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July 2019

Inclusion of 17 OBCs in SC list

unconstitutional: Mayawati

Lucknow : Bahujan Samaj Party

President Mayawati on Monday

slammed the Uttar Pradesh government’s

decision to include 17 Other

Backward Castes (OBC) in the

Scheduled Caste (SC) list as "unconstitutional

and politically motivated".

Mayawati said the move will not

bring any benefits for OBC groups

and Yogi Adityanath had deceived

them.

"No government can include or

remove any caste from the Scheduled

Caste list. Article 341 prevents a government

from doing so. Only the

President and Parliament have the

powers to do so," she stated. The BSP

President further explained: "Part 1 of

Article 341 clearly states that the

President can specify any group to the

SC list through a public notification

on the Governor’s advice. Part 2 says

that if a notification is released under

part 1 of Article 341, it can only be

changed by Parliament. Part 2 also

states that Parliament can specify,

include or exclude any group from

the SC list."

She pointed out that the notification

cannot be undone by any other

notification. "These castes will no

longer get the benefits of quota under

the OBC category. They will be treated

as general castes. It is clear that

Yogi government has issued this

order to deceive these castes," she

stated.

Mayawati also alleged that the

order had been issued keeping in

view the upcoming bypolls in the

state and appealed to Chief Minister

Yogi Adityanath to immediately withdraw

it.

She urged the Centre to initiate the

constitutional procedure to include

these groups in the SC list and

demanded an increase in the quota

limit for them.

"I appeal to the Centre to include

these castes in the category and

increase SC quota proportionately as

per constitutional procedure," she

said.

In a decision taken on Friday, the

Yogi Adityanath government had

moved 17 OBCs in the SC list, thus

fulfilling a long pending demand of

these castes.

The OBCs added to the SC list are

-- Nishad, Bind, Mallah, Kewat,

Kashyap, Bhar, Dhivar, Batham,

Machua, Prajapati, Rajbhar, Kahar,

Potter, Dhimar, Manjhi, Tuhaha and

Gaur.

The Chief Minister also directed

all district officers to issue caste certificate

to the families of those

belonging to these castes.

No losers, but there’s

a WINNER here

CUP COMES HOME Match tied. Super Over tied. Breathless, frenetic final goes to

the wire, decided on England hitting eight more boundaries than New Zealand

London, An elated

England captain Eoin Morgan

said to get over the line and

win their maiden World Cup

means the world to them,

after the hosts beat New

Zealand in an eliminator here

at Lord s on Sunday. It took

England 44 years but on

Sunday, in their own backyard,

Morgan and Co. lifted

the sport s biggest prize albeit

by the finest of margins as the

Super Over also ended in a tie

and England won due to hitting

more boundaries than

new Zealand. Electing to bat

first New Zealand put up

241/8 in 50 overs. Chasing

the target, England rode player

of the match Ben Stokes

unbeaten 84 off 98 balls with

Jos Buttler also scoring 59.

The pair added 110 runs for

the fifth wicket to tie the

game at 241 all out and take it

to a Eliminator. In the

Eliminator, Stokes and Buttler

helped England post 15 which

New Zealand matched but in

gut-wrenching fashion fell

behind due to less number of

boundaries hit to England.

I d like to commiserate

Kane (Williamson) and his

team. The example that they

lead is hugely commendable

to him and his team, Morgan

said moments before lifting

the World Cup at the gala post

match presentation ceremony.

On a tough wicket where

everyone found it tough to

score. Buttler and Stokes put

together a partnership, and I

thought that would take us

deep, and it did. This has been

a four-year- journey and we

find it hard to play on wickets

like that. To get over the line

today means the world to us,

Morgan said, his eyes welling

up. I was being cooled down

by (Liam) Plunkett, which

isn t a good sign. Some of the

support staff not only the

best in our team, but in the

world, they really helped. Full

credit to the two boys who

went out for the Super Over,

given that they were there

most recently. On Jofra

Archer who bowled the Super

Over, Morgan said the 24-

year old is improving every

game. Archer finished with 20

wickets in 11 games as

England s leading wicket

taker and third in the overall

list behind Australia s

Mitchell Starc and New

Zealand s Lockie Ferguson.

Toll in Nepal floods,

landslides reach 43

Kathmandu, The death toll in the Nepal floods and landslides

caused by torrential

rain has increased to 43,

while 21 were reported

missing and 26 others

injured, authorities confirmed

on Sunday. The toll

was confirmed by the

Home Ministry, adding that

2,000 people had been rescued

by Saturday evening, the Kathmandu Post reported. Since

Thursday evening, the Himalayan nation has witnessed heavy

rainfall in an indication of the changing rainfall pattern, data

from Simara station of the Meteorological Forecasting Division

revealed The country is receiving more rainfall in a short duration

of time, an abnormal phenomenon that is slowly becoming

a new normal, the data added. Simara station received the highest

rainfall in the latest wet spell. In the 24-hour period since

Thursday evening, Simara recorded 311.9 mm rainfall, according

to the Meteorological Forecasting Division. The Simara station

also surpassed its own extreme rainfall in 24 hours for July.

The last incident of extreme precipitation in 24 hours was 266.4

mm in July 16, 1978.

Different districts on Saturday also saw devastation and

destruction by floods and landslides triggered by incessant rainfall,

reports the Kathmandu Post. Parts of the capital Kathmandu

have been left submerged under floodwaters. In Province 2,

around 80 per cent of the land has been inundated, while 15

houses were swept away in Saptari and 2,500 houses inundated.

Until Saturday, 1,500 families had been displaced. In Morang,

waters from the swollen Bakraha, Lohandra, Judi, Singhiya and

Keshliya, among other rivers, gushed into nearby settlements,

displacing around 4,000 people. According to the Traffic Police

and the Department of Roads, Besisahar-Chame, Ghurmi-

Okhaldhunga, Khotang-Bhojpur and Beni-Jomsom roads have

remained closed due to landslides and floods. Vehicular movement

was halted along the Pharping-Hetauda Road on Saturday

due to landslides at Sisne, Daman and Palung.


2 July 2019

ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

World Council of Churches

Dr. Harshindar Kaur bats for protection of women’s rights by sensitizing society

Team AI :

Devinder Chander

Editor-in-chief

Columnists

V.B. Rawat

Farzana Suri

Arun Kumar

Rahul Kumar

Harminder K. Bhogal

Head Office

Samaj Media Enterprise Ltd

Suite 507, Hawthorns House

Halfords Lane, Smethwick,

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Email :

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The Asian Independent is an

Intellectual Property of

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Geneva (Switzerland) : Dr. Harshindar Kaur from India

was specially invited to deliver lecture on perspectives of

gender justice as she had already represented India in United

Nations twice before this event. Ms. Jennifer Philpot Nissen,

Executive for Human Rights, World Council of Churches

introduced Dr. Harshindar Kaur to the house saying that she

is the only one till date to raise constant voice about female

feticide and infanticide at international level for past 26

years.Dr. Kaur in her address said that looking at ever

increasing crimes against women, it seems that all religions

have failed to protect women rights. All suggestions for

improving sex ratio at world level by Dr.

Harshindar Kaur were accepted in toto by the committee.

Dr. Kaur in her lecture stated that at the time of Sri Guru

Nanak Dev Ji, atrocities on women were at peak but Guru ji

demolished centuries old disparity against women by his revolutionary

ideology which led to decrease in crimes against

women in that era. She batted for the sensitization of society

on one hand starting from school level, giving awareness

about XY chromosomes in the society and registering case of

murder in all cases of female infanticide.Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit

General Secretary of World Council of Churches thanked the

participants and specially invited Dr. Harshindar Kaur to

deliver presentation at UN on 8 March 2020 to take some

concrete steps to stop feticide at international level.

US tourist released after obscene photo at Giza pyramids

Cairo, Egyptian authorities have

released a US tourist who was arrested

after he allegedly tried to photograph

himself mooning in front of the

Giza pyramids. The man was taken

into custody on Saturday while trying

to capture the moment inside the

pyramid complex, which includes the

Great Pyramid of Giza, the Pyramid

of Khafre and the Pyramid of

Menkaure, located on the outskirts of

Cairo, a security official told Efe

news on Sunday.

The foreigner did not have his

passport on him when he was caught

by workers at the complex.

Apparently under the influence of

an intoxicant, the tourist has been

investigated for public indecency, the

security official said. The tourist,

nonetheless, was released less than 24

hours after his arrest. The South Giza

Islamabad : Pakistan

Prime Minister Imran

Khan will seek US

President Donald Trumps

help to resolve the longstanding

Kashmir issue

with India when he meets

the American leader next

week in Washington, officials

said.

Senior officials at the

Foreign Ministry told The

Nation newspaper on

Sunday that the agenda

was being worked out for

the July 22 meeting at the

White House. "The Prime Minister will

definitely take up the Kashmir issue

District Attorney’s Office decided to

release the tourist and another person

travelling with him after the

American and his friend each paid a

5,000 Egyptian pounds ($300) fine,

the office said in a statement. The two

were accompanied by a representative

of the US Embassy, the security official

said, adding that the tourists

could now leave the North African

nation. This is the most recent episode

in a string of controversial incidents

at the pyramids in the past few years.

In 2018, a Danish couple recorded

a video atop the Great Pyramid of

Giza of themselves having sexual

IMRAN KHAN to seek

Trump's help on Kashmir

with the US President and seek his help

for the resolution of the dispute with

intercourse. In 2015, an adult-content

video shot in Giza sparked controversy

in Egypt. That same year, Andrej

Ciesielski, of Germany, was arrested

and handed a lifetime ban on entering

Egypt after he climbed one of the pyramids

and posted a video of his

adventure on social media.

Climbing the pyramids is forbidden

by law. A Belgian model and a

photographer were arrested in 2017 in

the southern Egyptian city of Luxor

after she posed naked inside the

Karnak Temple Complex.

According to reports, the model

was pretending to be Queen Nefertari,

the favourite wife of Pharaoh

Ramesses II of the 19th Dynasty

(1539-1075 BC). An Egyptian judge

released the two after warning them

against repeating “such stupid and

disgraceful” acts.

India," said one official.

Another official said that

Pakistan will brief the US about

Islamabad's efforts for regional

peace. "The ongoing support to the

US talks with the Afghan Taliban

will be discussed. Pakistan is ready

to go further for Afghan peace and

stability," he said, adding that

Islamabad had also been urging

talks with New Delhi and Khan will

provide details of the country's

efforts so far to President Trump.

This will be Khan's maiden visit

to the US since assuming power following

the Pakistan Tehreek-e-

Insaf's victory in the 2018 general elections.

22 killed in

Pakistan cloudburst

Islamabad : At least 22 people

were killed and several others were

reported missing after a cloudburst

caused flash flooding in Pakistan's

Neelum Valley, an official said on

Monday. The cloudburst caused largescale

devastation as over 150 houses

and two mosques were affected in the

overnight flooding in the tourist resort

of Neelum Valley, Xinhua news

agency quoted the disaster management

official as saying.

Several people were still stranded in

their houses and efforts were underway

to evacuate them.

Meanwhile, the authorities have set

up make-shift camps to adjust the displaced

people. Cloudburst is a rare

phenomenon in which a large amount

of water pours down on the ground due

to the burst of clouds. Normally rainfall

over 100 mm per hour is considered

as a cloudburst.

Boeing 737 MAX

unlikely to restart

operations by 2020

Washington : The globally grounded

Boeing 737 MAX planes are

unlikely to restart operations until

2020 as it will take time to fix a flightcontrol

software and complete other

work, government and industry officials

have said. The aircraft is currently

expected to return to the air in

January 2020, 12 months after the

company proposed the initial replacement

of software implicated in two

deadly crashes, Xinhua news agency

quoted US Federal Aviation

Administration (FAA) officials and

industry leaders as saying on Sunday.

Boeing executives, FAA engineers

and global aviation regulators have

extended the safety analyses to cover a

growing list of almost all the issues

from emergency recovery process to

potentially suspect electronic components.

The Wall Street Journal on

Sunday quoted officials at the FAA and

pilot-union leaders as saying that no

firm timeline has been established but

one scenario anticipates the plane

could return to the air in January 2020.

American Airlines have already

extended its ban on Boeing 737 MAX

flights through November 2, the company

said on Sunday in a statement,

right after United Airlines announced

its decision to keep Boeing 737 MAX

flights out of schedule until November

3. American Airlines' announcement

on Sunday marked the fifth time that it

has pushed back the expected time that

the MAX would resume flying. The

airline had previously announced on

March 24 that it was extending its cancellations

through April 24. The

Boeing 737 MAX was grounded

worldwide following the deadly crashes

of Lion Air Flight 610 in October

2018 in Indonesia and Ethiopian

Airlines Flight 302 in March this year

that killed a total of 346 people.

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www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

Will myself decide on my

successor: Dalai Lama

Dharamsala : Tibetan spiritual leader

the Dalai Lama, respected by millions as a

living god, who has been caught in a controversy

over his recent joke that his successor

a female Dalai Lama would have to

be "more attractive", has clarified that his

reincarnation is to be decided by him. The

Buddhist monk had apologized for his

"attractive" female successor remark, saying

he genuinely meant no offence and

offered his sincere apologies if people were

hurt by what he had said.

However, aides in his private office in

this northern Indian town on Monday clarified

there is no question of search for his

successor as the Dalai Lama, 84,

announced in 2011 that he would decide at

90 whether or not he should have a successor.

The issue of reincarnation is his personal

right, an aide in the Dalai Lama's

office told IANS. At the same time, the

globe-trotting monk warned that any candidate

chosen for political ends by anyone,

including China, should not be recognised

or accepted. The aide said still there is no

certainty that whether the institution of the

Dalai Lama should continue or not after the

14th and current Dalai Lama, Tenzin

Gyatso.

"My reincarnation is to be decided by

myself, nobody has the right to decide

about that," he often said in his remarks.

"One day you will hear that the Dalai

Lama has passed away, but I will come

back, even if the institution of Dalai Lama

is no longer recognised. I will be back," a

post on his website quoting the Dalai Lama

said. But who is next after the Dalai Lama?

At the present moment, the Dalai

Lama's institution is useful to the Tibetan

culture and the Tibetan people. "Thus, if I

were to die today, I think the Tibetan people

would choose to have another Dalai

Lama. In the future, if the Dalai Lama's

institution is no longer relevant or useful

and our present situation changes, then the

Dalai Lama's institution will cease to

exist," the monk said in a post.

"Personally, I feel the institution of the

Dalai Lama has served its purpose. More

recently, since 2001 we now have a democratically

elected head of our administration,

the Kalon Tripa.

"The Kalon Tripa runs the daily affairs

of our administration and is in charge of

our political establishment. Half jokingly

and half seriously, I state that I am now in

semi-retirement." In August 2011 when

Lobsang Sangay took over the reins of the

government-in-exile from monk and scholar

Samdhong Rinpoche, who held the post

for 10 years but was overshadowed by the

Dalai Lama, the Dalai Lama announced:

"When I am about 90, I will consult the

high lamas and re-evaluate whether the

institution of the Dalai Lama should continue

or not." On his birthday on July 6 this

year, he said, "I am now 84, but I hope to

be able to celebrate the occasion with all of

you for many more years to come."

Clarifying this month on his remark during

a BBC interview that have caused disquiet,

the Dalai Lama recalled the conversation

on the physical appearance of a

female successor with the then Paris editor

of Vogue magazine, who had invited him in

1992 to guest-edit the next edition.

She asked if a future Dalai Lama could

be a woman. His Holiness replied,

"Certainly, if that would be more helpful,"

adding, as a joke, that she should be attractive,

said a statement by his office.

The Dalai Lama was at least partially

responding to the unfamiliar ambience of

working with a team whose prime focus

was the world of high fashion.

On the Chinese stating that the next

Dalai Lama will be born in Tibet and chosen

by them, he said: "If the present situation

regarding Tibet remains the same, I

will be born outside Tibet away from the

control of the Chinese authorities. This is

logical. The very purpose of a reincarnation

is to continue the unfinished work of

the previous incarnation."

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama,

Tenzin Gyatso, describes himself as a simple

Buddhist monk. In 1989, the Dalai

Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize for his

non-violent struggle for Tibet. He was

awarded the US Congressional Gold Medal

in October 2007, even in the face of

protests by China.

The Dalai Lama now lives in exile along

with some 140,000 Tibetans, over 100,000

of them in different parts of India. Over six

million Tibetans live in Tibet.

May grooves to Abba's 'Dancing

Queen' at black-tie event

London : Outgoing British

Prime Minister Theresa May

was caught on camera dancing

to Swedish pop-group Abba's

iconic single "Dancing Queen"

due a black-tie event, UK

media reports said.

The outgoing leader showed

off her moves at Henley

Festival - a black-tie music

event where tickets cost up to

135 pounds a head, during the

weekend, reports the

Independent newspaper.

Besides dancing to the

"Dancing Queen", the song she

famously walked out to at the

Conservative Party conference

last year, May also sang along

to other Abba hits including

"Mamma Mia", "Take A

Chance" and "Money Money

Money" which were performed

by a tribute band. May's dance

moves became a subject of

media focus after she twice

awkwardly danced in front of

the cameras on a trip to South

Africa and Kenya last summer.

May and her husband Philip

will depart Downing Street on

July 24, after being succeeded

as Prime Minister by either

Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt,

the BBC reported.

She was forced to announce

her exit in May, amid a revolt

by Conservative MPs unhappy

about her failure to take the UK

out of the European Union

(EU) on March 29 and her decision

to open Brexit talks with

the opposition Labour Party.

May assumed office on July

16, 2016, after then Prime

Minister David Cameron

resigned following following

the outcome of the EU membership

referendum in which

52 per cent of voters voted in

favour of leaving the 28-member

bloc.

July 2019

3

Bareilly couple's friend arrested

Bareilly : Police in Bareilly have arrested Gaurav Arman,

who had helped

Ajitesh Kumar

elope and marry

Sakshi Misra, the

daughter of BJP

MLA Rajesh Misra.

According to

reports, Arman, a

close aide of the

BJP MLA also, was

arrested

on

Saturday in a 10-

month-old case of

rioting. A case

against 27 people

was registered in

September 2018

when a group

allegedly stopped a

Muharram procession

in Bareilly.

Arman and the

MLA were among

those named in the FIR but no action has been taken against the

latter. Circle officer Kuldeep Kumar said: "It is an old matter in

which some other accused have already been arrested. Arman

has been taken into custody in connection with the same case.

Our investigation is on." On Sunday, the police escorted Sakshi

and Ajitesh to Allahabad as the couple's petition in the

Allahabad High Court will come up for hearing on Monday.

Meanwhile, an investigation was launched into photos of

Ajitesh on Facebook where in some he is seen holding a gun.

Ajitesh has deleted his Facebook account. The couple has

accused the BJP MLA and his men of threatening them with

dire consequences after their inter-caste marriage. Sakshi is a

Brahmin while Ajitesh is a Dalit. The Uttar Pradesh ST/SC

Commission has sought a report from District Magistrate V.K.

Singh and SSP Muniraj G in the matter.

Muslims, Dalits to apply

for arms licenses

Lucknow : Muslims, Dalits and tribals will now start applying

for arms licenses for self-defence, following increase in

incidents of mob lynching. The pan-India movement will commence

from Lucknow on July 26. Shia cleric and General

Secretary of Majlis-e-Ulama-e-Hind, Maulana Kalbe Jawwad

will be organising the first camp in Lucknow on the suggestion

of Supreme Court lawyer Mehmood Pracha. According to the

cleric, these camps would be organised in at least 12 cities,

including six in Uttar Pradesh, where these communities are

under threat and need legal help.

"SC/ST and minorities have been pushed to the edge by the

government, which is soft on perpetrators of mob violence,"

Maulana Kalbe Jawwad said. "In such a scenario, there is no

option left, but self-defence. Many from these communities face

discrimination and they will avail of our legal expertise to fill

up forms and apply for arms license." The camp will ensure that

applicants with criminal antecedents or those with political or

business interests are kept out. "This campaign is not for the

Shia community, in particular, but for all minorities who feel

threatened. Once the applicants get their licenses, we will

deploy experts for arms training. And we will also act against

those who misuse their license," he said.

"Legal experts will be coming to Lucknow for holding the

camp. Clerics from others sects will also be included in the

movement. The brunt of mob lynching is borne by Sunnis and

Dalits too," Jawwad added. "If the government had taken strong

steps against perpetrators of hate crime, we would not have had

to take up such a measure. There are tough laws in the

Constitution and Indian Penal Code (IPC) which the government

should invoke. The draft bill on lynching is a mere eyewash.

