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Vypam scam: Dummy candidate among two get 3-yr jail for forgery

He said Rajawat’s cover was blown after the concerned invigilator noticed the discrepancy between the photo pasted on the admission card and that of the actual candidate Baria. The duo were subsequently booked by police after the forgery came to light.

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‘It’s been a wonderful ride’: Amitabh Bachchan reaches 18 mn Twitter followers

Mumbai: Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who is the most followed Indian film celebrity on Twitter, has set the bar higher with 18 million followers on the micro-blogging platform. The actor has thanked all his fans, and said he is now aiming for the 20 million mark.

“18 MILLION…Thank you all… It’s been a wonderful ride… now to 20! BAADDDUUUMMMMMBAAAAA,” the thespian tweeted on Friday night.

Image courtesy: Getty images.Image courtesy: Getty images.

Image courtesy: Getty images.

Following close on the heels of the “Deewar” actor is superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who has a following of 16.4 million on the micro-blogging website.

The 73-year-old actor is very active on social media platform to keep his fans and followers updated about his professional and personal life.

On the silver screen, the actor will next be seen in Bejoy Nambiar’s “Wazir”, which also stars actor Farhan Akhtar and Neil Nitin Mukesh.

Additionally, he will also be seen making a cameo with his wife Jaya Bachchan in R. Balki’s “Ki and Ka”, which is set to release next year.

IANS

India’s vaccination program to reach 90% within 3 years: Union Health Minister

The minister said four more vaccines will be added in the ‘Mission Indradhanush’ program.

JP Nadda

Union Health Minister JP Nadda on Monday said that the vaccination program under ‘Mission Indradhanush’ will reach a coverage of almost ninety per cent in next three years.’Mission Indradhanush’, launched by Nadda in 2014, aims to immunise children against seven vaccine preventable diseases. “We came out with an ambitious program called Mission Indradhanush, which also includes (prevention of) Hepatitis B… Every year we used to increase our immunisation program by one per cent. We thought if we go at this speed then we won’t be able to reach the goal till 2050… “In one year time we will be able to cover 5 per cent and within three years we will be reaching from 65 per cent to 90 per cent of coverage,” Nadda said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He was speaking at the Hepatitis B Awareness Drive launched by Health and Family Welfare Ministry in association with UNICEF. “In India, approximately 10 lakh children, on an annual basis, run the lifetime risk of developing chronic Hepatitis infections, leading to life-threatening issues including liver cancer, liver failure and a possibility of premature death”, he said. The minister said four more vaccines will be added in the ‘Mission Indradhanush’ program.”Next month we are going to review and learn from some of our mistakes. Next year we will relaunch this and add four more vaccines… I am proud to say this immunisation program is world’s largest public health program,” he said. Maharashtra Health Minister Deepak Sawant said the state government will roll out ‘Nucleic Acid Test’ (NAT) program in the next three months. “Maharashtra government is coming out with NAT where every hospital will have a NAT test, even in rural areas. It’ll cover HIV and Hepatitis B and other diseases which are transmitted through blood donation…,” he said.”We’ve been after this for eighth months and it’ll be there in the next three months in every district hospital of Maharashtra, ” Sawant added.UNICEF Celebrity Ambassador and megastar Amitabh Bachchan said he was a Hepatitis B survivor. Nadda thanked the 73-year-old actor for giving the awareness drive a much needed push. “Society needs to be involved for health issues. Amitabh Bachchan’s involvement has pushed the campaign. He spoke about his life and that has given power to the movement,” the minister said.Louis Georges Arsenault, UNICEF India Representative said, “Preventing Hepatitis-B through immunisation at birth and the first year of life is critical for the healthy life of a child. “If we could achieve the extraordinary feat of defeating polio, we can surely join hands and prevent this life threatening disease through timely immunisation,” Arsenualt added

Intolerance is not acceptable: Mamata Banerjee

“Tolerance is life. Intolerance is not acceptable. Every religion has spoken about tolerance. It is also written in the Vedas,” Banerjee said.

