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Showing posts from April, 2011

'Rural households paid over Rs 470cr bribe for basic services'

Ranging from Re one to Rs 950, rural households in the country could have paid a whopping Rs 471.8 crore last year as bribe to avail basic facilities such as ration, health, education and water supply, says a study.

The 'India Corruption Study: 2010' report prepared by Centre for Media Studies (CMS), a survey of 9,960 households in 12 states, says on an average a rural household could have paid Rs 164 as bribe for availing these facilities in a year.

The study said the total amount of Rs 471.8 crore is "equal or less" than the total expenditure made under MNREGA during 2010-11 in states like Assam, Gujarat, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra.

"The estimation of bribe amount paid by the rural households brings out an amount of Rs 471.8 crore...The percentage of rural households that paid bribe during the last year was relatively higher in PDS (11.5 per cent), followed by hospitals (9), schools (5.8), water (4.3)," the study said.

It claimed that the socio…

Anganwadi centres 'useless' for Delhi residents: survey

Plagued by numerous problems such as lack of infrastructure, Anganwadi centres (AWC) are considered "useless" by residents of Delhi, according to a survey.

The survey was conducted across seven districts of Delhi, eaching having one AWC responsible for mother and child care.

"There is lack of infrastructure, wages are low, there is unavailability of space for children to play and educational facilities are also missing," survey said.

"For informal sector workers who have irregular incomes that fall below minimum wages, a working Anganwadi can be a lifesaver," survey revealed.

There are approximately 7,500 children between ages 0-6 in these districts. The survey found that 30 per cent of children born in these districts were under-weight, 63 were born anemic and there is a glaring gap in the under five mortality between the urban poor (73. 6 per 1000 births) and the urban rich (41.8 per 1000 births).

The most damaging effects of under-nutrition occur during pr…

NHRC disposed of 88,788 cases in 2010-11

The National Human Rights Commission disposed of 88,788 cases in 2010-2011 and recommended monetary relief to the tune of Rs 19 crore.

According to latest official figures provided by the rights panel, it directed payment of monetary relief or compensation in 574 cases during the period.

In 2009-2010, the commission disposed of 86,050 cases out of which in 398 cases monetary relief to the tune of Rs 6.29 crore were recommended.

During 2008-2009, it disposed of 1,03,996 cases, out of which in 373 cases compensation to the tune of Rs 5.02 crore were recommended, as per the figures.

"The rising number of complaints on human rights violations proves the fact that awareness is growing about NHRC's work and the faith the people have in it. Most of the recommendations made by NHRC are implemented by the public authorities," the commission said in a statement.

India placed 71 in world well-being rank: survey

With only 17 per cent people describing themselves as "thriving", India ranked 71, in a new Gallup study on overall well-being conducted in 124 countries.

According to the study, which combined the results of Gallup's 2010 global well-being surveys, majority of Indians (64 per cent) believe they are "struggling" while 19 per cent think they are "suffering".

The surveys asked people to rate themselves on a ladder with steps labelled 0 to 10. People who rate their current lives a 7 or higher and say they expect their lives in five years to be an 8 or higher are considered to be thriving.

Those who rate their lives between 4 or less are considered "suffering", while "struggling" respondents fall between the two groups.

Interestingly, strife-torn Pakistan whose economy is in tatters ranked as the 40th happiest nation in the world with 32 per cent of its citizens saying they are thriving.

However, the level of well-being in other neighbours …

"India's poverty declined to 32 pc in 2009-10"

India's poverty is estimated to have declined to 32 per cent in 2009-10 from 37.2 per cent five years ago, as per preliminary findings of the Planning Commission.

The estimates are based on the formula suggested by the Tendulkar Committee for computing the number of poor in the country.

"2009-10 data show a decline in poverty from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05 to 32 per cent in 2009-10 as the per the preliminary data worked out the (Plan panel member) Abhijit Sen," Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told reporters.

Tendulkar Committee had suggested that poverty should be estimated on the basis on consumption based on cost of living index instead of caloric intake. It said that the basket of goods should also include services like health and education.

The new poverty line, as suggested by the Tendulkar Committee, is different for rich and poor states and also different for rural and urban areas within a state.

"These are preliminary data... Abhijit Sen…

Bihar's decadal population growth rate dips

Bihar's population growth rate has dipped by 3.45 per cent to 25.07 per cent in the past one decade till 2011 compared to 28.62 per cent growth rate in a decade earlier, according to the decadal census report.

The population growth rate in Bihar stood at 25.07 per cent between 2001 and 2011 as against 28.63 per cent between 2001 and 1991, the state census director Kumar Senthil told at the release of decadal census report.

At the same time, Bihar's population continued to surge in the past decade with the state being among top three populated states of the country with a population of 10.38 crores, he said.

The population density per square kilometre area too increased signification at a population of 1102 per square km area in 2011 as against 881 in 2001, Senthil said, adding Sheohar district has the highest population density at 1882 and Kaimur, the lowest at 488.

