Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Like farmers, fishermen also being provided loans at 3 per cent interest rate: Fisheries Minister Shri Ajay Vishnoi

Like farmers, fishermen also being provided loans at 3 per cent interest rate: Fisheries Minister Shri Ajay Vishnoi

14th annual general meeting of Fisheries Federation held
Bhopal: Wednesday, March 9, 2011:

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Fisheries Minister Shri Ajay Vishnoi has said that like farmers, fishermen are also being provided loans at three per cent interest rate. The assistance given to fishermen will now be deposited in their bank accounts so that they can purchase fishing nets and boats of their own choice. Fisheries Minister Shri Vishnoi was addressing the 14th annual general meeting of Fisheries Federation at Bhopal on Tuesday. At the AGM, the federation’s action plan for the year 2011-12 was endorsed.

Loans to fishermen at 3 per cent interest rate

Average income of fishermen increased to Rs 191 per day from Rs 137.

Fish production in the state is 20 kilogramme per hectare against national productivity of 12.5 kg per hectare

Fisheries Minister Shri Vishnoi said that from next year, fishermen will be provided 80 per cent subsidy instead of 50 per cent for purchasing material. He instructed the officials to ensure that Fishermen’s Credit Cards must be issued to all the fishermen associated with the federation within three months. Credit cards are to be prepared for about 5 thousand fishermen associated with the cooperative societies active in 12 water reservoirs of the state. Through these cards, fishermen will also be able to get loans for fishing like farmers.

Fisheries Minister Shri Vishnoi said that wages of fishermen have been increased to Rs 19 per kilogramme which were earlier between Rs 8 and Rs 17. This year, about Rs 8 crore will be distributed among the fishermen as wages. Shri Vishnoi said that now fishermen associated with the federation are earning over Rs 191 per day each, which used to be Rs 131 earlier. The Fisheries Minister said that per hectare productivity of the federation’s water reservoirs is 20 kilogramme on an average while the national productivity is only 12.5 kilogramme per hectare.

Federation’s MD Smt. Veena Ghanekar said that the Federation has given Rs two crore as royalty to the state government this year, which is highest so far. She said that fisheries activities are being undertaken in 91 thousand hectare area of Indira Sagar, which is the second large water reservoir of Asia. As many as 14 thousand 350 fishermen, who are associated with 40 cooperatives, are working in the reservoir. The AGM was told that apart from fishermen, their family members are also being covered under insurance. Under Jaldeep Yojana, health and education facilities, food material etc are being provided to the family members of five thousand fishermen, who live in inaccessible islands of these reservoirs.

The meeting was told that the federation has achieved all its targets. This year, the total production of Federation’s 12 reservoirs is expected to be more than 3600 tonnes. The scheme for providing dwellings to fishermen at reduced rates has also been put in place.

New Generation Should Become Upholder of Democracy: Shri Ishwardas Rohani

New Generation Should Become Upholder of Democracy: Shri Ishwardas Rohani

Inquisitiveness Of Vidhan Sabha Speaker: Why Is Shri Gopal Bhargava Being Elected Continuously?, Students Reply: He Is Emotionally Attached With Each And Every Family In His Area
Bhopal: Wednesday, March 9, 2011:

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Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha Speaker Shri Ishwardas Rohani has called upon the youths of new generation to study deeply the Indian parliamentary system and become protectors of democracy. Shri Rohani was addressing the students of Rehli Vidhan Sabha constituency during their parliamentary study tour on behalf of Government College here today. On this occasion, Panchayat and Rural Development, Social Justice Minister and MLA of the segment Shri Gopal Bhargava was also present. When Vidhan Sabha speaker asked the students as to why Shri Gopal Bhargava is being elected for 25 years from his area, the students in one tune replied that Shri Gopal Bhargava is emotionally attached with each and every family members in the area. He is always ready when it comes to the crunch. He doesn't behave as minister. He is simply a representative of people, the students replied.

Replying to the inquisitive questions of the students, Vidhan Sabha Speaker Shri Rohani said that it is very challenge indeed to maintain democracy in better manner. The youths will have to play an important role in this regard. He called upon the students to preserve and maintain Indian parliamentary system by studying it deeply.

The students told the Speaker that the people of the area call Bhaiyaji (local MLA Shri Gopal Bhargava) whenever they are in trouble. They prayed to the god that MLA like Shri Gopal Bhargava should remain always in their Vidhan Sabha constituency. The students said that Shri Gopal Bhargava has been serving as minister for seven years but he is simply a public representative amongst us. His dedication and commitment inspire us. It may be mentioned here that Shri Gopal Bhargava is public representative from Rehli Vidhan Sabha constituency since 1985.

C.M. Shri Chouhan For Economic Emancipation of Women

C.M. Shri Chouhan For Economic Emancipation of Women

International Women's Day Celebration
Bhopal: Tuesday, March 8, 2011:

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The Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that the society makes progress when women live with honour and dignity. He said that economic emancipation of women is the precondition of development. He was addressing a function organized here today at Samanvay Bhavan to celebrate the International Women's Day.

The Chief Minister expressed commitment to welfare of women, sisters and daughters. He said that mothers and daughters are no longer burden in the state. It is mission of the government to ensure their economic emancipation, saying that the state government stays with them with fullest support at every stage. Shri Chouhan said that positive change in respect of women's empowerment is reflective owing to state government's well-thought initiatives. Number of girl child is increasing. Maternal and infant mortality rates have come down. Percentage of institutional delivery has increased from 24 to 81 percent. Women representatives today occupy 56 percent positions in Panchayats and Urban bodies, he added.

Shri Chouhan said that he had taken initiatives for empowerment of women as member of Parliament by offering financial help to poor parents for marriages of their daughters. He said that the Ladli Laxmi Yojana which was opposed initially is now an ideal scheme. Today 6.56 lakh beneficiaries have been covered.

Shri Chouhan felicitated winners of Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia honour for social service and Rani Avani Bai Gallantry Award. He also presented national savings certificates for 14 girl children.

MLAs Smt. Uma Devi, Smt. Lalita Yadav, Smt. Neena Vikram Verma, Smt. Nandi Maravi, Smt. Pratibha Singh, Smt. Gita Uike, Smt. Malini Laxman Singh Gaud, Smt. Kalabai Prajapati were felicitated on the occasion. Smt. Santosh Soni winner of Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia Award for Social Service and Smt. Neetu Agrawal winner of Rani Avanti Bai Gallantry Award were presented mementos and cash award of Rs. One lakh. National Savings Certificates were presented to Ladli Laxmi beneficiaries.

Minister of State for Women and Child Development Smt. Ranjana Baghel said that Madhya Pradesh carries a distinct identity by implementing novel schemes for empowerment of women. She said that the budget of the department has been increased by 45 percent. About 430 crore has been spent on implementation of Ladli Laxmi Yojana.

Those present included Principal Secretary Women and Child Development Shri B. R. Naidu, Director Shri Anupam Rajan and women in a large number.

Arjun Singh was Symbol of Secularism: SDPI


Arjun Singh was Symbol of Secularism: SDPI

Bhopal, March 06 (Pervez Bari): The Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI), has termed the passing away of veteran Congress leader Arjun Singh, who was a former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Governor and Union Minister, as a great loss for the Muslim community .
The SDPI national general secretary A. Sayeed while condoling the death of Mr. Arjun Singh in a statement said that he was a symbol of Indian secularism. It was he who purged the hatred and intolerance from the textbooks of India after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s fall from power, ensuring a secular future of freedom for people of all faiths in India, he pointed out.
Mr. Sayeed said Mr. Arjun Singh proved his mettle and his secular credentials when he was at the helm of affairs at India’s second biggest state, Madhya Pradesh, where Muslims formed a good portion of the electorate. He championed the empowerment of the poor and bravely fought against the communal forces. He firmly stood by the Muslim community during the last two decades of the Hindutva onslaught, he added. Arjun Singh helped Muslim educational institutions like Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia out of the way and played a crucial role in the promotion of Urdu, modernization of Madarsas and helped minorities to open and run their institutions of learning.
The statement said that both Arjun Singh and VP Singh died unwept and in total isolation despite their immense contribution to India's pluralism and secular ethos. They paid for their audacity to speak out for the oppressed and Muslims. (pervezbari@eth.net)

Bhopal gas tragedy survivors protest force Dow Chemical to withdraw from Aquatech trade fair

Bhopal gas tragedy survivors protest force Dow Chemical to withdraw from Aquatech trade fair

Bhopal, March 02 (Pervez Bari): The survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, the world's worst industrial disaster, scored a victory when they forced Dow Chemical, the owner of the Union Carbide, to withdraw from the Aquatech 2011 water technologies trade fair being held in Bombay Exhibition Centre, Mumbai from March 2 to 4. The Union Carbide pesticide factory had spewed deadly poisonous gas in December 1984 killing thousands of people.
According to reports reaching here the Dow Chemical name was struck off the list of partners to the Aquatech 2011 water technologies trade fair after Bhopal survivors held a press conference yesterday and staged a protest today at the venue. Nearly 70 survivors staged a die-in outside the Exhibition Hall inside the Bombay Exhibition Centre, where Dow was listed to have an exhibition stall.
Speaking for the organizers, Commander Dalal of Inter Ads-Brooks Exhibitions reportedly said: "We had a discussion with Dow on this, and Dow is no longer part of this trade fair. They are not here today, and they will not be here tomorrow or the day after." Mr. Dalal also expressed his solidarity with the Bhopal survivors.
Separately, Mr. Kishor Shetty, the manager of Sales and Marketing, at Inter Ads also confirmed over phone that: "The moment we came to know, we dissociated ourselves. Dow Chemical voluntarily withdrew". The event managed by Inter-ads is sponsored by the Union Ministry of Urban Development in collaboration with a number of partners, including Dow Chemical.
Now, Ms. Marta Lopez Garcia of Dow Chemical, Spain, who was listed as a speaker at the Conference tomorrow will not be allowed to speak.
Meanwhile, Bhopal survivors have welcomed the move by the organizers, but have said that they intend to take up the matter with the Union Government.
"We will get to the bottom of the matter about how the Union Ministry of Urban Development has partnered with Dow Chemical to promote the company's water solutions even while Dow is wanted in Bhopal to clean up the soil and groundwater," said Rashida Bi of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh, a NGO working for the welfare of the survivors.
No arrests were made as the police too expressed solidarity with the Bhopal survivors.
It may be mentioned here that the survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy while addressing a Press conference on Tuesday had lashed out at the Federal Government and Maharashtra Government for collaborating with Dow Chemical terming it to be "shameful" that the US multinational has been invited for a business conference in India.
"How can Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan invite Dow Chemical despite knowing the damage it has done to the people of Bhopal who are still facing health crisis due to contaminated water?" Rashida Bi had asked.
The survivors pointed out that even today hundreds of babies are born with deformities, while their parents suffer from damage to liver, kidney and lungs.
It may be recalled here that 40 tones of poisonous methyl isocyanate gas spewed from the pesticide plant of the Union Carbide pesticide factory in the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984. The gas leak killed 3,000 people instantly and more that 25,000 over the years. It also affected 100,000 people that night and estimates are that more than 500,000 continue to suffer till date.
Meanwhile, after making a highly successful debut in New Delhi in 2010, Aquatech India 2011 has made a significant move from its home base in New Delhi to Mumbai, India's financial capital. Aquatech India incorporates all sectors of process, drinking and wastewater industries under one roof, making it the only complete platform for the exciting Indian water sector.
Aquatech India 2011 will be the confluence of decision makers, professionals, advisors, technical experts, engineering organizations, consultants and users from the water industry. Huge investments in every water related industry will be required to tackle the unprecedented growth in the demand of water in Asia and especially in India.
Aquatech India 2011 is a joint venture between Amsterdam RAI and Inter Ads Exhibitions (India) Pvt. Ltd., a leading name in exhibitions in India. Indian Desalination Association, (InDA); International Water Association, (IWA); Indian Water Works Association, (IWWA); Indian Plumbing Association, (IPA); US Commercial Service, Water Quality Association, (WQA), that supports Aquatech India and strongly focuses on drinking water, process water and waste water management. Aquatech India has become a part of largest international series of water events in the world. (pervezbari@eth.net)

Bhopal's Mohammad Ali humbles famed motorcycle riders in 'Clash of Titans' in Gulf Cup Dirt Track Racing


