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No third child after 2 daughters: Haryana Khap

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The Khap has also put a limit on the number of members to be part of the bridegroom’s wedding procession at 21.

No third child after the birth of two daughters and only Re 1 to be taken from the girl’s family by the groom were among a host of rulings given out by a Khap Panchayat here to discourage the practices of female feoticide and dowry.In an announcement which comes as a breath of fresh air as khaps are infamous for issuing orthodox diktats, Bura Khap’s head Rajbir Bura said that members in a meeting held here today have decided to felicitate couples who do not have a third child after the birth of two daughters and those who took no or only Re 1 as dowry from the bride’s family. The Khap has also put a limit on the number of members to be part of the bridegroom’s wedding procession at 21.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The decision was much needed as too many people constituting a ‘baraat’ puts unnecessary financial burden on the bride’s family,” the Khap head said. Bura said that a decision to shorten the mourning period after a family member’s death from 13 to 7 days was also taken during the meeting. “It was also decided to end the old practice of not having wheat flour, pulses and ghee (clarified butter) during the mourning period.”Felicitating sportsmen, social activists and writers was also proposed during the meeting of the Khap members.

UP CM Akhilesh Yadav, wife get stuck in Assembly lift for 30 minutes

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Officials in the assembly complex said the incident took place because of some technical problem and added that facts would come out only after a thorough investigation.

Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav and Dimple Yadav.
File Photo
PTI
Security personnel were thrown into a tizzy today when Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his wife Dimple Yadav were stuck in a VIP lift at the state Assembly building in Lucknow for nearly 30 minutes. The incident created panic in the building as both the Chief Minister and his MP wife failed to come out of the lift despite efforts by the CM’s security staff.Officials in the assembly complex said the incident took place because of some technical problem and added that facts would come out only after a thorough investigation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the couple could not come out even after 20-25 minutes of struggle, gas masks were requisitioned and an ambulance was kept ready in case of any exigency as an anxious crowd of Vidhan Bhawan employees and officials gathered outside the lift. However, after nearly 30 minutes of “captivity”, they managed to come out of the lift Number One especially used by the Chief Minister or the Speaker.Security men and assembly staff heaved a sigh of relief when the duo came out safe. Akhilesh and his wife had gone to the state assembly building to participate in an event when the incident occurred.

Tamil Nadu rains: A break down of the flood situation in numbers

Many parts of the state were flooded, thousands of people had to rescued and the resulting damages are to the tune of several thousand crore.

People being rescued from flooded areas in Chennai in the recent rains

PTI
In Tamil Nadu, rains are usually expected each year during Diwali. However, a deep depression over the Bay of Bengal changed the story this year, with rains lashing the state for days, and bringing it to a standstill. Heavy rains and winds battered the state incessantly for days with no relief in sight.Many parts were flooded, thousands of people were left stranded, and damages have already amounted to several thousand crores.Here’s a look at the Tamil Nadu floods in numbers: Four: The number of helicopters deployed by the Indian Air Force to airlift stranded people in Chennai. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seven: The number of Indian services — firemen, policemen, National Disaster Response Force, army, Air Force, navy and the Coast Guard — that joined hands to rescue stranded people and distribute essential items like food in the state. Eight centimetres: The amount of rain Chennai received in just 45 minutes. 10: The number of days that the waiting period of new vehicles has gone up by. 11: The number of teams that came to help from the National Disaster Response Force.12: The number of cyclone shelters that were readied in Nagapttinam district.14: The number of days schools remained shut due to rains.25: The percentage of supply of vegetables that was hit due to rains in Chennai.50: The percentage by which the prices of vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, beans and ladies finger shot up due to lack of supply during the rains.176: The number of people who lost their lives due to the rains in the state. Rs 180 crore: The loss caused to automakers in the state due to the rains. 246.5 millilitres: The amount of rain recorded in Chennai in just 24 hours (November 16 to 17), which was the highest in a decade.402: The number of mobile medical units working in the state.470 – The number of pump sets used by Chennai Corporation, along with 75 super sucker machines and 57 excavators to take care of water logging.490: The number of localities in Chennai where work is in progress to reduce water stagnation. 587: The number of locations flooded in Chennai due to the rains.1,000 – The number of locations in the city where medical camps will be conducted to screen people for hypertension, diabetes, respiratory problems, diabetes, skin infections, dengue, chikungunya and stomach disorders.1,144.8 millilitres – The amount of rain recorded by Meenambakkam weather station in Chennai in November. 5,000 kg: The amount of supplies that was air-dropped by the Indian Air Force in 25 sorties.Rs 7,500: The amount of compensation that a farmer will receive from the state government for per hectare loss of crops other than paddy.12,000: The number of people who attended the 98 medical camps in Chennai on November 15. Rs 13,500: The compensation that the state government will give a farmer for loss per hectare of paddy.50,000: The number of meals distributed in Chennai by the volunteer group ‘Chennai Rain Relief 2015’.70,000: The number of people rescued in the state so far.3,00,000: The number of people to be screened at medical camps by the Chennai Corporation across the city, from November 26.4,00,000: The number of people in the state who were shifted to relief camps and provided food and shelter by the state government.Rs 4 lakh: The compensation amount that the next of kin of all those who lost their lives due to the rains, will get from the state government.Rs 110 crore: Amount of insurance claims received by the Chennai-based United India Insurance. This amount is expected to rise in the days to come. Rs 150 crore: Business loss borne by the bus transportation sector.Rs 500 crore: Amount released for the relief and rehabilitation of persons by the state government. Rs 940 crore: Amount released by the Central Government for flood relief in the state. Rs 2,000 crore: Amount requested by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa from the Centre for flood relief.Rs 84,810 crore: Amount of loss caused in the state due to the floods/ rains.

Britain, India sign over 9 billion pounds in deals despite protests | Reuters

LONDON Britain and India welcomed more than 9 billion pounds ($13.7 billion) in commercial deals during a visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but his arrival was overshadowed by protests over a perceived rise in intolerance back home.

Modi got a warm welcome by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has tried to cultivate closer ties with India to secure business opportunities in a fast-growing economy at a time when Modi has been prioritising other relationships.

For his part, Modi is seeking to restore his authority on the world stage after a defeat for his Hindu nationalist party in populous Bihar state on Sunday. He appealed to business to invest in a more transparent India in a speech at the Guildhall, a historic building in the heart of London’s financial district.

While Cameron said he wanted to support Modi in his efforts to transform India with improved infrastructure, the Indian leader signalled he wanted Britain to stay in the European Union, saying the country was India’s gateway to Europe.

