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Indian Army plans to use camels to patrol LAC in Ladakh

In view of the Chinese aggression along the Sino-India border, the Indian Army is planning to use both double-humped and single-humped camels along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh on a pilot basis. If the pilot project is a success, camels will be used by the military in the region and in terrains between the altitude of 12,000 and 15,500 feet, a Times of India report said. Under the project, these animals will be trained to patrol and carry heavy loads of ammunition and other supplies. Indian Army traditionally uses mules and ponies in the region which have capacity to carry about 40 kg of load. In comparison, the double-humped (Bactrian) camels can carry between 180-220kg load and can cover a distance of 10 to 15 km within two hours.The Army has already got four single-humped (dromedary) camels to Ladakh from the National Research Centre on Camel in Bikaner.Also readPost Dokalam stand-off, China’s ties with India still fragile, says Global Times op-edThe project is being introduced as part of a measure to check intrusion, months after the Doklam standoff near the Sikkim-Tibet-Bhutan trijunction. The Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR), a unit of of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Leh, has already started research on the load-carrying capacity of the Bactrian camels. The DIHAR will assess how the camels can be trained for carrying load in such harsh topography and weather conditions.Also readPost Doklam stand-off, SSB increases presence on India-Bhutan border”The Bactrian camels were inducted at DIHAR in February 2017 for a pilot study on their suitability for border patrolling, load-carrying ability, training, and devise management practices, considering conditions in high altitude.” the DIHAR director was quoted as saying by the daily. In India, double-humped camels are only found in Ladakh’s Nubra Valley and their number ranges around 200.

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Glanders disease: 7 horses culled & buried

Six days after the confirmation of Glanders disease in seven equines in west Delhi, all infected animals were culled by giving injections and then buried at an open ground near the Sanjay Gandhi Animal Hospital on Wednesday.The horses had been in confinement since the confirmation of the disease and the entire west district was declared a ‘controlled’ area for the next three months, i.e. all animal movement to and from the district has been banned.”We gave high doses of anesthesia to the animals to put them to sleep. They were brought down peacefully and buried, following all necessary procedure. The affected animals in this case act as carriers and need to be culled,” said Dr Jitender Kumar Gaur, Director, Animal Husbandry, Delhi government.”The glanders bacteria, Burkholderia mallei, is a non-spore forming bacteria. So, burying the animals will not affect the soil or the people later on,” he added.With only a month to Republic Day, all horses in the city, including those belonging to the military, President’s guard, and police, are being tested for Glanders. Till Wednesday, samples from over 800 horses had been collected. There are nearly 3,000 horses in the city and all will be surveyed in the next nine days. All samples are being sent to the National Research Centre on Equines in Hisar, the only certified Government Laboratory for Glanders testing in the country.Glanders is a life-threatening equine disease that affects both the animal and its owner. Till date, it is known to have taken over 200 lives.

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If Kulbhushan Jadhav has been declared a terrorist by Pak, then he will be treated like one: SP’s Naresh Agarwal

Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agrawal created a controversy on Wednesday by saying that if former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav was a terrorist then he would be treated as such in Pakistan.”If Pakistan has declared Kulbhushan Jadhav as a terrorist in their country, then they will treat him like one. In our country also, we should treat terrorists in the similar manner. Terrorists have to be dealt strictly,” Agrawal told ANI.He also wondered why country’s media was only talking about Jadhav when there were many others who were languishing in Pakistani jails.Meanwhile, there has been an outcry over the treatment meted out to Jadhav’s mother and wife who reached Islamabad on Monday to meet Jadhav.Also readIndia hits back at Pak, says Kulbhushan Jadhav’s statement clearly tutored and designed to perpetuate false narrative The wife and the mother of Jadhav were asked to remove mangalsutra, bangles and bindi, besides having been asked to change the attire, citing it as a security measure.After the meeting, Jadhav’s mother and wife were also harassed in heavily guarded foreign ministry office by Pakistani journalists.Jadhav is on a death row in Pakistan over charges of terrorism and spying for India’s intelligence agency- Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).On May 18, 2017, the International Court of Justice stayed the hanging, after India approached it against the death sentence.

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Air quality back to ‘severe’

Even as the Christmas fever grips the city, a thick haze enveloped the Capital on Monday with the air quality index (AQI) plummeting to 372 units in the’very poor’category against 305 on Sunday. The permissible standard is 60 units.Also, a dense fog covered parts of the city in the early hours leading to a number of trains and flights being delayed. The visibility was reduced to 500 meters in the morning, however, after 11 am, the fog started to clear.As many as 17 pollution monitoring stations under the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recorded’severe’levels of air pollution. Delhi Technological University recoded 498 while the NCR towns, including Noida and Ghaziabad too, recorded ‘severe’ air quality at 476 and 465, respectively.The AQI is measured against PM 2.5 — the most prominent pollutant in Delhi-NCR. The hourly readings at the CPCB’s Central Control Room for air quality management showed the rising trend of PM 2.5.According to the officials, the concentrations spiked through the day due to a fall in wind speed and high-level of moisture-trapping pollutants in the air. The India Meteorological Department recorded humidity levels at 100.”With rising levels of moisture and humidity, pollution levels are going to remain similar even on Tuesday. The wind speed fell to below 10 kmph, which is mainly responsible to disperse pollutants from the air. Also, moderate to dense fog is likely to occur during the week,” said a senior CPCB official.Meanwhile, SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research) of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), which operates 10 stations in Delhi-NCR, recorded 24-hour average of PM2.5 at 205 units.

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Experts blame low temp for ‘poor’ AQI

Mumbai’s Air Quality Index (AQI) continues to remain a cause of worry for citizens as on Monday the overall AQI for the city was reported to be 257. As per System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) an AQI between 200 to 300 is rated in the ‘poor’ category and is known to cause respiratory-related allergies.In fact as per air quality experts from SAFAR, on Monday AQI of PM2.5, which is the smallest size pollutant known to cause respiratory illnesses and worsens the condition of those suffering from ailments like asthma and bronchitis in the four centers including Borivili, BKC, Andheri and Mazgaon reported ‘Very Poor’ air quality. Bandra Kurla Complex (332) topped the list followed by Borivili (325) Andheri (322) and Mazgaon (313). The safe limit as per Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for PM2.5 is 60 µg/m3 for 24 hoursWhile air quality experts blamed lower temperatures in Mumbai, they also said that the haze-like condition was due to the high difference between the maximum and minimum temperatures. “Several parts especially central Mumbai are facing haze-like conditions throughout the day due to the lower temperature early in the morning while the dust particles get stuck to the moisture and remain in the air throughout the day,” said an official.On Monday, the minimum temperature in Mumbai was recorded at Santacruz, which was 16.5 degree Celsius while the maximum temperature was also at Santacruz which was recorded as 32.4 degree Celsius.

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Jammu and Kashmir: Clamour grows for legislation on generic drugs

Clamour is growing for passing a legislation to prompt the doctors to prescribe cheaper generic drugs instead of costly branded medicines in Jammu and Kashmir.Flagging off the debate, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) has called on the government to pass a law to make it mandatory for doctors to prescribe cheaper generic drugs in order to benefit the large poor population of the state.“Jammu and Kashmir is fully competent to bring its own legislation due to the constitutional position of the state. That would make generic drug prescribing mandatory. Unless a legal framework is put in place, the push for generic medicines will remain an idea without implementation,” said Dr Nisar ul Hassan, president of DAK.The law, DAK hoped, would make drugs affordable and accessible to poor patients who are not able to buy expensive branded drugs. “In J&K 21.63% population, comprising 24.21 lakh people do not have access to medicines due to lack of purchasing power. Generic drugs are copycat versions of branded drugs and cost 80 to 90% less than branded medicines as manufacturers do not have to spend on development and promotion of the drug”, he said.Jammu and Kashmir consumes medicines worth Rs 600 crores annually and of which Rs 400 crore is spent in Kashmir valley alone. Official figures reveal that there are 9451 licensed retailers and 6073 licensed wholesaler drug distributors in Jammu and Kashmir. Of which 4912 retaliators and 4573 wholesalers are operating in the valley.Also readJammu and Kashmir | Education gets mega boost, 16 new colleges, 400 upgraded govt schools to come up next year“Research has shown that costs were lowered significantly among patients who were prescribed generic medicines compared to patients who were given branded drugs. generic drugs account for 88% of prescriptions in the United States. In J&K doctors continue to dole out unnecessary expensive therapies when equally effective cheaper generic versions are available,” he said.DAK also red-flagged the deep-rooted nexus between doctors and pharma companies that is keeping generic drugs away from patients. “For writing costly branded drugs to gullible patients, pharma companies provide these doctors everything from luxury cars, family trips to household items,” Dr Nisar saidAlso readFrom helpline to WhatsApp number: Steps taken to help women in distress in Jammu and Kashmir DAK president noted that even the chemist shops get huge margins for selling branded medicines. “Nexus is misleading people about generic drugs that is preventing these drugs from getting popular”, said Dr Nisar.

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Bhagavad Gita Research Institute to be set up in Mathura

A research institute for the study of the ‘Bhagavad Gita’ will be soon set up by the Uttar Pradesh government in this temple town, a minister said.The Gita Research Institute has been proposed by the Yogi Adityanath government, Minister for Religious works and culture Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary said.”For research on Gayan (singing), Vadan (the art of music) and Nratya (dance) of the Krishna age, the government is setting up the institute,” the minister said.Speaking at the 144th anniversary celebration of the Government Museum, Mathura, the minister said no language in the world was as sweet as Brij Bhasha and no art was as gifted as the art of Mathura.Unfortunately, no efforts were made to promote these, he said.

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A shake up has been given to the defence ministry to speed up acquisitions: Nirmala Sitharaman

A “shake up” is being given to the defence ministry to speed up various acquisition projects, ensure transparency and clear backlogs for key programmes, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said.In an address at a industry chamber, she also said the government is seriously examining functioning of around 39 ordnance factories and possible ways to boost their productivity including through joining of hands by the private sector.She said the efforts are on to ensure that the defence acquisition council (DAC) clears all the backlog relating to various procurement by December 31, emphasising that speeding up of decision making process has been one of her focus areas.The DAC is defence ministry’s highest decision making body on procurement. “There is a sense of making sure that every aspect of this large ministry is given a shake up,” Sitharaman said, adding the aim is to make a difference so that the ministry, which was sort of a cocooned, do things in a faster and transparent way.On various acquisition projects, she said, “I may be confident enough to say that by December 31, at least DAC would be on the top of it in the sense that no more waiting list would be with me.” She was addressing a FICCI event. Sitharaman, who assumed charge of the ministry in September, also said ensuring transparency is a major priority area for her.”The biggest compliance issue which we are definitely 100 per cent following is to have greater transparency, put everything in the public domain and make sure that every decision stands up to the principle of accountability,” she said.Her comments came in the backdrop of the Congress accusing the government of flouting laid down norms in sealing a deal to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.The party had recently raised several questions about the deal including the rates, and accused the government of compromising national interest and security while promoting “crony capitalism” and causing a loss to the public exchequer.The government had rejected the allegations.Asked about handing over of the strategically located Hambantota port to China on a 99-year lease by the Sri Lankan government, she only said India has been watchful of all the developments in the neighbourhood.On ordnance factories, she said government was doing a major review of their work and examine whether they can have joint venture or benefit benefit from technology transfer.Talking about the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Sitharaman said it should identify the patentable products so that they can be used commercially.Referring to the strategic partnership model, she said it was brought to support the domestic defence industry and to ensure that India, which is now a leading importer of military hardware, becomes a defence exporter.The strategic partnership was unveiled nearly four months back under which domestic defence manufacturers can tie up with leading global defence majors to manufacture specific military platforms like fighter jets.Sitharaman also said the government was in the process of identifying “organically grown” defence industry clusters in various parts of the country so that they can be supported.”We are planning to tell them about the requirement of the armed forces for the next 40-50 years so that they can lay a roadmap for their capacity building,” she said.She also said start-ups in the defence sector will be given encouragement.