Bhopal, March 02 (Pervez Bari): The 21-year-old young novice Bhopal lad Mohammad Ali Khan was the cynosure of all eyes as he humbled famed motorcycle riders in the Clash of Titans in the Gulf Cup Dirt Track Racing in the Novice class for motorbikes up to 165cc 2-stroke to emerge with flying colours.
Dashing and adventurous Mohammad Ali, who is a trainee pilot, riding on his Yamaha ? 135 gave the home fans lots to cheer as he beat back a stiff challenge from Santosh Kumar of Coimbatore to win the seven laps race and make his parents proud.
Santosh Kumar stood second while Suhail Ahmed of Bangalore was placed third in the race. Mohammad Ali was presented a glittering trophy and certificate along with a cheque of Rs. 22,500/- as first prize. Santosh and Suhail received trophies, certificates and cheques of Rs. 15000/- and Rs. 12000/- as second and third prize respectively.
It may be mentioned here that a day earlier Mohammad Ali Khan had finished second behind Muzaffar Ali in the Local Class Group C ? Motorcycles up to 165cc ? 2 stroke in the third leg of the Gulf Dirt Track Racing. He had received Rs. 2300/- cheque for his efforts.
Talking to this Correspondent after the race elated Mohammad Ali said that this is the second year when he participated for the second time in the race. ?This is my biggest achievement?, he exclaimed. When asked about his ideal he revealed that it is none other but Syed Asif Ali, also of Bhopal, who dominated on the scenes of motorsports winning the title of India's most skillful rider in 2007.
A beaming Mr. Mohammad Sarwar Khan, father of Mohammad Ali, while distributing sweets following the spectacular success of his progeny informed that his son has completed 152 of his 200 hours Commercial Pilot training course schedule. He is undergoing pilot training in the Madhya Pradesh Flying Club at Bhopal, he added.
Meanwhile, India?s leading riders gave Bhopal?s motorsport fans something to shout about as they went through the motions in the third leg of the Gulf Dirt Track Racing and Clash of Titans at the BHEL Dussehra Ground over the weekend. If they got a glimpse of what dirt track racing was all about when the third leg of the event, organized by Sportscraft, was run on Saturday, the Clash of the Titans, which pitted only the best riders of the previously held legs in Hyderabad, Nasik and Bhopal, that followed on Sunday was a virtual feast of top class riding.
Bangalore?s Naresh VS of TVS Racing Team was the toast of the crowd which had gathered in large numbers, with teenagers dominating the scene, to cheer the riders performing dare devil feats to their heart content. Naresh scored a rare double when he stood first in both races of Motorcycles up to 130cc and 165cc 4 strokes categories in which he participated. He garnered total prize money of Rs. 45,000/- from the two races along with trophies and certificates.
While in motorcycles up to 130cc race Santosh Kumar of Coimbatore and Sarath KP of Calicut were placed second and third to earn Rs. 15,000/- and Rs. 12000/- respectively as prize money. In the race up to 165cc Yasir Ishaq a local lad, and 17-year-old Siddanth Nayak of Bangalore, the youngest competitor in the race, finished second and third respectively to pocket Rs. 15000/- and Rs. 12000/- cheques accordingly as prize money.
Arvind K. P. and H. K. Pradeep of TVS Racing Team came up with brilliant displays in the Clash of the Titans to emerge the undisputed kings of dirt track motorcycle racing in India. The Bangalore riders Arvind and Pradeep showed the class champions are made of to upset the applecart of their TVS Racing teammate C. S. Santosh, who was favourite going into the Clash of Titans after the brilliant display on Saturday, and take the honours, as the trio proved a distinct class above the field.
Arvind and Pradeep won one race each of the two races in the Indian Expert Class Group A Foreign Motorcycles up to 250cc & Group B up to 260cc respectively and remained second accordingly in the other. They relegated CS Santosh to third place in one race and Vishal Barguje, another Bangalore rider, in the other race. Like in the previous rounds, Arvind and Pradeep, astride TVS bikes, were clear winners in the Indian Expert class Group A for foreign motorcycle despite being challenged all the way by CS Santosh and Barguje.
Arvind and Pradeep laid hands over cheques of Rs. 45,000/- (Rs. 27,000/- + Rs. 18000/-) each as both of them won first and second places in the two races. While CS Santosh and Barguje who each finished third in the two races received Rs. 13,500/- cheques each as prize money.
Much was anticipated from this Clash of the Titans, and none disappointed as they went through the motions on a specially-laid out course at high speeds, their superbly prepared bike raising a dust storm all over. The course laid out by organizers Sportscraft was really tough. In addition to the sharp bends there was also loose gravel and slushy areas to negotiate, which made riding a dicey proposition, but all riders displayed excellent skills to come through this test of man and machine in flying colours.
If the above-named champions dazzled, Coimbatore?s R. Prakash was not far behind in his riding skills as he grabbed top notch in the Private Expert Class for foreign motorcycles up to 250cc - 2 & 4 stroke. Prakash was challenged all the way by Nasik?s Shamim Khan and Vineet Kurup but clever maneuvering around the sharp bends won him the day. Khan and Kurup could only be placed second and third in one of the two races.
Prakash after trailing to Jatin Jain of Nagpur in the first lap turned up the accelerator of his bike full throttle to overtake him and maintained his lead through out to finish first. Jatin probably due to cramps could not maintain his lead and continued to slide down to end up last among the five competitors. Khan and Kurup moving neck and neck continued to push up leaving behind veteran Badal Doshi of Mumbai to fourth place and finished second and third in the race.
While Prakash finished second behind Girish KC of Kerala and Firoz Khan of Aurangabad came third in the Group B ? Motorcycles up to 260cc ? 2 & 4 stroke.
Prakash pocketed Rs. 48,000/- (Rs. 28,000/- + Rs. 20,000/-) cheques, apart from trophies and certificates, in the two races in which he took part. While Khan and Kurup received Rs. 20,000/- and Rs. 15,000/- cheques respectively. Girish gained Rs. 28,000/- cheque plus trophy for his top finish in the Group B ? Motorcycles up to 260cc ? 2 & 4 stroke and Firoz got Rs. 15000/- cheque for his third spot in the race.
For riders and public which came in large numbers, this Gulf Oil event was certainly one to remember. They had two days of two-class action from the best riders and their bikes. The manner in which it was conducted left no room for complain from any quarter. After all, Sportscraft?s usual competence in running events with clock-like precision made it possible.
Mr. Shrikant Karani, the enterprising Chairman Organising Committee and founder member of Sportscraft which organized the event, appeared pleased as punch at the successful completion of the event. It may be mentioned here that Sportscraft, which was started by Mr. Shrikant Karani, was named in the Limca Book of Records in 2007 for achieving the landmark of organising 250 motorsport events from 1984 to 2006. Up till now the Sportscraft has organized over 300 events.
It may be pointed out here that the event was sponsored by Gulf Oil Corporation Limited, (GOCL). The GOCL or simply Gulf Oil, which is a Hinduja Group Company and is more than 100 years old with its famous Orange Disc Logo, is present in more than 90 countries globally. Gulf Oil is renowned for its association with motor sports internationally with the famous Lemans 24hrs endurance race and Gulf Cup Dirt Track Racing in India. (pervezbari@eth.net)

32 feet High Huge Raja Bhoj statue Unveiled in Bhopal; Enthronement Millennium Year Celebrations Begin


Opposition parties critical of Madhya Pradesh Govt. for wasting crores of rupees

Bhopal, March 01 (Pervez Bari): Associated with much hype and hoopla the completion of 1000 years of coronation of Raja Bhoj, a king of the Parmar dynasty, was marked by the unveiling of 32 feet high gigantic statue of the ruler along the embankment of the Upper Lake, the lifeline of Bhopal, in the morning here. Later, a high voltage cultural programme was held at the Lal Parade police ground in the evening on Monday to mark the occasion.
Former Union Minister and Member of Rajya Sabha Mr. Venkaiah Naidu, who is a veteran Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), leader and being past president of the party, was the chief guest at the unveiling function. The BJP ruled Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mr. Shivraj Singh Chouhan presided over the function. While in the evening BJP national president Mr. Nitin Gadkari was the chief guest and Mr. Chouhan presided over the cultural function.
Mr. Naidu pressed the button to unveil the statue of Raja Bhoj. After unveiling the statue, Jawans of the Madhya Pradesh Police accorded 21-gun royal salute to Raja Bhoj. Colorful balloons were set off with the tune of police band to mark the occasion. On this occasion, 21 Pandits recited 'Swasti-Vachan' with Madhya Pradesh song. Thus, Raja Bhoj Enthronement Millennium Year celebrations got underway here with a bang with whole of Bhopal dressed like a bride. The illumination of rotaries and some government buildings gave a festive look to the city. There was half day holiday announced in the government offices for the employees to join the celebrations in the evening. The Madhya Pradesh Government had got printed two lakh invitation cards and distributed to every Tom, Dick and Harry for the cultural evening to be a grand success with overflowing spectators.
Meanwhile, a few words about the statue. The sculptor of the statue is Mr. Prabhat Rai of Gwalior. The 32-feet high statue which weighs seven tonnes is made up of gunmetal and bell metal and has incurred a cost of Rs. 27 lakhs. It took two months time to manufacture the statue. Its base is 12 feet and was installed on 10 feet high “Burj” (bastion) in the Upper Lake. While it was officially stated that the expenditure on the celebrations was Rs. four crore whereas sources claim that it is much more running into several crores. The Opposition parties on the other hand were critical of the Madhya Pradesh Government for spending crores of rupees at a time when farmers were committing suicide over damage to crops due to frost. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Chouhan speaking at the unveiling ceremony described the unveiling of statue of Raja Bhoj as fulfillment of a resolution. He said that Raja Bhoj is an ideal and inspiring figure for him.
Mr. Chouhan said that Raja Bhoj was an intellectual, believer of justice, art lover, musician and good administrator. He said that Raja Bhoj was not only a good administrator but also an upholder of communal and religious harmony. He said that Raja Bhoj was the first who initiated for water conservation and urban development in India and perhaps in the world. Raja Bhoj had developed the nation as a country of culture. The Chief Minister announced to rename the V.I.P. Road as Raja Bhoj Road.
He said he was pained to see Vagdevi idol in British museum. Efforts will be made to bring back the statue of 'Vagdevi'--a goddess of Raja Bhoj--from London, he asserted.
Similarly, he said:”When I see Kohinoor diamond in London museum I want to bring it back to India like Hanumanji. But in a democracy this cannot be done. Hence, it would be considered as how to get back the diamond”.
The Chief Minister said that action plan for the development and conservation of Raja Bhoj lake would be given final touch in this week. The Upper Lake will be developed into an attractive destination not only for the people of country but also abroad. Galleries will be developed along the embankment of Upper Lake depicting history and culture.
The Chief Minister said that the State Government is celebrating Raja Bhoj Enthronement Millennium year to recollect the history of Raja Bhoj. He hoped that Madhya Pradesh would become a developed state, drawing inspirations from the ideals of Raja Bhoj.
Speaking on the occasion Mr. Venkaiah Naidu said that no country could develop by overlooking its history. He underlined the need for mandatory inclusion of history in syllabi of academic institutions. He said that Raja Bhoj is an asset of not only state but also of entire nation.
Describing Raja Bhoj as synonym of good governance, Mr. Naidu said that it should be an agenda of democratic states and the nation as well. To ensure a good governance and education to each and every person will be a befitting tribute to Raja Bhoj, he said. He concurred with the Chief Minister to bring back the Vagdevi idol from Britain. If Madhya Pradesh Government forwarded any proposal he would try to get it ratified by the Parliament. He appreciated the State Government for installing statue of Raja Bhoj and observing Enthronement Millennium Year.
Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha Deputy Speaker Harvansh Singh said that Raja Bhoj was an upholder of culture, arts, science and religion. Installation of statue will be an inspiring figure for the people, he said. Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, (MPTDC), chairman Dhruvnarayan Singh, who is also MLA from Bhopal Central, said that the installation of statue would uphold the traditional values and promote knowledge. He wished Madhya Pradesh for a developed state and prosperity among its citizens. He also demanded rechristening of Bhopal as Bhojpal.
Chief Minister Chouhan felicitated statue carving artist Prabhat Rai with shawl and coconut. A folder of Tourism Development Corporation 'Bhojdharshan-Janiye Raja Bhoj Ko' on the life of Raja Bhoj was released on the occasion.
At the outset, MPTDC chairman Dhruvnarayan Singh and Managing Director Hariranjan Rao welcomed the guests and sport them traditional colourful headgears. On the eve of the statue unveiling ceremony Madhya Pradesh Urban development Minister Mr. Babula Gaur expressed his views while releasing a souvenir “Swabhiman” published by Raja Bhoj Panwar-Parmar Samaj at his residence on Sunday. The minister said that as per evidences, Raja Bhoj had constructed a Shiv temple on the bank of old pond at Bhojpur one thousand years ago. He had taken a cue from Somnath temple to build it at Bhojpur. The pond was known as Bhojpal pond in the history. It was also Raja Bhoj who founded Bhopal. Later, it was called Bhu-Pal and lastly it is known as Bhopal.
Gaur said that after Raja Bhoj, Bhopal was developed by Gond king Nizam Shah, Rani Kamalapati, Sardar Dost Mohemmad Khan and Begums and Nawabs of Khan's generation.
It may be mentioned here that the Madhya Pradesh State Government has dedicated 2011 to Raja Bhoj millennium year. The State Government calendar this year is also dedicated to Raja Bhoj which contains photographs of inscriptions and temples erected by Raja Bhoj in various parts of the State. The victories of Raja Bhoj in wars and his cultural activities have been illustrated through photographs. The photographs of rising sun at the Upper Lake in Bhopal, 'Shivlinga' of Bhojpur, Bhojshala at Dhar, Vagdevi statue (presently in British museum of London), Saraswati temple at Dhar (Bhojshala), Nadi Devi and Shivgan carved in Shiva temple at Bhojpur, dam at the Betwa river near Bhojpur, Shiva temple at Bhojpur, Raja Bhoj coiled snake symbols, 'Jain Tirthkar' statue at Bhojpur, iron-pillar at Dhar and Tamra-patra photographs from Betma are other attractions of the calendar. (pervezbari@eth.net)

