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81 things we don’t know about the universe, writes Dr Mayank Vahia

Dr. Mayank Vahia is a scientist at TATA Institute of Fundamental Research in the department of Astronomy and Astrophysics

Mayank Vahia
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Also ReadIndiaAmritsar: Nine killed, 15 injured in accident as bus hits motorised cartIndiaNarrow escape for 171 passengers of AI flight as dog strays on runwayIndiaNoida jinx will keep Akhilesh Yadav away from meeting PMIndiaMaharashtra: Sales tax on kidney-related medicines waived offIndiaDelhi govt suspends two officers; 200 colleagues threaten to go on mass leaveIndiaUP girl students barred from hockey, cricket, football <!– /.block –>

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Download GATE 2016 admit cards/hall tickets at www.gate.iisc.ernet.in

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs at Bombay, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras and Roorkee) jointly administer the conduct of GATE. The operations related to GATE in each of the 8 zones are managed by a zonal GATE Office at the IITs or IISc. The Organizing Institute (OI) is responsible for the end-to-end process and coordination amongst the administering Institutes. The Organizing Institute for GATE 2016 is Indian Institute of Science.

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WWE: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson set to appear at Wrestlemania 32 in Texas <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaTamil Nadu: Construction work on APJ Abdul Kalam’s memorial to begin todayIndiaMoral police fails to dampen New Year revelry in KashmirIndiaDelhi: December 30 dry run for odd even ruleIndiaTwo South Mumbai women seek medical help for obsessive shoppingIndiaGopal Subramaniam agrees to head DDCA probe panel; asks AAP govt to televise inquiry proceedingsIndiaGrimmer details of Dadri lynching emerge, meat found from Mohamad Akhlaq’s home was goat’s <!– /.block –>

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Ramdev likely to skip JNU visit amidst students protest, university stands by invitation

The three-day convention– organised by the university’s Special Center for Sanskrit Studies in collaboration with the Institute of Advanced Sciences, Dartmouth, USA and the Center for Indic Studies, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth — began here on December 27. Ramdev has been invited to deliver the key-note address on December 30.

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Also ReadIndiaOdd-even formula: CNG cars to be given exemption stickers starting tomorrowIndiaAAP leader murdered in New Delhi, body dumped near swampIndiaAfter Congress mouthpiece says Sonia’s father had fascist link, party calls magazine ‘defunct’IndiaTreat citizens as your ‘boss’, Fadnavis tells policeIndiaDDCA row: No clean chit to Arun Jaitley, BJP begging for apology, says Arvind KejriwalIndiaCountry passing through crisis under NDA rule: Sachin Pilot <!– /.block –>

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Those who never want to work opt for govt jobs, quips Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje

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Self-employment and entrepreneurship are the only sectors where one not only gets himself employed but also provides livelihood to three to four others, Raje said.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje
File Photo
PTI
Those who never want to work opt for government jobs, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje quipped in a lighter vein as she asked youths to opt for self-employment and entrepreneurship.”Nowhere in the world people are so charmed by government jobs but in India,” she said while calling upon youths to join skill development programmes.”Only those who don’t want to work actually opt for government jobs,” Raje added in a satirical tone during an address at the inaugural of the first batch at Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in Jhalawar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Self-employment and entrepreneurship are the only sectors where one not only gets himself employed but also provides livelihood to three to four others, she said.On this occasion Raje felicitated the three students – Yash, Pawan Goyal and Akhlish Jain – from Rajasthan who along with three others from the country recently won gold medals in Science Olympiad. She also praised Mharishi Dayanand Swarswati University, Ajmer for producing good results in self-employment and entrepreneurship sectors.State PWD minister Younus Khan and Raje’s son Dushyant Singh who is also the local MP were present on the occasion.On Tuesday, the first day of her two-day visit to her home constituency in Jhalawar, the Chief Minister laid foundation stone of around six development projects worth Rs 206 crore and announced several other welfare and development schemes in the region.

IITians are not Indians, says Markandey Katju

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“Please don’t have any illusions, I also don’t have any illusions about you. You are not Indians. I don’t regard you as Indians.”

Markandey Katju

zeenews.com
Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju calls IITians non-Indians while addressing the students of Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay.He visited the Institution on Friday to speak on various issues. He said that the students of IIT do not have genuine love for the country and they are utterly selfish with no patriotism or idealism left among them.Later he took to twitter where he posted “Most of you IIT students have no genuine love for the country. You are utterly selfish, with no patriotism or idealism.”Katju further said, “Please don’t have any illusions, I also don’t have any illusions about you. You are not Indians. I don’t regard you as Indians.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He even said that he doesn’t expect anything from IIT students.”India should not have any hopes from you because eventually you will serve America or Germany,” he added.In his Facebook post, Katju mentioned that IIT students are utterly selfish.
He wrote, “All you want is to migrate to America (and most of you manage to do that), usually by first going for an M.Tech degree there (for which you get a scholarship), and then settling down there and enjoying comfortable life — and to hell with India.”Not only that, he even went on to the tax sector where he said, “Your education in IIT is largely subsidized by the Indian taxpayer. But after we Indians pay for your education, you are taken away by America who benefit form your knowledge, which was imparted by us.He lashed at IITians and further mentioned, “And after settling down in America, you will become NRIs — supercilious know-alls, who will give lectures to Indians about what is good for them and what is not.”

India building secret nuclear city in Karnataka, says Foreign Policy journal

The city when completed in 2017 would be “the subcontinent’s largest military-run complex of nuclear centrifuges, atomic-research laboratories, and weapons- and aircraft-testing facilities”, the report said.

Representational Image of a nuclear plant

India is building a top-secret nuclear city to produce thermonuclear weapons and when completed in 2017 the facility would be the subcontinent’s “largest military-run” complex of nuclear centrifuges, a leading American foreign policy journal has claimed.The secret city in Challakere in Karnataka could “upgrade” the country as a nuclear power and unsettle its two major neighbours – Pakistan and China, Foreign Policy magazine said in an investigative report.”But another, more controversial ambition, according to retired Indian government officials and independent experts in London and Washington, is to give India an extra stockpile of enriched uranium fuel that could be used in new hydrogen bombs, also known as thermonuclear weapons, substantially increasing the explosive force of those in its existing nuclear arsenal,” the report said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: Obama-Sharif meet: US President urges Pakistan to avoid raising nuclear tensions with new weaponsThe city when completed in 2017 would be “the subcontinent’s largest military-run complex of nuclear centrifuges, atomic-research laboratories, and weapons- and aircraft-testing facilities”, the report said.”India’s close neighbours, China and Pakistan, would see this move as a provocation: Experts say they might respond by ratcheting up their own nuclear firepower,” the report said.The independent Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimates that India already possesses between 90 and 110 nuclear weapons, as compared to Pakistan’s estimated stockpile of up to 120. China, which borders India to the north, has approximately 260 warheads.The report does not contain any official response from either the Indian or the US Government, but has quoted several unnamed officials and retired government officials for the story.”Mysore is being constantly monitored, and we are constantly monitoring progress in Challakere,” a former White House official has been quoted as saying by the report. Challakere is nearly 260 km from Mysore.

President Pranab Mukherjee on southern sojourn from tomorrow

During the sojourn, the President will attend the convocation of Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering (MCEME), Secunderabad on December 19, an official release said on Thursday.
File Photo
PTI
President Pranab Mukherjee would be on a southern sojourn for 14 days starting from December 18 to 31 at the Rashtrapati Nilayam in Hyderabad.During the sojourn, the President will attend the convocation of Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering (MCEME), Secunderabad on December 19, an official release said on Thursday.The President would attend the second convocation of the Central University of Karnataka on December 22 at Gulbarga in Karntaka. On the same day, he will inaugurate the Magneto Encephalography Equipment and renovated heritage building of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore. He will also dedicate NIMHANS to the nation as an institute of national importance.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On December 23, the President will attend the 150th Anniversary of Bishop Cotton Boys’ School and lay the foundation stone of the State Cancer Institute at the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bangalore. On December 25, the President will inaugurate the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam’s Veda-Patasala at Ai Bhimavaram in Andhra Pradesh. On December 27, Mukherjee would deliver the inaugural address at the Indian Economic Association s Annual Conference at Prof Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University, Hyderabad.On the same day, he will also attend the ‘Purnahuthi’ of ‘Ayutha Chandi Maha Yagam’ being organised by the Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao at Erravelli village in Medak in Telangana for ‘Lok Kalyanam’ (universal prosperity) and ‘Vishwa Shanthi’ (universal peace).ESL Narasimhan, Governor of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh will host a dinner in honour of the President on December 29. The President will host a reception for senior dignitaries of the State, Ministers, officials and others at the Rashtrapati Nalayam, Secunderabad on December 30, 2015.The Nilayam at Secunderabad in Hyderabad is one of the Presidential Retreats. It is customary for the President to visit the Nilayam at least once a year and conduct official business from there.

India enters Guinness Book for conducting world’s largest practical lesson

2,000 students from schools across the national capital who attempted to conduct ‘world’s largest practical science lesson’ at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) last week have entered Guinness Book for World Records.

2,000 students from schools across the national capital who attempted to conduct ‘world’s largest practical science lesson’ at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) last week have entered Guinness Book for World Records.The earlier record was in credit of Northern Ireland which had conducted a similar experiment with 1,339 students.”The large practical science session which was organised during the five-day India International Science Festival (IISF) at IIT has set a Guinness Book of World’s Record,” an IIT Delhi official said.Dressed in white lab-coats, 2,000 students had streamed into a giant tent pitched in the administrative block at IIT-Delhi on December 7 to take a shot at the world record for the highest number of students to conduct an experiment simultaneously at the same venue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The “practical lesson” involved 40 schools, both government and private, across the city, each sending 50 students and a few “back up” ones.The children were trained by their teachers and have had several practice sessions each before the big lesson.During the experiment they managed to together turn methylene blue “reddish-brown” and rapidly decompose hydrogen peroxide to produce foamy ropes as a part of the Elephant’s toothpaste reaction.The video recording and a report on the experiment was sent to the Guinness Book which further evaluated the same and came up with the results.The event was organised by Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA), an NGO, as part of the festival at IIT jointly organized by the Ministries of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences.The record will be in VIBHA’s name.Flagging of the experiment, Union Minister Smriti Irani had also said that there are plans to have an even bigger ‘practical lesson’ in Delhi in the coming months, in which school students from across the country will participate.

India enters Guinness Book for conducting world’s largest practical science lesson

The earlier record was in credit of Northern Ireland which had conducted a similar experiment with 1,339 students.

Guinness Booklogo
File Photo

2,000 students from schools across the national capital who attempted to conduct ‘world’s largest practical science lesson’ at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) last week have entered Guinness Book for World Records. The earlier record was in credit of Northern Ireland which had conducted a similar experiment with 1,339 students. “The large practical science session which was organised during the five-day India International Science Festival (IISF) at IIT has set a Guinness Book of World’s Record,” an IIT Delhi official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Dressed in white lab-coats, 2,000 students had streamed into a giant tent pitched in the administrative block at IIT-Delhi on December 7 to take a shot at the world record for the highest number of students to conduct an experiment simultaneously at the same venue. The “practical lesson” involved 40 schools, both government and private, across the city, each sending 50 students and a few “back up” ones. The children were trained by their teachers and have had several practice sessions each before the big lesson. During the experiment they managed to together turn methylene blue “reddish-brown” and rapidly decompose hydrogen peroxide to produce foamy ropes as a part of the Elephant’s toothpaste reaction. The video recording and a report on the experiment was sent to the Guinness Book which further evaluated the same and came up with the results. The event was organized by Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA), an NGO, as part of the festival at IIT jointly organised by the Ministries of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences. The record will be in VIBHA’s name. Flagging of the experiment, Union Minister Smriti Irani had also said that there are plans to have an even bigger ‘practical lesson’ in Delhi in the coming months, in which school students from across the country will participate.

