policy. Under this scheme, families who are below poverty line, whose monthly income is below Rs.1, 700 in urban areas and below Rs.1, 500 in rural areas, are eligible to enrol for BPL cards. The card holder receives benefits like food subsidies and medical benefits especially for major medical expenses. The government pays insurers Rs.750 per BPL family registered for a year. A premium is given for each household enrolled under RSBY. This motivates the insurer to enrol for the BPL cards under the scheme without taking care of the eligibility criteria. There are claims that firms do not even check necessary documents. Fake enrolment benefits not only the insurance company but
Kavitha, expressing her concerns on the scheme. also the intermediaries and the health care providers. The people losing out are some of the poorest in India. Sujhata Rao, raising her concern over the fake BPL card holders, said: “There is a need to have premium regulators in the system if RSBY is to be successful in India.” She believes that the income cap on the BPL cards should be different for food and health care. “Health insurance schemes are desirable when they provide security against health expenditure but the whole path is not benefited by those who are in dire need of it,” says Sujhata Rao, former secretary of health and family welfare, government of India. Studies stated that 80% of the Karnataka population is enrolled in this scheme. Kavitha N said: “There is a difference between enrolment and owning cards.”
Photo: Cherishma Shah
Only 61 % of the BPL Kannadigas have received the cards. As each year passes there is a 5% decrease in the number of card holders according to the study. BPL cards are owned by the poorest of the poor, uneducated sectors of Indian society. Over the years awareness among people has increased. More and more people are aware of the card, its eligibility and benefits. The uptake of benefits from the card is still minimal in all districts of Karnataka. In Belgaum, the hospitalization ratio for the year 2011 is as low as 1.1 % and in Shimoga it is 2.9%. “Looking at the statistics, the success of the implementation of the scheme is still doubtful” said Kavitha. She points out that the business model opted for the scheme is a big failure.
November 29, 2012
The Daily Observer
Garden city is one of the world’s biggest polluters massive change in the climatic condition.” He added: “The temperatures are spiking high with every new year. You can’t blame anything particularly. There are many factors which go hand in hand.” Our reporter, Priyanka Roy, caught up with some people on the street and asked them what they thought about pollution in Bangalore.
Photo: Charles Martin
BANGALORE is now a global leader in air pollution, claims a new study conducted by scientists at Tel Aviv University. NASA’s satellites were used to collect this data. The reasons for this vary from management, social responsibility to higher population rate and reluctance of authority to act. KSBCB official, Dr. B Nagappa says: “There are many reasons which are mainly responsible for the higher air pollution. Chiefly, fossil fuel burning, increased numbers of vehicles in the city, increase of industries in the city and a rapid increase in the total population rate.” He added: “The city had the best climate and weather conditions. People used to reside over here just for the favorable climate, but now there has been
The air pollution is aﬀecting people very badly. Many people are suﬀering from various lung diseases and asthma. The smoke that emits from cars and factories are mainly responsible for this pollution. - Suresh, shopkeeper The pollution control board plays a major role to counter this hazard. The blame can’t only be shifted to the common people when the authority is itself disorganized and reluctant. Both should be responsible. - Manjunath, government oﬃcial These days each family member owns a car, which makes it a lot. These numbers will rise with the rising population and add to the air and noise pollution. People can’t move or walk properly on the road. - Aditi Swaroop, student Increased population along with the laziness of people have caused this increase. The city used to be full of greenery and there was not so much population as there is today. - Prabhaya, auditor
Young breed of politicians Development eating into forest land vow to wash corruption By Pyusha Chatterjee out of the system
Almost half the area under Western Ghats forest cover has been lost to mining and industrialization. mote small scale cottage industries and agro-processing industries which will help people to earn a living and will not harm the ecology as well. Dr. Ramchandran said: “Nature is no more accepting the activities that are happening.” He also believed that nature is losing the capacity to carry these activities and thereby landslides are occurring. Mr. Hedge said: “We have stressed on the fact that there should be participation from the public in all government programs and Government should encourage people.” The forest minister said that due to scarcity of water, people
are protesting in four areas Tumkur, Chikkadapur, Mandya and Kolar. This has resulted in an unofficial band in the districts. He said: “Water is a matter of concern everywhere but we will try to do our best with regard to the recommendations submitted.” Chief Minister was expected to attend the event but he was unable to attend it. Dr. S.N. Bhatt, Professor of AYUSH confirmed that the government has accepted all the recommendations and has promised to work on them.
Chairman of Wesern Ghat Task Force, Anant Hegde Ashisara (second from left) and Foreign Minister, Karanataka, CP Yogeshwar (third from left) with other WGTF associates.
A new young breed of politicians want to fight corruption in the forthcoming state elections. Sarva Janta Paksha was launched today by young professionals from all walks of life. The new party is made up of college students, advocates and doctors. They aim to provide new opportunities for aspiring civilians in Karnataka. Party President G. C. Patil said: “The chief aim and objective of our party shall be to fight against all forms of corruption and to work for economic advancement of the people with a view to remove economic disparity in the society”. The party believes in a policy that ensures decentralisation of economic and political powers. It affirms the right of peaceful and democratic dissent, which includes ‘Satyagraha’ or non-violent resistance. Shiva Murthynayak, State Organising Secretary of Sarva Janta Paksha said: “Educating youngsters regarding their constitutional rights is very important.” He believed that a responsible youngster of today could be entrusted with greater responsibilities tomorrow. Sarva Janta Paksha has already has already been registered with the Election Commission.
GC Patil, during the press conference, talks about his new party. ‘Greater participation for a stronger democracy’ is the party motto. Advocate Mahesh Hiramath, who is also a member of Sarva Janta Paksha, said: “We want all our members to know about the Indian Constitution.” He added: “The candidates of this party have a clean police record and do not have any charges against them.” Mr. Hirmath also added that as a party they followed the policies of ‘Hindutwa’. Sarva Janta Paksha is dedicated to the task of building up a democratic, secular and socialist state of India on Gandhian principles. The new party, Sarva Janta Paksha, claims to have drawn inspiration from the rich heritage and noble traditions of the country’s struggle for national independence and individual liberty.