Survivors of Bhopal Gas Tragedy welcome admission of curative petition by SC

Bhopal, February 28 (Pervez Bari): Representatives of five organizations of the survivors of the December 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the world?s worst industrial catastrophe, on Monday welcomed the admission of the curative petition for enhancement of compensation by the Supreme Court of India.
Holding the Government of India primarily responsible for the collusive settlement of 1989, they stated that the government?s curative petition does not contain correct figures of death and extent of injuries caused by the disaster. They expressed hope that the Court will take necessary steps to arrive at a compensation sum based on correct figures of the impact of the disaster.
Ms Rashida Bi, a survivor and leader of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, said that the figure of deaths presented by the Indian government is far lower than that reported by government research agencies. She said that statistical projections based on the mortality rates reported by the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Centre for Rehabilitation Studies show that the figures of exposure related death were five times more than that mentioned in the curative petition filed in the Supreme Court. She pointed out that registration of exposure related deaths was arbitrarily stopped in 1997 while the Centre for Rehabilitation Studies reported 436 deaths attributable to toxic exposure in 2000.
Another leader Balkrishna Namdeo, of Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha, pointed out that essential tests such as Pulmonary function test, exercise tolerance test and urinary thiocyanate tests were carried out on less than 10 per cent of the claimants as a result of which several hundred thousand victims were wrongly adjudged as having suffered only temporary injury. He said that while ICMR?s study reported 30 per cent of the victims to be suffering from mental illnesses, no claimant was assessed for mental injuries.
Ms Safreen Khan, of Children against Dow Carbide said that in the curative petition, the government had failed to mention that children born after the disaster were also entitled to compensation. She pointed out that according to studies published in international peer reviewed journals such as the Journal of American Medical Association and American Journal of Industrial Medicine, children born to gas exposed parents have suffered growth and development disorders.
According to Ms Rachna Dhingra, of Bhopal Group for Information and Action, the Indian government had wrongly claimed compensation for contamination of soil and ground water in the curative petition that was focused on the December 1984 gas disaster. She pointed out that the toxic contamination was unrelated to the gas disaster and was a result of routine and reckless dumping of hazardous waste by the Union Carbide. She said that if the Indian government is sincere about making the company pay for the environmental and health damage caused by toxic contamination, it should join the ongoing litigation in the US federal court.
It may be mentioned here that 40 tonnes of poisonous methyl isocyanate gas spewed from the pesticide plant of the Union Carbide factory in the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984. The gas leak killed 3,000 people instantly and more that 25,000 over the years. It also affected 100,000 people that night and estimates are that more than 500,000 continue to suffer till date. (pervezbari@eth.net)

Madhya Pradesh's interests ignored in Rail Budget: CM


Bhopal, February 25 (Pervez Bari): Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has described as disappointing for Madhya Pradesh the Union Railway Budget which presented in the Lok Sabha today by Railway Minister Ms Mamtaa Banerjee.
Reacting to the rail budget, Mr. Chouhan said that justice to Madhya Pradesh has been denied by ignoring its interests. He said that the Madhya Pradesh is a progressive state that requires expansion of transport infrastructure. He said that density of railway lines is low. Districts that are strategically important in terms of faster industrial development remain without railway facilities.
Mr. Chouhan said that Madhya Pradesh has been drawing attention of the Union Railways Ministry towards the need of expansion of railway facilities in Madhya Pradesh for last five-six years but interests are being ignored.
The Chief Minister said that there were great expectations from this year's rail budget but have not been fulfilled. He said that Madhya Pradesh is the heart of Incredible India and deserves top priority. What the Union Railway Budget offers is far from satisfaction. He said that paying special attention to a particular state and ignoring other states brings disgrace to the dignity of Centre-State Relations.
Mr. Chouhan said that letters have been repeatedly sent to the Centre for conversion of Gwalior-Sheopur narrow gauge line into broad gauge and extending it to Kota, completing Lalitpur-Singrauli railway line, sanctioning of Indore-Manmad rail line, construction of railway track up to Jain pilgrimage Kundalpur in Damoh and sanctioning of Khandwa-Dahod rail-line.
He said that Madhya Pradesh had demanded extension of Satna rail-line up to Mirzapur, conversion of Jabalpur-Gondia route, construction of Bopal-Ramganj Mandi new rail-line, extending Rajkot Express to Rewa, extending Shaktipunj Express to Bhopal, laying of Bhind-Koch track, stoppage of Shatabdi Express at Bina, Indore-Mumbai and Delhi - Mumbai rail facilities and train for Biohari-Katni-Bina via Singrauli and Bhopal-Singrauli train. These demands have been ignored, he pointed out. (pervezbari@eth.net)

Bhopal gas survivors protest against unethical drug trials on them


Bhopal, February 24 (Pervez Bari): Survivors of the December 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy, world’s worst industrial catastrophe, led by the representatives of five NGOs working for their welfare on Thursday marched to the Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research Centre, (BMHRC), the hospital meant for free treatment of the gas victims, demanding suspension of senior consultants involved with unethical drug trials on gas victims and compensation for those on whom drug trials have been conducted.
Decrying the preferential treatment of non-gas victims at BMHRC they opposed attempts by the Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), ruled Madhya Pradesh Government to take control of the hospital and demanded taking over of the administration of the hospital by the central government.
The NGOs leading the march stated that senior consultants of BMHRC broke the law in 2004 by carrying out Phase III drug trials because such trials were illegal prior to 2005. They condemned the Madhya Pradesh Government for not disclosing the findings of the investigation on these trials and demanded that the Central government must act against the consultants who were interfering with the medical records of the trials.
The five NGOs who led the surviving marchers included: Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh; Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha; Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha; Bhopal Group for Information & Action and Children Against Dow Carbide.
The marchers included Mrs. Laxmi Bai on whose husband Late Mr. Shankarlal, BMHRC consultant Dr. S. K. Trivedi tested a drug named Ticagrelor without his knowledge or consent. The drug manufactured by multinational pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca is still not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the regulatory agency in USA. Another gas victim Mr. Ramadhar Shrivastav who was given an unnamed medicine by Dr. Trivedi for a year and half as part of a drug trial was also in the march. The marchers included Amir son of Mr. Raees, a gas victim with kidney disease who died in June 2010 because he was denied dialysis facility at BMHRC. Mrs. Phullo Bai from a below poverty line family, whose husband Ram Singh died at age 50 in March 2009 because of the same reason, was also part of the march.
Also marching was Ms Sameena (30) who was diagnosed with chronic renal failure two and half years back. Coming from a family that is below poverty line Sameena cannot afford to pay for Dialysis that she needs on a regular basis to stay alive. Ms Sameena is registered with BMHRC and is entitled to free medical care but despite repeated attempts has still not been able to receive facilities for Dialysis. Mr. Tanveer (45) who is also being denied dialysis facility at BMHRC was also part of the march. According to the organizations leading the march, gas victims are routinely denied dialysis and investigation facilities at BMHRC. As per the records of the hospital last year while 3000 non-gas victims were given dialysis facility only 900 gas victims were able to get it. The organizations pointed out that last year the in-charge of the dialysis Unit Dr. Mahendra Atlani has earned Rs. 3.64 lakh from the non-gas victims.
The organizations expressed concern over current attempts by the Department of Atomic Energy, (DAE), to hand over the administration of BMHRC to an autonomous body created with the primary involvement of the Madhya Pradesh Government. They said that the Madhya Pradesh Government’s failure to run the hospitals meant for gas victims has been well documented in the seven reports of the Monitoring Committee set up by the Supreme Court. The reports of the Monitoring Committee highlighted terrible inadequacies in terms of lack of specialists and doctors, absence of treatment protocols, unavailability of quality medicines, inadequacy of patient recording system and unhygienic and unsanitary conditions. The organizations pointed out that the Supreme Court directed the DAE on 19th July 2010 to take over the running of the BMHRC and its current attempts to pass on the responsibility amounts to contempt of the Court’s order.
It may be mentioned here that BMHRC was established in 1998 after 40 tonnes of poisonous methyl isocyanate gas spewed from the pesticide plant of the Union Carbide factory in the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984. The gas leak killed 3,000 people instantly and more that 25,000 over the years. It also affected 100,000 people that night and estimates are that more than 500,000 continue to suffer till date. (pervezbari@eth.net)

SDPI Expresses Reservations over Godhra Verdict

SDPI Expresses Reservations over Godhra Verdict

Bhopal, February 25 (Pervez Bari): The Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI), while welcoming the acquittal of 63 accused, including the main accused, Maulvi Umarji, has expressed reservations on the verdict in the Godhra train carnage which convicted 31 others in the case.
E. Aboobacker, the SDPI national president, in a statement said the verdict in the case coming nine years after the incident was a "travesty of justice". The judgment speaks poorly on India's judicial system that most of the 63 acquitted people were in jail for all these years who were denied bail and spent all these years behind the bars. Nine precious years of their lives were lost just on suspicion, he added.
The judgment has established a conspiracy angle on the part of Muslims to burn down the rail coach based on police reports. However, it may be noted that Gujarat police force which is part of a so heavily compromised system that even the Supreme Court deemed it fit to have certain cases transferred out of Gujarat. It is believed that the police and administration in Gujarat, on whose inputs the justice delivery system based its conclusions, was still adversely disposed towards Muslims, he added.
Mr. Aboobacker pointed out that two inquiry commissions viz. Banerjee Commission set up by Indian Railways and Nanavati Commission set up by Gujarat’s Modi Government were established which came out with dramatically contradictory conclusions. The Banerjee Commission ruled out any “conspiracy theory” in burning down the coach of Sabarmati Express. It rejected the “petrol theory” of the police, saying it was not possible to pour 60 litres of petrol or other inflammable substance on the floor of the coach from outside when the train did not stop, and was in motion. It ruled out the burning of coaches as an ''activity of miscreants''. It maintained that since 90 per cent of the passengers were “karsevaks with trishuls'', they would not have allowed themselves to be set on fire “without a murmur”. It was also not possible to enter the S-6 coach as it was locked from inside, the commission had ruled.
While the Nanavati Commission was categorical that the carnage was a “pre-planned conspiracy” and a deliberate attempt was made to burn coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express and cause harm to karsevaks travelling in that coach. This view was propagated by the Gujarat police after investigation. It supported the police theory that petrol was used in setting fire S-6 on fire. It said the incident was planned by Razzak Kurkur and Salim Panwala and others. It said the blaze was not caused by an accidental fire but was part of a “larger conspiracy to create terror and destabilize the administration”. It gave a clean chit to Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his council of ministers in the Godhra incident.
Mr. Abubacker said looking at the Nanavati Commission findings one can conclude easily that the purpose of setting up the Commission by the Bharatiya Janata Party ruled Gujarat Government was served as it gave clean chit to Chief Minister Modi while blaming Muslims of hatching a conspiracy. The presiding judge also seems to have been influenced by this report. The judge totally ignored the Banerjee Commission findings before pronouncing his judgment.
Another serious omission by the Special Court of not taking notice of CM Narendra Modi’s immediate dash to Godhra and his instruction to the district authorities to transfer the dead bodies to Ahmedabad forthwith, where they were paraded to incite communal passions and to launch the infamous Gujarat pogrom, the statement said.
Mr. Aboobacker asserted that there was a conspiracy but not by the Muslims of Godhra but by the VHP and its associates to put into effect their plan for massive attacks on the Muslims of Gujarat and thus to find an excuse for the Genocide.
The judgment is faulty in a sense that many of those convicted were not physically present in Godhra on the said date of the horrendous incident and Gujarat police has implicated them on false evidence and extracted confessions by way of torture. They should appeal to the High Court against their conviction, the statement added. (pervezbari@eth.net)

‘Spreading message of Islam thru’ different modes should be encouraged in 21st century’


