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PM Modi visits Russia’s premier crisis management centre

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The NCMC is a multi-level coordination centre designed to provide inter-agency coordination and alert the people about the threat of emergency situations.

Modi at Russia’s EMERCOM

Photo courtesy: MEA Twitter handle
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday visited Russia’s premier crisis management centre which deals with emergency situations and ensures coordination among various relevant agencies. The Prime Minister spent around half-an-hour at the National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC), popularly known as EMERCOM, the short form of Emergency Control Ministry. Modi was briefed about round-the-clock functioning of various wings of the agency. “A morning for learning. PM @narendramodi takes a tour of EMERCOM, a state of the art crisis management facility ready for emergency response. 240000 employees from EMERCOM are on operational duty daily, using 62000 equipment units,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The NCMC is a multi-level coordination centre designed to provide inter-agency coordination and alert the people about the threat of emergency situations. The capabilities of the NCMC include state-of-art real time monitoring, data collection, analysis and modelling. It uses global navigation satellite systems and global monitoring technologies based on remote sensing to provide real time data and assistance to people as well as various agencies during emergency situations. The NCMC processes information from across Russia and is capable of monitoring industrial facilities, crowded areas, tsunami threats, other natural disasters etc. As the number of cross-border emergencies is constantly increasing, international cooperation is a priority for the NCMC, which includes information exchange with international organisations and emergency call services of foreign emergency management agencies, international operations and international humanitarian assistance. The Prime Minister arrived here for a two-day visit yesterday, his first bilateral trip here after assuming the top office.

Act to check plastic waste menace, CPCB tells civic bodies

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In Maharashtra, the estimated plastic waste generation is 10950 tonnes/annum.

With the quantum of plastic waste mounting across urban India and civic bodies showing sluggishness to manage the menace, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has issued fresh directions asking civic bodies to make action plans within six months to plug environmental damage due to plastic waste. Stopping production of plastic bags less than 40 microns thickness, using biodegradable material in plastic bags and cracking down on illegal plastic bag producers were some of the recommendations CPCB issued in its fresh directions.Currently, The Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, is the guiding regulation on management of plastic waste, but its implementation has been ineffective. The Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change has brought out a new Plastic Waste Rules this year but they are yet to come into effect. According to CPCB, most of plastic waste generated across urban India remains recycled and ends up in landfills. At landfills and in cities, open burning of plastic waste generates toxic emissions, such as; Carbon Monoxide, Chlorine, Hydrochloric Acid, Dioxin &Furans, Amines, Nitrides, Styrene, Benzene, and Acetaldehyde and pollute the environment.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Besides, open burning, plastic also leaches into ground contaminating ground water and chokes rivers, streams along with marine ecosystems such as mangroves and estuaries. To address this issue, CPCB has urged urbaan local bodies and municipal corporations to establish within six months systems to collect, segregate and process plastic waste through recycling. CPCB’s latest assessment of plastic waste shows that 3,501 tonnes of plastic waste is generated per day across 60 major cities. In India, approximately 12 million tonnes plastic products are consumed every year , which is expected to rise further. It is also known that about 50-60% of its consumption is converted into waste.In Maharashtra, the estimated plastic waste generation is 10950 tonnes/annum.Main usage of plastics is in the form of carry bags, packaging films, wrapping materials, fluid containers, clothing, toys, household applications, industrial products, engineering applications and building materials.In other directions, CPCB has asked state pollution control boards to crack down on illegal factories producing sub-standard plastic bags which are less than 40 microns in thickness. “Secretaries-in-charge of municipal bodies in each state shall ensure that all municipal bodies ban stocking, selling and use of any carry bag (having handle or non-handle) having less than 40 micron thickness plastic material. Those found stocking/selling such carry bags shall be penalised by imposing a fine of Rs1 lakh,” the CPCB said.

Indian-Singaporean jailed for cheating 70-year-old Dutch woman

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Sentencing of 48-year-old Hameedah has been postponed to next month for she was reportedly hospitalised.

Representational Image
File Photo

A 61-year-old Indian-Singaporean man has been sentenced to 33 months for cheating a 70-year-old Dutch woman of over US dollars three lakh on the pretext of promoting her yoga books and investing in a property in Indonesia. Thomas Subramainiam and his wife Hameedah Bee Abdul Jaffar convinced Hong Kong-based Dutch national Elisabeth Evararda Van Der Laan for placing her money in the account of their company Billionaires Management Worldwide (BMW). Sentencing of 48-year-old Hameedah has been postponed to next month for she was reportedly hospitalised. District Judge Toh Yung Cheong had earlier this month found the couple guilty of conspiring to cheat Everarda by dishonestly inducing her to deliver the money to BMW by issuing three cheques in that year.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Deputy Public Prosecutors Kwek Chin Yong and Norman Yew charged that the couple deceived Everarda by lying that BMW would provide a business strategy to market her latest book on yoga and coach her in it and help her invest 500,000 Singaporean dollars (USD 371,333) of her retirement savings in real estate in Indonesia. Investigations later showed that the purported plans were a ruse to scam her of the funds and to spend the money on themselves, according to a report in The Sunday Times. They denied the scam and claimed Everarda agreed to invest in their Admall project, an online marketing portal which they alleged had failed largely because she did not cooperate with them to see the plans through. The couple had spent some of the money on themselves, including 24,390 dollars on a five-night stay in “the world’s only seven-star and notoriously expensive Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai”, the report said, citing a 2010 judgement which ruled the civil suit in favour of Everarda. Everarda said though she won the civil suit, “not a penny has been salvaged” from the couple. “The criminal case is not about legal return-of-money orders but about punishment,” Everarda said who represented herself and pursued the case for seven years. “The outcome could not have been better. If you think you can live in grandeur on other people’s money, well, that’s what you get,” Everarda was quoted as saying by the paper. Judge Toh noted lack of remorse from Thomas and said his jail term should be 42 months, based on past precedent. But he discounted Thomas’ nine months in remand.

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.

Chennai rains: Over 28,000 rescued; tonnes of relief supplies sent to TN – Centre

An official statement said the situation is improving as Chennai did not experience heavy rainfall since yesterday and the flood waters were receding.

PTI
More than 28,000 people have been moved to safer locations from rain and flood-affected areas of Chennai and adjoining areas and tonnes of relief material has been dispatched to Tamil Nadu, the Centre on Saturday said. Twenty seven truck loads of ready-to-eat meals, four lakh bottles of drinking water and other essential food items have also been sent to the state. A meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) was held here under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha to review the flood situation in the state and take stock of the relief measures being done by multiple agencies like NDRF and army.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An official statement said the situation is improving as Chennai did not experience heavy rainfall since yesterday and the flood waters were receding. “National Disaster Response Force and armed forces sent by the government of India have rescued more than 28,000 persons. As the need for rescue has come down, the 50 NDRF teams and 13 army columns deployed are now more pressed into relief services rather than rescue,” it said. It added that road connectivity in the state has been restored and city bus services have begun functioning. “Power supply has been restored to more than 90 per cent of the city. Railways continue to operate special intra-city and outstation services and normal services are expected to begin from Monday,” it said.NCMC was also told by officials participating in the meeting that the restoration of Chennai airport will be completed in a day or two. “Meanwhile, the operation of the civilian flights from the Naval air Base in Arakkonam continues,” it said.A Home Ministry spokesperson said as telecom services are not fully functional in the affected areas, Sinha directed that necessary steps should be taken to restore the same at the earliest. “Tamil Nadu government will hold a meeting with telecom service providers to sort out the issues. To make petroleum products available, the Ministry of Petroleum will facilitate the same,” it said.While the southern metropolis was “struggling to return to normalcy”, in many areas, telephone landline services have been restored even as mobile services also picked up pace.

PM Modi announces ex-gratia relief for TN floods victims, normalcy returning

Chennai did not experience heavy rainfall since Friday, and the flood waters are receding.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs. 2 lakhs each from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for the next of kin of those who lost their lives in the floods dues to heavy rains in Tamil Nadu. However, an ex-gratia relief of Rs. 50,000 has also been sanctioned from for those who were seriously injured in the floods.Meanwhile, Chennai did not experience heavy rainfall since Friday, and the flood waters are receding, while armed forces and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have rescued more than 28,000 people so far. As the need for rescue has come down, 50 NDRF teams and 13 army columns deployed there are now pressed more into relief services rather than rescue operations. The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) met on Saturday under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha to review the flood situation in Tamil Nadu, where the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) suggested that the state government should take steps to mark the HFL (High Flood Level) in all places to enable preparation of a future Mitigation and Preparedness plan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Road connectivity to various places has been restored, while city bus service has become functional and power supply to more than 90% of the city has been restored, too. The railways continue to operate special intra-city and outstation services, whereas normal service is expected to begin from Monday. The work of restoration of the Chennai airport is on and it is expected to be completed in a day or two. Meanwhile, the operation of civilian flights from Arakonam Naval Air Base is continued. However, four ferry flights parked at the Chennai airport departed for Delhi, Mumbai and Port Blair on Saturday, while one Cargo flight Singcargo B747 departed for Singapore via Bangalore. In addition to this, four more flights took off from Chennai up to 5pm.Seven truck loads of dry ready-to-eat food provided by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries have already reached Chennai, while 20 are on the way. The railways supplied 2 lakh bottles of drinking water and 2 lakh more will be provided. Three naval ships carrying relief materials also have reached Tamil Nadu as well. A massive cleaning operation is being undertaken to prevent epidemics and spread of diseases. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will send a high-level team to assess the situation in Tamil Nadu and to provide help. It was agreed that Post-Flood dos and don’ts prepared by NDMA would be widely publicised to educate people.

Chennai rains: NDRF undertakes most massive flood relief operation; rescues 16,000

NDRF Director General OP Singh, who is camping here since yesterday, said with the induction of 20 fresh combat teams overnight, close to 1,600 personnel in fifty teams are now undertaking the operations in various parts of the state capital here and nearby places.

Close to 1,600 personnel in fifty teams are now undertaking the operations in various parts of the state capital

Reuters
NDRF on Friday said it has launched its “most massive” deployment so far as it pressed into service 50 rescue and relief teams with over 200 boats, rescuing over 16,000 people marooned by the unprecedented rains in the southern metropolis and adjoining areas.NDRF Director General OP Singh, who is camping here since yesterday, said with the induction of 20 fresh combat teams overnight, close to 1,600 personnel in fifty teams are now undertaking the operations in various parts of the state capital here and nearby places. “This is our most massive deployment in any flood disaster till date. Now we have close to 1,600 personnel with 21 officers and 200 rubberised inflatable boats. We have rescued over 16,000 people to safer locations till now,” Singh said while talking to reporters here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also reviewed the operations of the force in the Kottupuram area along with senior NDRF and state government officials. The DG said the force is stepping up its operations each day and now their aim is to provide water and food to as many marooned people as they can. “We are also persuading people to come to safer locations with us,” he said, adding, the force is making extensive use of social media to expand its relief and rescue operations. All our helplines, be it over phone, WhatsApp, Twitter or email, they are working actively and responding to the people in distress, the DG said.With the IMD predicting more rains, he said his teams were determined to reach more and more areas so that relief material is provided before the pouring begins. Meanwhile, in Delhi a meeting of the Crisis Management Group (CMG) under the chairmanship of Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi was held to review the ongoing operations being undertaken by multiple agencies. Officials said Mehrishi issued directions to intensify the efforts so that people reeling under these floods for the last few days are helped as much as it can be and are provided with essential good items like water, milk and snacks.Representatives of Ministries of Defence, Food, Railways, Agriculture, Health, Department of Telecommunications, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), India Meteorological Department (IMD) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) participated in the CMG meeting. An NDRF spokesperson said so far, its teams have evacuated 16,325 stranded flood victims, 30 livestock and distributed 19,465 food packets and 16,002 water packets in the affected areas.

Centre pulls out all stops, Narendra Modi speaks to Jayalalithaa

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of the situation along with his senior cabinet colleagues and spoke to Tami Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa offering all possible help.

Agencies
Worsening human tragedy due to unprecedented floods in Tamil Nadu found strong resonance in the national capital on Wednesday with Centre reviewing it at several levels and both the houses of parliament showing rare camaraderie to speak in unison to provide all possible help to the affected.Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of the situation along with his senior cabinet colleagues and spoke to Tami Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa offering all possible help.In the Rajya Sabha, warring Congress and BJP decided to stop their squabble on a controversy related to Kumari Selja’s visit to a temple in Dwarka till Thursday and discuss ways to help Tamil Nadu when parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu sought house to focus on floods.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Leader of the opposition, Ghulam Nabi Azad of Congress associated himself with CPM leader Sitaram Yechury suggestion to provide assistance to Tamil Nadu government from MPLAD funds.The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) met early in the day under the chairmanship of cabinet secretary P K Sinha to review the situation in detail that according to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast can deteriorate further as rains are expected to lash Chennai and surrounding areas for the next four days.The floods have also affected several parts of Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry and can be a bigger disaster than expected earlier, said an official of the national disaster management authority (NDMA) .

Canada’s Sun Life to raise stake in Indian insurance joint venture | Reuters

TORONTO/MUMBAI Canada’s Sun Life Financial Inc (SLF.TO) signalled the significance of the fast growing Indian insurance market by revealing plans on Wednesday to increase its stake in life insurance joint venture Birla Sun Life Insurance, to 49 percent.

Toronto-based Sun Life, which currently owns 26 percent of Birla Sun Life, is buying an additional 23 percent in the venture from partner Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd (ABRL.NS), which will keep the remaining stake. Sun Life will spend 16.64 billion rupees ($250 million) on the purchase.

The deal, which is expected to close by March 2016, comes months after Sun Life Chief Executive Dean Connor told Reuters the company was interested in raising its stake in the venture.

Birla Sun Life Insurance is among the top five private insurers in India and aims to crack the top 3 at some point.

“As Canada’s only lifeco in India, we’re doubling down on an important joint venture. It’s a natural step,” Connor said in an interview on Wednesday. “What it means for our shareholders is a bigger share of future growth in a really important market.”

“It’s a country that is seriously underpenetrated for insurance in an economy that is growing quickly,” he added. The deal is the latest in the Indian insurance sector this year after the government raised the foreign investment cap in the $50 billion sector to 49 percent from 26 percent earlier.