Photo: Reshma Tarwani
By Shreya Mukherjee
EXTENSIVE mining and industrial development has eaten into almost fifty percent of the forest area in the Western Ghats. The Western Ghats Task Force (WGTF) submitted fourteen recommendations to the government on 29th November 2012. Chairman of WGTF, Mr. Anant Hegde Ashisar and member of WGTF Dr. T.V. Ramchandran released a report on conservation of Western Ghats in the presence of important government officials. Dr.Ramchandran talked about the ecological imbalance and how can it be stopped. He presented the report containing details about valuation of goods derived from forest. The amount of goods collected per year is Rs.9180. Dr. Ramchandran also mentioned: “The land allotted for developmental purposes including industries, power projects and so on was 1100 square kilometres but we lost another 1500 square kilometres of land due housing.” He added that his study suggests, there is a huge ecological imbalance especially in north Karnataka. A rare species of fish Shistura Nagodi Ensis is becoming extinct due to lack of water which is a result of lack of forests. The WGTF has requested the government to reduce construction of large scale industries and mining in these areas and pro-
This collaboration of young civilians promises to give a good ﬁght in the forthcoming state elections.
The Daily Observer
November 29, 2012
“We must improve the quality of our forests” Dipak Sarmah
He continues to want more and more, and that includes more land, too. This has led man to encroach areas meant for animals, causing an age-old man-animal conflict. Man-animal conflicts can be caused either by carnivorous animals or by the herbivorous ones. In Karnataka, the carnivores comprise the tigers and leopards, elephants, bears whereas bisons, sambars and black bucks
News in Brief Corruption allegation charges against BDA official Two BDA official got suspended for receiving bribe of 5 lakh.
BDA people are constructing too many malls As BDA constructs more malls, it is adversely affecting the bread and butter of middle-income groups.
NICE Road case The NICE Road case was adjourned for the third day running today.
Conference on Indian Education held in the city A conference on “Indian Higher Education in the 21st centuryFive decades ahead, challenges and prospects” It was held in Kristu Jayanti College in association with IQAC. Professor HA Ranganath, director of NAAC, was the chief guest.
Kannada films are making losses The majority of Kannada movies this year did not fare well at the box office because they failed to attract audience of the state.
In search of food, elephants often stumble into human habitats contribute to the herbivorous variety of the state. Karnataka has not seen a lot of conflict caused by tigers. Tigers come out only when injured, and they are concentrated only in the Nagarhole area. But leopards form a formidable threat to the people living around their habitats. Leopards generally prefer areas that are rocky and have low vegetation, and mainly feed on hares and dogs. The leopards can cross over to human habitats that overlap such rocky terrains in search of food. A provoked leopard can kill humans, and they generally tar-
get old and frail people. It was only three days ago that that three people were killed by leopards in Hassan district. Sometimes, leopards just fall into wells or are caught in snares set up by other animals. In case of herbivores animals, there is not a lot of threat to human lives, but they do cause a lot of damage to crops and property. Herbivores like bisons are found in the moist, deciduous forests of North Karnataka, Kudremukh and Mangalore. Black bucks are found in Koppala and they come out on agricultural lands to nibble on the
Political parties create ethnic strife allege Catholic priests By Hansa V A group’s claim that there are no Kannada language masses in Bangalore are “baseless and rubbish” according to a college principal and priest. Members of the Akhila Karnataka Catholic Christira Sangha claim that there are no Kannada masses or seminaries in Bangalore. In retaliation to this statement, Father Sudeep, a Kannadiga Priest, journalist and Vice Principal, SFS College, said: “All the claims are false. Everywhere there are Kannada masses happening. I think that what these people are doing is baseless and rubbish. “ When asked why they are doing this despite the fact that there are prime time Kannada masses, he said: “The position of Bishop of Shimoga is vacant now. “And there is discussion going on as to who would take up this post. And the way these people are protesting, it is clear that they are eyeing for the post.” Regarding seminaries, he said that there are 49 seminaries and formation houses in Bangalore and that there is nothing like Kannada or Tamil or Malayalam Seminary. He said that all seminaries have English as the main medium of instruction and the priests automatically learn the other mediums depending on where they give the masses. Father Hridayaraj, Assistant Parish Priest, St. Mary’s Bassilica, Shivaji Nagar, said: “These groups are just a bunch of people who are politically bribed. They are asked to perform such tactics to gain media attention. They have no other work to do. “These people do not even know what they are stating if they
“These groups are just a bunch of people who are (politically) bribed. Why, I give the prime time Kannada mass on Saturdays and Sundays.” actually claim that there are no Kannada masses. “Why, I myself give the prime time Kannada mass on Saturdays and Sundays. “And if the question here is whether there are Kannada masses only where the population of Kannadigas is majority, then the answer is a big no. “In my church, there are only about five families, who are in need of Kannada masses. And we give it to them without showing any bias or partiality.” Earlier, the Akhila Karnataka Catholic Christira Sangha held a press conference to protest to include Kannada masses and exclude other vernacular language based mass within Bangalore. In their press conference, they stated that there are almost no Kannada masses taking place in any of the Churches in Bangalore. Trying to create tension between Kannadigas and non-Kannadigas in the name of religion is the most dangerous situation that may be faced by the state. They also said that there are no ‘Kannada’ seminaries in Bangalore and that only Konkani or Malayalam or Tamil dominated seminaries can be found in and around Bangalore, which is a shame, according to them.
new leaves of plants. Bears also are known to attack humans when surprised or scared, and their slap can make the skin of the victim come off his face. Such attacks are common in Gulbarga, and there was an incident yesterday where a man in Tumkur was attacked by a bear. The most severe kind of mananimal conflict is in Karnataka. This state is home to a large population of pachyderms. There are around 5000-6000 elephants in the state and 90% of them are concentrated in Chamrajnagar, Myore, Coorg and Chikmanglur. Elephants travel more over 300 km everyday, and stumble upon human habitats often. They can cause great damage to crops, property and human lives.