JNU tops UGC’s sexual harassment list: Smriti Irani tells Lok Sabha

Twenty five cases of sexual harassment were reported from the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in 2013-2014, the highest among 104 higher education institutions from where such matters were reported according to University Grants Commission (UGC) data. During the period from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, there were 15 cases of sexual harassment reported in Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi and 10 cases in Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture Technology and Sciences, Allahabad.

File Photo

Twenty five cases of sexual harassment were reported from the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in 2013-2014, the highest among 104 higher education institutions from where such matters were reported according to University Grants Commission (UGC) data. During the period from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, there were 15 cases of sexual harassment reported in Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi and 10 cases in Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture Technology and Sciences, Allahabad.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nine cases were reported from King George’s Medical University, Lucknow. There were 8 such cases reported in University of Mumbai and Viswa Bharati, Santi Niketan, Birbhum during this period. These details were shared in the Lok Sabha by Human Resource Development (HRD) minister Smriti Irani, who in a written reply to a member’s question said that as per UGC, there were 295 cases of sexual harassment that have been reported during 2014-15 in various institutes of higher learning. “As per University Grants Commission (UGC), 295 cases of sexual harassment have been reported during 2014-15 in various institutes of higher learning against women,” Irani said. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has also reported two cases of sexual harassment against women, she said.

Was approached by Left and BJP, says Tharoor as he reveals why he joined Congress

The two-time Thiruvananthapuram MP was responding to questions after delivering a keynote address on the topic ‘India in today’s networked world’ at the Indian Institute of Management-Bengaluru’s first global alumni conclave and leadership summit ‘IIMBUE’

Asserting that he is in the “right party”, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Saturday said he had chosen Congress from among the major political outfits, including the BJP and the Left, which had approached him to join them after he left services at the United Nations.”… it gets asked often and almost no day goes by on social media without somebody asking that question. Let me tell you when I decided to leave the UN, in fact shortly after I stepped back from the race for the secretary general, it is true that every major political formation in this country approached me,” Tharoor said in response to a question if he was the “right man in the wrong party”. “I was approached by a BJP former minister in the Vajpayee government who came to see me at my office in New York. I was approached by some one from the Left in Trivandrum (Thiruvanathapuram), and I was approached by my own party, what became my own party,” claimed Tharoor, who had joined the Congress in 2009.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The two-time Thiruvananthapuram MP was responding to questions after delivering a keynote address on the topic ‘India in today’s networked world’ at the Indian Institute of Management-Bengaluru’s first global alumni conclave and leadership summit ‘IIMBUE’ here. Pointing out that he has attacked all parties equally as a writer, Tharoor said he had been a fierce critic of the Emergency, the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the Babri Masjid demolition and the rise of Hindutva politics.Speaking further if he was in the “wrong party,” Tharoor said the Congress of 2009 and 2014 was certainly not the Congress of 1977 which “I could not have voted for”. He added that “parties evolve; they do come up with new personas and new vision. There are good people in the party; there is talent pool in the Congress party.” Listing out the reasons for choosing Congress, he said there were three broad tendencies in the country, especially from the point of view of potential Kerala politics.”One is a group of people who speak in terms of ‘India shining’ without really asking who India is shining for. The second are the group of people who say they are for the poor, but consistently oppose every progressive reform or policies that can increase the prosperity of the country and stop poor from being poor because that will not suit their political interest,” he said. “In the middle was a party that had given us the Liberalisation of 1991, taken economic reforms forward also the spirit of social justice… .” he added.

You should cultivate sense of insensitivity to be in politics, says Wipro founder Azim Premji

Premji, whose company’s CSR arm, the Azim Premji Foundation, is already involved in primary education in backward areas among others, said that despite having large-scale projects the intended effect cannot be reached at micro-levels owing to dependency on executing agencies.
File Photo

IT czar Azim Premji on Saturday said one should cultivate a sense of insensitivity to be in politics.”Why am I not in politics? Because I think it would have killed me in a couple of years… you should cultivate a sense of insensitivity to be in politics,” said Premji.The Wipro’s billionaire founder, who has given away almost half of his stake holding in the company to philanthropy, was responding to a question from the audience here at the Indian Institute of Management’s first global alumni conclave and leadership summit ‘IIMBUE’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On lack of skillful and talented people with philanthropic attitude in politics, he said, “One would definitely encourage talented people to join government and to join politics, the issue is do they have a mental make-up for it?””Certainly they should be encouraged. How do you raise the standard of politics and the standard of governance unless you manage with the right people,” said Premji, who was in conversation with Biocon head and Chairperson of the Board of governors-IIMB Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw on the topic ‘The business of philanthropy’.Responding to a query on the challenges he encountered while giving away money for philanthropy, the business tycoon said, “I think the biggest challenge that we face is the size of the problem, the scope of the problem, the depth of the problem.”Premji, whose company’s CSR arm, the Azim Premji Foundation, is already involved in primary education in backward areas among others, said that despite having large-scale projects the intended effect cannot be reached at micro-levels owing to dependency on executing agencies.”… you are just penetrating a small proportion of the whole scenario, of the problem. That is very frustrating because you just don’t have bandwidth. You may still have the money, you don’t have the bandwidth,” he said.”Second thing is you do rely on government machinery in terms of the work we do, like education. We have to depend on them very significantly, but it is in the slowness of the change… ,” Premji added.Asked for his thoughts on the two per cent CSR mandate, he said, “in principle, I don’t like mandate. So, I would object to a two per cent mandate, but now that’s made accompli, it has become a statutory law.””I think what is good is they have left it up to the governance committee of the company to decide the priority of usage of those funds, all one can wish for is that companies utilise those funds honestly and don’t substitute their own personal charity with company funds. Let us see how it works out… ,” he added.

India’s malnutrition rates falling faster than before; Bihar, UP worst performers

The report, that details nutrition data from across 28 states and Delhi, shows that 38.7 per cent of children under 5 in India are stunted, which is a measure of chronic undernutrition.

India’s latest data on the state of nutrition came as a mixed bag, with malnutrition rates declining faster than before but not nearly fast enough for to meet global targets. The India Health Report: Nutrition 2015 was released on Thursday by union health minister JP Nadda and Union women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi. The report, and health experts from Public Foundation of India and the International Food Policy Research Institute, who jointly organised the launch, cautiously congratulated India for its progress, but stressed that a lot more needed to be done, and fast.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report, that details nutrition data from across 28 states and Delhi, shows that 38.7 per cent of children under 5 in India are stunted, which is a measure of chronic undernutrition. Additionally 19.8 per cent are wasted, indicating acute undernutrition and 42.56 per cent are underweight which is a composite of the two conditions.India’s average annual rate of decline for under-five stunting, between 2006-2014 has been 2.3 percent per year, much better than the 1.2 percent per year rate that the country saw during 1992 and 2006. However, India still lags behind its neighbours and even some sub-Saharan countries. Nepal has an average annual decline rate of 3.3 percent per year, and Bangladesh matches that of India.This, as Professor Ramanan Laxminarayan from PHFI, co-author of the report, said, meant that child undernutrition weakly correlated with income, as despite India’s economic dominance in subcontinent ïn terms of per capita income”.This has been observed among states too, as different states with similar income levels performed differently. Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, for example have similar income levels, yet Gujarat had a much higher rate of prevalence of stunting. Kerala and Goa had similar rates of stunting prevalence when Goa has almost double of Kerala’s per capita net state domestic product.Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were the worst performers, with high levels of stunting, calling for immediate action to be taken in those areas.Additionally, there is the added burden of obesity and overweight populace leading to a possible epidemic of noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as Dr, Soumya Swaminathan, director general Indian Council of Medical Research pointed out. She also called for a relook at existing midday meal schemes, to reconstitute their carbohydrate content with proteins, and make sure micronutrients were sufficient,.Dr. Laurence Haddad, co-Chair of the Global Nutrition Report, also released today, and a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute urged India to increase its commitment and its spending on countering malnutrition.Health minister Nadda, took note of all the points, especially Haddad’s argument of spending on nutrition being a great investment for the country — one rupee spent on a person would yielded Rs 34, a benefit cost ratio of 34 is to 1. He also spoke about the various interventions by his ministry, such as a mandatory 48 hour period to stay in hospitals during childbirth to provide counselling and initiate breastfeeding, establishing nutrition rehabilitation centres at district and sub-district levels, and the National Iron Plus Initiative to control anemia at all stages of life.Experts also called on the government to check other social determinants, such as mothers with less than ten years of education, underage mothers, adolescent girls with low Body Mass Index, open defecation, so as to save people from the irreversible effects of cognitive impairment and susceptibility to chronic disease, and the country from a disastrous economic burden.

Hotline Talks: When Narendra Modi spoke to Barack Obama for an hour about climate change

“Both leaders emphasised their personal commitment to secure a strong climate change agreement this week and their interest in our countries’ working together to achieve a successful outcome,” the White House had said.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama spoke for an hour over a hotline on Tuesday to discuss the progress made in climate change negotiations in Paris. The call “lasted for over an hour”, the US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma said in his address to the Brookings Institute, a top American think-tank. This was only the second ever telephonic conversation between the two leaders over the hotline or secure line of communication, which was established this summer. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Obama had telephoned Modi to discuss the progress made in climate change negotiations currently underway in Paris. According to a readout of the call issued by the White House, the call was initiated by Obama and the two leaders discussed primarily climate change issues in the context of the ongoing negotiations in Paris. “Both leaders emphasised their personal commitment to secure a strong climate change agreement this week and their interest in our countries’ working together to achieve a successful outcome,” the White House had said. While there is no official record in public domain of the duration of Obama’s telephonic conversation with foreign leaders, the White House in the past did refer to the lengthy telephonic call the President had with his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro last December.At a news conference last year, Obama had told reporters that when he spoke with Castro for the first time he started with a lengthy statement. “At the end of my remarks, I apologised for taking, you know, such a long time,” Obama had said. The call had lasted for 45 minutes. “Don’t worry about it, Mr President. You’re still a young man, and you have still the chance to break Fidel’s record. He once spoke for seven hours straight,” Castro said according to Obama. PTI LKJ

India, Pakistan NSAs talk terror and Jammu & Kashmir in Bangkok

Secret meeting also covers other issues; Up next will be meeting between foreign ministers

Narendra Modi with Nawaz Sharif

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi had an animated discussion with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Summit in Paris last Monday, many wondered what they could have discussed. In the absence of any official release about the talks, the media could only speculate about the contents. On Sunday, the answer became clear to all and sundry. In an unusual turn of events, the National Security Advisors (NSAs) of the two countries – Ajit Doval and Lieutenant General Naseer Khan Janjua – met in Bangkok, away from media limelight.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> This time, there was an official statement. “The discussions covered peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, and others, including tranquility over the Line of Control,” a Ministry of External Affairs statement said. The statement said the two sides also agreed to carry forward constructive engagement. What it signals is a possible meeting between external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz. Swaraj is set to visit Islamabad on Tuesday for the Afghanistan-related Heart of Asia ministerial conference. A meeting between the two ministers on the sidelines of the conference is highly possible now. Any forward movement in these talks will also prepare the ground for Modi’s visit to Pakistan, the first one after Vajpayee’s in January 2004. Pakistan is hosting the SAARC summit next year. Interestingly, the NSA-level Bangkok meeting coincided with the Track-II, 17th Chaophraya Dialogue between Indian and Pakistani journalists in the same city. However, it seems none of them got any hint of the meeting, till the foreign offices of both countries put out a joint statement. The timing and the venue of the meeting were kept a secret, lest it gets derailed. Last Monday’s meeting between Modi and Sharif in Paris was the first between the two leaders since they met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting in Ufa, Russia, in July this year. They had then agreed on a meeting between the NSAs of the two countries and had also directed the foreign secretaries to renew talks. However, talks between NSA Ajit Doval and his then Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz, scheduled in New Delhi in August this year, were cancelled after the Pakistan high commission insisted on inviting Hurriyat leaders for a reception in honour of Aziz. India also wanted to skip the word Kashmir and other bilateral issues and concentrate only on terrorism during the talks, which was unacceptable to Pakistan. Last month, on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Valletta, Malta, Sharif had told British Premier David Cameron that Islamabad was ready for unconditional talks with New Delhi. Though no country will acknowledge it, it seems the Paris meeting, which sparked hopes of a renewal of the dialogue process, was an outcome of nudging by big powers. Senior journalists at the 17th Chaophraya Dialogue, who met under the aegis of Jinnah Institute (JI) and Australia-India Institute (AII), called upon both the governments to delink confidence-building measures from dialogue process, and called for encouraging cross-LoC interactions. They expressed the hope that the two countries would meet soon to increase bilateral trade and economic cooperation, and urged Pakistan to give Non-Discriminatory Market Access status to India.