“We want to become your number one partner for supporting the finance needed for this ambitious plan, making London the world’s centre for offshore rupee trading,” Cameron told him during a news conference, adding that plans were in place to issue more than 1 billion pounds in bonds.

He later said in a statement: “During this visit, British and Indian companies are announcing new collaborations, together worth more than £9 billion pounds.”

The British government listed more than 20 deals and collaborations, including a 1.3 billion-pound ($1.98 billion) investment by Vodafone (VOD.L).

The two prime ministers also welcomed a package to promote clean energy worth 3.2 billion pounds of commercial agreements, joint research programmes and initiatives to share technical, scientific, and financial and policy expertise.

Before the visit, diplomats said the Indian leader was keen to buy 20 more BAE Systems (BAES.L) Hawk trainer aircraft to be made in Bengaluru.

Cameron has visited India three times since taking office in 2010 to try to climb up the diplomatic pecking order, but Modi is the first Indian head of government to pay an official visit to Britain, the country’s former colonial ruler, in almost a decade.

His visit comes at a time when a debate is raging in India over accusations that Modi is failing to rein in Hindu zealots trying to impose their values on all Indians.

POMP AND PROTESTS

As Modi and Cameron shook hands for the cameras outside Number 10 Downing Street, a crowd of about 200 protesters could be heard shouting anti-Modi slogans nearby.

“Our main concern is that minorities are not safe in India,” said Sikh protester Kuldip Singh.

The demonstrators held up banners with messages such as “Modi you are killing Indian democracy” and “Stop religious persecution in India”.

Asked about these concerns at his joint news conference with Cameron, Modi said India was a vibrant democracy in which individual rights were guaranteed by the constitution.

“There is something that is deeply entrenched in our culture, in our traditions, which is that of not accepting anything that has to do with intolerance,” he said, adding that violent incidents would not be tolerated.

Critics have accused Modi of remaining silent about incidents such as the recent deaths of four people attacked by Hindus enraged at reports of cows being slaughtered, smuggled or consumed, and the separate shootings of two prominent atheists.

Before his arrival in Britain, more than 200 writers, including Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan, signed an open letter to Cameron urging him to raise concerns about freedom of expression in India during his talks with Modi.

About 45 British members of parliament, including opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, signed a motion to debate India’s human rights record.

The British government, however, rolled out the red carpet for Modi, who was greeted in the grand courtyard of the Treasury by a guard of honour wearing ceremonial bearskin headgear.

Modi was due to have lunch with Queen Elizabeth on Friday, before the emotional high point of his visit, a mass rally at Wembley Stadium where Modi will address about 60,000 supporters from India’s 1.5 million-strong diaspora in Britain.

(Additional reporting by Kate Holton and William James,; Writing by Estelle Shirbon,; Editing by Elizabeth Piper, Larry King)

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

Is the Modi wave over? Here’s what the data says after Bihar fiasco

There’s been a dip in the number of share % in votes since the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, the BJP won 282 seats and garnered 31.4% of the votes. Since then the BJP has contested elections in Maharashtra, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkand, Delhi and Bihar.So how has the party fared since then? In Haryana, the party won 33.2% of the vote-share which was enough for ML Khattar to be sworn in the Chief Minister. This number was slightly lower than the LS vote share when the BJP won 27.3%. However, the number was significantly lower in Jammu and Kashmir where 34.4% while the state elections resulted in 23% votes. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In Maharashtra, the numbers were similar (27.30% in Lok Sabha and 27.8%) in state elections. In Jharkand, the numbers dipped more to 31.30%, while in Delhi it also dropped from 46.4% to 32.20%.Similarly, Bihar saw a drop from 29.4% to 24.4%. There’s a drop in all states other than Maharashtra . In Maharashtra and Haryana, BJP went alone in the assembly election, whereas it was in alliance with Shiv Sena and HJC respectively in general elections 2014.

Government approves additional Rs 12 crore as relief for rape, acid attack victims

“We had sent the request for more grants way back in April and are happy that the sanction has been given. The process of disbursal shall start soon,” said a senior officer.

The rape and acid attack victims waiting to be compensated under the state government’s much-talked-about Manodhariya scheme can expect some relief as the finance department has finally approved an additional budget of Rs 12 crore for disbursal under the scheme, said a government resolution released on October 27. Within two years of its launch, the state government’s Manodhariya scheme – meant for rehabilitating victims of rape, children subjected to sexual abuse and acid attack survivors – began facing severe financial crunch. As per the official data, 1,178 victims were waiting for the rehabilitation money as of April, 2015.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “We had sent the request for more grants way back in April and are happy that the sanction has been given. The process of disbursal shall start soon,” said a senior officer. Early this year, the state government was pulled up by the Bombay high court over its half-hearted implementation of the Manodhairya scheme. The state government had then claimed to have spent around Rs 27 crore between January 2014 and February 2015 to compensate and rehabilitate the survivors. In Mumbai, out of a total of 499 cases, the department sanctioned compensation for 304 victims under the scheme during the same period. However, 145 victims are still waiting for compensation. In February, while pulling up the government, the court had directed it to spell out its efforts towards publicizing the Manodhairya scheme among survivors as well as the police and investigating authorities. The court’s order had come on the petition filed by Aarti Thakur, an IT professional and an acid attack survivor. Thakur had sought compensation of Rs4 lakh towards her medical expenses and corrective plastic surgery. The scheme was launched in 2013 by the Congress-NCP government. The scheme gives financial assistance ranging between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 3 lakh with separate funds of up to Rs 50,000 for injuries and incidental costs such as travel and medical expenditure. The pile-up Number of rape and acid attack cases registered — 3,523 Number of cases that saw approval for compensation – 2,532 Number of victims who have received compensation — 1,354 Number of victims who have yet to get compensation –1,178 (Data sourced from women and child department for the period of October 2013- April 2015)

With over 12,000 dengue cases reported in 2015, this worst outbreak since 1996

The civic administration has maintained its official death toll at 32 till October 17, according to a municipal report on the vector-borne disease released on Monday.