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No consular access for Kulbhushan Jadhav, Pak tells ICJ

Pakistan on Wednesday rejected India’s plea for consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav at the ICJ, claiming that New Delhi wants the access to get the information gathered by its ‘spy’.Media reports form Pakistan suggest that Pakistan in its reply has alleged Jadhav is not an ordinary person and had entered the country with the intent of spying and carrying out sabotage activities. The reply, which was submitted by the Foreign Office’s Director (India), Fariha Bugti, also claimed that Jadhav case does not fall under the purview of the Vienna Convention.Even though Islamabad has allowed Jadhav’s mother and wife to meet him in jail alongwith an Indian diplomat, Pakistani response claimed that Jadhav was not entitled to consular access.The counter-memorial said the consular access under the Vienna Convention was reserved only for legitimate visitors and not for spies.Reports said the reply also encompasses the charge-sheet filed against Jadhav, which also includes his confession.Pakistan has stated that “the Indians have not denied that Jadhav was travelling on a passport with an assumed Muslim name.””Lack of explanation on how a serving naval commander was operating under secondment to Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and also was travelling under an assumed name leads to only one conclusion that India wanted consular access to the information he had gathered,” said the counter memorial.”Only a state which adheres to legitimate actions can request the court to intervene in a matter between two states,” Pakistan has stated in the ICJ.THE CASEKulbhushan Jadhav was arrested in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province over charges of alleged involvement in espionage and subversive activities for India’s intelligence agency RAW.

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First bundle of TOT’s equity IRR seen at 12-13%: Crisil

The equity Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of the first bundle of highways being auctioned under the Toll-Operate-Transfer (TOT) model would range between 12% and 13%, a Crisil Research’s report has said.The IRR has been arrived on the basis of National Highways Authority of India’s (NHAI) initial estimated concession value.The first TOT bundle has nine operational highway projects in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Gujarat.Of the nine projects, six are from Andhra Pradesh (National Highway 5) and balance three in Gujarat (National Highways 8A and 8B). The ones in the southern state are – Siddhantham-Gunduglanu (71.95-kms), Diwancheruvu-Siddhantham (49.04-km), Annavaram- Diwancheruvu (70.98-km), Ankapalli-Annavaram (88.53-km), Icchapuram-Narasannapeta (96.70-km) and Puintola-Icchapuram (64.40-km). The three projects from the western state are – Bamanbore-Garamore (71.94-km), Garamore-Samakhiyali (51.46-km) and Porbandar-Jetpur (115.64-km).The government is likely to earn a minimum of Rs 6,258 crore from the 680.64-km of highways having a concession period of 30 years.Under TOT model, an upfront payment will be paid to NHAI against awarding operation and maintenance rights to the private company.“A cluster of manufacturing industries and ports in Vishakhapatnam, Kakinada, Kandla and Mundra are expected to be the drivers of transportation demand. The economic corridor in the east coast is also expected to improve traffic potential in Andhra Pradesh,” read Crisil’s report released on Tuesday.“But the highway stretches in Gujarat are more attractive than those in Andhra Pradesh because of the presence of industrial clusters and consumption centres in the periphery,” said Prasad Koparkar, Senior Director of Crisil Research.However, the report adds that the key risks to the bundle are the impact of Goods and Services Tax and alternate routes. Crisil’s director Binaifer Jehani said, “The four-laning of Gundugolanu-Kovur Road in Andhra Pradesh would divert considerable freight traffic from Gundugolanu to Diwancheruvu.”The risk factors includes latent defects and severe economic slowdown, which are difficult to anticipate, can increase the maintenance cost and substantially reduce traffic.Bid for awarding first TOT contract is scheduled to open on January 10.

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Japanese tech to make flying safer in India

Indian sky-space is expected to get safer for fliers during time of low visibility and fogs as state owned Airport Authority of India (AAI) with help from Japan, is mulling over introducing an advanced system where the aircraft will use signal multiple transponders, instead of one at present for on-ground communications, which at times does not give out exact position of the aircraft.The technology can be useful in increasing airport safety and capacity, especially under low visibility conditions, by providing airport surface surveillance and, at the same time, protecting against runway incursions by aircraft and vehicles. AAI is mandated with running of most of the civil aviation airports in the country including the air traffic management system.According to officials from Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) department of AAI, the ultra-low cost technology increases the capability of ground-based surveillance with the aircraft to 15-30 nautical miles (NM). At present the range of the ground based surveillance covers only till the terminal side.The system is currently being implemented at Sendai International airport in Japan. Japan’s Electronic Navigation Research Institute (ENRI) recently made a presentation regarding it recently at an Aviation Seminar held in Mumbai to discuss the development of indigenous technologies in Civil aviation.According to Hiromi Miyazaki, Chief Researcher at ENRI in Japan the new technology which is normally referred as multilateration surveillance system (MLAT) offers better immunity to multipath interferences though it requires fewer number of receiver stations. Also, the installation is much easier due to small size receiver unit and requires no electric construction using optical power feeding.As per UN backed International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), MLAT is an enabling technology that will enhance the provision of ATM (air traffic management) in a variety of applications, from “radar-like” air traffic control purposes to enhanced situational awareness of surface movements. MLAT offers most advantages in situations where other surveillance systems (eg radar) are not available. It can also be combined with other surveillance systems, such as radar and ADS-B (another form of communication system), to improve the total surveillance picture. MLAT applications will have a direct effect upon aerodrome operations, traffic synchronization, airspace user operations, and conflict management.Further , the use of aircraft-derived data can be used in a variety of systems e.g. ground-based conflict alert, minimum safe altitude warning, danger area proximity warning, automated support tools, surveillance data processing and distribution, the CNS officials added.

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India’s new envoy to China Gautam Bambawale invites Chinese investments

India’s new envoy to China Gautam Bambawale has invited firms from the world’s second largest economy to invest in the country, citing heavy sales being registered by Chinese mobile phone manufacturers.Being the sixth largest economy with the seize of USD 2.5 trillion, growing at the rate of 7 to 8 per cent, India offers a huge market and several business opportunities, he said.”We believe that many Chinese companies are well suited and well positioned to take advantage of the large and growing Indian market,” Bambawale said at a seminar on ‘Investment Opportunities in India’ here yesterday.”Chinese mobile phone maker OPPO has just announced that its sales revenue in India in fiscal 2016 grew by 750 per cent, thereby making it a very significant player in India’s mobile phone market. I need not say more,” Bambawale said.He also highlighted India’s move to further liberalise business visas for Chinese travellers to India by introducing an e-visa facility.”The entire process can be done online without a need to visit either our embassy in Beijing or any one of our consulates in China,” he said.The seminar received an overwhelming response with more than 270 representatives from more than 190 Chinese companies attending the event, the Indian embassy said in a statement. Also readSpeaking to China at ‘all levels’ to include India into the Nuclear Supplies Group: RussiaRajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, emphasised the sound economic fundamentals of India – enumerating a young working population, high savings rate and low levels of government debt as important positive indicators for the Indian economy, the statement said.Kumar was here to attend the annual dialogue between NITI Aayog and China’s Development Research Centre (DRC).The DRC, under the State Council, China’s Cabinet, is the agency mainly responsible for doing research on strategic, long-term issues in China’s economic and social development.Also readIndia can grow faster than China: NITI Aayog VCSenior Chinese government officials including Vice Minister of the Development Research Centre of the State Council Wang Liming and Vice President of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Chen Zhou were also present at the event.Bambawale, who has served as High Commissioner to Pakistan and earlier as India’s envoy to Bhutan, submitted his credentials to President Xi Jinping on Tuesday.
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Inviting investment: New Zealand can offer a lesson or two to India

While India’s new and improved rank 100 at the World Bank’s latest ease of doing business index has been ruling popular discourses for weeks, New Zealand, with its first position for two consecutive years, remains the easiest country in the world to conduct businesses.In fact, the island nation has also ranked first in several parameters determining the final result, such as starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property, getting credit and protecting minority investors.New Zealand’s World Bank rank and that is the easiest place in the world to start a new business, reflects on ground with a steady increase in the establishment of new companies in the country following the Global Financial Crisis since 2012.As per official data, the number of company incorporations in 2014 was around 47,000, it was 50,000 in 2015, 56,000 in 2016 and 59,000 in 2017.But what is it that encourages such a positive business environment in New Zealand?A primary yet important step is the registration of a new company. At present, it takes just one working day for someone to register a new company through an online process in New Zealand.Another crucial step is that of securing construction permits –where India remains at the 181st rank. New Zealand’s Building Act contains a statutory requirement for a Building Consent Authority (BCA) is to grant a building consent within 20 working days from receiving the application (residential or commercial). According to New Zealand government officials, most BCAs report high compliance with this requirement.Officials also said government funding to a range of Research and Development and innovation proposals, and special encouragement to start-ups and early-stage businesses, has been going a long way in firming up New Zealand’s position as a top business-friendly economy.A classic example to support this statement is the Callaghan innovation established in 2013. The government agency backs innovative start-up companies by providing funding for company accelerator and incubator programmes. This also includes a Lightning Lab which works with digital and ICT entrepreneurs to develop their ideas over 12 weeks into an investment pitch.New Zealand’s schools and universities also play a major role in encouraging innovation, ideas and entrepreneurship in students from an early stage.Explaining the role of universities, a spokesperson from Education New Zealand (ENZ) said that three New Zealand universities, have joined forces to encourage entrepreneurship through an entrepreneurship project funded by the government.”The project partnering Canterbury, Lincoln and Otago universities has been awarded $3 million from the Government’s Encouraging and Supporting Innovation Fund. The goal is to encourage entrepreneurship. This project will facilitate the capture of intellectual property and develop technology-based businesses,” the spokesperson said in a written response to a query from DNA.Explaining further, New Zealand’s high commissioner to India Joanna Kempkers told DNA that students who go to those universities go through that programme have all the tools at their fingertips to be able to start a company or a business easily.Kempers added there is a special visa category for foreigners to come and start businesses in New Zealand.Another measure taken by the New Zealand government to encourage businesses is the Innovative New Zealand programme under the ministry of business, innovation and employment. Under this, an additional $372.8 million to be invested over the next four years in science, skills, tertiary education, and economic development initiatives, through Budget 2017.”This continues momentum from the $761.4 million investment made through the Innovative New Zealand programme in Budget 2016, and reaffirms the Government’s commitment in growing our science system, producing the 21st century skills New Zealand needs, and encouraging innovation and industry investment for a stronger, more resilient economy,” the ENZ spokesperson said.Another initiatives taken by New Zealand includes an investor migrant programme, aimed at attracting high net worth individuals to bring their capital and business acumen to New Zealand. The country also offers apprenticeships across a range of industries in New Zealand such as agriculture, horticulture and fisheries, construction and infrastructure, manufacturing and technology, which give youths an opportunity to “earn while they learn”.New Zealand also has 11 Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) specialising in training/apprenticeships for various industries. ENZ officials said ITOs are becoming increasingly popular with Indian undergraduate students.Universities supporting innovation and entrepreneurshipUniversity of AucklandThis New Zealand University features in the latest Reuters Top 75: Asia’s Most Innovative Universities rankings. Through UniServices, its commercialisation company, the University connects researchers and businesses, both nationally and internationally. UniServices has, on behalf of the University, over 1,200 active projects with more than 300 New Zealand firms at any one time. In 2016, UniServices created more than 11 businesses to commercialise university research.University of Canterbury – Centre for EntrepreneurshipThe UC Centre for Entrepreneurship promotes development of entrepreneurs through research, teaching and community engagement. It aims at the development of more employable UC graduates with exceptional entrepreneurial capability.
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Gujarat elections 2017: Bharuch fishermen unhappy with BJP

Ever since the Sardar Sarovar Dam has been constructed, fishermen in Bharuch and nearby villages say there is less production of hilsa fish due to increase in salinity of water. There are around 20,000 families of fishermen which are cursing the BJP government as around 100 km Hilsa fishing stretch has been shrunk to 70 km.Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated weir-cum-causeway project at Bhadbhut which will prevent fresh water to the Gulf of Cambay and will almost stop the availability of hilsa fish here in future and it will become extinct. Environmentalist MSH Shaikh of Brackish Water Research Centre, Surat, said, “The development will imbalance the eco-system. To lay eggs Hilsa fish travels from more than 1000 km from sea and come to brackish water. The causeway will block the river and Bhadbhut which lies on the estuary will not have the brackish water, because it will create imbalance in the fresh and sea water which is the place where hilsa lay eggs,” added Shaikh. Instead of Bhadbhut, the government can construct a causeway somewhere in the fresh water which can’t damaged the ecology. “We are trying to convince government to change location of the weir so that damage can be prevented. There are very few locations across the world where Hilsa is available. The government is claiming that they are going to give a passage for the fish to enter fresh water. But that won’t work as hilsa lays eggs in brackish water and not in fresh or only saline water,” remarked Shaikh. Ramesh Tandel, fisherman of Bhadbhut said, “In the estuary between Narmada and Bhadbhut where the project is conceptualised is a place where sweet and saline water meet. That is the place where large quantity of hilsa is found. If the causeway is constructed the fishing industry will wipe out.” “If the causeway is constructed not only the fishermen would be affected but local fish vendors and ice business would be hit,” he said.OVER 30K TO BE HITAs per an estimate, there are around 30,000 families directly or indirectly banking upon fishing industry here with a turnover of around Rs 500 crore a year. This business is not getting any subsidy from government either.
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Mumbai: Real Estate sales increase by 19% during the second quarter