Why the Chennai floods should be an eye opener for city planners

The experts have, however, also highlighted the positive use of social media Twitter, Whatsapp and Facebook — as a resource tool for the people to organise and help each other.

PTI
The severe flooding in Chennai caused by torrential rains is a result of climate change and should be an eye opener for city planners, experts have warned.Some experts have opined that Chennai being one of the outsourcing hub of India and a major destination of foreign investment, the current disastrous situation could also affect the national economy.”Chennai has seen 17 days straight of rain, precisely the kind of extreme weather event that experts say will only become more common in a warming world,” said Nambi Appardurai, India’s adaptation strategy head for World Resources Institute (WRI). “Having been in the adaptation business for about 10 years now, I find these events reinforce the challenges we face in adapting to a changing climate. No doubt about it, there’s so much to learn from this experience.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”These sudden, erratic rainfalls are something we’ve seen happening over the years and the fact that this is an El Nino year has also contributed to extreme events. Certainly, though, climate has an impact as well,” he said.The experts have, however, also highlighted the positive use of social media Twitter, Whatsapp and Facebook — as a resource tool for the people to organise and help each other.Aswin Punathambekar, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Michigan, said with over half a million tweets in less than two days, citizens in Chennai and across the country mobilised to produce an infrastructure of care.”The hashtags #chennairains and #chennairainshelp are a truly creative, citizen-driven response to a crisis and at the same time a resounding call for the government machinery in India to rethink urban planning, develop better systems to deal with natural disasters and to lead the way in tackling climate change,” he said.Puneet Manchanda, a professor of marketing at the Ross School of Business, said the economic impact of the heavy rain in Chennai is going to be significant.”Obviously, industries such as tourism will face adverse outcomes as Chennai is the entry point for most tourists. The local infrastructure, especially roads, has also taken a big hit and this will continue to impact the local economy much after the rain subsides,” he added.Matthew Boulton, whose research in India involves vaccination and other public health issues, felt that the risk of drowning and electrical hazards may be two of the most immediate dangers, but flooding and standing water of this magnitude can significantly increase the risk for serious waterborne illness, like childhood diarrhoea.”Although many scientists are saying that these rains are a direct result of global warming, I think that climate change has exacerbated the intensity of such extreme weather events,” said Mayank Vikas.Meanwhile, the Srivari Sri Balaji Temple, located in Franklin Township, New Jersey, has announced to organise a prayer on behalf of the Chennai flood victims today.”The prayer is being held to offer spiritual support to the thousands of individuals impacted by the floods in Chennai,” the temple said in a media release.

LK Advani’s wife admitted to Aiims, condition ‘stable’

New Delhi: The wife of senior BJP leader LK Advani was admitted to Aiims on Tuesday due to health problems. According to doctors, Kamla Advani, who is in her early eighties, has been put in the ICU of the premier institute and her condition is at present “stable”.

LK Advani. APLK Advani. AP

LK Advani. AP

“Kamla Advani was admitted to Aiims in the morning at 6 AM with fever and urinary tract infection. She is under close monitoring by a team of super specialists comprising urologists, geriatric medicine and intensive care specialists. “Her condition is presently stable, she is maintaining blood pressure and oxygenation without any external support,” said Prof Neerja Bhatla, Chairperson, Media and Protocol Division at All-India Institute Of Medical Science.

According to sources, the wife of the former deputy prime minister complained of breathing problems early in the morning following which she was rushed to Aiims.

PTI

Eight Indian institutions among top 500 world universities, IISC leads the pack

This was disclosed by Union Minister for Human Resource development Smriti Irani in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

Eight higher educational institutions from India have been listed in the top 500 universities in the world by the QS rankings in 2015.This was disclosed by Union Minister for Human Resource development Smriti Irani in the Lok Sabha on Monday.Two of these institutions’ the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi are ranked 147 and 179 respectively in the QS World University Rankings for 2015-16. The other six were IITs in Bombay (ranked 202);T Kanpur (271); Kharagpur (286); Madras (254); Roorkee (391) and Guwahati (460)<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Irani said Indian higher education institutions would need to work on improving their perception index if they have to better their global rankings.Also Read: IISc breaks into list of top 100 universities for engineering and technology

Two BMC-run hospitals to apply for hand transplant registration

On the occasion of World Organ Donation Day, on November 27, Dr Subramania Iyer, head of surgery at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kerala, speaking at KEM hospital expressed the need for more hand transplant centres across the nation.

Dr Subramania Iyer gives a special lecture on organ transplant at KEM hospital on the occasion of World Organ Donation Day
Aakash P Malvankar

After two successful hand transplant surgeries conducted in Kochi, the two Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)-run hospitals, Nair hospital and KEM hospital, are planning to apply for registration for conducting the hand transplants in these hospitals. Both, Nair hospital and KEM hospital, are already registered for kidney and liver transplants, and will now be applying for the hand transplant registration as well.On the occasion of World Organ Donation Day, on November 27, Dr Subramania Iyer, head of surgery at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kerala, speaking at KEM hospital expressed the need for more hand transplant centres across the nation. “In a country, like India, with such a large population, the number of people with loss of hands is huge. We need more awareness, and more centres conducting the hand transplants,” Dr Iyer added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The greatest requisite to set up a hand transplant centre is the institutional capability. Apart from that, expert hand and micro surgeons, orthopedic and anesthetic support, transplant ICU and nursing support, transplant immunology, pathology, rehabilitation and hand physiotherapy, etc. are also required.According to Dr Gauri Rathod, nodal officer, Transplantation of Human Organs (THO) Act, directorate of health services, the two hospitals already have the infrastructure and expertise in place, and thus the registration will happen very soon. “The two BMC-run hospitals are very much interested in conducting a hand transplantation and are motivated after the successful surgeries conducted in Kerala recently,” Dr Rathod added.The two successful hand transplant surgeries in India have had a big impact in the way of putting India on the world map of capability in composite tissue allotransplantation. The two recipients have become a beacon of hope for the others, who have lost their limbs due to various reasons.Dr Iyer said, “More than 200 people have approached us for hand transplant after the two transplants. However, a lot of things like motivation, family background, economic status, level of amputation, nature of injury, etc. need to be considered before putting them in the waiting list.”Hand transplants has been found to be superior than prosthetic hands, especially in cases of bilateral hand amputees, primarily because of the cost involved and secondly because prosthetic hand lacks sensation. In hand transplant, sensation is regained in about a year’s time.According to Dr Iyer, one of the biggest obstacle in conducting a hand transplant is difficulty in convincing people to donate hands. Hence, it is crucial to create awareness for both recipients and donors. Rehabilitation, thus, is a very important stage in a transplant. “Our aim is that the recipients should go back to the society and be able to work,” Dr Iyer remarked.The eligibility criteria for donors for hand transplant is similar to that of kidney and liver transplants, including blood group matching. A brain dead person is the donor for hand transplant.

City of Light comes to City of Joy: 55-metre replica of Eiffel Tower to be built in Kolkata

Kolkata: A 55-metre replica of the Eiffel Tower in being planned at the Eco Park in the smart city New Town.

The replica of the tower would come up in the Eco Park and is expected to be a major tourist attraction, West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (HIDCO) chairman Debashis Sen told PTI.

The project planned in the satellite city would take about three years to complete after its work order is issued and nearly 300 tonne of steel would be required to build it, HIDCO officials said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is laying the foundation stone of the project today in presence of the Consul General of France in Kolkata.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

Officials said that it would also be an expression of solidarity towards world peace and pay tribute to the 129 victims of the November 13 terror attack in the French capital.

“With its completion, tourists can have a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower without going to Paris,” Sen said, adding, “The spot has been identified to showcase Bengal’s outstanding artworks drawing attention of the tourists from the country and abroad.”

He said the tower would be a giant steel structure with a height of an 18-storey building.

“We could have tried and constructed an exact replica if the location had not been close to the glide path of the flights landing and taking off from NSC Bose International Airport,” Sen said.

“The Tower will have two tiers where people can go up and stand to catch a glimpse of the town below,” the HIDCO chairman said.

“The viewing gallery will be at a height of 25 m and two lits will be there to carry the passengers. The base of the structure would rest on 650 sq ft,” Sen said.

The project was conceived by the HIDCO recently and the West Bengal government immediately gave its clearance.

“We will float a tender soon to select the agency that will build the structure,” the HIDCO chairman said.

“This will be the first such prototype of the Eiffel Tower in India and its architectural designs are worked out by the Institute for Steel Development and Growth,” Sen said.

One of the wonders of the modern world, the 324-m Eiffel Tower is the most popular tourist attraction in Paris.

The City of Joy has already got a replica of the famous London tower ‘Big Ben’ developed by South Dum Dum Municipality as a permanent structure.

The 90 ft tall tower stands at the busy junction of Lake Town-VIP Road crossing since October last.

PTI

AR Rahman’s musical feast on Mulayam Singh’s birthday bash

On November 22, the Rural Institute of Medical Sciences, Etawah, will celebrate the birthday of its founder Mulayam Singh Yadav

he stadiums have been decked up in the party colours of green and red while welcome gates have come up on the roads leading to Saifai.
Arijit Sen
File Photo
A cultural extravaganza including a performance by Oscar-winning composer A R Rahman, massive fireworks and cultural shows by medical students over the next two days will mark the 76th birthday of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav in his ancestral village Saifai here. The celebrations will start with a musical feast at the Athletics Stadium, Saifai, tomorrow evening where Rahman and his group will regale the audience with his compositions.President of Ranvir Singh Smriti Saifai Mahotsav, Member of Parliament Dharmendra Yadav who is looking after the preparations, said that all works have been completed for the event. “A R Rahman will perform for creating awareness on environment conservation at the stadium for which a massive stage has been set up by technicians from Mumbai and outside. Also big screens have been installed for the convenience of people,” Yadav said.On November 22, the Rural Institute of Medical Sciences, Etawah, will celebrate the birthday of its founder Mulayam Singh Yadav at the indoor stadium where a cake will be cut by the leader, director of RIMS T Prabhakar said. The institute will put up a slide show and a cultural performance by medical students on the occasion, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The stadiums have been decked up in the party colours of green and red while welcome gates have come up on the roads leading to Saifai. An impressive fireworks has been scheduled to entertain the guests in the evening, Yadav said. Flowers imported specially for the occasion and lights have been put up on the buildings along the roads leading to the venues. Massive arrangements have been made to welcome an estimated one lakh guests for which special parking and other facilities have already been completed. About 3,000 staff will look after the cleanliness work.For security arrangements, about 3,000 personnel from 15 districts have been deployed, police said. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has already reached Saifai and was present at the airstrip to welcome Rahman and his troupe this afternoon. He also took stock of the preparations.Last year, Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan had organised two-day long celebrations in Rampur to mark Mulayam’s 75th birthday. Mulayam had rode an imported Victorian-style ‘buggy’ and around 40 ministers gathered for his birthday bash, fuelling criticism that was met with a caustic response from Khan that Taliban and Dawood Ibrahim provided funds for the event.