If the government wakes up, we will withdraw the movement,"

the cleric said.


4 July 2019

ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Death toll in Himachal building collapse

rises to 14, search op in final leg

The army said the bodies of Lalsun, Surjeet Sharma and Rajan Bahadur were the latest to be found after the building

collapsed on Nahan-Kumarhati Road near Solan, some 55km away from Chandigarh, on Sunday afternoon.

Mayawati supports draft

Bill to curb mob lynching

Lucknow : Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)

President Mayawati on Saturday welcomed

the Uttar Pradesh Law Commission's draft

Bill that seeks stringent punishment for those

involved in mob

lynching. "Mob

lynching has

emerged as a dreadful

disease across

the country and the

loss of lives due to

this is a matter of

serious concern. In

this regard, there is a

strong need for a

stringent countrywide law, but the Centre's

approach towards it is lackadaisical." The

BSP supremo welcomed the submission of a

draft Bill by the commission which recommended

up to life imprisonment for the crime.

"This disease is a gift of the intention and

policy of the governments of not allowing

establishment of the rule of law. As a result,

not only the Dalits,

tribals or the reli-

Solan -The bodies of all the 13

Indian Army soldiers trapped under

the debris of the collapsed building in

Himachal Pradesh’s Solan district

were pulled out on Monday, officials

said, taking the death toll to 14.

The four-storey building housing a

small eatery and a guest house collapsed

following heavy rains on

Sunday afternoon when 30 Junior

Commissioned Officers (JCOs) of

Assam Rifles, all from the nearby

Dagshai cantonment, were eating

lunch there. Nearly 15 others, including

the eatery’s staff, were also present

inside the building.

The army said the bodies of Lalsun,

Surjeet Sharma and Rajan Bahadur

were the latest to be found after the

building collapsed on Nahan-

Kumarhati Road near Solan, some

55km away from Chandigarh, on

Sunday afternoon.

Solan’s district commissar KC

Chaman said most of the civilians

were rescued on Sunday but the search

and rescue operation will continue

until the entire accident area has been

scanned. “We completely rule out the

possibility of any other person in

debris,” he said. The other dead soldiers

have been identified as Hem

Khuman, M Naubin, Vishwer Singh,

Kumar Chourahi, Raj Kishore,

Balwinder Singh, Vinod, Ajit Kumar,

Pardeep Chand and Yogesh. The wife

of the building’s owner Archana Devi

was also killed in the accident, officials

said. Twenty-seven people,

including 17 soldiers and 10 civilians,

have been rescued from the debris.

National Disaster Response Force

(NDRF) official Ajay Verma, who is

involved in the rescue operations, said

the bodies retrieved from the debris

gious minorities,

but people from all

sections of the society

and police are

also becoming a

victim of mob

lynching,"

Mayawati said.

"Along with drafting

strong laws, the BJP will have to develop

a strong willpower like the BSP, to strictly

enforce the laws. Only then this disease can be

curbed," she said.

Maithili to be optional subject in Delhi schools: Sisodia

New Delhi : Government schools of Delhi

wil offer Maithili language as an optional subject

for students from Class 8 to 12, Education

Minister Manish Sisodia said on Monday.

He said the Delhi

Government will arrange free

coaching for students taking

Maithili as optional subject in

IAS/civil service examinations.

While speaking to

media, Sisodia said the government

will felicitate talents

for outstanding contribution to

Maithili-Bhojpuri along with organising a

five-day Maithili-Bhojpuri festival in

November. "Maithili will be taught as an

optional language in Delhi schools from class

8 to 12. Students of Delhi would now be able

to learn Maithili as an optional subject like

Urdu and Punjabi." He said his government

has done experiment with

Sanskrit and have got good

results. "The Maithili-

Bhojpuri academy will

arrange free coaching for the

students who appear in competitive

exams like civil services

with Maithili as an

optional subject."

Sisodia said there is no font for Maithili at

present. "The Delhi government has taken a

major step to have a font for Maithili.

were badly crushed. “We are praying

for some life in the debris,” Verma

said. As a team of the army and NDRF

staff continued to search for survivors

beneath the debris, inconsolable cries

of the family members of those stuck

inside could be heard as a body was

pulled out at about 3am on Monday.

It rained in the first few hours of the

rescue operation which began at

4.30pm on Sunday. Since then, there

have been no rains allowing the rescuers

to continue their operation. The

area had been witnessing heavy rains

for the last four days. Chaman said the

reason behind the building collapse

will be clear only after a probe. “This

building was constructed in 2009 and

a floor was added to it recently. An

FIR (first information report) against

the owner has already been lodged,”

he said while speaking to the media at

the rescue site. Chief minister Jairam

Thakur has already ordered a probe

into the incident and is likely to visit

the site later in the day. ‘Worst disaster

in the area’ Locals said it was the

worst disaster in the area where the

building collapsed in a few seconds,

giving no time to those inside it to run

out. “First, the fourth floor collapsed.

After some time, the entire structure

came down,” said Gaurav Prashar, an

eyewitness. The building owner’s

family lived on the top floor, the

eatery was on the third floor and the

second floor had a pantry and ground

floor was being used as a store.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

I met him in New York. He was in

his late 70s. He had a shiny pate and his

sin bore the remnants of his experience.

His eyes were what struck me the most

- there was a steely resolve and yet tenderness

to it. He was wearing worn

jeans and plaid shirt over a white tee.

He was walking tall and seemed taller

than his height of 6'3". I was lost. I had

taken the wrong turn and for some reason,

I couldn't decipher the map in my

hand. I walked across the street and

said, "Sir? Could you help me? I'm trying

to reach Chinatown?"

He stopped and looked down at me.

All of 4'11", I craned my neck, shielding

my eyes from the warm sun, now

piercing through my jacket. "Sure, hon"

he smiled. "In fact, I could walk you

there, myself.I'm Jon"

I was thrilled. I had company. We

sauntered along together - a picture of

the short and tall across the Brooklyn

Bridge. During the course of our conversation,

Jon mentioned, he had

served in thewar and his family in

WWII. The family, he said were patriots

and had a history of loyalty and duty

towards the country for generations.

He shared a few stories on valour.

One of them related to a brother from the

army, Bren. It was an incident during the

2003 Iraq invasion.Brenencountered a

group of militants while travelling

towards Baghdad. His platoon was

accosted from all sides. He had the

choice of saving his life and his platoon's

or simply firing and backing off. He

chose, differently. He directed his tank

towards the militants and kept firing

away with the mission to cross over the

enemy lines. At one time, he saw one of

the soldiers buckling with the shot he'd

received on his shoulder. He was holding

his shoulder tightly, with the blood gushing

out in spurtswhile his other arm

extended to reach a crumpled, half-torn

photo of a family. Bren got on his knees

and handed it to him. He was one of the

militants. Emotions ran deep, yet he had

a job to do. He turned away hitting out at

every target perceivable.

During the course of the attack, one

of his young soldiers, pointed towards a

hidden trench. Without losing time,

Bren charged into the enemy trench,

himself with complete disregard to his

life. His platoon followed him and kept

firing the shots. Pellets flew all around

till there was no ammunition left. Bren

bent and picked up the grenade

launcherone of the militants had left

behind and continued to fight. The

screams were muffled by the thunderous

and continuous rainfall of the

shells. It was deafening. Bren and his

platoon fought valiantly, crushing one

ASIA

Leadership and

The Art of War

target after another. His platoon, loyally

followed every instruction and signal,

accurately. Their faith in Bren was

uncompromising. He was awarded a

medal of valour for his courage upon

his return to NYC.

Being in the army, Jon said is all

about duty, self-service, dedication,

respect and personal courage. Millions

of those who choose this life, do so and

uphold the mission of loyalty toward

the country - the only goal. I distilled all

I learnt on the walk towards Chinatown

with Jon, into 7 leadership skillsyou

learn, being in the army. For starters,

leaders are not your average souls. They

stand out from the din, have the mettle

to go against the tide, zag when the

world around them is zigging away.

1. Accountability

Leadership is about taking responsibility.

You are responsible for your

team and accountable for their actions.

It's about you, doing your job towards

the goal enlisted. You make a visible

commitment and stick to it. There are

no reasons, no excuses, no voices of

defence. You accept and perform knowing

that the buck stops at your door.

You accomplish what's laid out as a

team.The army with its hierarchy

encourages this mindset.

2. Personal Courage

No matter how much the ground

beneath your feet is slipping, you don't

display your negative emotions - fear,

worry or indecisiveness. You learn to

demonstrate a high degree of confidence

and personal courage that exudes

faith and a can-do-spirit within the

team. Your team is driven by the energy

you exude. Their life depends on the

moves you make. Leading a team, in

times where the only distance between

life and death was the way you led a

team that had given away every ounce

of everything they had within themselves,

and barely had anything left to

put out there. The courage and resolve,

in the face of challenges with the highest

stakes and incredible pressure,

where you made the toughest decisions

on the spur of the moment with equal

calm. Courage speaks volumes.

3. Respect

This is unique to the army. It doesn't

matter which background you come

from, the ethnicity, race, religion or

gender, in these new times we live in -

all are treated with respect - same rank

and file. You are a part of a team whose

objective and mission are defined on

the values of integrity. A rank or title

does not earn you the right to command,

being competent at your work

does. All are married to that mission.

Nothing comes in the way because

respect is earned by giving.

4. Training

"Victory smiles upon those who

anticipate changes in the nature of war."

- Giulio Douhet

War can happen anytime. How prepared

are you? Practice and learn. No

matter at what level you are, training is

July 2019

5

neededfor you to gain higher

endurance, be more swifter and up to

date with new technology and methods,

the need for integrated and collective

training. Survival depends on adaptability

to change.

5. Learn to Follow

Leadership is about knowing when

to follow, too. When you've learnt to

follow, you learn how to lead. It strips

you of any ego whether you're rich or

poor or are better than your mate. It

returns the focus towards the mission.

6. Team comes first

You can't lead if you didn't have a

team. You are the guardian. You mentor

them and watch their backs. Show compassion.

Be accessible. Listen to them.

Make the environment conducive so

that they can do their job well. Success

cannot be got until each member is

operating as one.

7. Communication

The army thrives on effective communication

through the chain of command.

Life or death depends on this

level of clarity in communication. How

clear, concise and effective can you be

in defining the mission so all speak

with one voice and one message? In

fact, Jon spoke of something called a

"briefback" communication in the

army. He said that your communication

to be effective and understood should

have a three-part process. You give

orders, the person receiving it reiterates

those orders back to you, and you clarify

if everything is right or that which

may have been misunderstood.

The conversation with Jon was illuminating.To

most of us, the army commands

respect and admirationin securing

and protecting our country. In my

view, its realistic leadershipinspires you

like no other organisation. Leadership

Authority, teamwork, humility, work

ethics, honour, management, planning,

discipline and communication - above

all, the army teaches you that all are

equals on the same team - no caste,

creed, colour, religion, race. All belong

to one team.

Farzana Suri, Victory Coach

PIL challenges Foreigners Amendment Order in Assam

New Delhi : A petition in the Supreme Court

has challenged the constitutionality of provisions

in the Foreigners (Tribunals) Amendment Order

2019. The petition, filed by All Assam

Minorities' Students Union, contends that the

provisions in the amendment order are in stark

violation of the fundamental liberties guaranteed

under Articles 19 and 21 of those who have not

been included in the draft National Register of

Citizens (NRC) in the process of updating in

Assam. "As a consequence, it will not be in

favour of those who will prefer an appeal after

their non-inclusion in the final NRC and after

rejection of their claims". According to petitioners'

counsel, a bench headed by Chief Justice

Ranjan Gogoi issued notice to the Centre, after

the initial hearing on the matter. Petitioner was

represented through senior advocates Kapil Sibal

and Salman Khurshid. The petitioner claims to

be a prominent representative body and important

stakeholder in the NRC process.

The petitioner contends that the Amendment

Order, 2019 has been passed by the Centre without

any form of consultation with the concerned

stakeholders. The counsel for the petitioner contended

that a person may file an appeal only

upon production of a certified copy of the rejection

order received from the NRC authorities

within 60 days from the date of order of rejection

of claims/objection.

But, in the amendment Order, there is no provision

for condoning the delay, nor is there any

safeguard obligating NRC authorities to issue a

certified copy of the order in a time-bound manner.

The petitioner also claims that the amendment

order is jumbling up two distinct legal

processes - one by the tribunal and the other by

the district magistrate.


6 July 2019

ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Karnataka CM to seek trust vote on July 18

Bengaluru : Karnataka Chief

Minister HD Kumaraswamy will seek a

vote of confidence of the state

Assembly on July 18, against the backdrop

of 16 MLAs of the ruling Congress

and JD(S) tendering their resignation.

"I have directed the Chief Minister to

hold the floor test in the Assembly on

Thursday (July 18)," Speaker KR

Ramesh Kumar told reporters after a

meeting of the Business Advisory

Committee of the House here on

Monday. The meeting was attended by

Kumarswamy, Congress Legislature

Party leader Siddaramaiah and opposition

BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa.

The floor test will be held at 11 am

on Thursday. The BJP has been

demanding the floor test in the wake of

resignation by 16 MLAs of the ruling

alliance— 13 of the Congress and 3 of

the JD(S)—and withdrawal of support

to the Kumaraswamy government by

two other legislators. The resignations

have not yet been accepted by the

Speaker, who has said he would need

time to study whether these were in

proper format. Unhappy with the delay

by the Speaker in accepting their resignations,

15 of the rebel MLAs have

moved the Supreme Court, apprehending

that they could be disqualified.

The top court on July 12 ordered a

status quo on the petitions till Tuesday

when the matter would be heard again.

The Congress-JD(S), along with lone

legislators each of BSP and a regional

party and an Independent, had 118

MLAs, including the Speaker, in the

225-member House, when the staked

claim to form government last year. If

all the 18 legislators, including 16 rebels

and 2 Independents do not attend the

session, the effective strength of the

House for voting will be 205, including

105 of the BJP and excluding the

Speaker and the nominated member.

The BJP has issued a notice to

Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar during the

Business Advisory Committee meeting

attended by party leader BS

Yeddyurappa seeking to move the noconfidence

motion, party state general

secretary CT Ravi said.

“Yes, we have given a notice to move

a no-confidence motion,” he said.

"As the new halfway mark will be

103 for a simple majority, the ruling

combine with 100, including one from

the supporting party BSP will fall 3

short off it (halfway mark) to win the

trust vote and certain to be defeated,"

according to BJP spokesman G.

Madhusudana.

The Supreme Court will take up petitions

of 15 rebel MLAs of Congress-

JD(S) coalition seeking a direction to

assembly speaker KR Ramesh Kumar to

accept their resignations on Tuesday.

Ahead of by-polls, Mayawati, Akhilesh under CBI scanner

Pak anti-terror court grants pre-arrest bail to Hafiz Saeed, 3 aides

Lahore : Mumbai terror attack mastermind

and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed and

his three aides were granted pre-arrest

bail on Monday by an anti-terrorism

court in Pakistan in a case pertaining to

the banned outfit’s illegal use of land for

its seminary.

The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in

Lahore granted interim bail to Saeed

and his aides -- Hafiz Masood, Ameer

Hamza, and Malik Zafar -- until August

31 against surety bonds of Rs 50,000

each, Dawn newspaper reported. During

the hearing, Saeed’s counsel insisted

that Jamat-ud Dawah (JuD) was not

using any piece of land illegally and

urged the court to accept bail pleas.

According to officials, JuD’s network

includes 300 seminaries and

schools, hospitals, a publishing house

New Delhi : Ahead of the

crucial assembly by-elections in

Uttar Pradesh, dates for which

are expected to be announced

soon, the two key opposition

leaders of the ruling BJP,

Mayawati of the Bahujan Samaj

Party (BSP) and Akhilesh

Yadav of the Samajwadi Party

(SP), appear to be in big trouble

as the Central Bureau of

Investigation (CBI) is probing

two fresh cases of corruption

against them. The by-elections

will be for 12 assembly seats.

The Rs 1,100 crore sugar mills

scam, which is unraveling the

bureaucrat-political nexus in

selling state assets, involves Mayawati's

former secretary Netram while a multicrore

sand mining scam links Akhilesh

Yadav's aide Gayatri Prajapati with six

bureaucrats in looting public resources.

Sources in the CBI said that after

Wednesday's raids at various premises

of former SP Minister Prajapti and three

IAS officers in UP, the agency can question

Yadav during whose tenure, as UP

chief minister, the mining scam took

place. Sources said that before Prajapati

was appointed cabinet minister, then

chief minister Yadav had held the mining

portfolio from March 2012 to July

2013. During this period, the chief minister's

office had reportedly cleared several

files related to lease of mines.

The CBI would be auditing these

files to ascertain whether the then chief

minister's office had followed laid down

procedure for approving the lease of

mines. In Prajapati's case, CBI discovered

that mandatory e-tendering norms

were grossly violated. As minister,

Prajapati approved the lease of mines

directly for contractors of his choice.

Subsequently, on Prajapati's instruction,

the then mining secretary and district

magistrates concerned signed on the

files to execute the lease.

Sources said that though Prajapati

and ambulance service.

In March, Punjab

police said that government

seized control

of 160 seminaries, 32

schools, two colleges,

four hospitals, 178

ambulances and 153

dispensaries associated

with the JuD and its

charity wing the

Falah-e-Insaniat

Foundation (FIF) in

province.At least 56 seminaries and

facilities being run by the JuD and FIF

in southern Sindh province were also

taken over by authorities in the same

month.

Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the

was sacked by Yadav at a later stage, the

violations were ignored by the chief

minister's office. As of now, the CBI is

gathering more evidence on the scam

and would further interrogate three IAS

officers of UP to establish the role of the

chief minister's office during Yadav's

tenure. While Yadav faces trouble in

the days to come, his erstwhile alliance

partner Mayawati too seems to be in

deep waters. For Mayawati the problem

stems from the fact that her most trusted

bureaucrat, Netram, has been raided

by CBI in the sugar mills scam.

Sources said that Mayawati's fate

now depends on the disclosure statement

of Netram to CBI

relating to approvals for

disinvestment of 21 sugar

mills. According to the

CBI FIR, sugar mills were

sold at throwaway prices in

2010-11. Mayawati was

UP chief minister from

2007 to 2012. Sources said

that Netram, who ruled the

roost in UP during

Mayawati's chief ministership,

has earlier faced

income tax raids over suspected

tax evasion amounting

to Rs 100 crore.

Another close aide of

Mayawati, Vinay Priya

Dubey, a former managing director of

UP State Sugar Corporation, has also

been raided by the CBI in connection

with the sugar mills scam. Sources said

that Mayawati, who steered away from

the Disproportionate Assets Case earlier,

now faces a tough time as CBI interrogates

members of the inner coterie of

the BSP supremo in the scandal which

has of late rocked politics in Lucknow.

The by-elections are crucial for both

Mayawati and Yadav because, after the

poor showing by their parties in the Lok

Sabha polls, they will decide who is the

principal opponent of the Bharatiya

Janata Party in the state.

front organisation

for the Lashkar-e-

Toiba which is

responsible for carrying

out the 2008

Mumbai attacks.

The US

Department of the

Treasury has designated

Saeed as a

S p e c i a l l y

Designated Global

Terrorist, and the

US, since 2012, has

offered a USD 10 million reward for

information that brings Saeed to justice.

Under pressure from the international

community, Pakistani authorities

have launched investigations into matters

of the JuD, LeT and the FIF regarding

their holding and use of trusts to

raise funds for terrorism financing.

Meanwhile, the Lahore High Court

(LHC) issued notices to the federal government,

the Punjab government and

the Counter-Terrorism Department

(CTD) regarding a petition filed by

Saeed and his seven aides, challenging

charges of terror financing and money

laundering against them.

A two-member bench of the LHC

comprising Justice Shehram Sarwar

Chaudhry and Justice Mohammad

Waheed Khan asked the parties to submit

their replies within two weeks.

A lawyer for the federal government

objected to the notices, arguing that the

petition was non-maintainable. The

bench, however, dismissed the objection

and adjourned proceedings until

TDP MP asks

Naidu to control

his 'pet dog'

Amaravati : The war of words

between two leaders

of the TDP in

Andhra Pradesh

touched a new low

with Vijayawada

MP Kesineni Nani

on Monday asking

the party President

N. Chandrababu

Naidu to control

his "pet dog". The MP asked the former

Chief Minister to clarify whether he

wants him to continue in Telugu Desam

Party (TDP) or not. "Chandra Babu

Garu if you don't want people like me

in the party you can let me know. I will

resign as Member of Parliament and

also to the Party membership. If you

want people like me to continue, please

control your pet dog," tweeted Nani.