The sex ratio in the state has also registered a marginal decline at 916 female per 1000 males over the past one dec…

99 pc people in Delhi slums want improvement in PDS

About 99 per cent of people living in slums in Delhi feel the public distribution system should be improved while 37 per cent say they did not get a ration card after applying for it, as per a latest survey.

The study, said most of the respondents did not support the proposed concept of cash transfer of subsidy to BPL card holders' accounts instead of providing cheap foodgrain. About 52 per cent felt the cash given might not be used for ration and is likely to be spent on other needs.

Some 37 per cent said they did not get a ration card after applying for the same while 14 per cent were not able to draw ration because of unstamped APL ration cards.

The survey was carried out in 14 different areas of east, south, north-east and north-west Delhi among 593 ration card holders.

'Community involvement key to curbing child trafficking'

Pinki, a 14-year-old from a nondescript Rajasthan village, was forced into the flesh trade after her father sold her for Rs 10,000 to repay his loan.

Eleven-year-old Amit had to spend over 10 hours daily in hazardous conditions in a bangle factory in Uttar Pradesh's Firozabad district.

Radhika, a 14-year-old girl from a poor family in Andhra Pradesh's Kakinada district, had to work till midnight at a bank official's house where she was employed as a maid.

The trio are among the fortunate few to have been rescued and now having the opportunity to enjoy their rights to read and write.

But thousands of children are still waiting for such miracles to happen in their lives despite various laws that prevent child labour and immoral trafficking being in place.

"By making laws only we cannot curb these social menaces. What needs to be done is that to bring in awareness at the grass-root level and engaging the community where such crimes are originated to act against them," sa…

'77% very poor in Orissa deprived of a day's MGNREGA work'

About 77 per cent of the very poor in Orisa did not get even a single day's work under the rural employment scheme under MGNREGA during the previous year, the Centre for Environment and Food Security has said.

The average MGNREGS employment actually provided to the surveyed households in the state during the previous year was only about 4 days per household, the Delhi-based CEFS said in its report.

The premier organisation had recently conducted performance audit of 10 food security and poverty alleviation schemes in Uttar Pradesh and Orissa.

Surprisingly, the survey revealed that 28.3 per cent of very poor tribal and dalit households do not have ration cards, the CEFS report said.

"These are only a few of the many shocking findings of a performance audit of 10 food security and poverty alleviation schemes carried out in seven districts of Orissa," Founding Director of CEFS, New Delhi, Parshuram Ray said.

The CEFS was founded in April, 2001 by some eminent scholars, writers,…

With increase of over 3 cr people, UP remains most populous

With an increase of 3.3 crore in its population in the last decade, Uttar Pradesh continues to be the most populous state in the country, with the number of its people more than that in Brazil, according to census 2011.

However, there has been a decline of 5.76 per cent in the growth rate of population in the state in comparison to the previous decade's growth rate.

From 16.61 crore in 2001, the state's population has increased to 19.95 crore in 2011 at a rate of 20.09 per cent as against 25.85 per cent growth rate in the previous decade.

"As per the provisional count, the population of UP is about one-sixth (16.5 per cent) of total population of India and has increased by more than 3.3 crore," director of Census Operations UP Neena Sharma told.

The population comprises of 10,45,96,415 males and 9,49,85,062 females and the sex ratio has improved, she said.

"The percentage decadal growth during 2001-2011 has registered a decline of 5.76 percentage points from 25.85 to…

"National policy needed to tackle declining sex-ratio"

Terming the decline in child sex ratio (0-6 years) as an 'emergency', civil rights workers say there is lack of political will to address the issue which requires a national policy from the government before the situation goes out of hand.

Census 2011 results show that among children up to the age of six, the number of girls per 1,000 boys has reduced to 914, a drop from 927 in 2001. As per the figures, this is lowest since the country's independence in 1947. "The government should take it as an emergency call. The solution is nothing but strict implementation of the PNDT Act.

Ultrasound machines are so faulty that even quacks have access to them. Unless we strengthen and effectively implement this law, sex ratio would not improve," says Ranjana Kumari, chairperson of Centre for Social Research. "There is lack of political will to take the issue forward effectively. The Central Supervisory Board, which must meet every six months, has been non-existent for thr…

Poor quality of healthcare lead to under-utilisation of public health facilities:Survey

Inadequate infrastructure and generally poor quality of healthcare have been found to be major factors leading to under-utilisation of public health facilities by the underprivileged sections, says a sample survey of patients from the targeted groups.

"People who went to government facilities were most likely to be disappointed with their visits compared to those who visited private medical sources and 58 per cent of the respondents interviewed believed that the most important barriers were poor healthcare quality and inadequate infrastructure ", the study, conducted by PUNE based D Y Patil Medical College said.

The study covered a sample of 865 persons of both sexes and all age groups from rural areas and urban slums in and around Pune.

Among the reasons cited for under-utilisation of government medical facilities are inadequate infrastructure, lack of medical equipment and instruments, poor accommodating facilities, scarcity of doctors and paramedical staff and prolonged queu…