Government deliberately trying to weaken our strike at IFFI, say FTII students

Only 22 students were given a go-ahead to attend the festival out of 50 who had applied.

Students also claimed none of the students who were at the forefront of the strike were permitted to attend the event by the institute.
File Photo
PTI
Fearing a stir at the 46th International Film Festival of India in Goa, the Union government has created multiple barriers for the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) students to cut down on their strength. At least, that’s what the students have claimed. As a last resort to get their dissenting voices heard, Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), students had long planned to take their protests to IFFI, after their last dialogue with state I&B minister Rajyavardhan Rathore in Delhi failed to yield results. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the students, the institute has given a go-ahead to only 22 of the 50 students who had applied for passes to attend the festival, while every year about 60 students from the premier institute make it to the IFFI as part of their curriculum. Students also claimed none of the students who were at the forefront of the strike were permitted to attend the event by the institute. “We were told only first-timers to the event would be allowed to go to the event. However, of the 22 students selected, many have gone to the event multiple times,” Vikas Urs, one of the students, told dna. Students informed those undergoing the one-year TV course at the institute were also not permitted to attend the event with the management telling them it is not part of their curriculum to attend the IFFI.“This is the first such instance at the institute where many of our applications have been rejected by the institute for such vague reasons,” said Urs, adding that classes for the students were lined up deliberately during this period.Students also informed a second year editing student, who was part of the NDFC Film Bazaar was to intern at the IFFI, but he was denied the internship too. Moreover, the Directorate of Film festival (DFF) –under the I&B ministry, have also dropped the students’ film package from the IFFI schedule. Since the last five years, IFFI has been screening five films each from FTII and other institutes such as Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute and MGR Governing Film and Television Institute. The IFFI is one of the prestigious film festivals of the country. Students said the limited number of students attending the event will go ahead with the protest in whichever way they can, even as the I&B ministry officials say they are expecting least disturbances at the event. Recently I&B minister Arun Jaitley had said he doesn’t see why someone should try and disturb an event in India and that it is not a good practice. Speaking to dna, FTII Prashant Pathrabe said the FTII has decided to fund only those students who are attending IFFI for the first time. “The others who have attended the event earlier can go at their own expenses,” he said emphasizing that attending the festival was not there in the curriculum of the TV students.However, students said every year a fund of Rs 1.8 lakh is reserved for expenses of students attending IFFI, alleging that Pathrabe is acting at the behest of the I&B ministry who is exploring all options to weaken their strike. They added that in any case they will continue their strike unless the I&B ministry gives them a constructive response on the contentious appointments in the institute such as the one of Gajendra Chauhan.

Three days before IFFI, I&B ministry assures making FTII an institute of national importance

A delegation comprising cinematographer Dharam Gulati met I&B secretary Sunil Arora and other top officials on Tuesday to talk about making FTII an institute of national importance, among the various other issues in the institute.

Just three days before the slated date of the International Film Festival of Goa, the alumni of FTII Pune and current Film and Television professionals (collectively GraFTII) met top Information and Broadcasting ministry officials to discuss different issues plaguing the premier institute.A delegation comprising cinematographer Dharam Gulati met I&B secretary Sunil Arora and other top officials on Tuesday to talk about making FTII an institute of national importance, among the various other issues in the institute.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, GraFTII members maintained that the issue of the different ‘contentious’ appointments to the FTII society, including that of its chairman Gajendra Chauhan.Speaking to dna, Gulati said, “As alumni, we had a discussion on making FTII an institute of national importance, that will take care of many of the problems that the institute is facing at present,” adding that he did not feel it was proper to discuss about the arbitrary appointments to the FTII society, since a discussion between the students and the ministry was already underway.He, however, said, that the GraFTII will continue to morally support the ongoing protests of the FTII students.The ministry and the GraFTII members will have further discussions on the issue on December 9 in Mumbai.Talking to dna, one of the FTII students said the ministry in all meetings with the student representatives of the institute has deliberately avoided their chief concern of the contentious appointments throughout and had only given assurances on making it an institute of national importance.

Intolerance debate: 47 senior academicians hit out at ‘leftist’ scholars alleging hypocrisy

“The closely-linked statements(by the scholars) appearing with clockwork regularity in India and abroad” are a well orchestrated campaign to create a bogeyman and cry wolf.

Terming the followers of this school of thought as “leftists,” the academicians said that they preferred to dismiss dissenting Indian historians as “nationalist or communal”.

Image Courtesy: Twitter
A group of 47 senior academicians on Tuesday accused ‘leftist’ scholars of making hypocritical attempts to claim high moral ground over the issue of intolerance, saying an “orchestrated campaign” was on “to create a bogeyman and cry wolf”.In a statement released here, the academicians associated with various prestigious institutions said that as historians and archaeologists they wanted to respond to the scholars’ “hypocritical attempts to claim moral high ground”.”The closely-linked statements(by the scholars) appearing with clockwork regularity in India and abroad” are a well orchestrated campaign to create a bogeyman and cry wolf. “They (statements) are neither intellectual nor academic in substance, but ideological and, much more so, political,” the academicians claimed in the statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The statement said that on October 26, 53 Indian historians had voiced alarm at what they perceived the country’s “highly vitiated atmosphere” and attempts to impose a “legislated history.This statement, they said, was followed by an open letter from overseas historians and social scientists warning against a “dangerously pervasive atmosphere of narrowness, intolerance and bigotry” and a monolithic view of India’s history. Many of the signatories to these two statements, they claimed, have been part of an politico-ideological apparatus, which has come to dominate most historical bodies and imposed its blinkered view of Indian historiography on the whole academic discipline.Terming the followers of this school of thought as “leftists,” the academicians said that they preferred to dismiss dissenting Indian historians as “nationalist or communal”.”While we reject attempts to portray attempts to portray India’s past as a glorious and perfect golden age, we condemn the far more pernicious imposition by the leftist school of a “legislated history”, which has presented an alienating and debilitating self-image to generations of Indian students, and prompted contempt for their civilisational heritage,” the scholars said.The statement contained the names of among others Nanditha Krishna, Director, CPR Institute of Indological Research; Dilip Chakrabarti, Emeritus Professor, Cambridge University; Madhu Kishwar, CSDS and O P Kejariwal, Central Information Commissioner and Nehru fellow. Institutions like the Indian History Congress and IndianCouncil for Historical Research (ICHR) have become arenas of power play as well as political and financial manipulation, the scholars claimed. The academicians also claimed that the “leftist school” had itself imposed a “legislated history” and called for a unbiased and new historiography of India.Further, claiming that the leftist scholars had engaged in various unscholarly and abusive practices, the 47 academicians, in their joint statement, also charged that the tradition of plurality that India has cherished has never been practised by this school.

Coming soon: National Academy for Urban Development

The academy will provide specialisation in urban planning, governance, management and urban marketing. It is also likely to be a nodal agency for all institutions in the country that have been working on urban issues.

Developing urban infrastructure and customising designs for cities and municipal bodies could no longer be the job of the civil engineer or an architect working for the government sector. The ministry of urban development is planning to set up a National Academy for Urban Development which will act as its own academic think tank for urban infrastructural issues. The academy will provide specialisation in urban planning, governance, management and urban marketing. It is also likely to be a nodal agency for all institutions in the country that have been working on urban issues.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Currently, what we have is a piecemeal approach. Various institutes are working on various subjects. Some of their works get to see the light of the day while others get shelved. Through this academy, we hope to bring together all these research work, help in knowledge sharing, provide domestic and international assistance as and when required,” said a committee member. Currently, the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), which is the nodal agency for all government’s infrastructure works, provides training to engineers and architects through a refresher course at its training institute located in the national capital region. A committee headed by a joint secretary of the ministry that also has representatives from the School of Planning and Architecture has started developing a concept paper to set up this academy. The academy that is expected to come up in a 100-acre area, will seek support from the World Bank and IMF to set up its infrastructure. “Currently, we have civil engineers or architects. But this is only one aspect. A lot of planning, partnership and customisation now goes into urban planning. The institute will be catering to all these aspects,” said a member of the expert committee. In countries such as the US, Australia, UAE, Japan and Singapore such planning institutes have a major role in developing city plans. “We hope to set up an academy at par with these nations. In the times to come, the academy will also be able to provide development assistance to other developing nations,” added the officer. The academy will also be providing degrees to students who will then be able to work in the industry. “The institute could either get affiliated to human resource development ministry or could operate on the lines of Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, which reports into the commerce ministry,” explained the officer. The experts, however, feel that the government will need to create more openings for the students to be accepted in the market. “There is a huge demand and supply gap in this expanding industry. With the government announcing new schemes and pumping in money into urban development, there is definitely a lot of potential in a concept like this,” said KT Ravindran, former dean and head of urban design at School of Planning and Architecture. “The government will need to ensure that there are enough jobs to accommodate the trained people,” added Ravindran.

Diwali effect: 20% rise in bronchitis patients due to crackers in Jaipur

Bronchitis is an inflammation or swelling of the bronchial tubes (bronchi), the air passages between nose and lungs.

Reuters
Air pollution caused by firecrackers this Diwali led to a rise of 20% in the number of people suffering from pollution-related bronchitis in the city.According to experts, the rise was due to heavy use of crackers that had less noise but produced high fume.”About 50 patients have been coming here every day since Diwali with complaints of running nose, sneezing, irritation in eyes, soar throat and difficulty in breathing. The number this year is nearly 20-25% more than previous years,” Dr Narendra Khippal, Professor at the Institute of Respiratory Diseases, SMS Government Medical College, told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Composition of chemicals in fireworks is getting dangerous and causing health-related problems, particularly in breathing and lung-related diseases. The composition even involves lead and mercury that are causing harm in conjunctiva, mucous membrane and nasal membrane,” he said.”Symptoms in patients this year indicate that they were in close contact with smoke of firecrackers and they inhaled it for a longer duration leading to bronchitis. People have started avoiding high noise creating firecrackers and are instead choosing less noise generating and fancy firework which produce more smoke,” Dr Khippal said.Bronchitis is an inflammation or swelling of the bronchial tubes (bronchi), the air passages between nose and lungs.”Patients with problem in breathing, soar throat and other related problems remained high yesterday and the reason behind it was mainly pollution due to firecrackers on night of Diwali,” Dr Swati Goswami, a homeopathic practitioner, said.Zaheer Ahemdad, a firecrackers trader on Hawamahal Road, said the demand for fancy firecrackers was slightly on higher side. “The sale of firecrackers with high sound was less as compared to previous years and people bought those which can be lit and held in hand. However, the overall sale was also less than the last year,” Ahemdad said.Activist Sanjeev Sankhla said that he conducted a special drive in some residential areas to make people aware of the harms of firecrackers.”Air quality has deteriorated badly in the last two days and affecting environment as well as people’s health, particularly that of children,” he said.

Goa has been put on sale with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar being the "official broker": Congress

Congress today alleged that the BJP-led Goa government has put the state on sale, with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar being the “official broker of the Goa government”.