The tweet has an obvious referrence

to TDP leader and Member of Andhra

Pradesh Legislative Council Buddha

Venkanna with whom Nani had a war

of words on the micro blogging site.

Reacting to the MP's latest tweet,

Venkanna announced that he was putting

an end to the 'twitter war' for the

sake of the party and Chandrababu

Naidu.

July 30, the paper said.

The Counter Terrorism Department

(CTD) of Punjab Police on July 3 registered

23 FIRs against 13 leaders of the

JuD, including Saeed, on the charges of

“terror financing” in different cities of

Punjab province.

On Friday, Saeed, who is reportedly

living at his Jauhar Town residence in

Lahore, challenged these FIRs in the

Lahore High Court.

“Hafiz Saeed and other (petitioners)

are not members of Lashkar-e-Toiba

(LeT) as per the (earlier) judgement of

the LHC. The petitioners have no nexus

with LeT or Al-Qaeda,” the petition

said. It urged the LHC to declare that

the petitioners are not linked with the

LeT and therefore the CTD’s FIRs be

declared illegal.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

July 2019

Bambai’s Cinema and its cultural biases

7

Caste, gender and religious biases

are a norm in Bambai cinema. Ofcourse,

there was a time when cinema sophistry

was due to the beauty of Urdu language

as Yusuf Khan, Naushad, Sahir, Kaifi

Azami, Jaan Nisar Akhtar, Gulam

Mohammad, Mehboob, Kamal Amrohi,

and so many others were part of it. Even

the non Muslims used to speak Urdu

and the script was urdu. I am sure, Raj

Kapoor, Devanand, Dharmendra, Manoj

Kumar, Ashok Kumar all had known

Urdu language and were comfortable

with it. So, in that way, it was a

Hindustani Cinema or Urdu language

cinema.

The Hindi Cinema, as it is called

today, has more contribution from the

non Hindi speaking people. Whether it

is Lata Mangeshkar or her sisters,

Mohammad Rafi, Sachin Dev Barman,

Salil Chaudhury, Hemant Kumar,

Kishore Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Yeshu

Das, S P Bala Subramanywam, and others,

Hindi was not their first language

but they enriched this.

The greatest of all was Shailendra

whose poetry touched our heart as it

came from his own experiences of life.

And who was Shailendra and why has

he been so spiritual and why was his

poetry so inspiring. Our left friends suggested

that he was a worker in the railway

and that he remained a ‘communist’.

But none tried to put ‘Pandit’

Shailendra before his name.

Shailendra’s caste remained unknown.

Was it deliberate not to know abouit it

or the cinema wanted to let it remain as

usual. What would have happened if

Shailendra had declared his caste identity

in a cinema where hero always come

from a ‘poor’ brahmin families i.ie ‘economically

poor’ and fight for the have

nots. Yes, this question itself was

answered by Dinesh Shankar Shailendra

about a year back when we discussed

things. Though it does not matter but it

matter a lot too. He said, his father

belong to Chamar community but then

probably was fearful in those days, his

‘acceptance’ would be affected if he

reveal it. This is a dirty fact otherwise

why efforts were not made by our

researchers to know more about him.

There are definitely good films but as

the tradition of this cinema is, the main

patrons of it are the Savarna ‘progressive’

and therefore anything and any

solution has to come according to their

wish. So, a good

Samaritan always

come from the

powerful castes,

preferably

Brahmin who will ‘help’ the ‘poor’ and

redefine what the ‘dharma’ is.

Blacks, physically challenged, people

with obscenities are mostly laughed

at and can never be heroes. Most of the

characters in these characteristics are

vilified. There was a famous song where

Hema Malini plays as a nat or Banjara

woman dancer, which is a lively

nomadic community, ‘duniya ka mela,

mele me ladki, ladki akeli sanno, naam

uska’, 1972 Raja Jani or hum banjaro

kee baat mat poocho di from dharmvir

played by Dharmendra and Jeetendra..

She played that in Sita aur Gita too and

there are many other films. Having seen

and known these communities from

close quarters, I can say they have more

talent in singing and acting

than those who pass through

the ‘acting’ classes yet it

never occurred to our star

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

directors and producers to

look for the talent from the

community.

If you visit Rajasthan, there is a community

called Bahurupiyas and watch

their talent when they act live in solo

performances but then their caste

become the biggest hurdle. You watch

their shows and give them ‘alms’. So

caste decide your telent. These

Bahurupiyas are so talented and yet they

are an absolutely landless community in

Rajasthan and isolated. They have to

beg for their survival. The government

might give some hand outs to a few of

them who participate in a ‘cultural’ festivals

but broadly their caste identity

become bigger than their talent. It is

only when a brahmin or a

savarna play Bahurupiya

or Banjara in the film that

ensures the ‘success’ of the

film.

The similar things can

be spoken about many

other films. I can believe in

good intentions but why

the film makers not

attempt to look a character

from the community who can speak on

the issue with conviction. It is like this,

we ask the extras of the dark colour or

obese to mock at themselves and this

practice is from good old days when

Tuntun used to make fun of herself. Can

the cinema ask blacks from South

Africa to play and mock at themselves.

Cinema need Mohammad Ali who

was unambiguous about his identity and

very clear about the oppressor. The

Holllywood is changing as there is

space and they are still clear about the

dangers of the racism but the issue of

caste discrimination has not reached

there. Perhaps, one day, they will

explore the issue. One thing is clear, it is

good to speak about discrimination but

equally important is to find voices from

the communities and encourage them. I

can say firmly, they will play a much

better role and can show the discrimination

in a much powerful way.

I read many reactions about a film

which has released recently and about

its upper caste hero who plays as a messiah.

One friend wrote in his facebook

post that Dalits in India needed a Martin

Luther King and only then they will be

able to play their roles, till then the

Brahmins will always enjoy the hegemony.

Well, I am sorry to say that revolution

brought by Dr Baba Saheb

Ambedkar is far bigger and superior

than what Martin Luther King could do.

The new generations of Assertive

Ambedakarites will not wait for Holly

wood to make a film but they will themselves

do it and expose the various

facets of discrimination.

Any effort done by any one to being

an issue to limelight should be appreciated

but it is equally important to see

how the issue is addressed. Issue of participation

and fair representation

is equally important to address an issue

in all fairness. Whether the star

directors and producers are able to see it

or not, the new generation

Ambedkarites are ready and will surprise

you in the coming days with their

creativity and ideas. After all, 21st century

belong to Ambedkarism and

Ambedkarite assertion.

Power situation precarious, can’t help if

Sidhu doesn’t want to do his job: Capt

New Delhi-Talking about the resignation of his cabinet colleague

Navjot Singh Sidhu, Punjab Chief Minister Capt

Amarinder Singh on Monday said he could not help if the power

minister didn’t want to do his job. Singh said he was told Sidhu

had sent his resignation to Congress president Rahul Gandhi on

Sunday and delivered a copy to the CM residence in Chandigarh

on Monday morning. “I will have a look at the resignation once

I return to Chandigarh in a day or two,” Singh said after paying

a courtesy visit to PM Narendra Modi in Parliament on Monday.

Singh said the power situation of the state is very precarious.

“This is our most critical time--June to October--since it is the

paddy season. Seventy per cent Punjab has received rains while

30 per cent hasn’t received even one shower. The power situation

in the state is very bad and I daily receive reports on the power

situation. This is the job of the power minister but if he doesn’t

want to do it, I cannot help it,” said Amarinder.

Singh had changed Sidhu’s portfolio from local bodies to

power in an early July state cabinet reshuffle. Sidhu came to

Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi complaining that he had

been singled out for punishment over non-performance in the

Lok Sabha polls. After waiting for almost a month, Sidhu

resigned from the Punjab cabinet on Sunday protesting against

the change of his ministry.

Sometimes, I would prefer to be bitterly

frank. These days, I feel that people get what

they deserve. You have a PM whose credentials

in Babari Masjid demolition and

Gujarat violence and many other issues are

well established. You have a Home Minister

whose credentials are also well established.

So, why are they there on top of us? There

are only two answers for this question. The

first one is that those who are aware do not

speak out. It could be because of fear or it

could be because of their selfish reasons. We

have around a couple of dozen crores of

middle class population. They are still waiting

to see what is there for them. Among this

population, a small minority is also living

with pretensions of radical and critical

minds. What have they been doing so far?

Therefore, either we will have to come to a

conclusion that `people do not have

strength’ or that `people would get what they

deserve’. If people had strength then these

guys won’t be sitting on top of us. And if the

critical minds could perform united actions

without fear, then also we would not have

faced this situation.

I remember a similar situation which

affected me deeply 3 or 4 decades back. The

post emergency situation in India saw a

large number of youth and students’ groups

extremely active in criticising emergency.

But during emergency, most of them did not

have the guts to do so. Lifting of emergency

was a liberation for many. For those who

kept quiet in fear as well those who fought.

So, between 1977 to 1980, I would call it as

a period of renaissance in India.

People came out with radical literature,

paintings, films and many creative and political

works. Those who keep mum today are

Bitterly Frank !

waiting for a period of renaissance, so that

they can express themselves without hurting

themselves. The post 1980 period was not

very healthy for many. The groups started

splintering. The political opposition called

Janata Dal comprising of many diverse sections

of different ideologies

also fell apart. Many youngsters

could not take the

transformation from liberation

to nothingness. Some

became mad, some became

religious, some committed

suicide, some went to make

money and some went in

search of comfortable jobs

where they could keep mum

again. While this process

was happening, one of my

-K.P. Sasi

friends who used to draw political poster

with me in JNU also was psychologically

affected. Some people felt that he became

mad. But he did one of the sanest things at

that time. He put up poster in front of the

JNU library which said: `You Middle Class

Buffoons, Come Out Of Your

Cocoons !’.

It was the sanest thing to say at

that time. After four decades, at

this point of time, I am eager to

meet this friend.

I still remember the visual he

drew on the poster. These are the

situations where I feel that the

notions of sanity and insanity

should be placed upside down. We

may survive as free citizens if we

start doing that.


8 July 2019

ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Dictators such as Adolf Hitler,

Joseph Stalin, Saddam Hussein,

Benito Mussolini are known for their

greed for power and criminality.

When all of them were alive they

used all types of political & military

power to suppress and eliminate their

political opponents with the help of

the secret police. They instilled

social, economic and cultural distress

among the innocent people to maintain

their dictatorship.

Historical records show that all

dictators emerged out of big lies that

people accepted owing to social and

economic frustration and allowed

them to rule their respective countries.

Historical records also show

that these dictators left their respective

countries in social chaos and economic

gaffes. Chairman Mao Tse

Tung, The chairman of the

Communist Party of China famously

said, “Political power grows out of

the barrel of a gun”. After massive

victory in 2019, now the saffron party

has the gun and the bullets in administrative

bodies such as CBI, ED, and

Election Commission so & so on.

In the Indian context, for the last

five years, many fierce tyrants

emerged owing to their affiliation to a

political party that wanted to see

India a “Hindu Country”. The idea of

“Hinduvta was sown by the RSS

leader Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.

Under the Congress government

before 2104, the newly emerged

fierce tyrants were not allowed to

destroy the secular ethos of India as

today is allowed by the higher echelons

of the Bhartiya Janata

Party(BJP). Unprecedented political

power at the center and in most of the

Indian states, the newly born fierce

tyrants gets a strength to vilify and

suppress the members of the marginalized

communities on purpose.

I would like to cite a few examples

of newly born fierce tyrants to

demonstrate the accusations. Giriraj

Singh, who defeated an intellectual

and outspoken for the rights of the

marginalised groups Khanhaiya

Kumar of Jawaharlal Nehru

University, is now a Minister of

Animal Husbandry, Dairy, and

Fisheries in the BJP government said,

“ Those who cannot say Vande

Mataram or cannot respect the

Motherland, the nation will never forgive

them”. Similarly, Giriraj Singh

during his public meeting speech at

Deogarh said, “Those opposing Modi

are looking at Pakistan, and such people

will have place in Pakistan and

not in India”. Prime Minister Modi

did not kick him out of the party

rather awarded him with a new portfolio.

Sakshi Maharaj, a self-proclaimed

saint urged Hindu women to produce

at least 4 children to protect the

Hindu religion. He even took a dig at

the Muslim community saying “The

concept of four wives and forty children

just won’t work in India,”. The

temple was there and will exist forever.

No person will be allowed to keep

even a brick in the name of Babri

mosque”. Such controversial statements

are a regular feature by the BJP

members of Parliament. Very cleverly,

other BJP leaders like Mukhtar

Abbas Naqvi, a Minister of Minority

Affairs, the government of India

asserted that Sakshi Mahraj`s views

are not the views of the party.

BJP`s Union Minister. Jayant

Many Fierce

Tyrants in India

Singh was photographed garlanding

the murder accused(India Today 6

July 2018). BJP leader Kailash

Vijayvargiya’sson – and the party’s

MLA in Madhya Pradesh – attacked a

civic body official with a cricket bat,

after a heated argument over a demolition

drive. Maharashtra Congress

MLA Nitesh Rane, son of former CM

Narayan Rane and his supporters

threw mud on the highway engineer

during an inspection of a stretch of

the Mumbai-Goa highway.

The shameful acts of the BJP MPs

and MLAs intend to instill fear and

intimidation among the people of various

castes other than Hindus that if

you do not succumb yourself to our

dictates, be ready for the worst consequences.

A resurgence of Hindu

nationalism built on crazy vendetta is

going to be a bane for the members of

the marginalized communities and

vulnerable groups. Undisciplined

ultra-nationalist, roughnecks, egoistic

and potentially dangerous MPs,

MLAs, and workers of the BJP and

RSS will unleash more atrocities on

the innocent citizens if not stopped. It

means the more you become submissive

the more you will be beaten. The

saffron party has no respect for the

Indian constitution. Justice cannot be

obtained through outdated toothless

laws. The whole judicial system is

working under the thump of the saffron

party hence the citizens of India

should not expect any justice. In that

case, the innocent citizens have left

no choice than to think of an alternate

at the earliest.

It is unfortunate that the RSS that

claims to be a humanitarian service

organization did not utter even a single

word on the beatings of the officers.

The RSS has never even issued

any statement opposing such rustic

behaviors of the BJP leaders. Modi as

a Prime Minister of India, however,

opposed such rustic behavior but

hardly takes stringent action against

such leaders and workers of the BJP.

Modi`s Sabhka Sath, Sab Ka Vikas(

together with all, development for all)

slogan has no meaning at all if such

rustic behavior keeps on getting

moral and political strength from the

central leadership of the BJP.

Rajiv Partap Rudy, a BJP

spokesperson while

debating the 2019budget

on (Republic TV channel

asked his co-panelist to

shut the mouth on asking

a question on the data.

This is how the BJP leaders

and spokespersons

treat the intellectual

debating class. Arrogance

and brutish attitude prevail

in abundance among

the saffron leaders.

Rudy`s arrogant attitude

is: “I do not give a shit

who you are”!

From assassination of Gandhi ji to

beating, humiliating, stigmatizing

and lynching of the members of the

marginalized groups by the saffron

sympathizers very much indicate that

the DNA of the saffron party carries

dictatorial traits. For the past five

years, a common man can observe

that the emergence of fierce tyrants

under the aegis of the saffron party is

on the rise which is, of course, dangerous

for the Indian society. Under

the Modi government India`s

Happiness ranking drops to 140 way

behind Pakistan, China, and

Bangladesh. A common man is bothered

about food, clothing, and shelter.

He or she is least bothered what Modi

ji you have planned long term goals

for the coming 25-30 years. Social

and political instability prevailing in

the country will never allow your

dream of becoming a 5 trillion economy.

There is an urgent need to fix up

these instabilities. Incremental agenda

will derail the process of development

sooner or later.

Today, Modi`s government is boastful

of 5 trillion economy. Who should

not be proud of such a robust economy?

A common man

simply wants jobs, education,

health and roads

to travel, nothing else.

In 2016, NITI Aayog

– Dr Rahul Kumar

Chairman Amitabh

Kant projected that

India would become a

$10-trillion economy by

2032.Today, the same

Amitabh Kant projects

only 5 trillion economy.

Is our so-called intellectuals

speaking on

financial conjectures

and speculations?

While presenting the Union

Budget, interim finance minister

Piyush Goyal claimed. “We are

poised to become a $5 trillion economy

in the next five years and aspire to

become a $10 trillion economy in the

next eight years thereafter,” said

Goyal. $10 trillion is the equivalent

of 705,00,00,000 lakh crore at current

exchange rates.

PHD chamber of Commerce and

Industry, a think tank in New Delhi

organized a programme on “ Rural

India: A Road to US $5 trillion

Economy by 2025. The panelists

argued that in the first 40 years of

independence, the country hardly

grew at 4% and today a 7-8% growth

is the norm which is very much

achievable. In the graph PHD chamber

has already projected GDP 9.87

in 2030 without considering the cascading

effects of the global economy.

According to Confederation of Indian

Industry (CII) India is now set to

become a US$5 trillion economy in

the next five years.

In my opinion, there are two types

of fierce tyrants in the saffron party;

one who thrash people and force

them to succumb to their unlawful,

brutish commandments and others

who confound the people of India

with their spurious intelligence. Modi

Ji, yes the debating class of India is

truly “Professional Pessimists” as

long as you and your administrators,

economists and leaders keep on fudging

the data.

It is a matter of hilarity when

Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance

Minister of India, government of

India proposed “Study in India”

schemes in India to be launched and

urging the international students to

come to India and study. It is like

“Make in India” that did not pick up

foreign investment. For certain people

are going to be deceived again.

National universities and IITs in India

lack quality infrastructure badly.

Delay in announcing ‘Education

Policy’ further, deplete the trust of the

international stakeholders. It is unfortunate

that Modi 1.0 did not announce

even a single new scholarship scheme

for the SCs/STs.

According to a report by UNICEF,

an estimated 8.1 million children are

out of school, the majority of those

belonging to the disadvantaged

groups. The Finance Minister should

first set her house in order. Populist

schemes such as ‘Study in India’,

‘Make in India’ will achieve hardly

anything tangible but surely bad

image for India in the international

arena. The entry of the private players

in the education sector will further

give impetus to deterioration of the

quality. The majority of the private

institutions aims to profit not to provide

equitable & inclusive education

to the students. The PPP model in the

Indian education sector has miserably

failed due to reticence attitude of the

HRD Ministry

I conclude this brief article by urging

the people of India to rise against

many fierce tyrants in India; do not

mortgage the future of sons and

daughters; do not allow further

destruction of democratic ethos; do

not allow to beat you in the daylight;

do not allow them to spoil generations

after generations. Let me

remind the people of India that

Gandhi ji face and philosophy for the

saffron sympathizers in general and

Modi, in particular, is a HOGWASH.

Recently, Modi unveiled the statue of

Lal Bahadur Shastri in Varanasi, the

second Prime Minister of India. Modi

neither respects Jawans nor Kisans’.

Death of Jawans terror attacks

rose by 106 percent in J & K

between 2014-18. In 2017 Modi 1.0

told the Supreme Court of India, over,

12,000 farmerssuicide per year.

These figures are tarrying and alarming.

Bob Menendez rightly said:

“Tyrants and dictators have incited

ethnic and religious minorities for

centuries in order to consolidate

power for themselves”. There is an

urgent need for the people of India to

understand this.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk ASIA July 2019 9

Flood havoc continues in Bihar,

over 18 lakh people affected

Patna : From villages to cities, entire

north Bihar is facing a serious flood situation,

forcing people to abandon their inundated

houses to seek shelter at safer places,

even as water levels of rivers in the area continues

to rise. The worst-affected districts are

Araria, Kishanganj, Supaul, Darbhanga,

Sheohar, Sitamarhi, East Champaran,

Madhubani, and Muzaffarpur. According to

official reports, over 18 lakh people in 352

panchayat areas of 55 blocks have been

affected. Meanwhile, rivers flowing in from

neighbouring Nepal are overflowing.

State Water Resources Department

spokesman Arvind Kumar Singh on Monday

said the Bagmati, Kamala and Mahanandra

rivers are flowing over the danger mark at

various places, while the flow of the Kosi, at

Veerpur Barrage, had increased from 1.94

lakh cusecs at 6 a.m. to 2.01 lakh cusecs at 8

a.m. and that of the Gandak had also risen.

Meanwhile, the Disaster Management

Department said relief and rescue operations

were continuing in the flood-affected areas.