Japan’s Nippon Life and France’s AXA (AXAF.PA) recently announced deals to raise their stakes to 49 percent in their respective Indian insurance joint ventures.

Sun Life has a presence in seven Asian markets and is looking at a range of potential deals in the region, Connor said.

The company would be open to insurance and asset management deals in India, but only in conjunction with the Birla group, he said.

Sun Life also owns 49 percent of Birla Sun Life Asset Management, one of the largest mutual fund companies in India.

(Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Andrew Hay)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Govt to maintain centralised data on pending litigations

It can send reminders through SMS to official to provide alerts about particular cases coming up for hearing.

Though there are no official estimates, the Law Ministry believes government is a party in 46 per cent of the cases being contested in various courts, including tribunals, in the country.

Despite being perceived as the biggest litigant, the government does not maintain a centralised data of pending cases where it is a party. But this is now set to change as the Law Ministry has embarked upon an ambitious project to streamline litigation related data and make it available at a single point. The Legal Information Management and Briefing System (LIMBS) conceived by the Law Ministry can capture information pertaining to different courts and tribunals and categorise them into various sets of management information system reports for concerned officials to take action.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It can send reminders through SMS to official to provide alerts about particular cases coming up for hearing. Law Secretary P K Malhotra has urged other Union Secretaries appoint a joint secretary level officer as the project coordinator to implement LIMBS. “… this department (Legal Affairs) is mandated to give legal advice to all government departments on the issues raised by them and also advise them on litigation matters conducted on behalf of Union of India. “However, the court cases are monitored by the concerned departments and there is no centralised system for collecting information with regard to pendency and status of these cases… centralised data to this effect is not available,” he wrote.According to a status note on the National Litigation Policy pending before the Union Cabinet for approval, “government enjoys the dubious distinction of being the largest litigant in the courts involving a big draught on public exchequer.”Though there are no official estimates, the Law Ministry believes government is a party in 46 per cent of the cases being contested in various courts, including tribunals, in the country. “We are the biggest decision makers. Hence we are the biggest litigant as some decisions are bound to go against the interest of some people who would approach court and the government would certainly defend itself,” said a senior functionary.

Govt to form mechanism to monitor implementation of PM Modi’s package

The Reconstruction Plan covers sectors like humanitarian relief, crisis management, social infrastructure, development projects and economic infrastructure, he said.
File Photo
PTI
The Jammu and Kashmir government on Thursday said that a mechanism would be worked out to monitor the implementation of the over Rs 80,000 crore reconstruction package announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the state.The Cabinet which met in Jammu under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed discussed the Reconstruction Plan amounting to Rs 80068 Crore announced by the PM on November 7.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Cabinet decided that a mechanism would be worked out to monitor and implement the Reconstruction Plan effectively”, an official spokesman said.The Reconstruction Plan covers sectors like humanitarian relief, crisis management, social infrastructure, development projects and economic infrastructure, he said. It aimed at expanding the economic infrastructure and basic services, providing thrust to employment and income generation and providing relief and rehabilitation to the victims of September 2014 floods and to strengthen the Disaster Management framework of the state.He said that the reconstruction Plan also seeks to strengthen the economic and social infrastructure and provide for the balanced development of the three regions of the state.Meanwhile, the cabinet also approved the promotion of Joint secretary (union Ministry of Culture) Pramod Jain to the fixed scale of IAS (Rs 80,000) from the date he returns to the cadre and promotion of Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, B B Vyas to the fixed scale of IAS (Rs 80,000) from January 1 next year.The Cabinet also accorded sanction to the temporary upgradation of 17 posts of deputy superintendents of police as Superintendents of Police.

Students of Delhi Sikh schools start online petition for supporting ‘Ban Sikh Jokes’ movement

The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has reportedly started an online petition for school children studying in around 18 Guru Harikrishan Public Schools in New Delhi to generate support for banning Sikh jokes, as also involve them in constructive community service.

The campaign for banning Sikh jokes started few days back, and the online petition has so far received over 13,000 signatures.
Representational Image

The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has reportedly started an online petition for school children studying in around 18 Guru Harikrishan Public Schools in New Delhi to generate support for banning Sikh jokes, as also involve them in constructive community service.The campaign for banning Sikh jokes started few days back, and the online petition has so far received over 13,000 signatures in the ten days since the launch of the Change.org website.The petition is gathering momentum, and what we’re seeing from the nearly 13000 comments, is that people from various sections of society, including non-Sikhs, have welcomed the chance to protest against these jokes which hurt the feeling of Sikhs and shows them in poor light.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DSGMC president Manjit Singh G.K said, “It was decided to start the online petition by the student community and to actively involve around 25000 students studying in Sikh minority education institutions in the “Ban Sikh Jokes” movement under the aegis of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee after a sikh women advocate Mrs. Harvinder Choudhary had filed a petition in the supreme Court seeking a ban on sikh jokes for hurting religious sentiments of the community.”Manjit Singh G.K further said that both teachers and students have been asked to meet the target of one lakh online signatures within the timeline of four weeks. He said that the DSGMC will provide all technical and logistic support to the schools for facilitating the signature drive.He added that the committee has also given options to school teachers to get signatures on separate sheets of paper for students who do not have e-mail ids and do not use online accounts for one reason or the other.He said that students will also be encouraged to get the signatures of their parents and also the signatures of non-sikh students so to as to generate mass support among all sections of society.He said the DSGMC will also provide publicity material like posters,visiting cards that will be displayed in each classroom to generate awareness among students about the movement so as to emotionally integrate and involve them with the cause.Manjit Singh GK exhorted both parents and teachers to be positive and get involved in constructive community service for the country.”It is generally seen that ignorants are bullying Sikh children with ’12 baj gaye’ and other taunts. Our children should use positive dialogue like Guru Nanak used five centuries ago, and remind them of the historic significance of ’12 baj gaye’ when Sikhs at this time freed thousands of Indian girls and women from the clutches of Ahmed Shah Abdali,” he said.”We all have to be proud Indian citizens with a global outlook. We should seek and mobilise support on all social media platforms for this campaign. The need of the hour is to let Indian society know that we love humour but not racism. We are proud Indians and the country has benefitted from our contributions in almost every field. It is time that Sikh children should not face bullying or insults in the name of casual fun,” he said.Enthused children took a pledge to generate support for the petition from all quarters and bring an end to the bullying and taunts that they are subjected to.

Chennai: Tomatoes sell at Rs 80 and drumstick Rs 150 a kg due to rains

Prices are likely to increase by another Rs 5 to Rs 10 the coming as more rain is forecast in the state.

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With the rains in Chennai the last week, trucks have not been able to make regular deliveries of essential commodities to the state. The Deccan Chronicle quotes the Koyambedu Market Management Committee as stating that deliveries have reduced by 55% the past week and thus vegetable prices have increased tremendously. Crops have also been affected in the state because of the rains which means more vegetables need to be brought in from other states. Small onions, which come from Salem, are now selling at Rs 40 per kg while Bangalore onions are selling at Rs 60 per kg. Onions and tomatoes are essential vegetables but now tomatoes are selling at Rs 80 per kg. Ladies fingers (okra) is retailing at Rs 80 per kg while drumsticks are selling at Rs 150 per kg. Brinjal and carrot are selling at about Rs 60 per kg.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prices are likely to increase by another Rs 5 to Rs 10 the coming as more rain is forecast in the state.

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”.

Wall Street up as oil lifts energy; Treasury yields rise | Reuters

NEW YORK Wall Street shares gained on Tuesday, adding to the previous session’s rally as a crude oil price rise boosted the energy sector, while U.S. Treasury yields rose on speculation about the timing for a Federal Reserve interest rate hike.

After a volatile morning, U.S. stocks settled into positive territory in the afternoon. The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was the strongest of the three major U.S. indexes, led by oil company Chevron (CVX.N), while rival Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) was one of the biggest drivers for the S&P 500.

While energy stocks have risen almost 23 percent since late August, the sector is still down almost 10 percent year to date.

“I think there has been a real desire on the part of some investors to take advantage of depressed valuations,” Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio manager with U.S. Bank Wealth Management in New York.

In afternoon trading the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 138.66 points, or 0.78 percent, to 17,967.42, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 10.78 points, or 0.51 percent, to 2,114.83 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 32.53 points, or 0.63 percent, to 5,159.68.

The three top U.S. indexes had already risen around 1 percent or more on Monday.[.N]

U.S. benchmark US10YT=RR and short-dated Treasury yields hit over six-week highs on Tuesday on continued expectations of a December Fed rate hike, while long-dated yields hit six-week highs partly on surging corporate issuance.

“Now that the probabilities of a December rate hike have increased in the minds of most investors, the front end of the curve is responding and rising in anticipation,” said Michael Temple, portfolio manager at Pioneer Investments in Boston.

Speculation about a December hike along with generally in-line U.S. economic data put the dollar near a 12-week high. After falling on Monday, the dollar .DXY was up 0.3 percent against a basket of major currencies while the euro fell 0.4 percent.

U.S. manufacturing activity in October hit a 2-1/2-year low, but a rise in new orders offered hope for a sector buffeted by a strong dollar and relentless spending cuts by energy companies.

Europe’s FTSEurofirst .FTEU3 ended up 0.4 percent, after being dogged throughout the trading day by a slump in Standard Chartered (STAN.L) shares after it announced plans to cut jobs and raise $5.1 billion capital.

Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) was also a drag in Europe as its emissions test cheating scandal widened to include its luxury brands Porsche (PSHG_p.DE) and Audi (NSUG.DE).

In commodities, oil reversed the previous day’s declines with crude prices rising about 4 percent as a rally in U.S. gasoline and diesel added support to oil markets already boosted by an industry strike in Brazil and force majeure for Libyan crude loadings. [O/R]

Brent LCOc1 was up $2 at $50.81 a barrel, while U.S. crude was up $2.12 at $48.26.

Gold XAU= was down for a fifth straight day at $1,114.96 an ounce, while copper CMCU3 rose to $5,162 a tonne on track for its second straight day of increases.

(Additional reporting by Sam Forgione and Lewis Krauskopf in New York, Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Hay and Meredith Mazzilli)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

HC seeks EC’s reply over Gujarat minister’s fake degree row

The division bench of acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice N V Anjaria issued notice to the ECI after the petitioner added the Commission as a party to the PIL. On October 13, the HC had issued notices to Gujarat government

The Gujarat High Court on Thursday sought a reply from the Election Commission of India to a public interest litigation petition alleging that Gujarat minister of state Shankar Chaudhari holds a bogus MBA degree.The division bench of acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice N V Anjaria issued notice to the ECI after the petitioner added the Commission as a party to the PIL. On October 13, the HC had issued notices to Gujarat government, State Election Commission, the minister and the Superintendent of Police of Patan district. It also issued notices to Patan-based Sheth K B Vakil Vividhlaxi Vidyalaya where Chaudhari completed his std 12th in 2011 and the National Institute of Management (NIM) of Vadodara where he got his allegedly bogus MBA degree.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chaudhari is minister of state for Health and Family Welfare with independent charge of Urban Housing. The petitioner Farsu Goklani is a Patan-based Congress worker. As per the school records obtained under RTI Act, the minister passed std 12th in 2011, but his affidavit before the State Election Commission in 2012 stated that he had completed MBA in the same year (2012) from NIM, the PIL points out.No institute can grant an MBA within a year of completing the std 12th, and the minister should be prosecuted for providing false information in the affidavit, it says. Chaudhari’s election should be set aside and he should be sacked from the ministry, the PIL demands. Chaudhari, MLA from Vav in Banaskantha district, was made a minister after Anandiben Patel became Chief Minister in May 2014.

Big quake in Afghanistan and Pakistan kills over 200 | Reuters

KABUL/PESHAWAR, Pakistan A major earthquake struck the remote Afghan northeast on Monday, killing more than 200 people in Afghanistan and nearby northern Pakistan, injuring hundreds and sending shock waves as far as New Delhi, officials said.

The death toll could climb in coming days because communications were down in much of the rugged Hindu Kush mountain range where the quake was centred.

In one of the worst incidents, at least 12 girls were killed in a stampede to flee their school building in Taloqan, just west of Badakhshan province where the tremor’s epicentre was located.

“They fell under the feet of other students,” said Abdul Razaq Zinda, provincial head of the Afghan National Disaster Management Agency, who reported heavy damage in Takhar.

Shockwaves were felt in New Delhi in northern India and across northern Pakistan, where hundreds of people ran out of buildings as the ground rolled beneath them. No deaths were reported in India.

“We were very scared … We saw people leaving buildings, and we were remembering our God,” Pakistani journalist Zubair Khan said by telephone from the Swat Valley northwest of the capital Islamabad.

“I was in my car and, when I stopped my car, the car itself was shaking as if someone was pushing it back and forth.”

The quake was 213 km (132 miles) deep and centred 254 km (158 miles) northeast of Kabul in Badakhshan province. The U.S. Geological Survey initially measured the magnitude at 7.7, then revised it down to 7.5.

Just over a decade ago, a 7.6 magnitude quake in another part of northern Pakistan killed about 75,000 people.

In Afghanistan, where rescue and relief work is likely to be complicated by security threats created by an escalating Taliban insurgency, at least 52 people were reported dead in several provinces.

In addition to the 12 schoolgirls in Takhar, officials said seven people died in the eastern province of Nangarhar, two in Nuristan province in the northeast, 22 in eastern Kunar province and nine in Badakhshan, where hundreds were killed in mudslides last year.

Hundreds of houses were also destroyed, creating additional hardship, with cold weather setting in.

REMOTE AREAS CUT OFF

In Pakistan, the head of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Disaster Management Agency, Amer Afaq said the death toll had reached 167, while military spokesman General Asim Bajwa said nearly 1,000 were injured.

Officials said most of the casualties had occurred in northern and northwestern regions bordering Afghanistan and the death toll was likely to rise.

Dr. John Ebel, chairman of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Boston College in the United States, said the depth of the earthquake meant damage was likely to be spread broadly rather than focused in one disaster zone.

But he said landslides on the unstable slopes of the mountainous region could pose a major problem to rescuers in the coming days.

“Obviously if a landslide comes in to a village, it will take out buildings, but landslides can also take out roads and communications and power systems, so you lose the ability to access remote areas,” he said.

In Pakistan, the northern area of Chitral, where 20 people were killed, was particularly hard hit.