Congress today alleged that the BJP-led Goa government has put the state on sale, with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar being the “official broker of the Goa government”.Addressing media here, Shantaram Naik, Rajya Sabha MP from Goa and All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary, said that he had visited Naquerim village in Quepem taluka in South Goa, and inspected the 250 acres of land proposed to be given “practically free” to Defexpo India to organize their defence exhibition shows.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”When the Goa government is not in a position to find 200 acres of land for establishing the proposed All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in the state, what is the rationale in squandering away precious land to a purpose which Goa cannot digest?” he said.Naik said that about 250 acres of land was identified for establishing Industrial Estate, with the intention of giving employment to local youth, but the Defence Minister has thrown the interest of Goa and its unemployed youth to winds, and ventured into a project which can be located in any other state where land is available in plenty.”The track record of Defence Ministry with regard to use of Goan land is one of land-grabbing in the name of defence requirement,” he alleged.”They (Defence Ministry) made the state government part with Anjadive island in the name of security, but made a U-turn after few years, by stopping members of Christian community from offering prayers at the church standing there, despite their earlier written agreement of allowing them to do so,” he said.Naik asserted that the Indian Navy is attempting to grab two islands off the coast of Vasco despite public outcry, not for security reasons but to build holiday homes for their personnel.”The Navy is in occupation of 1687.51 acres of land at Dabolim village, where they have succeeded in getting their names recorded in the land records without producing title deeds,” he said.Naik said that the Defence Ministry is evading reply with respect to the question he asked in the Rajya Sabha regarding its officers using residential flats in the airport area.”The Chief Minister of Goa, it is equally shocking, has put the seal of approval of his government without any murmur,” he said.The leader noted that Parrikar, when he was the Leader of Opposition in the Goa Assembly, heavily criticised the then Congress government if it agreed to part with any parcel of land in favour of the Central Government.Naik noted that the former Goa Chief Minister was highly critical of the then Defence Ministry for not considering Goa’s demand for releasing the land in its (Defence Ministry) occupation in favour of the Airport Authority of India (AAI).”However, after becoming the Defence Minister, Parrikar went to the extent of calling those who were demanding shifting of Naval Base in Goa to Karwar as ‘anti-national’, and did nothing to order Indian Navy to part with the much needed land to the AAI, to the utter shock of Goans.” The leader questioned the state government on leasing out the land for Defexpo project, when “Goa does not have any land to waste and when it took the state government three years to identify land for the National Institute of Technology (NIT), which the government has now identified at Cuncolim village”.Naik charged that the Goa government had given 300 acres of land to the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), but not more that 20 per cent of the land granted to them was utilized, and that the employment that Goans got from the ONGC project was negligible.He said that even village panchayats of Betul, Kitol-Fatorpa and Morpilla have opposed the project in the Naquerim village.”I will take up this matter in the Rajya Sabha and write to the President of India, who is the supreme commander of the Indian Air Force,” he added.

Four months after suicide, failed student declared class topper

Distraught after being declared failed in his favourite subject, a 17-year-old electronics engineering student had committed suicide but four months on a re-evaluation has found that he not only passed the subject but topped his class.

Distraught after being declared failed in his favourite subject, a 17-year-old electronics engineering student had committed suicide but four months on a re-evaluation has found that he not only passed the subject but topped his class.The “callous” evaluation process has left the parents of Mohammad Adnan Hilal numbed, who feel that it is not a case of suicide but “murder” as their son actually secured 48 marks in Physics and not 28 as declared earlier.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the re-evaluation, Hilal, a first semester student of electronic engineering at Government Polytechnic College in Srinagar, secured around 70% aggregate marks in the first semester of the course, making him the class topper.However, it took authorities four long months to realise Hilal’s correct score.In Jammu and Kashmir, 33 out of 100 is the minimum marks required to pass an examination.Declared failed in Physics, a subject his family and friends claim he had mastery over, Adnan committed suicide in June soon after he checked his results on Internet. He jumped into River Jhelum and his body was fished out four days later.Adnan’s father, Hilal Ahmad Gilkar says his son’s death was not a suicide but a “murder” as he was forced to take the extreme step by the callousness of some people in the system.”It is a murder and people responsible for it need to be identified and acted against as per the service rules of the government,” said Gilkar as tears rolled down his eyes.Shattered by the loss of his son, Gilkar, recalls how his son had told him that he had answered all the questions in the Physics paper with ease.”When Adnan returned in the evening on the day of his examination, he informed me that he did well in Physics paper.”He told me there was no continuation sheet at the examination center so he had to write the rest of the answers on another answer sheet. He was confident that he had done well,” Gilkar, a guest faculty at Institute of Management and Public Administration (IMPA) here, said.After the death of his son, Gilkar applied for re-evaluation of his son’s Physics answer paper and was pushed further into grief as Adnan was declared pass in the paper The Jammu and Kashmir State Board of Technical Education (JKSBOTE), while admitting it as a “mistake”, said, “Such things happen in other universities as well”.

AIDS preventive medicine available from December in Sonagachi

One of Asia’s largest red light districts, Sonagachi will next month roll out an experimental project for providing HIV-preventive medicine to sex workers in what will be the first such initiative in the country.

File photo of Sonagachi sex workers

One of Asia’s largest red light districts, Sonagachi will next month roll out an experimental project for providing HIV-preventive medicine to sex workers in what will be the first such initiative in the country.The feasibility project recently received clearance from the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and Union Health Ministry and is likely to commence in December.”We recently gave clearance to this project. It is a feasibility project. It is for the first time that such a project is being taken up in India,” national programme officer at NACO, BB Rewari, said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Under the project, ‘Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis’ (PrEP), regular medicine would be given to an HIV-negative sex worker who engages sexually with an HIV-positive person, said a senior official of an NGO working for the welfare of sex workers.The medicine is designed to prevent sex workers from HIV infection, said Samarjit Jana principal of the NGO, Sonagachi Research and Training Institute (SRTI).”We have already started survey of HIV-positive and HIV- negative sex workers in Sonagachi. We hope the project will start from December this year,” Jana said.The project is to be financed by the Melinda Gates Foundation.SRTI is an arm of the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC), a forum of 1,30,000 sex-workers in West Bengal.According to Protim Roy, a doctor associated with the project, an awareness drive for the campaign has already been taken up among the sex workers.Jana said that the use of condoms and taking PrEP medicine everyday would offer double protection against HIV infection.”We all know that use of condoms has brought down the prevalence of HIV, but often customers do not use condoms. In such cases and in cases of defective condoms, the virus can infect a person. This can be prevented by regular intake of such a medicine,” he explained.Rewari agreed that PrEP has the potential to bring down the HIV risk factor by 60-70% among high-risk groups such as sex-workers.

Sea level rise threatens Mumbai and Kolkata: Global report

The report has projected that China will be most severely affected due to sea level rise as some 145 million faced the prospect of getting submerge.

Picture credit: Climate Central

Millions of people living in Indian metros Mumbai and Kolkata are at the risk of getting submerged in the future if climate change triggered sea level rise is left unchecked, a new global report of Climate Central, a US-based research organization, has said. The report, released on Monday, has suggested that at the current pace of sea-rise, coastal cities won’t be threatened in the immediate future. But, maps released with the report show that if a temperature rise of four degree Celsius occurs by 2100 – due to unchecked carbon emissions – then major cities such as Mumbai, London, New York and many others could submerge.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Almost 11 million people are at a risk in Mumbai while globally 760 million people would be affected due to sea level rise. The report also added that such a scenario can be averted if 195 countries, meeting in Paris later in December to reach an agreement to tackle climate change, make a ‘sharp transition’ to clean energy.Ahead of the Paris summit, 150 nations have submitted their nationally determined plans to tackle climate change and cap global temperature rise to two degree Celsius above the pre-industrial levels. But, the United Nations said last week that even if climate action plans are implemented, greenhouse gas emissions will still be on the rise. The Climate Central report thus asks countries to evaluate the four-degree rise scenario during the Paris summit.The report has projected that China will be most severely affected due to sea level rise as some 145 million faced the prospect of getting submerge. Followed by China, India would be hit hardest with a population of 55 million exposed to these threats due to a four degree warming and 20 million due to a two degree warming. The sea level will rise by 4.7 metres in the event of a two degree warming and it would be double due to four degree warming.Climate Central’s report was based on a paper authored by their own scientists Benjamin Strauss and Scott Kulp and Anders Levermann of Germany-based Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research published last month in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of the US.

Diwali 2015: Here’s why Arvind Kejriwal asked Delhi citizens not to burst crackers

Noting the possible adverse effects of smoke emanating from firecrackers on children and the elderly, the Chief Minister appealed to people to keep these issues in mind and refrain from setting of crackers. (File Photo)

PTI
Air pollution in Delhi was measured to be worse than that of Singapore on Wednesday.According to bloomberg.com, the levels of particulate matter (PM)2.5 calibrated near the Parliament in New Delhi were 27 times the safety limit. A reading of 675 micrograms per cubic meter of air was measured at the capital.The World Health Organisation’s (WHO), the 24-hour mean guideline for PM2.5 is a fraction of reading taken at the New Delhi. Singapore had reached a reading of 471 micrograms per cubic metre of air after the Indonesia plantation fires.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The new reading in New Delhi lead to the US embassy terming the city’s air as hazardous. It advised its citizens to refrain from doing any physical activity, especially to vulnerable citizens and children.After farmers in Punjab burnt their crops, they added to the existing pollution from industries and vehicles, the toxic levels increased tremendously. The city too has poor monitoring means to check emissions.With Diwali set to be celebrated tomorrow, the air pollution levels will only get worse leading to serious health hazards.According to bloomberg.com, quoting figures from Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany 650,000 lives succumb to illnessed led due to air pollution annually in India Related read – Don’t convert Diwali into a ‘festival of smoke’: Delhi CM Arvind KejriwalThe acute problem of air pollution which the city is struggling with may assume “dangerous proportions” during Diwali, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Saturday urging people not to convert the festival of lights into a “festival of smoke”. In a pre-Diwali message released through newspaper advertisements, Kejriwal advised people against bursting of fireworks and crackers. “On this occasion of happiness, I want to make an appeal. Our Delhi is struggling with an acute problem of air pollution, which assumes dangerous proportions on Diwali due to bursting of fireworks and crackers,” Kejriwal said.Noting the possible adverse effects of smoke emanating from firecrackers on children and the elderly, the Chief Minister appealed to people to keep these issues in mind and refrain from setting of crackers. “Let us not convert the festival of lights into festival of smokes,” he said.

The Indian film about beef that turned controversial

How a student film about beef became controversial

‘India’s nuke programme among largest in developing nations’

Stating that India has “one of the largest nuclear power programmes” among developing nations, a US-based think-tank on Tuesday said by the end of 2014 India had enough weapon-grade plutonium to possess an estimated stock of atomic weapons in the range of 75-125.

Representational Image: Indian soldiers stand beside the Agni II missile

Reuters
Stating that India has “one of the largest nuclear power programmes” among developing nations, a US-based think-tank on Tuesday said by the end of 2014 India had enough weapon-grade plutonium to possess an estimated stock of atomic weapons in the range of 75-125.”An estimate of India’s nuclear arsenal can be derived by considering its weapon-grade plutonium stock. The resulting estimate has a median of 138 nuclear weapons equivalent with a range of 110 to 175 weapons equivalent,” a report released by Institute for Science and International Security said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”However, the actual number of nuclear weapons India built from its stocks of weapon-grade plutonium must be less.When accounting for the amount of plutonium in the weapons production pipelines and in reserves, it is reasonable to assume that only about 70 per cent of the estimated stock of weapon-grade uranium is in nuclear weapons,” the report said.”Thus the predicted number of weapons made from its weapon-grade plutonium at the end of 2014 is about 97 with a range of 77-123. These values are rounded to 100 nuclear weapons with a range of 75 125 nuclear weapons,” the report co-authored by David Albright and Serena Kelleher-Vergantini said.Notably, Albright had led anti-India campaign both at the Congress and among the think-tanks against the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.The report ‘India’s Stocks of Civil and Military Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium, End 2014’ concludes that India has “one of the largest nuclear power programmes among developing nations”.The report estimated that India has made 100-200 kilogrammes of weapon-grade uranium for nuclear weapons.”Faced with a lack of information but evidence that India has produced HEU (highly enriched uranium) for nuclear weapons, it is assumed that India has made 100-200 kilogrammes of weapon-grade uranium for nuclear weapons. Of course, this estimate is highly uncertain,” the report said.”It has a substantial stock of nuclear weapons made from weapon-grade plutonium, and perhaps some thermonuclear weapons that rely on both weapon-grade plutonium and weapon-grade uranium,” the report said.Noting that an estimate of India’s nuclear arsenal can be derived by considering its plutonium and highly enriched uranium stocks, the report said India separates plutonium produced primarily in a set of small, dedicated reactors and a smaller amount produced in nuclear power reactors.”However, India also has a growing gas centrifuge programme capable of producing significant amounts of HEU mostly for naval reactor fuel and perhaps for nuclear weapons, including thermonuclear weapons,” it said and alleged that India is not transparent about its fissile material stocks.The report estimates India’s stocks of separated plutonium and highly enriched uranium as of the end of 2014.India’s stockpiles of nuclear weapons is much less than that of neighboring Pakistan, according to a recent report.