With the number of cases standing at over 12,500, the dengue outbreak this year has become the worst outbreak since 1996.
File Photo
AFP photo
With nearly 1,850 fresh dengue cases reported in the last one week, the total number of people down with the vector-borne fever in the city this year has mounted to 12,531.The civic administration has maintained its official death toll at 32 till October 17, according to a municipal report on the vector-borne disease released on Monday. However, unofficially the number of dengue victims has crossed 40. September alone has seen 6,775 cases, also the highest in the last six years. Incidentally, no cases had been reported in the first three days of this month.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Out of the total cases till that period, south Delhi recorded the highest at 2,659, north Delhi at 2,638 while east Delhi posted the lowest with 1,551 cases. Of all civic zones in the city, Najafgarh Zone of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has recorded the highest number with 846 cases. Besides, 1,975 people who diagnosed positive for the deadly disease came from outside of Delhi.”At least 1,848 dengue cases have been recored in the last one week. But, cases will start coming down now, after Dussehra, as a lot of mosquitoes would be destroyed during festive fireworks,” as senior SDMC official said.With the number of cases standing at over 12,500, the dengue outbreak this year has become the worst outbreak since 1996. That year, 10,252 cases and 423 deaths were reported. The figure for the total number of cases had crossed the 1996-mark on October 10 only, with 10,683 people down with the deadly virus. In 2010, 6,259 total cases were recorded and only eight deaths were officially reported throughout the year. 995 cases were registered in entire 2014 while in 2013 it stood at 5574. Over 2,000 cases were recorded in 2012, while 2011 saw 1,131 cases. Last year, the city had reported three deaths and recorded nearly 1,000 cases.Till October 17, the number of houses found positive for mosquito breeding stood at 2,22,732 while the number of prosecution launched in the same period was 21,493, as per SDMC, which compiles the report on behalf of all civic bodies.

AIIMS overburdened, govt set to expand medical college network in ‘big’ way: FM Arun Jaitley

Noting that the number of medical colleges in the country was “inadequate”, he also said that a serious review is needed to increase the number of such institutions.

Jaitley also advocated the need for an assessment of the policy of organ donation by studying the best practices around the world.

Observing that the prestigious AIIMS was overburdened, the government on Sunday said it is all set to expand the network of medical colleges in the country even as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley pushed for relaxation in medical council and municipal norms to achieve that goal. The network of medical colleges in the country is set for expansion in a “big” way as the government said it attaches huge importance to the promotion of high-quality tertiary care services and expansion of medical education in the country. Jaitley, also the Minister for Information and Broadcasting, opined that “over-involvement’ in the past had led to “crisis” for AIIMS and asked the Health Ministry to play a supportive role without getting into “micro-management” of the institution.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Noting that the number of medical colleges in the country was “inadequate”, he also said at the 43rd Annual Convocation of AIIMS here that a serious review is needed to increase the number of such institutions. Jaitley also advocated the need for an assessment of the policy of organ donation by studying the best practices around the world. The finance minister said that India requires more quality institutions and batted for a serious review for developing medical colleges by relaxing municipal and medical council laws. “We need more medical colleges. Both public and private sector education has expanded. But medical colleges are still inadequate. A review of the policy is required as far as increasing the number of medical schools is concerned,” he said.He noted that India is capable of producing “huge” human talent as one out of every seven patients in the US is treated by a doctor of Indian origin while a large part of British healthcare is managed by Indian doctors. “We need to expand quality institutions. The restraints on the great hospitals — unavailability of contiguous land, inability to have medical colleges next to it — needs a serious review. “We have ready-made hospitals of excellence which have worked for decades and there is no reason why, by relaxing municipal laws and medical council regulations, we are not able to encourage the expansion of a few hundred more medical colleges in India,” he said.Talking about the aim to expand the network of medical colleges in the country, Health Minister JP Nadda said at the event that, in the first phase, upgrade of 58 district hospitals to medical colleges is proposed while 70 medical colleges are being upgraded by adding super-speciality blocks under various phases of the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) scheme. “This reflects the importance attached by the government to the promotion of high-quality tertiary care services and expansion of medical education in the country,” he said.

Bihar Polls: Chirag Paswan taken aback by number of seats alloted to LJP

Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Chirag Paswan on Tuesday said that the party was not upset with the 40 seats allotted to them for the Bihar Assembly polls, but slightly shocked and taken aback, as it was not the number of seats that was promised to them.

Chirag Paswan

Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Chirag Paswan on Tuesday said that the party was not upset with the 40 seats allotted to them for the Bihar Assembly polls, but slightly shocked and taken aback, as it was not the number of seats that was promised to them.”There is no question of any strife within the party as LJP has never believed in numbers. Our goal is to ensure NDA Government’s victory in eradicating ‘jungle raj’ from Bihar, which is why the number does not matter,” Paswan told the media here.Also Read: Bihar Polls: BJP gains more by conceding less<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He clarified that there was no negative feeling within the party over the number of seats allotted to them, but that when the numbers were revealed some concerns arose.”Our cadres were a little disappointed because what was delivered was not what was promised to them,” Paswan said.Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah on Monday announced that his party would contest on 160 seats while Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM) would fight on 20 seats, thereby bringing an end to the ongoing tussle over seat-sharing for the Bihar Assembly polls.Shah further announced that Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) would contest on 40 seats and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) would battle it out on 23 seats.

Pakistan troops violate truce as Rangers arrive to talk peace

Director General Punjab (Pakistan) Major General Umar Farooq Burki with IG Border Security Force, Anil Paliwali in Attari on Wednesday

PTI
On the day a delegation of Pakistan Rangers arrived in India to talk peace, its troops violated the ceasefire again and fired at the BSF soldiers injuring two of them, including an officer, in the Nowgam sector of the Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.The incident occurred at 11am on Wednesday when Pakistani troops sniped on the BSF jawans when they were on a routine patrol from Hira left post to Hira right post in the Nowgam sector.Two BSF soldiers, including a sub inspector-rank officer, were injured in the firing. The injured personnel have been identified as sub inspector Jawahar Lal Yadav and constable Rahul Yadav of 119 battalion of BSF.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There was a ceasefire violation (from Pakistan side) in which two of our boys got injured. Both the injured troopers are stable. It was a sniper attack,” said a BSF spokesman at Srinagar.BSF soldiers immediately swung into action and retaliated aptly to silence the Pakistani guns. Intermittent firing between the two sides was going on till the reports last came in.The fresh ceasefire violation came just hours before a 16-member Pakistan delegation led by the Rangers director general (Punjab) Major General Umar Farooq Burki landed in India to hold talks with their BSF counterparts. Director general of BSF DK Pathak will lead the 23-member Indian delegation that will discuss unprovoked cross-border shelling and infiltration bids from the other side of the International Border (IB) in Jammu.Rakesh Sharma, inspector general of BSF Jammu frontier, the area that has seen heavy shelling from Pakistan in the last two years, will also be part of the Indian delegation in the meeting.”The ceasefire violation on Wednesday shows the real intentions of Pakistan. On one side they want to talk peace while on the other they try to keep the pot boiling on the borders. They cannot hoodwink the people anymore,” said an intelligence officer. The incident occurred 15 days after Pakistani army killed Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) of the army when he was guarding his picket at the Badal post along the LoC in the same sector. Official figures reveal that around 430The number of ceasefire violations occurred on the International Border in 2014 153The number of ceasefire violations reported on the LoC in 2014 8The number of soldiers, including four BSF men, who were killed in the cross border shelling. 347The number of ceasefire violations in J&K in 2013 199The number of ceasefire violations along the LoC in 2013

Forget Galle Test debacle, Saina Nehwal storms into final of World Badminton Championship

While the Indian cricket team suffered a humiliating loss at the hands of Sri Lanka in the First Test of Sri Lanka series, Saina Nehwal beat her Indonesian opponent Lindaweni Fanetri 21-17, 21-17 to reach the final of the World Badminton Championship.