Journalist Gul Hammad Farooqi, 47, said his house had collapsed. “I was thrown from one side of the road to the other by the strength of the earthquake. I’ve never experienced anything like it,” he said.

“There is a great deal of destruction here, and my house has collapsed, but thankfully my children and I escaped.”

Further south, the city of Peshawar reported two deaths and at least 150 injured people were being treated at the city’s main hospital, the provincial health chief said.

In Afghanistan, international aid agencies working in northern areas reported that cell phone coverage in the affected areas remained down in the hours after the initial quake.

“The problem is we just don’t know. A lot of the phone lines are still down,” said Scott Anderson, deputy head of office for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Kabul.

Badakhshan provincial governor Shah Waliullah Adib said about 1,450 houses had been destroyed.

The earthquake struck almost exactly six months after Nepal suffered its worst quake on record on April 25. Including the toll from a major aftershock in May, 9,000 people lost their lives there and 900,000 homes were damaged or destroyed there.

The Hindu Kush mountain region is seismically active, with earthquakes the result of the Indian subcontinent driving into and under the Eurasian landmass. Sudden tectonic shifts can cause enormous and destructive releases of energy.

(Additional reporting by James Mackenzie and Mirwais Harooni in Kabul. In Pakistan, additional reporting by Qasim Shah in Gilgit, Abu Arqam Naqash in Muzaffarabad, Haji Mujtaba in Bannu, Saud Mehsud in Dera Ismail Khan and Asad Hashim in Islamabad.; Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Tom Heneghan and John Stonestreet)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

UN owes India $85 million for peacekeeping operations, debt to Pak even higher

United Nations: The UN owes India an amount of USD 85 million for its contribution towards peacekeeping operations including troops, police and equipment, a senior management official has said.

The organisation owed a total of USD 1.03 billion to 86 member states which contributed troops, police and equipment as of October 2 this year.

The largest amount owed was to Pakistan at USD 97 million; followed by Ethiopia at USD 87 million; India at USD 85 million; Bangladesh at USD 84 million; Rwanda at USD 55 million; and Nepal at USD 44 million, Under-Secretary- General for Management Yukio Takasu told the the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) in the General Assembly.

India is the largest cumulative troop contributor to UN peace operations, with over 185,000 troops having served in 48 of the 69 missions mandated so far.

United Nations. Image courtesy: ReutersUnited Nations. Image courtesy: Reuters

United Nations. Image courtesy: Reuters

The country has repeatedly called for the Security Council to consult troop contributing countries before drawing up peacekeeping mandates given that troops now have to function is increasingly difficult and hostile conflict situations across the world’s hot-spots.

He said the organisation’s financial indicators for 2015 were “generally sound and positive”, except for the cash position of the regular budget, whose funds had been depleted.

Urging member states to make their full payments as soon as possible, he said a few nations accounted for the bulk of the outstanding amount, with the US owing USD 813 million, Brazil USD 124 million and Venezuela USD 35 million.

Additionally, 99 member states had not paid their assessed contribution in full to the international tribunals and the United States led the list with an obligation of USD 29 million, followed by Russia with USD 11 million in unpaid assessments; Brazil at USD 9 million; Indonesia at USD 4 million; Venezuela with USD 4 million; and 94 other States owing USD 12 million.

He said India had fully paid up its contribution as of October 2.

Briefing on the status of the organisation’s four major financial categories of regular budget, peacekeeping operations, tribunals and the Capital Master Plan, Takasu as of October 2, unpaid assessments stood at USD 1.053 billion, up 16 million from a year earlier.

The total cash available for peacekeeping as of October 2 was about USD 4.3 billion, including the Peacekeeping Reserve account, he said.

As of October 2, USD 314 million was owed to Member States for troops and formed police units; and for contingent-owned equipment claims, USD 638 million was owed to active missions and USD 86 million for closed missions.

PTI

All you need to know about the People’s President APJ Abdul Kalam

Dr Kalam has inspired students across the country during his lifetime.

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

Hundreds of students as well as dignitaries paid homage to former President APJ Abdul Kalam on the occasion of his 84th birth anniversary on Thursday. He served as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. Here’s more on the nation’s favourite President: Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born on October 15, 1931 in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu. During his childhood, due to his family’s unstable financial condition, he sold newspapers to generate some income. He was passionate about aeronautics since his early childhood and aspired to become a fighter pilot. But he missed out on getting into the top eight to qualify for the IAF. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He then went on to study physics and aerospace engineering. Later, he worked with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). His involvement in India’s civilian space programme and military missile development efforts gave him the title of ‘Missile Man of India’.His other roles included serving as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and the secretary of the Defence Research and Development Organisation from 1992 to 1999.Dr Kalam regarded his work on India’s nuclear weapons programme as a way to assert India’s place as a future superpower. The Pokhran -II nuclear tests took place during his tenure as the Chief Project Coordinator along with Rajagopala Chidambaram. He is also remembered for developing tablet computer in the year 2012, along with cardiologist Soma Raju for the development of healthcare in rural areas.Dr Kalam has been honoured with doctorates from almost 40 universities and was conferred with various awards from the Government of India including the Padma Bhushan in 1981, Padma Vibhushan in 1990 and the Bharat Ratna in 1997. For his notable contribution in space related stream, the National Space Society decided to nominate him for the Von Braun Award in 2013.Not just the space sector, Dr Kalam gained prestige even in the educational sector. Right from being a guest faculty at the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong, Indore and Ahmedabad to being a chancellor of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, he taught and inspired students at several other institutes across the country. While delivering one such lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong, he collapsed and died from a cardiac arrest on 27 July 2015, at the age of 83.He is widely remembered in the country as the People’s President. Also Read: 10 Inspiring Quotes by APJ Abdul Kalam

Delhi High Court: Public not aggrieved by renaming of Aurangzeb Road

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking to restrain the civic body New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) from renaming Aurangzeb Road after APJ Abdul Kalam in the National Capital.

“We have gone through the matter, no public interest is involved. May be you are aggrieved but public is not,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said. The bench further said it will give reasons for not entertaining the PIL, but the court is not inclined to entertain it.

PTI image.PTI image.

PTI

The petitioner advocate Shahid Ali had alleged that the decision by the civic body was the outcome of “sick and communal politics” and “lacks understanding of history”. Opposing the plea, Additional Solictor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain contended they (while referring to other PILs filed on similar grounds) are converting it into a communal issue, when it is not. The ASG’s submission prompted the Chief Justice to say that this is how people come with their own interests.

The petitioner, assisted by advocate Wasim Alam, had said in the plea, “NDMC in utter violation of law and procedure, instead of naming a new road in memory of late APJ Abdul Kalam has renamed an historical road known as Aurangzeb Road to be known as APJ Abdul Kalam Road.” Meanwhile, the court also refused to entertain the applications filed on similar grounds including a plea of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC), which wanted the road to be renamed after their revered 17th century Guru Tegh Bahadur, as a tribute to his martyrdom at the hands of the Mughal emperor. Earlier, the bench had asked ASG to apprise it whether any guidelines are to be followed for renaming roads.

The PIL said the “act of altering the historical name was nothing but an outcome of sick and communal politics, which should not be allowed to have any place in India which homes thousand religious, cultural, social and political beliefs”.

The request to change the name of the road, made by BJP MPs Mahesh Giri, Meenakshi Lekhi and the trade wing secretary of Aam Aadmi Party, was accepted by the NDMC on 28 August.

PTI

Policy decision on combat role for women soon: Manohar Parrikar

“It does not only address the issue of gender equality but also the disorder of gender insensitivity prevailing in the current form of society in a larger context,” he said.

Parrikar said he never thought that he would become the defence minister (File Photo)

AFP
Close on the heels of the Indian Air Force mooting a proposal to induct women as fighter aircraft pilots, another male bastion may give way with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday stating that his ministry was looking at combat role for women in the armed forces. “My ministry is working out (how) to assign combat role for women in the armed forces, and a policy decision will soon be made,” Parrikar said, addressing a gathering of retired army officers at Welingkar Institute of Management here.Earlier this week, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha had said the IAF had moved a proposal to induct women as fighter aircraft pilots. “We have women pilots flying transport aircraft and helicopters. We are now planning to induct them into the fighter stream to meet the aspirations of young women in India,” IAF Chief Arup Raha had said on the occasion of IAF celeberating its 83rd anniversary last week. Parrikar said, “It is extremely unfortunate that our Prime Minister’s initiatives such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and Selfie With Daughter are not being taken seriously by a few people, especially so-called secular-minded people.” “When our PM emphasises Selfie with Daughter, it does not only address the issue of gender equality but also the disorder of gender insensitivity prevailing in the current form of society in a larger context,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parrikar was in the city to pay tribute to late Lt Dilip Gupte on his 50th death anniversary. Gupte died at a young age of 23 in Operation Jura Bridge on October 11, 1965 during the Indo-Pak war. Striking a personal note, Parrikar said he never thought that he would become the defence minister, but “like everyone, I too had no control over my destiny.”

Teacher recruitment exam of Kendriya Vidyalayas hit by paper leak allegations

All India Management Association (AIMA), which conducts the exams, was examining the content reportedly circulated on social media, and was yet to figure out from which part of the country the papers have been leaked.

On the eve of teacher recruitment exam for Kendriya Vidyalayas, claims of paper leak surfaced on social media today even though officials were unable to confirm it.”We are not in position to confirm now. It will only be clear tomorrow morning when the papers will be opened,” Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KYS) commissioner Santosh Singh Mall said.All India Management Association (AIMA), which conducts the exams, was examining the content reportedly circulated on social media, and was yet to figure out from which part of the country the papers have been leaked, Mall said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>KVS is conducting exams for recruitment to various teaching posts including for Primary Teachers and PRT (Music) tomorrow.The officials said a decision regarding whether the paper has been leaked or it has to be cancelled or rescheduled will be taken tomorrow morning.

AAP not supporting any party in Bihar: Arvind Kejriwal

A section of AAP was also uncomfortable supporting the grand secular alliance because of Lalu’s conviction in the fodder scam.

As Bihar heads for a fierce political battle, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said AAP was not extending support to any political party in assembly polls, hinting not much should be read in his recent visit to Patna and reports of his closeness with Nitish Kumar. “I am not supporting anyone in Bihar and I have not gone their for campaigning. I had gone (Bihar) for a workshop on governance organised by the Bihar Chief Minister before the dates for elections were announced,” he said. The JD(U) had supported AAP during the Delhi Assembly polls and also during AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal’s Varanasi fight against Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha polls. Both Kejriwal and Kumar share a personal rapport. Kejriwal hinted that not much should be read about reports of closeness with State Chief Minister Kumar. The decision comes in the backdrop of Kumar’s ally Lalu Prasad recently making a number of statements projecting the Bihar polls a fight between “forward and backward castes”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A section of AAP was also uncomfortable supporting the grand secular alliance because of Lalu’s conviction in the fodder scam. On a question about relations between Delhi Government and the Centre, he accused the Modi government of “interfering” in affairs of Delhi on a day-to-day basis and trying to trigger “rebellion” in the bureaucracy.The Delhi Chief Minister was speaking at a convention organised by All India Management Association (AIMA). “Delhi Government officers report to me but they get orders from higher ups to disobey Chief Minister’s orders.They were threatened that strict disciplinary action would be taken and their salaries would be frozen if they obey orders of CM,” Kejriwal said. “Its a rebellion they are causing in the Delhi Government,” he added.Earlier this month, Lt Governor Najeeb Jung had warned all bureaucrats not to follow illegal orders issued by the AAP government which were declared “null and void” by the Centre. “People of Delhi have elected us for governance and they (Centre) interfere on day-to-day basis. Whatever orders I pass, next day it is declared null and void by them. How do I function?””Its not just encroachment in our authority, its also encroachment of judiciary’s authority, because If I am passing wrong orders, they have no right to declare my orders null and void. Let them go to the judiciary which has power to declare my orders null and void,” he said.

Gujarat govt demands Rs 17 crore from Asaram’s ashram for encroachment

The ashram had allegedly encroached on 34,400 sq meters of land.

The Surat collector has slapped a notice demanding Rs 17 crore from the management of the controversial godman Asaram’s ashram at Jahangirpura area here for illegally occupying a tract of government land for 14 years.District collector Rajendra Kumar issued the notice yesterday. “We have asked the ashram management to pay Rs 17 crore as occupancy fee for encroaching on a piece of government land near the ashram,” said Kumar.The ashram had allegedly encroached on 34,400 sq meters of land. The government reclaimed its possession in 2010.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The land remained in the possession of the ashram between 1996 to 2010. As per the rules, the occupant has to pay occupancy fee even after the land is freed. Normally, 15 per cent of the current market value of the land is charged as occupancy fee,” an official in the Collector’s office said. Asaram is currently lodged in a jail in Jodhpur after being arrested in a rape case.

Himachal Pradesh CM says efforts are on to trace third worker trapped in tunnel

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Monday expressed satisfaction over the success of rescue operation to extricate the employees trapped in the tunnel and said that while the two employees – Satish Tomar and Mani Ram – have been rescued, the operation to trace the third employee will continue.

“I hope and pray to almighty about the well being and safety of Hriday Ram, who is still missing,” he said.

Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh. PTI

Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh. PTI

He said the Border Road Organization, State Disaster Management Authority, the district administration, National Disaster Response Force and all other involved in relief and rescue operations deserve appreciation for their relentless efforts despite hostile weather conditions.

“It was not an easy task and the work had to be carried out scientifically and technically so that no further harm was done to those trapped inside,” he said, adding that the rescue teams and even the Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police had camped at the site to monitor the operations.

He said that such incidents were very rare and it was unfortunate that the tunnel caved in unexpectedly trapping them inside and to leave them to undergo a never-ending ordeal for almost nine days.

“It will be ensured that such an incident does not occur in the future,” he said, adding that all the safety measures had to be adopted by the construction companies before undertaking big hydel, tunneling or road projects at hand.