A total of 19 companies of the National

Disaster Response Force and the State

Disaster Response Force have been deployed

in the area. An official said that 152 relief

camps have been set up, and are housing

over 45,000 people. The threat of flood

looms large in two areas of Muzaffarpur,

where water has entered over 2,000 houses.

Houses have also been water-logged in East

Champaran. In Sitamarhi, which has also

been badly hit, a group of affected people

said that they are yet to see any relief and

rescue measures in the area. Chief Minister

Nitish Kumar had carried out an aerial survey

of the region on Sunday, and had

instructed people to speed up the relief and

rehabilitation measures.

Rain fury on in Tripura, Mizoram,

22,000 SHIFTED TO CAMPS

Agartala : Over 22,000 people

have been shifted to relief

camps and other safer places in

Tripura and Mizoram due to

flooding of low-lying areas and

villages by uninterrupted rains

over the past three days, officials

said on Monday.

At least four people were

drowned in swollen rivers in the

two states and their bodies have

been recovered.

Train services between

Tripura, Mizoram and the rest of

the country have been affected

due to rain and landslides, while

water, electricity and telephone

services were badly affected due

to damages in the heavy downpour.

India Meteorological

Department Director Dilip Saha,

however, told IANS that the situation

is expected to improve

from Tuesday.

According to officials in

Tripura Disaster Control Centre,

over 17,000 people have taken

shelter in 64 relief camps on the

outskirts of Agartala and four

other districts - Khowai,

Unokoti, Gomati and South

Tripura.

"We have deployed Tripura

State Rifles troopers and

National Disaster Response

Force (NDRF), police and civil

defence personnel to rescue the

marooned people," West Tripura

District Magistrate Sandeep

Mahatme told the media.

"Water in several rivers,

including Howrah, has crossed

the danger level. We have taken

precautionary measures to deal

with any eventuality," he said.

The body of a youth who had

apparently drowned while collecting

wood from the flooded

Muhuri river in South Tripura

was recovered on Sunday, officials

said. Agartala and its outskirts

have been badly affected

due to the continuous rain since

Saturday and a large part of the

city has been submerged

"Around 311 mm rainfall was

recorded in Agartala since

Saturday against the normal

average daily rainfall of 11 to 12

mm," a Revenue and Relief

Department official said.

Chief Minister Biplab Kumar

Deb has asked Chief Secretary

Usurupati Venkateswarlu and

other officials to remain alert to

deal with the situation. In

Mizoram, over 5,000 people

have taken shelter in safer places

in different districts as major

rivers and their tributaries submerged

over 500 houses and low

lying areas.

Three people, including a 5-

year-old girl, drowned in different

rivers and their bodies were

recovered by the State Disaster

Response Force personnel.

According to the Mizoram

Disaster Control Centre, headquarters

of three of the state's

eight districts - Mamit, Lunglei

and Lawngtlai - were cut-off

from capital Aizawl due to heavy

landslides and damage to roads

including National Highway 54.

Delivered, says minister Navjot

Sidhu on his resignation to

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh

New Delhi : Navjot Sidhu, the Punjab minister who announced

his exit from the Amarinder Singh government

on social media over the weekend,

finally sent his resignation to the

chief minister on Monday. This one, he

confirmed on Twitter, had been delivered

at Capt Amarinder Singh’s official residence.

Sidhu hadn’t taken charge of the

power ministry that he was allocated by

chief minister Amarinder Singh in a

reshuffle last month when he was

stripped of his portfolios of Local

Bodies, Tourism and Culture. Sidhu,

who had never really gotten along with

the chief minister, had last month sent his resignation to Congress

president Rahul Gandhi after the reshuffle. That letter – released by

Navjot Sidhu on Sunday – is widely seen as a signal to the party that

it was becoming difficult for him to continue in the Punjab cabinet.

There were some attempts by senior Congress leaders to negotiate

a compromise but the effort did not get far. Navjot Sidhu too continued

to skip office and was seen in public over the last month in

his home town of Amritsar and at the Vaishno Devi shrine. Sidhu’s

‘I quit’ message on social media over the weekend was also

designed to respond to the Bharatiya Janata Party that had been

hurling darts at him for absenting himself from the power ministry

and cabinet meetings, demanding that he resign if he wasn’t going

to work as a minister.

Navjot Sidhu also has had to face some awkward moments over

his reported remarks in the run-up to the national elections over

Rahul Gandhi-Smriti Irani faceoff in Amethi. Sidhu had responded

to criticism over Rahul Gandhi contesting elections from Kerala’s

Wayanad, pointing that he would quit politics if Rahul Gandhi lost

the Amethi Lok Sabha.

But his exit from the Punjab cabinet is widely linked to the

widening divide with the Punjab chief minister.

The cold war between Amarinder and Sidhu has not abated since

the cricketer-turned-politician went to Pakistan on the invitation of

Prime Minister Imran Khan for his swearing-in ceremony last

August. The visit sparked a controversy because Sidhu was seen

hugging Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Bajwa.

Woman dies in clash over drinking

water in Andhra’s Srikakulam district

Hyderabad-An acute drinking water shortage in Andhra

Pradesh

claimed its

first victim

on Monday

after a

woman died

in a clash

over filling

up water

from a public

tap in

Srikakulam

district,

police said. The deceased was identified as Tatipudi Padma (38), a

resident of Palliveedhi. According to sub-inspector of police K

Venkatesh, Padma was standing in a serpentine queue at a public

tap for a long time to fill her pot when another woman named

Podugu Gunnamma tried to jump the queue. An angry Padma

picked up an argument with Gunnamma. Another woman Teppala

Sundaramma joined the issue. It soon turned into a clash and the

women started attacking one another with their pots.

“In a fit of rage, Sundaramma beat up Padma with her steel pot

and pushed her down on the cement road. Padma suffered serious

injuries on her head and died instantly,” the police officer said.

The locals told the police that there was a severe water scarcity

in the area and authorities were releasing drinking water through

public taps once in two or three days. “There has been mad rush at

the public taps leading to stampedes everyday because the women

are worried the water supply would be cut before their turn comes,”

Venkatesh said. The police have registered a case of culpable homicide

not amounting to murder and detained Sundaramma.

The woman’s death came three days after Andhra Pradesh chief

minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy announced a calamity relief fund

with Rs 2,000 crore to help farmers overcome the impact of a

severe drought. Meanwhile, at Antipeta village of Sitanaragam

block of adjacent Vizianagaram district, hundreds of women staged

a dharna and blocked the state highway on Monday demanding that

the authorities supply drinking water. “There has been no drinking

water supply to eleven villages in the block from Baggam

Doravalasa pilot project for the last one week. We want the authorities

to respond immediately and resolve this severe water shortage,”

one of the agitating women told local reporters.


10 July 2019

ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

36 more cows dead in UP

Ayodhya/Pratapgarh, In a shocking

into a swamp when it rains continuously

incident, 30 cows died at a shelter home

and the animals get stuck in it. Shelters

in Ayodhya, while six others were dead

that have tin roofs are also poorly maintained

and in some cases the roof has been

after being caught in a swamp created by

rain water in Pratapgarh. The deaths in

blown away.”

Ayodhya and Pratapgarh on Saturday

Fodder is also not regularly available

comes after 35 cows died at a shelter

to cows in the shelter homes and sone of

home in Prayagraj on Friday due to a

the deaths could be due to starvation,

lightning strike.

sources said.

What is even more shocking is the fact

The doctor said that burying the carcasses

in the shelter home would lead to

that the caretakers in these cow shelters

have used JCB machines to bury the carcasses

in the shelters itself without opting

days. Cow protection has been one of the

infections and more deaths in the coming

for post-mortem of the bovines.

priorities of the Yogi Adityanath government

in Uttar Pradesh and the Chief

UP Minister Moti Singh, who belongs

to Pratapgarh, has ordered an inquiry into

Minister has directed that shelter homes

the incident.

for stray cows should be set up in all districts.

However, most of the cow shelters

A veterinary doctor in Ayodhya said on

condition of anonymity: “The cows in

are incomplete with only a boundary.

these shelters are left in the open and have

Many of them do not even have a roof to

to face incessant rains. Since there is no

keep the animals safe from the vagaries of

flooring in these shelters, the mud turns

weather.

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Dhanaulti (Uttarakhand) : When one

reaches Dhanaulti -- a picturesque site in

the Garhwal region of 'Devbhoomi'

(Gods' abode) Uttarakhand -- one can not

but feel the fresh breeze gushing through

deodar trees and emitting an earthy,

woody aroma. This is when you know

you have left behind the hustle and bustle

of the crowded city.

With Mussoorie - the Queen of the

Hills - becoming over-crowded, it is

starting to lose its charm and people

are now wanting to explore other

options. Located just 25 km away is

Dhanaulti which is fast emerging as

the next big tourist hill station. "If one

wants to cherish nature at its best,

experience fresh air, drink the mineral

water coming directly from the

Himalayas, then Dhanaulti is the

place to be. "But, say it a boon or a

bane, it is fast getting commercialised

and we have been seeing a lot more

tourists than before. Though they are

good for our business, people leave

behind a trail of garbage which is very

difficult to clean up. It is ruining the

natural beauty of the Himalayas," Anil

Kumar, owner of Burans Breeze hotel,

told IANS.

Kumar, who himself belongs to

Delhi, said he wanted to escape the noise

and pollution of the national capital and

hence built a lodge here from where one

can see the snow-peaked Himalayan

range.

Decoding the name of his hotel - one

of the oldest in the area - he said that

'Burans' is for the Burans flower (rhododendron)

that grows here which brightens

the entire place with its red colour during

spring time, and 'Breeze' is for the strong

cool breeze that the place witnesses.

"To attract tourists, we have grown

cauliflower, potato, and radish in our gardens

and use them fresh in our restaurant,"

Kumar said.

Another hotelier, Rakesh Garg, owner

of Silver Dew, bought land here in 1997

when Uttarakhand was still a part of Uttar

Pradesh but established a hotel only

recently when Dhanaulti started seeing

tourists. "Back then I didn't know the

potential of Dhanaulti becoming a major

tourist destination. I bought the land for

leisurely purposes but now I see a lot of

tourists - from bachelors to families," he

said. Speaking to IANS, Ajay Pawar, who

is a native and handles several hotels in

the area, said the hotel business here is

going good. "People are liking this place

because of its peaceful and chilly environment

and the privacy that it offers.

"Several people are coming here and

demanding rooms or cottages which are

isolated and close to nature. They don't

come here for luxury, they come here to

get close to nature, to hear the birds chirp

and for the fresh cool breeze."

"People love this place so much that

they want to buy land here but most of it

has already been bought and new hotels

are coming up there. The prices of land

have also shot up in merely last 2-3

years." Gambhir Singh, a farmer who now

runs a confectionery shop, said people are

shifting from agriculture activities to

work in hotels. Even if a person washes

utensils in the hotel, he can make more

than what he makes in agriculture, he

added. Painting a gloomy picture for the

future of farming on the hills, he said the

new generation here does not prefer

farming work because of increasing

costs, risks associated with it, government's

apathy, and hard work involved

which don't pay off. Kishori, manager

of hotel Rock Resort, said that tourists

demand good surroundings more than

comfortable rooms, and hence to

attract them, they had have planted

apple, plum, walnut, and apricot trees.

"People are very fascinated with the

trees, they come and take pictures with

them. We also make fresh chutneys

and jams with the fruits," he said.

Vinita Chouhan, member of a selfhelp

group based out of Mussoorie, has

put up a shop in Buranskhanda as the

place has started witnessing lots of

tourists. They have also set up shops in

Dhanaulti, Mussoori, the Dehradun

trade fair, and the India International

Trade Fair in Delhi. "We sell woollen

clothes and traditional Garhwali food

items like 'Urad dal pakora', 'Jhangore Ki

Kheer', 'Mandve Ki Roti', and 'Kandali Ki

Sabzi'." "About 100 women are engaged

in weaving woollen items like shawls,

sweaters, caps, and socks. Another 10-15

women make papad, chips, pickles, and

other items," she said.

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www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

July 2019

11

Budget impact : FIIs sell nearly

Rs 3,000 cr in 6 sessions

Mumbai : Foreign

Institutional Investors (FIIs)

have pulled out nearly Rs 3,000

crore after the Budget proposed

a higher surcharge on the superrich

impacting most FPIs.

In just 6 sessions since the

Union Budget was proposed,

FIIs offloaded Rs 2,937.53 crore

worth of shares. Institutional

investors play a dominant role in

day-to-day market movement in

India. The Budget last Friday

raised surcharge on the superrich.

Those with an annual

income of between Rs 2 crore

and Rs 5 crore would be levied a

surcharge of 25 per cent from 15

per cent previously.

For those earning Rs 5 crore

or more annually, the surcharge

has been increased from 15 per

cent to 37 per cent. With this, the

effective tax rate will go up to 39

per cent for those in the Rs 2-5

crore income slab and 42.74 per

cent for for those in Rs 5 crore

and above group.

Most FPIs earn more than Rs

5 crore in a year and hence

would come under the highest

income tax bracket. They generally

route their investments

through trusts and body of individuals

in the country’s capital

markets.

New Delhi : Alarmed over

water crisis in various regions

and pockets of the country, the

Centre has started sending senior

officers in batches to the districts

and pockets facing sharp fall in

water table. Official sources said

the team would comprise joint

secretaries and directors from

across ministries and departments.

It will also have technical

personnel from Central Water

Commission or other such agencies.

The move is part of the Jal

Shakti Abhiyan (JSA).

"The team will assess the

overall situation in the waterstressed

districts. Additional secretaries

and joint secretaries

ED attaches Rs 24.77 cr of

properties of Choksi

New Delhi : The Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached immovable

properties, valuables, vehicles and bank accounts with a total

value of Rs 24.77 crore of fugitive diamond trader Mehul Choksi.

The action was taken under the Prevention of Money Laundering

Act, 2002 in connection with the Punjab National Bank fraud case.

The ED has attached three commercial properties in Dubai, valuables,

a Mercedes Benz E280 and Fixed Deposits controlled by

Choksi, who is now said to be based in Antigua.

Central officers to visit waterstressed

pockets in the country

would be the officer in-charge.

Directors would be the nodal

officer. The team will see what

kind of interventions would be

required to improve the situation,"

an officer, assigned to visit

a water-stressed district, told

IANS. They are expected to suggest

as to whether there is a need

to dig a pond or revive old well

so that water level could be

raised over a period of time.

The government had in 2018

dispatched Central officers to

various districts in the state to

assess the effectiveness of various

schemes. The action plan

under Gram Swaraj Abhiyaan

helped the government understand

the actual impact of

various flagship programmes.

In the wake of the

water scarcity in various

parts of the country, Prime

Minister Narendra Modi

has initiated plans to conserve

water. Last month,

he wrote to all sarpanchs

exhorting them to adopt

measures to make water

conservation a mass

movement.

The government has

created the new Ministry

of Jal Shakti for dealing

with all matters related to

water in an integrated

manner. A high-level committee

has been set up to take forward

the subject of 'Push on

Water Conservation Related

Activities for Optimum

Utilization of Monsoon Rainfall.'

The Central Ground Water Board

had earlier prepared a conceptual

paper -- Master Plan for Artificial

Recharge on Ground Water in

India. It envisaged construction

of 1.11 crore rainwater harvesting

and artificial recharge structures

in the country at an estimated

cost of Rs 79,178 crore to

harness 85 billion cubic metre

(BCM) of water in an area of

9,41,541 square kilometres by

harnessing surplus monsoon

runoff.

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12 July 2019

BUSINESS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Pakistan imported medicines worth

Rs 136 cr from India in 2019

Islamabad : Pakistan

imported medicines and vaccines

worth (Pakistani) Rs

136,99,87,000 from India in

2019, its Health Ministry has

said. Express News reported

that the imported medicines

included life-saving drugs,

tablets, syrups and vaccines.

According to figures

announced by the Pakistan

Health Ministry in Senate on

Friday, the country imported

drugs and vaccines worth

(Pakistani) Rs 15,43,17,000 in

January; Rs 22,32,47,000 in

February; Rs 19,37,37,000 in

March; Rs 11,10,42,000 in

April; Rs 18,96,47,000 in May

and Rs 4,89,12,000 from India.

Demanding that the senate

be informed about which medicines

and vaccines were being

imported from India, Senator

Abdul Rehman Malik said the

government must curb the

shortage of snake venom serum

and rabies vaccines in Pakistan

by making it mandatory for

local manufacturers to produce

these vaccines in addition to

expensive medical products.

"It's a pity that medicines

are being imported from India

and China when Pakistan is

self-sufficient in medical raw

material. Vaccines made here

would be much more affordable,"

he added.

Allahabad Bank defrauded of Rs

17,775 cr by Bhushan Power & Steel

Mumbai : After Punjab

National Bank, Allahabad Bank

on Saturday said that it has

been defrauded by Bhushan

Power & Steel Ltd (BPSL) to

the tune of Rs 1,774.82 crore.

The bank said in a regulatory

filing that "on the basis of

forensic audit investigation

findings and CBI filing FIR, on

suo moto basis, against the

Company and its Directors,

alleging diversion of funds

from banking system by the

has been observed that the

company has misappropriated

bank funds, manipulated books

of accounts to raise funds from

consortium lender banks. At

present, the case is at the NCLT

which is in advance stage and

the Bank expects good recovery

in the account," the bank

added. The Allahabad Bank

fraud has come to light within a

week of another public sector

bank reporting that it has been

cheated by Bhushan Power.

Bank's borrower namely

Last week, Punjab Nation Bank

Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd Bank to the Reserve Bank of sions amounting to Rs 900.20 reported another fraud worth

(BPSL), a fraud of Rs 1,774.82 India". The state-run bank said crore against the exposure of Rs 3,805.15 crore by Bhushan

core has been reported by the that it has already made provi-

Allahabad Bank in BPSL. "It Power & Steel Ltd to the RBI.

Trump decides not to impose

quotas on uranium imports

Washington, US President Donald

Trump announced that he would not

impose quotas on uranium imports despite

Department of Commerce’s findings that

foreign uranium poses a threat to national

security.

“At this time, I do not concur with the

Secretary’s finding that uranium imports

threaten to impair the national security of

the US as defined under section 232 of the

Act,” Trump said in a presidential memorandum

released late Friday, referring to

the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, the

Xinhua news agency reported.

The announcement marked a division

from the previous position of the US

President, who has slapped tariffs on

imported steel and aluminum products and

threatened to levy auto tariffs citing

Section 232 investigation.

“Although I agree that the Secretary’s

findings raise significant concerns regarding

the impact of uranium imports on the

national security with respect to domestic

mining, I find that a fuller analysis of

national security considerations with

respect to the entire nuclear fuel supply

chain is necessary at this time,” Trump

said. The US currently imports approximately

93 per cent of its commercial uranium,

compared to 85.8 per cent in 2009.

According to data from the US Energy

Information Administration, the majority

of imported uranium comes from Canada,

Australia, Russia and Kazakhstan.

In its report submitted to the President

in April, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

said foreign state-owned companies “distorted

global prices” and made it more difficult

for domestic mines to compete.

Trump demanded that a working group

develop recommendations for reviving and

expanding domestic nuclear fuel production

within 90 days.

The Trump administration has repeatedly

invoked the previously seldom-used

Section 232, drawing strong opposition

from domestic and international business

community. The investigation in foreign

uranium is not initiated by the Trump

administration by itself, but was requested

by two US uranium mining companies, Ur-

Energy Inc. and Energy Fuels Inc.

American nuclear power plants, however,

opposed restricting the imports of uranium,

fearing that they would face a higher

cost if quotas went into effect, especially

when their market share has already been

encroached by shale gas and wind energy

companies. Some viewed the petition for

Section 232 investigation as protectionist,

saying that it is merely aimed at saving an

industry that has been struggling over the

past few years.

IGE says Gangwal limited his

financial risks in IndiGo

New Delhi : InterGlobe Enterprises (IGE), a promoter of

IndiGo, said on Sunday that Rakesh Gangwal has always limited

his financial risk in the airline and also alleged that he pushed

for selling the business at difficult times.

In a bid to counter co-promoter Gangwal's recent allegations

of "collapsing" corporate governance in the company, IGE,

which is owned by Rahul Bhatia, has so far issued three statements

in the past week. "Rahul Bhatia invited Gangwal, an

industry professional, to join as an investor as the two had known

each other for a long time. The understanding with Gangwal was

that the IGE Group and Gangwal would hold just about equal

equity. Gangwal wanted to limit his financial risk to no more

than Rs 15 crore," IGE said in a statement isued on Sunday.