While the Indian cricket team suffered a humiliating loss at the hands of Sri Lanka in the First Test of Sri Lanka series, Saina Nehwal beat her Indonesian opponent Lindaweni Fanetri 21-17, 21-17 to reach the final of the World Badminton Championship. This is the first time the Indian badminton ace has reached the final of the event. In fact, she had failed to reach the semi-finals for the last seven years, losing in the quarter-final round. It took her six attemps but she is now just one step short of winning the World Badminton Championships. She will play top-seed Carolina Marin of Spain, who got the better of Sung Ji Hyun of Korea in three sets earlier.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If Saina wins the World Championship, she will add the most prestigious trophy missing from her cabinet. The World Number 2 is already the first Indian to win a medal in Badminton in the Olympics and also the first Indian after Prakash Padukone to reach the World Number 1 spot. She is also the first Indian to win the World Junion Badminton Championships and win a Super Series Tournament.

Census 2011 shows 116% rise in female graduates in India

Census 2011 findings show that the increase in number of women graduates and other courses is phenomenal in comparison to what the numbers were a decade ago.

File Photo

New findings of Census 2011 released on Friday show that India is actually moving towards providing education to girl children. The findings show that there has been a rise in the level of women’s education between 2001 and 2011. The percentage of women seen passing out as graduates had risen to 116% and while that of women completing their post-graduation rose by 151% between the period. The increase in percentage of male graduates was only 65%. Although certain professions like teaching and medicine are considered to be a woman’s field, the rise in number of women with degrees in either of the fields is noteworthy. According to the report, Census findings show that women with teachers’ training graduate degrees increased by 122% and women with degrees in medicine increased by 157%. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Engineering on the other hand, considered to be a male dominated profession, has also seen an increase in the number of women engineers. The number of women in the field has grown by 326% over the period. In 2001 it was seen that there were only 4.8 lakh women engineers but this has increased to 20 lakh women engineers now. The number of male engineers is still more, twice that of women (52 lakh). The findings also show that women are starting to prefer technical education over other courses as they offer more job opportunities. The number of women who have achieved technical diplomas are 19 million while number of women with non-technical diplomas are only 0.34 million. The educational level of girls of seven years and above also shows an increase in numbers. At mid-school level the number of girls has increased by 64%, at secondary level by 50% and at senior secondary level by 146%.

Yakub Memon hanged: India needs to become more humane and abolish death penalty

The debate over the rights and wrongs of Yakub Memon’s execution on Thursday is yet another example of how opinion is bitterly divided between those who support death penalty and those who don’t.

For the abolitionists, it is a rare opportunity to harness people’s sense of the right, their emotions, and their understanding of human rights because a spectacle of a state-sponsored killing shake their conscience. It’s an opportunity to play with human emotions for the retentionists too, but what they choose to bank on is the idea of retribution or revenge killing, the victims’ need for closure, and the need for legal, than social, instruments to deter crime.

It’s superfluous to reiterate that death penalty doesn’t deter people from committing grievous crime in any part of the world – not now, not in the past. Every single study across the world over the years has unequivocally established this fact. A recent report from the University Colorado said that 88 percent of the criminologists in the country didn’t believe that it’s a deterrent. If it had, the jails in countries with death penalty wouldn’t be overflowing and the number of executions in China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and even a modern and democratic United States should have fallen to negligible levels.

Image courtesy: IBNLiveImage courtesy: IBNLive

Image courtesy: IBNLive

Although only three have been executed in India, including Memon, in the last decade, more than 1300 convicts have been handed death sentences by various courts. Have the number deterred crimes? No.

It’s the same for the rest of the world, even in countries, like Saudi Arabia and North Korea, where public executions are carried out in the most gruesome way possible.  It’s not the experience of a few decades that make this point, but the accumulated evidence of a few centuries.

Several countries, where convicted criminals many of them for even minor crimes, were subjected to extremely torturous deaths have realised the fallacy of deterrence and have completely abolished the practice. The obvious example is Europe in the 17th and 18 century, when people were “broken on the wheel”, boiled to death, crushed to death, pulled apart by horses, and burnt and mutilated. France used to be the barbaric Saudi Arabia of today where capital punishment was a theatre of terror; now the country wouldn’t even extradite people to places where they run the risk of death penalty.

Executions are example of ultimate cruelty to people, that too those who are held captive. And every piece of witness account has the same spine-chilling air of helplessness and pain. After sitting through the last execution in France in 1977, a judge wrote: “I heard a dull sound. I turned round – blood, lots of blood, very red blood – the body had toppled into the basket. In a second, a life had been cut. The man who had spoken less than a minute earlier was nothing more than blue pyjamas in a basket. A guard took out a hose. The evidence of a crime needs to be erased quickly… I felt nauseous but I controlled myself. I had a feeling of cold indignation.”

In fact, visionaries had acknowledged the barbarity and futility of capital punishment long ago. Cesarae Beccaria, great Italian criminologist and one of the icons of Enlightenment in western Europe, had said 250 years ago that capital punishment was both inhuman and ineffective, an unacceptable weapon of modern enlightened state to employ, and less effective than the certainty of imprisonment. In his seminal “On Crimes and Punishments”, he said: “It’s not useful because of the savagery it gives to men. It seems absurd to me that the laws which are the expressions of public will and which hate and punish murder, should themselves commit one, and that to deter citizens from murder, they should decree a public murder.”

It’s certainly encouraging that Indian courts, despite freely issuing death sentences, also commute them to life sentences and the State hardly executes people these days. However, its choice of cases and people that it executes does evoke a sense of prejudice and injustice. If terrorism is one of the rarest of rare cases that the courts find it fit for capital punishment, how come some terror convicts alone go to the gallows while some, even with equally grievous charges, get lesser sentences? If the State gets to choose capital punishment for certain crimes, that too in select cases, it’s very hard to ensure that there is no politically motivated indiscretion.