Supporting Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan’s views on intolerance, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee today said India’s culture gives the lesson of unity in diversity irrespective of caste, creed and religion. “Today Amitabhji has spoken on the issue of intolernace. Everyone has spoken on this. Unity in diversity, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, is our strength. “Tolerance is life. Intolerance is not acceptable. Every religion has spoken about tolerance. It is also written in the Vedas,” Banerjee said at the 21st edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival here at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amitabh Bachchan, while inaugurating the film festival, today recalled the contribution of Indian cinema in fostering social unity, communal amity and love at a time when “cultures are being questioned and prejudices against communities are dividing the world”.

Amitabh Bachchan speaks up on ‘growing intolerance’, says Indian films taught to banish communal prejudices

“The Indian cinema from its beginning has taught us the lessons of finding love, justice and social unity. And most importantly the banishment of communal prejudices and hatred,” Bachchan said.

Amitabh Bachchan on Saturday recalled the contribution of Indian cinema in fostering social unity, communal amity and love at a time when “cultures are being questioned and prejudices against communities are dividing the world”. “The Indian cinema from its beginning has taught us the lessons of finding love, justice and social unity. And most importantly the banishment of communal prejudices and hatred,” Bachchan said during his inaugural speech at the 21st Kolkata International Film Festival. “It is essential to recall the lessons of equality and cultural diversity taught by Rabindranath Tagore at a time when cultures are being questioned and prejudices against communities are dividing the world.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 73-year-old star said that Bengal’s strength always has been its intellectual integrity and open-mindedness that both writers and filmmakers have highlighted on the screen. “These age-old values are once again being highlighted in Indian cinema. These values constantly emphasise deep belief in equality and social justice,” the actor said. Quoting from Tagore’s poetry, Bachchan said the Bard’s lines should be remembered for “signifying Mother India’s unconditional love for all children and are relevant in holding together India’s diversity and the spirit of equality.” Bachchan’s comments come amid the ongoing debate on intolerance in the country which has led to several writers, filmmakers and eminent personalities returning their awards.The actor said he feels truly blessed to be born in a country which has always believed in cultural diversity and pluralism. While lauding the contributions of Bengali cinema and its various stalwarts, he said their movies uphold tolerance of diversities. “Cinema with Bengali background have always put up pan India character based on our time-tested values, the source of our core strength as a society and our tolerance of diversities. That is essential for a common mosaic of various ethnic communities and sects.”

#GiveItUp: Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan gives up LPG subsidy

As on date, more than 30 lakh people have surrendered their LPG subsidy in response to the appeal made by Modi on March 27, an official statement said here.
File Photo

Heeding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call, superstar Amitabh Bachchan has given up LPG subsidy and will from now on, buy cooking gas at market price. Bachchan is the latest to join the #GiveItUpMovement where users who can afford to pay market price, opt out of scheme to get LPG cylinders at subsidised rates.Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said “such a noble gesture by Shri Bachchan would surely inspire many others to join #GiveItUp, a movement committed to bring smiles to millions of poor households by providing them access to clean fuel (LPG).” As on date, more than 30 lakh people have surrendered their LPG subsidy in response to the appeal made by Modi on March 27, an official statement said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi also promised that the money saved from this effort will be utilised to provide LPG connection to poor households. Assuming that each of these consume an average of 8 cylinders per annum and at the average subsidy rate of Rs 200 per bottle, the saving amounts to about Rs 480 crore.Presently, a household is entitled to receive subsidy to buy up to 12 cylinders of 14.2-kg each every year. Cash advance is transfered into the beneficiary account on first enrollment and another installment is given the moment it is used to buy a LPG refill.LPG subsidy payout from Union Budget in 2014-15 was Rs 40,591 crore as against a dole of Rs 52,231 crore in 2013-14.

Maharashtra ropes in Big B as brand ambassador to protect tigers from extinction

Photos: 1 of 3

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Maharashtra wants Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan to help save tigers

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has written to cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and actor Amitabh Bachchan requesting them to be brand ambassadors for its tiger conservation project, it was announced in Mumbai on Monday.

Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar told reporters that he has written to the two icons last week seeking their involvement in the government’s efforts to save tigers and promote tourism in the tiger sanctuaries.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

When asked about their remuneration as Maharashtra forest department brand ambassadors, Mungantiwar said, “We will not pay them anything. We expect them to be involved without monetary considerations. So far, both have not replied to the state’s request,” he said.

“The forest department alone cannot do everything to protect and conserve the tiger. Public participation is needed to do it and hence we have decided to appoint brand ambassadors to promote the ‘Save Tiger’ campaign,” he said.

He said that Maharashtra state has asked the Union government to allocate a special fund to conserve and protect tigers for Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana, which is the belt in which maximum number of tigers are found.

Maharashtra has five tiger reserves, MP has four tiger reserves, Chhattisgarh has three tiger reserves while Telangana has one tiger reserve.

“Within the periphery of four states, more than 350 tigers have been conserved and hence we have requested financial assistance from the Centre,” Mungantiwar said.

He also added that Vidarbha has potential to become capital of tigers, and hence state has taken initiative of awareness towards conservation of tiger. He said that the number of tigers had increased by 21 during the last four years.

“As per the 2006 census, there were 169 tigers, while in as per the 2014 census, their number has increased to 190 tigers,” he said.

As per the 2014 census, Maharashtra has 190 tigers out of a total 2,226 tigers in the country.

Mungantiwar said that the Maharashtra government is preparing a detailed project report for all five tiger reserves for tourism and tiger conservation.

“Across the world, 29 July is celebrated as Tigers’ Day. Since there is a mourning of seven days after late President APJ Abdul Kalam’s death, the day will be celebrated tomorrow,” Mungantiwar said.

PTI

I&B ministry seeks report from Prasar Bharati on DD Kisan

New Delhi: The information and broadcasting ministry has sought a report from Prasar Bharati on decisions relating to Amitabh Bachchan’s promotional campaign for Doordarshan(DD) Kisan channel to clear the “confusion” over the issue of payments to the superstar.

Amitabh Bachchan. PTIAmitabh Bachchan. PTI

Amitabh Bachchan. PTI

The ministry has written to the Public Broadcaster after reports appeared claiming that Rs 6.31 crore was the price that Doordarshan was paying for the actor’s campaign. However, questions over the matter arose after Bachchan denied having received any payment and declared that he was doing it “pro bono”.

“The ministry wants to know, the process through which the decision was taken and whether due diligence was done,” a senior ministry official said today.

Prasar Bharati sources, when asked about the ministry decision to seek a report, however, said that a report may be sent to the Board of the public broadcaster first which would then take a call on the future course to be adopted.

Sources said that additional secretary in the ministry JS Mathur, who is a member of the Prasar Bharati Board, in an email to CEO Jawhar Sircar raised questions about the processes followed.

Mathur has written that “bypassing the Internal Finance Division (IFD) of Prasar Bharati, the contracted amount of Rs 8 plus crore has been reportedly released to the Ad agency through some procedure without requisite approvals at Prasar Bharati level.”

Mathur emphasised that no contract proposal for publicity of DD Kisan channel with the said advertising firm was discussed or approved at the Prasar Bharati board meeting.

“The matter requires to be seriously looked into immediately and responsibility fixed to ensure that all
matters in Kisan channel and Doordarshan remain absolutely above board,” Mathur said in his email.

Meanwhile, a company spokesperson for Lintas, the advertising agency said that DD Kisan had formally authorised them on 31 March 2015 to negotiate on their behalf with Bachchan’s office.

“This was gone about with utmost transparency amongst all three parties involved. After much negotiation, Mr.Bachchan’s office on 12.05.15, sent communication to Lintas on the fee approval. Post receipt of this communication from Mr. Bachchan’s office, we sent the necessary paperwork to DD Kisan
who then went ahead with the processing and release of the payment to Lintas,” the company said.