"The IGE Group would have invested more equity, but given

that Gangwal did not have the appetite to invest more, IndiGo's

paid up equity capital was pegged at Rs 30 crore, the minimum

required by regulations. Rakesh Gangwal Group (the RG Group)

-- described as investor in the shareholders agreement -- acquired

from IGE 149,950 equity shares (which represented about 50 per

cent of the equity) at par value in May 2016," the statement said.

It further said that during the intitial phase of IndiGo in 2005

when conversation with Airbus for acquisition of aircraft was

underway and Airbus wanted both IGE and Gangwal to give a

joint undertaking of support to IndiGo, IGE and Gangwal undertook

to invest in IndiGo an amount of "not less than" $50 million

(which then converted to about Rs 200 crore). They further

undertook to maintain that investment until the delivery of the

last aircraft, the statement said. "Gangwal was not going to take

any further financial risk or obligation, IGE singly (though the

undertaking to Airbus was joint) took the obligation to further

invest up to Rs 110 crore in IndiGo, so that, taken together with

the then existing investment of Rs 99 crore, the conditions placed

by Airbus could be met."

It further said: "Even more significantly, during the turbulent

period of a fledgling airline, it was left to the IGE Group, as a

responsible founder, to fend for IndiGo. Gangwal was missing in

action at that time and there were stages where he wanted to derisk

and pushed for the business to be sold."

IGE said that even as the aggregate financial exposure of IGE,

Kapil Bhatia and Rahul Bhatia was well over Rs 1,100 crore

owing to the bank guarantees and personal loans they forwarded

to the airline, Gangwal was in safe harbour with an equity exposure

of less than Rs 15 crore, with no personal loans or guarantees

or any other financial obligations for IndiGo.

"This was a risk ratio of almost 80:1 between the IGE Group

and Gangwal. The personal guarantees of Kapil Bhatia and

Rahul Bhatia continued to be in force until the end of financial

year 2012 as by that time IndiGo had an adequate balance sheet

to support itself," the statement said. In its previous statement,

IGE had said that Gangwal's allegations about lack of corporate

governance were "much ado about nothing".


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

HEALTH

July 2019

13

Number of older Indians to grow,

younger to slow by 2035

NEW DELHI: India's population

is likely to grow by 26 per

cent in 2036 from the last census

year of 2011 and the percentage

of population above 60

years of age will almost double

while there will be a decline in

the number in the younger age

groups, according to the initial

findings of the government's

technical group on population

projections. Findings of the

technical group, constituted by

the National Commission on

Population, were shared in

Parliament recently in reply to a

question. "This is the initial

draft with initial projections.

When all the figures are gathered,

another draft shall be prepared.

Committees are working

on it," a senior officer from the

committee, which met in May,

told IANS.

The meeting was chaired by

Vivek Joshi, Registrar General

and Census Commissioner of

India, and inaugurated by

Manoj Jhalani, Additional

Secretary and mission director

National Health Mission.

According to the findings,

India's population will grow

from 1,211 million in 2011 to

1,536 million in 2035, a jump of

26.8 per cent. Another set of

findings said the percentage of

population in the age group of

above 60 will grow from 8.6 to

15.4 per cent. The percentage of

population in the age group of

25-29 years will come down

from 19.0 to 15.0 per cent. The

sharpest fall will be in the percentage

of population below 15

years from 30.9 to 17 per cent.

The percentage of population

in productive age group of 15 to

59 years will increase marginally

from 60.5 to 66.7.

The total fertility rate of 2.4

in 2011-15 will come down to

1.65 in 2031-35. The infant

mortality rate is also expected to

come down from 43 in 2011-15

to 30. The crude birth rate is

predicted to come down to 12.0

from 19.8.

The urban population is projected

to grow by 25 per cent.

More breastfeeding

could save the world $1

billion every day

Kuala Lumpur : Not

enough breastfeeding costs

the global economy almost

$1 billion each day due to

lost productivity and healthcare

costs, researchers said

on Friday, as health experts

urged more support for nursing

mothers.

A new website developed

by researchers in Canada and

Asia showed that the world

could have saved $341 billion

each year if mothers

breastfeed their children for

longer, helping prevent early

deaths and various diseases.

Known as the "Cost of

Not Breastfeeding", the

online tool used data from a

six-year study supported by

the U.S.-based maternal and

child nutrition initiative,

Alive & Thrive.

"It is a human right, it

saves lives and improves the

prosperity of economies,"

Canada-based health economics

expert Dylan Walters said

about the importance of

breastfeeding.Walters, who

led the study of more than 100

countries, said the website

was the first of its kind and

aimed to help policymakers to

measure economic losses in

individual countries when

they do not support breastfeeding.The

United Nations'

World Health Organization

(WHO) recommends that

babies be breastfed exclusively

at least their first six

months, then have a diet of

breast milk and other food

until they are two years old.

Breastfeeding can help

prevent diarrhea and pneumonia,

two major causes of

infant death, and protect

mothers against ovarian and

breast cancer, according to

the U.N. agency.

But only 40% of infants

under the age of six months

are exclusively breastfed

globally, while 820,000 child

deaths could be avoided each

year if the recommendation

is followed, it said.

Obstacles to breastfeeding

range from a lack of facilities

and break times at places of

work, aggressive marketing

of baby formula, and harassment

or stigma if women

nurse in public.

Ahead of the World

Breastfeeding Week from

August 1, researchers said

they hoped more nations

would now implement policies

promoting breastfeeding,

push employers to provide

more support, and

clamp down on baby-formula

marketing. "Economic evidence

resonates well with

policymakers. Not investing

in breastfeeding has a cost,"

Alive & Thrive's Southeast

Asia director Roger

Mathisen told the Thomson

Reuters Foundation by

phone from Hanoi. "This tool

is really making the argument

that it is a good investment

to expand policies such

as paid maternity leave," he

said, adding that it would

help keep women in the

workforce and boost the

country's economy.

A U.N.-backed study in

2017 found that no country

does enough to help mothers

breastfeed their babies for

the recommended six

months, despite the potential

economic benefits.

‘Sugary drinks linked to

increased cancer risk’

London : Higher consumption of sugary

drinks may be associated with an increased risk

of cancer, according to a study published in the

British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The findings add to a growing body of evidence

indicating that limiting sugary drink consumption,

together with taxation and marketing

restrictions, might contribute to a reduction in

cancer cases. The consumption of sugary drinks

has increased worldwide during the last few

decades and is convincingly associated with the

risk of obesity, which in turn is recognised as a

strong risk factor for many cancers, said

researchers, including those from the University

of Paris 13 in France. However, research on sugary

drinks and the risk of cancer is still limited.

Researchers set out to assess the associations

between the consumption of sugary drinks (sugar

sweetened beverages and 100 per cent fruit

juices), artificially sweetened (diet) beverages,

and risk of overall cancer, as well as breast,

prostate, and bowel (colorectal) cancers.

The findings are based on 101,257 healthy

French adults (21 per cent men; 79 per cent

women) with an average age of 42 years.

Participants completed at least two 24-hour

online validated dietary questionnaires, designed

to measure usual intake of 3,300 different food

and beverage items and were followed up for a

maximum of nine years. Daily consumption of

sugary drinks and artificially sweetened (diet)

beverages were calculated and first cases of cancer

reported by participants were validated by

medical records and linked with health insurance

national databases. Average daily consumption

of sugary drinks was greater in men than in

women. During follow-up 2,193 first cases of

cancer were diagnosed and validated (693 breast

cancers, 291 prostate cancers, and 166 colorectal

cancers). Average age at cancer diagnosis was 59

years. The results show that a 100 millilitre per

day increase in the consumption of sugary drinks

was associated with an 18 per cent increased risk

of overall cancer and a 22 per cent increased risk

of breast cancer. When the group of sugary drinks

was split into fruit juices and other sugary drinks,

the consumption of both beverage types was

associated with a higher risk of overall cancer.

No association was found for prostate and colorectal

cancers, but numbers of cases were more

limited for these cancer locations, researchers

said. The consumption of artificially sweetened

(diet) beverages was not associated with a risk of

cancer, but the researchers warn that caution is

needed in interpreting this finding owing to a relatively

low consumption level in this sample.

Possible explanations for these results include

the effect of the sugar contained in sugary drinks

on visceral fat (stored around vital organs such as

the liver and pancreas), blood sugar levels, and

inflammatory markers, all of which are linked to

increased cancer risk. Other chemical compounds,

such as additives in some sodas might also play a

role, they said. This is an observational study, so

can't establish cause, and the researchers said they

cannot rule out some misclassification of beverages

or guarantee detection of every new cancer

case. The study sample was large and they were

able to adjust for a wide range of potentially influential

factors. The results were also largely

unchanged after further testing, suggesting that

the findings withstand scrutiny.


14 July 2019

HEALTH

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Drinking Japanese Matcha tea reduces anxiety: Study

Tokyo : Are you leading a highly

stressful life? Worry not, Japanese

Matcha tea will come to your rescue as

researchers have found it to have various

health benefits, such as reducing

anxiety.

Published in the Journal of

Functional Foods, the study done on

mice found that anxious behaviour in

the rodents reduced after consuming

Matcha powder or Matcha extract.

According to the researchers, the

tea’s calming effects are due to mechanisms

that activate dopamine D1 receptors

and serotonin 5-HT1A receptors,

both of which are closely related to anxious

behaviour.

“Although further epidemiological

research is necessary, the results of our

study show that Matcha, which has been

used as a medicinal agent for many

years, may be quite beneficial to the

human body,” said study lead author

Yuki Kurauchi from Kumamoto

University in Japan.

“We hope that our research into

Matcha can lead to health benefits

worldwide,” Kurauchi added.

For the study, the researchers conducted

an “elevated plus maze” test —

Giving up alcohol may

boost mental well-being

Beijing : Women who quit

alcohol may have an improved

health-related quality of life,

especially their mental wellbeing,

according to a study

unveiled on Monday. "More evidence

suggests caution in recommending

moderate drinking as

part of a healthy diet," said

Michael Ni from the University

of Hong Kong (HKU). The

study, published

in the

Canadian

Medical

Association

Journal,

included

10,386 people

from the

FAMILY

Cohort in

Hong Kong who were nondrinkers

or moderate drinkers

between 2009 and 2013.

Moderate drinkers meant 14

drinks or less per week for men

and seven drinks or less per

week for women. The

researchers compared their findings

with data from a representative

survey of 31,079 people

conducted by the National

Institute on Alcohol Abuse and

Alcoholism in the US.

The mean age of participants

in the FAMILY Cohort was 49

years and 56 per cent were

women. About 64 per cent of

men were nondrinkers (abstainers

and former drinkers) and

almost 88 per cent of women

were nondrinkers. Men and

women who were lifetime

abstainers had the highest level

of mental well-being at the start

of the study (baseline).

For women who were moderate

drinkers and quit drinking,

quitting was linked to a

favourable

change in

mental wellbeing

in both

Chinese and

American

study populations.

These

results were

apparent

after adjusting

for sociodemographic characteristics,

body mass index,

smoking status, and other factors.

"Global alcohol consumption

is expected to continue to

increase unless effective strategies

are employed," said Ni.

"Our findings suggest caution

in recommendations that moderate

drinking could improve

health-related quality of life.

Instead, quitting drinking may

be associated with a more

favourable change in mental

well-being, approaching the

level of lifetime abstainers," Ni

said.

Madrid : Parents, take note.

Depression, anxiety and obsessive

compulsive disorder (OCD) are the

main reasons why children think

about suicide, warn researchers.

The study, published in the journal

Archives of Suicide Research,

reveals the factors that can trigger

ideas of suicide in pre-adolescent

age group.

"In boys it is previous depressive

symptoms, which determine subsequent

suicidal ideation, while in

girls it is a combination of anxiety

symptoms, OCD and the family's

socioeconomic situation," said

Nuria Voltas from Rovira I Virgili

University in Spain.

The researchers studied a group

of 720 boys and 794 girls who studied

in 13 schools in Reus. They

were monitored during three developmental

periods according to age

groups of 10 years, 11 years and 13

years.

At the beginning of the study, the

students answered a series of psychological

tests that were used to

detect which of them presented

emotional symptoms related to

depression, anxiety and obsessive

compulsive disorder (OCD).

From their responses, two groups

were created: one group at risk of

emotional problems and a control

group. Accpording to the

researchers, the figures were quite

stable. During the first period, 16

per cent of the students stated that

they had thought about suicide, of

an anxiety test for rodents — and

found that anxiety in mice was

reduced after consuming Matcha

powder or Matcha extract.

In addition, when the anxiolytic

activity of different Matcha extracts

were evaluated, a stronger effect

was found with the extract derived

using 80 per cent ethanol in comparison

to the extract derived from

only hot water.

Matcha is the finely ground powder

of new leaves from shade-grown

(90 per cent shade) Camellia sinensis

green tea bushes.

Grandparents play big role in

kids’ screen addiction habits

New Delhi : While parents

usually take the blame for spoiling

their kids by letting them

spend huge amounts of time with

high-tech electronics, grandparents

are to be equally blamed for

screen addiction in children.

Grandparents have long been

associated with letting their

grandchildren do things their

parents would never permit,

such as extended bedtime, too

much television time, and carefree

fun. In the study published

in the Journal of Children and

Media, researchers found that

today’s grandparents are still

true to their traditional fun-loving

image — allowing their

grandchildren, while under their

supervision, to spend about half

of their time on a mobile phone,

tablet, computer or TV.

The study reviewed the experiences

of 356 grandparents of

children aged 2-7 who take care

of their grandchildren at least

once per week and found that

during an average four-hour

visit, the children spent two

hours either watching videos or

playing games on electronic

devices. Most of the experts suggest

that grandparents should

restrict technology use by setting

simple rules for screen time

when babysitting. This is particularly

needed when children

bring a device from home and

expect to watch even more.

The unconditional loveshower

of parents and grandparents

can go to the point of spoiling

children, said Pallavi Joshi,

Clinical Psychologist at Sri

Balaji Action Medical Institute

in Delhi.

“Over the past few years,

grandparents’ responsibilities for

their grandchildren have

increased due to changes and

whom 33 per cent stated the same

one year later. In both the second

and the third period, ideas of suicide

were expressed by 18 per cent of the

students surveyed.

The risk of suicide was determined

in a personal interview and

was present in 12.2 per cent of the

children with an average age of 11

years old. Although there were no

differences between the sexes, the

severity of the suicidal behaviour

was greater in boys.

"Our results will enable us to

have greater control over this particular

aspect and take preventive

measures in pre-adolescents, who

are going through a period of considerable

vulnerability," she concluded.

issues in families and society.

“If we focus particularly at

the extreme amount of screen

time the kids devote to the idiot

box (TV), parents and grandparents

may be blamed for the

same, as they do not oppose this

habit,” Joshi told IANS.

“It’s just another sweet way

for them to spend more time

with children. But this habit

should be kept in check before it

becomes an issue,” she added.

Increased screen time may

critically impact a child’s development

and have several negative

consequences; it can stimulate

the way a child behaves,

even in the long run, as well as

make them less physically

active. Now, not all screen time

is detrimental, but families need

to develop limited, healthy

screen habits.

“Gadgets have started replacing

traditional ways of engaging

with children at home. Even with

grandparents at home, it is getting

increasingly difficult to curtail

the screen time for young

children. A lot of grandparents

are unaware of the effects of

excessive screen time,” Divya

Palaniappan, Child Psychologist,

Flinto R&D Centre in Delhi, told

IANS. We need to educate

grandparents about the impact of

media and technology on children’s

lives and on its proper use

that will benefit the well-being

of their grandchildren.

“However, there are some

grandparents who gift their

grandchildren play toys and

activity boxes like Flintobox to

spend quality time with them.

These activity boxes not only

keep children away from television

but also helps in bonding

with grandparents,” Palaniappan

added.

Anxiety, OCD in kids may lead to suicidal thoughts


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

HEALTH

July 2019 15

Chinese scientists develop tumor-specific anti-cancer therapy

Washington : Chinese scientists developed

a combined tumor-killing therapy that can be

activated specifically at tumor sites in mouse

models of cancer, which is more effective than

previous similar therapies. The study published

on Friday in the journal Science

Immunology described the new cancer

immunotherapy that can prevent the immune

system from becoming tolerant of tumors,

which occurs in 30 per cent of all cancer

patients, the Xinhua news agency reported.

A team led by Wang Dangge from Shanghai

Institute of Materia Medica under the Chinese

Academy of Sciences and Fudan University

developed a common immune checkpoint

Regulatory, industry bodies say

salt brands safe to consume

New Delhi : As allegations

and concerns have cropped up

over the safety of major Indian

salt brands, the Food Safety

and Standards Authority of

India (FSSAI) and the Indian

Medical Association (IMA)

have refuted the concerns that

the major salt brands contain

alarming level of potassium

ferrocyanide.

The FSSAI tweeted:

“Ferrocyanides are used as

anti-caking agents in processing

of salt and are safe for consumption.

Test reports quoted

in media have shown its presence

well within limit of 10

mg/kg, as specified by FSSAI.

This is less than 14 mg/kg specified

by Codex (International

Food Standards).”

IMA tweeted that it stands

with FSSAI’s statement.

Concerns rose after Shiv

Shankar Gupta, Chairman of

Godhum Grains & Farm

Products last week claimed that

potassium ferrocyanide levels

were alarmingly high in reputed

Indian salt brands.

According to Gupta, a test

by American West Analytical

Laboratories (AWAL) has

revealed that potassium ferrocyanide

levels are an alarmingly

high in Sambhar Refined

Salt at 4.71 mg per kg, at 1.85

mg per kg in Tata Salt and 1.90

inhibitor in a nanoparticle formulation, which

is highly tumor-specific.

The checkpoint inhibitor is a kind of

increasingly popular anti-tumor drug. It can

block proteins that keep immune T cells from

killing cancer. But the checkpoint inhibitor

used to target those immune system-suppressing

proteins like PD-1 and PD-L1 often fails to

reach deep-seated or metastatic tumors.

Wang’s team combined the nanoparticles

carrying PD-L1-targeting antibodies with a

light-activated molecule. The molecule called

photosensitiser can produce tumor-killing

reactive oxygen species after encountering a

protein abundant in tumors, according to the

mg per kg in Tata Salt Lite.

However, American West

Analytical Laboratories in a

statement dated July 1 said that

“AWAL does not report opinions

concerning analytical data”

and also “does not analyze or

report potassium ferrocyanide”.

American West Analytical

Laboratories also said that

AWAL does not communicate

any information to third parties

(e.g., news agencies) concerning

work performed at our laboratory

without written permission

from our primary client.

Tata Salt in a statement said that

its product is safe and harmless.

“The recent allegations made

against the purity and health

benefits of Tata Salt are totally

false and misleading and being

made by vested interests. India

is one among many countries

including the USA, European

Union, Australia and New

Zealand that have allowed the

use of PFC in salt,” it said.

“The level allowed by

FSSAI, an independent statutory

authority, under Ministry of

Health & Family Welfare,

Government of India is the

lowest among these jurisdictions

(10 mg per kg).

Codex Alimentarius, the

most authoritative guidelines

on food safety has declared

APFC Asafe for consumption

at levels of 14 mg per kg. The

use of PFC is allowed in salt

and is safe and harmless to the

human body when consumed

as per approved levels. This is

clearly declared in the list of

Tata Salt ingredients in a manner

prescribed by the regulations,”

it added.

AI can diagnose breast cancer more quickly, accurately

New York : Breast ultrasound elastography

is an emerging imaging technique

that provides information about

a potential breast lesion and

researchers have identified the critical

role AI can play in making this technique

more efficient and accurate.

Using more precise information

about the characteristics of a cancerous

versus non-cancerous breast

lesion, this methodology using

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has demonstrated

more accuracy compared to

traditional modes of imaging.

In the study published in the journal

Computer Methods in Applied

Mechanics and Engineering, Indianorigin

researchers Dhruv Patel and

Assad Oberai from the University of

Southern California showed that it is possible to train a machine to interpret real-world images using synthetic data

study. In mouse models, a local near-infrared

radiation that activated the photosensitiser,

along with the administration of antibodiescarrying

nanoparticles, promoted the infiltration

of cancer cell-killing T cells into the tumor

site and made the tumors more sensitive to the

checkpoint blockade.

This combination also helped the

nanoparticles effectively suppress tumor

growth and metastasis to the lung and lymph

nodes, resulting in approximately 80 per cent

mouse survival over 70 days, compared to

complete mouse death in 45 days in the group

treated with only PD-L1 antibodies, according

to the study.