Mumbai Metropolitan Region emerged as the leader with 19% increase in sales during the quarter, showed data from Liases Foras Real Estate Rating & Research.Total sales in key markets including Mumbai, National Capital Region (NCR), Bangalore, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad was 64,781 units during the quarter of July to September, marginally down from 64,881 in the previous quarter.On a QoQ basis, maximum sales growth of 11% took place in the affordable housing segment (properties priced below Rs 25 Lakh). MMR contributed highest sales 28%, in the affordable housing segment with 3,388 units, followed by Ahmedabad at 24% with 2,903 units. Affordable segment contributed to 19 per cent of the overall sales as compared to 17 per cent in the previous quarter.Sales in the cost bracket of 1 crore- 2 crore and Rs. 25 – 50 Lacs decreased by (-8 %) and (-5 %) respectively. The cost bracket of Rs. 25 – 50 Lacs contributed to 36% of total sales.Unsold stock in Tier I cities marginally declined by (-1 %) QoQ. Hyderabad and NCR witnessed a (-5 %) decline followed by Ahmedabad & Bangalore at (-3 per cent). Kolkata and Chennai recorded an increase in unsold stock by 7% and 6% respectively.During the quarter, the weighted average price level in these 8 markets increased 2% from a year ago. Prices in Ahmedabad and Bangalore rose the highest by 2%, while Kolkata and Pune witnessed a decline in price by 2%. Prices in Mumbai and Chennai remained stagnant.
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Social Science textbooks in 4 states not following guidelines: research

Social Science textbooks in some states are not following the guidelines laid under National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005 which say that “textbooks should not present any such thing that hurts the sentiments of any community or tribe”, a research by an organisation working on education revealed.Centre for Educational Research and Training scanned National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka to come to this conclusion.Quoting an example from Gujarat textbook from Class 6, the research says, “Ancient Indian history is portrayed to begin with Vedic era carrying the ‘description’ of Aryan society. The book stratifies the social sphere in four categories: Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaish and Shudra. It is mentioned that those engaged in ‘low level’ or baser work were called Shudra.” This is given in Chapter 2, page 9 of the Class 6 book of history.”Why do you need to tell students that Shudras are at the lower level, these kind of things set up a wrong image in mind of young children. In the same book, in another chapter Harshavardhana’s ‘routine life’ finds a mention where he is described as doing administrative activities, social welfare activities and religious activities. He is said to have erected many temples and ‘Maths’, and restricted killing of animals. At the end, the chapter describes social life alleging that people followed ‘Hindutva’,” said Touseef Ahmed from CERT who worked on the research.”The National Curriculum Framework 2005 clearly mentions that the curriculum should not have anything that hurts the sentiments of a particular tribe or community, then why are the textbooks still teaching students in this way. We have given a representation on the same to Ministry of Human Resource Development to have a look at the examples and get them changed,” he added.
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Yogi Adityanath


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A wedding that exhibits innovations, spreads awareness

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an attempt to make a difference and boost innovation, an Amdavadi has got his wedding card printed that mentions sustainable practises of Honey Bee Network, which is a crucible of innovators, farmers, scholars and academicians documenting traditional knowledge and innovation.Chetan Patel who works with Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI), a part of Honey Bee Network, has not only made a difference with his wedding card but also exhibited 30 innovations during his marriage ceremony on Saturday.”Wedding cards have a larger community reach, which is why I thought to use it as a means to spread awareness,” Patel said.Commenting on his initiative, professor Anil Gupta, founder of SRISTI said, “This has happened for the first time in 30 years that someone has even thought of this kind of a blend of cultural and social ways. While the card included numerous practices of innovations by children and farmers, he also gave an opportunity to exhibitors to display their innovations at his marriage. Chetan is the man who organises Shodh Yatra every year. Hence, it is overwhelming to even imagine what he has foreseen through this initiative.”He remarked, “This is a beautiful way of sharing information about what he has learnt with us by including these in this sacred ritual. Instead of a pamphlet, spreading awareness in such a manner is significant.”On exhibition, professor Gupta said, “The exhibition had a farmer from Haryana who had processed 200 kg fruits to make juice for 3,500 guests. He gave the remaining fruits to villagers to make ice cream out of them. We at SRISTI would be happy to help and support if any marriages or ceremonies are planned in an innovation fair where people can have a corner of creativity for their guests. Guests have to wait for long during such ceremonies and they can visit the creative corner.”

Negative growth in the luxury housing segment: Knight Frank

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The declining trend that engulfed luxury home prices across key Indian metros earlier this year has further intensified amid a global pattern of weakening prices revealed the Knight Frank Prime Global Cities Index Q3 2017.The index that tracks the movement in luxury residential prices across 41 international cities, every quarter, rose by 4.2% in the year to September 2017. However, at least 19 of these cities saw a decline in annual growth.While Delhi (-3.1%) and Bengaluru (-0.8%) recorded sharper negative growth, prices for luxury homes in Mumbai saw a marginal increase of 0.6% between September 2016 and September 2017, albeit on a declining trend.Reflecting on the dismal performances all the three metros featured on the price index slid from their positions in the previous quarter. Delhi saw the biggest drop in rankings as it slipped from the 31st to the 36th position.Dr. Samantak Das, Chief Economist and National Director – Research, said, “Prime residential markets have been under immense pressure particularly since the event of demonetisation. While the move had an adverse impact on the overall residential market, luxury homes sales were worst hit. The quintessential wealthy investors known to take interests in such projects are missing courtesy better returns from other investment avenues. Among the top three cities in India the growth in price in this genre has been slowly tapering. While Mumbai maintained positive growth, albeit at an abysmally low rate, Delhi and Bengaluru witnessed negative growth. We foresee the trend to continue for at least 8- 12 months in this end-user driven market.”Guangzhou continued to top the index with a staggering 36.3% price surge in luxury homes but the overall narrative for China was of a slower growth. While the annual prime price growth in Shanghai slipped from 19.7% last quarter to 14.9%, the rate of price growth decline in Beijing nearly halved from 15% to 7.2%, courtesy government enforced cooling measures.However, the Asia Pacific dominated the ten rankings, with Seoul (11.2%), Sydney (11.0%) and Melbourne (10.4%) joining Guangzhou and Shanghai.Among luxury residential properties in Europe, Madrid, Paris and Berlin recorded robust growth. But other key markets such as Zurich, Vienna, Geneva and London ended the 12-month period witnessing a sharp price decline.

UGC suspends engineering degrees given by 4 deemed to be universities

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The University Grants Commission (UGC) has suspended engineering degrees awarded by four deemed to be universities through distance mode. The move by the UGC comes following an order by the Supreme Court earlier this month which had restrained universities across the country from continuing any distance learning courses from the 2018-19 without prior approval of the regulatory authorities and ordered a CBI probe into granting of retrospective approvals to four of them. The four universities are –JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Institute of Advanced Studies in Education (IASE), Rajasthan, Allahabad Agricultural Institute (AAI) and Vinayaka Mission’s Research Foundation, Tamil Nadu. “AICTE Regulations, do apply to deemed to be universities and the four varsities were not justified in introducing any new courses in Technical Education without the approval of AICTE. “Consequent to this..all the degrees in Engineering awarded by concerned deemed to be universities stand suspended,” UGC Secretary PK Thakur said. The top court had directed the AICTE to hold tests for the students whose degrees would stand suspended by January 15, 2018, and said these students should not be given more than two chances to clear the examination.

Fortis dengue death case: Union Health Minister seeks ‘detailed report’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Union Health Minister JP Nadda today sought a “detailed report” from a Gurgaon-based private hospital, which billed the family of a child who died of dengue almost Rs 16 lakh, and said the government would take “action” based on it.The minister, who termed the incident “very unfortunate”, said he had also asked the health secretary to look into the case. “The government has taken cognisance of the case. I’ve enquired from the hospital authorities and asked them to submit a detailed report to the health ministry,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a health conference here. The case relates to the death in September of a seven- year-old girl who was admitted to Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI), Gurgaon, a multi super-speciality care hospital.”I’ve also asked the health secretary to look into the case, and based on the report, we will take the needed action,” he said. Nadda said he had taken note of the allegation levelled on Twitter last night against the hospital by a friend of the girl’s parents.
ALSO READ Father of deceased 7-year-old pleads for justice as hospital bills Rs 16 lakhs in 2 weeks”One of my batchmate’s 7 year old was in @fortis_hospital for ~15 days for Dengue. Billed 18 lakhs including for 2700 gloves. She passed away at the end of it…,” the friend said in the tweet which went viral. Fortis Hospital in a statement yesterday had claimed “all standard medical protocols were followed in treating the patient and all clinical guidelines were adhered to”. Fortis said it had charged the family Rs 15.79 lakh.

Exponential rise in sales of costly anti-diabetes drugs worrisome

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of the World Diabetes Day, observed on November 14, a nationwide study has revealed a substantial rise in the sale of insulin and other, expensive oral drugs. India is on the verge of becoming a diabetic capital. The research was aimed to study sales trends of all top-selling drugs in the last nine years.”The increasing sales of high-cost medications, as revealed by our data, are particularly worrisome, since most Indians pay out of their pockets, and nearly seven per cent experience catastrophic expenditure because of diabetes. Only a bare minimum number of patients are covered by health insurance, and even there, only the hospitalisation cost is paid by insurance companies,” said Dr Anoop Misra, chairman of Fortis C-DOC Hospital for Diabetes and Allied Specialities.He added: “There has been an escalation in the overall cost of treating diabetes in India. While there is a distinct rise in the use of newer oral drugs and insulin analogues, affordability and accessibility of anti-diabetic therapy for low socio-economic stratum remains inadequate.”As per the study conducted by the Fortis Healthcare, insulin sales have risen from Rs 151 crore in 2008 to Rs 842 crore in 2016. At the same time, oral drug sales have gone up from Rs 278 crore in 2013 to Rs 700 crore in 2016. The data trend reveals reduced inertia of patients and physicians to use insulin. This further points to the fact that over the last few years, chronic kidney disease due to diabetes has become more prevalent in the country, necessitating insulin therapy in a greater numbers.The sales of oral diabetes drugs also increased from Rs 278.5 crore in 2013 to Rs 570.9 crore in 2015, and then to Rs 700 crore in 2016. Although listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as an essential drug, only 35-63 per cent of primary health centers stock the most basic oral drugs for diabetes.”The number of people with diabetes in India is increasing rapidly due to lifestyle transitions and is second only to China. Type II diabetes is increasing at a worrisome rate in semi-urban and rural areas,” Misra added.As part of spreading awareness on alternative medicine, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has now developed an anti-diabetes drug made from Ayurvedic plant extracts. The BGR-34 anti-diabetic herbal drug is matching the efficacy level of any branded modern medicine in controlling sugar level, according to sources.DIABETES IN INDIAWorld Diabetes Day is observed on November 14.
India is on the verge of becoming a diabetes capital.
An increase in sale of high-cost diabetes medication has been found.
There has been an overall escalation in the cost of treating diabetes in India.