Abolition of capital punishment is right not only criminologically, but also by international conventions on human rights including that of the UN, which wanted a moratorium on death penalty in 2007. It’s widely accepted that death penalty, is a “denial of the universal human rights to life and to freedom from tortuous, cruel, and inhuman punishment”. Additionally, it will also allay fears of selective persecution and misuse by the State.

If the death penalty doesn’t deter, if the “miscarriage or failure of justice in the implementation of the death penalty is irreversible and irreparable,” as the UN resolved in its General Assembly that many countries paid heed to while moving towards abolition, and if there are other forms of punishments such as long term imprisonment are possible, persisting with the practice will only perpetuate State-sponsored cruelty.

In the last 25 years, the number of countries that abolished death penalty rose from 35 to more than 100. Most of the countries that abolished death penalty have also incorporated it into their constitution. Similarly, the number of countries that were “de facto” abolitionist (no executions despite death sentences) has also doubled.

The idea of reparation of victims, doing justice to their suffering, and helping them find closure to their angst, doesn’t hold water because the purpose of rule of law is not to foster revenge killing, but to deliver justice. There should be an alternative model of victim support, without political and ideological exploitation, to address their emotions. And most importantly, the purpose of Law should be to deliver justice and protect human rights, than to pander to popular sentiments.

Cyclone Komen: Storm weakens into deep depression

Commuters leave a railway station under heavy rain from Cyclone Komen in Kolkata

AFP photo
Cyclonic storm KOMEN over Bangladesh weakened into a deep depression on Friday even as the MeT department forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall coupled with squally surface wind in several places in Odisha.After weakening into deep depression, the system moved West-Northwestwards and lay centred over Bangladesh, about 360 km north east of Balasore. It would further move West-Northwestwards and weaken into a depression in the next 24 hours, it said.Under its impact, rain and thundershower would occur in most places in Odisha. Heavy to very heavy rainfall in some places with isolated extremely heavy rainfall would occur in northern part of the state and heavy rainfall at one or two places in southern part in the next 24 hours.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Danger Signal Number Five (D-V) was replaced by Local Cautionary Signal Number Three (LC-III) at all ports in the state, the MeT office said.Squally surface wind with speed reaching 45 to 55 kmph gusting up to 65 kmph would prevail along and off Odisha Coast. Sea condition would be rough to very rough. Fishermen had been advised not to venture into the sea, it added. Related read: Cyclone Komen: West Bengal administration on high-alert

Discom Tata Power offers 50% discount on 5-star ACs in Delhi

The scheme is available on various models of ACs from leading Brands such as Voltas, Hitachi and Godrej.

TPDDL consumers can avail the scheme against their CA numbers (one AC per CA Number) mentioned in the electricity bills.

Aiming to bring down power consumption in national capital, Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL) has launched a scheme offering up to 50% discount on energy-efficient air conditioners. The scheme would be available for 20,000 customers on first-come-first-serve basis.Only the customers having an average monthly consumption of up to 1,200 units per month during April to September 2014 can avail this scheme, TPDL said in a statement.Under the scheme, TPDDL consumers in North and North-West Delhi can get discount of 50% on BEE 5-star rated ACs, Inverter ACs in exchange of their non-star ACs. It is applicable for both window and split ACs of 1 & 1.5 tonnes.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The scheme is available on various models of ACs from leading Brands such as Voltas, Hitachi and Godrej.TPDDL CEO and MD Praveer Sinha said: “…we have been constantly advocating energy conservation schemes. Our demand side management schemes not only aim to reduce power consumption but also help customers in reducing spending on their electricity bills.”The scheme has been targeted at households as the domestic sector accounts for almost 50 per cent of energy consumption in Delhi and ACs power consumption is a key component of the same.TPDDL consumers can avail the scheme against their CA numbers (one AC per CA Number) mentioned in the electricity bills.

PM Modi to launch digital locker facility that helps store important docs online

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 1 July will launch digital locker facility that will help citizens to digitally store their important documents like PAN card, passport, mark sheets and degree certificates.

“Digital Locker will provide secure access to Government issued documents. It uses authenticity services provided by Aadhaar,” an official release said on Monday.

File/ReutersFile/Reuters

File/Reuters

It is aimed at eliminating the use of physical documents and enables sharing of verified electronic documents across government agencies.

Digital Locker provides a dedicated personal storage space in the cloud to citizens, linked to citizen’s Aadhaar number. Digital Locker is scheduled for a national launch on 1 July, by the Prime Minister, it said.

“Digital Locker will reduce the administrative overhead of government departments and agencies created due to paper work. It will also make it easy for the residents to receive services by saving time and effort as their documents will now be available anytime, anywhere and can be shared electronically,” it said.

It is an initiative under Digital India programme, it said.

To sign-up for your Digital Locker, one need your Aadhaar number and a Mobile number that is linked to that Aadhaar Number, it added.

PTI

Need to improve standard of education in Maharashtra: Vinod Tawde

Vinod Tawade visits Kalyan-Dombivli, assures students of more colleges in district

Education Minister Vinod Tawde was in Kalyan to inaugurate a new building at Vani Vidyalaya school

On Friday, state education minister Vinod Tawde visited Kalyan-Dombivli area and assured the student community that the government will soon make a plan to ensure that students have colleges available within Thane district.Tawade was upset that the number of students who have passed class XII is not corresponding to the number of seats available in first year colleges in the district. He also reprimanded the teachers who approached him asking for salary hike. “I am the education minister and not the educators’ minister,” said Tawde.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tawade was in Kalyan to inaugurate a new building at Vani Vidyalaya school. Also, present was guardian minister Eknath Shinde. Tawade assured that he would conduct a survey of the number of colleges in various streams and accordingly make provisions to include more colleges. This way, students will not have to travel elsewhere for education opportunities.Tawade also met teachers and principals. “I am planning to make changes in the state education budget, as out of the Rs44,000 crore kept aside for education, only Rs2,000 crore is of use. The rest is the salary of teachers and other staff. Earlier, the number of students was more but now with the dwindling figures we will need fewer teachers. We also need to improve the standard of education in the state,” he added.”Rather than making a memorial in the name of the country’s first women doctor, Dr Anandibai Joshi, we should introduce an educational plan where students will not have to rely on rote learning but the method will increase their grasping abilities and make their minds sharper. The eagerness to research and learn must increase amongst students,” said Tawde.He also gave an assurance to teachers from the 27 villages that have been newly incorporated in the Zilla Parishad that they will now be within the civic body’s jurisdiction.