Rising Intolerance: Modi government must start dialogue, says Nobel laureate Kaylash Satyarthi

“The need of the hour is that the government sit with these people and listen to their point of view at least,” he added.

“But I wish the government soon breaks the monologue and starts dialogue with an open mind,” he said.

Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Thursday said intolerance is on the rise and there is a “dialogue deficit” between the government and its people. “There is significant intolerance in our society. Not only intolerance but fear and apathy has also risen in the society at large which is dividing it. “This situation is prevailing because there is dialogue deficit between the government and some sections of the society, which should be resolved as soon as possible,” Satyarthi told PTI on the sidelines of an event held at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) here. “Not only in India but the rising intolerance is a worldwide phenomenon. But I wish the government soon breaks the monologue and starts dialogue with an open mind,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When asked what was his opinion on litterateurs, film makers and scientists who were returning their awards, he said, “whatever is happening is not a good sign”. “The need of the hour is that the government sit with these people and listen to their point of view at least,” he added. Earlier, while addressing a gathering of students and social workers at TISS, Satyarthi expressed concern on the way people were educating their children on matters of religion. “Our children have not made religion or caste. They should be taught in a way that binds the different followers of different religions but unfortunately its not happening,” the Child Rights activist said.”We should be proud of being humans first. We ought to have dignity of being an Indian, but it doesn’t mean that we should hate Pakistan,” he said. “If we have simplicity, austerity, quest for learning and nature to forgive someone’s mistake, then there is child alive inside your heart…never let this child die,” he appealed.

Indian filmmakers return awards

A group of 10 Indian filmmakers return national awards in protest at what they say are threats to freedom of expression.

FTII row: Stir against Gajendra Chauhan longest in history

The 139-days long strike that was called off on Wednesday was the seventh major and the longest such protest in the history of the Film and Television Institute of India, which is replete with stirs and agitations for various causes affecting the students.

FTII students call off 139-day strike, won’t talk with government

The students were on a strike to protest the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the chairman of FTII.

FTII strike

Reuters
Students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) have decided to call off their strike after a period of 139 days. The students were on a strike to protest the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the chairman of FTII.Indian Express reported that the students have decided to attend classes but said they will not engage in any talks with government officials.”The success of our agitation lies in the fact that we took our concerns to common citizens. Filmmakers, artists and others should now take our battle ahead. They should take our genuine concerns forward,” a student representative said on Wednesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government has not acceded to the students’ demands to remove Gajendra Chauhan from his position.Related Read: FTII row: Bombay HC issues notice to Centre, othersGovt will ensure FTII students complete their courses, says Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore​

Watch: Mark Zuckerberg? reveals where Facebook is headed and why

Zuckerberg on Wednesday hosted a townhall at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi where around 900 students attended the Q&A session.

Mark Zuckerberg​
File Photo

Talking about where he plans to take Facebook in the coming years Marck Zuckerberg said,”Over the next period of time we are entering the golden age of Internet video.”He referred to how we have seen the progression from text to photos over graphic to static to videos that are now animated and richer. “But it is not end of the line,” he added. “People want an even richer media.”Zuckerberg spoke about 3D, augmented reality and virtual reality being the future of social platforms. Also Read: Here are 10 inspiring quotes Mark Zuckerberg said at the session you wouldn’t want to miss<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Zuckerberg feels social media is about sharing experience and “richer and richer” communication. He went on to take an example out of his own life and how he’d like to introduce his to-be-born baby to his fiends and family.Take a look at him talking about the future of Facebook and social media:In India Mark Zuckerberg speaks to the audience about where fa…
Mark Zuckerberg reveals where facebook is headed and how it is adapting its user experience
Posted by DNA India on Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Zuckerberg attends India meeting

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg is attending a town hall meeting with students of a leading Indian engineering college in Delhi.

Centre has approved to set up IIT near Vadodara: CM Anandiben Patel

An IIT will be established on a public-private partnership (PPP) model where Gujarat government, the Centre and an industry partner will be the stakeholders.
File Photo
PTI
Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Monday said that the Centre has approved its proposal for setting up an IIT near Vadodara. Patel inaugurated the L&T Institute of Project Management (IPM) and L&T Power Training Institute (PTI) at the campus of Larsen & Toubro knowledge in the city.The Chief Minister said the Union government has decided to establish the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIT) on 20 hectares of land near Vadodara after it experienced difficulties in acquiring large swathes of land for establishing the Central university in Vadodara.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An IIT will be established on a public-private partnership (PPP) model where Gujarat government, the Centre and an industry partner will be the stakeholders.Meanwhile, Patel also announced to establish sports and children university near here saying Vadodara is emerging as educational hub in the country.”Gujarat government will provide all help for setting up of IIT, sports and children university here,” she added.The Chief Minister requested Anil M Naik, chairman of Larsen &Toubro Group of Companies to help the state government in developing Vadodara city as educational hub where 135-year-old Maharaja Sayajirao university is located.Anil Naik said, “The purpose behind establishing of IPM and PTI is to meet requirements of infrastructure development projects and their speedy and time bound implementations in the country”. He claimed,”L&T is first private sector company in India which contributed a total amount of Rs 75 crore to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat, Swasth Bharat (Clean India, healthy India) campaign”. He further said this figure does not include contributions made by the trusts promoted by him in his personal capacity.Naik said at present nearly 20,000 employees are working with L & T Group of Companies and 2,000 more workforce will be added. Gujarat Finance Minister Saurabh Patel requested Naik to provide more jobs to youths from Vadodara region.

India’s military build-up will force Pakistan to take ‘deterrent measures’, says PM Nawaz Sharif

“India needs to engage in dialogue on Kashmir,” he said.

Sharif’s speech was disrupted by a protester who shouted slogans in support of freedom for the Pakistani province of Balochistan

Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif during a speech on Friday at US Institute of Peace said that India’s military build-up would force Pakistan to take ‘deterrent measures’.He also spoke about India-Pakistan NSA-level talks which were cancelled during September. “India needs to engage in dialogue on Kashmir,” he said. “The talks cancelled over a flimsy issue. They were cancelled after ceasefire violations along LoC,” he said.Also read: Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif heckled during speech in United States<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sharif’s speech was disrupted by a protester who shouted slogans in support of freedom for the Pakistani province of Balochistan.

Students die in Mumbai restaurant fire

A possible gas cylinder blast has killed at least eight people, most of them students, in a restaurant in the Indian city of Mumbai, police say.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to host next townhall in Delhi

It will be held in Delhi on Wednesday, October 28 at 12 pm IST.

Mark Zuckerberg

Weeks after hosting PM Narendra Modi at Facebook’s headquarters at Paolo Alto, Mark Zuckerberg is coming to India to host a townhall. On Friday, Zuckerberg made the announced through his Facebook page that the next FB Townhall Q&A will be held in Delhi on Wednesday, October 28 at 12 pm IST. He has urged Facebook users to put questions, which he will be answering there. Apart from that, the tech mogul will also be taking questions from students hailing from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Zuckerberg’s ambitious internet.org project subsequently renamed as Free Basics has received flak in India as many experts believe it violates the principles of Net Neutrality. Zuckerberg though has tried to allay the fears several times in the past. Currently there are 130 million Facebook users in India. With internet users increasing exponentially, India remains one of the lucrative market for Facebook.

After string of failed meets, I&B officials, FTII students to hold fifth meeting on Oct 20

Pune: After a string of meetings to solve the FTII row becoming inconclusive, a fifth meeting between officials of the information and broadcasting ministry and striking students is now to be held on October 20, a member of the students council said late on Thursday.

Image: Naresh Sharma/FirstpostImage: Naresh Sharma/Firstpost

Image: Naresh Sharma/Firstpost

Ranjit Nair, a member of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) students’ core committee, said the next meeting will be held on October 20, while the venue and time is yet to be decided upon.

The students have been protesting against the appointement of actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as the chairman of the Pune-based premier institute.

In the last meeting, which was held on October 10 in Mumbai, the information and broadcasting secretary had ensured a meeting with Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore to take the negotiations forward.

IANS

Nadda strategises swine flu preparedness with Delhi government

The meeting between union health minister JP Nadda and Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain, came amidst a great deal of activity to ensure that governments, both at the Centre and at the state level, appear proactive in dealing the next health issue, right after a difficult dengue season.

The Union health ministry and the Delhi government health ministry, on Tuesday, decided on data and protocol sharing as well as training state government doctors on ventilator protocol, in an effort to be ready for the looming swine flu season.The meeting between union health minister JP Nadda and Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain, came amidst a great deal of activity to ensure that governments, both at the Centre and at the state level, appear proactive in dealing the next health issue, right after a difficult dengue season.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the information that both ministries put out, the Union ministry would share “guidelines for vaccination against Influenza A H1N1, infection control and standard treatment protocols” with Delhi. Additionally, central and Delhi government hospitals have to ensure a full stock of the drug Oseltamivir, and the Delhi government has to “devise a mechanism to fix ceiling rate” to test the Influenza A H1N1 virus. This rate, the Delhi government announced will be capped at Rs 4,500 at private laboratories.Testing facilities, at the moment in the National Centre for Disease Control, will be opened at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Vallabhai Patel Chest Institute and the National institute of Malaria Research.AIIMS, along with other central government hospitals will also train Delhi government doctors “on proper ventilator protocol to manage complicated cases of Influenza A H1N1 who may develop respiratory complications.”The two ministers also agreed on data sharing of cases related to the disease in both central and state hospitals.Hospitals have been asked to double the number of their isolation beds, and the Delhi government has decided that “doctors, nurses, other paramedics in both government and private hospitals, and high risk groups like children, senior citizens, pregnant women, will be provided free vaccination in hospitals for effective prevention.”With cases being reported from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana, Karnataka and Rajasthan, the H1N1 virus is already rearing its head. Taking note of this, the union health ministry has been trying not to be caught off guard, issuing letters and advisories to state health secretaries on the matter. On 1 October, health secretary BP Sharma wrote the chief secretary of all states and Union Territories, asking to ensure proper “epidemiological surveillance to detect clustering of influenza like illnesses”, to have requisite laboratory preparedness, proper training of doctors to handle complications and a stock of Oseltamivir, Viral Diagnostic Kits, N-95 masks, among other necessary equipment.Central government advisories have also asked states to have functional control room from 15 October onward, to monitor “preparedness, cases, mortality”. This centre is to generate reports everyday and share with the Union ministry.

FTII row: Pune court denies bail plea of 12 students

The students were out on anticipatory bail since August 19.

File Photo of midnight arrest of FTII students

Twelve students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), who were booked in August for forcefully confining institute director Prashant Pathrabe to his office for several hours, were produced in magisterial court on Monday where they applied for a bail.A magisterial court on Monday denied bail to twelve students from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) who were arrested for forcefully gheraoing director Prashant Pathrabe have been denied bail. The students were out on anticipatory bail since August 19. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 50 students were booked by police after Pathrabe filed an FIR against them. While arrests warrant were issued against 15, five were taken by the cops that night.The five students were released on bail by a magisterial court, and 12 others who had approached the court had got anticipatory bail. But the bail period exhausted, after which they were produced before the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Rajesh Tiwari where they applied for a bail.

Dr Subhash Chandra Show: Women need to believe in their own self and strength

Dr. Subhash Chandra (DSC) Show is aired every Saturday at 10 pm on Zee News and 7 pm on Zee Business with a repeat telecast on Sundays at 11 am on Zee News and Zee Business.