Lean on Central Asian saint’s teachings to counter extremism: Uzbek President

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as India is planning to host a high-level international conference on countering radicalization, Central Asian country Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on Sunday proposed to establish the Imam Bukhari International Research Center in Samarkand—after the name of ninth century saint and scholar to provide effective intellectual tools to contest extremism and misinterpreting religious texts.Addressing a security conference on Central Asia under the auspices of the United Nations, which was also attended by an Indian delegation led by Minister of State for External Affairs General (rtd) V K Singh, President Mirziyoyev said his country was also establishing the Center for Islamic Civilization in the historic city of Tashkent.In the Indian context, a Centre in the name of Saint scholar Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Bukhari holds significance as most of religious texts and curricula in Indian madrasas originate from his scholarly works. Commonly referred to as Imam Bukhari, he authored the hadith collection known as Sahih al-Bukhari, regarded by Sunni Muslims as one of the most authentic collections. After Quran Hadith is an important source of Islamic teachings, based on the record of the traditions or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.According the Uzbek President, the main goal is to turn Central Asia into a stable and economically developed region by joint efforts. “We must eliminate the roots that feed the conflict potential. We are looking for reasonable compromises in resolving issues on borders, water use, transport and trade.” He also linked stability and development in the region to the peace in Afghanistan, stressing to counter extremist ideology and educating young people about its pitfalls.According to the President, one of the most effective tools for countering extremism is education, especially educating young people, explaining them the humanistic essence of Islam and the true values of Islamic culture. “In this regard, we decided to establish the Imam Bukhari International Research Center in Samarkand and the Center for Islamic Civilization in Tashkent,” Mirziyoyev said.India’s former envoy in Russia and also an expert on Central Asian affairs, Ashok Mukherji, believed that the Central Asia’s rich and tolerant Islamic heritage can play a major role in the reconstruction of its national identities as well as relations with India. “This heritage is symbolized by the acknowledged theological eminence of Central Asia’s Imam Bukhari in compiling the Hadith or sayings of the Prophet, as well as the scientific and humanitarian contributions of Central Asian Islamic scholars such as Al-Beruni, Al-Farabi, the astronomer-king Ulugh Beg, and Sufi Islamic saints such as Ahmed Yasevi and Nakhsbandi,” he said, adding that all these scholars have intrinsic links with India and part of its heritage. He maintained that this heritage, which has taken root since ancient times, is one of the great opportunities and challenges of the new Silk Road.

India’s space prog achieved what was envisioned by Dr Vikram Sarabhai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India is pushing the frontiers in space technology and we need to be leaders in it, said Dr K Kasturirangan at the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad on Saturday.Dr Kasturirangan, an astrophysicist and honorary advisor for ISRO, was awarded the Shri Hari Om Ashram Prerit Senior Scientist Award 2016.Speaking at the award lecture on ‘Vistas of Astrophysics and Planetary Science Research- The Indian Perspective’, he reminisced about his first meeting with Dr Vikram Sarabhai, father of the Indian space Programme.”At that time I never thought I would find myself in a room with Dr Sarabhai as he interviewed me. In fact, Dr Sarabhai tried to dissuade me from joining PRL despite my earnestness. But I managed to convince him,” said Dr Kasturirangan.He said in a decade of association with Dr Sarabhai, the visionary encouraged him at PRL. “Today what I am is all because of Dr Sarabhai,” said Dr Kasturirangan.He said the space programme has achieved for India what Dr Sarabhai had envisioned it would do for the country. “We have fulfilled his expectations,” said Dr Kasturirangan.The scientist also said while deciding on space programmes it was also important to keep in mind the interest of the public and what can inspire a country and this was one of the thoughts behind the planetary mission programmes.Giving details about the planetary missions, he said those like Chandrayan – 1 and Mangalayan 1 have been achieved with reasonable time and cost and this helps India partner other complex missions.Chandrayan 2 is likely to be launched in 2018, while Aditya L-1 Mission, the first Indian mission to the sun, is likely to be launched in 2020.The other missions India is working on are Mars orbit mission and Venus orbit mission.He further joked that if ever people on earth reach a point where they relocate to other solar systems, Indians will never lag behind for lack of contribution to understanding it.IUCAA SCIENTIST WINS BUTI AWARDYoung scientist Dr Durgesh Tripathi of the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune was given the PRL’s Buti Foundation Award for the year 2017. The award recognises innovation and outstanding research work in the field of plasma science and technology. Dr Tripathi won the award for his contribution to solar plasma physics.

J&K was never seen to be more anxious for talks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AS Dulat, former chief of Research & Analysis Wing, who also served in Intelligence Bureau tracking Kashmir, speaks to DNA on the dialogue process.How do you see the appointment of Dineshwar Sharma?It’s a good, modest beginning. This is how these things start. Engagement is the key to Kashmir. We must never stop talking to all players across the board.Do you think Hurriyat is a stumbling block?I am certain with Mr Sharma there, dialogue with Hurriyat will happen. I see absolutely no reason for Hurriyat not to talk. Without Hurriyat the talks are meaningless. In the last three years, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who is among the moderate separatist leaders has shown his inclination to talk.How can Sharma bring Hurriyat on board?He should not wait for anyone to approach him. He should feel free to go to them. Just like he met Omar Abdullah, maybe in his next visit, he should just drive to Mirwaiz’s home or maybe even SAS Geelani’s. If Delhi wants to talk, Hurriyat will talk.Do you think Sharma being an IB man will not be trusted?Absolutely not. His IB past will not come in the way of talks. I was in IB, serving in Kashmir for so many years and never faced this problem. He seems to be relaxed and there is no negativity.How can he be different from other interlocutors?It’s difficult to say but the problem is that we have stopped talking, yet Kashmiris have never been more anxious to talk than now. He can be a facilitator for a political dialogue. You have to give Kashmiris an alternative; even those involved in militancy will get a ray of hope. Talks also put pressure on militants to come on board.Will a surrender policy be of any help at this juncture?Surrenders have been happening since the mid-1990s. But nobody gave importance to it. A proper rehabilitation policy would encourage more boys to shun militancy.

We’re building reusable vehicles, says ISRO Chairman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is in the process to build reusable launch vehicles and is working on new technologies for interplanetary missions.ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar while delivering an inaugural talk at Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) on Wednesday, said, “We are also on the lookout for equipping with capabilities to carry objects in multiple launches than single launches. We want to reduce cost of access and hence are building reusable launch vehicles.”PRL has organised a three-day brainstorming session on ‘Vision and Explorations for Planetary Sciences in Decades 2020-2060’.The event is aimed at providing a forum for planetary researchers and academicians to explore, discuss and present the latest trends, promote understanding and exchange results and opinions in the area of planetary sciences and explorations.Speaking about the need of the hour, Kumar said, “We need to develop capabilities by solving problems going into deep space also. We need to remain relevant and need to solve issues differently. The world is changing very fast and private entrepreneurs are entering the segment.”Speaking about future of Mars exploration, he said, “The next step would be to search for signs of life and investigate resources that could support human habitation.”There are many newer institutions which are setting up an astronomy department in their institutes. One of the IITs have roped in NASA scientists for the astronomy department.Questioning the audience whether any of them are a part of the event at PRL, he said, “The linkage within our country is not good. We need to also work on linkages.”

Da Vinci ‘gut feeling’ was right, says AIIMS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delving into the mysterious workings of the human gut, Indian doctors have stumbled upon a pathbreaking discovery, which has put centuries-old debate on the nature of the insides of the human abdomen to rest.Researchers from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi and Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Research, (JIPMER), Puducherry, have established that ‘Human Gut Mesentery,’ a crucial structure that attaches intestines to abdominal wall, is a single entity.This insight will aid surgeons world over to better maneuver surgeries. To take a closer peek at the human gut, AIIMS doctors dissected cadavers and studied them in meticulous detail.Interestingly, Indian doctors have validated what Leonardo Da Vinci had suggested in his sketches in the 15th century. Vinci had depicted mesentery as a continuous entity. Later, in the 19th century, this view was contradicted by Treves in his lectures at Royal College of Surgeons in London, who opined that mesentery was fragmented.”Since then, this view has been consistently followed by standard anatomy and embryology textbooks. For the first time ever, our findings have provided a comprehensive detail of the complete mesentery,” said Dr Muneeb Faiq, clinical researcher at AIIMS.The researchers developed a novel dissection method and produced direct evidence by going into excruciating details, visually documenting each minute fold, and painting a complete picture of how the entire mesentery looked like.”The world had not seen how a complete mesentery looked like, although it was present in each part of the intra-abdominal gut tube, including the duodenum. In some parts, it was hiding from the view and went unnoticed for centuries. Mesentery for the duodenum has been demonstrated for the first time in the history of human anatomy in our research,” said Dr Ashutosh Kumar, a senior researcher at thew Department of Anatomy, AIIMS, and lead investigator of the study.The new research will aid doctors to develop novel surgical management methods to help improved outcomes in intestinal surgeries.”Standard dissection techniques have not been able to confirm that the mesentery, an imperatively crucial structure of the human gut, is a single entity. It was believed to be fragmented and present or absent in some parts of the gut in adults, but our findings confirm that it is present throughout. This will create a paradigm shift in surgical approaches related to intestines,” he added.In newborn babies, at times, intestines can be malformed. This new research will help understand these anomalies better and aid in their management. “A relook at the gross anatomy of the mesentery is of great significance, since it can provide better understanding of congenital gastrointestinal anomalies, such as malrotation and malfixation of intestines in the process of development of embryo in the womb,” said Dr Gladwin V Raj, Associate Professor at Department of Anatomy, JIPMER, Puducherry.Being highly vascular, it also has a role in drug metabolism, and some important immunological functions and disorders.Mesentery had recently caught worldwide attention when a group of Irish scientists proposed it to be a new human organ, a top medical science journal ‘Lancet’ published that proposition. Globally, it is still a matter of debate.

Winter sets in, air quality still poor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As winter grips the city, the air quality continues to remain in the ‘poor’ category with a mild smog covering certain pockets of the city. According to the Met department, the city’s maximum temperature is likely to remain around 36 degrees Celsius till the weekend while the minimum temperature is expected to remain around 17 degrees, but may dip further.Three stations in the city — Pirana, Bopal and Rakhial — reported very poor air quality. The air quality monitoring systems of SAFAR (System for Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research) recorded the particulate matter (PM) 2.5 level in the city on Thursday, which was 139, and falls under the poor category. PM 10 was recorded at 150, which falls in the poor category as well. Overall, the city’s AQI was reported 196 by the pollution control board, which is unhealthy as warned by the website.BAD AIR QUALITYThe air quality monitoring systems of SAFAR recorded particulate matter for the city at 139, which indictaes that the air quality is “poor”.

Air quality during Diwali best in last three years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Air quality in the Capital during Diwali was the cleanest in the last three years, a study has revealed. The study has cited a ban on the sale of firecrackers by the Supreme Court as the reason behind it.According to the report released by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), a Central government air quality monitoring agency, the level of emissions from fireworks dropped by nearly 40 per cent this Diwali, as compared to 2016.“Level of particulates did shoot up a day after Diwali, but the dispersion was quicker and the air quality returned to pre-Diwali level within three days,” SAFAR stated in the report, released on Sunday. It further stated: “As compared to emissions from fireworks in 2016, the dip was significant — 50 per cent on October 19 (Diwali night), 25 per cent on October 20 (when the pollution peaked), and 45 per cent on October 21.”Despite the ban on the sale of firecrackers, the air quality turned “severe” for the first time in 2017, a day after Diwali. Explaining the reason behind it, SAFAR project director Gufran Beig said reduction in emissions from a particular source and reduction in levels of pollution were not linearly related or directly proportional.He explained how the “incredible”amount of fireworks on Diwali night, despite the relative reduction, led to trapping of smoke in the air and a rapid build-up of pollutants. “Emissions slow down local wind movement as air becomes heavy. It’s like the heaviness in air one feels in a room when the number of occupants goes up, say from five to 20. But subsequently, the air cleaned up faster this time due to warmer temperature and dry conditions,” Beig said.“The ban on crackers certainly had an impact. The days that preceded and followed Diwali saw restraint from people. Usually, crackers are set off before and after the actual night of festivities as well. The real impact could be seen on October 20,” he added.As compared to last year, the air quality had been good after Diwali as the smoke from stubble-burning regions in Punjab and Haryana had not reached Delhi, he said.THE STUDYAs compared to 2016, the air quality had been good after Diwali as the smoke from stubble-burning regions in Punjab and Haryana had not reached Delhi. The study was based on meteorological data including wind speed and direction, and satellite estimate of emissions.