[email protected]: The big change is India has a leader – and a vision we can buy into

Many pundits have pontificated over [email protected], and a few threads are clear:

– There is grudging admiration even among foes that there is a positivism in the air, absent through much of the lost decade of UPA misgovernance.

– There is impatience at the slow pace of reforms, which suggests that the agenda of development has become conventional wisdom except among the hard Left.

– The external profile of the nation has improved; foreign policy is a surprise success, despite carping by some.

– The entrenched vested interests have been emboldened by what appears to be tolerance by Modi: so the news-trader media and babu-dom and erstwhile looters are feeling their oats.

– The BJP has now become the central pole of Indian politics, as all its rivals are driven into desperate coalitions with a single-point agenda: get the BJP.

– Committed conservatives are annoyed that their nationalistic agenda have not been taken forward; appeasement policies continue.

– Even the hard Left is embarrassed by the Congress’s meltdown and Rahul-mania; and they are hoping to repeat the Delhi magic of #ak67 by ganging up on the BJP.

PM Narendra Modi .ReutersPM Narendra Modi .Reuters

PM Narendra Modi .Reuters

There is much that is a repeat of NDA-1, even to the extent of suffering the unremittingly hostile media. Even though the Modi administration has kept mainstream media (MSM) villains at arm’s length, their consistent barrage of criticism has troubled the government, although it should just ignore them. Interestingly, some foreigners have started giving grudging praise. First, The Economist: their in-depth story, while sounding in places as though it were ghost-written by a fellow in the MSM that I can identify by name, was forced to admit that they had been wrong in supporting Rahul. The Wall Street Journal provided a handy comparison chart that showed UPA-2 in a bad light. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Times of India poll gave Modi a 77.5 percent rating.

All of the criticisms and encomia have an element of truth to them; but they underestimate the larger impact that Modi has had, the potential game changing difference he has made. That boils down to a simple Organizational Behaviour perspective on the difference between a leader and a manager.

Much of what we hear about Modi is related to his prowess as a manager. He is able to whip things into shape; he has a list of action items with deadlines that he reviews regularly; he does not put up with malingerers and clock-watchers. All of this is good, and it is as it should be: a manager has the responsibility of telling others what he expects from them, and then monitoring for performance.

That much is Management 101. In fact that is what a good manager does – he/she tells people what they are expected to do (the “What”) but doesn’t tell them the “How” of doing it. A micro-manager, or a bad manager, will tell the team exactly “How” to do something, thereby de-motivating them. They see the project as owned by the manager, and they feel no responsibility. Besides, any creativity and insight they have is extinguished, and they just go through the motions.

Unfortunately, the standard model of the manager in India seems to be that of the Big Man, who, capriciously and whimsically, tells people random things on “What” to do, as well as often “How” they should do it. The Big Man is supposed to know better; woe be to you if you, a mere underling, came up with an idea that contradicted, however obliquely, the Big Man’s views (I include the Big Woman too, but for ease of use will use the male noun).

This pattern was established by Jawaharlal Nehru, partly because he was a megalomaniac (he thought he was Emperor Ashoka reincarnated to bring about World Peace), and partly because he admired Soviet-style Stalinism so much. So that became the paradigm for every institution in India. Do you wonder why Indian universities are awful at research? Why have Indian R&D labs produced not one, I repeat, NOT ONE, world-class result since 1947? This, when there were people like CV Raman and Srinivasa Ramanujan, SN Bose and JC Bose even under the imperialist yoke.

In essence, Indians have laboured under terrible managers since 1947. Some of them, I have to admit, saw through the charade; but it benefited them personally to keep half a billion people in penury, so they didn’t point out “the Emperor’s new clothes”, and went with the programme. And this is why, when East Asia rocketed ahead, India remained mired in poverty: a simple failure of management.

But there is one more question: it is not only “What” and “How” that matter, but it is important to know the “Why” as well. Why are we doing the things we are doing? Why not something else? Is there any end point for all this slogging?

The “Why” question is Leadership 101. A leader tells people why they should do certain things, broadly. A manager tells people specifically what they are supposed to do. A micro-manager, or a bad manager, tells people how to do the things they are told to do.

During the Independence struggle, despite Gandhi’s various failings, he was able to articulate a clear “Why”: that is, you have to sacrifice everything for freedom. And the people responded: he was able to turn a defeated and docile people into those who stood up for what they believed in. But that was the end of it: Nehru was no leader at all, in hindsight. He had no “Why” that he could articulate. He had no idea of strategic intent.

In all the years of the Non-Aligned Movement, all the way up to 2014, if you asked people what India’s goal was (and I have asked generations of students) they had no coherent answer. The more thoughtful of them would say that it would be one of the top five countries in the world in GDP, which, I told them, India would be, by sheer inertia of population. Not one of them thought that India should aspire, audaciously, to becoming Number 1, overtaking China and the US.

They all accepted the axiom, “It is important to participate, not only to win”. This utter inanity is mouthed by all Indians, and only by Indians. People of other nations are in it to win, for example at the Olympics. Indians go there to hang around as part of the scenery. This is the direct result of an absence of leadership.

With Modi, and earlier with his role model Lee Kuan Yew (I was perhaps the first columnist to point out the similarities between them a couple of years ago) there is a tangible strategic intent. LKY was clear: he was going to make his country prosperous, and all his people knew it, and so they cooperated, and they made it happen.

Similarly, the sea change with Modi has been that he has given people a vision of their country as one with boundless possibilities. The “Why” question: because India will once again be a great nation, a major power in the world, one of the top three, and hopefully Number 1, in their lifetimes. That strategic intent is something that people can understand, empathise with, and work towards. If you now ask young people what India’s goal is, you get a different, can-do, more self-confident answer. They are not content with being also-rans. Number 1 is something we can all relate to; it is meaningful.

The biggest job of a leader is to inspire his followers. Modi can do that. In other words, for a change, India has a leader. That is the single ingredient that makes all the difference, and it has been the single missing ingredient – India has all the others.

Today Bengal, tomorrow Bihar? PM Modi’s electoral hopes have dimmed within a year

Delhi is gone, West Bengal is going. Bihar looks uncertain, Punjab could be next.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s juggernaut has come to a halt, Amit Shah’s invincible army is staring at a year of tough battles and, perhaps, a few humiliating losses. The ground beneath BJP has started moving.

PM Modi. PTIPM Modi. PTI

PM Modi. PTI

What Delhi thought a few months ago, Bengal thought earlier this week when its voters discarded the BJP in the civic polls, leaving its score-sheet blank. It was defeated in all the municipal boards, while bete noire and possible nemesis Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress almost doubled its tally—from 38 in 2010 to 71 (out of 92) this year.