Bhopal, February 21 (Pervez Bari): Maulana Nazar-ul-Hafeez Nadwi Azhari, a very senior member of the teaching staff in the world famous seminary Darul Uloom Nadwat-ul-Ulama, Lucknow, while laying stress on the need of “Da’wah” (preaching and spreading the message of Islam) in the 21st century said there could be different channels to achieve its objective. Whosever is working on this on whichever platform to attain this goal should be encouraged in his endeavour and there should be coordination among all those groups and individuals engaged in this work. Maulana Nazar-ul-Hafeez, who was chief guest, was speaking here at a special programme of “Seerat” (life and works) of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) organized for Ulama (Muslim clerics) and Muslim intellectuals on the occasion of Milad-un-Nabi jointly by Salman Academy and Salman Educational & Social Welfare Society, Bhopal. The programme was presided over by a senior Aalim (singular for Ulama) Maulana Ahmad Saeed Nadwi. Three lectures were also delivered by noted Ulama on different topics which were pre-decided. Senior Urdu journalist Maulana Ashfaque Mashhadi Nadwi, who is Rashtriya Sahara’s Madhya Pradesh Correspondent, was felicitated on the occasion. He was recently conferred with Hakeem Qamar-ul-Hasan Award for Urdu journalist by the Madhya Pradesh Urdu Academy. While two books penned in Arabic by Maulana Dr. Salimur Rahman Khan Nadwi of Bhopal, Visiting Professor of Arabic , Faculty of Policy Studies, Chuo University & Director Da’wah, Islamic Centre, Japan, were also released on the occasion by Maulana Nazar-ul-Hafeez Nadwi Azhari on the occasion. The books titles are: “Japan Mein Islam Ki Tareekh” (History of Islam in Japan) and “Hindustan Mein Islami Sahafat Ki Tareekh wa Irtaqa” (History of Islamic journalism in India and its development). It may be mentioned here that Dr. Salim after completing his Fazeelat degree from Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama in 1976 he continued his studies and was granted admission in Jamiatul Imam Muhammad Bin Sa’ud Al-Islamia in Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. From here he completed his M. A. in Arabic language under the guidance of renowned Arabic litterateur Dr. Saleh Al-Samurai. In 1982 a branch of Jamiatul Imam Muhammad Bin Sa’ud Al-Islamia was established in Tokyo, the capital of Japan, where Dr. Salim was appointed as an Arabic lecturer and “Daee” by the Saudi Government in November that year. As such Dr. Salim is settled in Japan for nearly last three decades.
It may be noted that Prof. Maulana Barkatullah Bhopali was the first professor of Urdu and Persian in Tokyo University in Japan. Prof. Barkatullah was in the forefront of India’s freedom struggle and went on to become the first Prime Minister of India when provisional Government of India in Exile was formed on December 1, 1875 in Kabul with Raja Mahendra Pratap as its President.
Maulana Nazar-ul-Hafeez said: “Islam Tang Nazar Mazhab Nahin Jis Mein Dawat Ke Kaam Ka Koi Khas Pahlu wa Tariqua Ho”. He quoted the world renowned Muslim cleric late Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Hasani Nadwi, popularly known as ‘Ali Miyan’, who had once said: “Jistarah Bhi Ho Dawat Ka Kaam Karein. Kisi Khas Tanzeem Ya Idaare Ki Zaroorat NahiN. Yeh Zimmedari Allah Ne Qur’an Ke Zariye Har Momin Par Rakkhi Hai”.
The Maulana profusely quoting the example of Bhopal’s Maulana Dr. Salimur Rahman Nadwi, said that he is engaged painstakingly in spreading the message of Islam among the Japanese presenting a true picture of the religion which stands for the salvation of entire mankind. The perseverance of Dr. Salim has borne fruit as a result of which Japanese in large numbers have embraced Islam and continue to do so for its truthfulness without any allurement whatsoever. Thus, the number of Masjids is increasing and a sense of “Halaal” and “Haraam” food is developing among them, he added.
While throwing light on different means and ways to serve people while spreading the true teachings of Islam the Maulana said that through this degradation of moral values in the new generation can be checked. He said it has been observed that teaching Arabic language to educated Kashmiri youths and establishing schools and Madaris for girls in Rae Bareli and other places have created right climate of Islamic teachings in the masses which is free from “Shirk” and “Bida’at” (innovations). The “Shirk” and “Bida’at” have distorted the teachings of Islam which the Prophet Muhammad practiced and propagated in his lifetime, he remarked.
Maulana Nazar-ul-Hafeez revealed that 50,000 Christian prisoners in USA have embraced Islam when an Egyptian went to the USA and worked among them, who were confined in jails, spreading the teachings of Islam through his writings, speeches and other conducive activities . He said that this is possible only when one is sincere and firm in determination to achieve one’s goal and presents Islam in a practical way by adopting the Islamic tenets oneself in letter and spirit. Earlier, Maulana Dr. Salimur Rahman Khan Nadwi, who is known as Mufti-e-Aazam in Japan, spoke on the topic of “Asr-e-Hazir Mein Dawat-e-Islam Ka Kaam Kis Tarique Se Anjaam Diya Jaae”. Shedding light on the topic he said that it is the responsibility of all Muslims to spread the word of Islam wherever they are in the world as distortions in various forms such as “Shirk”, “Kufr”, “Bida’at” etc. have entered Muslims’ homes. This can only be stopped by undertaking the task of “Da’wah” and striving to remove the social ills in society.
Dr. Salim, who is the president of Association of Peace Message for Humanity-Japan, lamented that despite Muslims being in power in India for about 800 years but they ignored the work of “Da’wah” as a result of which they are victims of their own misdeeds and fellow countrymen. On the country Islam reached the shores of Japan about 100 years back only. “ In 1982 when I stepped in on Japanese soil there were only a few Muslims who could be counted on fingers with only two Masjids. However, now 28 years later due to proper work of “Da’wah” there are 100,000 Japanese who have embraced Islam while there are nearly 400,000 foreign Muslims in Japan. There are now 70 Masjids which Muslims have built by buying lands and buildings while there are about 100 “Musallas” in universities and other centres. He said that if Muslims in India become true practicing Muslims following the tenets of Islam in letter and spirit then they could leave a lasting impression on the lives of others around them who could later on become part of the Muslim Ummah. If non-Muslims are informed in a most respectful manner about the Human rights, Kids right (which was only brought in the year 1969) the rights of neighbours and even the rights of animals in Islam together with revealing the simple life of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) then it would certainly stir their hearts and minds and some radical changes may take place in their lives. The Prophet of Islam Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) was not just for Muslims but for whole humanity, he added.
To engage oneself in the work of “Da’wah” the modern gadgets and tools or any other resources available should be used in the best possible manner to spread their message far and wide.” The use of any gadget or tool is not forbidden in Islam but it is the use to which it is put makes it “Haraam” or “Halaal”, the Mufti-e-Aazam quipped.
“If each of us is able to impress at least one non-Muslim who embraces Islam then this would be enough for our salvation on the Day of Judgement when “Qayamat” (the Day of Resurrection) will be established, Dr. Salim remarked.
Maulana Hakeem Ahsan Ali Khan Nadwi, senior teacher of Dar-ul-Uloom, Taj-ul-Masajid, Bhopal, delivered a lecture on “Millat-e-Islamia Ki Qayaadat Ke Liye Ulama Aur DanishwaroN Ke Ittehad-wa-Ittefaq Ki Zaroorat” (The need of closing of ranks between clerics and intellectuals to lead Muslim Ummah). He said Ulama and intellectuals should seek guidance from the Holy Qur’an and the “Seerat” of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) to face the challenges of the present era while leading the Muslim Ummah. They should not waste their time and energy on minor issues but remain steadfast on the principles which Islam propagates, he emphasized.
Another lecture was delivered by Maulana Syed Sharafat Ali Nadwi, another senior teacher of Dar-ul-Uloom, Taj-ul-Masajid, Bhopal, on the topic of “Ba’as Nabwi Aalam-e-Insaniyat Ke Liye Sarchashma-e-Rashd-wa-Hidaayat”. While stressing that Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) was the role model for entire humanity, he said other religions are found limited in approach and confined to certain regions and races but the followers of Islam are found in every nook and corner of the world with the universal message of love, peace, brotherhood, equality, truthfulness etc. with the Oneness of Almighty Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala).
The Maulana emphatically stressed the need to make aware the masses about the life and works of Prophet of Islam Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) in right perspective which is free from “Shirk” and “Bida’at” so as to put a true picture of Islam before the world at large.
At the outset Qari Hashim Ansari recited verses from the Holy Qur’an while Qari Mohammad Qasim Nadwi rendered a Na’at. The programme was conducted by Maulana Kaleem-ur-Rahman Nadwi conducted the programme with aplomb while Dr. Nafees-ur-Rahman Khan Nadwi welcomed the guests.
Qari Hashim Ansari also read out a brief report of Madarsa Mahad-ul-Qur’an-ul-Kareem which is engaged in imparting the knowledge of the Holy Qur’an with “Tartee”l, “Tajweed”, “Tahfeez”, “Tafheem” etc. The Madarsa is being run by the Salman Educational & Social Welfare Society, Bhopal under the guidance of Dr. Nafees-ur-Rahman Khan Nadwi, who is the Director of the institute. (pervezbari@eth.net)

25 Seats to be Reserved for Poor Children in Private Schools in MP

25 Seats to be Reserved for Poor Children in Private Schools in MP

Bhopal, February 19 (Pervez Bari): Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that Antodaya Mela will be organised every year in order to provide benefits of public welfare schemes to the poor people. Half of the budget of State Government will be spent only on poor people.
Chouhan was addressing an Antodaya Mela organised at Indore today. A total of Rs. 60 crore under various schemes was distributed among one lakh 7 thousand beneficiaries. On this occasion, Finance Minister and District In-charge Minister Raghavji, Commerce and Industries Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya, Minister of State for Health Mahendra Hardia, Mayor Krishnamurari Moghe, MP Mrs. Sumitra Mahajan, Zila Panchayat President Omprakash Parsavadia were present.
The Chief Minister Chouhan further said that the boys would also be provided bicycles from next year. Around 25 per cent seats will be reserved for the children of poor families in private schools. The State Government will defray their fees. The poor children who secure more than 80 per cent marks will be provided an assistance amount of Rs. 500 per month. The girls from first standard to 12th standard are being provided textbooks and uniforms free of cost by the State Government.
He said that the State Government was also paying attention to generate job opportunities to the youths with education. A skill development mission has already been initiated for the youths. The 90 per cent jobs will be ensured to the local people in the industries being set up in Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor. Skill development centre will be opened at every development block where youths undergo training, he added.
The Chief Minister described Antodaya Mela as 'Mahayagna' of service. One can get blessings of God by lending service to poverty stricken people. Those who are on breadline and backward will be on top priority of State Government. Through Antodaya Mela, people are being benefited in the state. Poor families of urban and rural areas are being provided benefits of schemes like scholarship, medical treatment and other benefits while registering their names. The State Government has allocated Rs. 900 crore to extend financial helps to the frost-affected farmers in the state, he revealed. (pervezbari@eth.net)

Bhopal Muslims complain of irregularities in Census, memo to Patil



Bhopal, February 19 (Pervez Bari): Census enumerators in Bhopal in Muslim dominated localities are indulging in irregularities and behaving irresponsibly while making entries in Census forms in a planned conspiracy. This is being done to harm the interests of the Muslim community and deprive it from availing the benefits of the government schemes that would be formulated on the basis of information provided by the Census 2011.
This has been alleged by Mohammad Riyaz Khan, president Akhil Bharatiya Muslim Sangh, (ABMS), in a memorandum to the President of India Mrs. Pratibha Patil. He has requested her to use her good offices to immediately instruct the Union Government and the Madhya Pradesh Government to order cessation of the census work in the Muslim localities n Bhopal. He charged that enumerators under the instruction from some hidden hands are making entries in the forms with pencils and getting it signed by the people who are being enumerated. This is being done on the pretext that later the final entries will be made with ink pen in good handwriting. Thus, the memorandum said, this act has posed serious doubts in the minds of the Muslims who fear that the final entries would be changed to suit the forces that are inimical to the interests of the Muslim community. The act in itself poses questions on the reliability of the information entered in the forms. In some cases the enumerators have entered mother tongue as Hindi language of Urdu speaking Muslims even without taking the trouble of asking the concerned person who is semi-illiterate or totally illiterate. All this smells of some well planned conspiracy in the counting of heads of Muslims, Mr. Khan said.
The memorandum pointed out that it has been officially mandated under the Census 2011 rules to make the entries in the Census forms with blue ink dot pens. However, the enumerators in Bhopal are violating this directive with impunity.
Mr. Khan has appealed the President Mrs. Patil to get the enumeration work suspended forthwith and order probe to cross-check the entries made so far. Those found indulging in irregularities should be penalized and as such a directive to this effect may be send to the Madhya Pradesh Government, the memorandum said.
A copy of this ABMS memorandum has also been send through fax to the Prime Minister of India , Union Home Minister and Union Minister for Welfare of Minorities for necessary action. It may be mentioned here that prior to sending the memorandum to the dignitaries, Mr. Khan had lodged complaint with the Census officials but no action has been taken in this regard. (pervezbari@eth.net)

M. P. to have Integrated Agriculture Development Scheme


Bhopal, February 15 (Pervez Bari): Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has given instructions to chalk out an integrated agriculture development scheme in order to ensure benefits of different to the farmers on time making agriculture a profitable proposition. He asked the officers concerned to ensure that funds available under various agriculture schemes and projects are well spent in the larger interest of farmers.
According to an official spokesman Mr. Chouhan was reviewing schemes of Agriculture Development and Farmers' Welfare Department at Mantralaya, the state secretariat, here on Monday.
Mr. Chouhan directed the concerned authorities to chalk out district-wise agriculture plans considering crop diversity and cattle density saying that a comprehensive State Agriculture Plan would be drawn out on the basis of district plans. He instructed the concerning officers to have a meeting of related departments including finance and planning, resolve inter-departmental issues and finalize state agriculture plan.
Referring to sporadic complaints about sale of substandard seeds and fertilizers, the Chief Minister asked the officers to launch a campaign for preventing the sale of substandard seeds and fertilizers. He said that the sale of poor quality seeds and fertilizers will not be allowed in the state at any cost and strict action would be taken against those involved in the sale of adulterated seeds. The companies will have to face legal action and if needed fresh laws could also be made for rigorous punishment to such companies. It was informed that FIRs have been lodged against some companies and licenses have been cancelled.
Meanwhile, in order to make the national agriculture crop insurance scheme more effective and remove anomalies in implementation, the Chief Minister asked the officers to organize a national level workshop at Bhopal. He said that the subject matter specialists and farm policy analysts would be invited to the workshop and suggest an alternative scheme.
Mr. Chouhan stressed the need on spending budget under various agriculture schemes constructively and timely so that farmers get maximum benefit. He said that by the end of every financial year, hundred per cent expenditure should be ensured. He asked them to focus attention on allied sectors like fisheries, horticulture, food processing and animal husbandry.
The Chief Minister said that regions known for specific crops, congenial climate, availability of resources should be identified and all efforts should be devoted to such areas so that they emerge as distinct identity in terms of agriculture. He stressed on making more effective the systems put in place to deposit subsidy amount direct to the beneficiaries' accounts. He said that the impact of state and centre-sponsored farm schemes on farming community should be assessed so that scheme could be timely amended in case of any lacuna.
The Chief Minister reviewed the performance of various schemes including Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and various sub-schemes. He asked the officers to start preparing agriculture development action plan of the coming year incorporating suggestions from people's representatives.
Those who attended the meeting included: Minister for Agriculture Ram Krishna Kusmaria, Cooperative Minister Gauri Shankar Bisen, Agriculture Production Commissioner Mrs. Abha Asthana, principal secretary finance G. P. Sinhal, principal secretary horticulture Sevaram, principal secretary fisheries Mrs. Ajita Vajpayee Pande, Director Agriculture, Director Animal Husbandry and senior officers. (pervezbari@eth.net)

Say goodbye to dental sensitivity with Sensodyne Toothpaste


GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare’s biggest global brand now enters India
Bhopal, February 11, 2011: Do you feel a short, sharp pain in your tooth while eating or drinking something hot or cold or sweet? Are you missing out on the small joys of life by avoidance and abstinence and wishing for a solution? Worry no more as GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare launches Sensodyne- its No 1 global brand- in India. Sensodyne has a legacy of being a highly recommended brand by dentists across the globe. Globally, 9 out of 10 dentists recommend Sensodyne Toothpaste.
Incidence of tooth sensitivity is close to 17% in India, however awareness about the condition is very low thus most of the cases remain untreated. Sensodyne is clinically proven to provide relief in two weeks. It is one of the fastest growing toothpaste brands in the world and a market leader in many markets.
Sensodyne will be available in two variants- Fresh Mint Toothpaste and Fresh Gel, priced at Rs. 42 and Rs. 45 respectively for a 40 gm tube. Sensodyne Fresh Mint is also available in a bigger 80gm pack for Rs. 75.