PTI

IIM-Visakhapatnam to start sessions from today

IIM-Bangalore will be the mentor institute

File Photo
IIM-Visakhapatnam opened the institute for sessions on Monday. The institute is currently operating from the Andhra Bank-sponsored building at the AU Management Block.The orientation classes for the new session were held in the building on Monday, however, regular classes are expected to begin from September 28. Around 60 students have enrolled in the first batch of the institute. Recruitment of the teaching faculty and the administrative department will begin after six months, till the time being teaching faculty from IIM- Bengaluru will fly in every week to conduct classes for the students of IIM-V. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As for accommodation facilities, apartments have been provided at a complex for students. The foundation for building the IIM at Visakhapatnam was laid on January 17, 2015 at Gambheeram village, about 25 km from Visakhapatnam. IIM- Visakhapatnam is listed as the 14th IIM in the country.

Dr Subhash Chandra Show: How does positive attitude impact success?

In the latest episode of DSC show, Dr. Subhash Chandra urged people not to get trapped in caste politics and vote for those who stand for development.

This Week Dr. Subhash Chandra Show was conducted at Institute of Hotel Management, Hajipur in Bihar. With an enthusiastic crowd of 250 hotel management students and faculty members, Dr. Subhash Chandra spoke about the Impact of Positivity in Success. Introducing the viewers to a rebellious change maker from Bihar’s Munger district, Jaya Devi, Dr. Chandra urged the youth to be positive even in the face of adversities. Jaya Devi who heads 300 groups of men & women from Munger district not only fought for the rights of the farmers but also helped solving the problems of illiteracy, ill health & water shortage. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dr. Subhash Chandra said that everyone should learn from the experiences of Jaya Devi who despite all odds used her positivity & determination for the benefit of the people of Munger.Talking about governance Dr. Subhash Chandra said, “Irrespective of how the government is, you can bring in a change in your country with your positive attitude.”He said, Bihar has immense potential for growth particularly in the tourism sector.”Do not get trapped in caste politics and vote for those who would bring in development in your state & country,” added Dr. Subhash Chandra.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.

Dr. Subhash Chandra discusses the importance of knowledge and attitude in the hospitality industry

Dr. Chandra also shared his childhood memories with the students.

In this week’s episode of his show, Dr. Subhash Chandra, the Chairman of Essel Group and ZEE, visited the Institute of Hotel Management, Hajipur in Patna and interacted with students there. Dr. Chandra addressed a group of students and talked about the role of skills, knowledge and attitude in hospitality industry.In the show, a student asked Dr. Chandra why hotel management students doesn’t get that much respect and attention that is been given to Engineering and Medical students. To this he replied, “No work is small and I don’t think Hotel Management students are given less respect.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He even shared his childhood memories with the students about how he learnt hospitality from serving guests whenever they arrived at his place.Comparing hospitality with other fields, Dr. Chandra said, “You don’t sell products or tangible products.You sell experience whereas in other field they sell products. Products are important for them. You can compare among products, see which product is suitable for you and they provide tangible products, whereas in hospitality industry tangible products are not served.”Giving an example for this, he says, “Take a product which you like, such as the cellphone.You don’t care who the owner is or what else the brand makes because if you like a specific cellphone you will buy it. But in this hospitality industry, human resources are very important because you interact with the people face to face, make one-on-one communication with them. Example, if you go to a five star hotel and there one person of the team doesn’t behave properly with you or do not provide proper services to you, you won’t go back to the same place again. But if you get proper service, they interact with you in a friendly way, service is very fast so you will remember all these things and will re-visit the hotel in future.”Watch the full 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.Also read: Important for the youth of Bihar to realise entrepreneurial potential, says Dr. Subhash Chandra

Singapore ruling party in decisive win as voters shun risk | Reuters

SINGAPORE Singapore’s ruling party romped to a strong election victory on Friday and was on course to increase its share of the vote and seat tally as it brushed off an opposition challenge in the city state’s most hotly contested polls.

The People’s Action Party (PAP), which has ruled since independence in 1965, was always expected to win but opposition parties, contesting in all seats for the first time, had hoped to gain enough votes to challenge its domination of politics.

“We are very grateful, we are very happy and at the same time, we are very humbled by the result,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told cheering supporters as results flowed in showing the extent of his party’s win.

“Tomorrow will be better than today.”

The results showed the PAP was expected to easily surpass the 60.1 percent of the vote it won in the last election in 2011. That was its worst-ever showing although it still won 79 of a total 87 seats in parliament.

Full official results for all 89 seats in an expanded parliament were due in the early hours of Saturday but projections showed the opposition could end up with fewer than the seven seats it held in the outgoing parliament.

The PAP had been hoping that a sense of patriotism inspired by this year’s 50th anniversary of independence and respect for the country’s independence leader, former premier Lee Kuan Yew, who died in March, would work in its favour.

Lee was the father of current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The elder Lee drew praise for his market-friendly policies, but also criticism at home and abroad for his strict controls over the press, public protest and political opponents.

SWING BACK TO SAFETY

The election came as economic risks are in focus due to uncertainties stemming from China’s economic slowdown and wobbly markets.

DBS Bank, Singapore’s biggest lender, this week cut its economic growth forecast for Singapore to 1.8 percent, below the official forecast of 2-2.5 percent.

“In the end I would say there was this flight to safety given the economic uncertainties,” said Eugene Tan, a political analyst and associate professor at Singapore Management University.

Years of strong growth have turned the island nation into an international financial hub with spotless streets and malls, well-tended parks and living standards unmatched in Southeast Asia.

But that success and an influx of foreign workers have brought high property prices, crowded public transport, and a widening wealth gap which have fuelled resentment among many in a city that surveys rank as one of the world’s most expensive.

A total of eight opposition parties had hoped to take advantage of the grumbling and big crowds had turned out for opposition rallies during the campaign, in which candidates focused on the bread-and-butter issues of jobs, healthcare and housing.

The PAP was forced to shift slightly to the left after its poor showing in 2011 to address an emboldened opposition’s calls for a better deal for middle- and lower-class voters.

The government launched a multi-billion-dollar healthcare insurance programme for the elderly, introduced cooling measures for the property market and curbed the flow of foreign workers.

The convincing victory on Friday could lead to a government reassessment of such policies.

(Additional reporting by Aradhana Aravindan, Chyen Yee Lee, Fathin Ungku, Edgar Su, Anshuman Daga and Christophe Van Der Perre; Editing by John Chalmers and Robert Birsel)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Assam flood toll reaches 48, flood water receding in 10 districts

With the death of one more person in Barpeta district the toll in the Assam floods today increased to 48 even as the water in 10 of the 21 districts in the state have started receding.

Assam floods

PTI photo
With the death of one more person in Barpeta district the toll in the Assam floods today increased to 48 even as the water in 10 of the 21 districts in the state have started receding.The districts that continued to be affected by the floods are Dhemaji, Bongaigaon, Sonitpur, Barpeta, Morigaon, Cachar, Dibrugarh, Golaghat, Dhubri, Goalpara and Nagaon, where 5.16 lakh people are affected, according to an Assam State Disaster Management Authority report on Thursday.Over 36,000 hectares of agricultural land with standing crops were submerged in 11 districts with the Brahmaputra river flowing over the danger level in Jorhat and Dhubri districts. River Dhansiri was flowing above danger level in Golaghat district, the report said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nearly 38,000 affected people are taking shelter in 118 relief camps with the government supplying essential materials, it said.

FIPIC summit: PM Narendra Modi announces setting up of space station in Pacific Islands country

Efforts would be made to enhance support for training in space applications.

Efforts would be made to enhance support for training in space applications.

Pushing for deeper cooperation with 14 nations of strategically-located Pacific region, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced a number of initiatives, including setting up of a space station in any of the countries and developing capacities in disaster management.Addressing the Summit of Forum for India-Pacific Island Conference (FIPIC) here, he said cooperation could immediately begin with research collaboration and capacity building with institutions in India. He offered to create capacity in these Island states in dealing with natural disasters, including through human resource development and application of space technology for early warning system and incident response.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Talking about Indian Navy’s support and capacity building efforts in island states in Indian Ocean, he pitched for goodwill visits by Indian Navy to Pacific Islands saying the ships could also provide support to the islands in areas like healthcare through medical camps. Modi, while highlighting Fiji’s support for India’s Mars Mission, talked about establishing a Space Technology Applications Centre in any one of the Pacific Island countries, for the entire region. He told the assembly of heads of states and governments and other delegates that efforts would be made to enhance support for training in space applications, including through customised courses.Modi, who also had bilateral meetings with a number of leaders present here, hoped for continuing support from the Pacific Islands for Telemetry, Tracking and Command for the country’s missions in the future. He also proposed to hold an International Conference on Ocean economy and Pacific Island Countries in New Delhi next year for officials and experts of all the 14 Pacific Island countries. In the area of human resource development, he announced that Fiji will get 110 slots for the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation and the number of slots for remaining 13 countries will be doubled from 119 to 238.Modi also announced two scholarships for college education in India to each of the 13 countries that do not receive them yet, while continuing with the 33 scholarships presently offered to Fiji. We will expand our training courses for Pacific Island diplomats and a two-week business management course at the Indian Institute of Management in Bengaluru, he said.In a move aimed at saving kerosene worth about a million US dollars and providing livelihood to women, Modi said that India would train 70 women solar engineers from the islands and provide solar electrification to 2,800 houses – 200 houses in each Pacific Island Country.India, he announced, will also establish at least one information technology laboratory in each Pacific Island country that will not only improve local IT infrastructure, but also enable the countries in fulfilling our commitment to provide tele-medicine and tele-education to the people.

BBMP Elections 2015: JD(S) manifesto promises Annapoorna Kitchens on the lines of Chennai’s Amma Canteens

“BJP failed miserably in managing garbage and providing infrastructure in Bengaluru. I am confident of voters electing JD(S) candidates to ensure a better and transparent governance in BBMP,’’ Kumaraswamy said.
YM Reddy
Team iamin
Janata Dal (Secular), in its manifesto has promised to open Annapoorna Kitchens as done by Tamil Nadu Government in Chennai to help about 15 lakh low income earning persons in Bengaluru. The JD(S) manifesto proposed to create five lakh dwelling units by following policies adopted by Hong Kong. According to the manifesto, the houses will be available at highly affordable rent and Raitara Santhe will be opened in all BBMP markets on the lines of the Santhe already established and functioning at Yelahanka.While appealing to voters to elect JD(S) candidates in the BBMP elections former chief minister and JD(S) state president HD Kumaraswamy, said “You gave an opportunity to BJP during the last elections. They failed miserably in managing garbage and providing infrastructure in Bengaluru. I am confident of voters electing JD(S) candidates to ensure a better and transparent governance in BBMP,’’ Kumaraswamy said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>TransportJD(S) will ensure smooth flow of traffic in arterial roads.
Efforts will be made to make important roads bidirectional.
Road-widening will be limited to only 21 roads and the notification issued for widening 98 roads will be withdrawn.
Circular walk way to be created at six junctions.
Eight signal free corridors will be created.
Digital ConnectivityRobust network connectivity for commercial operations in the next five years.
Mobile devices to enjoy further flexibility in when and where activities can be carried out. Real time information provisioning will be possible.
CleanlinessIt proposed to reduce plastic waste in garbage to 20 per cent of current levels in the first year. Use of plastic to be reduced to less than 5 per cent of current levels by 2020.
Use of plastic including sponge and thermocol in bill boards, packing of FMCG goods, electronic goods, mattresses, furniture will be prohibited.
Using of cotton reusable bags will be promoted.
Plastic processing fee on all commercial establishments selling plastic bottled water, aerated water, juices, beverages for disposing of plastic waste.
The amount collected to be provided for opening of units to repurchase plastic bottles.
Plastic processing fee will be levied on all pharmacies.
Waste segregationSegregation of waste at source is mandatory.
Only segregated waste will be collected.
No garbage will be burnt. It will be reprocessed to create resource.
Waste Management Authority will support create of waste reprocessing units at industrial sheds.
JD(S) will support scientific processing of building debris.
To support organic waste processing Swedish model.
A system will be introduced for collection of old tyres, footwear, luggage bags and mattresses so that they can be subjected to recovery and disposal.
Waste recognition, segregation and disposal will be part of curriculum in all schools of Banegaluru.
Management of water run off
Area and water holding capacity of existing tanks will be protected by removal of encroachments.
All the tanks in BBMP jurisdiction will be rejuvenated.
To insist construction of sewage processing plants by apartment blocks.
To protect all storm water drains by fending the boundaries.
HealthcareTo ensure every citizen of Bengaluru has access to quality healthcare.
To create a network composed of private as well as public health providers and implement the scheme of Universal Access to Healthcare.
It will be on the lines of NHS UK but modified suitably to our requirements.
Bengaluru Public Health Authority will be established
To ensure BBMP dispensaries function 24×7 with the involvement of private sector under CSR programme.

The article was orginally published on iamin.in. For more such hyperlocal stories, visit their website.

Supreme Court takes note of plea on cruelty against elephants in Kerala

Dealing with charges of cruelty meted to the elephants in Kerala, the court said it would be the state’s obligation to see that registration of the pachyderms is carried out.