Lintas said though the discussions on the fee clause in the contract was concluded, Lintas was up until recently, still negotiating diligently with Mr. Bachchan’s office on a variety of other clauses and terms that were to be for the best interest of DD Kisan.

“However yesterday ( 20.07.15 ) afternoon, we received formal communication from his office, that upon reviewing the work-in-progress contract with his team, Mr. Bachchan had taken a decision on principle that he will not charge any fee on issues involving social causes and those that are in the best interest of the nation and a request to Lintas to treat all conversations and discussions on the contract so far as null and void,” the company said.

Saying that it welcomes the decision to do the work for DD Kisan “pro–bono”, Lintas said that it has initiated the process of refund ( which will be concluded today ) to our client, DD Kisan, for the amount collected for Mr. Bachchan’s celebrity endorsement which was pending payment to him since the contract was still under discussion and not yet signed off.

Responding to questions raised by Mathur in his letter, a senior Prasar Bharati official said that there was a mention regarding the publicity for the channel, though complete details may not have been there.

Asserting that Prasar Bharati too was concerned, the official said the details of the matter would be examined.

Referring to the I&B ministry seeking a report, the official said that while on certain important issues the ministry says it is “autonomous” but applies a different yardstick on other occasions.

Prasar Bharati CEO Jawahar Sircar when asked about the issue yesterday had said that “there was some communication gap”.

He added that DD Kisan did mark Rs 8.6 crore approximately for a professional roll-out campaign by Lintas
that goes on for an year till 2016.

“Amitabh Bachchan was roped in and he did a great job as brand ambassador. I am told that no payment was made to Amitabh Bachchan and the matter was still under negotiation. Now the air is cleared,” Sircar said, when asked about Bachchan’s comments on the matter.

PTI

I&B ministry to probe Rs 6.21 cr payment while Amitabh Bachchan says DD Kisan ad was pro bono

After a furore over the issue, Amitabh Bachchan on Monday denied charging Rs 6.31 crore to promote the Doordarshan Kisan channel, saying he would be doing it pro bono. But the Information and Broadcasting Ministry is now going to look at why the payment was made and the ad agency has said that it has initiated a refund of the amount.

“I wish to state that I have not entered into any contract with Doordarshan on the endorsement of their channel DD Kisan, and neither have I received any money from them. I worked with the advertising agency Lowe Lintas on the campaign for DD Kisan and have not entered into any contract with them either, nor have I received any money from Lintas, as being stated,” he said in a statement.

Amitabh Bacchan. PTIAmitabh Bacchan. PTI

Amitabh Bacchan. PTI

The cine icon, who himself got the farmer tag in 2010 when he bought the land in a Muzzaffarnagar village Kakori, added that his endorsement was was done for free.

“My ‘deliverables’ on this campaign have been executed by me many days ago. I work pro bono on various issues and DD Kisan channel is one of them,” the veteran actor said.

“What money transactions transpired between DD and Lintas, is between them. I shall not be able to shed light on that,” he said.

There were reports that Bachchan was roped in for the campaign at a cost of Rs 6.31 crore, the most expensive endorsement deal ever by the actor.

Even as the actor denied receiving money for the endorsement,  the advertisement agency told The Hindu,that they had been negotiating with the actor for the DD Kisan campaign and had been told that he won’t be charging anything.

So did the actor get cold feet about the endorsement after the outcry over his fee?

According to the Hindu report, the advertising agency had a detailed break up of how the funds would be paid to the actor including the fact that Rs 3.89 crore was to be paid at the time of the confirmation of the endorsement. Lowe Lintas has said that they have now initiated the process of refund to  DD Kisan for the amount collected for Bachchan.

The I&B Ministry, meanwhile, has decided to order a probe into the episode.

“It has come to light that Prasar Bharati did pay a sum of Rs 6.21 crore to Lintas to get promotional work done for DD Kisan. But with Amitabh Bachchan having denied charging anything, it now needs to be probed as to why & how this money was paid,” I&B sources told IANS.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley is learnt to have asked for a thorough inquiry into the matter.