“The severe kind of man-animal conflict is in Karnataka. This state is home to a large population of pachyderms.” In retaliation, farmers protect their agricultural lands with elec-
tric fences which result in elephants dying of electrocution. Nearly 30-40 elephants die every year when they come in contact with live wires. To prevent these animals from wandering away from their areas, elephant-proof trenches and battery-operated solar fences are constructed around the forests they inhabit. The most important steps needed to decrease such conflicts are stopping human encroachment on animal habitats, and improving the quality of our forests. The recent surge in man-elephant conflicts in the state can be attributed to the flowering of bamboo trees in the forests. Bamboo trees flower once in 5-6 years, and after that, the trees die. Since all the trees died this year, elephants are wandering out of their forests in search of food. We have to ensure that foods for these animals do not get depleted in the forests, and they find a balanced ecosystem in their habitats.If humans have enough intelligence to run a democracy, they can conserve wildlife too.
Child labour continues to plague Indian industry
UNBRIDLED human greed is the main reason for man-animal conflict in the world today. When God created the world, he gave different abilities to different animals, but man had a unique gift – his brain. He used his intelligence to increase his life-span and his life is primarily governed by his needs and greed.
In view of the recent elephant deaths in the state due to mananimal conflict Mr. Dipak Sarmah Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wild Life) & Chief Wildlife Warden, Karnataka gives his view.
Child labour is a rising concern for the non-governmental organization and the government equally By Amrita Ray AN event called Bachpan Bachao Andolan was held by the organization called “Youth for Child Rights”. This event took place on November 29 2012 at Senate Hall near Central College. Bachpan Bachao Andolan is a pioneering “save the childhood movement” in India working against chilld labour. This has been in existence for the past 30 years. This event was conducted to launch various competitions for the youth of Bangalore. The competitions were primarily aimed at bringing youth awareness and positive action from the youth on proposed amendment on Child Labour Prrohibition Regulation Act-1987. Child Labour Free India is a national level campaign by BBA along with the youth want to see children below the age of 14 years in school and away from child labour. One of the main reason behind this organization’s inception was the realization that child labour has become a part and parcel of the Indian mind set. Although there has been a change in the law and provisions have been made in the Constitut-
tion, people are yet to change their mindset. According to H.R. Umesh Aradhya, “There should be a change in the attitude and way of thinking towards using children for work.” “There has been a change in attitude in the youth of the country. They have a burning desire to bring change in the society and make a difference in the system.” They should be aware about Indian laws on prohibition of child labour in the hotels, construction works, factories, manufacturing units, shops and workshop. Mr. Aradhya added, “There are a number of ways youth can be a part of the change. They can encourage quality education and equal opportunity among children.” According to Child Rights Trust, child labour is on the rise chiefly because it is cheap and children are a vulnerable target. “They could identify a child who is a drop-out and is engaged in menial activity and report the outlet to the police.” Youth of India can make a significant contribution by volunterring and organizng Child Labour Free India campaigns in their city, town or villages.
November 29, 2012
The Daily Observer
CM: State will remain the organic capital of Asia
CM, Jagdish Shettar inaugurating the organic trade fair He has been doing organic farming since three years. “We have a lot of expectations from this fair. We are not this doing this for marketing, but for the benefit of own health,” he said. Different states specialize in different organic products. Sikkim has specialization in ginger and it has a huge international market including countries like Germany and France. Similarly Haryana’s major organic crops are tomato, carrot and other vegetables. P. Narayana, farmer from Kerala, has been growing crops organically since last three years. He said: “Our government is very supportive. Though the government has a number of schemes for us, but the cost of end product is very high which is why the customers are reluctant to buy the products..”
Chinmaya Hospital gets new ICU By Rohan Premkumar
Photo: Rohan Prem
A new intensive care unit with nine extra beds was inaugurated at the Chinmaya Mission Hospital this morning. The unit cost around 35 lakhs to set up. Deputy Chief Minister, K S Eshwarappa was the chief guest at the inauguration; spoke highly of the hospital, and of Swami Brahmanandaji, Regional Head of the Chinmaya Mission. He said that the mission was doing a lot for society, and pledged his support. The hospital, which already has a 10-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU), as well as a 11-bed step down unit to treat less critical cases, will now increase its patient capacity to up to 30, with the addition of the new ward. An administrator in the hospital, Asvanthnarayan, said that as the hospital was not able to provide assistance to patients, the decision was taken to build a new ICU. According to Dr. M R Chandrasekhar, there is an acute shortage of Critical Care Units (CCUs) in Bangalore.
He said: “In order to give patients timely treatment, we decided to set up this unit.” He also said that the unit was expensive to maintain because of the lack of Critical Care Consultants. “The expectations of Consultants in these units are quite large. “So they require large salaries, and are hence unviable for many hospitals.” “The need for trained nurses and staff was also quite important,” he said. “There is a team of six anaesthesiologists who are trained to treat patients in the new ICU. “Our experienced nurses are also the ones who are primarily in these units,” he said. The Chinmaya Mission hospitals are a group of hospitals run by the Chinmaya Mission Trust. The trust, along with many other socially relevant issues addresses the issue of health care in many parts of the country, including Bangalore. The hospitals offer treatments at a concessional rate as they derive 20% of their funds from their trust.
The new ICU at the Chinmaya Mission hospital
The cost of these organic products is high because of low demand. The Sikkim government is planning to promote organic farming on a large scale. Sudheer Giri, an exhibitor at the trade show from Sikkim, said: “We are planning to convert Sikkim into a 100 percent organic farming state by the end of 2015.” A German delegate, Manfred Gnann, who attended the trade show said: “We are expecting a lot of from. We mainly import sesame and herbs from India.” He added: “It’s good to see exhibitors from different part of India.” Mishri Koti, an organic farmer said: “I have been doing organic farming for the past five years and always get an average amount of profit from it.”