During the Kolkata civic polls, Mamata had turned into a psephologist. “People’s notice is awaiting” the BJP, she had said, angry with the notices Mamata is getting from agencies probing the Saradha scam. “It has already got the people’s notice in Delhi and Orissa and it will get it in Bihar soon. In West Bengal, it will end with an empty box in the Kolkata municipal polls. People will serve on it the notice of rejection,” she said.

A part of her prophecy has come true.

According to the DNA, the BJP won just four percent of the state’s 2,090 wards, and suffered a huge setback in Kolkata. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won a 17-per cent overall vote-share and two seats—the same as the CPM with its 23-per cent vote. It emerged as the Number Two party in Kolkata, winning in 26 wards with a 25-per cent vote-share. Now it has won just seven wards with an estimated 15-per cent share. Its appeal, always limited in Bengal, has faded as the Modi “novelty factor” has worn out. It’s unlikely to become the second largest party in 2016.

The opposition has alleged large-scale rigging in the local polls by Mamata’s cadre; some of the charges are supported by the scale of the victory and the margin of victory of TMC candidates. But this is unlikely to deflect attention from the fact that the BJP has been pushed to the bottom of the ladder, even the Congress has done better.

Enthused by the results, which have come as a shot in the arm for TMC after the Saradha scandal, Mamata is now contemplating early polls for the Vidhan Sabha, scheduled for mid-2016. If she goes ahead with the gamble, it would be a reliable indicator of the optimism in the TMC camp.

The BJP saw the silver lining—a paltry gain of three seats in Kolkata Municipal Corporation—as a sign of things to come. “The results have shown that only two parties have grown in terms of numbers. One is the TMC which has used muscle and money power to increase its votes and another is BJP which has increased its tally,” state BJP president Rahul Sinha said, declaring the results in Assembly polls would be different.

But the BJP’s enthusiasm appears misplaced. Its defeat has shown that the gains it had made in the Lok Sabha polls because of the euphoria around Modi are evaporating. Its poor show in elections outside Kolkata suggests the BJP doesn’t have workers out in the field, a factor that could be decisive in a battle against cadre-based parties like TMC and the Left.

Bihar, where elections are due this November, isn’t looking easy either. The merger of Lalu Yadav’s party with Nitish Kumar’s has consolidated the anti-BJP vote. The alliance has won most of the by elections in Bihar after the Lok Sabha elections, corroborating the belief that the united Janata Parivar can take on the Saffron Parivar.

A snap poll by ABP-Nielsen in February, soon after Nitish replaced Jeetan Ram Manjhi as chief minister, indicated a gap of almost 15 per cent (56 JD (U)-RJD and 41 BJP+) in the number of people likely to vote for the two coalitions. If this gap translates into votes on the polling day, the BJP is likely to be wiped out in Bihar.

In Punjab too, which is the next battleground in north, the BJP-Akali alliance is facing double anti-incumbency. If the trend in the Lok Sabha polls (BJP-SAD won just 6 out of 13) holds, Punjab might have a new government two years later.

Just a few months ago, Modi’s name was enough for filling up ballot boxes for the BJP. Shah’s strategies—of stitching alliances with small parties and having workers right down to the street-level—were considered game-changers. Now the BJP can’t rely just on ‘Modi turns up, Shah converts the numbers into votes’ strategy.

A year ago, people voted for Modi because of his promises. Now they will evaluate him on the basis of his performance and that of his rivals. If Modi’s performance—and Bihar and Bengal will be authentic indicators—is judged below par, if he is rejected, it could be the beginning of a major problem for the PM.

To win elections, Modi needs to fasttrack development, unleash his promised range of reforms. For all this, he needs the numbers in the Rajya Sabha. And for the numbers in the upper house, he needs to win Bihar, Bengal and a few other states.

Modi would love to solve this conundrum. But can he?

14 fresh cases of swine flu in Telangana

Fourteen fresh cases of swine flu have been reported in Telangana where 77 people have succumbed to the H1NI virus since the beginning of the year.

Representational Image
Agencies
AFP photo
Fourteen fresh cases of swine flu have been reported in Telangana where 77 people have succumbed to the H1NI virus since the beginning of the year. “Since January one till April 2, 7,423 samples were tested out of which 2,289 were found to be positive. The number of deaths because of swine flu and related complications is 77,” a state government release said on Saturday. Fourteen out of the 49 samples sent for analysis on Friday were found positive for the virus. “The number of positive cases reported in the last six days (up to April 2) is 8, 19, 10, 13, 09 and 14,” it added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Also Read: Swine flu kills 12 in Maharashtra on Wednesday

Growth in RTI applications is levelling off

Not only is there a drop in the number of public authorities reporting to the Central Information Commission (CIC) on the status of Right to Information (RTI) applications and disposal, RTI fatigue also seems to be setting in among the general public.

Online application of RTI

File Photo
Not only is there a drop in the number of public authorities reporting to the Central Information Commission (CIC) on the status of Right to Information (RTI) applications and disposal, RTI fatigue also seems to be setting in among the general public.
The annual report of the Central Information Commission (CIC) for the year 2013-14 shows that 8.34 lakh applications were received by various public authorities, a yearly increase of just 2.7%. In earlier years, the increase was between 20 and 25%. RTI applications had increased by 22% in 2012-13, as compared to the previous year.
The number of rejections for reasons other than Sections 8, 9, and 24 is also increasing. The rejections under “Others” category have increased by 4.4% over the previous year. The report shows that trend of rejections in the PMO, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Supreme Court, Comptroller and Auditor General and particularly the ministry of personnel, which includes the DoPT- the nodal department for RTI- is increasing year on year.
<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CIC report says that the rejection rate in the finance ministry has reduced this year, although the ministry gets the largest number of RTI applications. Ministry of external affairs’ rejection rate is down by more than 40% even though the number of RTI applications has gone up. Similarly the rejection rates in railways, commerce, chemicals and fertilisers, civil aviation and food and environment ministries have also fallen substantially. Amongst the constitutional authorities the Election Commission has the lowest rejection rate. There is a reduction in the rejection rates of Army, but the Navy has seen a whopping increase in the rejection rate from 1% in 2012-13 to almost 7% last year. The Air Force has seen a marginal increase in the rejection rate.
Corporate affairs ministry saw an almost 300% increase in the rejection rate last year. Power ministry’s rejection rate has doubled. Labour ministry’s rejection rate appears to be drastically down, but then it has a very poor reporting rate. Rejection rate in defence ministry has increased but its pendency of RTI applications from previous year is also very high. Reasons are not known for such high pendency, unless a very large number of RTI applications were filed in the last month of the previous reporting year.
But a more worrisome trend is that a quarter of the public authorities have not reported their RTI status to the CIC. The Parliament (Secretariats of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) has never given RTI status to the CIC even once in the last nine years. Similarly, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) which is the nodal Department for implementing the RTI Act also did not submit its RTI stats to the CIC for 2013-14. Further, Delhi High Court has also never submitted RTI stats to the CIC, but the Supreme Court has done so every year faithfully.
RTI activist and programme coordinator at Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) Venkatesh Nayak believes this is a cause for concern. “RTI activists should demand that departmental action be initiated against the senior officers of these errant ministries and departments for violating the civil service conduct rules. Last year, the Conduct Rules for All India Services Officers (IAS, IPS and IFoS) were amended to make transparency and accountability the core values. Not adhering to a core value could potentially be treated as misconduct,” he said.