Elephants are used to participate in religious festivals and processions in Kerala and also to carry the deities.
Image Courtesy: Wiki commons

The Supreme Court on Tuesday took note of pleas alleging cruelty meted out to captive elephants in Kerala, particularly in temples, and directed the top wildlife officer to undertake a headcount of all of them and act against those keeping them without the requisite permission.”As far as the present issue is concerned, we are inclined to direct that the Chief Wildlife Warden shall see to it that all the captive elephants existing in the State of Kerala are counted and in the absence of obtainment of requisite certificate under Section 42 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and the declaration made under Section 40, appropriate action shall be initiated against the owners,” the bench of Justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dealing with charges of cruelty meted to the elephants in Kerala, the court said it would be the state’s obligation to see that registration of the pachyderms is carried out.”It shall be the duty of the State, the District Committee, Management of the Devaswom, the Management of the Temple and the owners of the elephants to see that no elephant is meted with any kind of cruelty and, if it is found, apart from being lodging of criminal prosecution, they shall face severe consequences which may include confiscation of the elephants to the State,” the bench said.Referring to the Kerala Captive Elephants (Management and Maintenance) Rules, it said on its perusal, it was “clear as crystal that it obliges the District Committee to take necessary measures to ensure that the festival committee constituted for smooth conduct of the festivals or the persons organising such functions in which elephants are exposed are required to adhere to many a measure. The District Committee is bound by the Rules and see to it that the festival committees follow the same.” It asked “temples or the Devaswom” to get themselves registered with the district committee within six weeks to ensure that elephants are used properly in religious events. Elephants are used to participate in religious festivals and processions in Kerala and also to carry the deities.”We think that they should be registered with the Committee and accordingly it is directed that the registration shall be done within a period of six weeks from today. The temple and Devaswom shall, apart from other formalities, also mention how many elephants it is going to use in any festival,” it said.During the hearing, Solicitor General (SG) Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre and the counsel for Kerala told the bench that the elephants participating in religious festivals and processions carry the deities and are not covered under the statutory definition of “performing animals” and hence, do not need to be registered.”There is no ban on captive elephants taking part in religious festivals,” the SG said.”If elephants carry the deities, then there is no problem. But there should not be any cruelty towards them,” the court said, adding that registration of elephants can be done under the rules framed under the Wildlife Protection Act.Earlier, the apex court had asked the Centre and others including Animal Welfare Board to ensure that no elephant is “treated or meted with cruelty” during religious festivals across the country. The court had issued notice to the Centre, nine states and the Animal Welfare Board of India on the PIL seeking steps for protection and welfare of elephants held in captivity including a complete ban on their sale, gifting and use in religious festivals.The PIL, filed by six organisations and individuals including Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, has said that the number of captive elephants kept by private persons and religious institutions stood at over 3,000. The figure of captive elephants is more than those which are with the forest department, zoos and circus and they were being traded openly and subjected to cruelty in violation of laws like the Wild Life (Protection) Act and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, it had contended.

CM Mamata Banerjee to meet PM Modi for funds to repair flood damages in Bengal

Banerjee, who blamed the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) for “abnormal” release of water which according to her had aggravated the floods, had earlier said she would raise the issue during her meeting with the PM.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said she will demand adequate funds from the Centre for post-flood reconstruction work in her state, where loss of property has been estimated at about Rs 30,000 crore. Talking to reporters at the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ before leaving for New Delhi, Banerjee said she would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 12 and place her demands for flood damages from National Disaster Relief Fund.”I will meet the PM on August 12 and place my demand for the state and request him to waive loans taken by the farmers,” Banerjee said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Banerjee, who blamed the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) for “abnormal” release of water which according to her had aggravated the floods, had earlier said she would raise the issue during her meeting with the PM.Meanwhile, 20 more deaths have been reported in the last three days, taking the flood toll in the state to 120. Speaking about the latest flood situation, Banerjee said she had reviewed it on Monday during a video conference with the DMs of 12 flood-hit districts.”Task Forces are being set up in all flood-hit districts for relief and restoration works and the DMs are constantly monitoring the situation,” she said.Mouza-wise notifications were being made as per requirement to declare them as flood-hit with exact assessment of inundation and damages, Banerjee said.Taking a dig at opposition political parties, the Chief Minister said, “Those who are criticising relief work by our government are not right on their point. They are just doing politics. All of us should now stand by the affected.” As the flood waters receded, the affected people were found suffering from diarrhoea and also from snake bites and help of local doctors, she said.Some breached embankments of rivers were also being repaired by the irrigation engineers, she said.”2,473 relief camps have been set up to shelter nearly 5.09 lakh marooned people and 824 medical camps have been opened,” state Disaster Management Department officials said adding, the number of affected people was over 1.06 crore.As many as 7,32,408 houses were damaged and crop over an area of 12,92,372 hectares has been damaged, they said. The affected areas include 236 blocks, 55 municipal bodies, four municipal corporations and 814 gram panchayats (GPs) covering 21,885 villages. Steps were also being taken to protect the affected people from health hazards, while medicines and drinking water pouches were being distributed, they added.

Over 66,700 rural habitations drink contaminated water: Government

Prolonged consumption of water contaminated with these chemicals may be detrimental to human health.

Representational Image
File Photo

There are more than 66,700 rural habitations wherein one or more drinking water sources are contaminated and these areas are yet to be provided with safe drinking water, the government said today. Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation Ram Kripal Yadav, in reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, said that of these 12,727 are fluoride-affected habitations and 1,800 arsenic-affected habitations. Prolonged consumption of water contaminated with these chemicals may be detrimental to human health. “As reported by States and Union Territories into the online Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, there are 66,761 water quality affected habitations in rural areas of the country where one or more drinking water sources are contaminated and these habitations are yet to be provided with safe drinking water as on 1-4-2015,” he said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Defects in health care facility of BIMARU states: IIM study

The Indian Institute of Management (IIM)’s study mainly discusses aspects of infrastructure, manpower and operational challenges faced in effective provisioning of specialist services through rural health facilities in these states.

Representational Image

dna
Even after two decades, acronym ‘BIMARU’ used to define underdevelopment and poor social indices in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh seems to ring true as a recently published study by IIM Ahmedabad has picked holes in the health care facilities provided by the states.The study by Indian Institute of Management (IIM) mainly discusses aspects of infrastructure, manpower and operational challenges faced in effective provisioning of specialist services through rural health facilities in these states.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The findings reveal significant dearth of specialist doctors with their concentration at the district level,” said the study done by assistant professor Shreekant Iyenger at Institute of Law in Nirma University and Ravibndra Dholakiya, professor of economics at IIM -Ahmedabad.”Moreover, there are severe misallocations of the specialist doctors and lack of manpower support, equipment and basic infrastructure within the public health system causing serious challenges in effective provisioning of specialist services for maternal and child health care,” said the study.It pointed out that the efforts made by the government for providing additional manpower support for these services are also not giving desired results. One area where the BIMARU states lag significantly is availability of all four specialists including Gynaecologist, Paediatricians, Surgeons and Physicians at Community Health Centres (CHCs) or District Hospitals (DHs).”While it is observed that Bihar (34.3%) has a relatively greater proportion of such CHCs, all other states like Rajasthan (8.3%), MP (1.2%) and UP (1%) perform quite poor in terms of presence of all four specialists at CHCs,” said the study.As on March 2014, Bihar and UP have only 0.83 and 2.91 specialist doctors per million population in the CHCs, DH and Sub district hospitals (SDHs).While, states like Rajasthan (11.52) and MP (4.36) were in a relatively better condition when compared with national average of 3.98 specialist doctors per million population in CHCs. “It is found that number of Community Health Centres per million people is relatively low in UP (3.87) and significantly low in Bihar (0.67) but is higher in MP (4.60) and almost double in Rajasthan (8.26) as compared to the national average (4.43),” said the study.”It is also observed that all these states including Bihar (17.83), MP (7.53) and UP (3.91), except Rajasthan (61.19) are below the national average (20.74) in terms of total and rural government hospitals per million people,” it said.”The percentage of district hospitals having HIV test facility in MP (60.9 per cent) and with ultra-sound facility in Bihar (17.6 per cent) and MP (56.5 per cent) are relatively lower,” it said.Moreover, except Rajasthan (84.4%), all the three states including Bihar (52.9%), MP (39.1%) and UP (58.3) have relatively lesser district hospitals with operational blood banks, it added.The study also revealed poor health care facilities for newborns in the BIMARU states.”The percentage of CHCs with newborn stabilisation units are found to be significantly lower in Bihar (1.43%) and MP (17.4%) and CHCs with new born corners were found to be significantly lower in Bihar (31.4%) and relatively lower in Rajasthan (66.1%) and UP (74.3%) again as compared to the national average,” it said.Bihar (20.92 per million population) and UP (26.55 per million population), in terms of paramedical staff at all levels, and MP (14.78 per million population) in laboratory technicians and nurses (60.13 per million population) perform poorly as compared to the average of the nation (62.16 per million population) in government health care centres.The acronym BIMARU was used by an eminent economist Ashish Bose in a report submitted to then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 80s, stating poor performance of the four northern states affecting the growth of the country.

FEMA violation case: Rahat Fateh Ali Khan grilled by enforcement directorate for 10 hours

New Delhi: Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was on Thursday questioned for close to 10 hours by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) here in connection with an alleged forex violations case against him.

Officials said the Sufi singer presented himself before the authorities in the Delhi zonal office of the agency a little after 10 am and he left before 9 pm. Dressed in grey-coloured coat and dark pant, the popular singer arrived in a black Mercedes and was accompanied by a team of his lawyers, who kept waiting outside the ED office during the entire questioning period.

Singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. AgenciesSinger Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. Agencies

Singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. Agencies

Investigators said that he “satisfactorily” replied to all the questions and helped them with detailed replies about the transactions under scanner. Apart from providing investigators the documents of the case, Khan also recorded his version about the incident under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

The singer had been summoned for a “personal appearance” and questioning by the agency since last year and he deposed before them finally today. The case pertains to the probe agency initiating a FEMA investigation against him and his associates in 2014 after the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), in 2011, intercepted Khan and his manager, Marrouf Ali Khan, at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here for allegedly carrying an undeclared amount of USD 1.24 lakh and some other instruments in foreign currency.

The ED, which is the central agency to probe such forex contraventions under the FEMA, took over the case after this episode. The ED had initiated the step after working on the case for over-an-year and after obtaining records of the said cash from RBI.

The Pakistani singer had deputed a team of lawyers to interact with the agency here but the investigation, sources said, required Khan’s personal appearance. Khan, during his earlier statements on the subject, had said he had done nothing wrong and they were carrying the large amount of cash because they were travelling in a group and the act was inadvertent.

The singer’s lawyers had earlier submitted the details, to the ED, of the shows and events to show the said amount was accumulated by him in 2011. The Sufi singer had won the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer in 2011 for the song ‘Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji’ from the movie ‘Ishqiya’ and many of his renditions are popular chartbusters in Hindi movies and also in Pakistan.

PTI

3 killed as IIM Indore’s boundary wall collapses

A portion of the boundary wall collapsed due to heavy rains, killing a woman and two other minor boys in Pigamdambar area.

IIM Indore
File Photo

A woman and two minor boys were killed on Wednesday when a portion of the boundary wall of Indian Institute of Management Indore collapsed due to heavy rains and fell over an adjacent hut. A portion of the boundary wall collapsed due to heavy rains, killing a woman and two other minor boys in Pigamdambar area, Kishanganj Police Station in-charge, Rakesh Modi said. The deceased, who were relatives, have been identified as Seema (40), Lucky (12) and Kalu (16), he said, adding, investigations are underway. The hut was constructed possibly by encroaching land adjacent to IIM Indore’s boundary wall, the police official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Court reserves order on ED plea for warrant against Lalit Modi

Mumbai: The special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act cases here on Tuesday reserved its order on Enforcement Directorate’s plea seeking a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against former IPL boss Lalit Modi.

ED moved the court last week seeking an NBW after Modi did not respond to the summons sent to him.

File picture of Lalit Modi. GettyFile picture of Lalit Modi. Getty

File picture of Lalit Modi. Getty

Special judge P R Bhavake on Tuesday sought to know why the agency was not arresting him and had sought NBW and whether a warrant can be issued during the investigation.

ED’s lawyer Hiten Venegoankar said Lali Modi was not available in India, hence an NBW should be issued. Modi had not complied with the summonses issued to him since 2009, he claimed.

The judge asked if Modi was an accused before the court as ED had not filed a charge sheet against him. For issuance of NBW, the person should be an accused before the court, judge Bhavake remarked.

The ED lawyer said the case was at the stage of pre-investigation and the Supreme Court had said in a previous ruling that NBW can be issued during the investigation.

Last month, the court had issued letters rogatory (LR) to Singapore and Mauritius, seeking assistance from authorities there in the case.

BCCI registered an FIR in Chennai against Modi in 2010. In 2008, the cricket body had awarded 10-year media rights to WSG for USD 918 million. WSG then entered into a deal with MSM to make Sony the official broadcaster. The contract was replaced later with a nine-year deal where MSM paid WSG USD 1.63 billion.

In 2009, ED started a probe under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) to investigate the allegation that payment of Rs 425 crore facilitation fee by MSM Singapore to WSG Mauritius had been made in an unauthorised manner.

PTI

West Bengal: Mamata declares 12 districts flood-hit as death toll mounts to 83, demands Central funds

The chief minister held the Damodar Valley Corporation responsible for ‘abnormal’ release of water from their barrages, claiming this resulted in the present situation causing a huge loss of property and loss of lives, a charge denied by the DVC.

People shift with their belongings from a flooded area in Burdwan district of West Bengal on Monday.

PTI
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday declared 12 districts in West Bengal as flood-hit and demanded adequate funds from the Centre for post-flood work, even as the death toll in it mounted to 83.The chief minister held the Damodar Valley Corporation responsible for ‘abnormal’ release of water from their barrages, claiming this resulted in the present situation causing a huge loss of property and loss of lives, a charge denied by the DVC.After reviewing the flood situation at a high-level meeting with senior officials and holding a video conference with the district magistrates of all the affected districts, Banerjee told reporters that she had already requested the DVC authority to stop further release of water.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Banerjee said she has sought appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during her visit in Delhi on August 11 and 12 to discuss the situation and place her demands for flood damages from the National Disaster Relief Fund. “I also want to raise the issue of release of water by the DVC,” Banerjee said.She said that she had lodged a complaint with Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal over DVC’s ‘abnormal’ release of water. “Earlier too I had written to the DVC to undertake dredging and to increase the capacity of their reservoirs, but sadly it had done nothing of the sort. We always cooperate with the DVC, but it doesn’t cooperate,” she alleged.The DVC, however, countered the charge of excess discharge from its barrages, saying the release of water from the DVC system was not the reason for the flooding in the downstream areas. “The flooding over the past few days is mainly due to the high tidal effects and KOMEN depression-related rainfall. The combined release on August 3 was 95,000 cusecs which is lower than the safe downstream channel carrying capacity of the Damodar river which is 1,10,000 cusecs,” DVC said in a release. The DVC said, inspite of the unprecedented heavy rainfall in Jharkhand and West Bengal over the last few days, DVC dams at Panchet and Maithon had been able to moderate the flow of water to a significant extent of 68 per cent for the last two days.Meanwhile, the flood situation in south Bengal on Tuesday improved slightly as a result of no rain, reduced discharge of water from the barrages and waning tides, Disaster Management Department sources said.Stating that the death toll in the flood has mounted to 83, the chief minister said 4.31 lakh people have already taken shelter in 2,449 relief camps in the 12 affected districts.Fourteen more persons died in the affected districts, taking the toll to 83, Disaster Management Department sources said, adding, incidents of lightning, wall collapse, electrocution, snake bite and drowning were to blame for the fatalities.”Altogether 2,449 relief camps have been set up to shelter over 4.31 lakh marooned people and nearly 470 medical camps opened,” a source said, adding, the total number of affected people was over 61 lakh.The sources said that 1,07,808 houses were damaged and 3,68,238 houses destroyed partly. Crop over an area of 7,97,848 hectares has been damaged due to the floods.Banerjee also instructed some of her cabinet colleagues to visit the affected areas and supervise relief arrangement. She also instructed the officials to monitor the situation round-the-clock and take appropriate steps.With no rains and waning tides, the water level has started receding from inundated areas in Burdwan, Hooghly, Howrah, West Midnapore, East Midnapore, South 24-Parganas, North 24-Parganas, Nadia, Murshidabad, Bankura and Birbhum districts, state Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee said. “The situation is likely to improve further if there is no more rain and fresh discharge of water from the barrages,” he said.With inputs from Pooja Mehta

Dr Subhash Chandra speaks about coping with change

Dr Chandra said that success is not just about career, think about success in all aspects of life, be it relationship or just some assignment.
File Photo

The Chairman of the Essel Group and ZEE Dr Subhash Chandra reached the Management Development Institute, Gurgaon. Dr Chandra, in his latest episode, addressed a group of students and talked about how to cope up with the ever changing environment in life. Talking to the students, Dr Chandra said that we normally tend to resist changes that we come across in our lives, tend to remain in our comfort zone and maintain the status quo. “We need to accept ourselves as a subject and rest of the world as an object. These interactions between subject and the object completes the cycle of life and also compels you to change. We need to see changes as an experience worth having”, said Dr Chandra. Even a bad event might end up giving you good lessons and teach you valuable life experiences. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also discussed the reason behind avoiding change. He said we like to be with people who have the same ideology as us, we create a boundary around ourselves to keep other thoughts out. Dr Chandra told the students that change is necessary and that we should listen to various thoughts and debates in order to follow one or none. 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.