But whether the actor does it for free or not, the question is whether Bachchan is even the right person to be present in the campaign. As Firstpost’s Sandip Roy had pointed out, Bachchan is not what India’s farmers really need.

“It’s not like Mr Bachchan is hosting a daily Big Kisan reality show on it, or anchoring the Help Kisan live interactive show. To think that some jingles about the show from a superstar would have everyone coming back to the channel day after day like sheep ,shows that someone out there really thinks of farmers as utterly naïve and gullible. All channels live and die by the quality of their programming, not their brand ambassadors and why should DD Kisan be any exception?” he noted

As Roy said, it’s not the celebrity ambassador that counts but the usefulness of the channel. If all the channel will beam is dull government propaganda showing smiling farmers with twirling mustaches, it may not matter who’s endorsing it.

With agency inputs

Saving DD Kisan: Farmers need many things but Amitabh Bachchan is not one of them

Mera Bharat mahaan.

In a desi twist on Marie Antoinette’s if they cannot have bread, let them eat cake, ‘our farmers are finding out that if they cannot have fertilizers/seed/help against crushing debt, they can have Amitabh Bachchan.

A source close to Amitabh Bachchan told the media the superstar is “personally very excited and enthusiastic about promoting Kisan”, that is Doordarshan’s new farmers channel, not a jam.

Now we know why. It’s not because Bachchan himself once got himself registered as a farmer ,thanks to a few bighas of prime land he acquired in Muzaffarnagar in UP during the Mulayam Singh government. That in turn allowed him to try to buy agricultural land in Pune as a farmer. In 2007 a Faizabad court clarified he was not a farmer in UP. For “Farmer Bachchan” to now crop up as the brand ambassador for DD Kisan is a rather ironic twist indeed.

PTI image.PTI image.

PTI image.

But this is not about nostalgia for his Old MacDonald days.

Anuradha Raman reports in The Hindu, that Big B is endorsing DD Kisan for a year for Rs 6.31 crore after initially agreeing to Rs 4.02 crore. Lintas India bargained hard for the superstar and this might well be the most expensive endorsement by the actor to date.

At a time when farmer suicide is still a reality, this is a little hard to digest. But it’s unfair to say this is Big Bad Bollywood cashing in on farmer misery either. Bachchan is a star, and as one profile called him the “Lord of Endorsements”. Let’’s give him full credit. Which other star in his seventies is so sought after as a brand? And while he might be a goodwill ambassador for polio eradication, he has no obligation to turn down good money the government is offering for a day’s shoot.

The more pertinent question is why does the government want to spend crores on roping in a Bollywood star for their DD channel. The media reports that before settling on Bachchan’s star power, they toyed with other names – Ajay Devgn and Kajol and Salman Khan, all men and women of the soil.

“We felt the channel required a celebrity and also found that Mr. Bachchan had a strong connect with rural India,” said Ranjan Mukherjee, Additional Director-General of Prasar Bharati. A 6.31 crore connect.

Mr Bachchan’s job is to use his star power to promote the channel. Let’s face it ,garnering eyeballs for a television channel does not exactly have the kind of social impact an exhortation to immunize a child against polio or build a sauchalaya at home can have. That begs the question why spend that kind of money on a celebrity brand ambassador for something as grassroots as DD Kisan? A Bachchan promoting the touristy wonders of Gujarat makes more sense.

The Hindu reports that viewership peaked during the initial buzz around the launch on May 26 by Narendra Modi. A voiceover apprised all assembled about the honourable Prime Minister’s “atoot sraddha” (deep respect) for the kisan and “the sambedanshilta in his hriday” (empathy in his heart) for them. But viewership has declined even though cable and DTH operators must carry it says tThe Hindu. Discovery has more than 10 times the viewership despite sharing the same bandwidth.