Tata Trusts searches

for innovations to

eliminate malaria

New Delhi : In line with India’s target of eliminating malaria

by 2030, the India Health Fund (IHF), an initiative by Tata

Trusts on Monday announced its “Malaria Quest” — a nationwide

search for innovations towards eliminating the mosquitoborne

disease. One of the primary objectives of the initiative is

to seek innovative technologies to strengthen surveillance to

provide accurate estimates of disease burden and data-based

decision making and risk-prediction.

Other objectives include developing innovative methods of

vector control and personal protection for enhancing or complementing

current strategies, improving logistical modalities and

quality assurance of malaria consumables and consistently

detecting and diagnosing cases of malaria, both in high and low

endemic regions.

Applications from interested candidates will be accepted till

September 2, 2019, IHF said in a statement. Selected applications

stand to receive wide support, including milestone-based

funding support for validation, beta prototyping, feasibility studies

and pilot introduction, as applicable, it added.

and streamline the steps to diagnosis.

In the case of breast ultrasound

elastography, once an image of the

affected area is taken, it is analysed to

determine displacements inside the

tissue. Using this data and the physical

laws of mechanics, the spatial distribution

of mechanical properties,

like its stiffness, is determined.

In the study, researchers sought to

determine if they could skip the most

complicated steps of this workflow.

For this, the researchers used

about 12,000 synthetic images to

train their Machine Learning algorithm.

This process was similar to

how photo identification software

works, i.e learning through repeated

inputs on how to recognize a

particular person in an image, or how

our brain learns to classify a cat versus

a dog.

Through enough examples, the

algorithm was able to glean different

features inherent to a benign tumour

versus a malignant tumour and make

the correct determination.

The researchers achieved nearly

100 per cent classification accuracy

on synthetic images. Once the algorithm

was trained, they tested it on

real-world images to determine how

accurate it could be in providing a

diagnosis, measuring these results

against biopsy-confirmed diagnoses

associated with these images.

"We had about 80 per cent accuracy

rate. We will continue to refine the

algorithm by using more real-world

images as inputs," Oberai said.


16 July 2019

ENTERTAINMENT

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

IT [KALANK] WAS A BAD

FILM: VARUN DHAWAN

He adds that filmmaking is a team effor so it'd be

wrong to blame director or producer

If films can take an actor to

the pinnacle of success, there

are often disappointments on

the way, too. Varun Dhawan’s

last release Kalank did not do

as well as expected at the box

office and the actor, whose performance

was applauded, says

he was affected by it. “It

(Kalank) was not accepted by

the audience because it was a

bad film and somewhere we all

failed collectively,” shares

Varun, who starred alongside

actors Alia Bhatt, Madhuri

Dixit Nene, Aditya Roy Kapur,

and Sanjay Dutt in the film.

“Making a film is a team

effort. It’s wrong to blame it on

the director and producer. And

being a part of the team, I will

take part of the blame as well.

The film did let down people.

We have collectively gone

through why it didn’t work.

Personally, it (failure) was

important. I wanted the failure

to affect me because if it doesn’t,

then that means I don’t love

my work,” he adds.

But Varun has no time to

linger in the past. He is looking

forward to diverse films lined

up for release in the coming

year, including Street Dancer

3D and the remake of his

father’s hit 1995 comedy,

Coolie No 1. Interestingly, right

from the beginning, the actor

has made sure that his career is

a mixed bag of genres.

So how does he maintain

this kind of variety? “I choose

films which I know I will enjoy

doing the most. If I don’t have

fun, it won’t show on screen. I

am playing a street dancer in

my next because I love dancers

in real life. If I want something

serious, I do something like

October (2018). With comedy, I

want to work with David

Dhawan (filmmaker, also

Varun’s father) because he is

the best in the country. His

experience will help me as an

actor,” says Varun.

Looking at his choices, it

seems that the actor also has a

great understanding of what the

audience wants, something

which even his colleagues

appreciate about him. “I am

first a lover of cinema and then

an actor. I am here to entertain

the audience and everything

else comes secondary to me.

Everyone goes wrong sometimes,

even I have, but you

have to learn [from it],” he

says, adding that he has picked

up things from his father. “He

has a very good take on films

and he understands what the

audience wants. Another thing

I’ve learnt is that a film’s length

should always be in control. If

you don’t contain the length,

the audience will not forgive

that. After all, it is about their

time and money. I want to

make films that take Indian

family entertainment ahead,”

he concludes.

Sunny

Deol’s son

Karan

might have

his rap

song in

debut film

‘Pal Pal Dil

Ke Paas’

Sunny Deol's son Karan

looks all set to have a double

debut in Bollywood—one as an

actor and one as a rapper—

when dad launches him in ‘Pal

Pal Dil Ke Paas’ later this year.

‘Bekhayali’ singer Sachet

Tandon, one half of the singercomposer

duo Sachet-

Parampara, has been working

hard on the soundtrack of the

film, which marks the return of

Sunny Deol as director after his

2016 release, ‘Ghayal Once

Again’. "He (Karan) is a good

actor. He was involved (with

the film's music) at times. He

loves music and raps sometimes,"

Sachet told IANS in a

telephonic interview. "In fact,

there is a portion of a song in

which he has rapped. We are

trying to retain it (in the film's

soundtrack)." Karan showed

his rapping skills on World

Music Day, which was celebrated

on June 21, with a short

video he posted on Instagram.

"Music has always been my goto

form of expression. Be it as a

hobby or just to de-stress.

Rapping to Jay-Z's encore," he

captioned it. ‘Pal Pal Dil Ke

Paas’ is a romantic drama, and

the film's title is a tribute to the

evergreen song of the same title

that Kishore Kumar sang for

Sunny's father in the 1973

movie ‘Blackmail’. The new

film, however, will not have a

remix or recreation of that classic

hit number, although remixes

are a rage in Bollywood right

now. "We are not going to

recreate 'Pal pal...' from

Blackmail (in the new film).

Our title song is an original,

though the lyrics will feature

those words because they form

the title of our film. It is not a

remix or a recreation," he

added.

I don’t want anyone to shy

away from talking about

sex, says Sonakshi Sinha

Neetu Chandra is face of

Patna Pirates kabbadi team

Mumbai, Actress Neetu Chandra has been roped in as brand

ambassador for the Pro Kabbadi team Patna Pirates.

Patna Pirates have won the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) three

times. “Sports has been a way of life for me from a very young age

and Patna is homeground for me,” said Neetu, adding that she was

happy to be associated with the team.

“There couldn’t have been a better way to celebrate talent,

hardwork, and sincerity. Patna Pirates has proved their worth time

and again, and I am excited to be their brand ambassador.”

The seventh season of PKL starts from July 20.

Sex isn’t as openly discussed

yet in Indian society.

Sonakshi Sinhastarrer

Khandaani Shafakhana, highlights

this issue, through a

hilarious, yet socially relevant

slice-of-life film. Chronicling

the story of a small-town

Punjabi girl whose circumstances

lead her to run a sex

clinic, the film opens a window

into the seldomdiscussed subject.

A bold statement is made

by Sonakshi and director,

Shilpi Dasgupta, by bringing

out the taboos and shame

around talking about sex, even

amongst adults.

The makers of this film feel

that much of the problems

related to sex can easily be

resolved if we just talk about

them. Says Shilpi, “Did you

know that until very recently,

sex education was banned in

quite a few states of India? This is an

issue we must all rally around.” Sonakshi,

who plays the lead role, concurs. She says,

“I decided to do this film because it’s a relevant

and important subject

that should be discussed. I

don’t want anyone — woman

or man, to shy away from

talking about this. I hope my

doing this film, will give them

the courage to talk about sexual

issues openly. I am sure

this movie will get people

thinking and talking. Baat toh

karo!” Shilpi adds, “Sonakshi

really took on this challenge,

something most people would

be hesitant to even discuss, let

alone play the role.

We hope that we will be

able to help people to no

longer look at sex as a dirty

word.”

Gulshan Kumar and T-

Series present Khandaani

Shafakhana, a Sundial production.

Produced by

Bhushan Kumar, Mahaveer

Jain, Mrighdeep Singh

Lamba and Divya Khosla Kumar, the film

is all set to release on August 2, 2019.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ENTERTAINMENT

‘I THOUGHT ACTING

WAS FAR BEYOND

July 2019

17

ALIA BHATT starts

prepping for Ooty

schedule of 'Sadak 2'

MY REACH’

While growing up, actor Jacqueline

Fernandez thought being on the big screen

was a dream too ambitious for her to achieve.

But that was a long time ago. Today, she has

some very successful Bollywood potboilers

to her credit. Now, she has become one of the

few mainstream Bollywood heroines to be

foraying into web space. The Kick (2014)

actor says she is excited about her web film.

“Not for a moment did I hesitate to work

with an OTT (over the top) platform. I am a

huge consumer of digital content. It was an

immediate ‘yes’ on my part. It’s a great platform,

as good as theatre. We seem to be moving

in the direction of digital, anyway.”

Excerpts:

Are you open to doing web shows as

well?

Everything really depends on content. We

have been harping

on this for many years. But it’s really

dawning on the industry now because of certain

examples. The past two years have been

such a disruption in the industry that we are

now taking it (digital space) very seriously.

So, whether theatrical, digital films or web

series, for me, it’ll have to be about the content,

the character and the team. Digital is a

great space that will help us grow. It’s a great

time for filmmakers and actors.

Will commercial entertainers now take

a back seat?

I don’t think I will ever move away from

commercial entertainers. It has got me to

where I am. I’ve always enjoyed being a part

of commercial cinema and have worked with

amazing people. I’d love to balance it now

and be able to take on much more. There was

a time when I was only focusing on commercial

films; now, it’s more about diversifying.

If I end up doing only one kind of cinema,

I definitely don’t see myself growing.

I’m not putting it aside, instead I plan to do

other things as well.

So, how would you sum up your journey

so far?

I’d say it has been one lucky ride. There

has been a lot of growth, especially, in the

last couple of years. I don’t think I’d

have been able to discover so much

about myself in any other industry or

job. I am glad that I stuck by and said

‘this is what I want to do’. It took

me a long time to come to terms

with it, and also with people

back home.

I thought it (acting) was far

beyond my reach while growing

up. It took time to understand

what I was actually doing

or the path I’d chosen. But, it’s a

great journey of self-discovery

and one that I am hoping to

continue for a long time.

Actress Alia Bhatt will soon head to Ooty to shoot for her

father and filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt's 'Sadak 2', and she has

already started prepping for the schedule.

The actress on Sunday took to Instagram stories to share an

update about the project. She posted a photograph of the front

page of the script of the film. It read: "'Sadak 2'.. Written by

Mahesh Bhatt and Suhrita... Copy for Alia Bhatt... Ooty sides

only." Along with the image, Alia also shared bag, coffee and

pencil emojis, hinting that she is all set to get to work.

The film also stars Pooja Bhatt, Aditya Roy Kapur, Sanjay

Dutt, Jisshu Sengupta, Priyanka Bose and Akshay Anand.

'Sadak 2' is sequel to the hit 1991 film 'Sadak', a romantic

thriller, which featured Pooja and Sanjay. It was one of the highest-grossing

Hindi movie of 1991 with a popular musical score.

Late Sadashiv Amrapurkar's award-winning performance as the

villain, Maharani won hearts and is still one of the all time best

bad guy in Bollywood. The film was inspired by the 1976

American movie 'Taxi Driver'.

The movie is scheduled to release on July 10, 2020.

‘I want to be seen as a

newcomer’: Tamannaah

Mumbai : Actress Tamannaah

Bhatia, a big star in south Indian

films, has been trying to find her feet

in Bollywood for a while now. She

will be seen in the Nawazuddin

Siddiqui-starrer “Bole Chudiyan”

soon. The actress counts the film as

one of her biggest opportunities in

Bollywood and wants the audience

to consider her a newcomer.

Being one of the actresses

who made it big in the south

with superhits such as

“Kandein Kadhalai”,

“Ayan”, “Tadakha”,

“Dharma Durai” and the

“Baahubali” series,

Tamannaah has not done

any memorable role in

Bollywood.

“I know that

‘Baahubali’ was a big

deal for me but in this

film, I am approaching my character very differently.

The world of this film is very different. It is

a Hindi film. I want our audience to look at me as

a newcomer. I want to focus on the emotion of the

character rather than applying my experience from

my early films,” said Tamannaah, who replaced

popular television actress Mouni Roy as the leading

lady opposite Nawazuddin.

She is excited to share screen space with

Nawazuddin: “I am amazed to see how effortlessly

he acts on screen and convincingly portrays

every character. I think by the time

I finish shooting the film, I will get to

know his acting secret!” she quipped.

So, how did she respond to the offer

when she got a call for the film?

“Firstly, when I got a call to act

opposite an actor like

Nawazuddin Siddiqui, I

thought someone was

playing a prank. So, I

cross-checked and then

realised it was a genuine

offer! I have to say that I

am a huge fan of Nawaz

sir,” she replied.

Set in the Uttar

Pradesh, the film is a

love story between a

bangle seller and a village

girl, and is the

directorial debut of

Shamas Siddiqui, brother

of Nawazuddin. “Never have I ever worked on a

script like this and that is why the world of this

story is very interesting to me. I have done films in

the South where stories are set in the rural landscape

but in Bollywood showcasing such a beautiful

side of northern India is rare,” she said.

“I am so excited to be in the same frame with

Nawaz sir. As an actor, it is always exciting to do

something different and that is why it will be interesting,”

added the actress.

Lata’s request to Dhoni :

Please don’t retire

Mumbai, Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar

on Thursday requested cricket star Mahendra

Singh Dhoni to not retire, following rumours that

the former Indian captain was all set to end his

illustrious career. “These days, I have been hearing

that you plan to retire. Please don’t think this

way. The country needs you and it is my request,

too, that you don’t allow even the thought of

retirement to enter your mind,” Mangeshkar

tweeted in Hindi.

The buzz on Dhoni’s retirement gathered force

after India lost its World Cup semifinal match to

New Zealand on Wednesday.

Apart from requesting Dhoni to not retire,

Mangeshkar also left an

encouraging note for

Team India, to help

them tide over their

defeat. She dedicated

her 1994 song, “Akash

ke us paar bhi”, to the

Men in Blue. The song is

penned by Gulzar and

composed by Hridaynath

Mangeshkar. “We did

not win yesterday, but

we didn’t lose. I dedicate

this song by Gulzar

sahab to our team,” she

said in another tweet.


18 July 2019

ENTERTAINMENT

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Need nerves of steel to be

in Bollywood : Katrina Kaif

After 16 years of surviving

the Bollywood grind grinding

with more hits than misses,

actress Katrina Kaif, says one

needs to have nerves of steel to

be in the glitzy world of Hindi

cinema.

"It's not always easy. You

need to have nerves of steel to

be in the film industry. It's an

unpredictable place and no one

can guarantee success. I believe

in not taking success to your

head, or failure to your heart,"

Katrina told IANS.

She tags her 16-year run in

Hindi films as a beautiful journey.

"It's been wonderful, a lot

of hard work but also a lot of

love from the audience," she

said.

Hong Kong-born British

beauty Katrina, who celebrates

her birthday on July 16, is currently

vacationing in Mexico.

Over the weekend she has been

setting social media afire with

holiday snapshots and videos

on Instagram .On Saturday, a

picture of Katrina in blue

swimsuit went viral in no time.

The break comes after hectic

months of work when Katrina

gave most of her time to her

last few releases —‘Thugs Of

Hindostan’ with Aamir Khan,

‘Zero’ with Shah Rukh Khan,

and ‘Bharat’ with Salman

Khan. Fans loved her performances

in ‘Zero’ and ‘Bharat’,

In Attack mode

One more action thriller

for John Abraham

Actor-producer John Abraham’s

love for the action genre is no secret.

He will now produce and play the

lead in the action thriller Attack, a

race against time story of rescue by

an ‘attack team’ led by a lone ranger,

played by John. The film is a fictional

story inspired by true events, set

against a hostage crisis that brought a

nation to its knees. Written and

directed by debutant Lakshya Raj

Anand, Attack will be produced by

Dheeraj Wadhawan, and Ajay

Kapoor’s Kyta Productions and

John’s JA Entertainment.

particularly.

Considering her next release

is ‘Sooryavanshi’ opposite

Akshay Kumar, it would seem

like she has become the staple

choice primarily of the senior

superstars in the industry.

"I don't really analyse things

that much. I prefer looking

ahead rather than dissecting the

past and believe the best is yet

to come," she said.

The Hong Kong-born beauty

has had an enviable hit count,

of course, over the years.

Despite a dud debut in the

2003 crossover film, ‘Boom’,

she soon made her mark with

her distinct screen presence in

the films to come. Roles in

‘Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya’,

‘Namastey London’, ‘Singh Is

Kinng’, ‘New York’, ‘Mere

Brother Ki Dulhan’, ‘Zindagi

Na Milegi Dobara’, ‘Ek Tha

Tiger’, ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’,

‘Tiger Zinda Hai’, ‘Zero’ and

her latest release ‘Bharat’ made

her a top star.

During her turbulent career,

Katrina has had her share of

bouquets and brickbats. Today,

she has established herself in

Bollywood and is one of India's

highest-paid actresses, but she

still feels she has a long way to

go to prove herself.

"(I have) miles to go. The

point is to try and get better, to

portray different characters,

and to work harder with every

film," she said.

The current phase, when she

has had lots of love coming her

way for her craft in ‘Zero’ and

‘Bharat’, is the "best thing" to

have happened to her, she feels.

"My work is giving a huge

amount of creative satisfaction

and I'm really enjoying discovering

these characters," added

the 35-year-old, about her

recent roles.

Katrina is counted among

Bollywood's top dancers what

with blockbusters such as

‘Chikni

Chameli’

(‘Agneepath’), ‘Sheila ki

jawaani’ (‘Tees Maar Khan’)

and ‘Kamli’ (‘Dhoom 3’) and

she has now added another

feather to her cap. She is now

venturing into film production

and says she is looking forward

to bankrolling some great stories.

"(I will make) the kind of

films I would want to watch as

an audience—great stories that

deserve to be told," she signed

off.

Why Shah Rukh

loves ‘The Lion King’

Superstar Shah Rukh Khan says he fell in by his villainous uncle Scar.

love with “The Lion King” for the way the “The Jungle Book” fame director Jon

movie narrates a story based on a relationship

between a father and a son.

Disney’s classic to bring alive the new live-

Favreau has re-imagined the world of

Bollywood’s King Khan and his son action version. He has stayed true to the

Aryan have lent their voices for King classic story of Simba and used pioneering

Mufasa and his son Simba respectively in filmmaking techniques to bring the iconic

the Hindi version of Disney’s upcoming characters alive on the big screen in a new

live-action film

“The Lion King”.

“‘The Lion King’

has been, for not

just me, but for so

many people

around the world,

one of the

favourite films that

they have enjoyed

with their families

and kids,” Shah

Rukh said.

“There are only three films that one loved

actually while growing up. One is ‘The Lion

King’, followed by ‘The Jungle Book’ and

‘Bambi’,” he added.

“The Lion King” follows the adventures

of Simba, who is to succeed his father

Mufasa, as King of the Pride Lands, and narrates

a tale of how he rises up to the occasion

despite several attempts to bring him down

way.

For Shah

Rukh, “The Lion

King” has

always been special.

“For one, it

didn’t have a

human being in

it, and (secondly)

it was a film that

was based on the

relationship of a

father and a son. That was special.”

“It’s the kind of movie that you can watch

with all your children, whatever age and

stage they are at. Even without being an

actor and just as an audience, the movie is a

wholesome experience. It’s a complete

film,” the actor said.

The film will release in India on July 19

in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

Akshay Kumar wishes luck

to women scientists leading

Chandrayaan-2 mission

With the Project Director and the Mission Director of India's

upcoming second moon

mission Chandrayaan- 2

being women, actor Akshay

Kumar has sent his best

wishes to the scientists for

the launch. "India's second

space mission to the moon,

Chandrayaan-2 is led by two

women scientists of Indian

Space

Research

Organisation (ISRO), a first

in India's history. Sending

my best to the rocket

women and ISRO team,

more power to you," Akshay

tweeted on Sunday.

Chandrayaan-2 is India's

most ambitious second lunar

mission. It will be launched

from Satish Dhawan Space

Centre at Sriharikota on-board the heavy-lift rocket

Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV Mk

III), nicknamed 'Bahubali', at 2.51 am on July 15. On the work

front, Akshay is gearing up for the release of ‘Mission Mangal’,

which is based on the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), or the

Mangalyaan project to put a space probe into Mars' orbit,

launched by ISRO min November 2013.