Concessional schemes fail to benefit farmers By Sneha Banerjee ORGANIC farmers in the state face financial issues despite several schemes organized by the state government. Srinivas Reddy, who runs an organic farm in the Kolar district of Karnataka,buys only small amounts of seed from the state government. He buys his machinery from private companies which affect his budget especially when there isn't sufficient production. He also spoke about the complexities of purchasing machinery from government organizations. “You need to have good contacts and tackle the middle- man policy,” he said. When asked about the government schemes he said that he was aware of the schemes but getting access to the money was difficult. Harish G.U., Senior Manager at Jaivik Krishik Society, felt that the farmers are generally unaware of schemes and opportunities. “They tend to pur-
chase chemically treated seeds for better yield and these seeds are heavily coated with mercuric chloride. A certain amount of training and patience is required to practice organic farming,” he said. Karnataka was one of the first states in India to initiate organic farming in 2004. The state is divided into 150 clusters. Around five lakh rupees was invested for the initiative program for every cluster. Mr. Gurudut, Assistant Director of Horticulture, claims that apart from the initiative programs organic farming needs the farmer to practice rainwater harvesting to improve the quality. In Sandur taluk, organic farming is used to produce intermission crops. Private community organisations such as Susapta , which caters only to urban organic farming, is also planning to start training programs for unskilled farmers attempting this mode of farming.
New agro New State Youth Policy to be products to in effect by January 2013 reach the state By Vintu Augustine By Priyanka Roy KODHYAR Agro Products extended its marketing wings to Karnataka after achieving profits in the state of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Goa. At a press conference held today at Press club,they announced the release of their product on agricultural market with DRK Enterprise as their marketing partner. Mrs. Gayathri Parikh, the proprietor of Kodhiyar Agro Products, was present today at the conference to announce her products and the procedure followed for marketing. She said, "We are one of the top agro product manufacturers, who have been maintaining the product quality and also meeting consumer demands." Mrs. Gayathri exclusively mentioned about the agro product, named Sarthak, which helps in three different beneficial ways namely- maintaining pH balance, curing viral diseases and developing. The manufacturer gave a brief on the six products that they manufacture. And they claim they arepurely organic without traces of pesticides and chemical materials. Ms. Parikh added: "Most of the products in the market though claim to be producing pure organic products, fail to attain it ultimately. “ Most of them contain pesticides and harmful chemicals which turns the color of the leaves from green to red.
Photo: Sidharth Shekhar
THE organic agriculture sector is increasing at an average rate of 20 percent per year in India. Biofach India International Organic Trade Fair opened its gates to many farmers from India and all over the world. The chief minister of Karnataka, Jagdish Shettar inaugurated the event held fourth time in Bangalore where 17 Indian states and seven countries participated in Palace Grounds on November 29. Jagdish Shettar said, “I assure that our state remains the organic capital of Asia.” The main problems faced by farmers is the lack of awareness and high cost of production. Another reason that restricts organic farming is the slow growth of organic crops. Many state governments are coming up with new schemes and subsidies to encourage this type of farming. Raj Kumar from the Department of Horticulture, Haryana said: “Government is providing 50 percent of subsidy on horticulture, 90 percent on irrigation and 75 percent subsidies for various other procedures. “They provide us with free seeds but low demand is one of our major issues we face. “
Photo: Urmi Sengupta
By Kriti K & Urmi S
The CM ﬂagging oﬀ the rally after th youth policy was presented THE Karnataka State Youth Policy was presented to the Chief Minister by the Sports Authority of Karnataka. Mr. Jagadish Shettar, the Chief Minister, received and released the youth policy in the presence of Mr. Ranjan Appachu, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports at 12 p.m. today. “The policy will come into effect from January 12, 2013, the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda,” said Mr. Shettar in his address prior to the release at ‘Krishna’, the Chief Minister’s residential office hall. “The state will come out with a special policy within two months for the youth who achieve notable recognitions in sports,” said Mr. Appachu. The Policy was prepared by combined effort of the Department of Youth Services and Sports and Karnataka Jnana Aayoga, which took over 10 months. . The steering committee was chaired by Mr. Girish Patel, the
Vice Chairman, Sports Authority of Karnataka and the drafting committee was headed by Dr. Sandeep Shastri, Pro Vice Chancellor, Jain University. A unique feature of the policy is that it involved the youth and general public in its preparation especially at the initial stage. It was led by an evidence based approach, which received responses from across the state via consultation meetings, website and social media. The policy focuses on young people in the age group of 16 – 30 years and all sections of youth ensuring inclusiveness. The Youth Policy document presents nine policy rubrics – “Navaratnas”. They include the honing of today for a better tomorrow, primacy of family, harnessing youth potential, opportunities for employment, access to health care, expanding sports, promoting social justice, partnership for progress and all round development of the state.