This Week Dr. Subhash Chandra Show was conducted at Birla Institute of Technology Mesra, Patna in Bihar with an all Women Audience from Patna’s Magadh Mahila College. The session witnessed participation of 600 students from Magadh Mahila College who expressed their views on “Women as a stronger sex and not a weaker being”.While sharing his thoughts on the matter Dr. Chandra re-iterated that it is women who need to believe in their own self & their strength. He discussed about Jaya Devi of Bihar who fought against sexual abuse against women and also made the students meet some Villagers from Dharara Village in Bihar who celebrate the birth of a Girl by planting a tree. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dr. Chandra urged young women to fight for their rights, raise their voice against injustice & abuse and start a fight against every evil on an individual basis.Watch the episode here:The session was organised as part of the episodes of the Dr. Subhash Chandra Show. Dr. Subhash Chandra (DSC) Show is aired every Saturday at 10 pm on Zee News and 7 pm on Zee Business with a repeat telecast on Sundays at 11 am on Zee News and Zee Business. This show is also aired on other channels of Zee Media.

Rising mental illness issues among Delhi’s student population

The study also says that 17.8 percent of the students had thoughts about suicide and self harm. Among the sample size, 12.8 percent of men and 22 percent of women had these thoughts.

A newly released survey points to an alarming rise of mental health problems among Delhi’s college going youth. Released on Thursday, by Dr. Sunil Mittal of the Cosmos Institute of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, which surveyed students between the ages of 18-25 years of age, the results show that 64.6 percent of students reported symptoms of depression and 51.6 percent of anxiety.The CIMBS survey’s sample size is admittedly small for its scope, 500 students from five “prominent” universities, whose names were not revealed, across Delhi-NCR. However, speaking to dna, Dr. Mittal stressed on the fact that his team made sure to interact with a large cross section of students, from all stratas of society, and also worked to avoid a biased selection of people. He said that instead of only inviting students to come talk to them, which generally results in those who are aware of their mental health problems stepping forward, leading to a bias in the data, they also reached out to peer leaders, popular kids to spread the word, approached students on the basis of recommendations made by friends and/or teachers so as to reach out to as many kids as possible.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, so that the sample size didn’t get too small on stratifying it, Dr. Mittal said they did not look at socio-economic backgrounds of students. The comparisons are between genders.The study also says that 17.8 percent of the students had thoughts about suicide and self harm. Among the sample size, 12.8 percent of men and 22 percent of women had these thoughts.Women, according to the survey, were more prone to varying mental health issues than men, except in cases of substance abuse and addictions, where the numbers were equally split.Among the 20 percent of those abusing alcohol and tobacco, 53 percent were men and 47 percent were women. However, what was worrying according to Mittal was the 6 percent of student population experimenting with drugs including cannabis, cocaine, opioids, stimulants. If extrapolated from their sample size, he said, to the actual student population in Delhi-NCR, that would mean huge numbers.Five percent of the students screened also reported symptoms of major psychotic disorders.Sleep disturbance, which may seem innocuous, but is highly detrimental for mental health, was found among 34 percent of women and 15.7 percent of men. Sleep disturbance, said Mittal could be a symptom of “underlying psychiatric disorder, and may need further evaluation”.Students, without fully developed stress coping mechanisms, also reported relationship distress. 43.2 percent students had trouble coping with relationships with peers, friends, family, with 55 percent of them women.Though the survey team said that the students across class were found with mental health problems, whether at beginning stages or chronic, they refrained from going into their socio-economic factors.An upside of the survey, said Mittal, was the fact that more students now, than a few years ago, were willing to speak about mental health. At least some of the stigma seemed to be gone. However, he stressed greatly on the need of mental health education on campuses, so that friends and peers could encourage each other to seek out help.

Tamil Nadu: ‘Baahubali’ makes it into an exam paper at Vellore Institute of Technology!

It was a 20-mark question where the students were asked to design the set for optimum structural stability to ensure the safety of the actors.

Baahubali

SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali broke many box office records. Now, it has also broken another record – it has entered the exam paper in the civil engineering department of the well-known Vellore Institute of Technology!A report in The New Indian Express says that civil engineering students who were writing the internal exam were surprised on seeing a question relating to the film in their structural analysis question paper. The question asked related to designing a dramatic set-piece for the war scene in the climax of the film. The assistant professor Mahendra Gattu of the course has told the daily that he wanted to make learning enjoyable and used the film to drive home a theory. It was a 20-mark question where the students were asked to design the set for optimum structural stability to ensure the safety of the actors.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report states that the question had two parts – ‘where the load is acting on the frame so that maximum momentum can be generated’ and ‘what load acts on the frame, which would make it weak.’The professor has stated this is not the first time he has used pop culture in his teaching methods. A lot of his questions are related to day-to-day life, adds the report.

Pune has its own microbe and it’s called ‘Clostridium Punens’

Scientists name microbe after Pune city . This new microbe is called ‘Clostridium Punens.’

Now there is one more reason for Puneites to add to their “feel-proud-of-this-thing-because-it-is-from-Pune” list.Scientists in Pune have discovered a microbe in the intestine of a Punekar and now have named it after the city. This new microbe is called ‘Clostridium Punens.’ Pune’s Microbial Culture Collection (MCC) and Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) collaborated for this research, reports Maharashtra Times.Dr Yogesh Shouche of MCC and Dr Vikram Lanjekar of ARI explained that after detailed study of genome sequencing of Clostridium Punens, they found that it generates some enzymes that help digest polysaccharides we get after eating vegetarian food.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”For the first time the microbe was found in the intestine of a Puneri therefore even if it is found in another person’s body, it still will be called Clostridium Punens,” said Dr Shouche.Dr Lanjekar said, “This is one of its kind discovery in India and hence holds more importance.”

FTII row: I&B panel slams students, faculty; defends police action

FTII Director Prashant Pathrabe had alleged “mental torture” by the striking students who allegedly confined him to his office cabin for several hours.

The director was well within his right to call the police and lodge FIRs

An I and B Ministry panel has blamed the agitating students and the faculty of FTII for the prevailing situation at the campus here, as it defended the institute’s controversial decision to call police in the campus after the gherao of its director. The three-member committee headed by SM Khan, who is Registrar of Newspapers for India, said this in a report submitted to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry after visiting the campus of the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India(FTII) a month ago after the gherao episode that led to a midnight crackdown by police in which five students were arrested.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report accessed by an RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar here said, “the incidents leading to lodging of FIR by director and subsequent arrests are unfortunate. However, if one views the video recordings of these incidents, one can understand the amount of mental trauma the director (Pathrabe) would have gone through. Hence, the director was well within his right to call the police and lodge FIRs. Although everyone demanded withdrawal of FIRs the matter at present is before the court of law and the law will take its own course.”FTII Director Prashant Pathrabe had alleged “mental torture” by the striking students who allegedly confined him to his office cabin for several hours on August 18 asking him to rescind his decision ordering assessment of incomplete film projects of the 2008 batch students on “as is where is basis” to clear the backlog. Coming as it did when the students’ strike demanding removal of actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan from the chairmanship of the institute was on, the gherao incident and subsequent arrests of about 11 students further fuelled the campus unrest, still being addressed by the ministry through talks with the FTII Students’ Association (FSA).The committee, besides Khan, comprised two other members –SS Naganathan, Under Secretary (Films) and Anshu Sinha, Director (Films) of the I and B Ministry. On the contentious issue of assessment of 2008 batch’s incomplete film projects, the committee stated, “although the students as well as the faculty blame various reasons for the delay for completion of 2008 batch the records available clearly indicate there was no dearth of facilities for completion of the project, mainly delayed due to the fact that students were not ready with the scripts.” Slamming the FTII faculty, the report said, “the academic faculty keeps changing its stand. In fact the unfortunate incidents that led to the lodging of FIRs were due to constant shifting of stand by the faculty.”Meanwhile, the over 110 day strike by the students who have been boycotting classes since June 12, continued even as the ministry officials and FSA representatives prepared for one more round of talks in Mumbai on October 7 to resolve the core issue raised by the agitating students –cancellation of the alleged political appointments on the FTII governing body including that of the chairman Chauhan.The panel said the HoDs had unanimously agreed on August 11, 2015 with the proposal to assess the 2008 projects on “as is where is” basis but changed its stand during interaction with the committee saying “this is not an opportune time to do the assessment”. The fact finding committee observed that the majority of contract/external faculty who happen to be alumni of the institute who frequently visit and stay in the campus, fuel the students without any responsibility towards orderly conduct of courses and passing out of students. “The contract faculty should restrict themselves to academic activities rather than indulging in activities which are not academic in nature and are beyond their scope of work,” it said.The report also favoured setting up of an “Academic Discipline Committee” consisting of the director and faculty to monitor implementation of schedules of different assignments by students and take “appropriate measures” to ensure strict academic discipline at the FTII.

Kashmir part of unfinished agenda of partition, says Pakistan army chief Raheel Sharif

Addressing the Royal United Services Institute, an independent think-tank on defence and security, in London, Gen Sharif said the dispute between Pakistan and India “resides in the Kashmir issue”.

Pakistan army chief Gen Raheel Sharif has termed Kashmir as part of the “unfinished agenda of partition” and said the world community must help resolve the longstanding issue if it wants genuine peace in the region.Addressing the Royal United Services Institute, an independent think-tank on defence and security, in London, Gen Sharif said the dispute between Pakistan and India “resides in the Kashmir issue”. Terming the Kashmir issue an unfinished agenda of partition of the sub-continent, he said the world community must come forward to help resolve the longstanding issue if it wants genuine peace in the region, the Dawn reported on Saturday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The army chief claimed that Indian intransigence, violations of the Line of Control and indirect strategy against Pakistan were adversely affecting the region. Talking about the security situation in Pakistan, he said it was becoming conducive for upward economic trajectory. He said efforts would continue for peace in the country.Gen Raheel also talked about Afghanistan and promised to support all efforts for an enduring and permanent peace in the strife-torn neighbouring country. He also warned against detractors and spoilers of these efforts. “While we continue to support enduring and permanent peace in Afghanistan, let us all beware of detractors and spoilers,” he said.Gen Sharif is visiting Europe where first he addressed a security conference in Germany and then has been busy in Britain addressing conferences and meeting officials.

5-year-old ‘sacrificed’: Man beheads boy, accused thrashed by villagers in AP

Ongole (AP): In a gruesome incident, a five-year-old boy was murdered allegedly by a man in a suspected case of human sacrifice as part of a witchcraft-related ritual in Prakasam district here on Wednesday.

The incident took place on Wednesday afternoon in Pokuru village under Voletivaripalem mandal, where the accused, Tirumala Rao, was thrashed and set ablaze by locals after the murder came to light, Kandukur Circle Inspector M Lakshman said.

Representational image. Image courtesy:ibnliveRepresentational image. Image courtesy:ibnlive

Representational image. Image courtesy:ibnlive

Police, quoting locals, said Rao, a resident of the same village, killed the boy as part of a witchcraft-related ritual.

The accused, said to be in his mid 30s, took the boy from an anganwadi (child care centre) to his house, where he performed pujas. He then cut the boy’s head, collected the blood into a vessel and sprinkled it all over his house, they said.

The incident came to light when the victim’s mother went to the anganwadi. Not finding her son there, she enquired and was told he has gone with Rao, police said.

The woman went to Rao’s house along with a group of villagers and found it locked. They broke the lock and found the boy’s body in the house. Villagers launched a search for Rao and managed to get hold of him. They tied him to a pole, thrashed and set him ablaze after pouring kerosene, police said.

After coming to know about the matter, police rushed to the village and rescued Rao, who was first taken to a local hospital and then shifted to Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ongole, the district headquarters, for treatment.

Superintendent of Police C Srikant visited the village to get details of the incident. Lakshman said police have filed a case and investigation was in progress.