Akshay Kumar deserves

‘Forbes’ list rank: Taapsee

Akshay Kumar recently made it to the “Forbes” world’s highest

paid celebrities list, and

his “Baby” co-star Taapsee

Pannu congratulated the

actor saying he deserves it.

“Inspiring, deserving and

truly one of the best we

have around… Akshay

Kumar,” she tweeted on

Friday.

Surpassing

popular

international figures such

as Rihanna, Jackie Chan,

Scarlett Johansson, Chris

Evans and Katy Perry,

Akshay ranked 33 on the

Forbes list with earnings

worth $65 million. In context

to his earnings,

Taapsee joked: “Bas sir ab

sharing and caring ki baari

hai (Enough sir, now it’s your turn to share and care).” Akshay

had a hilarious reply as he posted a meme of himself in which he

is seen making a quirky face. “Beg you pardon,” the photograph

read. Akshay is the only Bollywood star to find a spot in the

Forbes list this year, among 99 others.

Notes from the heart

Angrezi Medium happens to be one of the most-awaited

movies of the year. The fans

are eagerly waiting for the

movie’s because they will be

able to watch actor Irrfan

Khan on the silver screen

after a very long time. The

actor had been away from the

filmy world for almost a

year, as he was receiving

treatment for neuroendocrine

tumour. Now, that he is completely

fine, Irrfan is gearing

up for his upcoming movie

Angrezi Medium. On Friday,

the director of the movie,

Homi Adajania, shared a picture

along with Irrfan Khan

on social media. He also

penned a heartfelt note that read, “I wanted to do this film knowing

it would be against the odds. I wanted to do it for all the

wrong reasons to make a film, but they just seemed so right and

still do. It’s been an emotional roller-coaster more than anything

else and I know how hard it’s been for everyone. Irrfan Khan,

you are incredible ... and you’re a decent actor as well.”


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Odisha registers 31%

decline in lightning deaths

Bhubaneswar : The number

of human casualties due to lightning

strikes in Odisha has

declined by over 31 per cent due

to use of early warning communication

system.

Lightning deaths in the state

declined to 320 in 2018-19 from

465 recorded in 2017-18, said

the Special Relief

Commissioner’s (SRC) office in

a statement on Sunday. As many

as 401 lightning deaths were

reported in 2015-16 and 2016-17

each, it said.

The State Relief Organisation

and the Odisha State Disaster

Management Authority

(OSDMA) have taken a number

of steps to check the human

casualties due to

lightning strikes.

The OSDMA has

collaborated with

the Regional

Integrated Multi-

Hazard Early

Warning System for

Africa and Asia

(RIMES), Thailand,

to develop an integrated

decision support

system (DSS)

for providing real

time watch, alert

and warning for natural

hazards, like

heatwave, lightning,

droughts and floods.

An intelligent,

automated system

known as ’Outdoor

Alerting System’

has also been installed in 14

blocks, most vulnerable to lightning.

The siren installed in this

system automatically blows

ahead of lightning, and also in

case of severe weather conditions,

to alert people.

According to data, about 85

per cent of lightning deaths

occur in May to September.

TECH

NASA engineers

install legs, wheels on

Mars 2020 rover

Los Angeles : NASA engineers have recently

installed the legs and wheels, known as the mobility

suspension on the Mars 2020 rover, according to

a latest release of NASA’s Jet Propulsion

Laboratory (JPL). More than a dozen "bunny suit"-

clad engineers integrated the rover’s legs and wheels

on June 13 in the clean room of the Spacecraft

Assembly Facility at JPL, marking another milestone

in the rover’s building, Xinhua news agency

reported on Saturday. Adding to the complexity of

the engineering team’s integration effort was the

"rocker-bogie" suspension system, which keeps the

rover body balanced, enabling it to "rock" up or

down, depending on the various positions of the six

wheels, according to JPL. Measuring 52.5 centimeters

in diameter and machined with traction-providing

cleats, or grousers, the current wheels are engineering

models that will be replaced with flight

models next year, JPL said. Every wheel has its own

motor. The two front and two rear wheels also have

individual steering motors that enable the vehicle to

turn a full 360 degrees in place. Mars 2020 will

launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in

Florida in July 2020. It is scheduled to land at Jezero

Crater on February 18, 2021.

July 2019

19

Google shuts down

blog management

tool ’Blog Compass’

San Francisco : Google has pulled the plug on

its blog management tool ’Blog Compass’, after

barely a year of its launch.

Blog Compass is an app that essentially helped

bloggers to manage their site and find topics to

write about.

It could connect to sites running either

WordPress or Blogger and provided the owner

with insights into trending topics and a centralized

dashboard for analytics or comments.

While Blog Compass is still available to download

from the Play Store, opening it now only displays

a goodbye message, the Android Police

reported on Sunday. According to user reviews, the

app was already having issues as early as October

2018. "Many people were unable to sign in with a

Google account and the last report was as late as

last month. According to the Google Play Store,

Blog Compass achieved somewhere between

10,000-50,000 installs," the report added.


20 July 2019

TECH

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Chandrayaan-2: Carrying

Indian flag to Moon top

priority for Twitterati

New Delhi : As India’s heavy lift rocket

nicknamed ‘Bahubali’ and its passenger

Chandrayaan-2 gear up for their historic

flight to the Moon on July 15, Twitter users

shared what they would like to take to the

lunar surface, with most of them mentioning

the national flag. However, Twitter

users also shared many interesting ideas.

Gautam Singh, for example, talked about

taking a geographical map of India. “So if

an Intelligent ET will find it They can find

where do we belong, A Flag will be useless

for them,” tweeted Singh.

Some users even suggested that Indian

soil should be transported to the Moon,

while others pointed out to the planetary

protection norms aimed to preserve our

ability to study other worlds as they exist in

their natural states. Planetary protection

refers to the practice of protecting solar system

bodies from contamination by Earth

life. “We can sanitize everything before

taking it there. Just like it is done today and

was done for the flags,” said one user.

“Yep. Very much. Indian soil in the

moon. Such a nice headline,” the user

added. The question “what you would take

to the Moon” was originally posed by the

Indian Space Research Organisation

(ISRO). ISRO said that it received interesting

answers from people around the country,

while sharing some of the the wish

New Delhi, With far higher

transmission speed than 4G, the

fifth generation cellular network

or 5G promises to bring

about dramatic changes to the

way we lead our lives and how

healthcare services are provided.

There are, however, also

concerns regarding adverse

health effects of exposure to

radiofrequency radiation associated

with the roll out of 5G.

The strength of radiofrequency

(RF) signals fields is

highest at its source and as

deployment of 5G would lead

to more mobile antennas, there

are fears of more radiation

leading to poor health.

Experts are, however, of the

opinion that there are not much

reasons to fear as long as India

follows the standards of safety

set by regulatory authorities

that are followed in Europe and

other developed nations.

The World Health

Organization has also played

down the fears associated with

exposure to RF signals. The

only health effect from RF

fields identified in scientific

reviews has been related to an

increase in body temperature

from exposure at very high

field intensity and this minor

increase in temperature do not

affect human health, according

to the WHO. “The term ‘radiation’

has a tendency to lead to

confusion and cause fear and

misconceptions. However,

radiation is of two types – ionising

and non-ionising. Nonionising

radiations which are

found in mobile devices have

not proved to be harzardous for

human health,” Vaibhav

Mishra, Additional Director,

Department of Cardiac

Surgery, Fortis Hospital Noida,

told IANS.

“It is the ionising radiations

which one needs to be careful

of. For example – the UV

(ultraviolet) rays emitted by the

sun are ionising in nature and

can cause significant damage to

our cell structures,” Mishra

added. “The reason this question

is being asked is because

5G will have a higher speed,

therefore require more radiation.

But there is no long term

data or study which concludes

lists. Chandrayaan-2 will attempt to soft

land the lander, Vikram, and rover,

Pragyan, in a high plain between two

craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N, at a

latitude of about 70 degree south.

The Indian spacecraft and rover would

land near the lunar south pole by

September 6 or 7. The 3.8 tonne complex

mission will have an orbiter with 8 scientific

experiments, a lander with three

experiments, a rover with two experiments

and one passive experiment from the US

space agency NASA. The ambitious mission

will make India the fourth nation after

the then Soviet Union (Russia), the US and

China to land and ride on the moon to conduct

various experiments on its orbit, surface,

atmosphere and beneath.

Will 5G roll out put your health at risk?

that there will be a negative

impact on human body from

the 5G radiation,” Mishra said.

Tarun Sahni from

Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals

in New Delhi pointed out that

many devices like ECG electrodes,

pacemakers, ultrasounds

emit targeted high frequency

radiowaves.

“Devices using high frequency

radio waves are used for

multiple purposes, besides their

use in smartphones. But the evidence

is not strong enough to

suggest that these radiowaves

are causing any big risk to

human health,” said Sahni,

Senior Consultant, Internal

Medicine. He, however, cautioned

that anything used at an

extreme degree has the potential

to cause some impairment.

“Even if there is a risk, it’s very

minimal,” he added. According

to T.V. Ramachandran,

President, Broadband India

Forum, an association of the

telecom network and broadcasters,

far from affecting our

health adversely, 5G will

improve healthcare services.

“As far as impact of radiation

on health is concerned, we have

done enough work on that area

and I can tell you that similar

concerns were raised when 3G

and 4G were rolled out. People

with inadequate understanding

are raising these issues,”

Ramachandran said.

“There is nothing at all to be

worried about the radiation,” he

said, adding that whatever

research has been done so far

has not shown any problem due

to the higher frequencies.

On the other hand, as 5G has

got some properties like very

low latency and very high

speed and bandwidth, it can

help improve medical care.

“For example, if you want to

do remote robotic surgery, it

may takes some milliseconds

for your commands to reach the

recipient. And if you ask the

robot to cut a particular part of

the body, and if there is a delay

of 10 seconds, it may cut the

wrong place. But with 5G this

delay which is called latency is

reduced to less than 1 millisecond.

So that can bring brilliant

advancement in healthcare,”

Ramachandran added.

How renewable energy shift

can increase 'energy poverty'

New York : The world must think more holistically about

how it addresses renewable energy as efforts to shift away from

fossil fuels and replace oil and coal with renewable energy

sources can help reduce carbon emissions but at the expense of

increased inequality, warn researchers.

The team from Portland State University (PSU) and

Vanderbilt University found in a study of 175 nations from 1990

to 2014 that renewable energy consumption reduces carbon

emissions more effectively when it occurs in a context of

increasing inequality.

Conversely, it reduces emissions to a lesser degree when

occurring in a context of decreasing inequality.

"People who are just making ends meet and can barely afford

their energy bills will make a choice between food and their

energy," said Julius McGee, assistant professor of sociology in

PSU. "We don't think of energy as a human right when it actually

is. The things that consume the most energy in your household

-- heating, cooling, refrigeration -- are the things you

absolutely need," McGee added.

The findings, published in the journal Energy Research &

Social Science, support previous claims by researchers who

argue that renewable energy consumption may be indirectly

driving energy poverty. "Energy poverty" is when a household

has no or inadequate access to energy services such as heating,

cooling, lighting, and use of appliances due to a combination of

factors: low income, increasing utility rates, and inefficient

buildings and appliances. In poorer nations, renewable sources

of electricity have been used to alleviate "energy poverty". In

rural areas in southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, a solar

farm can give an agrarian community access to electricity that

historically never had access to energy. "That's not having any

impact on carbon dioxide emissions because those rural communities

never used fossil fuels in the first place," McGee said.

Policymakers consider implementing policy tools that are

aimed at both reducing inequality and reducing emissions.

"We need to be focusing on addressing concerns around

housing and energy poverty before we actually think about

addressing climate change within the confines of a consumer

sovereignty model," stressed McGee.

AI can spot depression via

sound of your voice

New Delhi : India -- the sixth most depressed country in the

world -- has an

estimated 56

million people

suffering from

depression and

38 million

from anxiety

disorders, according to a recent report by the World Health

Organisation (WHO). To help identify depression early, scientists

have now enhanced a technology that uses Artificial

Intelligence (AI) to sift through sound of your voice to gauge

whether you are depressed or not. Computing science

researchers from University of Alberta in Canada have

improved technology for identifying depression through vocal

cues. The study, conducted by Mashrura Tasnim and Professor

Eleni Stroulia, builds on past research that suggests that the timbre

of our voice contains information about our mood.

Using standard benchmark data sets, Tasnim and Stroulia

developed a methodology that combines several Machine

Learning (ML) algorithms to recognize depression more accurately

using acoustic cues. A realistic scenario is to have people

use an app that will collect voice samples as they speak naturally.

"The app, running on the user's phone, will recognize and

track indicators of mood, such as depression, over time. Much

like you have a step counter on your phone, you could have a

depression indicator based on your voice as you use the phone,"

said Stroulia. Depression is ranked by WHO as the single

largest contributor to global disability. It is also the major contributor

to suicide deaths.

The ultimate goal, said researchers, is to develop meaningful

applications from this technology. Such a tool could prove useful

to support work with care providers or to help individuals

reflect on their own moods over time.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

July 2019

21

RESPECT right to CHOICE and

develop constitutional morality

Social media saw backlash to the

incident when Zaira Wasim, the young

actress who got famed from film

Dangal informed public through her

twitter handle that she was leaving the

tinsel world and returning to her religious

roots. There were several arguments.

The first one, were the ‘progressive’

Sanghis, who attacked her and

wrote as if she has turned ‘radical

Islamist’. The others were ‘secular’

‘liberals’ like Barkha Dutt and others

who felt that Zaira’s action would hurt

the prospectus of the Muslim girls

aspiring to do ‘something’. Then, there

were Muslim friends who felt that she

has done the right thing and the fourth

were again the ‘secular’ ‘liberal’

Muslims who felt that Ziara’s act has

hurt the community which is under

tremendous pressure from the right

wing Hindus.

Now, at one go, for us, it is a very

personal choice and does not matter.

Why should we care too much if an

individual find salvation in his religion

or not in it. What does it affect ? Why

should Ziara’s becoming ‘religious’

hurt the prospectus of other Muslim

girls. It is the same story as if the

prospectus of the Muslim women grew

multifold after the entry of Waheeda

Rehman, Mumtaz or Zeenat Aman, in

the film Industry. The hypocrisy of the

Barkha Dutt kind of people is that none

of them have ever written about why

Islamabad/New Delhi,

Improving cross-border connectivity

and trade, peopleto-people

exchanges and

educational collaboration

were among the subjects discussed

at the two-day civil

society-led Track-II dialogue

between India and Pakistan

in Islamabad, the first such

initiative after the Pulwama

terror attack that soured relations

between the two neighbouring

countries. The dialogue,

titled ‘Beyond

Politics and Polemics New

Beginning on a Difficult

Trail’, has been convened by

the Islamabad-based

Regional Peace Institute

(RPI). According to media reports, six delegates

from India are participating in the

dialogue that concludes on Saturday.

“There is no official-level representation

from India. It is a purely a civil society-led

initiative,” a source told IANS here.

Raoof Hasan, founder of the Regional

Peace Institute, was quoted as saying:

“Track-II diplomacy is the first step to

improve relations between the governments

of both the countries,” and added

that the main objective of the talks was to

bring the youth of the two countries

towards peace. Hasan also tweeted: “Here

we are finally trying to untangle the tricky

the young Hindu girls are now

becoming Sadhvis or for that matter

and then delivering hatefull speeches.

And will the people who go to

listen to these young Sadhvis like

Radhe Ma, aspire to become like her or

just go to out of pure superstitions or

other business interests. How many of

them write when a 12 year old Jain girl

Khushi, who got 97% marks in her

sixth class,decided to become a monk,

in Surat, earlier in May this year. Why

there were no hue and cries over this

absolute violation of child right. And

among Jains, there are many such stories

but we never called Jains one of the

most conservative communities and

such traditions as absolutely uncalled

for in the modern world.

If we go by the narrative in the

media, Khushi Shah was being termed

as a wonder girl who has left all the

‘good things’ of life. Her father felt

proud of her. How many TV channels

ran the show and took on to the leaders

of Jain community for such practice.

Khushi was clearly a child of 12 and

National Child Rights Commission

should have investigated the matter.

Zaira is still a major unlike Khushi

but our media which is purely a Bania

media in todays time, has only one

agenda which is to construct stories

about Muslims. If there is none, then

they want to construct it and then

debate on it to put continuous pressure

knot! It is always the scent of possibilities

that sustains my hope for the future. Let’s

do a toast to a tomorrow of peace and reconciliation.”

Pakistan’s Parliamentary Secretary for

Foreign Affairs Andleeb Abbas, addressing

the talk on Saturday, stressed on greater

people to people contacts between the two

neighbours to normalise the bilateral relationship.

Abbasi said the 770 million youth on

both sides of the border are a “ray of hope”

and by bringing them together a paradigm

shift can be brought in the bilateral relationship

between the two countries. She

on the community and portray it a purely

medieval community without any

sense of modernity.

The problem is not merely the right

wing Sanghi trolls but also the self proclaimed

guardians

of Indian culture.

Recently, a West

Bengal TMC leader

and now a member of parliament, Ms

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

Indo-Pak civil society-led dialogue held

in Islamabad, first after Pulwama

Nusrat Jahan was trolled. Nusrat married

to a Jain business man and was

seen in traditional bridal attire with her

partner. There are

two kinds of reactions

also said that great

trade potential exists

between the two

nations which needs to

be explored. Abbasi

said that Prime

Minister Imran Khan

has consistently been

giving the message of

peace to India, adding

that war is not a solution

to any problem

and conflicts can only

be resolved through

peace and negotiations.

The second round of

the dialogue will be

held in New Delhi in

September this year.

The theme of the first session was ‘With

young leading the charge — discovering

new paths for reconciliation & progress’,

while the second session was on ‘Moving

to overcome challenges — formulating a

vision of the future’. Another session was

themed ‘Commonality of stakes —

Connectivity as the gateway to development.’

Pakistan Foreign Secretary Sohail

Mahmood is slated to address the participants

of the dialogue later on Saturday,

media reports said. The dialogue comes

ahead of a meeting on Sunday between the

officials of both sides at Wagah on the

Kartarpur corridor.

particularly

Kathmandu : The death toll

in the Nepal floods and landslides

caused by torrential rain

has increased to 43, while 21

were reported missing and 26

others injured, authorities confirmed

on Sunday. The toll was

confirmed by the Home

Ministry, adding that 2,000

people had

been rescued

by

Saturday

evening, the

Kathmandu

Post reported.

Since

Thursday

evening, the Himalayan nation

has witnessed heavy rainfall in

an indication of the changing

rainfall pattern, data from

Simara station of the

Meteorological Forecasting

Division revealed The country

is receiving more rainfall in a

short duration of time, an

abnormal phenomenon that is

slowly becoming a new normal,

the data added.

Simara station received the

highest rainfall in the latest wet

spell. In the 24-hour period

since Thursday evening,

Simara recorded 311.9 mm

related to their dress. Some Hindus said

that there was a Fatwa against her for

wearing sindoor and mangalsutra after

the marriage. The ‘seculars’ were

defending her that she was ‘progressive’

as she crossed ‘religious boundary’

and is an example that Muslims too

can ‘respect’ and ‘celebrate’ Hindu culture.

The problem lies not in Zaira’s or

Nusrat’s personal choices but in our

attempt to ‘define’ them according to

our convenience. Nusrat and Zaira have

their choices. Just by going back to

Islam Zaira does not become regressive

in the very similar way just by wearing

Sindoor and mangal sutra does not

make Nusrat a champion of secularism

or Indian culture. Fact of the matter is

Sindoor and Mangalsutra are not at all

symbol of women’s empowerment but

symbol of regressive anti woman brahmanical

culture.

It is time for all of us to get out of

this ‘defining’ others. Let the people

enjoy their choices whether they are

religious or non religious. India, ultimately,

will have to work on constitutional

morality as only that would

ensure rights for all as well as unity and

integrity of our nation.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social

and human rights activist. He blogs

at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com

twitter @freetohumanity

Email: vbrawat@gmail.com

Toll in Nepal floods,

landslides reach 43

rainfall, according to the

Meteorological Forecasting

Division. The Simara station

also surpassed its own extreme

rainfall in 24 hours for July.

The last incident of extreme

precipitation in 24 hours was

266.4 mm in July 16, 1978.