The Daily Observer
I was ashamed, because I did not do anything for her By Reshma Tarwani
LULU Rasheed was my room mate in Pune. She had been living in Abu Dhabi all her life. She was from a highly orthodox Muslim family .The day she entered the hostel she was wearing a long sleeved black colored top and a scarf that covered her entire head. The only thing visible was her face. I can still remember her round and chubby face with a cute smile. She introduced herself. I was a little surprised to see her, maybe I didn’t expect someone like her would be my room mate for the next three years. My expression was wavy. I summed up my imaginary thoughts and said hello, and we started with our general introductions. Lulu belongs to a family with a highly intellectual background ,
Lulu Rasheed, (Photographer, Writer, Freelancer and Singer)
her father is a managing director in a bank in Dubai, her mother is a professor in college, she has two siblings and she is the eldest, the responsible one, according to her parents. Apart from this very formal introduction, Lulu has lot to portray. For her, Facebook is the world. Whenever I saw her, I always saw her with Facebook, doing nothing else, just to sit in place and chat but whenever she was online she always seemed very engrossed with someone. I was curious to know to whom she would talk to; she did not want to mingle with anyone. I didn’t take any interest in her life because to my mind she was a little rebellious in her thoughts and stubborn. However I never noticed the restrictions were imposed on her by her community and were not self imposed, where girls are always forced to be in bhurkha (cover) though she was from Dubai, from a scholarly family background. She had to follow those traditional norms. Within a year in Pune, Lulu started changing herself and this was very natural for everyone. She started adopting the girlish looks, like applying nail polish and lipstick and every now and then she was eager to see herself in the mirror. The looking glass became the new Facebook for her. The time passed and suddenly one day she told me she did not like her bhurka. “I don’t like this scarf, it’s very hot and I feel very stuffy in it. I don’t want to cover my hair, I want a new hairstyle.” She kept talking about being rid of the scarf (bhurkha) My expression was blank, there was no thought in my mind at that time and I was reluctant to air my views in front of her. To this day I don’t have an answer. Why did I do that? Because everyone has his or her perception on life, I thought to myself that if she wanted to change her life, then why should I be distressed? She was trying to be flexible towards her very rigid traditional norms. She had made me think
what would happen once she is back in her own country? Would it be possible for her to carry this thing through for her entire life? My mind was occupied with the questions but there were no answers. That day she went to the college without her bhurkha. My teachers and friends gave her compliments that she was looking beautiful, she was so happy that day, in her own little world. The next day was a very special day for her, it was her birthday. She had been getting ready for this day for a week, buying her favorite colors of nail paint and new clothes too. On her birthday, our rector called Lulu to his office and told her that somebody was waiting for her in the waiting room. Lulu was a little surprised because she did not expect anyone on her birthday, and when she went downstairs, I heard three synchronized shouts of “SURPRISE!”. I got scared and Lulu was shattered. I can still recall her face, full of agony, when she saw her parents had come to visit her on her birthday. Suddenly her mom started screaming when she saw there was no bhurkha. She then started asking questions about the nail polish that she was wearing. Her mom told her that nail polish was “haram,” a bad thing, and started shouting at her. She said that she was a Muslim girl, and that she should know her limitations. After that she started removing the nail polish and started wearing the bhurka again. She then packed her luggage and discontinued her studies. Her eyes were filled with tears and her face, with emotion. Her dreams vanished in a second. She left the hostel the same day. I remember feeling helpless. Standing there with only one question on my mind - Why does our society have so many boundaries and limitations that sometimes you can’t even breathe?
November 26, 2012
A destitute boy; a source of inspiration By Vintu Augustine AN adult at 19, but with a young boy’s face and scrawny physique, he sounded bitter, repulsed and rejected when speaking about his dad and stepmother. Nagesh Gowda, from Nagadevanahalli near Kengeri, Bangalore, left his dad and stepmother when he was just 16 years old. He wishes his mum was still here, his dad loathes him and his new step-mum doesn’t want him in the family home. He has no memories of his mother, who died when he was still a baby. He earned his living and study expenses on his own from the age of 16. At present, he is doing BBM studies at a college under Bangalore University. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he said, “My mother expired when I was just one year old and I cannot remember to have seen her. “I am sure that she should have loved me if she were alive and could not have let me struggle this way,” added the only son of his mother who breathed her last years back. He doesn’t like to go home because his father hates him and his step-mother does not want him to be with them. “She never cared for me, seldom gave me food and opened her mouth only to yell at and abuse me. If I reached home late on a particular night, let’s say, after 8 p.m, she never used to open the door for me. I have slept in the courtyard a number of times:” said Nagesh. He earns his living and study expenses by working with the ‘Hero Honda’ company for the past two years. His job is to transport new bikes from Banshankari showroom to Kengeri. He brings two or three bikes a day, starting duty from 3 p.m. Of late, Nagesh is planning to quit his job with the bike company and take up a new job with a callcentre at Hebbal where he would be paid a better salary of Rs. 6,500.
Nagesh Gowda works at the Hero Honda showroom. “I am struggling to make both ends meet with the minimal Rs. 3,500 that ‘Hero Honda’ pays me,” said the boy full of grief over what he had to do to pay his recent university semester fee of Rs. 5,000. He sold his portable computer. “It was a lovely piece of notebook version from the dell, for which I had paid Rs. 16,000 six months back. I was left with no other option but sell it for a meager Rs. 5,000,” he added. The accustomed story related to children abandoned or uncared by their parents is that they end up on the streets and become addicts and criminals. His inspiration was his friend. Nagesh said, “My good childhood friend was always a source of inspiration for me, who went ahead by a year after class ten, when I had a lapse. He is an engineer today, who motivated me to never drop out of studies.” “I might quit jobs but not studies,” he added. He is pretty clear about his goal of acquiring an MBA degree and going overseas to earn a good job and establish himself. Nagesh stands as an exemplary model to many children who run away from home on account of the parents’ pressure to study or live a right life. His undying example toward an upright life at the cost of a family that denied him further education should serve a beacon of challenge to easy-goers and blame-transferees.