It is better to gun down a person, says widow of drug trial victim; 10 Bhopal gas victims suffer same fate


Bhopal, February 10 (Pervez Bari): "It is better to gun down a person rather than resort to unethical drug trial on him when it is known in advance that it would be fatal".
Such was the emotional outburst of Mrs. Salma Bi, the widow of late of Mr. Nasir Khan a victim of December 1984 Bhopal gas disaster, who died at the young age of 34 years following unethical drug trial on him, while she was responding to newspersons queries about her husband's death.
Late Mr. Nasir was not alone but among the 10 gas victims who had succumbed before him to the drug trials carried on them by the senior consultants of the Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research Centre, (BMHRC), a hospital dedicated for the survivors of the gas tragedy. The facts came to light after information was sought under RTI Act 2005 by one Mrs. Hazra Bi, a local resident of J. P. Nagar locality. As per the medical records Mr. Nasir, an auto-rickshaw driver by profession, was admitted to BMHRC on July 4, 2010 following complaints of breathlessness. He was diagnosed Cardiomyopathy and administered two main drugs Aspirin and Clopidrogel along with beta blockers, statins and nitrates. He died the same day when he was discharged from the hospital three days later on July 7.
Mrs. Salma, having four kids to feed, told newsmen that her husband was semi-literate and did not know English. The form for drug trial was in English alone and he was made to sign it without being told as to what was being done to him. It must be noted here that the form for drug trials should always be in local vernacular language for the convenience of the patient and their attendant but this was not the case.
It may be pointed out here that the administration of the two main drugs Aspirin and Clopidogrel together, used as a blood-thinner, proves to be fatal. According to the prestigious medical journal “The Lancet”, Volume 364, Issue 9431, Pages 331 - 337, 24 July 2004 issue adding Aspirin to Clopidogrel in high-risk patients with recent ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack is associated with a non-significant difference in reducing major vascular events. However, the risk of life-threatening or major bleeding is increased by the addition of aspirin, the journal says.
Addressing a joint press conference representatives of five NGOs campaigning for justice in the case of the 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal on Thursday demanded immediate suspension and filing of criminal charges and initiating criminal investigations against the senior consultants of the BMHRC who are guilty of causing deaths of at least 10 gas victims by unethical drug trials.
The five NGOs who made the drug trial allegation on Bhopal gas victims included: Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Group for Information & Action and Children Against Dow Carbide Satinath Sarangi and Rachna Dhingra, of NGO Bhopal Group for Information & Action, said according to the information obtained by them from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization, (CDSCO), New Delhi, among the 7 drug trials conducted on gas victims only one trial was monitored by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). As per published information three gas victims have died due to the trial of the drug Televancin on them, five have died due to the drug named Fondaparinux and two due to the drug called Tigecycline.
The documents obtained by these organizations through the Right to Information shows that the consultants of BMHRC made over nearly over one crore from the pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, Astra Zeneca and Sanofi whose drugs were tested on the gas victims. The actual total amount received from the drug trials at BMHRC is Rs. 10085100/-, the certificate of which has been issued by Ashok Arora, Assistant Accounts Officer, BMHRC with details of name of the trial, name of sponsor, the department where the trial was done and the amount received. A Dy. Director (Finance) of BMHRC has verified the certificate issued by Mr. Arora.
The five organizations have named Dr. S. K. Trivedi and Dr. H. K. Pande in the Cardiology Department and Dr. Subodh Varshney in the Gastro-Surgery Department as the main culprits for these deaths caused by the drug trials. They said the Institutional Review Board of BMHRC, whose Secretary is Dr. S. K. Trivedi’s wife, has approved these trials.
Meanwhile, the organizations stated that the Madhya Pradesh government initiated an investigation on the unethical trials in BMHRC but the report of this investigation, supposed to be completed by September 2010, remains to be made public. The organizations apprehended that the findings of this investigation would be compromised given that investigator’s mother was given free surgical treatment by Dr. S K Trivedi.
It may be mentioned here that BMHRC was established in 1998 after 40 tonnes of poisonous methyl isocyanate gas spewed from the pesticide plant of the Union Carbide factory in the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984. The gas leak killed 3,000 people instantly and more that 25,000 over the years. It also affected 100,000 people that night and estimates are that more than 500,000 continue to suffer till date. (pervezbari@eth.net)

Model of Wage Payment Through Mobile Banking Gets National Recognition


Bhopal, February 05 (Pervez Bari): The Anuppur model of mobile banking ensuring on-the-spot payment of wages under MNREGS will be extended to all districts in Madhya Pradesh. The Anuppur model was judged as the best practice in implementing the MNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) and was awarded by the President of India. Anuppur figured among 10 districts of the country. Additional Chief Secretary Rural Development R. Parshuram, Chief Executive Officer M.P. State Employment Guarantee Council Shivshekhar Shukla along with concerning officials met the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan here today and apprised him of the achievement. Parshuram informed that 10 districts of the country were short-listed for best practices in implementation of NREGS. The mobile banking system of Anuppur was judged as the best practice.
Collector Anuppur Kavindra Kiyawat informed in detail about the encouraging results of mobile banking system. He informed that wages worth Rs. 54 crore have been distributed under the system titled "Aapka Bank Aapke Dwar". This resulted in an increase in number of wage earners by 25 per cent. He informed that mobile banking is so simple that even poor wage earners are now maintaining their bank accounts and the practice of visiting the traditional money lenders has been greatly discouraged.
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister congratulated the officials who made sincere efforts and brought laurels to the state. He asked the concerning officials to extend this to other districts. Chouhan said that timely payment of wages is a must. The mobile banking is an effective mechanism, he added. He said that the vital information about the experiment should be spread among other districts so that they may also get benefit. The Anuppur district CEO Rajendra Singh Rajput, General Manager of Anuppur District Cooperative Bank K. K. Raikwar and branch manager Indramani Mishra were present on the occasion.
Meanwhile, it may be mentioned here that Anuppur district is located in the north eastern part of Madhya Pradesh, surrounded by Koriadistrict (C.G.) in the East, Shahdol and Umaria District in the West, Shahdol n the North and Dindori (M.P.) and Bilaspur (C.G.) in the South. The district came into existence on 15th August 2003 by division of Shahdol district. Anuppur extends 80 km from east to west and 70 km from north to south. (pervezbari@eth.net)

पत्रकारिता का उपयोग प्रामाणिकता और प्रतिबद्धता से करने की जरूरत


लखनऊ 21 नवम्बर । पत्रकारों के हितार्थ समाजसेवा,साहित्य एवं संस्कृति को समर्पित जनजागरण मीडिया मंच द्वारा उ0 प्र0 हिन्दी संस्थान के निराला सभागार में आयोजित समारोह में विभिन्न प्रदेशों से आये पत्रकारों, साहित्यकारों,समाजसेवियो ने बाजार, सत्ता व पत्रकारिता ‘‘खतरे और उम्मीद विषियक गोष्ठी पर चर्चा करते हुये मुख्य रुप से आर्थिक विकास को महत्व देने से पत्रकारिता के क्षेत्र में आयी स्थित को एक चुनौती बताया तथा पत्रकारिता के वर्तमान स्वरूप पर गंभीर चिंता भी जताई । समारोह में जन जागरण मीडिया मंच के महासचिव रेड फाइल पत्रिका के सम्पादक रिजवान चंचल द्वारा सम्पादित ‘जागो भारत जागो’ पुस्तक व ‘महक’ शर्मा की कृति ‘कतरा-कतरा जिन्दगी’ का विमोचन भी सम्पन्न हुआ।

समारोह को संबोधित करते हुए मुख्य अतिथि प्रेस सूचना ब्यूरो भारत सरकार के पूर्व निदेषक श्री के.डी द्विवेदी ने कहा कि साहित्य समाज को रचनात्मक दिशा देने का काम करता है। ‘जागो भारत जागो’ पुस्तक में व्याप्त विसंगतियों का विवरण अधिक है समाधान की बाहुल्यता होती तो अति सुन्दर होता। चर्चित न्यूज पोर्टल भड़ास 4 मीडिया के सम्पादक यशवंत सिंह ने कहा कि पत्रकारिता के मूल्यों में काफी गिरावट आई है यह इसका दुखद पहलू है इसे सभी पत्रकारों को मिलकर दूर करना चाहिए। उन्होंने कहा कि औद्योगिक और सामाजिक विकास के साथ ही समाज में जनसामान्य की समस्याओं को उजागर करने में पत्रकारिता की भूमिका आज के दौर में विशेष महत्व रखती है। उन्होने कहा कि समाज को जागरूक करने में पत्रकारिता का उपयोग प्रामाणिकता और प्रतिबद्धता से करने की जरूरत है। पुलिस अधीक्षक नगर डा0 वी.पी.अशोक ने कहा कि मेरी कामना है कि स्वच्छ पत्रकारिता के पवित्र भाव रखने वाले पत्रकार सफल हों और वे राष्ट्रीय विकास के क्रम में अपना योगदान सत्त रूप से करते रहें उन्होने कहा कि उचित का स्वागत करना और अनुचित पर कलम का प्रहार करना व आमजनों के समक्ष वास्तविकता को बिना भेदभाव के प्रस्तुत करना, पत्रकारिता का मूल धर्म है। इस क्षेत्र में काम करने वालों में स्वाभिमान होना चाहिए पर अहंकार नहीं आज स्थित यह है कि पुलिस की भांति पत्रकार भी बदनाम है । जन जागरण मीडिया मंच के महासचिव रिजवान चंचल ने पत्रकारिता के वर्तमान स्वरूप पर पर चिंता जताते हुये कहा कि प्रतिस्पर्धा के इस युग में मीडिया में खबरों को सबसे पहले लोगों तक पहुंचाने के लिए होड़ लगी हुई है, पत्रकारिता धीर-धीरे व्यवसाय बनती जा रही है जिसमें बड़े-बड़े औद्योगिक घराने आ चुके हैं जिंदगी कितनी मजबूर है मंहगाई से आमआवाम त्रस्त है, लोग भूखों मर रहे है, जिस्म की कौन कहे कोख बेचने को ममता विवश है लेकिन लेखनी शान्त है। श्री चंचल ने कहा कि लेखनी से ही समाज में राष्ट्रभाव का जागरण किया जाना चाहिये जन जागरण मीडिया मंच सभी पत्रकार साथियो से यही आवाहन करता है कि हम सब मिलकर राष्ट्र व समाज को लेखनी के जरिये ऐसी दिशा दं जिससे राष्ट्र सशक्त व समाज विकसित हो सके ।