PTI

AP shocker: Boy murdered in ‘human sacrifice’, accused thrashed by villagers

Ongole (AP): In a gruesome incident, a five-year-old boy was murdered allegedly by a man in a suspected case of human sacrifice as part of a witchcraft-related ritual in Prakasam district here on Wednesday.

The incident took place this afternoon in Pokuru village under Voletivaripalem mandal, where the accused, Tirumala Rao, was thrashed and set ablaze by locals after the murder came to light, Kandukur Circle Inspector M Lakshman said.

Representational image. Image courtesy:ibnliveRepresentational image. Image courtesy:ibnlive

Representational image. Image courtesy:ibnlive

Police, quoting locals, said Rao, a resident of the same village, killed the boy as part of a witchcraft-related ritual.

The accused, said to be in his mid 30s, took the boy from an anganwadi (child care centre) to his house, where he performed pujas. He then cut the boy’s head, collected the blood into a vessel and sprinkled it all over his house, they said.

The incident came to light when the victim’s mother went to the anganwadi. Not finding her son there, she enquired and was told he has gone with Rao, police said.

The woman went to Rao’s house along with a group of villagers and found it locked. They broke the lock and found the boy’s body in the house. Villagers launched a search for Rao and managed to get hold of him. They tied him to a pole, thrashed and set him ablaze after pouring kerosene, police said.

After coming to know about the matter, police rushed to the village and rescued Rao, who was first taken to a local hospital and then shifted to Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ongole, the district headquarters, for treatment.

Superintendent of Police C Srikant visited the village to get details of the incident. Lakshman said police have filed a case and investigation was in progress.

PTI

Chinese, French, Spanish firms to study PM Modi’s Diamond Quadrilateral bullet train plan

The Mumbai-Delhi corridor will be studied by a consortium comprising the China-based Third Railway Survey and Design Institute Group Corporation along with the Lahmeyer International (India).
Representational Image

The railway ministry has decided on the firms and consortia that will study the technical feasibility of three bullet train corridors- High Speed Rail in India- that comprise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Diamond Quadrilateral.The Quadrilateral has been divided into three packages with the first package being the Mumbai-Delhi corridor, the second one being the Mumbai-Chennai and the third package being the Delhi -Kolkata package.The Mumbai-Delhi corridor will be studied by a consortium comprising the China-based Third Railway Survey and Design Institute Group Corporation along with the Lahmeyer International (India). The Mumbai-Chennai package will be studied by Systra of France, RITES of the Indian Railways and Ernst and Young LLP.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi-Kolkata corridor will be helmed by Spain’s INECO, TYPSA and Intercontinental Consultants and Technocrats. The fourth corridor, not mentioned in this announcement is the Delhi-Chennai corridor which is being studied by a group of Chinese firms. This deal was sealed when the Chinese president XI Jinping had visited India in September last year.Speaking to dna, Anil Saxena, chief spokesperson of the railway ministry said, “The Delhi-Chennai corridor is further divided into packets. The first is the Delhi-Nagpur packet and the second is the Nagpur-Chennai packet. Preparatory work on all the High Speed Rail corridors are moving quickly.”

FTII students to meet officials of I&B Ministry to break logjam

The students on Sunday had called off their 18-day-long hunger strike in response to the government’s communication inviting them for a dialogue to resolve their demands.

The agitating students of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) are going to meet officials of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry in Mumbai on Tuesday to discuss future course of action.The students on Sunday had called off their 18-day-long hunger strike in response to the government’s communication inviting them for a dialogue to resolve their demands. The students are protesting against the appointment of actor Gajendra Chauhan as the FTII Chairman. Ranjit Nair of FTII Students’ Association (FSA) said that the ‘hunger strike’ has been being called off to facilitate talks with the government, following which the Information and Broadcasting Ministry Joint Secretary replied and a meeting was fixed in Mumbai.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nair, however, clarified that although the hunger strike has been withdrawn, but the general strike that started on June 12 with a boycott of classes will continue till the issues raised by them are resolved during the proposed talks. The ministry agreed to hold Tuesday’s meeting at Films Division in Mumbai after students insisted that the venue would be Pune or Mumbai and not New Delhi.The proposed meeting was made possible by film makers Raj Kumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who arbitrated with the government and the students.

Dr Subhash Chandra Show: Is MBA just a blind rat race?

Dr. Subhash Chandra (DSC) Show is aired every Saturday at 10 pm on Zee News and 7 pm on Zee Business with a repeat telecast on Sundays at 11 am on Zee News and Zee Business. This show is also aired on other channels of Zee Media.​

This week Dr. Subhash Chandra Show was conducted at Birla Institute of Technology Mesra, Patna in Bihar. The session witnessed participation of 500 students from the campus who discussed if MBA degree is just a rat race or does it have some significant role in the world today with Dr. Subhash Chandra. While sharing his thoughts on the matter Dr. Chandra said that there is no harm in pursuing any degree as long as you seek it from the perspective of adding it to your knowledge bank but pursuing it just for the sake of making good money is exactly the same as entering a rat race.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also said at the event that if one has to really learn the managerial skills, there are no better examples than housewives who not only have the expertise of managing material and money but also the capability to manage human resources.Watch the episode here:While addressing the students of Bihar, he also expressed his concern over the gender ratio of Bihar i.e. 918 per 1000 male and the migration rate which is 44 lakh per year.He said that the students of Bihar need to focus on entrepreneurship more than just jobs. The session was organised as part of the episodes of the Dr. Subhash Chandra Show. Dr. Subhash Chandra (DSC) Show is aired every Saturday at 10 pm on Zee News and 7 pm on Zee Business with a repeat telecast on Sundays at 11 am on Zee News and Zee Business. This show is also aired on other channels of Zee Media.​

Congress insists Rahul Gandhi is attending conference in US; claims will be back before Bihar polls

Reacting sharply to the BJP criticism, party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said that it would be better for the BJP if it focused more on the poll tussle in Bihar rather than the visit to US of Gandhi.
File Photo
PTI
Rahul Gandhi has gone to Aspen in US to attend a conference and would be back much before campaigning in Bihar polls gets underway, Congress said on Thursday dismissing BJP’s criticism of the tour of the party Vice-President.Reacting sharply to the BJP criticism, party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said that it would be better for the BJP if it focused more on the poll tussle in Bihar rather than the visit to US of Gandhi.”With defeat in Bihar staring in the face like in Delhi, BJP is presenting Mohan Bhagwat with his anti-reservation statement while one day comes out with a new law for more reservation in Rajasthan…”, he claimed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress leader insisted that the party Vice President has gone to the US to attend a conference ‘Weekend with Charlie Rose’ at Aspen Institute in Colorado. BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao had earlier said that the Conference Gandhi was claimed to have gone to attend had got over in July and accused it of “resorting to falsehood to hide facts we don’t know”.”Congress is unable to give proper reason for Rahul’s absence. Everyday they are trotting out a new story, coming out with a new fact that turns out to be false. It is resorting to apparent falsehood and lies to hide facts we don’t know,” he told reporters.Rao claimed the institute’s manager had stated that nobody by the name of the Congress leader had either attended its event or was scheduled to take part in future. Rao said Rahul was entitled to go on a personal visit but Congress should stop “lying” to “mislead” the country.BJP and Congress are involved in a bitter war of words after the Congress leader left for the US, with the ruling party firing the first salvo derisively claiming he had been sent on a “forced vacation” as his Bihar allies believed that his presence would harm their chances in the assembly polls.Hitting back, Congress accused it of spreading “patent lies” and “petty canards” as BJP was foreseeing its “imminent loss” in the Bihar polls.”Rahul Gandhi is travelling to Aspen, US, on a short visit to attend a conference. ‘Weekend with Charlie Rose’ is a conference where thought leaders from different walks of life like politics, finance, technology, media, medicine, sports gather to deliberate on multiple issues,” Surjewala had said.

Karnataka: Five law students killed in road accident in Dharwad

The accident happened near the University of Agricultural Sciences in Dharwad.

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dna Research & Archives
A Karnataka state transport corporation bus rammed into a car, instantly killing five law students travelling in it. The accident happened near the University of Agricultural Sciences in Dharwad. According to a report in Deccan Herald, one of the deceased, Anish Chinchore, was the son of the Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation corporator and senior Congress leader Deepak Chinchore. Another student who was killed was the son of Ballari Additional Superintendent of Police Vijaykumar Dambal. Two students who were injured in the accident have been admitted in a critical state to the Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences in Hubli. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All the seven students were studying law at the Sri Siddappa Kambali Law College in Dharwad. They had gone to Belagavi and were on their way back when the fatal accident occurred. According to the report, the police have stated that the driver of the car tried to overtake a truck and rammed into the bus. Police have registered a case.

Scamsters, babus with itchy palms get an escape route: Proof of demand of bribe to be adduced

In 1996, P. Satyanarayanamurthy, assistant director, commiserate of Technical Education, Hyderabad was caught with his pants down— with Rs 500 that he took from S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, owner of Rama Typewriting Institute, Kurnool for extension of license.

The bribe giver fortunately did not give it post 2013 as according to the new amendment, it makes the giver of the bribe including corporates, liable for punishment under the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988, that targets the public servants.

Representational image. Image courtesy: AFPRepresentational image. Image courtesy: AFP

Representational image. Image courtesy: AFP

Be that as it may, had he been alive he would have had the mortification of seeing the corrupt official being acquitted by the Supreme Court on the ground that the prosecution did not adduce any evidence that he demanded the bribe.

The Supreme Court has set store by sections 7 and 13 of the Act according to which, it requires the prosecution to prove that bribe was demanded in the first place.

In other words, mere unearthing of the illegal money or assets is not sufficient to nail an official with an itchy palm– it has to be proved by the prosecution that the accused demanded the bribe. This renders presumption of mens rea by section 20 not so helpful. Under section 20, it is presumed that the public servant took illegal gratifications with a view to facilitating the bending or circumventing of the law unless the accused proves otherwise through cogent evidence.

This is a big relief for the prosecution but the new requirement read in by the Apex Court would pour cold water on its enthusiasm, nay the very sustainability of the charge of corruption because first it has to discharge a very onerous responsibility– finding the evidence for demand of bribes.

The Supreme Court, it is respectfully submitted, ought to have read down section 7 and 13 so as to make them subservient to the overarching objective of the Act– to shift the onus of proving innocence on the accused. Normally, the prosecution has to prove mens rea but the Parliament in its wisdom thought corruption the scourge of our politics and administration cannot be fought with normal laws and jurisprudence.

Scamsters and bureaucrats with itchy palms would laugh up their sleeves at this huge relief conferred by the Apex Court. They may be caught with their pants down. Disproportionate assets relative to their known sources of income may be found.

Yet they might smugly defy and escape conviction because they might have taken care not to leave any tell tale marks of demand of illegal gratifications.

Indeed no corrupt person offers his head on the chopping block by doing so. His demand for bribes is always through innuendos and complicity on the part of favor seekers. Yes, the speed money, hush money etc is negotiated but away from the public glare, in clandestine hideouts where the interlocutor is frisked to make sure he is not carrying a spycam.

The government must forthwith move the Supreme Court with a curative petition praying for harmonious interpretation of section 20 and sections 7 and 13 so that the objective of the law is furthered and taken forward instead of being frustrated which the reading in of an impossible condition—proof of demand—amounts to.

In fact the Act should give up its fixation about disproportionate assets relative to the accused person’s known sources of income. Why should the prevention of corruption law take it upon itself the onerous and impossible task of finding the ill-gotten assets given the fact that the institution of benami always frustrates such efforts?

Is it not enough if the dishonorable intent of the public servant is there for all to see? The Supreme Court, it is respectfully submitted, has muddied the waters further by stipulating a near impossible condition—proof of demand of bribe or illegal gratification.

If mens rea can be presumed, so can the demand be. The chastened tribe of public servants now fears tell-tale mediums like emails and cell phones. In the event, the Supreme Court should have been alive to the reality that no one signs his own death warrant.

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