7 lakh rifles, 44,000 light machine guns: Army finalises procurement plan to replace ageing weapons

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Army has finalised one of its biggest procurement plans for infantry modernisation under which a large number of light machine guns, battle carbines and assault rifles are being purchased at a cost of nearly Rs 40,000 crore to replace its ageing and obsolete weapons.The broad process to acquire around 7 lakh rifles, 44,000 light machine guns (LMGs) and nearly 44,600 carbines has been finalised and the defence ministry is on the same page with the Army in moving ahead with the procurement, official sources told PTI.The world’s second largest standing Army has been pressing for fast-tracking the procurement of various weapons systems considering the evolving security threats including along India’s borders with Pakistan and China.Apart from kick-starting the procurement process, the government has also sent a message to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to expedite its work on various small arms, particularly on an LMG.The sources said a fresh RFI (request for information) to procure the LMGs will be issued in the next few days, months after the defence ministry scrapped the tender for the 7.62 calibre guns as there was only one vendor left after a series of field trials. The plan is to initially procure around 10,000 LMGs.The Army has also finalised the specifications for a new 7.62 mm assault rifle and the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the defence ministry’s highest decision making body on procurement, is expected to give the go-ahead for the much- needed procurement soon.”The General Service Quality Requirements (GSQR) for the new assault rifle has been finalised. The procurement plan will soon be placed before the DAC for approval,” said a senior official, who is part of the acquisition process.In June, the Army had rejected an assault rifle built by the state-run Rifle Factory, Ishapore, after the guns miserably failed the firing tests.The procurement of assault rifles has witnessed significant delays due to a variety of reasons including the Army’s failure to finalise the specifications for it. The Army needs around 7 lakh 7.62×51 mm assault guns to replace its INSAS rifles.The Army had issued RFI for the rifles in September last year and around 20 firms responded to it. An RFI is a process whose purpose is to collect information about capabilities of various vendors.In June, the Army had kick-started the initial process to procure around 44,600 carbines, nearly eight months after a tender for it was retracted, also due to single-vendor situation. Around half a dozen firms including a few global arms manufacturers have responded to the RFI.Army sources said various specifications for the LMGs and battle carbines were tweaked to ensure that the problem of single vendor does not recur.The combined cost of the LMGs, assault rifles and carbines will be in excess of Rs 40,000 crore, said an official.On DRDO missing a number of deadlines in finalising the LMG, an official said the defence secretary has called a meeting this week of all stakeholders to discuss the project.”The infantry modernisation plan is a major initiative of the Army and it will significantly bolster the overall capability of the foot soldiers,” said a senior army official.The issue was extensively discussed at the recently- concluded Army Commanders conference which felt modernisation of the Army must be in tune with the evolving security threat facing the country.Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman conveyed to the Army during the conference that modernisation of the force was a priority for the government and all its “deficiencies” will be addressed to strengthen its combat capability.

Nirmala Sitharaman assures defence firms over licensing, tax concerns

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday issued directions to officials for addressing top military firms’ concerns over licensing and tax issues and reiterated the government’s commitment to facilitating private sector’s participation in defence manufacturing.Sitharaman discussed various issues relating to implementation of the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative in the defence sector with representatives of industry chamber Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), including top executives of a number of Indian and foreign defence firms. The defence minister issued directions to the team of officers headed by the Defence Secretary for time-bound action on key issues raised at the round table, including the resolution of licensing with the Home Ministry, tax-related matters with the Finance Ministry and commercialisation of technologies developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the defence ministry said in a statement.It said a wide range of issues, including matters relating to licensing, taxes and duties and ways to speed up the procurement processes were discussed at the meeting. Ways to streamline the offsets regime and creation of a tiered defence industrial ecosystem with full integration and skilling of manpower in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sector were also deliberated upon during the meeting. Sitharaman conveyed to the top executives of the private defence industry that the government was “fully committed” to removing all the stumbling blocks and facilitating private participation in defence manufacturing with the objective of bringing high value foreign investment into the sector, officials said.She told them that focus of the initiative is to ensure self-reliance in meeting the country’s defence needs and that the government will provide a level playing field to the industry. Sitharaman also asked the officials to ensure timely conclusion of procurement proposals. In May, the government had unveiled the strategic partnership model under which select private firms will be roped in to build military platforms such as submarines and fighter jets in India in partnership with foreign entities.”The present government has taken a series of significant policy initiatives, including promulgation of DPP (defence procurement procedure) 2016 which gives highest priority to indigenous design and manufacture of defence equipment, introduction of Strategic Partnership model, liberalisation of FDI norms and providing a level-playing to private industry,” the defence ministry said.

GTU to set up first national heritage research laboratory

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat Technological University (GTU) is planning to set up National Heritage Research Lab to tackle the techno-management issues of India’s first heritage city Ahmedabad.The experts at the laboratory will prepare recommendations to make Ahmedabad a combination of heritage city and smart city and will guide the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to conserve and preserve rich culture and heritage as well overall development of the city.”GTU has taken up this task in view of large number of expert faculty available in the university. The primary discussion was done in the GTU All India Board of Advisors meeting which was attended by 10 members. The Heritage lab will explore and suggest solutions on techno management issues of heritage monuments/structures,” said Dr Navin Sheth, Vice Chancellor of GTU.Experts of the proposed heritage lab will suggest how to make foundations of heritage structures strong. The experts will also cover pollution related issues of heritage structures and suggest solutions like chemical spray etc.A smart city sensor research lab will also be established in Gandhinagar at the cost of 4 crores, Sheth added.This would be integrated lab costing about 4 crore and will serve for smart city research to GTU colleges, all municipal bodies, academia and experts in India and abroad on chargeable basis. This would be first such lab in India. It was also suggested to engage IBM, CISCO or other international bodies as knowledge partner in the meeting, said professor Rajnikant Patel, Director GTU School of Smart Cities said.A TALE TO BE PROUD OFExperts at the laboratory will prepare recommendations to make Ahmedabad a combination of heritage city and smart city and will guide the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to conserve and preserve rich culture and heritage as well overall development of the city.
Heritage lab will suggest solutions on techno management issues of heritage monuments/structures.

JNU launches Centre for Excellence in Disaster Research and Resilience

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Thursday launched its much-awaited Centre for Excellence in Disaster Research and Resilience, in a bid to provide its students with possibilities to research into a newly emerging area and to generate a new breed of professionals.The Centre, which was inaugurated by Union Minister Kiren Rijiju, will provide research opportunities from various disciplines which will be converging on the study of disaster research in India and beyond.”We will be using artificial intelligence by using robotics, modelling, and sensor-based data analytics,” the University said in a statement.”It will develop literature in disaster laws and disaster economics by plucking studies and research from various disciplines which will be converging on the study of disaster research in India and beyond,” it added.In August 2015, JNU had signed an MoU with the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) for establishing the Centre. The NIDM has provided financial assistance amounting to Rs 4.14 crore to JNU over a three-year period from 2015-16 to 2017-18 to start M.Phil and Ph.D programmes in disaster management for the first time in India.”The role of institutions is immense in addressing the challenges posed by disasters. The coming together of NIDM and JNU is a good synergy of encouraging research and training mechanisms related to disaster risk management,” Rijiju said.The Centre will conduct activities that will help to build community resilience through better preparedness, legal and governance reforms, enhanced capacity for early detection and warning systems and absorption of indigenous wisdom in administrative systems. “The centre will serve as a transdiciplinar meeting ground which will synchronise the boundaries of social science into natural science,” said professor Amita Singh, one of the key founders of the centre.

Air quality barely improves after Diwali

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the air quality in the Capital improved a bit on Sunday from ‘severe’ to ‘very poor’, experts said it was still ‘unhealthy’ and more efforts were needed to cut down on emissions. During Diwali, the air quality had stooped to ‘severe’ level for the first time in 2017.The air quality index (AQI) of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) was recorded as ‘very poor’, at a score of 319 ug/m3. The prescribed PM 2.5 level for healthy air is 60 ug/m3.”The air quality has gone back to Pre-Diwali levels. It can be said there is an improvement after Diwali. The wind speed picked up over the last 24 hours, which helped disperse the pollutants hanging in air and forming a thick layer of smog,” said Vivek Chattopadhyaya, senior scientist and project manager, Clean Air Campaign, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).Delhi air quality is measured against PM 2.5 levels, as this is the most prominent pollutant in the Capital’s air.Seven of the eight monitoring stations under SAFAR recorded ‘very poor’ air quality — Mathura Road (334), Indira Gandhi International Airport (335), Lodhi Road (321), Delhi University (339), Pitampura (319), Dhirpur (304), and Noida (323).According to experts, the air quality may improve in the coming days, if the wind speed does not drop.A day after Diwali, which was on October 19, city hospitals saw a surge in cases of respiratory illness and irritation in eyes.If the AQI is in ‘very poor’ category, people may develop respiratory illness on prolonged exposure. When it is in ‘severe’ category, it can have adverse effects even on healthy adults.The air quality showed such deterioration despite the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to curb air pollution coming into force from October 15. GRAP, which has an advisory for each category of air pollution, will be in force in Delhi-NCR between October 15 and March 15. The plan came into existence last November, after the national Capital witnessed layers of smog after Diwali, with air turning almost poisonous.VERY POOR QUALITYThe air quality index (AQI) of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) was recorded as ‘very poor’, at a score of 319 ug/m3.
The prescribed PM 2.5 level for healthy air is 60 ug/m3.r.

See if cow urine can promote organic farming: Niti Ayog asks Indian Council of Agricultural Research

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India’s premier farm research organisation Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has been asked to study if ‘cow urine’ can be used to promote organic farming and submit its report in two months.According to a senior Niti Aayog official, the ICAR has been asked to look into the possibility of converting cow urine into amino acid for use as natural fertiliser to increase farm productivity.The decision to request the ICAR to conduct this study was taken after a high-level meeting at the Niti Aayog, during which Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Giriraj Singh talked about organic farming and also how cow urine, bio-waste and cow dung can be used in organic farming.Prime Minister Narendra Modi also many times in the past has asked Niti Aayog to hold discussion with Singh as he had done lot of work in the field of organic farming in Bihar, the official said.Singh had reportedly told the Niti Aayog meeting that cow urine is a better alternative to chemical fertilisers and can increase the farm productivity as much as by 4-5 times.Amino acids is used an essential nutrient for soil and plant health.The prime minister has stressed for expansion of organic farming across the country as part of efforts to transform the agriculture sector entailing better remuneration for the farmers.In 2016, Sikkim became India’s first fully organic state.

DNA wins award for mental health report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chennai-based Schizophrenia Research foundation (SCARF) on Saturday honoured seven journalists for their contributions towards mental health awareness through their work in the media.DNA’s Marisha Karwa won the third prize for her report on how the use of dramatic language to refer to mental health patients trivialises their suffering and fight against serious mental health conditions. The report (http://bit.ly/2yY0noG) was published on February 22.SCARF director R Thara and chief guest retired Justice Prabha Sridevan gave away the awards. Among the other winners was Soma Bose of The Hindu.

MBBS students do not want to serve in villages

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 1.7 thousand medical students and their parents have signed an online petition requesting the state government to withdraw a recent government resolution (GR), as per which medical students in public medical colleges who have not completed their rural bond service before enrolling for PG courses are ineligible for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test(NEET) 2018-19 for postgraduate students.The petition, started by Muzzafar Khan, a Yavatmal-based parent of a PG medical aspirant, has asked the government to scrap the October 12 GR as per which students would now have to complete their one year rural service bond along with their MBBS in 6.5 years before enrolling for their PG. As per the earlier norms, students were given six years after their MBBS to complete their rural stint. With the recent GR, Over 5,000 students who have enrolled for the PG NEET to be held in January 2018 would be deemed ineligible with the new norm, for not having completed their rural service bond as per the GR.”According to the previous rule, students had a year exempt from the bond to prepare for the PG exam to get into the desired branch of choice. Now, the irony is that our government has passed a GR just two months prior to the exam, resulting in disqualification of the candidate for the state quota PG seat, who has not done rural service… this rule should have been enforced immediately before or during the start of a new academic session, not suddenly two months before the exams are on head ,where students have toiled very hard for last 1 to 2 years to clear this exam” states the petition addressed to the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Minister of Medical Education at the state, Girish Mahajan. DNA contacted Fadnavis and Mahajan, but there was no response from them.Dr Pravin Shingare, Director, Directorare of Medical Education and Research(DMER) said that the DMER has written to the government requesting a relaxation in the norm to students for 2018-19. “With barely a few months left for the exam, students in government medical colleges and their parents are in a state of panic as many of them would not be eligible for NEET PG. We have recommended the government to implement the decision only from the next academic year to ensure that students don’t suffer. The state government is most likely to rethink on the GR” added Shingare.