Demand of loans spoil the standard education system By Udita Chaturvedi INDIA has always been known as the land of scholars and eminent discoveries ever since the ancient times. For example, the discovery of zero, fundamental element of mathematics, is a brainwave of an Indian named Aryabhatta. Similar inventions and discoveries, in the fields of mathematics, science and other applied sciences, can be attributed to Indians. With the advancement of educational standards all across the globe, a bridge is being formed among the Indian education systems which still rely on theoretical expertise. While the western education systems which strive for expertise in the practical knowledge. No education system in the world is perfect but in today’s scientifically and technologically advanced world, practical experience has become more of
a necessity than a requirement. Although the level of expertise on the practical field is not that strong, India can still boast about having one of the most efficient primary education systems in the world. Somehow India fails to replicate this level of efficiency in the secondary and senior secondary levels of the educational hierarchy. This brings us to the crisis that a common Indian student faces after the completion of his primary education. There is large space to bridge in the current primary and secondary systems of education. The problem lies in the fact that the infrastructure the student is going to get to work within the west, although enviable, comes at a huge price, which is often unaffordable to a common Indian student. To fulfill his dream of having a better future, the student is forced to borrow funds from
sources, the most common one being banks. The banks have different types of loan schemes to fund students who wish to pursue their educational dreams abroad, the most common one being educational loans. An educational loan is a system by which student loans a certain amount of money on a certain interest rate and then repays off the loan on an EMI basis from his earnings. This eases the burden on the parents to clear off loans to banks from their own pockets. The good side of the educational loan seen; there exists a flipside as well. Students feel tremendous pressure right from the start of their academic pursuits abroad and often end up losing out on grades and lucrative job offers due to incapability of handling pressures. Mr. Vijay Kumar, branch manager of a private bank known for
educational loans, said: “There are a lot of applications we receive for overseas education funding but we process and grant loans only to those who we think can repay our loans and can handle the pressures of a loan.” Banks in today’s world charge interests at an alarming rate. Mr. Sanjiv, employee of the loan division of a private bank, said: “Interest rates are very nominal and working abroad after studying there makes it even easier for the students to clear their loans.” He added: “There have been very less cases of defaulters of educational loans.” Sai Srinivas, a student who returned after pursuing a degree in abroad, said: “It was easy for me to obtain an educational loan and I am well on the verge of paying it off.” Not everyone has a happy ending to the loan saga. Another student, Vamsidhar Reddy, who is working abroad
said: “I had a tough time acquiring a loan for my studies.” He added: “Finally when I did manage to get one, it was at a very high interest rate.” This is the actual picture of many students, who desperately want to study abroad and fulfill their dreams. Students fall into the traps of the banks providing loans at a high rate of interest. A financial advisor to a private company, Mr. Gopala Krishna Penumarti, said: “One solution to this menace would be regularizing the rate of interest at which banks offer educational loans.” It needs to be seen in the near future if the banks sympathize with the plight of Indian students abroad and regularize interest rates or would a common Indian student who wishes to realize his academic dream abroad, perish in the race to repay the loan. Or else, we need a better education system.
November 29, 2012
The Daily Observer
In Conversation With...
Spreading smiles, mile after mile
How has the journey been so far? SK: We started off in 2006 with the mobile hospital and called it ‘Smile on Wheels’ (SOW). Today, we have about 22 vans running across 13 states of the country. I am extremely pleased with the progress of the project. What was it like planning and executing the SOW in Bangalore? SK: The journey for the SOW in Bangalore has been very smooth. There have been no hur-
How do you cater to different requirements with the same bus? SK: For starters, we have two types of buses. One is the small bus which has basic facilities and one is the big Volvo bus which caters to a larger number of patients and is better equipped. What are the facilities available in the big bus? SK: We have an ECG machine, x ray machine and a mini pathological lab. This caters to most of the rural population in many places and the ECG facility is very helpful. As you said, the rural population is unwilling to spend on health care, so how do you encourage them and what fees to you levy for the consultation? SK: We charge as less as Rs. 5 for each consultation and we also run visuals of how the people might be affected if they don’t get
SOW being launched in Bangalore, after a nation-wide success. themselves periodically checked. So, the problems of finances and awareness are solved in a single trip. So how is the SOW different from a normal ambulance? SK: Unlike the ambulance which is used to transport the unhealthy, the SOW not only transports patients, if required, but also treats them. The SOW frequently visits the same areas and monitors the progress of the treatment of the patients in that area. What is the role of LIC and
The convener at the children’s parliament in the Vidhana Soudha NAGASIMHA G. Rao, Director, Karnataka Child Rights Trust discussed the health and hygiene issues of the children of rural Bangalore with our reporter Debanti Roy. How was the child’s parliament made to work this time? RAO: This time we divided the groups into four zones- Gulbarga division, Bidar division, Mysore division and Bangalore division. So, according to their divisions they raised their questions because different zones have different issues. 60 children participated from Karnataka . What were the major issues that came up in this parliament? RAO: Different zones had different issues but the major issue was education. Bangalore division children raised the issue of garbage, corporal punishment and the availability of bus services for children. Did Children talk about child grama sabha? RAO: Yes, in 2006 the Karnataka government sent a circular that every panchayat must conduct a special grama sabha for Children, but only in few panchayats it happens. So, children raised this issue and demanded these grama sabhas to be conducted in every village. What Issues were raised by the tribal children? RAO: The tribal children asked why the government schools are
Photo: Debanti Roy
Children Parliament no longer a pipeline dream for kids
getting shut in their villages and also asked for bus transport. There are kids who are eager to learn but the poor transport facilities in their villages stop them. What about HIV/AIDS issues? RAO: The children demanded for pension for the HIV/AIDS affected patients. As there is pension for the handicappers, similarly the children demanded for special pension for them. The chief minister assured that he will look into this matter. What were the issues about anganwadies this year? RAO: The problems with anganwadies come up every year but we do not have a solution. The anganwadies are there in villages but are not opening. In some villages two anganwadies are made – one for SC/ST and other for the rest. So, children raised this issue of discrimination. Representatives from boys and girls juvenile home were also present in the parliament, so what issues did they put forward? RAO: We only got two representatives from boys home Karnataka. The authorities of girls home did not allow the girls to come to the parliament. The boys said that the condition of the home is really pathetic. The boys complained that they are made to get up early at 4am and are forced to take bath in cold water. They said that they are given very less food. One of them com-
plained that a single soap is divided into 12 pieces and they have to use one piece for a month. I recently visited the girl’s juvenile home and the girls complained that they are beaten up and are made to clean the home. This is a serious issue, did the boys complained of any such thing? RAO: The boys were restricted in raising certain issues. So, they did not put any such issue forward. This is a serious issue, so what steps do you think the government will take to protect these children in homes? RAO: Chief Minister took notice of this issue and said that he will definitely take some steps regarding this matter. The children were very stubborn and said that they will write to the chief minister and press him to take some action. This was the second time in Karnataka the children’s parliament was held. So, what difference did you notice between these two sessions? RAO: Last year was the first time. So, whatever flaws we had last time, we rectified it this time. The quality of questions was much improved. The quality of children this time was good too. We showed the children last year’s video clipping, so this time they learnt from it and were confident and sure of their questions. So, there are so many assurances made by the government, what possibilities you think are there for these promises to get accomplished? RAO: This is not a one day process, we have to keep pressing the government to take actions. Children will keep writing to the chief minister. As activists we have to bring forward these issues so that proper steps are taken sooner.