वरिष्ठ पत्रकार मीडिया मंच के अध्यक्ष हरिपाल सिंह ने कहा कि भड़ास 4 मीडिया के सम्पादक ने खासकर शैषित उपेक्षित पत्रकारों को भड़ास निकालने का जो कार्य किया है उससे पत्रकारों का उत्साहवर्धन हुआ है। श्री सिह ने जन जागरण मीडिया मंच के उददेश्यों पर विस्तार से प्रकाश डालते हुये देश के आर्थिक सामाजिक राजनैतिक हालात का विश्लेषण करते हुये कहा कि भारत को स्वतंत्रता दिलाने में महात्मा गांधी ने जनजागरण को ही आधार बनाया था किन्तु आज की परिस्थितियॉ और भी जटिल है धनवान और धनवान होते चले जा रहे है वहीं लोग भूंख से, ऋणाग्रस्तता से अपमानित होने पर आत्म हत्या को बाध्य है। वरिष्ठ पत्रकार अवधेश नारायण ‘प्राण’ ने कहा ‘जागो भारत जागो’ नामक पुस्तक लेखन के पुनीत कृत्य में श्री चंचल ने प्रमाणित कर दिया है कि नाम के अनुरूप वे चंचल नहीं वरन् एक अत्यन्त गम्भीर साहित्यकार हैं। आज का भारतीय परिवेश राष्ट्रीयता से कितनी दूर जा चुका है इसका वर्णन श्री चंचल ने बड़ी बेवाकी के साथ किया है। कार्यक्रम की अध्यक्षता कर रहे पूर्व न्यायाधीश आर. सी. निगम ने कहा कि समाज में आए सारे परिवर्तनों के बाद सामाजिक मूल्य आज भी कायम हैं। श्री निगम ने कहा कि रिजवान चंचल द्वारा सम्पादित पुस्तक ‘जागो भारत जागो’ का शब्द विन्यास एवं प्रकाशित विवरण श्वयं मे इस बात का साक्षी है कि उनका विश्वास व्यवसायिक पत्रकारिता में नही रहा श्री चंचल विशुद्ध रूप से साफ सुथरी जनहितकारी नीतियों पर काम करते हुये आम लोगों में जनजागरण का कार्य कर रहे हैं भविष्य में जनजागरण मीडिया मंच को सहयोग करने का सफल एवं सार्थक प्रयास किया जाएगा। वरिष्ठ समाजसेवी लोक सेनानी कल्याण परिषद के प्रदेश महासचिव चतुर्भुज त्रिपाठी ने कहा कि पत्रकारिता के अपने मूल्य और उसका अपना एक धर्म है, किन्तु आज पत्रकारिता अपने मिसन से इतर कार्य कर रही है जिससे उसकी विश्वसनीयता घटी है । समारोह में नागरिक मेल के सम्पादक अनूपराय, पदमजात प्रभात,वरिष्ठ साहित्यकार स्वर्णकेतु भरद्वाज समाजसेवी मीना खान, पत्रकार आर.के पाण्डेय, योगेश श्रीवास्तव, अजय विक्रम सिंह, बी.बी सिंह, सहित कई गणमान्य नागरिक मौजूद रहे । - रिजवान चंचल 09450449753

Best Careers for 2011


The current recession has brought tremendous changes in the job market. Some of the jobs which were earlier considered as well paying and secure may not even exist today! This has created a lot of confusion in the minds of people who are on the brink of starting/changing a career.

According to job market experts, five sectors of the economy i.e. health care, business and finance, information technology, education and media/communication, will continue to grow, despite the recession. So, some of the best career opportunities today lie in these sectors. For all those people who want to know the best careers 2011, below is some useful information on a few jobs in each of these sectors.

Best Careers : 2011

Health care

The health care sector is in great need of people currently and according to job market analysts, the demand for personnel in this sector will continue to increase in the coming years. You can consider becoming a Physician assistant or a physical therapist or a nurse. The average salary for all of these professions lies between $60000 to $ 70000 a year. To become a physician assistant, you need to have a bachelor's degree along with a two year training program especially designed for physician assistants. To become a physical therapist you require a master degree level program on physical therapy and you need to obtain a license by passing an exam. To become a nurse, you need to have completed a three year nursing diploma or a four year bachelor degree in nursing (Bachelor of Science in Nursing), followed by passing the nursing exam. Besides the educational qualifications, a person should possess people skills and should be compassionate to succeed and make a career in these hospital jobs.

Information Technology

IT jobs such as software developers, software testers, technical writers, etc. definitely qualify for high salary careers 2011. Despite the recession, there has been a continued surge in the demand for IT people. On an average, an IT professional with a few years of experience can look forward to make approximately $90000 in a year. To become a software engineer, you need a bachelor's degree in computer science. To become a network system analyst, you either need a bachelor's degree in computer science or a liberal arts degree. In some cases, a two year associate degree is all you need to enter this profession, which is today counted among the top careers in 2011.

Business and Finance

There is a lot of scope of growth in this sector in terms of employment. Recession has fueled the demand for accountants and auditors, who manage a company's accounts and yearly income statements. Financial analysts and financial planners who advice a business on taking the right decisions so that profits can be made, are in great demand too. Experienced financial planners can expect to make around $ 100000 per year in the coming months. Other business jobs such as sales manager, human resources manager, market research professionals are not only considered best careers for 2011, but they are also predicted to be hot careers for the next 10 years.

Education

Teaching jobs, whether in school or in college will be one of the best careers for 2011. After all, recession or no recession, there will always be a demand for quality teachers. To become a teacher, you will require a four year bachelor's degree in elementary/secondary education. A bachelor's degree has to be followed by a one year certificate course in teacher's training. To become a teacher you will need to obtain a license to teach, from the state education department. If you plan on becoming a professor, you need to have completed your PHD. Teaching jobs, in comparison to other jobs, have lesser work timings. The salaries are competitive while the stress levels are less, as a teacher gets a number of holidays throughout the year. All these pluses make jobs in the education sector one of the best careers 2011.

Media/Communication

With the tremendous increase in traffic on the Internet, there will be a great demand for people such as content writers, bloggers and those who maintain websites. Advertising professionals, video game designers, actors, editors, graphic designers and other media jobs are today among the top careers in America. So, you can consider making a career in media by entering any of these professions.

This was in short about the best careers 2011. Jobs in any of these sectors will provide you with the right kind of security and salary in the coming future. See where your interest lies and then acquire the qualifications and experience required to enter the field of your choice. Best of luck!

Cells' Natural Defence Against Cancer-Causing Viruses Discovered


Cells' Natural Defence Against Cancer-Causing Viruses Discovered

The discovery of a major pathway that cells infected with the common Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) activate to keep it in check, led US scientists to suggest they may have discovered a natural defence mechanism that invaded cells use against viruses that can cause cancer.
These are the findings of a study published today in the journal Cell Host and Microbe.
Senior author Dr Micah Luftig, Assistant Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, told the press that:
"Using cell culture studies, we have uncovered a major pathway that the infected host cell activates to prevent an oncogenic virus from causing cancer."
Luftig and colleagues suggested that when cells sense that the virus is trying to "take over", a process known as "oncogenic stress", they switch on a signal that keeps the virus in check.
"Now we know why," said Luftig.
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infects about nine out of every ten people at some point in their lives, in most cases with no ill effects. But people with immune systems weakened by HIV infection, or because they have had an organ transplant, or some other reason, are at greater risk of developing cancer from an EBV infection.
EBV infection also develops differently in different people at different life stages. For example, in children around the age of 4 or 5, a first infection of EBV can be mild, but if a first infection occurs later, during adolescence, it can cause mononucleosis with heavy fatigue and other symptoms. In people with weakened immune systems this can go on to develop forms of lymphoma.
Scientists have already discovered that as a result of early infection with EBV, many people's bodies develop large numbers of immune system "B" cells infected with EBV. However, because their immune system is healthy and responds to this "oncogenic stress", it kills off many of the infected cells.
The authors wrote that when lab cultures of primary human B cells are infected with EBV, they remain in an "immortal" state, producing lymphoblastoid cell lines indefinitely, and suggested this could be a "model" of how EBV, if unchecked, eventually causes cancer in the human body.
Luftig and colleagues found two enzymes, the kinases ATM and Chk2, that play an important role in helping the immune system respond to the "oncogenic stress" that EBV creates when it infects and "immortalizes" human B cells.
When they blocked the action of ATM and Chk2, unchecked growth led to a tenfold increase in infected B cells. Such a large burden of EBV-infected B cells is linked to several types of cancer, including post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder, which is where a transplant patient develops a type of lymphoma caused by B-cell proliferation, and HIV-associated B-cell lymphomas, among others.
Luftig said this finding suggests there is a good reason to believe this is how any virus oncogene triggers tumors to start forming.
"About 20 percent of all human cancers are caused by infectious agents, where about 80 percent of these infections are viral," he told the press.
The human papillomavirus, implicated in the development of cervical cancer, is another good example of how viral infection can lead to cancer.
Luftig and colleagues also proposed a possible route through which EBV overcomes the host cell's own response to being invaded.
One of the cell's early responses to EBV-induced immortalization is to release an innate tumor suppressor, a process they called DNA damage response (DDR). But EBV has a "viral latent oncoprotein" called EBNA3C that counteracts the cell's DDR.
"We propose that heightened oncogenic activity in early cell divisions activates a growth-suppressive DDR that is attenuated by viral latency products to induce cell immortalization," wrote the authors.
"The findings may eventually yield therapies to benefit people who don't have good immune systems and who need protection from a threatening EBV infection," said Luftig.
"Pathway Suppresses Epstein-Barr Virus Transformation of Primary Human B Cells." Pavel A. Nikitin, Christopher M. Yan, Eleonora Forte, Alessio Bocedi, Jason P. Tourigny, Robert E. White, Martin J. Allday, Amee Patel, Sandeep S. Dave, William Kim, Katherine Hu, Jing Guo, David Tainter, Elena Rusyn, Micah A. Luftig. Cell Host & Microbe, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 510-522, 16 December 2010 DOI:10.1016/j.chom.2010.11.004

Additional source: Duke University Medical Center. Written by: Catharine Paddock, PhD
source:Medical News Today

NeGP - Initiatives to usher in good governance


NeGP - Initiatives to usher in good governance

by Abhishek Singh Over the years, various State Governments and Central Ministries to usher in an era of e-Governance have undertaken a large number of initiatives. Sustained efforts have been made at multiple levels to improve the delivery of public services and simplify the process of accessing them.

The National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) takes a holistic view of e-Governance initiatives across the country, integrating them into a collective vision, a shared cause. Around this idea, a massive countrywide network infrastructure reaching down to the remotest of villages is evolving, and large-scale digitisation of records is taking place to enable easy, reliable access over the internet.

The ultimate objective is to bring good tangible governance to the citizen's doorstep. After all, accessing land records, obtaining birth certificates and passports, filing income tax returns and getting medical opinion from the country's best doctors should be as simple as clicking mouse. And as near home as the neighbourhood shop!

Genesis of a National Plan The e-Governance scenario in India has evolved from computerization of Government Departments to initiatives, which encapsulate the finer points of Governance, such as, citizen centricity, service orientation and transparency. The approach, implementation methodology and management structure for National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) was approved by the Government in 2006. Experiences from successes as well as failures of the various previous initiatives played an important role in shaping the e-Governance strategy of the country.

Due cognizance was taken of the notion that if e-Governance was to be speeded up across the various arms of Government at the National, State and Local levels, a programme approach would need to be adopted, guided by a common vision and strategy.

This approach was seen as having the advantage of enabling huge savings in costs via sharing of core and support infrastructure, enabling interoperability through standards. This approach was also seen as a step towards presenting the citizen a seamless view of Government.
The NeGP Universe
The NeGP covers 27 Mission Mode Projects and eight Support Components to be implemented at Central, State and Local Government levels. The Support Components aim at creating the right governance and institutional mechanisms, core infrastructure, policies and standards, and the necessary legal framework for adoption of e-Governance.

The eight Support Components cut across the MMPs and the responsibilities are with the Department of Information Technology (DIT) and Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DAR&PG). The DIT components are Core Infrastructure (SWAN, SDC and CSC), Support Infrastructure, Technical Assistance, Core Policies and R&D. The areas of joint responsibility of the DIT and DAR&PG are HRD training, Organizational Structure and Awareness & Assessment.
Mission Mode Projects There are 27 Mission Projects under the NeGP that encompass nine Central, eleven State and seven Integrated MMPs spanning multiple Ministries/Departments. "Mission Mode" implies that the objective and the scope of the projects is clearly defined, there are measurable outcomes (service levels) and well-defined milestones and timelines for implementation.
The 27 Mission Made Projects identified on the basis of high citizen and business interface are: Central MMPs: MCA 21, Pensions, Income Tax, Passport and Visa/Immigration, Central Excise, Banking, MNIC/UID, e-office and Insurance. State MMPs: Land Records Ph. I, Land Records Ph. II & Reg., Road Transport, Agriculture, Police, Treasuries, Municipalities, e-District, Commercial Taxes, Gram Panchayat and Employment Exchange. Integrated MMPs: CSC. e-Courts, EDI, India Portal, NSDG, e-Biz, e-Procurement. Common Services Centres
The Government has approved a Common Services Centres (CSCs) Scheme for providing support for establishing 100,000 plus Common Services Centres across more than 600,000 villages. The Scheme, as approved by the Government, envisions CSCs as the front-end delivery points for Government, private and social sector services to the citizens of India, in an integrated manner. The objective is to develop a platform that can enable Government, private and social sector organizations to align their social and commercial goals, especially for the benefit of the rural population in the remotest corners of the country through a combination of IT-based and other services. The CSCs have the ability to provide high quality and cost-effective video, voice, and data content/services in the areas of e-Governance, education, health, telemedicine, entertainment etc. A highlight of the CSCs is that they can offer web-enabled e-Governance-related services in rural areas such as application form download, certificates, payments of electricity, telephone, water, and other utility bills.
Taking Flight with SWAN & Ensuring Delivery via SDCs The State Wide Area Networks (SWAN) Scheme is one of the three Core Infrastructure pillars of NeGP. It has an estimated outlay of Rs. 3334 crores, and was approved by the Government in March 2005 with an objective to set up SWANs interconnecting each State/Union Territory Head Quarter with District Head Quarter, and each District Head Quarter with the Block Head Quarters with minimum 2 Mbps leased line.