And why should that surprise anyone? Who even thought that people would watch a channel day after day merely because a superstar endorsed it? It’s not like Mr Bachchan is hosting a daily Big Kisan reality show on it, or anchoring the Help Kisan live interactive show. To think that some jingles about the show from a superstar would have everyone coming back to the channel day after day like sheep ,shows that someone out there really thinks of farmers as utterly naïve and gullible. All channels live and die by the quality of their programming, not their brand ambassadors and why should DD Kisan be any exception? Anyway,DD Kisan could have no better brand ambassador than Modi himself whose Mann ki baat reaches rural India by radio every week.

DD Kisan promises live weather updates, discussion of ergonomic practices, tips on how to sell crops for higher prices from saffron in Kashmir to spices in Kerala to tea in Assam, a farmer helpline. These programs, worthy as they sound, have to be actually useful for farmers otherwise they will just shrug and change the channel to watch soap operas which are at least entertaining not dull government propaganda showing smiling farmers with twirling mustaches. Farmers have enough troubles on their hand anyway.

In a country where farmer suicide is a political football and a politician says “let farmers die if they must. Those who can afford farming will do it” and then explains he did not mean to be insensitive, it seems unlikely that a DD Kisan will be anything more than another vehicle for publicity peddling shiny happy messages about the kisan as “Bharat ki shaan”. Government channels are not the place to really foster open debate about contentious government programmes like the land acquisition bill for example.

According to the New York Times since 1995 more than 290,000 farmers have killed themselves for various reasons. But politicians are more interested in “debunking” those numbers than addressing the causes of despair. After the farmer suicide in front of television cameras in Delhi, Modi talked about feeling “the pain” and how “collective resolve” was needed to solve this “old, deep-rooted and widespread” problem. 24-hour Kisan is not that solution. And putting an Amitabh Bachchan on top of it like a cherry certainly does not make it one.

Saving DD Kisan: Farmers need many things and Amitabh Bachchan is not one of them

Mera Bharat mahaan.

In a desi twist on Marie Antoinette’s if they cannot have bread, let them eat cake, ‘our farmers are finding out that if they cannot have fertilizers/seed/help against crushing debt, they can have Amitabh Bachchan.

A source close to Amitabh Bachchan told the media the superstar is “personally very excited and enthusiastic about promoting Kisan”, that is Doordarshan’s new farmers channel, not a jam.

Now we know why. It’s not because Bachchan himself once got himself registered as a farmer ,thanks to a few bighas of prime land he acquired in Muzaffarnagar in UP during the Mulayam Singh government. That in turn allowed him to try to buy agricultural land in Pune as a farmer. In 2007 a Faizabad court clarified he was not a farmer in UP. For “Farmer Bachchan” to now crop up as the brand ambassador for DD Kisan is a rather ironic twist indeed.

PTI image.PTI image.

PTI image.

But this is not about nostalgia for his Old MacDonald days.

Anuradha Raman reports in The Hindu, that Big B is endorsing DD Kisan for a year for Rs 6.31 crore after initially agreeing to Rs 4.02 crore. Lintas India bargained hard for the superstar and this might well be the most expensive endorsement by the actor to date.

At a time when farmer suicide is still a reality, this is a little hard to digest. But it’s unfair to say this is Big Bad Bollywood cashing in on farmer misery either. Bachchan is a star, and as one profile called him the “Lord of Endorsements”. Let’’s give him full credit. Which other star in his seventies is so sought after as a brand? And while he might be a goodwill ambassador for polio eradication, he has no obligation to turn down good money the government is offering for a day’s shoot.

The more pertinent question is why does the government want to spend crores on roping in a Bollywood star for their DD channel. The media reports that before settling on Bachchan’s star power, they toyed with other names – Ajay Devgn and Kajol and Salman Khan, all men and women of the soil.

“We felt the channel required a celebrity and also found that Mr. Bachchan had a strong connect with rural India,” said Ranjan Mukherjee, Additional Director-General of Prasar Bharati. A 6.31 crore connect.

Mr Bachchan’s job is to use his star power to promote the channel. Let’s face it ,garnering eyeballs for a television channel does not exactly have the kind of social impact an exhortation to immunize a child against polio or build a sauchalaya at home can have. That begs the question why spend that kind of money on a celebrity brand ambassador for something as grassroots as DD Kisan? A Bachchan promoting the touristy wonders of Gujarat makes more sense.