the Karuna Trust? SK: LIC donated the van which is operational in Bangalore, while Karuna Trust makes people aware of the project even before the SOW reaches that place, so the awareness campaign becomes lot easier for us later when the SOW actually goes there. Have you set any particular targets in terms of number of patients per day? SK: Yes. We expect to cover around 150 patients on a daily basis here in Bangalore. As you know, health issues
in different places are different. Do you modify your SOW to cater to the different healthcare requirements of different regions? SK: The broad outline of the SOW is the same. But yes, we make minor modifications depending on the place we are going to. We conduct prior research about the healthcare scenario of the place and make the necessary changes. Do you provide immunization programs for children through the SOW? SK: Yes of course. Immunization is an important part of a child’s healthcare. So we make it a point not to miss out on any potential immunization deficient child and we immunize them. You are up for a very noble cause. Do you wish to tell the people in the rural areas anything? SK: I would just like to say that we are all making efforts to provide you with a better lifestyle and I would like each one of you to avail our services.
No Vedic maths in schools; thorn in CAT candidate’s side By Sneha Banerjee THE absence of Vedic maths in schools has a long term effect on students attempting competitive exams post graduation. The number of candidates appearing for the Common Admission Tests (CAT) in 2012 has decreased by 30% as compared to the previous years. This has triggered several concerns regarding the test pattern and academic structure in Indian schools. Vedic Math is used to tackle difficult math calculations. It improves timeliness and is used in cracking competitive exams. It's origin can be traced back to the early 20th century. The question of incorporating it in the Indian school syllabus still remains inconclusive. Senior mathematics lecturer from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Dr.Sadhana Srivastava, feels that the concept of Vedic mathematics is basically to enhance the capability of the students to solve tricky math concepts easily. She said: “Vedic mathematics is a good concept but picking it up at a younger stage is very difficult.” Anup Vishwanathan, a graduate from Indian Institute of Management (IIM) said two years of rigorous practice had helped him gain speed and accuracy that in turn helped him excel in the exams. Talking about the fall in applicants in CAT, the enrolment team at Career Launcher feels that among various other reasons, the rise in the difficulty level of the aptitude section has worried some aspiring graduates. Career Launcher feels that the increase in the difficulty level of management tests will slowly discourage students from at-
tempting it altogether. An increase in salaries at graduate level, executive courses and an increase in course fees are some of the other reasons for the dip in numbers . Though their team feels that their one year training is sufficient to help students crack the tests, academicians are not so sure. Ms. Clement Verghese, a high school math teacher at Good Shepherd Convent, said that learning Vedic mathematics within a period as short as a year is very difficult. Ms. Verghese added that keeping the basic concepts of Vedic mathematics in school timetables would help the students in the long run. She also told The Observer that Vedic math was earlier introduced in syllabus but students found it difficult to score in the subject and hence it was removed. Ms. Verghese said: “Vedic math has more to do with speed and accuracy whereas high school math is more application based.” “ Students need to understand how a problem is solved and then develop their speed,” she added.
Caricature: Debanti Roy
What inspired you and what made you come up with the idea of a mobile hospital? SK: The unawareness and the unwillingness of the poor class of society to invest in health care for their own benefit. We thought if they don’t want to come to health care why not we take health care at their doorstep.
dles so far and the success of the project in the city can be attributed to our efficient partners like LIC and Karuna Trust.
Photo: Smile Foundation
MRS. Smitha Kalappa, National Director of Smile Foundation, talks about their latest concept of mobile hospitals, in Karnataka. Our reporter, Nupur Gour, finds out more about the facilities and programmes.
Vedic math though originated in India has lost its sheen in it birth place.
The Daily Observer
November 29, 2012
The United Nations listed eight Millennium Development Goals during a summit in 2000. All United Nations member states agreed to achieve these goals by 2015.
Literacy improves in Ron taluk
Some of these goals were: Achieving primary education; Reducing child mortality rate; Improving maternal health; Ensuring environmental sustainability. Our reporters visited diﬀerent taluks of Karnataka to assess the development towards these goals. Here we share some of the stories from the taluks.
Villagers prefer fields over toilets for defecating By Kakoli Mukherjee ONE of the targets under the seventh Millennium Development Goal is to halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. So far, only 60% of the population under Kudligi town limits has access to closed toilets. Town Panchayat Officer of Kudligi, M George Charles, said: “Out of 5,340 households in Kudligi town, only 3,000 have individual toilets.” In Amaradevaragudda, under Kudligi town limits, villagers said most of the houses do not have toilets and people defecate in the open. Though the Total Sanitation Campaign was launched in the town in 2007, and the deadline to provide proper sanitation to all was within 2008, the project still lingers on. Figures state that nearly half of India defecates in the open but
at the same time more than 63 per cent have access to either a landline or a mobile phone, state Household Amenities Census 2011. The United Nation's Millennium Development Goals Report 2012 points that 626 million people in the country - the highest in the world - practice open defecation. M. Charles said: “Lack of space was one of the reasons we are not able to build the toilets.” He added: “If toilets are built a bit far from their houses, the people are unwilling to use them.” He admitted the government had built a few of the toilets without much groundwork, rendering them useless due to lack of water and other facilities. M Charles said: “Villagers do not prefer closed rooms to answer nature’s call.” Some of the villagers that were spoken to said similar things about being more comfortable defecating in the open fields rather than using toilets.
The Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal primary education is making steady progress in Ron Taluk, Karnataka. The literacy rate of the taluk, ten years back, was 63.9 percent and today it has increased by 12 percent taking the tally to 75 percent, according to the Taluk office. Every village has one primary school or even more, most of the children are enrolled into schools. “Almost all the children from the village are enrolled in the school and irrespective of boys or girls, they come regularly to the school,” said Mr. Parshurama Gowda, a teacher at Sudi Government middle school. Academic staff say that they hardly find any children roaming around aimlessly or working in the fields these days and both boys and girls are equally enrolled in and attend school. “There are fifteen engineers already from this village with a population of about 6000 people and a good number are in the government service,” said another teacher Mr. Parameshwar Gowda. The brighter side of Ron Taluk gives a wider picture of most of the villages having very high literacy rate, there are also villages struggling with very minimal literacy rate. While Hirehal, a village 12 kms from the taluk headquarters,
Photo: Udita Chaturvedi
By Vintu Augustine
A good number of students are enrolled in schools in Ron taluk. records an 80 percent literacy rate, Bairampur, a more remote village with no access to roads, records only a 10% literacy rate. “We have one primary school in our village, but teachers hardly come to school. After primary education, most of the children drop out as the school is twenty five kilo metres away,” said Kanakeshwar, a first year student from Bairampur, studying at Gajendragad. Ron Taluk has a total of 159 primary schools spread over its 96 villages with 1,407 teachers and a total of 4448 children to have taken admission in primary schools for the last academic year, according to taluk records. The government has sanctioned 150 midday meal centres at the primary level in Ron Taluk so far. and has educated 4498 people under the Project for Eradication of Residual Illiteracy.
Six children per family is not too much in Siriguppa WHY family planning is still one of the eight UN millennium goals is not a mystery. When one goes to villages like Siruguppa in northern Karnataka, it is not unusual to find families with 5 children and more. We are living in 2012 – a generation which encourages family planning and free access to contraceptives. But even with this practice, if one is to see a village lacking family planning, it’s time to take matters in hand. Family Planning is not just about having no more than two children; it is also about being able to afford to bring them up in a proper environment, to reduc child mortality and improving maternal health. It is about eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. It is also about achieving universal primary education and promoting gender equality. It is about much more as each factor is interconnected. Family Planning plays a role not just in domestic issues but in national economy as well. Especially in a small town like Siruguppa, where famly planning is a major issue, the affects are more evident. Most of the women in this town have three or more children, some even have up to six. Quite a few of them don’t even have enough money to send their children to schools. They’d rather have them earn money instead of sending them to government schools. Mrs. Rajiyabi, a local shop owner in Siruguppa, has two girls
Families with ﬁve or more children, is a common thing in Siriguppa. and four boys. Two of these boys are working in a garage and make Rs. 500-600 a week. and the other two are in college and school. Her husband abandoned her some 12 years ago and since then, she’s been taking care of her family alone by running a shop that earns her Rs. 100-200 a day. The girls don’t study because she needs them to take care of the house while she is away stock ing up for the shop. She said: “Sometimes we run out of money for food for 7 members.” Like her, there are many more families, where no family planning has resulted in a difficult task to earn a square meal. But slowly this issue is being tackled according to the Sayed Chand Pasha, Child Development Project Officer in Child & Women Welfare Department in Siruguppa. He says illiteracy is the major reason behind lack of family planning. He said: “The government is trying its best. The educated fam-
Photo: Udita Chaturvedi
By Kriti Khandelwal
ilies here have one or two kids but the families that fall Below the Poverty Line (BPL)or those that belong to the labour class, have more kids because there is no way they can learn about family planning.” Mr. Sayed said: “The health department supply condoms but the people don’t know how to use them or what their benefits are. So the main problem is awareness here. If we collect people and tell them, it won’t help. We will have to go from house to house and ask how many kids they have, how they’ll take care of their kids and ask why they want so many kids.” Quite a few families consider vasectomy and tubectomy to be against their religion. Mr. Sayed said: “Most people blame destiny for the number of children they have. Even among Muslims, they consider family planning a sin.” Most of the women in taluk are not aware of the ill-effects of more number of children on heir health. They do not even consider that there should be a con-
siderable age gap between two children. The younger women of Ron, seem a little more aware about the importance of family planning. A local, Nija, said: “There was no family planning till a few years back but the newer generation knows about it.” Her sister got married three years ago. She plans to have her first child now and has no intention of producing more than two children. Mr. B Nagendra, Medical Store Clerk in Siruguppa, said: “The government does a lot to spread awareness through education in hospitals and roadshows. Therefore post 2007, more and more families have been planning ahead.” K. Lakshmi, Supervisor of Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) in Child & Women Welfare Department threw some light on the Bhagya Lakshmi Bond Scheme. In this scheme, families who have a girl child, gets one lakh rupees. This scheme is for all the families who have one or two daughters. It doesn’t apply to families with more than two girls. Also this scheme is only for BPL families. After a woman gives birth to two kids, the doctors urge the mother for sterilization so that the population stays under control and no more children are born in the same family. This scheme started in 2006. If the government tries to work towards these issues, as it is doing now, then family planning will soon become a tradition in this town – a healthy tradition.
There are not many NGOs working in the taluk towards the realization of this millennium goal except for a primary school named ‘Vincentian Academy’. The reason for the high rate of primary education in taluk is the educational awareness among the parents. The availability of a primary school in every village with a population of over 3000 helps the parents to realize their dream of educating children. Dr. Mallikarjun Kumbar, a professor at Bhoomareddy Degree College, Gajendragad, said: “Parents are well aware today of the need to educate their children. They send them to school s at the cost of many struggles and sacrifices. The literacy rate among children and the target of achieving 100 percent primary education have been accomplished to a great extent in Ron taluk of Karnataka.”
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