The objective of the Scheme is to create a secure Close User Group (CUG) Government network for the purpose of delivering G2G and G2C services. The duration of the project is five years with a pre-project implementation period of 18 months. The project is being implemented as a Central Sector Scheme with Rs. 2005 crores as Grant-in-aid from Department of Information Technology and balance fund from the State Plan fund under Additional Central Assistance (ACA) allocation

State Data Centre (SDC) is another Core Infrastructure pillar under the NeGP, it is proposed to create SDCs for the States to consolidate services, applications and infrastructure to provide efficient electronic delivery of G2G, G2C and G2B services. These services can be rendered by the States through common delivery platform seamlessly supported by core connectivity infrastructure such as State Wide Area Network (SWAN) and Common Services Centre (CSC) connectivity extended up to village level.

SDCs provide rich functionality, such as, acting as the Central Repository of the State, Secure Data Storage, Online Delivery of Services, Citizen Information/Services Portal, State Intranet Portal, Disaster Recovery, Remote Management and Service Integration. SDCs would also help minimize overall cost of Data Management, IT Resource Management, Deployment and other costs. (www.negp.gov.in).

*Deputy Secretary (e-Governance) is the Nodal Officer for NeGP Awareness & Communication.

Status of Different Micro-finance Models in India


Status of Different Micro-finance Models in India Under the Guidence of Dr. Ashish Shrivastav & Dr. Shweta Singh Faculties of IIIT Allahabad

Authors :- Vikas Singh, Jagjeet Kumar Mittal, Atul Kumar, Abhishek Narain Sharma

ABSTRACT In recent years Microfinance has attracted widespread attention for its developmental Impact for the poor, but it too has multitude of issues and complications. This research project has adopted a mix of empirical and theoretical approach with the objective to identify a comprehensive range of implementation and impact issues of microfinance and make detailed deliberations over these for the chosen area- i.e. Allahabad, Sitapur, Kanpur and its adjoining region. (A typical northern Indian agrarian setting).This paper will seek to examine what is the current status of the different microfinance models in India and how they are contributing in achieving the financial inclusion. A comprehensive field survey in real-life setting of the donors, the practitioners and the beneficiaries (the groups) through various means such as formal and informal talks, on-site questionnaires and audio-visual means has been performed. The deliberations are focused around examining the implementation issues; the economics behind the issue, the complications involved thereon, the impact- individualistic and wider context, providing practical solutions for the problems and the case for including health and education among its domain of services.