The Hindu reports that viewership peaked during the initial buzz around the launch on May 26 by Narendra Modi. A voiceover apprised all assembled about the honourable Prime Minister’s “atoot sraddha” (deep respect) for the kisan and “the sambedanshilta in his hriday” (empathy in his heart) for them. But viewership has declined even though cable and DTH operators must carry it says tThe Hindu. Discovery has more than 10 times the viewership despite sharing the same bandwidth.

And why should that surprise anyone? Who even thought that people would watch a channel day after day merely because a superstar endorsed it? It’s not like Mr Bachchan is hosting a daily Big Kisan reality show on it, or anchoring the Help Kisan live interactive show. To think that some jingles about the show from a superstar would have everyone coming back to the channel day after day like sheep ,shows that someone out there really thinks of farmers as utterly naïve and gullible. All channels live and die by the quality of their programming, not their brand ambassadors and why should DD Kisan be any exception? Anyway,DD Kisan could have no better brand ambassador than Modi himself whose Mann ki baat reaches rural India by radio every week.

DD Kisan promises live weather updates, discussion of ergonomic practices, tips on how to sell crops for higher prices from saffron in Kashmir to spices in Kerala to tea in Assam, a farmer helpline. These programs, worthy as they sound, have to be actually useful for farmers otherwise they will just shrug and change the channel to watch soap operas which are at least entertaining not dull government propaganda showing smiling farmers with twirling mustaches. Farmers have enough troubles on their hand anyway.

In a country where farmer suicide is a political football and a politician says “let farmers die if they must. Those who can afford farming will do it” and then explains he did not mean to be insensitive, it seems unlikely that a DD Kisan will be anything more than another vehicle for publicity peddling shiny happy messages about the kisan as “Bharat ki shaan”. Government channels are not the place to really foster open debate about contentious government programmes like the land acquisition bill for example.

According to the New York Times since 1995 more than 290,000 farmers have killed themselves for various reasons. But politicians are more interested in “debunking” those numbers than addressing the causes of despair. After the farmer suicide in front of television cameras in Delhi, Modi talked about feeling “the pain” and how “collective resolve” was needed to solve this “old, deep-rooted and widespread” problem. 24-hour Kisan is not that solution. And putting an Amitabh Bachchan on top of it like a cherry certainly does not make it one.

Nestle’s woes continue, Tamil Nadu to test Maggi for MSG, lead levels

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MSG in Maggi: Case lodged against Nestle; Amitabh, Madhuri might be dragged to court too

Barabanki: A case was lodged on Saturday against Nestle India in a local court here over safety standards of its Maggi product, while actors Amitabh Bachhan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta have also been separately dragged to the court for promoting the ‘two-minute’ noodles brand.

While the case against Nestle India and five others was filed by the UP food regulator Food Safety and Drug Administration (FSDA), a local advocate filed a separate case against the three cine personalities.

“Following FSDA Commissioner P P Singh’s permission to file a case against Nestle India, a case has been filed in the court of ACJM (Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate) here,” Barabanki Food Safety Officer V K Pandey said.

maggiemaggieThe case has been lodged against the company’s Nestle Nagal Kalan Industrial Area unit (Haroli, Una in HP), Delhi-based Nestle India Limited, an Easy Day outlet in Barabanki and the Delhi-based parent firm Easy Day, as also against and their FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) managers, Mohan Gupta and Shabab Alam, Pandey said.

The FSDA had found monosodium glutamate and lead in excess of the prescribed limit in Maggi samples tested by it.

The FSDA had collected the samples from the Easy Day store in Barabanki and had sent the consignment for testing, which showed that the quantum of lead present was 17 times more than the stipulated limit, which is considered hazardous.

The Union Consumer Affairs Ministry has also asked the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India to look into the matter while Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said yesterday that a class action suit can also be initiated in the matter if a complaint is lodged in this regard with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC).