Magadh University’s pre-Ph.D test postponed

The test that was to be held on August 9 but has been postponed till further notice.

Team iamin
The pre-Ph.D test offered by Magadh University, one of the oldest and largest universities in Bihar, has been postponed until further notice, a leading daily reports. The exam was to be held on August 9, 2015. With relation to the delay for the pre-Ph.D test to be held, OSD Asha Singh said the new date will be announced soon, said the report.Magadh University offers 24 courses and 10 centres for vocational studies and has been selected by Indian Institute of Management to establish the teaching of their management courses from August 2015. They offer Ph.D programmes in subjects ranging from Commerce to Microbiology. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Chhattisgarh to include Abdul Kalam’s biography in school curriculum

The government has declared a seven-day national mourning as a mark of respect for Dr. Kalam, who played a stellar role in advancing India’s nuclear programme.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Condoling the demise of former president APJ Abdul Kalam, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on Tuesday said the former’s biography will be included in the state’s school curriculum.”He was fond of Chhattisgarh. We have decided to include his biography in the textbooks so that the coming generations know about such a humble personality,” said Singh.Dr. Kalam passed away in Shillong last evening. He collapsed after suffering a massive cardiac arrest while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong yesterday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government has declared a seven-day national mourning as a mark of respect for Dr. Kalam, who played a stellar role in advancing India’s nuclear programme.Considered one of the most popular presidents of India, Kalam became the11th head of the state and occupied the post between 2002 and 2007 during the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

In honour of APJ Abdul Kalam,Telangana declares public holiday

The Government of Telangana has declared Tuesday as a public holiday, as a mark of respect to late former president APJ Abdul Kalam’s memory.

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The Government of Telangana deeply mourns the sudden demise of former President APJ Abdul Kalam and declares that all Government offices, local bodies and educational institutions shall remain closed on Tuesday as a mark of respect to departed soul, a statement released by the Telangana Government said.Kalam’s mortal remains were flown to Delhi from Guwahati earlier on Tuesday. Army personnel paid tributes to the former president in Shillong before his body was flown to Guwahati. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Monday, Kalam passed away in Shillong after he was admitted to a hospital in the city. The former president collapsed during a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management. He was in a critical condition and had been admitted to the city’s Bethany Hospital. Kalam served as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis inaugurates IIM Nagpur

He hoped that students from IIM Nagpur will bring laurels not only to Vidarbha and Maharashtra but to the the entire country.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis with Prof Ashish Nanda, Director of IIM (Ahemdabad) during the inauguration of IIM Nagpur in Nagpur on Sunday

PTI
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday said that with the Indian economy opening up there is a need to build institutions like the IIM to produce the best of human resources.”The Indian economy is offering enormous opportunity to the global scenario for creating human resources. And gone are the days when the United States and European nations were on the forefront, some 30 years back. Today Indian talent is not lagging behind,” said Fadnavis. The chief minister was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Nagpur, the first in the state.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Our students from the IITs and IIMs have excelled in the world”, Fadnavis said recalling his recent visit to the US where he toured the Silicon Valley and Google office. “Eight out of ten (technocrats) were from India. You can build an infrastructure in two to three years but there is an urgent need for building an institution”, he added.He hoped that students from IIM Nagpur will bring laurels not only to Vidarbha and Maharashtra but to the the entire country. Fadnavis expressed his happiness that out of six IIMs announced by Union Human Resource and Development Ministry, IIM Nagpur became the first to be inaugurated. Guardian Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule and IIM Ahmedabad Director Prof Ashish Nanda were also present on the occasion.

Successful career over happiness: Study decodes what Indian parents want for their kids

Are Indian parents obsessed with their kids studying engineering and MBAs and being successful in their careers? Turns out they might be. A new global survey by HSBC Retail Banking and Wealth Management found out that in India, 23 percent parents want their children to be engineers and 22 percent want them to be MBAs.

The report called ‘The Value of Education: Learning for Life’, spoke to parents from many countries across the world and the findings were fascinating. Chinese parents give priority to the health of their children (72%) while in US and Canada they think their kids being happy is most important.

In many emerging economies, parents hope for their children to be successful in their career almost as strongly as they do for them to be happy in life, the study showed. So in India, parents want their kids to be successful in their careers (51%) more than even having a a happy life (only 49% wanted that for their kids). Even health is a relatively lower concern for Indian parents.

Reuters image.Reuters image.

Reuters image.

The study further found that a job in engineering is the most preferable for almost a fifth of parents in Brazil (18%), Malaysia (18%), the UAE (16%) and Mexico (16%), compared to just 5% of parents in Australia, Singapore and Taiwan. Parents in India – a country renowned for its emerging technology sector – are more than twice as likely as the average to want their children to go into a job in computer science.

Making a difference to society is important to two in five (38%) parents in Indonesia and to just under a quarter (22%) of parents in Turkey and India. To get their sought-after careers, 88% Indian parents feel that postgraduate or masters degree is important, While 91% are happy with undergraduate courses.

An interesting find by the study was related to additional tutoring. The study said 74% of Chinese parents would not mind paying  for additional tutoring for their children. India and Indonesia tie for the second place with 71%.

The desire for children to achieve the highest possible academic qualifications is strongest in the UAE, where a third (33%) of parents say this is an important goal for their children, as it is for parents in Malaysia (29%) and India (28%).

Parents were also found to more likely to want their daughters to go into medicine (22%) than they are for their sons (15%). They are, however, more likely to want their sons to go into engineering (15%, compared to 6% for daughters) or computer science (10%, compared to 5% for daughters).

This is true regardless of parents’ own gender, the study further added.

Source: HSBC Retail Banking and Wealth ManagementSource: HSBC Retail Banking and Wealth Management

Source: HSBC Retail Banking and Wealth Management

Many parents think students work too hard and so are concerned their children do not have enough time to develop the softer skills they need to succeed in the job market. In Asia and the Middle East, this imbalance is particularly pronounced. In the UAE, 39% of parents think their child spends too much time on independent study at university, compared to only 5% who think they do not spend enough time. There is also a wide gap in Indonesia (36% compared to 10%), Singapore (30% compared to 10%), India (29% compared to 17%) and Hong Kong (42% compared to 26%).

In contrast, parents in France are more likely to think their child does not spend enough time on independent study at university (30%).

Top official quits after massive hack of US government database

Outrage has been growing in Washington and among federal workers over the breach, an incident which puts officials in a quandary over dealing with China, the main suspect in the attack. Beijing insists it had nothing to do with the hack.

File Photo

The director of the US Office of Personnel Management resigned today after a devastating hack of government databases that saw the personal information of millions of federal workers and contractors stolen.Katherine Archuleta had come under criticism after revelations that the hack, which many suspect originated in China, affected a staggering 21.5 million people, far more than initially believed.The data breach swept up Social Security numbers and other information about current and former government workers, applicants, contractors and spouses of those who underwent background checks for security clearances.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I conveyed to the president that I believe it is best for me to step aside and allow new leadership to step in, enabling the agency to move beyond the current challenges,” said Archuleta, who had been in the post since November 2013. A White House official said President Barack Obama had “accepted her resignation and thanked her for her years of dedicated service.” Beth Cobert will from Saturday assume the role of acting OPM director, the official said.Outrage has been growing in Washington and among federal workers over the breach, an incident which puts officials in a quandary over dealing with China, the main suspect in the attack. Beijing insists it had nothing to do with the hack.Democratic US Senator Barbara Mikulski called the hack “as outrageous and unacceptable as it is devastating.” “This erodes confidence going forward that the federal government will be able to protect federal employees,” she said.The results of an investigation released Thursday show hackers accessed personal, financial and health data, in addition to fingerprints of some and information about spouses and cohabitants of employees.The National Treasury Employees Union, which has sued over the breach, said the government’s offer of three years of fraud monitoring was woefully inadequate.The union “continues to be outraged that so many of our members have had their personal information compromised due to these breaches,” union president Colleen Kelley said. “We will continue to pursue our lawsuit to provide lifetime credit monitoring and identity theft protection.”

Jet Airways flight makes emergency landing in Muscat after ‘suspicious’ tweet raises bomb scare

Jet Airways flight 9W-536 from Mumbai to Dubai today made an emergency landing at the Muscat International Airport after a phone call warning of a bomb onboard was made to the airliner’s call centre in India, reports said.

Representational Image. ReutersRepresentational Image. Reuters

Representational Image. Reuters

Jet Airways has confirmed the emergency landing at Muscat post the bomb threat. The passengers disembarked safely allowing Omani security agencies to search the aircraft, baggage and cargo.

Here’s the Jet Airways statement confirming the emergency landing:

Following the threat, the message was relayed to the pilot and the aircraft was immediately diverted to the Muscat International Airport, which accorded a priority landing to the plane. However, no bomb was found onboard. The Boeing 727-800 aircraft was carrying 54 passengers and seven crew members.

Oman Airport Management Company (OAMC), engineer and acting CEO, Saeed Khamis al Zadjali, told Muscat Daily, “The airport was closed as we had received a signal from the airline for purpose of emergency landing. A code five was initiated by the airlines and this is generally for bomb threat. After the code was received by the airport we went through a standard procedure to deal with the situation. The situation is under control and operations have resumed as normal.”

Riyaz Kuttery, general manager, Jet Airways, Oman, confirmed to Times of Oman that the aircraft landed at 1.08 pm (Oman time).

It was taken to an isolated bay and all the passengers were evacuated. The flight is right now grounded at Muscat International Airport and we are waiting for clearances from the concerned authorities to fly again,” Kuttery told Times of Oman.

Soon after the pilot informed Muscat Air Traffic Controller about the suspected threat, all emergency measures were put in place with ambulances and police vehicles forming part of the procedure. The airport was also shut down for around 15 minutes.

Sketchy details are now slowly emerging with a mysterious tweet sent out by one Surinder Partap eight hours ago warning about a possible bomb in that particular flight. Security agencies have found the account to be a fake one.

TweetAccountTweetAccount

Meet 2014 UPSC topper Ira Singhal, who was denied a posting due to her disability

The 2014 UPSC results have been just declared and women candidates have bagged all the three top slots in the prestigious examination to select IAS and IPS officers among others.

What comes as a even bigger surprise is that the examination was topped by Delhi’s Ira Singhal, the first differently abled to achieve that feat in the general category.

Delhi's Ira Singhal is the first differently-abled to top the UPSC examination

Delhi’s Ira Singhal is the first differently-abled to top the UPSC examination. Courtesy: Facebook

“I want to be an IAS officer. I want to do something for the benefit of physically-handicapped people,” said an elated Singhal.

Suffering from a spine-related disorder, Scoliosis, which disrupts her arm movement, Singhal refuses to let her disability bog her down.

While, the whole world is taking about this young woman’s courage and perseverance, here’s an all you need to know about Singhal-

1)This is 31-year old Ira Singhal’s fourth attempt at the examination. She is currently posted as an Assistant Commissioner in the Customs & Excise department of the Indian Revenue Services.

2) In 2010 too, she had cleared the examination but was refused a posting because of her disability, with authorities citing her ” inability to push, pull and lift’ as a reason. Not one to let things take their own course, she not only moved the the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) with her case but also won it and was inducted in 2014.

“It was a big disappointment, a major setback then. But I decided to fight back. It was tough initially as I had to undergo tests, submit medical certificates and prove that I am capable of doing jobs entrusted to me in the IRS. For two years, it was tough but then everyone realised that I am capable of working in spite of the disabilities. They realised I am no pushover,” Ira told Indian Express recalling the 2010 episode.

3) Explaining her condition, her father Rajendra Singhal told HuffPost India that as she cannot fully twist her arms due to some trouble with her spinal cord and because of her short height (she is just four feet five inches), the authorities refused to give her a posting. Meanwhile, she also gave the examination twice after that to ‘improve her rank’. Her proud father, however is not confident that things will be any different. “I hope she is given a proper posting, this time” he said.

4)Ira Singhal has also taught Spanish for a year, has been a manager in Cadbury India and holds an MBA from Delhi University’s Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) and a B.E. in computer engineering from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT), reports The Hindu. An avid football aficionado, Singhal is an FC Barcelona fan.

5) The biggest irony is that on physical and medical grounds, Ira is ineligible to be an Indian Revenue Services Officer, a clerk or a sweeper.