Private hospitals fined for using ‘unfair means’ to make profit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government on Monday ordered a recovery of Rs 36 crore and Rs 10 crore, respectively, from two private hospitals for using “unfair means” to make profits.The move came after Delhi government was pulled up by the Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) in its audit released in August after it failed to recover a fine of over Rs 600 crore from five private hospitals, which had refused to treat the patients belonging to Economically Weaker Section (EWS).”The hospitals have been asked to pay the long-pending fine,” said a senior Delhi government official.The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led government in 2016 had slapped the fine on the five of these five hospitals — Max Super Specialty Hospital (Saket), Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Shanti Mukand Hospital, Dharamshila Cancer Hospital, and Pushpawati Singhania Research Institute. These hospitals were provided lands at concessional rates between 1960 and 1990 on the condition that they will treat the poor free of cost.A total of 43 private hospitals in Delhi were allotted land at concessional rates on the condition that they will keep 10 per cent of their in-patient department capacity and 25 per cent of out-patient department capacity to treat EWS patients free of cost.”These five hospitals had not abided by the conditions. The department had earlier in December 2015, sent notices to these hospitals seeking their explanation as to why they failed to treat the poor and why they should not be fined. But none of them gave satisfactory replies, so we initiated action against them,” said a senior health official.

85% Indians support government, 27% want a strong leader: PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than four-fifths of Indian citizens trust their government, but interestingly, a majority of Indians also support military rule and autocracy, a latest Pew survey said on Monday.”In India, where the economy has grown on average by 6.9% since 2012, 85% (of people) trust their national government,” Pew Research said in a report based on its survey on governance and trust among key countries across the world.Notably, in India, which has strong democratic credentials since the last seven decades, according to Pew, a majority (55%) of its people support autocracy in one way or the other.In fact, more than one-fourth (27%) of them want a strong leader.Nearly half of Russians (48%) back governance by a strong leader, but rule by a strong leader is generally unpopular, it said.A global median of 26% say a system in which a strong leader can make decisions without interference from parliament or the courts would be a good way of governing.Roughly seven-in-10 (71%) say it would be a bad type of governance.India is one of the three countries in the Asia Pacific region where people support technocracy.”Asian-Pacific publics generally back rule by experts, particularly people in Vietnam (67%), India (65%) and the Philippines (62%),” it said.Only Australians are notably wary as 57% say it would be a bad way to govern, and only 41% support governance by experts, the report said.According to the survey, roughly half of both Indians (53%) and South Africans (52%), who live in nations that often hold themselves up as democratic exemplars for their regions, say military rule would be a good thing for their countries.But in these societies, older people (those aged 50 and older) are the least supportive of the army running the country, and they are the ones who either personally experienced the struggle to establish democratic rule or are the immediate descendants of those democratic pioneers, Pew said.Only one in 10 in Europe back military rule. Pew said more than half in each of the 38 nations polled consider representative democracy a very or somewhat good way to govern their country.Yet, in all countries, pro-democracy attitudes coexist, to varying degrees, with openness to non-democratic forms of governance, including rule by experts, a strong leader, or the military.

Maharashtra: Over 4,500 doctors to lose licence for failing to serve in rural areas

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra government on Friday cancelled the registration of over 4,500 doctors for failing to serve in rural areas for a year, which is mandatory. The decision to cancel their registration was taken by Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) after it found that these doctors have refused to work in rural areas for a year.According to DMER, these doctors have even failed to pay the penalty incurred for not serving in rural areas. According to a directive by the Maharashtra government, doctors on acquiring their degree have a mandatory one-year period where they serve in rural Maharashtra.In all, 4,548 doctors have faced action. They graduated from government-run medical colleges in the state between 2005 and 2012 and have neither served in rural areas nor paid the fine, it said.A DMER official said, “If the doctors do not serve the bond, they must pay a penalty, which is Rs 10 lakh for an MBBS, Rs 50 lakh for post-graduates and Rs 2 crore for super- speciality doctors.”Head of DMER Dr Pravin Shingare said all the doctors who have faced action, had been given sufficient time to honour their commitment to serve in rural areas or pay the penalty.”We took this firm step as these doctors violated both the clauses,” he said.A senior official of the state medical education department, said every medical practitioner needs to renew his or her registration with the Maharashtra Medical Council.Without the registration, these doctors will be called bogus and may invite legal action, he said.”The objective of the bond is to give doctors exposure to complicated cases. It is a highly educative and learning experience for newly-graduated doctors. Hence, we want them to go to rural areas and work for at least a year,” the official said.The government also provides reasonable allowances for doctors serving in tribal areas. The wages are also high, he said.Dr Sagar Mundada, the chairman of the youth wing of Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Nobody is complaining about remuneration, but the real issue is poor infrastructure at primary health centres, where these doctors serve as a part of their bond.””Except for a handful of medicines, no other drugs are supplied. Other essential materials provided are of low quality and in poor quantity. The quarters provided to these doctors are poorly maintained and still they are expected to stay there for a year,” he said.”The government forgets its responsibility of maintaining infrastructure and keeping a smooth supply of medicines and other necessary materials. Minor surgery has to carried out at PHCs and not a single equipment is available at the centres.In such cases, a doctor faces the wrath of people,” Mundada said.

‘Tell me phone, what’s destroying my crops?’

How apps using image recognition are helping farmers identify crop diseases.

Breathless Delhiites crowd AIIMS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>JN Gupta, 65, stands inconspicuously in a queue outside the Out Patient Department of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Breathless, he struggles with a 5 kg bag full of entangled translucent nasal tubes. Theformer Deputy Comptroller Auditor General of India retired five years ago. Today, his collapsed lungs demand most of his attention and time.”This bag contains my portable oxygen support. Seventy per cent of my lungs have collapsed. The right lung hardly works. I need oxygen support for 18-20 hours a day,” Gupta says. In 2011, he was detected with Pulmonary Fibrosis, known to be caused by exposure to toxins, pollutants, or infections. The disease scars the lung tissue, leading to reduced blood supply and difficulty in breathing. Just last week, Gupta fell very sick and had to be rushed to AIIMS.The horrendous reality of the worsening air quality in Delhi stares one right in the face at India’s largest hospital. It is second week of October and the average temperature hovers around 34-37 degree Celsius.Meanwhile, a 17-year-old student, a 32-year-old marketing executive, a 59-year-old homemaker, a 65-year-old retired government official, and a 76-year-old businessman are among nearly 400 patients who have lined up in serpentine queues outside AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria’s Out Patient Department clinic.According to the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) Continuous Ambient Air Quality data, the air quality generally worsens due to a dip in the temperature and an increase in the concentration of pollutants in atmosphere.Over the last one week, however, temperature has not dipped but the pollution has spiked considerably. “Stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana is one of the major contributing factors. The OPD has seen a rise of patients by 10-15 per cent,” Dr Guleria told DNA.Meanwhile, 17-year-old Shivani had to skip school to see the doctor. “I have been having frequent bouts of breathlessness since Tuesday morning. It seems to be an infection in the lungs, and over the week, it has just worsened,” she says. Last year around Diwali, 59-year-old Karol Bagh resident Kanak Devi (name changed) suffered an asthma attack.”I was wheeled into AIIMS, and was started on intravenous steroids. I was gasping for air, and my eyes constantly watered. I piled on so much weight due to drugs. My lungs are weak, and have suffered 40 per cent damage,” she says. On being queried whether she would like live outside Delhi, she shrugs. “Where is the choice? Delhi is my home, and it makes me suffer,” she says.According to the national safe standards, particulate matter of 2.5 micron size should not be more than 60 micrograms/cubic metre in the air. The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) PM 2.5 safe standards are even lesser, at 25 µg/m³. In the last 24 hours, however, it was dangerously tipping the scales at 122.73 µg/m³ at south Delhi’s Siri Fort area.”People will live six years longer in Delhi, if the country met its national standards, and nine years longer, if it met the WHO standards,” says Michael Greenstone, Director, Energy Policy Research Institute at University of Chicago. Greenstone had undertaken a study to understand the impact of pollution on life expectancy across the world, which included 50 most polluted districts in India.”Farmers burn tonnes of waste. Farmers should be educated about the consequences of burning stubble. The waste should be disposed off in an eco-friendly manner,” says Dr TK Joshi of the Centre for Occupational Health and Enviromental Medicine at the Maulana Azad Medical College in Delhi.Doctors at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, which caters to patients in Punjab and Haryana, highlight that farmers, in fact, are the most affected by air pollution caused due to stubble burning.”There has been a spike in the number of asthma cases in the last few years, including those from rural areas. Farmers may say it is not affecting them, but it is detrimental to their health in the long run, especially to their lungs,” Dr D Behera, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, PGIMER, says.­—With inputs from Srishti Chaudhary in Chandigarh

Neral college under scanner for flouting rules

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An engineering college in Neral has come under scanner after an NGO alleged that it flouted norms while gaining the approval of the All India Council for Technical Education(AICTE) and the affiliation of the University of Mumbai.In a letter submitted to the Department of Higher and Technical Education, Citizen’s Forum for Sanctity in Education, a non-profit body, has alleged that the Dilkap Research Institute of Engineering and Management Studies (DRIEMS) has violated some of the statutory norms of the AICTE to get its approval for the year 2016-17 and also used the same for getting affiliation to the University of Mumbai.”Some of the teachers approached us with complaints that the college does not pay their provident funds and delays their remuneration. After availing information through RTI we got to know that they have shown close to 40 bogus teachers on their payroll. Some other norms with respect to infrastructure are also flouted. We have demanded action against the college,” said Vaibhav Narawade, secretary of the forum. Atulya Patil, Principal, DRIEMS said that he was not aware of the issue. “I have recently joined as a principal and the allegations pertain to 2016-17,” he said.

Will double farm income by 2022: Radha Mohan Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government has major plans for the agri-sector, which continues to be one of the weakest links in the economy, even as it employs a large proportion of the population. In an Interview to Siddhartha Rai, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh outlines the government’s ambitious plans. Edited excerpts:Has the government promised the moon when it declared that farm income will be doubled by 2022?We have pledged to double farm income by 2022 and that is not a pipe dream. To make research the springboard of the next agricultural revolution, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research has created ‘State Coordination Committees’ and appointed the vice-chancellors of the State Agricultural Universities as directors.Any plans to rope in young minds into agricultural research?We are trying to shape the future of agricultural students to help them become leaders in innovation and establish agri-businesses. Under ‘Student Ready Programme’, students get training for a year to become agricultural entrepreneurs. Declaration of agricultural education as a professional degree is a step forward.How will you bridge the gulf between farmers and innovation?In order to improve the ‘Lab to Farm’ programme and to increase the outreach to the farmers, scientists are constantly in touch with the farmers through ‘My Village – My Pride’ programme.How are you leveraging technology in reaching out to the farmers?A network of 680 Krishi Vigyan Kendra is conducting demonstrations to instill confidence in farmers about scientific techniques. Farmers are provided mobile-based advisories.How has research fared so far in helping farmers?Research plays an important role in the growth of agricultural production. In the last three years, 571 high yielding immunised, nutrient-packed, climate friendly and disease resistance varieties of crops have been developed.

Soon, dial 1962 for animal ambulance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an initiative that will bring relief to thousands of animal lovers in the city, the the state government will soon launch a helpline dedicated to animals.Done in association with Emergency Management and Research Insitute (EMRI) that runs 108 free service ambulance in the country, the animal ambulance called Karuna Animal Ambulance can be called for on 1962, a free helpline, and will be similar to the 108 helpline and will be operational from 6am to 10pm for now.The vans, similar to 108 ambulances, are currently being designed and will have photos of different animals on them.Confirming the same, Dr Kachhia Patel, Director, Animal Husbandry Department, said, ” The ambulances will be equipped with all kinds of facilities like an ICU on wheels, etc and handle accidental cases and emergencies related to birds and animals. We are initially planning to start the 1962 services in seven districts of the state. The entire project is in the process hence I cannot divulge more details.”Gira Shah, Foudner, Jivdaya Charitable Trust, said, “For animals, follow-up treatment is the most important aspect. While we do have lot of vans that handle nearly 60 field cases on a daily basis, many times we do have to deny people our visit due to lack of resources. This initiative will help in the long run as it will save a lot of volunteers who help us in getting emergencies reach hospitals or our clinic. We get around 40 cases of OPD everyday.”Chetan Shah, a dog-lover, said, “This will be one of the best decisions of this year if the government starts a service like this. We as volunteers feel helpless at times when we are unable to reach the spot of emergency on time and then take the animal to a shelter. Ambulances, in such cases can at least provide basic treatment while being taken to a hospital. Animals can’t speak and hence it is even more painful to see their plight.”