Different districts on

Saturday

also saw

devastation

and destruction

by

floods and

landslides

triggered by

incessant

rainfall,

reports the Kathmandu Post.

Parts of the capital

Kathmandu have been left submerged

under floodwaters. In

Province 2, around 80 per cent

of the land has been inundated,

while 15 houses were swept

away in Saptari and 2,500

houses inundated. Until

Saturday, 1,500 families had

been displaced. In Morang,

waters from the swollen

Bakraha, Lohandra, Judi,

Singhiya and Keshliya, among

other rivers, gushed into nearby

settlements, displacing around

4,000 people.


22 July 2019

WORLD

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Pakistani mafia uses

bribes, blackmail to

pressure judiciary: PM

Islamabad, Pakistan Prime Minister

Imran Khan on Saturday likened his country’s

money laundering suspects to the

Sicilian mafia, saying they also use bribes,

threats and blackmail to pressurize state

institutions and the judiciary to protect

their money illegally stashed abroad. His

remark came in a tweet accompanied by a

four-year-old news article about a testimony

given by former Italian President

Giorgio Napolitano during a trial regarding

bombings carried out by mobsters in the

1990s, the Dawn reported.

Napolitano was reported to have told

prosecutors that the attacks were a form of

“extortion or outright pressure aimed at

destabilising the entire system”. The

bombings had allegedly led to high-ranking

Italian ministers negotiating with the

Sicilian mafia to end the violence in

exchange for softer jail sentences and better

conditions in prison for convicted mobsters.

“In a similar vein to the ‘Sicilian

mafia’, the Pakistani mafia uses tactics of

bribe, threat, blackmail and begging to

pressurize state institutions and judiciary in

order to protect their billions of money

laundering stashed abroad,” Khan wrote on

Twitter. Although the Prime Minister did

not name any individual or political party,

his observation comes a day after

Accountability Judge Arshad Malik

London, US President

Donald Trump abandoned the

Iran nuclear deal to spite his

predecessor Barack Obama,

claimed a new leaked memo

written by Kim Darroch, the

UK’s former ambassador to

the US. According to the Mail

newspaper on Sunday, the

memo was written after

the then Foreign

Secretary Boris Johnson

appealed to the US in

2018 to stick with the

nuclear deal, the BBC

reported. Citing the

leaked memo, the newspaper

said that after

Johnson returned to the

UK from the US, Darroch

wrote that President

Trump appeared to be

abandoning the nuclear deal

for “personality reasons”

because the pact had been

agreed by Obama.

The former British

Ambassador is said to have

highlighted splits amongst US

presidential advisors and that

the White House did not have

a “day-to-day” strategy of

what to do following withdrawal

from the deal.

The Mail newspaper

reported that Darroch wrote a

claimed in an affidavit that he was offered

Rs 500 million cash bribe by former Prime

Minister Nawaz Sharif’s son, Hussain

Nawaz, who demanded that the judge

resign on the grounds that he “could no

longer deal with the guilt of having convicted”

his father under duress in the Al-

Azizia/Hill Metal Establishment reference

in December 2018.

On July 6, Pakistan Muslim League-

Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President and

Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz,

had opened a Pandora’s box with a startling

Trump scrapped Iran deal to

spite Obama: New leak claims

memo to Johnson, saying:

“The outcome illustrated the

paradox of this White House:

you got exceptional access,

seeing everyone short of the

President; but on the substance,

the administration is

set upon an act of diplomatic

vandalism, seemingly for ideological

and personality reasons

– it was Obama’s deal.

“Moreover, they can’t

articulate any ‘day-after’

strategy; and contacts with

State Department this morning

suggest no sort of plan for

reaching out to partners and

allies, whether in Europe or

the region.” The latest disclosure

comes despite a warning

from Scotland Yard to the

media about publishing

leaked diplomatic memos, the

BBC reported. They warned

that journalists who released

further details of the former

Ambassador’s communications

could be in breach of the

Official Secrets Act. The first

memos, which emerged

exactly a week ago on July 7,

saw the then UK Ambassador

refer to the Trump

administration as “clumsy

and inept”, which

prompted a furious

response from the US

President, who described

Darroch as “a very stupid

guy” with whom he

would no longer deal.

The UK government

launched an internal

Whitehall inquiry into

the publication following

the reports. But Darroch

stepped down as US ambassador

on Wednesday, saying it

was “impossible” for him to

continue.

Following his resignation

police launched a criminal

investigation into the origins

of the leak with Scotland

Yard’s

Assistant

Commissioner Neil Basu saying

there was a “clear public

interest” in bringing those

responsible to justice.

claim that Malik had “confessed” that he

had been “pressurized and blackmailed” to

convict her father in the Al-Azizia reference.

A video containing the judge’s

alleged confession during his conversation

with a ‘sympathiser’ of the PML-N, Nasir

Butt, was screened at a presser. The next

day, the judge denied the allegation and

being under any pressure, but admitted that

Butt was an acquaintance.

On Saturday, Maryam was quick to hit

back at the Prime Minister’s insinuation

that members of the country’s opposition

acted as a “mafia”. “You’re a part of the

mafia that pressurizes judges into targeting

and punishing your political opponents. It

is you who used the institutions to settle

scores with your opponents and defaced

and maligned them in the process. Shame

on you,” she replied to Khan’s tweet. In a

second tweet in Urdu, she alleged that the

Prime Minister was “part of the heinous

conspiracy that was staged to punish

Nawaz Sharif and keep him out of the

field”.

To continue the war of words, Khan

tweeted: “The poverty of the people is the

actual cause of the devastation and ruination

of a country; and the main cause of the

poverty of the people is the desire of its

ruler and officers to amass wealth and possessions

whether by fair or foul means.”

Trump decides not to impose

quotas on uranium imports

Washington, US President

Donald Trump announced that

he would not impose quotas on

uranium imports despite

Department of Commerce’s

findings that foreign uranium

poses a threat to national security.

“At this time, I do not concur

with the Secretary’s finding

that uranium imports

threaten to impair

the national security

of the US as defined

under section 232 of

the Act,” Trump said

in a presidential

memorandum

released late Friday,

referring to the

Trade Expansion Act

of 1962, the Xinhua

news agency reported. The

announcement marked a division

from the previous position

of the US President, who has

slapped tariffs on imported

steel and aluminum products

and threatened to levy auto tariffs

citing Section 232 investigation.

“Although I agree that the

Secretary’s findings raise significant

concerns regarding the

impact of uranium imports on

the national security with

respect to domestic mining, I

find that a fuller analysis of

national security considerations

with respect to the entire

nuclear fuel supply chain is

necessary at this time,” Trump

said. The US currently imports

approximately 93 per cent of its

commercial uranium, compared

to 85.8 per cent in 2009.

According to data from the US

Energy Information

Administration, the majority of

imported uranium comes from

Canada, Australia, Russia and

Kazakhstan. In its report submitted

to the President in April,

Commerce Secretary Wilbur

Ross said foreign state-owned

companies “distorted

global prices” and

made it more difficult

for domestic

mines to compete.

Trump demanded

that a working group

develop recommendations

for reviving

and expanding

domestic nuclear fuel

production within 90

days. The Trump administration

has repeatedly invoked the

previously seldom-used

Section 232, drawing strong

opposition from domestic and

international business community.

The investigation in foreign

uranium is not initiated by the

Trump administration by itself,

but was requested by two US

uranium mining companies,

Ur-Energy Inc. and Energy

Fuels Inc.

American nuclear power

plants, however, opposed

restricting the imports of uranium,

fearing that they would

face a higher cost if quotas

went into effect, especially

when their market share has

already been encroached by

shale gas and wind energy

companies.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

WORLD

July 2019

23

Proposing overhaul of MSP

operation: Niti Aayog Member

New Delhi : With the focus of

the government squarely on reviving

agriculture and increasing farm

incomes as highlighted in the

Interim Budget presented in

February, there is widespread

expectation of more sops for the

distressed sector. On the eve of the

full Union Budget 2019-20, IANS

publishes an interview with Niti

Aayog Member Ramesh Chand on

reforms needed in the agriculture

sector. He has been responsible for

most of the inputs from the NITI

Aayog towards government policies

relating to agriculture. He is

also the driving force behind the

government's target of doubling of

farmers' income.

The Price Deficiency Scheme:

Q: Looking at low farmer

incomes and given the agricultural

distress in the country, you had

recommended a revised Bhavantar

scheme to the government in 2018.

Has this been accepted by the

states and what is the status of this

scheme? How is it different from

that of the past?

A: Yes, we are proposing an

overhaul of how Minimum

Support Price (MSP) operates

today. What I am suggesting is a

framework where immediately

after sowing, farmers who wish to

avail of MSP will register via a

portal. Here they can store details

of the crops they have decided to

sow, and the amount of acreage of

each crop. This will give a detailed

picture of the farmers' chosen

crop-mix. Now, the government

already monitors the price activity

of 3-4 key markets in each district.

Data is collected on the ruling

price of each crop in that specific

district. Then, we can calculate the

average price over a 7-8 week period.

If we find that the ruling average

price is lower than the MSP,

the government can pay the difference

to the farmer based on the

productivity of that specific district

and the farmer's own output. This

is advantageous because it will

involve minimal cost to make it

work.

In the current scenario, we find

that ruling prices are often far

lower than the MSPs assigned, and

the cost burden is also significant

for the exchequer. A narrowing of

the gap between ruling prices and

MSP would go a long way towards

controlling this. To limit this we

could earmark a certain amount to

the MSP depending upon historical

prices through which we can meet

70-80 per cent of deficiency.

Q: Given that the MSP is

applicable to 23 crops across several

states, you are proposing not

to increase the budget allocated

to address price differentials but

to utilize the available resources

more effectively. Is that right?

A: Yes, absolutely. We are calling

it the Price Deficiency Scheme.

In fact, it would prove far less costly,

compared to procurement

where you are paying out MSPs

for the entire volume. When you

are procuring, you also have other

costs associated with the process.

There is movement and storage of

crop followed by the final disposal

of the produce. This is an inefficient

process, and at best you can

break even but often you will be

paid less than that. If you look at

procurement models in India

through the FCI (Food Corporation

of India) or other kinds of procurement,

the cost can be as high as 20-

30 per cent of the produce at which

you are procuring. You will find

that the price deficiency in most

crops is not more than that, and

that is why it would prove to be a

more cost effective policy. Several

other countries have also adopted

it. China has done particularly well

with this structure.

Q: I believe the US has the

same scheme. But how effectively

do you think we can adopt

this?

Q: Yes you are right about the

US. They have had similar

schemes for a long time but we

must recall that they have much

better data on acreage and sales.

It is indeed a much more efficient

model, which we should follow

in totality. But first, we need

to ensure that the agricultural

markets are functioning competitively

to minimize the quantum

of support that is required. If

markets are not functioning

smoothly, the cost borne by

agencies will be inordinately

high and frankly, unaffordable.

It is crucial that we work

towards making markets more

competitive, so that any such

deficiency is minimized.

Distribution of agricultural

credit:

Q: One of the things at the

heart of farmer issues is the lack

of liberal credit and quick payments.

If we look at a crop like

sugarcane, these difficulties are

particularly acute where we find

a gap of even 6-9 months

between the sale of crops and settling

of dues. How can we

improve this?

A: The issue is that agricultural

credit is distributed very unevenly

across states. In some states, we

are supplying much more credit

than what is required for inputs

and labour costs. On the other

hand, some states are starved of

credit, particularly in the eastern

and central regions. Looking at the

data, we know that in some states

the farmer is getting multiple

loans. This is not in their interest in

the long run, since easy credit is

rarely spent on productive purposes.

Of vital importance is the saturation

of areas where low credit

levels prevail. We are addressing

this through new ways of institutional

credit.

Natural advantage and district-wise

planning?

Q: There has always been this

thinking that agricultural planning

and MSP pricing should

actually be done at the district or

even at a sub-district level. As an

organization, Niti Aayog has

focused on agriculture but not

on data collection at higher resolutions.

How would you respond

to this?

A: This demand has been made

many times before, and it has been

debated at length. I have personally

seen eminent economists like

Dandekar ji (V.M. Dandekar) and

Alagh saab ( Y.K Alagh) participate

in these discussions. One of

the purposes of MSP is to promote

efficiency in production. If we

were to start giving MSP based on

cost of production at a block level

or farmer level, then everyone

would be incentivized to produce

anything. If Kerala for example,

doesn't have an advantage in producing

wheat, it should not be

doing so. However, if you were to

link the MSP to underlying costs,

then Kerala would also produce

wheat. That may be Rs 5,000 per

quintal, or even be Rs 10,000. If

you were to start considering the

cost of production at the disaggregate

level, this would completely

distort the cropping pattern of this

country. Everyone would choose

the crop that guarantees the highest

MSP instead of responding to

demand signals. Instead of that,

when you zoom out and are considering

an all India price, you will

be sending a uniform signal to the

country that commodities should

only be grown in areas which are

best suited to them.

Q: But one of the counterarguments

could be that wheat and

rice is grown in the North to the

extent that it has led to a decline

in the water table and reduced

crop diversity. This is particularly

the case in Punjab, Haryana

and West Uttar Pradesh.

Q: Precisely. At one time,

when the country was hungry,

that was needed. Suitable placement

or not, we wanted to have

more food especially staples.

Now we are facing the consequences.

Sustainability is being

damaged since we have deviated

from the natural endowments of

a particular region. Crops which

have a competitive advantage

from a natural resource point of

view such as rainfall, soil type

and temperature must be grown.

Why is there so much more area

under paddy in Punjab than

what the region can afford? This

is because electricity is free.

Irrigation is the main input for

rice. Even though Bihar is more

suitable for rice cultivation. A

farmer in Punjab whether he

gets rainfall or not will grow it as

he doesn't have to pay for water.

In fact, he has a much more

assured water supply than a

farmer in Bihar.

Through this subsidy, the environment

to produce paddy has

been artificially created so that

there is an unfair advantage in a

place compared to the natural

choice. If we ensure the right kind

of pricing for water supply and

other appropriate subsidies, along

with expansion of MSP to alternative

crops it will lead to a correction

in the cropping pattern.

Keeping in mind the suitability criteria

of a crop is very important, or

we shall continue to pay a very

heavy price for it.

Q: But the expansion of MSP

and procurement of other crops

has not happened even though

the government has tried to do

this.

A: If you look at the total

responsibility taken by the Centre,

rice and wheat alone have a greater

share of the MSP burden than all

other crops combined. They do not

even come close. While the Centre

is committed to taking responsibility

for these critical crops, coarse

grains, pulses and oilseeds, it is

important that states should also

shoulder some responsibility.

Farmer interests are a concern to

both state as well as the Centre,

and the Centre is playing its part

through procurement and also

making MSP payouts. I think the

states' involvement is very important

coupled with competitive markets.

Only then will we have a

solution for low prices and

exploitative market practices.


24 July 2019

WORLD

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Storm Barry weakens over Louisiana, flood alert remains

Washington : Tropical

Storm Barry has weakened to a

tropical depression as it crossed

the US state of Louisiana,

heading northwestwards,

although authorities are still

keeping residents on alert due

to the risk of flooding.

The storm, which developed

in the Gulf of Mexico and made

landfall on Saturday in

Louisiana after briefly attaining

hurricane status, is moving

slowly across the interior of the

state at between 8-17 km per

hour, Efe news quoted the

Weather Channel as saying on

Sunday.

Since Saturday, there has

been flooding along parts of the

Louisiana coastline with the

water level rising between two

and three feet above normal in

the coastal parishes of

Vermilion, Iberia and Saint

Mary. Despite the weakening

of the storm on Sunday, the

flooding alert remains in effect

in parts of Louisiana, as well as

in the states of Mississippi,

Alabama, Arkansas and

Tennessee. Lake Pontchartrain

New Delhi : The Delhi High Court on

Monday said that it will hear on July 22 a

plea against the Centre's delay in clearing

the name of Justice

Akil A. Kureshi as

Madhya Pradesh

High Court Chief

Justice.

A bench headed

by Chief Justice

Ranjan Gogoi

asked the petitioner

Gujarat High Court

Advocates Association to supply a copy of

the petition to Solicitor General Tushar

Mehta for assisting in the matter.

The advocates association said that the

government has not cleared the file for the

appointment of Justice Kureshi as

Madhya Pradesh High Court Chief

Justice. On May 10, the Supreme Court

was one of the areas most at

risk for flooding, although so

far the situation has not gotten

too bad and the lake has not

overflowed.

Mandeville city's Mayor

Donald J. Villere, told Efe news

that as of 5 a.m. on Sunday his

lakeside town only had one

street near the shore flooded.

He also said that the storm's

strong winds did not cause any

damage either, and - although

here and there a house's cellar

was flooded - there was little

else in the way of damage,

adding that nobody had to be

evacuated from their home and

SC to hear plea on Justice

Kureshi elevation on July 22

collegium headed by Chief Justice of

India Ranjan Gogoi had recommended

Justice Kureshi, currently the senior-most

judge at the Gujarat

High Court, as the

most suitable candidate

to be appointed

as the Chief Justice

of the Madhya

Pradesh High

Court. Disregarding

the recommendations

of the

Supreme Court collegium, the Centre

notified the appointment of Ravi Shanker

Jha as the acting Chief Justice of the

Madhya Pradesh High Court last month

after Justice Sanjay Kumar Seth retired on

June 9. The association has requested the

court to direct the Centre to implement the

collegium's resolution of May 10.

Delhi to provide free safety kits

to sanitation workers: Kejriwal

New Delhi : Delhi Chief Minister

Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said his government

will provide free safety kits to

sanitation workers, hoping there will be

no sewer deaths in the city in future.

Speaking at a workshop organised

by the Delhi Jal Board

(DJB) on sewer safety and

awareness of the field level

sewer workers, Kejriwal said the

safety kit will be given to every

worker who works for the cleaning

of the sewers. "We will

ensure that free kit is given to

everyone so that even if the contractor

doesn't provide you with the gear, you use

your own gear to stay safe," said Kejriwal,

who is also the Chairman of DJB.

The Chief Minister also administered

oath of safety and security to the workers.

The oath said that no worker will enter

any sewer without proper safety gear and

will take proper care of safety.

"The death of a worker while cleaning

sewers is very saddening. We have to end

this; we have to do this together. This can't

be achieved by Delhi government or Delhi

Jal Board alone, this can be done

only when we all work towards

it," said the Chief Minister.

Kejriwal said the workshop and

training is being done to ensure

that no one dies after getting into

sewers to clean them. "Be it any

worker of DJB or of contractor,

any worker who gets in a sewer

for cleaning must have a proper safety

gear. It is not only the government's job,

but you also have to make sure that you

don't get down in the sewer without the

safety gear. Don't think that it's a twominute

job and take the risk; please be

safe and wear the safety gear before you

enter any sewer," he said.

the electricity did not go off.

Although there had been little

damage in Mandeville,

Villere was being cautious and

advising local residents to

remain in their homes.

Louisiana Governor John

Bel Edwards on Twitter repeated

his recent call to the public

to exercise caution, noting that

state residents still have several

hours of rain ahead, with the

possibility of tornadoes and

other severe weather conditions.

Currently, there are some

126,560 local residents without

electric power in Louisiana,

according to the latest figures

provided by the

Poweroutage.us Web page.

One of the power companies

operating in the state, Entergy

Louisiana, reported on its

Twitter account that 65,000 of

its customers were without

electricity and that total had

risen to nearly 85,000 at Barry's

worst moments. The National

Hurricane Centre said that the

main threat of the storm at this

point is intense rain and possible

flooding in Louisiana and

up into the Mississippi River

valley.

Authorities so far have not

reported any deaths or injuries

from the storm, although the

material damage has been put

at billions of dollars.

AccuWeather estimates that

damage and economic losses

from Barry ultimately will total

between $8 billion and $10 billion.

Before making landfall

near Intercoastal City,

Louisiana, Barry briefly

became a Category 1 hurricane,

the first of the Atlantic hurricane

season, only to weaken to

a tropical storm.

The storm is presently packing

maximum sustained winds

of 56 kph, is moving north at 9

mph and is expected to reach

Arkansas on Monday.

The Atlantic hurricane season

officially began on June 1,

but on May 20 a subtropical

storm dubbed Andrea developed

south-southeast of

Bermuda, quickly weakening

and causing no damage.

The current forecast by

Colorado State University,

released last week, is that this

Atlantic hurricane season will

see an "average" number - 14 -

tropical storms, six of which

will become hurricanes. In

2005, Louisiana was walloped

by Hurricane Katrina, which

killed more than 1,800 people,

mostly in New Orleans.

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