But, she didn’t give up. she battled discrimination, was wronged and conquered disability to eventually top the country’s most prestigious examination.

And, while the phone started ringing continuously after the news of her result broke, the most special call was undoubtedly from that of a top official of the Department of Personnel and Training, who in 2010 had denied her posting, reported Hindustan Times.

What to look for in a management institute

The success of a b-school depends upon how well it anticipates the emerging manpower requirements of industry and how well it trains and develops its students to make them job ready.

The globalized economic environment has forced business entities to improve their efficiency and adopt best practices from around the world to survive and grow in a highly competitive market economy. Business activities have become extremely complex, requiring continuous improvement of systems and processes, innovating new products and services, and making strategic decisions to satisfy highly demanding customers. This has thrown up a great challenge for managers to conduct business effectively.The success of a b-school depends upon how well it anticipates the emerging manpower requirements of industry and how well it trains and develops its students to make them job ready. It requires a close coordination and interaction between b-schools and industry. There are many issues to be addressed in this regard. The curriculum must evolve continuously around the emerging needs of industry. This is possible if the b-schools have the freedom to modify their curriculum on a regular basis and adopt innovative learner-centric pedagogy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The emerging integrated and inter-dependent global business environment demands that management students get adequate international exposure and have a global orientation, so that they understand business context and business demands. Many b-schools provide some opportunity to their students for international exposure through international immersion; under which the students are sent on visits to a few business units or multinational organizations or educational institutions in other countries to get a feel of international business environments and processes. Alternatively, b-schools have exchange programmes with international institutes, in which students from one country complete part of their curriculum in the partner institute in the other country. Finally, b-schools set up up multiple campuses in various regions of the world. These interconnected campuses share their regional expertise and exchange students.More than 2/3rd of India’s population lives in villages. Corporates are recognising the tremendous untapped business opportunities in rural India and focussing their business strategies in that direction. B-school students need to be sensitized to the needs of rural population and have an awareness of rural economic activities and market potentials. A few proactive b-schools arrange for their students to visit villages, and study rural institutions, rural markets, etc. and collect qualitative and quantitative information to analyse the income, expenditure and economic activities of rural folk.The demand for business education has increased manifold in the past two decades, but the number of b-schools has outgrown the demand. This situation has posed many challenges for the education industry. Finding competent faculty, creating bonding with industry and aligning curriculum to their needs; adopting learner centric pedagogy; internationalizing business education; and providing adequate industrial and rural exposure to students, are the major challenges faced by a large number of b-schools.
Dr C Babu is the Director of Durgadevi Saraf Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai.

IIM Bill: Smriti Irani should get off the backs of IIMs, not hem them in

The HRD Ministry’s draft bill on the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) has raised a storm of protest from the boards of most of the premier institutes.

The ostensible purpose of the Indian Institutes of Management Bill, 2015, is to declare them as “institutions of national importance”, and “empower them” to “attain standards of global excellence in management, management research” (etc, etc). The problem is the government has quietly tried to give itself a say in crucial decisions. From the appointment of the board and its chairman to deciding the fee structure to the creation of new academic departments, a government nod is required.

In other words, the bill will enable some form of government intervention in the functioning of the IIMs rather than giving them greater autonomy. If there is one thing HRD Minister Smriti Irani wants to be remembered for beyond her wayward declaration of her own academic qualifications in election affidavits, she should set our IIMs free.

IIM Ahmedabad. Agencies

IIM Ahmedabad. Agencies

If she doesn’t, she is going to find more criticism headed her way – and not from her usual political detractors. A Mint report quotes JJ Irani, Chairman of IIM, Lucknow, as warning of a “revolt in the IIM system” if the current version of Irani’s bill is passed.

The top IIMs are clearly be in a mood to fight for their independence. Among others, the chairmen of the big four – IIM, Ahmedabad, IIM, Calcutta, IIM, Bangalore, and IIM, Lucknow – are likely to fight to retain their autonomy, with The Economic Times quoting IIMA Chairman AM Naik (boss of Larsen & Toubro) as saying “the new bill gives sweeping powers to the government, which makes the institution only an operational centre while all the major directions and approvals are allowed only from the Centre.”

Naik indirectly hinted that the fight might well be elevated to the level of Narendra Modi if Smriti Irani does not relent. ET quotes him thus: “Currently, the matter is too small to raise with the PM. We will discuss at a certain level and we expect that finally sense would prevail.”

To be sure, the IIMs are not the last word in management education or pedagogy. None of them is at the cutting-edge of management knowledge creation in the global context, but they have two major achievements to their credit.

First, they have created a brand that is now acknowledged globally as the prime hunting ground for talent.

Second, the entry filter – the common admission test – is so robust that it is difficult for anybody barring the best to get in. It is easier to get into a Harvard or Wharton than one of the Big Four IIMs.

The IIM bill wants to enhance the acceptability of the institutes’ passouts by awarding degrees instead of diplomas, but no one seems to have found this a handicap in the flagship course so far. This fact is acknowledged in the government’s Mygov portal itself: “The Post-graduate Diploma in Management Programme was relatively unaffected by (the) absence of a formal degree, both in terms of recruitment of students as well as suitable placements in (the) job market, but the Fellow Programme in Management did not get the same status as that of a PhD in the job market, especially in faculty appointments. As a result, the Fellow Programme in Management (equivalent to PhD), without the formal degree stamp, has not, been able to attract talented students, required to develop a strong research base in the country in the field of management education, and also address the faculty shortages affecting management institutions in the country. The proposed Bill will address this gap.”

One wonders how circumscribing the autonomy of the IIMs is going to attract more high-quality students for the fellowship programmes and cutting-edge faculty.

Rapid expansion over the last decade has ensured that the IIM franchise is slowly being diluted, creating fissures in the system that politicians can exploit. There are now 13 IIMs, and six more are in the works, but beyond the top five or six IIMs, brand equity has probably taken a dent.

Governments feel emboldened to intervene because the newer IIMs need both public money and governmental support to grow, while the top IIMs don’t need any nannying by politicians. In fact, they resent it, as AM Naik’s and JJ Irani’s comments above show.

The top four IIMs – Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Bangalore and Lucknow – can probably find enough private sector funding to retain their autonomy and grow into real world class institutions, but that is precisely what the ministry does not want. The power of the HRD ministry stems from controlling the top IIMs, and not the latter-day entrants like Kashipur or Rohtak.

The ministry thus tends to use the weaker IIMs to claim that it has the support of many boards while interfering with the IIMs’ autonomy.

The draft bill that has got the IIM boards’ goat makes some right moves, like the corporatisation of the IIMs, but the troublesome provisos are many, including the right to determine board appointments, set policies, and create a coordination forum of IIMs, where the weight of the top four IIMs will be diluted.

Para 21(1) in the draft bill says that the IIMs “will be bound by such directions on questions of policy as the central government may give in writing from time to time” – which, given that it was the taxpayer who funded the IIMs in the first place – is not unreasonable. However, the ambit of policy is ill-defined, and para 21(2) makes it clear that “whether a question is one of policy or not” will be decided by the government, and its decision “will be final.”

If areas of policy are not clearly defined, the ministry can clearly intervene in many areas by calling them policy. The creation of new departments or payment of higher fees to foreign faculty could be called policy issues.

Nowhere is autonomy more compromised than in the selection of directors (effectively CEOs of each IIM). The board chairperson, already a government-appointed functionary, is supposed to head a search-cum-selection committee which will have other government nominees, but if the government does not like the selection made, it can overturn it. A crucial para says that where the visitor (the president) “is not satisfied with the recommendations of the search-cum-selection committee, he may ask the…committee to make fresh recommendations.”

Another clause that could create scope for intervention is the creation of a Coordination Forum of IIMs headed by the HRD Minister. Para 30(1) says the centre can, by notification, create a coordination forum. In theory, an inter-IIM forum is not a bad idea, but when so many states and central netas and babus are involved in the forum, and when the weaker IIMs are larger in number, what is the chance that the big four IIMs will have their way in key issues?

As noted earlier in Firstpost, not all IIMs are equal. The first three (Ahmedabad, Calcutta and Bangalore), and possibly the next two (Lucknow and Kozhikode) have developed significant brand equity of their own, which the remaining eight IIMs may not have.

The logical thing to do – assuming you want the IIMs to create more value – is to set the top-notchers free, with the government concentrating its investments on the newer ones.

The way forward should run something like this.

One, each IIM should be free to set its own curriculum and teaching standards, faculty salaries, and student fees, subject only to the normal reservations for SC/ST, etc. Autonomy should not only be retained, but extended.

Two, expansion in the aggregate student intake should be determined by each institute itself – not the government. If the government wants say, and IIMA, to share its equity with a new one at Rajkot, the parameters for performance should be set by IIMA and not the government. Else, the IIMA brand will be whittled down steadily. Put another way, IIM Rajkot should be a subsidiary of IIMA. It should thus be IIMA-Rajkot campus, rather than IIM Rajkot.

Three, each IIM should be free to generate its own funding, from alumni or corporates, and should ultimately be free to break out of government control altogether. The government’s role should be to incubate new B-schools, not reduce them to eternal dependence.

Four, the brand of each IIM – despite the common name – is unique and the top three or four surely can fend for themselves. They have a vested interest in excellence, and any government interference can only take them towards greater mediocrity. The top three or four should be encouraged to become truly autonomous private institutions.

Five, there is no issue with the common entrance test, where the best and brightest go to the top IIMs, and the lower scorers to the remaining institutes. But an IIMA or IIMC (or any IIM, for that matter) should be free to add layers to the selection process that will allow them to chase diversity beyond CAT scores.

If the ultimate objective is excellence and not mediocrity, the government has to set the IIMs and IITs free, not try and put a noose around their necks by creating pointless councils and coordinating committees.

Smriti Irani will earn kudos by setting the IIMs free, and not by trying to restricting their autonomy. This is her chance to redeem herself.

IIM Bill: Smriti Irani should get off backs of IIMs, not hem them in

The HRD Ministry’s draft bill on the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) has raised a storm of protest from the boards of most of the premier institutes.

The ostensible purpose of the Indian Institutes of Management Bill, 2015, is to declare them as “institutions of national importance”, and “empower them” to “attain standards of global excellence in management, management research” (etc, etc). The problem is the government has quietly tried to give itself a say in crucial decisions. From the appointment of the board and its chairman to deciding the fee structure to the creation of new academic departments, a government nod is required.

In other words, the bill will enable some form of government intervention in the functioning of the IIMs rather than giving them greater autonomy. If there is one thing HRD Minister Smriti Irani wants to be remembered for beyond her wayward declaration of her own academic qualifications in election affidavits, she should set our IIMs free.

IIM Ahmedabad. Agencies

IIM Ahmedabad. Agencies

If she doesn’t, she is going to find more criticism headed her way – and not from her usual political detractors. A Mint report quotes JJ Irani, Chairman of IIM, Lucknow, as warning of a “revolt in the IIM system” if the current version of Irani’s bill is passed.

The top IIMs are clearly be in a mood to fight for their independence. Among others, the chairmen of the big four – IIM, Ahmedabad, IIM, Calcutta, IIM, Bangalore, and IIM, Lucknow – are likely to fight to retain their autonomy, with The Economic Times quoting IIMA Chairman AM Naik (boss of Larsen & Toubro) as saying “the new bill gives sweeping powers to the government, which makes the institution only an operational centre while all the major directions and approvals are allowed only from the Centre.”

Naik indirectly hinted that the fight might well be elevated to the level of Narendra Modi if Smriti Irani does not relent. ET quotes him thus: “Currently, the matter is too small to raise with the PM. We will discuss at a certain level and we expect that finally sense would prevail.”

To be sure, the IIMs are not the last word in management education or pedagogy. None of them is at the cutting-edge of management knowledge creation in the global context, but they have two major achievements to their credit.

First, they have created a brand that is now acknowledged globally as the prime hunting ground for talent.

Second, the entry filter – the common admission test – is so robust that it is difficult for anybody barring the best to get in. It is easier to get into a Harvard or Wharton than one of the Big Four IIMs.

The IIM bill wants to enhance the acceptability of the institutes’ passouts by awarding degrees instead of diplomas, but no one seems to have found this a handicap in the flagship course so far. This fact is acknowledged in the government’s Mygov portal itself: “The Post-graduate Diploma in Management Programme was relatively unaffected by (the) absence of a formal degree, both in terms of recruitment of students as well as suitable placements in (the) job market, but the Fellow Programme in Management did not get the same status as that of a PhD in the job market, especially in faculty appointments. As a result, the Fellow Programme in Management (equivalent to PhD), without the formal degree stamp, has not, been able to attract talented students, required to develop a strong research base in the country in the field of management education, and also address the faculty shortages affecting management institutions in the country. The proposed Bill will address this gap.”

One wonders how circumscribing the autonomy of the IIMs is going to attract more high-quality students for the fellowship programmes and cutting-edge faculty.

Rapid expansion over the last decade has ensured that the IIM franchise is slowly being diluted, creating fissures in the system that politicians can exploit. There are now 13 IIMs, and six more are in the works, but beyond the top five or six IIMs, brand equity has probably taken a dent.

Governments feel emboldened to intervene because the newer IIMs need both public money and governmental support to grow, while the top IIMs don’t need any nannying by politicians. In fact, they resent it, as AM Naik’s and JJ Irani’s comments above show.

The top four IIMs – Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Bangalore and Lucknow – can probably find enough private sector funding to retain their autonomy and grow into real world class institutions, but that is precisely what the ministry does not want. The power of the HRD ministry stems from controlling the top IIMs, and not the latter-day entrants like Kashipur or Rohtak.

The ministry thus tends to use the weaker IIMs to claim that it has the support of many boards while interfering with the IIMs’ autonomy.

The draft bill that has got the IIM boards’ goat makes some right moves, like the corporatisation of the IIMs, but the troublesome provisos are many, including the right to determine board appointments, set policies, and create a coordination forum of IIMs, where the weight of the top four IIMs will be diluted.

Para 21(1) in the draft bill says that the IIMs “will be bound by such directions on questions of policy as the central government may give in writing from time to time” – which, given that it was the taxpayer who funded the IIMs in the first place – is not unreasonable. However, the ambit of policy is ill-defined, and para 21(2) makes it clear that “whether a question is one of policy or not” will be decided by the government, and its decision “will be final.”