Gorakhpur deaths were preventable: IIHMR Director

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Weeks after the Gorakhpur tragedy that claimed 30 young lives in a span of 48 hours, Dr Sanjiv Kumar, Director of Indian Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR), said the deaths could have been prevented. Of the 60 deaths reported between August 7 -11, 12 were due to Japanese Encephalitis. Oxygen supply was disrupted for two hours on Thursday night and as per the State Health Minister, there were no deaths reported in those two hours.“As a doctor, one will say that the deaths may not have occurred during these two hours but would have followed soon after or would have left lifelong effects due to irreversible brain damage caused by lack of oxygen,” said Dr Kumar. In his report, Dr Kumar also compares previous years’ figures. In the previous three years, the average number of deaths in August were 567 (2014), 668 (2015) and 587 (2016); or about 19-22 deaths per day. The reported deaths of 60 from August 7-11, however, come to an average of 12 per day, which is less than the annual average for the previous three years.Dr Kumar also spelled out three key factors that need to be addressed. “While the exact reasons will be revealed in the fact-finding committee’s report, there is a high need to address the corruption leading to interrupted oxygen,” he said. In this particular case, the Pushpa Sales Private Ltd had stopped supplying Oxygen as their bills worth Rs 63 lakh had not been cleared since November 23, 2016. The company had written more than 12 reminder letters, many copied to District collector and state authorities.The second fault line is overcrowding due to lack of facilities in primary health centres as well as district hospitals.The third is the delay in the prevention of Japanese Encephalitis, despite the availability of technologies to prevent mosquito breeding and vaccine. “The workload on healthcare providers needs to be looked into, he said, adding that lack of basic amenities like electricity and water even in tertiary care hospitals must be addressed.”

DNA Exclusive: Indian to be appointed as Deputy DG of WHO

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In what could be a shining moment for India in the global health scenario, director general of Indian Council of Medical Research, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, is likely to take over as the deputy director general of World Health Organization (WHO), sources from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) confirmed.WHO is yet to make an official announcement about her posting. Dr Swaminathan also holds the post of Secretary, Health Research in MoHFW. The 58-year-old is a paediatrician and a clinical scientist. She is known for her research on Tuberculosis. She is the daughter of MS Swaminathan (92), the acclaimed Indian geneticist and father of green revolution.The new director general of WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus took over office from Dr Margaret Chan in July 2016. He insisted that the old team continue for three months, after which a new team appointed by the DG be brought in, sources said.In her new role, Dr Swaminathan will look over all operations of WHO, including monitoring of communicable and non-communicable diseases except for emergencies, and hold the number two position in WHO after the DG.The current deputy DG at WHO is Dr Anarfi Asamoa-Baah from Ghana. “The WHO DG has a carte blanche to appoint officials from across the globe to WHO. WHO draws up a list and approaches respective countries to approve of the appointment,” a source said.Dr Swaminathan has been serving as DG ICMR for over two years now. ICMR is the apex body in India for biomedical research. A repository on clinical research and public health, Dr Swaminathan’s earlier stint in WHO was as Co-ordinator, Research in Neglected Priorities, TDR (Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases) from 2009 to 2011.As Deputy DG, she will hold office in Geneva. “The term of WHO DG is five years. Usually, the entire team stays on with the DG, whose term can get extended for a maximum period of an additional five years,” said the source.”I would not want to comment on the posting until an official announcement is made to this regard,” Dr Swaminathan told DNA.

Punjab: 3,500 people run marathon to mark Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary; fight against drug-abuse

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Punjab police and the Fazilka district administration on Thursday held a marathon run- ‘Daurta Punjab’- to mark the birth anniversary of martyr Bhagat Singh.More than 3,500 boys and girls from the border villages participated in the marathon and took pledge against drug abuse.Additional Director General of Police, Welfare-cum-Armed, Sanjiv Kalra said this event would go a long way in motivating youth against drugs.He said such initiatives were call of the day to sensitise youths against the ill-effects of drugs.Fazilka Deputy Commissioner Isha Kalia exhorted the youth to join hands in ongoing moves of the state government to eliminate the menace of drug abuse.She said youngsters should stay away from drugs and live a healthy life with dignity.IG (Bathinda Zone) M S Chhinna, DIG (Ferozepur Range) Rajinder, Fazilka DC Kalia, Deputy Commissioner Sri Muktsar Sahib Sumit Jarangal, Bureau of Police Research and Development’s officer DS Sandhu, SSP Ketan Baliram Patil flagged off the mini marathon.The marathon, started from Police Lines, passed through DC Complex, Sanjiv Cinema Chowk, Gaushala Road, Shastri Chowk and MR College Road and ended at Asafwala.Students of different schools presented folk dances of Punjab (Giddha and Bhangra) and also played Gatkaa, a traditional form of combat-training.Comedian Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi also called upon youth to desist from drug abuse.

ISRO files police complaint against rumours about smoke on its campus

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Officials of the Indian Space Research Organisation, Tamil Nadu campus, have filed a police complaint against unidentified persons for spreading rumours that smoke emanated after a “mysterious explosion” on its premises recently.Police said the ISRO officials lodged a complaint against unidentified persons for spreading rumours.Anti-Naxal team and CISF took up investigation after reports of smoke emanating on the campus in Mahendragiri of Tirunelveli district on June 23, the police said today, adding as per the probe, the incident was only a rumour.According to a police release, the investigation also revealed that a huge boulder located in a hilly area about 20 kms away from the campus had fell from the top on June 23.”Further investigation was underway in the matter,” the release added.

ISRO is hiring: Here’s how you can apply at isro.gov.in

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Engineers and scientists can now apply for positions in mechanical, electronics and computer science at the prestigious Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).You can send in your online application on isro.gov.in by October 5, 2017.Those applying should have a BE/B.Tech or equivalent qualification in first class with an aggregate minimum of 65 per cent marks or CGPA 6.84/10 The candidate has to pay Rs 100 for each application and should be more than 35 years as on October 5, 2017. Those who pass ISRO’s initial screening of academic performance and biodata will be eligible for the written test. The recruitment exam will take place on December 24 at Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, New Delhi and Thiruvananthapuram.Positions available:Scientist/Engineer in Electronics – 35Scientist/Engineer in Mechanical – 35Scientist/Engineer in Computer Science – 10Make a note:Last date to send application: October 5Last date to submit fees: October 6Call letters for written test: Second or third week of December 2017Check for more details here

National flag to fly at half mast for state funeral of IAF Marshal Arjan Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A state funeral will be accorded to Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh and the national flag will fly at half mast in all government buildings in Delhi in his honour, the Home ministry said on Sunday.The last rites of Singh, who passed away at the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital on Saturday, would be performed at Brar Square here at 10:am Monday.”As a mark of respect to the departed dignitary, a state funeral will be accorded and national flag will fly half-mast on the day of the funeral (September 18) in Delhi on all buildings where it is flown regularly,” a Home Ministry spokesperson said.Arjan Singh, the hero of the 1965 India-Pakistan war and the only Air Force officer to be promoted to five-star rank, died here yesterday at the age of 98.He was entrusted with the responsibility of leading the IAF when he was only 44 years old, a task he carried out with elan. He was the chief of the IAF when it found itself at the forefront of the 1965 conflict.Singh, who had flown more than 60 different types of aircraft, had played a major role in transforming the IAF into one of the most potent air forces globally and the fourth biggest in the world.Known as a man of few words, he was not only a fearless fighter pilot but had profound knowledge about air power which he applied in a wide spectrum of air operations. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian honour, in 1965.

Marshal of Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, only living 5-star rank military officer, critically ill

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Marshal of Indian Air Force Arjan Singh has been hospitalised in critical condition at the Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi on Saturday.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited him at the R&R.The Marshall, 98, suffered a cardiac arrest in morning, a defence ministry statement said.“Received messages that Marshal of IAF Arjan Singh was suspected to have had massive heart attack in morning and was brought to the hospital,” Sitharaman said after visiting the Marshal.“We hope he (Marshal of Indian Air Force Arjan Singh) will recover at the earliest. His condition remains critical,” she added.Prime Minister Modi also tweeted about the Marshal and “prayed for his speedy recovery.”A Padma Vibhushan awardee, the Marshal retired from the Air Force in 1969.The Marshal has flown over 60 aircraft and remained a flyer until the end of his career with the Indian Air Force.In recognition of his lifelong services, the government conferred the rank of the “Marshal of the Indian Air Force” on Arjan Singh on January 28, 2002.This was remarkable because it made him the only officer of the Indian Air Force to accomplish this feat.It also means that he is the only living Indian military officer with five-star rank after Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, who passed away in June 2008.Recognising the insurmountable contribution of the Air Force in the 1965 war, he became the Air Chief Marshal from the rank of Chief of Air Staff, which made him the first ever officer of the Indian Air Force to attain this historical achievement.

Bottled water contamination: FSSAI given four weeks for report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a social activist filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to look into the matter of packaged drinking water containing harmful substances, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has written a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Maharashtra to look into the matter.Two years ago, researchers at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) found the presence of carcinogen (cancer-causing) bromate in packaged drinking water available in Mumbai.Based on this report, an activist filed a complaint on July 7 to the NHRC, who have communicated the petition to FSSAI to seek the action-taken report within four weeks. The FSSAI has further forwarded the complaint to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on August 22 stating that they should investigate and take action as per provisions of FSS Act 2006 and allied rules and regulations.The activist, who did not wish to be named, said, “A report must be asked on the study conducted and various matters highlighted by it from FSSAI.

‘Bullets were whistling past our ears’: Indian Army Major reveals daring details of surgical strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The surgical strikes across the LoC were precise and conducted at frenetic pace but the major, who led the daredevil mission, says that the return was the most difficult part and bullets fired by the enemy soldiers were so close that these were whistling past the ears.The Army Major speaks about the stunning mission in a new book being brought out on the first anniversary of surgical strikes in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.The officer is referred to as Major Mike Tango in the book, titled “India’s Most Fearless: True Stories of Modern Military Heroes”.The Army had decided to use soldiers from the units that had suffered losses in the Uri attack for the elaborate revenge mission.A Ghatak platoon was formed and soldiers from the two units that had lost men were roped in to man border posts and provide crucial terrain intelligence and support to the mission that lay ahead.”Tactically, this was a smart move – few knew the lay of the frontier land better than they did. But there was another astute reason.”Involving them in the mission would at least begin to lay the ghosts of Uri to rest,” says the book.About the details of the planning, it says, “The target list was scrutinised along a top-secret chain of command that numbered barely a handful of people, with ‘need to know’ rules applicable throughout.”The options were vetted by designated officers from the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing, before a final recommended brief was presented to the government.” Maj. Tango was entrusted with the job of leading the operation to carry out the strikes.”As team Leader, Maj. Tango had chosen every man himself, including the officers and men who would play a supporting role. He was also acutely aware of the fact that the lives of 19 men were, quite literally, in his hands,” the book says.Though Maj. Tango chose the best men for the job, one thing was bothering him – the de-induction or the return.”That’s where I knew I could lose guys,” the book quotes him as recalling.”Even the actual attack was not something that flustered the commandos. It was the return, an uphill trek to the LoC that was the truly daunting part.”Their backs would be facing a blaze of fire from Pakistan Army posts, belatedly roused from their slumber. And the dominant position held by the posts would make the escaping warriors easy targets to spot and kill,” the book says.A total of four terror launch pads operated by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and protected by the Pakistan Army were selected.”Through a series of masked communications over mobile, Maj. Tango’s men contacted four ‘assets’- two local villagers in PoK and two Pakistani nationals operating in the area – both moles in the dreaded Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group, men who had been turned by Indian agencies a few years before.”All the four assets separately confirmed the target information that was placed before them. In terms of intelligence, there was nothing further for the team to do on this side of the LoC,” the book says.The book, written by Shiv Aroor and Rahul Singh and published by Penguin India, tells 14 true stories of extraordinary courage and fearlessness, providing a glimpse into the kind of heroism India’s soldiers display in unthinkably hostile conditions and under grave provocation.The mission was brief – the soldiers were expected to reach their targets, study the latest intelligence they could possibly access with their satellite devices and then proceed to wipe out every man they saw there, the book says.The weapons and equipment were then finalised.”Maj. Tango would be armed with his M4A1 5.56-mm carbine, the rest of the assault team with a mix of M4A1s and standard-issue Israeli Tavor TAR-21 assault rifles, Instalaza C90 disposable grenade launchers and Galil sniper rifles.Batteries on night-vision equipment were checked and other devices were charged too,” the book says.Two of the terror launch pads identified as targets for Maj. Tango’s team were well inside PoK and roughly 500 metres away from each other, it says.”Each launch pad is really a transit staging area for terrorist infiltrators before they are sent across the LoC.Both launch pads were close to Pakistan Army posts for logistical and administrative purposes. ISI handlers would often visit these launch pads before infiltration attempts,” according the book.”From the moment the firefight began until the last bullet was fired, it had been just over an hour. The frenetic pace of the assault meant the teams, now united after the split attack on two launch pads, would prepare to leave with only a very rough estimate of the number of terrorists they had managed to kill: 20. The figure would be corroborated days later by India’s external intelligence.”A total of 38-40 terrorists and two Pakistan Army personnel were killed at the four targets. The three separate teams had simultaneously struck 4 launch pads across the LoC.Their entry into PoK had been coordinated and precisely timed,” it says.As for the return, the major decided to take not the route used to enter PoK but a different path that was longer and more circuitous, but comparatively safe.But while the Indian soldiers were returning, the Pakistan Army posts opened fire with everything they had – enraged by the cross-border strike.”At one point, the bullets were so close, they were whistling past our ears. There’s a familiar put-put sound when rounds fly very close to your head,” Maj. Tango recalls.”If I were a foot taller, I would have been hit many times over.”During the circuitous escape, the men were frequently flat on the ground as trees in their path were shredded to bits by hails of ammunition, the book says.”A particularly vulnerable 60-metre patch in the de- induction route gave the commandos their closest call. Still flat on their bellies, but with no natural feature hiding them, they needed to slither the full distance without being hit. Crossing in pairs as ammunition hit the ground inches from them, Maj. Tango’s team made it to the LoC before the sun was up, finally crossing it at 0430 hours.”