Swine flu death toll climbs to 1075, almost 20,000 cases nationwide

New Delhi: Swine flu has claimed 34 more lives as the nationwide toll from the H1N1 virus touched 1,075 with the number of cases of the disease inching towards the 20,000 mark.

Health Ministry figures said that 1,075 persons have perished from the disease while the number of those affected by swine flu stands at 19,972 till yesterday.

The data showed that Gujarat has pipped Rajasthan in terms of the number of deaths with 265 casualties while 4,368 people are affected by the disease in the state.

Reuters imageReuters image

Reuters image

Gujarat state government officials said in Ahmedabad that 10 more people succumbed to swine flu today, taking the toll to 275. Besides, 247 new cases were also recorded in the state, taking the total number of cases to 4,614, an official statement said. Union Health Ministry officials said they were

collating latest information on swine flu.

Rajasthan has seen 261 persons fall prey to the H1N1 virus with 5,528 cases reported.

In Madhya Pradesh, swine flu has claimed 153 lives while 1,010 people were affected by the virus. The toll in Maharashtra touched 143 with 1,735 cases having so far come to light.

In Telangana and Punjab, the disease has claimed 57 and 42 lives, respectively while in Delhi, 10 persons have died due to swine flu. The number of affected persons in the national capital has risen to 2,891.

The disease has claimed the lives of 46 persons in Karnataka with Haryana (21 deaths), Andhra Pradesh (12 deaths), Himachal Pradesh (eight deaths), Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala (both seven deaths) also grappling with swine flu.

West Bengal saw 16 new cases of swine flu reported in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of those affected to 131. A state health official said that the disease has claimed eight lives in WB.

In Odisha, the toll stands at four after a 34-year old woman became the latest victim of swine flu, a health department official said on Sunday .

Forty-five fresh swine flu cases were reported in Uttar Pradesh, taking the total for those affected to 614.

Health Ministry figures show that in 2009, the virus had affected a total of 27,236 persons and caused 981 casualties while, in 2010, 20,604 persons were affected by the virus with the toll reaching 1,763.

Health Minister JP Nadda had earlier said that the 21 laboratories capable at present of testing swine flu were “not enough” and the government was planning to set up H1N1 testing facilities in every state with financial provisions being made for it.

The government has repeatedly asserted that it was “very serious” about combating the disease and has asked the people to not panic but remain alert.

PTI

Swine flu claims 36 more lives, death toll rises to 1,041

New Delhi: Swine flu has claimed 36 more lives raising the toll to 1,041 even as the number of people affected by the H1N1 virus in the country breached the 19,000 mark on Saturday.

As per data collated by the Health Ministry, the total number of deaths due to swine flu was 1,041 till Friday while the number of people affected were 19,046.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The Health Ministry had yesterday given the figure of those affected to be 18,105.

In Rajasthan, the death toll has climbed to 257 while the number of those affected stood at 5,403.

As many as 256 people have died of the disease in Gujarat, which is among the worst affected states. So far, 4,162 people have been affected in the state.

In Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, the total number of deaths has been reported to be 151 and 131 respectively.

The disease has claimed 56 and 42 lives in Telangana and Punjab respectively. In Delhi, ten persons have died of swine flu while the number of affected has risen to 2,791.

Karnataka has reported 42 deaths till now, Haryana – 21, Andhra Pradesh – 12, Himachal Pradesh – 8, Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala – 7.

Health Minister JP Nadda had on Friday admitted that the country was facing a shortage of laboratories for testing swine flu and had assured that efforts were being made to set up such facilities in all states.

The government has been repeatedly asserting that it is “very serious” on combating the challenge and has asked people not to panic but be alert.

PTI

Swine flu cases on rise in Andhra Pradesh

Swine flu coordinator for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, K. Subhakar has claimed that the situation was under control despite the number of death cases due to swine flu have climbed to 16.

Swine flu coordinator for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, K. Subhakar has claimed that the situation was under control despite the number of death cases due to swine flu have climbed to 16.A total of 105 cases have been reported so far in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.Subhakar said cases reported in the states are stable and there is no need to panic.”The swine flu situation in Telangana state is under control. There is no need for any apprehensions. Even though the cases are increasing over last 10 days, I think 16 cases were reported in last 12 days but all the cases are stable,” he said.Swine flu is caused by the H1N1 virus. H1N1 symptoms are similar to those produced by other influenza viruses – fever, cough, sore throat, body aches and respiratory problems.Doctors say children, elderly people and those suffering from respiratory problems are highly susceptible to the virus.The 2009 global outbreak of swine flu, or H1N1, claimed over 17,000 lives including 2,725 in India between May 2009 and November 2010.In New Delhi, three people have died of the virus this year from around 30 cases reported.

We are the safest air travellers in the world

Did you know that India’s rate of air accident is among the lowest in the world and is below the global benchmark? We may not be up there in terms of quality of aviation services, but if you go by the data put out by the ministry of civil aviation it shows that there has been considerable improvement in aviation safety in the current year with the number of total aircraft accidents coming down to four from 11 in 2011. In terms of fatal air accidents, the number is down to one from six during the same period. What is heartening is that there were no helicopters accidents this years compared with 2011’s five, of which four were fatal. On this parameter, India’s accident data for commercial scheduled operation rated even better than the US and beats global benchmark. In this category, India’s accident rate per million departures is down to zero since 2011 compared to US’s performance that ranged between 2.2 and 3.1 accidents for the same period while the world average rate of accidents was between 2.8 and 4.2.And how exactly was this achieved. The ministry says it all happened because of the stringent actions taken by the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) that involved regulatory invention, audits and surveillances and interaction with stakeholders and operating crew.

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