If areas of policy are not clearly defined, the ministry can clearly intervene in many areas by calling them policy. The creation of new departments or payment of higher fees to foreign faculty could be called policy issues.

Nowhere is autonomy more compromised than in the selection of directors (effectively CEOs of each IIM). The board chairperson, already a government-appointed functionary, is supposed to head a search-cum-selection committee which will have other government nominees, but if the government does not like the selection made, it can overturn it. A crucial para says that where the visitor (the president) “is not satisfied with the recommendations of the search-cum-selection committee, he may ask the…committee to make fresh recommendations.”

Another clause that could create scope for intervention is the creation of a Coordination Forum of IIMs headed by the HRD Minister. Para 30(1) says the centre can, by notification, create a coordination forum. In theory, an inter-IIM forum is not a bad idea, but when so many states and central netas and babus are involved in the forum, and when the weaker IIMs are larger in number, what is the chance that the big four IIMs will have their way in key issues?

As noted earlier in Firstpost, not all IIMs are equal. The first three (Ahmedabad, Calcutta and Bangalore), and possibly the next two (Lucknow and Kozhikode) have developed significant brand equity of their own, which the remaining eight IIMs may not have.

The logical thing to do – assuming you want the IIMs to create more value – is to set the top-notchers free, with the government concentrating its investments on the newer ones.

The way forward should run something like this.

One, each IIM should be free to set its own curriculum and teaching standards, faculty salaries, and student fees, subject only to the normal reservations for SC/ST, etc. Autonomy should not only be retained, but extended.

Two, expansion in the aggregate student intake should be determined by each institute itself – not the government. If the government wants say, and IIMA, to share its equity with a new one at Rajkot, the parameters for performance should be set by IIMA and not the government. Else, the IIMA brand will be whittled down steadily. Put another way, IIM Rajkot should be a subsidiary of IIMA. It should thus be IIMA-Rajkot campus, rather than IIM Rajkot.

Three, each IIM should be free to generate its own funding, from alumni or corporates, and should ultimately be free to break out of government control altogether. The government’s role should be to incubate new B-schools, not reduce them to eternal dependence.

Four, the brand of each IIM – despite the common name – is unique and the top three or four surely can fend for themselves. They have a vested interest in excellence, and any government interference can only take them towards greater mediocrity. The top three or four should be encouraged to become truly autonomous private institutions.

Five, there is no issue with the common entrance test, where the best and brightest go to the top IIMs, and the lower scorers to the remaining institutes. But an IIMA or IIMC (or any IIM, for that matter) should be free to add layers to the selection process that will allow them to chase diversity beyond CAT scores.

If the ultimate objective is excellence and not mediocrity, the government has to set the IIMs and IITs free, not try and put a noose around their necks by creating pointless councils and coordinating committees.

Smriti Irani will earn kudos by setting the IIMs free, and not by trying to restricting their autonomy. This is her chance to redeem herself.

Landslide kills 5 in Maharashtra

The deceased, three of them women, aged between 18 and 75 years, were buried under the debris

Representational Image

Five persons, including four of a family, were on Monday killed after landslide flattened a house here this, an official said.The incident occurred at around 6.15 am in village Mohechiwadi under Karjat taluka of Raigad district located adjoining Mumbai, a Disaster Management Cell official said.The victims, four members of a Dighe family and their relative, were sleeping in the house which was knocked down by the landslide triggered by heavy rains, he said.The deceased, three of them women, aged between 18 and 75 years, were buried under the debris, he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Ganga’s surface pollution abatement to begin soon

To kickstart the project, the NMCG has identified Varanasi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Patna, Sahibganj, Mathura, Ganga Sagar and Haridwar as priority cities.

Ganga river
File Photo

While it may take some time before the Centre is able to abate industrial pollution flowing into the holy Ganga, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) will soon kick-off projects to control surface pollution that have turned the river into an eye-sore. The empowered steering committee (ESC) of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) recently accepted the proposal to carry out a pilot study – ‘Swacch Ganga cities and Ghats’ – across eighth major cities along the river. The ESC comprises of senior officials from ministry of water resources, environment, power, urban development, shipping and NMCG officials.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> To kickstart the project, the NMCG has identified Varanasi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Patna, Sahibganj, Mathura, Ganga Sagar and Haridwar as priority cities. As part of this pilot study, to be carried out by States Project Management Group (SPMG), the polluted stretches of the river close to its banks and Ghats would be cleaned up. The ESC was requested to provide, the SPMG, an approximate budget of Rs.5.5 crore per city. The SPMG’s could also add more cities to the pilot ahead, in consultation with the NMCG. The NMCG has proposed clean-up solid waste and surface pollution with a combination of machinery and treatment of water. This would involve use of trash skimmers to collect and compact floating solid waste, treatment of stagnant pools of river water by way of aeration, use of trash booms for additional collection of floating waste and fencing of nullahs and drains to stop solid waste from entering the river. On a trial basis, the NMCG had earlier engaged local fishermen who used their boats equipped with machinery to collect floating waste. To use trash skimmers, the ESC has asked NMCG to invite ‘expression of interest’ and submit details of the cost of renting or buying such machines. Though not the biggest contributor to pollution of Ganga, dumping of solid waste and pious refuse, still, remains one of the biggest problems, in cleaning the river. Not only does the dumping of waste and littering has made the river an eye-sore, the religious and spiritual sentiments attached has made the task of putting an end to littering of pious refuse trickier. Earlier this month, water resources minister Uma Bharti had made it clear that her ministry would not like to bring in new rules that may hurt the ‘spiritual sentiments’ of the people at large. Ministry officials, though, have maintained that a draft law on abatement of Ganga pollution has been prepared, that also includes penal provisions for dumping waste in the river.

Enforcement Directorate steps up probe in Lalit Modi owned firm for FEMA violation

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has stepped up its probe into a foreign exchange violation case against former IPL boss Lalit Modi which involves alleged illegal routing of Rs 21 crore funds from a Mauritius-based company.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has stepped up its probe into a foreign exchange violation case against former IPL boss Lalit Modi which involves alleged illegal routing of Rs 21 crore funds from a Mauritius-based company.Official sources said the case pertains to the routing of the amount a few years ago into a firm said to be owned by Modi which is based in Rajasthan and has a branch office in the national capital.The ED had begun investigations into this case in October last year after it detected some foreign investment coming into this group which had Modi’s relatives at the helm. But in 2007, the sources said, the businessman-turned-cricket czar took over the directorship of the company along with his wife.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The sources said the agency has already recorded the statements of few employees of the firm who are involved in this while summonses are being issued to more individuals for questioning.They said the agency is probing the case to check if RBI guidelines or the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) were violated in this transaction.ED authorities are already going through the record sheets and bank documents of the firm and the one located in Mauritius in order to take forward the probe.The sources said Modi would also be asked to join the probe “whenever” the investigators require his presence.The ED, sources said, had told the Delhi High Court early this year that they were probing the case under FEMA laws and not under the criminal charges of the anti-money laundering Act.

Gaana.com hacker reveals how he did it and how can you stay safe

dna tracked down Mak Man, and he’s agreed to let us use his name. Here’s Mukarram Khalid from Lahore.

White hat hacker Mak Man has been in the news since Thursday for infiltrating Gaana.com’s website and proving it was possible to not only steal user data, but also tamper with the portal itself. Mak Man says when he found the loophole, he tried bringing it to the attention of the site’s moderators, but was largely ignored. Annoyed, Mak Man set out to prove that the flaw could be exploited. dna tracked down Mak Man, and he’s agreed to let us use his name. Here’s Mukarram Khalid from Lahore. So how exactly did Khalid gain access to Gaana.com’s servers? He says the vulnerability was SQL injection. Simply put, it’s a bug in the website’s code that occurs when an input parameter from the client side has not been properly sanitised, allowing a hacker to execute SQL (Structured Query Language) code at the website’s back-end DBMS (Database Management System).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Let’s go over that again. Take, for example, a login page on a website. The form on that page allows you to input data, which the website then confirms is within certain parameters (like making sure your password matches). But if that bit of the website’s code isn’t properly written and the fields aren’t set up to accept validated data, the form doesn’t block you from inputting something other than your name or password. A hacker can use that to send their own SQL request directly to the website’s database, potentially giving them access to all the data stored therein. “In this particular case (Gaana.com), there was a user table in the database which had almost 12 million records. This table had all the usernames, email addresses, passwords (MD5 encrypted), date of birth, Facebook IDs, Twitter IDs and other financial information,” said Khalid, in an email to us. While he claims he didn’t steal or download any of the information, Khalid says it was easily within his grasp, although it would’ve taken a few days given the sheer quantity. And his efforts seem to have paid off. Times Internet CEO Satyan Gajwani came out on social media, owning up for the goof and thanking the then anonymous Mak Man for his efforts. The hole has since been patched, and Gaana.com was offline for a few hours last evening as they carried out extensive diagnostic tests to uncover any further flaws. At Gajwani’s request, Khalid also took down the script he had hosted on his website. How to protect data Never use the same password for multiple online accounts. It might be tedious to remember them all, but it’s better to have one compromised login than all of them. Don’t click on unknown links or URLs while online. That one should be obvious, but it needs to be stated again and again. Keep your system and your antivirus software up to date. Make sure that when you’re entering your financial details into any online portal, it’s a legitimate organisation, and one you can trust. If there’s even a shadow of a doubt, stay away from it. Where possible, elect to not save credit or debit card details.

Mega heat wave kills over 1,400 with majority in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana: The bad news is it will get worse

Oral salts are available at railway stations, water is being distributed in public places and emergency medical camps are now being set up Andhra Pradesh. It’s a belated response to the international media spotlight on the spiking death toll due to the heat across states in India.

According to reports, the death toll due to the heat wave across Andhra Pradesh has now risen to over 800, and the total death toll across the nation could be inching towards 1000. There have been 202 deaths in the district of Prakasam of Andhra Pradesh alone. And there’s no respite any time soon.

The meteorological department has predicted that heat wave conditions will continue to prevail in some parts of Andhra Pradesh in the coming days.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The state government for now has announced payment of Rs 1 lakh to the next of kin of all people killed in the heat wave. Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister said that the state government has also issued an alert to doctors to be ready to provide medical assistance to the heat wave-affected people.

The Times of India reported that the state governments in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have launched campaigns in villages asking them to wear light clothes, not step out of their homes between 9 and 4 pm unless absolutely necessary. In addition to this, the government is making oral rehydration salts and intravenous fluids available at bus and railway stations to supply to dehydrated passengers.

Other states continue to also witness soaring temperatures. But in states like Odisha, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh the death toll hasn’t been as high.

But as Firstpost‘s G Pramod Kumar pointed out in an earlier piece, the problem also lies in the fact that India just doesn’t have a plan to deal with heat waves. The National Disaster Management Authority has only a set of do’s and don’ts, and state governments are reluctant to enforce laws that regulate work in sectors that make people more prone to heat-based injuries and death.

This year, as well, there’s no sign of a plan in place. Current remedial measures were taken long after the death toll has climbed to a number one would associate with a natural calamity. Emergency medical camps are temporary measures  and there’s no guarantee they will be in place next year.

A proactive approach is a must now that experts say that heat waves are here to stay. A study quoted widely in news reports — titled ‘Climate change scenarios for Hyderabad: Integrating uncertainties and consolidation’ and published by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research — states that  if the rate of carbon dioxide emissions remains high during the coming century the number of heat waves will increase by up to 40 more days in a year.

India is already in the top three nations when it comes to carbon dioxide emissions and as it chases higher industrial growth it will only rise. The Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments are unlikely to curb traditional sources of carbon dioxide emissions like industry and vehicles as they aim for higher economic growth and what this will mean is that the number of days the states will experience extremely hot days and heat waves is only going to increase in the years to come.

None of this is good news for Hyderabad or other parts of the country which are experience extreme heat.

“On account of 0.8 degree warming during the past hundred years, one must expect more heat waves even without an El Nino. El Nino will increase the atmospheric temperature and hence add to the problems created by global warming,” J Srinivasan, who heads the Divecha Centre for Climate Change at Indian Institute of Science was quoted as telling the IBTimes UK.

The Potsdam Institute’s study also predicts that Hyderabad will see a higher number of extremely rainy days. The state government though probably already has a plan in place to tackle that though given flooding and water logging would have taken place in the past.

The state governments may not be able to exercise great control over CO2 emissions, but they can take better care of their citizens. While the government cannot force people to stay in their homes, but it can and should ensure safe working conditions. Changing work hours is one option. Another is treating measures such as rehydrating pills and water distribution not as emergency measures but as standard policy during the summer months. At the very least, citizens should not be losing their lives simply because they can’t get out of the sun.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect the latest death toll

Heat wave continues; death toll crosses 1400 mark

As per the latest figures, the toll due to heat wave in Andhra Pradesh stood 1020 while it was 340 in Telangana.

The death toll due to intense heat wave sweeping across many parts of the country continued to mount and reached 1412, with only Andhra Pradesh and Telangana accounting for 1360 deaths.As per the latest figures, the toll due to heat wave in Andhra Pradesh stood 1020 while it was 340 in Telangana.While 168 deaths were reported in Andhra Pradesh since yesterday, 74 deaths were reported since yesterday.The heat wave is likely continue for another two days in Telangana and three days in Coastal Andhra Pradesh.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The heat wave conditions continued to sweep Haryana and Punjab as well, with maximum temperatures hovering between 41-45 degrees celsius at most places.In Andhra Pradesh, Prakasam district recorded the highest number of deaths at 202. Guntur district saw death of 130 people followed by Visakhapatnam (112), Vizianagaram (78) and Nellore 74.The toll in other districts was East Godavari-90, West Godavari 10, Krishna 49, Chittore 29, Kadapa 22, Kurnool 17, Anantapur 14, Srikaukulam 25.The government had issued an alert to doctors to be ready to provide medical assistance to the heat wave-affected people, he said.In Telangana, Nalgonda recorded the maximum number of deaths at 99, followed by Khammam 72, Karimnagar 45 and Mahabubnagar 37, said a senior official of State Disaster Management Department.Medak recorded 29 deaths, Adilabad 22, Nizamabad and Warangal 11 each followed by Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy at 7 each, the official said.43 deaths due to heat wave are reported from Odisha while seven have died in Gujarat.(With PTI inputs)