2,765 posts SSB transferred to IB

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To enhance intelligence gathering across the border, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has approved the transfer of a total of 2,765 posts from the civilian cadre of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) to Intelligence Bureau. “Not only the posts, entire infrastructure, land and equipment of civilian cadre of SSB will be transferred,” said a senior MHA officer.Both the office of National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Kumar Doval and MHA has approved the project, and it will gradually be implemented over the next year.The civil wing was first raised in 1963, in the aftermath of the Chinese aggression of the previous year, to work in border areas and promote a sense of national belonging and pro-India feelings among the population there. As per the proposal, the SSB is facing various issues like promotions, work avenues, and finance and others. Based on these issues, it was decided that the unit should be transferred to the Intelligence Unit. The unit has only been doing civic work and government schemes publicity moves in far-flung border areas and anti-Naxal operation zones for almost two decades now.After the SSB was declared an armed force in 2001, the civil wing started dying as they were not uniformed personnel. The average age of cadres was above 50 years and most of these cadres have worked with the people living along the Nepal and Bhutan borders. This, in turn, helped them integrate with the mainstream.Now with transfer, their experience and knowledge of the locals, languages and natural features of the border areas will be used to aid the intelligence work of the IB.The SSB was formed in in 2003, following the 1999 Kargil conflict. Earlier it was known as Special Service Bureau and the unit worked under Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) till 2001.The name of the force was changed to Sashastra Seema Bal in 2003, following the 1999 Kargil conflict. It was then tasked with guarding the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders on the country’s eastern flank. The Special Service Bureau (now Sashastra Seema Bal) was thus conceived in November 1962 and eventually created in March 1963 with the sole objective of achieving ‘Total security preparedness’ in the remote border areas for performing a ‘stay-behind’ role in the event of a war.A senior officer stated that the transfer of the civilian SSB cadre will begin once the long-awaited cadre restructuring of the force is approved and implemented. All this will take about a year to take shape.About SSBThe SSB was formed in 2003, following the 1999 Kargil conflict It was known as Special Service Bureau and it worked under Research and Analysis Wing till 2001. The force was declared an armed force in 2001.

In a first, NCERT develops curriculum for pre-schools, likely to be followed by 2018-19

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pre-schools in the country will now be able to follow a well-designed, fixed curriculum for teaching 3 to 6-years-old children, as the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has developed a curriculum for pre-schools to help prepare children for Class 1.This is for the first time that a government agency will be giving a fixed curriculum for pre-schools, which otherwise do not have any fixed curriculum. The elementary education department of NCERT has been working on developing a curriculum in five centres — Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Mysore, Ajmer and Delhi.”Our pre-school centres had been researching on developing a curriculum for pre-schools, and we are hoping to implement it by 2018-19 academic session. We will provide the curriculum to all private schools across the country,” a senior official at NCERT said.”Most pre-schools do not follow a fixed curriculum, some start with teaching alphabets and numbers to students while others only teach them to sing rhymes and play games. This new curriculum has been designed keeping in mind the cognitive and emotional level of children,” he added.The NCERT curriculum will have more of activity and less of cramming up alphabets and numbers; an exercise the experts at NCERT say will be helpful for the psychological development of the child.The curriculum spans over two years, which could either be used for Nursery and lower KG or upper KG and lower KG — which is basically aimed at preparing children for Class 1.So far, government schools used to admit children beginning from Class 1 but they are also working on a plan to link Anganwadis to schools to start their own pre-schools. Some states like Telangana and Rajasthan already have pre-schools, but the ministry of human resource development alongwith ministry of women and child development is working on a pan-India plan.Ministry of Women and Child Development has developed National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) policy for children from 3-6 years of age. The policy encompasses elements of care, health, nutrition, play and early learning within a protective and enabling environment. As per the policy, there should be an age and developmentally appropriate, child-centric curriculum translated in mother tongue/local vernacular.

India requires $150 billion military equipment in next decade: DRDO scientist

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Distinguished scientist and Director General of BrahMos missile system division of the DRDO, Dr Sudhir Mishra, today said the country would require various military equipment worth USD 150 billion in the next 10 years.Inviting private players to grab the opportunity by entering the defence equipment manufacturing, Mishra said the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is ready to share its technology with the manufacturers.Mishra, who is also the CEO and Managing Director of ‘BrahMos Aerospace’, an India-Russia joint venture of the Ministry of Defence, was speaking at an interactive session on defence manufacturing organised by the Gujarat chapter of CII here.”In the next 10 years, there is a requirement of around USD 150 billion of military equipment. This is a realistic and quite a moderate figure. This is a big opportunity for the entrepreneurs,” he said.According to him, USD 150 billion would be spent on manufacturing or upgrading aircraft, tanks, guns and various other equipment.”There are many items, which we are going to manufacture or procure. Many of them have already become a reality, such as upgradation of MiG-29 and Mirage aircrafts.We are also going to procure around 500 more T-90 battle tanks in a short time,” he said.Expressing concern over the overall manufacturing scenario in the country, he invited private players to consider taking up production of defence equipment.”In our country, contribution of manufacturing sector in the GDP is 18 per cent for the last seven to eight years, while the contribution of service sector is 65 per cent. This is an anomaly. Manufacturing should be around 35 to 40 per cent and service sector has to be 15 to 25 per cent,” he said.”At present, we own 6 to 7 per cent of the global software market. But now, we cannot grow beyond this, as we mostly carry out outsourcing and low-end software jobs. That is why, the new government at the Centre came up with ‘Make In India’. Now, we are trying to catch up,” said Mishra.”DRDO is ready to share the technology, as we alone cannot do it. Private players can take that technology from us and develop it for the market. You can approach us and start manufacturing,” he added while addressing budding entrepreneurs from this sector.

SEE PIC: Kiran Bedi tweets a picture of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s chappals to highlight his simplicity

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi on Thursday paid tribute to former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam after visiting his memorial near Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.In a series of tweets posted on Friday, Bedi hailed the former president for his simplistic life and even shared a picture of his sandals to highlight the same. “These Chappals of Dr Kalam were in the suitcase of his last journey to Shillong. ( See how worn out they were and had even been repaired),” she tweeted.A career scientist turned statesman, Dr Kalam was born and raised in Rameswaram and studied physics and aerospace engineering.He spent the next four decades as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and was intimately involved in India’s civilian space programme and military missile development efforts.He was elected as the 11th President of India in 2002 with the support of both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the then-opposition Indian National Congress. Widely referred to as the “People’s President,”6 he returned to his civilian life of education, writing and public service after a single term. He was a recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour.While delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong, Kalam collapsed and died from an apparent cardiac arrest on 27 July 2015, aged 83.

Lord Ram’s arrows were like ISRO’s rockets: Vijay Rupani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani today equated ISRO’s rockets with the arrows of Lord Ram, saying the Hindu deity had done in the past what the space agency was doing now.Invoking the Ramayana, Rupani also praised Ram for his “engineering skills” by having a bridge, the mythological ‘Ram Setu’, constructed between India and Sri Lanka, “with the help of the engineers of that era”.”Each arrow of Lord Ram was a missile. What ISRO is doing right now (launching rockets), Lord Ram used to launch in those days,” the chief minister said while addressing the first convocation ceremony of the Institute of Infrastructure Technology Research and Management(IITRAM), located in Maninagar area, yesterday.Tapan Misra, Director of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Space Application Centre, was also present at the event.IITRAM is an autonomous university established by the Gujarat government.Rupani said, “If we link infrastructure with Lord Ram, imagine what kind of engineers he had at that time to build that Ram Setu bridge between India and Sri Lanka. Even squirrels contributed in building that bridge. It was Lord Ram’s imagination which was realised by the engineers of that era.”The BJP leader went on to pick more examples from the mythological text to connect to the modern era.According to the chief minister, Hanuman carrying an entire mountain to bring a cure for Lakshman was a story of “infrastructure development”, while Ram eating berries tasted by Shabari was “social engineering”.”When Lord Hanuman could not pick up the right herb which can cure Lakshman, he brought the entire mountain. We wonder what kind of technology existed back then which facilitated the shifting of the mountain. This is also a story of infrastructure development,” he said.”Not just developing weapons and infrastructure, Lord Ram also did social engineering. He brought people from all castes and communities together. By eating berries offered by Shabri, he won trust of adivasis (tribals). Imagine bringing together Sugreev, Hanuman and the army of monkeys, it was social engineering by Lord Ram.”

CMFRI successfully develops seed production technology of

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The mariculture in India will get a major boost with the CMFRI successfully developing the seed production technology of Indian pompano (Trachinotus mookalee), which has high commercial value both in domestic and international markets. This is the fifth of its kind achievement made by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) after it developed seed production technology of cobia, silver pompano, orange spotted grouper and pink ear emperor, the institute said in a statement here. Indian pompano (locally known as Avoli Vatta) is the most suitable species for cage culture considering its fast growth rate, easy adaptability to culture conditions, quick acceptance of artificial feed, good meat quality and high consumer preference, it said. Breeding and seed production technology of the species was developed at the Visakhapatnam Regional Centre of CMFRI after two years of research. The technology was developed with the help of Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS), a new facility in fish farming. Indian pompano belongs to the Carangidae family, which is distributed in the Indo West Pacific region and is reported to be present in 15 different countries of the Asian continent. In India, the fish is reported from both the west and the east coasts. It is a marine fish with sporadic occurrences in bays and lagoons and the adult fishes prefer shallow coastal waters with rocky areas. According to Dr A Gopalakrishnan, Director of CMFRI, this is the first report of successful mass scale seed production of Indian pompano in the world. “The achievement is a major breakthrough in Indian mariculture business which will help the farming community to use the hatchery produced seeds of Indian pompano for cage farming”, he said, adding, mariculture activities would be diversified with CMFRI developing seed production technology of one more high value marine fish. He said at a time when present capture fishery is facing a stagnation in the country, the CMFRI is more focusing on increasing marine fish production through mariculture. “By 2050, India should produce at least 10.5 million tons of marine fish to meet the growing seafood demand. India s marine fish catch is only 3.63 million tons in 2016”, he said and added that CMFRI s efforts on developing seed production technology high value marine fish was part of this objective.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

CM seeks blueprint from DTU for achieving top rank in research

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday asked the Delhi Technological University (DTU) to submit within one month a blueprint on achieving top rank in the field of research and nurturing about 50 per cent students as entrepreneursAddressing the gathering after the inauguration of DTU’s east Delhi campus, the Chief Minister said that education was the backbone of a country’s success and asked students to become job creators when they complete their course.”I want students to become job creators when they complete their course and contribute towards the society and nation-building,” Kejriwal said.”Research should be done to benefit common people and students. Through research, the university can find exact demands of industrialists and the government will provide all resources for it. I want the DTU to become number one in the field of research,” he added.According to Kejriwal, the Aam Aadmi PArty (AAP) government in Delhi has been investing in education so that students could be made “smart citizens”.”This government is focusing on education. When the AAP government was formed, state-run schools were in a bad state. Education Minister Manish Sisodia transformed government schools,” he said.Around 300 students have got admission in the east Delhi Campus located in Vivek Vihar Phase II, as the first batch. The campus will offer courses in business and other programmes. Classes for new students will start from August 21, Monday.

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