The second case has been lodged by a local advocate in Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) court against the cine stars for promoting Maggi noodles, saying they have been found to be harmful for public health.

There were no comments from the company.

Talking to newspersons, the advocate said he has lodged the case in the court of CJM against the three film stars who have claimed the instant noodles as healthy in TV promotions under sections 420, 272, 273 and 109.

He said these film stars have earned hefty sums by terming Maggi noodles as healthy in advertisements and alleged “this wrong publicity amounts to malafide intentions and playing with the health of the kids and young people of the country”.

PTI

Amitabh Bachchan to promote ‘DD Kisan’ in Doordarshan campaign

New Delhi: Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan will feature prominently in a Doordarshan campaign aimed to popularise ‘DD Kisan’, an exclusive channel for farmers and rural India.

Amitabh Bachchan. AP

Amitabh Bachchan. AP

Senior Doordarshan official said that Bachchan would feature in audio visuals, radio jingles and also field publicity for the latest Doordarshan channel, the idea for which came from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself.

ADG, Prasar Bharati, Ranjan Mukherjee, who was also looking after the launch of the channel, said that a detailed publicity plan has been chalked out for spreading awareness about the channel and confirmed that Bachchan would feature prominently.

Apart from advertisements, fourteen ‘Kisan Rath’ vans would also travel to at least 10,000 villages to generate publicity, he said.

The DD Kisan channel which goes with the tagline, ‘Badalte Bharat ki Shan’ is a 24×7 channel that will telecast updated information on agriculture, weather and related subject for the benefit of its target audience including cattle rearers, bee keepers, poultry owners, mechanics and craftsmen.

Advice of Indian Meteroligical Department scientists and Agricultural scientists would be broadcast regularly for the farmers so that they may know about the crop diseases, ways to protect crops from various diseases and on how to increase the crop yield.

The channel has a tie-up with IMD and several scientific bodies in the field of agriculture including agricultural universities, Krish Vigyan Kendras etc, a statement released in New Delhi said.

PTI

Coming soon to theaters near you: India-China to co-produce film on Chinese Monk Xuan Zang

Beijing: India-China will sign an agreement to jointly produce a mega film on the life and times of famous Chinese Buddhist Monk Xuan Zang’s 17-year-long journey to India in sixth century during Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s visit.

Stated to be a big budget film with top star cast, the movie will be a joint production between state-run China Film Group and India’s EROS.

Flickr CCFlickr CC

Statue of Chinese Monk Xuan Zang. Flickr CC

An agreement in this regard will be signed during Modi’s three day visit.

The MOU of the film, starring China’s famous actor Huang Xiaoming, is expected to be signed at the business and investment get together, to be addressed by Modi during his visit to Shanghai on May 16.

The Indian cast may include mega star Amitabh Bachchan.

The shooting for the film is expected to begin on May 25, officials told PTI.

Both the Shanghai Film Group and Eros are expected to sign an agreement to do more co-productions in the future.

Already, a movie titled “Kung Fu Yoga” featuring Hollywood star Jackie Chan is being made under the joint production.

(with inputs from PTI)

Amitabh Bachchan attends pre-wedding ceremony of Mulayam’s grandnephew

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Amitabh Bachchan to be brand ambassador of Andhra Pradesh health department

Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan will be the brand ambassador for the medical and health department of Andhra Pradesh, health minister Kamineni Srinivas said in Hyderabad on Tuesday.”Amitabh Bachchan has agreed to be our brand ambassador. Which areas he will promote will be decided later,” the minister said. The minister had a meeting with the actor recently. Srinivas, a BJP member in the Chandrababu Naidu cabinet, said they were obtaining suggestions from experts on improving health-care sector in the state.”We have constituted an experts’ committee which will meet once in two months and offer suggestions. The Chief Minister has asked the experts from the field to prepare an action plan for improving health-care infrastructure and services,” he added. A super-speciality hospital would be established at each of the 13 district headquarters under public-private partnership or through a trust, he added.