Introduction By micro-finance we mean to say that provision of financial services to poor or low-income clients, including consumers and the self- employed. Micro credit (or loans to poor micro enterprises) should not be confused with micro finance. Micro Finance is relatively a bigger term which addresses a broad range of services especially financial and banking needs for poor people. Microfinance exists as a collection of banking practices centered on providing access to basic financial services to poor people, particularly in developing countries. The form in which it has developed and evolved proves it as a reliable and consistent organizational mechanism for providing access to financial services to the poor. A small initiative which started in 1976, as experimental lending to poor households in the village Jobra (Bangladesh) which later came to be known as Garmin Bank is a widely acclaimed example which bring forth a methodology that brought a paradigm shift breaking the preoccupation of banking channels thus demonstrating the possibility of eradicating poverty and having enormous implications. Essentially in terms of practice it revolved around providing small loans (typically without any collateral) and accepting small to very small deposits and similar financial services as it is progressing. Microfinance presents a series of exciting and acknowledged possibilities for extending market thereby reducing poverty, gender empowerment and promoting social change. India has christened as a developing country with its characteristic demographic unction's and skewed distributed income structure certainly a rip case for implementing it and so it has happened albeit, on the national scale. The forms, features and working pattern that exist with MFI's can clearly be categorized similar to that in South India and those working in North India. Regional demographic features such as literacy, occupation, group dynamics, existence and prevalence of institutions and regional pressure group characteristics may explain this distinctness. However, Allahabad district may be considered as a typical representative of North India, especially that of Central India. The extents to which MFI's have spread and covered the district obviously pronounce that there is lot of work that needs to be done. Every event/process to assess the shortcoming or gaps for identifying and explaining the cause for that as well as for becoming supportive of its expansion necessitates for examining the issues related with the microfinance practice. It exhibits direction and trends, which helps in locating the loopholes and the way forward. So was the objective of our project. Further it also take time to compare whether these trend are consistent or deviating from the national trend or global trend for that matter. Various models for micro finance
The SHG model The self help group model has evolved in the NGO sector. A variety of models arise out of NGO nurturing among which SHGs have become the most popular. SHGs are small informal groups comprising of membership of 10-20 persons. The composition of membership is mostly exclusively male or exclusively female. The members are self selected with a liberty to choose their group depending on their level of affinity with the other potential members. The group meets regularly at an appointed time and place and carries out its financial transactions of savings and credit. The roles and norms of the group are determined by the members themselves. The NGO provides them with support services, training and developing linkages. However, there are certain features of SHG that need to be looked into: • The group promotion process is long and the poor have to wait for long periods. • The amounts available in the beginning are very small and all the members cannot take loans at the same time. • The functioning of the group relies completely on group dynamics which are very difficult to build in. • Conflicts arise on seemingly trivial reasons which can lead to the break-down of the group and it is difficult to rebuild it. Despite these few disadvantages SHG still is a popular model for micro finance in India.
Federated SHG approach The federated SHG approach builds upon the unique features of SHG based micro finance and contributes to factors that improve the sustainability of SHGs. Federations increase the opportunity offered by the SHGs, expands empowerment through leadership building and addresses the component of security through insurance services. Federations usually come under the Societies Registration Act. PRADAN and MYRADA, two large NGOs that pioneered the concept of SHGs.
The Grameen Bank Model The grameen bank methodology which was a case of exceptional success first evolved in Bangladesh and was launched by many other organizations in India with slight variations. Some of the features are as follows: • Homogeneous groups of 5 members are formed at village level • The field worker facilitates the process of group forming • All the group members undergo a 7 day compulsory training • Some groups undergo the group recognition test • 8 joint liability groups affiliate together to form a centre • The centre meets every week at a defined time and a bank assistant attends the meetings. Group discipline is enforced through peer pressure. Collateral is replaced by peer pressure. The incentive to timely repayment is repeat loans and continuous access to increasing credit from the bank. A field worker maintains a check on loan utilization.
Non Banking Finance Companies The NBFCs has emerged as a nearest substitute for those MFIs who want to go the for-profit route. Since getting registered as a bank is costly and the local area bank idea has not been pursued beyond the initial approvals, the NBFC route is increasingly being chosen by profit driven MFIs. They can also enter the capital markets. Since the poor are bankable and lending to them can be commercially viable it is not necessary to depend on low cost funds to lend to them. Secondly, since the amounts required are huge, the financial markets are the only way to mobilize resources. This would mean mobilizing debt at market rates of interest. The for-profit NBFC route is currently the best way to operate in the capital markets. For regulatory purposes, NBFCs have been classified into 3 categories: (a) Those accepting public deposits, (b) Those not accepting public deposits but engaged in financial business (c) Core investment companies with 90 per cent of their total assets as investments in the securities of their group/holding/subsidiary companies.
Methodology
I. Comprehensive literature survey, general and specific for understanding the development of MF, economics of microfinance, the trends and issues as emerging in this field (National and Global scale) and the implication of various MF models.
II. As the most important component for reaching the objective of the project we performed a detailed scientific survey of the microfinance institution (SONATA), NGOs (MANVODAYA), SHGs and Banks (Bank of India, Kasmanda Sitapur) working in Allahabad and Sitapur (such as Naini and Karchana in Allahabad and Kasmanda in Sitapur) and the members of the groups/SHG's whom they are serving. Later on, the statistical and general inferential analysis of the data as obtained from survey provides some rather interesting findings which would certainly be helpful in modifying the ways of microfinance already working and the way forward for those venturing to enter.
The Selection of the Study Area The study areas selected were 1. Sitapur district in which individual study of SHGs were carried out to form the very base of the study. All these SHGs were promoted by an NGO MANVODAYA. 2. Allahabad district in which groups were taken whose having lent by sonata MFI. Areas covered- Naini, Bahadurpur and Karchana Block. 3. Kanpur district which has two federations: (a) Jagriti Mahila Samiti (b) Boond Bachat Sangh, Kulgaon. Both these federations are promoted by the NGO Shramik Sansthan Sample: - Following points were specially taken care of: a. SONATA (an MFI institution) which having presence in Allahabad was consulted (Formal Talk session and detailed questionnaire). b. To study the bank linked SHGs model, specific locations (such as Kasmanda in Sitapur and Kanpur) was selected and a specific NGO which having presence in that location was consulted along with its promoted SHGs (Formal Talk session and detailed questionnaire). c. Groups / SHG's as served and inhabited in different pockets of the region as chalked out are included in survey. d. Rural and urban to semi-urban areas in regard to group members inhabited and working there should be properly represented in the survey e. Members of various age groups, income level, and with varying literacy levels are properly taken into account. f. As many as 20(5 Bank linkage SHGs and 15 MFI promoted) groups dispersed into various pockets were surveyed, beside to understand the federation model of microfinance, two federation were surveyed too. Three members, on an average, three members from each group were chosen for questionnaire based survey. In addition to this, focus group discussions were conducted when some additional group members from the SHGs were present. Finally, data on loans and member characteristics were gathered from internal records of each group. Means and Measures a. Specifically designed comprehensive Questionnaires (enclosed in Appendix) b. Questions were orally asked to the members and responses were marked in the questionnaire by the survey team members. Although it was time consuming but necessary for bringing out any meaningful result to the whole endeavor. c. Team members also gone through some formal & informal talk sessions with the group, during and after their weekly meetings with the MFI agents. d. Sessions were video graphed: - This on the one hand facilitate ourselves to dig out every minute inferences, especially in regard to satisfaction level, economic and social impact, in consultation with our project guide (as on some occasion they were not able to be present there physically) and on the other hand arouse the eagerness among the group members (SHGs) to take part into these sessions. Background: The NGO, the MFI, the Federation, Groups and their Members It has seen over the year that the basic principles of group formation are generally common to most of SHGs in India. However, great variations were found in the practical implementation, nature and objectives of the agencies promoting these groups (such as which would be target group, what would be internal policies of the group and what would be the size of group). We have hereby described in brief the models used by our selected NGOs, MFI and Federations which we have chosen for our study. Current Growth Pattern of SHGs Bank linkage programme (NABARD Promoted) The SHG - Bank linkage programme launched by NABARD in 1992 continues to be the predominant Micro Finance model. During the year 2006-07, 6, 86, 408 new SHG were credit linked with banks as against 6, 20, 109 during the year 2005-06, taking the cumulative number of credit linked SHG to 29, 24,973 (Table 1 and 2). The phenomenal reach of the programme has enabled an estimated 409.5 lakhs poor households to gain access to MF from the banking system as on March 31, 2007. Table 1. Growth pattern of SHGs Year No's of SHG Growth (%) Cumulative 1992-1999 32995 - 32995 1999-2000 81780 148 114775 2000-2001 149050 82 263825 2001-2002 197653 33 461478 2002-2003 255882 29 717360 2003-2004 361731 41 1079091 2004-2005 539365 49 1618456 2005-2006 620109 15 2238565 2006-2007 686408 11 2924973 (Source: NABARD Annual report) CASE STUDIES Case 1. JAGRITI MAHILA SAMITI Goal Implementation of all government and non-government schemes at all local level especially through SHG. Management Model From each SHG a person is selected as a member of the general body of the federation. Since there are 165 SHGs in the federation, therefore there are 165 such members. From these 165 members, 9 members are selected in the governing board of the federation, which administer the federation. Out of these 9 members, 3 are selected as the President, Secretary and the Treasurer, who are also responsible for accounting. Modus Operandi The federation facilitates the SHG. The governing board produces the whole proceedings of the federation before the general body once in a year. Also the future plans, which had been chalked out by the board, are presented. The federation charges a fee of Rs.910 every year per SHG. The breakup of the fees is as follows: 1. Federation member-Rs. 200 2. Book writer fee-Rs. 360 3. SHG Audit -Rs. 200 4. Stationary-Rs. 150 The fee of Rs.910 is regular and is paid by all the SHGs as mandatory money which in turn is utilized for their own benefits. Till now no SHG has been found to be a defaulter in payment of this fee. Intermediary Role Federation acts as an intermediary in providing services for Cattle Insurance, Agriculture, Group Meeting, and Audit etc. Extension and Marketing services provided The federation has not been able to achieve success in marketing at the individual level but has been hugely successful in providing insurance facilities to members of the SHG. Cattle and household insurance facilities have been provided to the SHGs. Local needs and resources are taken care of by the federation. Various initiatives like pickle making, vermiculture were launched. The federation for proper maintenance of the account of the SHGs now keeps book writers Medical aids distributed at the subsidized and reasonable rates, which are verified has been a huge initiative taken by the NGO itself. Since 2000-2004 self-development projects focusing on the training and development of the women SHGs was launched. The federation is also actively involved with developmental activities of PACS and Panchayats. From 2004-2007 formation of PACS and panchayats was done. From 2007-till date there are 2 workers, which are continuously involved for the support in the upcoming projects. TARAKSHAR program launched for education of women and children. Sewing school was developed and promoted. HELPAGE INDIA initiative was launched which focuses on the self sustainability of the SHGs.
Maturity Level of the federated SHGs Average size of the SHG was 12 members per SHG whereas the average age of the SHG was 11 years. The number of SHGs enrolled in the federation was 165, which has a total of 1855 members. The federation covered over 40 panchayats.
Credit Linkage The federation is linked to the U.P Baroda Grameen Bank. The bank gives loan to the SHG members. The interest rate charged was 9% for regular payers and 10.25% for non-regular payers. The grading was done by the bank on various parameters for determining whether the payer is regular or non-regular. If more than 85 marks out of 100 is obtained then the recovery is categorized regular and if less than 85 then the recovery is categorized as non-regular.
Need of the SHGs to join the federation Initially before the formation of federation projects the SHGs were formed but they were not sustainable in the long run. Joining the federation transformed the SHGs from a self-sufficient unit to a self-recognizable unit. The SHGs joined the federation to indulge in income generating activities vigorously. The federation also encourages the SHGs to increase their volume of business and maintain sustainability. Joining the federation gave them a bigger platform to initiate an activity and was supported by other federation members. Joining the federation helped in better access to funds.
Reach in the District Administration Initiatives were taken by the District Magistrate on being approached by the federation members to help them in inheritance of the land. DM Kanpur Dehat had helped them in the building of the roads in their villages and also solving sewage problems. Some federation members are also contesting elections at the Panchayat level.
Loaning Status Table 2: Purpose wise loaning status S. No. Loan Purpose No. of persons Amount of the loan (In Rs.) 1 Medical needs 50 284968 2 Education 6 42400 3 Self consumption 165 1180348 4 Agriculture/Animal husbandry 733 5643676 5 Income generating activities 238 3163016 6 Other 49 314165
Quarterly Report Average loan size =Rs. 8564 Minimum number of persons took loan for the education purpose Maximum number was observed in the agriculture/animal purpose. The loan size for income generating activities is found to be 1.5 times the average loan size. Case 2. BOOND BACHAT SANGH, KULGAON Evolution of the Federation Rashtriya Mahila Kosh was not ready to provide loans to those people who were living below poverty line and who did not have BPL certificates certified by CDO. Owing to the complexity of the loaning procedure and an urge for an independent source led to the formation of federation on 30th Sep 2002. Objectives • To inculcate habit of saving in poor women. • To bring them out of the clutches of the money lender. • To provide loans to manage household cash flow crisis during emergencies. • To provide loans for income generation activities. • To provide business development and business upgradation services. • To make sure the loans available to the poor. Federation Management Model Number of SHGs enrolled by the federation was 170.The federation is currently promoted by the NGO Shramik Bharti. SHGs are divided into four clusters on the basis of geographical area. Each cluster had three main representatives 1. Leader 2. Secretary 3. Federation representative
Leader and Secretary were largely responsible for looking after the work pertaining to the SHGs. At the cluster level one representative from each SHG meets once in a month on a fixed date. Out of these representatives members are chosen which look after the working of the cluster and hence represent the cluster as a whole. Since the federation was divided into four clusters there were a total of twenty members which represent the federation advisory committee. Out of twenty members two were selected by voting who represented the board, which altogether comprises of five members. The other three members are the Chairperson Trustee and two persons chosen by the Chairperson Trustee himself. Status Pre-Federation When the federation was not formed the source of money to the members of the SHGs was through: 1. Inter loaning among members. 2. Through financial institutions like SIDBI, HUDCO, RMK (Rashtriya Mahila Kosh) established by World Bank. Of these the major source were the financial institutions esp. RMK which charged 6% rate of interest on the loans given. Another 1.5% was charged for the training purpose. Financial Modeling Saving An SHG had following two kinds of saving 1. Compulsory 2. Surplus • A compulsory saving of Rs.1000 per annum is supposed to be deposited with the federation. • If there is any surplus the SHG also deposits the surplus. • On both kinds of savings the SHGs are paid an interest of 6% per month. Saving of SHG pre federation was Rs.3083 per SHG whereas saving of SHG post federation was Rs.12676 per SHG per annum Loan distribution model • The loan granted to a SHG was 8 to 10 times the compulsory saving of that particular SHG. For example if an SHG is 10 years old then the compulsory saving of that SHG will be 10×1000=10,000 Rs. Hence the maximum loan granted to that SHG will be 10×10000=Rs.1.0 lakh. • The loan sanctioned to the SHG is at the rate of 12%.The SHG in turn lend this to its member at the rate of 18%. • On repayment of loan the SHGs are entitled for fresh loan. When a SHG is not capable of providing loan to its member then it approaches the federation. The SHG fills the form on behalf of the member who wants the loan. The form entails the details of the loan like purpose of loan, amount etc. The loan is sanctioned by the cluster members who approve the loan on the guarantee of the SHG. The loan repayment will be on behalf of the SHG. At last 2 members out of the 5 chosen members should be present at the time of sanctioning the loan. The document is then sent to the Sr. Group Organizer who endorses the same by verifying the loaning status and track record of that SHG. The loan repayment is splitted according to the amount of loan in installments as follows: • For loan up to Rs.5000 the maximum installments fixed are 10. • For loan from Rs.5000-Rs.10000 the amount of repayment was Rs.500/month • For loan greater than Rs.10000 a maximum of 20 installments is fixed
Saving Status The average saving per member per year was observed to be Rs.891. During the last financial period (2008-09) it was observed to be Rs.548. This also comes from the fact that the average saving per year per federation increased from Rs.1324171 during 2007-08 to Rs.2155058 during 2008-09. Interest Analysis 1/3rd of the interest received on loaning the SHGs was used for the general working of the federation like stationary, rent, stock, training, and auditing. The part saved was distributed as profit. Loaning Status Direct loaning is not being done by the financial institutions to the federation. Instead the loan is given to the NGO promoting the federation. 15% of the applications for loan were for meeting medical needs,8% for repayment of existing loans, 20% for social purposes like marriage etc, 20% of the applications were for consumption purposes like house repairing etc, where as 38% of the loan is used for income generation activities. Efficiency and Sustainability Indicator OCR (Operational Cost Ratio) is defined as the cost incurred by the federation in maintaining a loan portfolio of Rs.100. OCR on analysis was found to be 9.3% OSS (Operational Self Sufficiency) is defined as the ratio of operational expenses over operational income. OSS on analysis was found to be 190%
Constraints and Issues • Lack of proper infrastructure for conducting meetings. Extreme weather condition during summer and winter acting as a impediment in regular holding of meetings. • Federation was not capable of providing extension services due to lack of leadership. • No marketing interventions. Federation was not involved in marketing of products produced by SHGs. This would have gone a long way in attaining sustainability of federation as well as SHGs.
Important Findings of the Survey & Analysis of the same The major reasons for low penetration of financial products like health insurance, crop insurance, remittance facility, and other financial products among the SHG members are:
1. MFI's are unable to develop new innovative products for the poorest of poor and they are merely acting as micro-creditor in Allahabad region. This is quite evident in other parts of India; though it is found in the study that those which are linked to the SHGs Bank Linkage programme are far better than those promoted and financed by the MFIs.the reason for these could be several and few majors ones we found out during our talk with NBFCs are: • Lack of risk sharing among different players from lenders: banks, insurance companies, financial intermediaries, and other financial institutes due to high risk associated with micro-finance. • The SHGs which are developed on Bank linkage model are generally get subsidy from government programme (programme like SGSY, DWCRA etc). • Lack of financial incentives provided to MFIs listed as NBFC and other institutes by Indian government in the form of tax incentives, reduced excise & custom duty on IT solutions (both hardware & software), which can help MFIs in early adaption of latest IT solution helping them in improving operating efficiencies, improving service to its clients, developing new financial solutions, improving its reach thereby achieving the economies of scales which will ultimately help in reducing interest rate for the poor and access to better services. • High transaction cost involved in handling financial products like insurance & remittance facility is another reason which is forcing MFIs not to enter into uncharted territories. • Although micro-finance is growing at 30-35 percent annually according to various sources like Intellecap, it is still unable to attract highly talented and skilled individual, who can reshape the entire industry. • And, last most micro-finance companies are reluctant to test new financial products and are happy to merely act as micro-credit provider, the reason for this is lack of risk sharing between different players and lack of government incentives. 2. Second, it is due to the low level of financial literacy of the members and "Cole & Fernando, (2008) reported that financial literacy is very important determinant of finance", as shown in figure (1) the literacy level of interviewed members is quite low, making them unable to comprehend the benefits and cost issues of complex products like health insurance, crop insurance, and other financial products. The poor in Allahabad and surrounding region are not even aware of these products and the only insurance product sold to them (in this case members of Sonata Finance are charged Rs 100 per year) is to cover the loss of MFI in case of any unfortunate happening to the group member.
Fig 2: Education Level of SHG member
3. Though Microfinance's penetration is growing at a much higher speed, still they haven't succeeded in changing the saving behavior of the people. It is found in survey of the 50 member of the different groups promoted by SONATA MFI in Allahabad region that 4% of the people still don't have any saving other than what they have in group saving, 50% people have their saving in form of gold, 32% people have their savings in bank and around 14-15% people use the service of chit funds for their saving.
Fig 3: Saving behavior of SHG members in Allahabad Region 4. The average earning per day of the 42 & 32 % of respondents were in region of Rs 50- 100 & Rs 100-150 and only 20 percent of the respondent have average earning per day below US $1 as evident from the figure. From this we draw out conclusion that the microfinance (read microcredit in context of Allahabad and surrounding region) hasn't reached the 'poorest of poor', the segment of poor i.e. approximately 300 million people in India who are in dire needs of credit at low interest rates to save them from the hands of local moneylenders, and other financial services like saving, remittance, and insurance. The low interest capital can help these "poorest of poor" to move out of "poverty trap" by investing the capital into income generating activities like dairies, tea-shops, and grocery stores. Fig 4: Average Earning per day of the respondent Conclusion From the research various conclusions can be drawn but our interest was in the following main areas. First of all the participation of research institutions in the microfinance sector is very low as compared to the other developing countries. So in order to develop microfinance sector it is necessary to promote these institutions to come forward and take initiatives to develop new instruments, products and models for the upliftment of this sector. One more important thing which we have found is that use of ICT is still very low in this sector which is needed to be improved. Because in current situation one cannot think of growth without ICT. But there is one problem with the implementation of ICT in microfinance sector. The end users of this sector are not techno-savvy and mostly come from the bottom of pyramid. So in order to implement ICT first of all the government has understand that everyone has right to computer education and everyone should get it.
Recommendations
To move approximately 300 million people in India, who are below the poverty line out of 'poverty trap' and serving the 'poorest of poor', it's imperative for MFIs to move to next wave of growth in microfinance and not restrict themselves to microcredit lending only, and develop innovative financial products keeping in view the interest of the 'poorest of poor' so that the actual benefits can percolate to the people who really need them. While analyzing the findings of our survey, we are recommending few important suggestions: 1. Training SHG members (especially of those who borrowed from MFI) to enhance their financial literacy and earning power. 2. Changing the repayment schedule and made it more flexible. The changes which are required to be made are explained through the following model. Training: We can forget for some time to provide credit facility and saving mobilization to the poor but it is injustice to provide credit without any training and input to the poor people. It is well accepted fact that a credit will not attain its objective, until and unless it will use in right way and it can be achieve only if the people will get a proper training. Generally the poor continues with their family occupation, many a times related with their cast to which they belong, particularly in northern India. Traditional knowledge and skills as gained through generations, certainly has importance, but not able to a good sustenance. Large scale mechanized production has let it down. In short, role of training for better occupational efficiency can hardly be overemphasized. Additionally, following factors goes in favor for providing training: -
1. The model which is adopted by the MFIs is not including NGOs or any other social service group as intermediary and so to provide some sort training or better implements is grossly untouched, though it is found that most of the MFIs work as a consultant and lender both for the borrower but still the number of such MFI is very low. On the other side illiterate and poor people can neither explore other available avenues nor may have access to it. So there is ground for linking providing micro credit facilities & related occupational training. 2. Members of group (Linked to a MFI) feel the need of occupational training and better implements, whether they are with their traditional occupational or have ventured into some other area, while the member of group which are facilitated by an NGO feels the need for a personnel who can do the documentation work on behalf of them. For that a better way is to choose a person from a group itself who is enough educated to do the document of work for not only his own group but also for the other group as well.
Quick Repayment 1. Repayment schedule should start from the very next week of borrowing. 2. Repayment rules should remain same irrespective of the growth status of the SHG. 3. Better training should be given to ensure additional income. It will ensure timely return. 4. Repayment installments should remain of the same size throughout the outstanding of the loan amount and must not vary with time.

References

1. Tor Jansson, IADB, Micro-finance From village to wall street. 2. Bansal Hema (2003), "SHG - Bank Linkage Program in India: An Overview", Journal of Microfinance, Vol. 5 No's 1. 3. John Weiss, Heather Montgomery and Elvira Kurmanalieva: Micro Finance and Poverty Reduction in Asia: What is the Evidence? (ADB Institute Research Paper Series No. 53 December 2003). 4. Lucie Gadenne, Veena Vasudevan, Institute for Financial Management and Research Centre for Micro Finance, Working Paper Series No. 18, November 2007 (How Do Women in Mature SHGs Save and Invest Their Money?). 5. Dr. Kimberly Leonard (Impact of Micro-finance on poverty, Income inequality and entrepreneurship). 6. Priya Basu (World Bank) and Pradeep Srivastava (NCAER, India), (Scaling up Microfinance for India's rural poor). 7. NABARD, Annual Report 2008-2009 (http://www.nabard.org/FileUpload/DataBank/AnnualReports/Annual_Report_2008-2009_ENGLISH_100809.pdf). 8. http://www.microfinanceinsight.com