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Showing posts from July, 2011

'Lower middle class losing taste of vegetables & fruits'

Fresh fruits and vegetables are fast disappearing from the plate of the lower middle class due to skyrocketing prices, an ASSOCHAM survey has said.

According to the ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation (ASDF), more than half of the lower middle class population has been forced to skip or squeeze their budgets for fresh fruits and vegetables because of the rising prices.

"The maximum impact has been felt in major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune," the survey said.

The field study brought out the fact that the increase in salaries in the last three years is disproportionate to the rising prices of fruits and vegetables.

"During the last three years, the salary of the average common man has gone up by 10-15 per cent, but the prices of fruits and vegetables has gone up by 100-115 per cent," it added.

While 86 per cent of the respondents said that rising food prices have made their life even tougher, 56 per cent of the respondents …

Go all out to expand GREEN Cover !!!

GO GREEN:Mega plantation drive launched

Under a mega plantation drive 10 lakh saplings will be planted across the Delhi city within a span of one-and-half months in cooperation with NGOs, industry chambers, government agencies RWAs and citizens.

The government has already launched a publicity campaign through social networking sites, FM channels and outdoor advertising to make people aware about the campaign.

The Chief Minister Sheila Dixit launched the drive by planting saplings in one hectare area along the Ring Road bypass. Dikshit and a group of school children planted around 2,500 saplings.

The plantation drive with an aim to increase the green cover of Delhi from the current 20 per cent to the national target of 33 per cent by the year 2012.The green area during the last ten years has increased from 26 sq km to more than 300 sq km.

The plantation campaign has been meticulously planned and all government offices and agencies like Delhi Metro, MCD, NDMC, DDA, DTC and PSUs are being inv…

55 pc of children do not receive comprehensive: study

India has made considerable progress in reducing infant and maternal mortality rate in recent years, but more than 55 per cent children under the age of two still do not receive comprehensive routine immunisation in the country, a new research has claimed.

According to the report, among 25 developing countries, India has the highest number of children who do not receive even the most basic of healthcare services.

Approximately 2.7 million children under the age of five receive no treatment for diarrhoea, which is a major killer of children, said the report.

The report comes after the latest Sample Registration Data which claimed India has impressively brought down its maternal and infant mortality rates and was close to achieving the UN millennium development goals (MDGs).

According to the data, the maternal mortality ratio, number of women dying per 100,000 live births, has come down to 212 (2007-09) from 254 in 2004-06, while infant mortality rate, the number of infant deaths per 1,000 …

'No higher subsidy on old stock of P&K fertilisers'

In a major blow to the fertiliser industry, the government has decided not to pay a higher subsidy to companies on old stock of finished phosphatic and potassic (P&K) fertilisers and raw materials this year.

While the development will help the government reduce its fertiliser subsidy bill by Rs 500 crore, the decision is expected to prevent private players from reaping windfall gains and also from entering into long-term contracts for imports.

"It has been decided to make payment to the manufacturers/importers on the carried over quantity of P&K fertiliser, including SSP and various raw materials for P&K, as on March 31, 2011, as per the NBS rates that prevailed in January-March, 2011," a circular issued by the Fertiliser Ministry said.

The carry-over stocks of raw materials and finished P&K fertilisers held as on April 1, 2011, were purchased by companies at lower rates in the 2010-11 fiscal and hence, the subsidy will be paid at the rates set for last year, it…

IGNOU programme for 'grassroot level' media professionals

Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), in collaboration with UNICEF, has launched a unique programme aiming to help "grassroot level" media professionals disseminate government-sponsored social schemes effectively.

The programme, which was launched early this month simultaneously in Delhi, Bhopal and Jabalpur, intends to educate the media professionals about the schemes that have a direct bearing on rural masses like the immunisation drive.

The programme will be executed by exploiting IGNOU's infrastructure and through video-conference mode and faculties pooled in from IGNOU and the industry.

The week-long exercise involves several brain storming sessions, helping the grassroot-level media professionals develop a proper perspective of social-driven schemes so that they can effectively disseminate them and create awareness.

The candidates are provided with a certificate at the end of the course jointly by IGNOU and UNICEF.

IGNOU intends to provide its robust video-con…

12.5% shortfall in fertiliser availability in July

The availability of key fertilisers such as DAP for the current month is 12.5 per cent lower than the projected demand, at 56 lakh tonnes, adding to the farmers' woes in the ongoing kharif season.

Presently, sowing of kharif (summer) crops such as paddy, coarse cereals and pulses is underway. Fertilisers are necessary for ensuring crop yields and the shortage in supply could put a damper on hopes of achieving bumper production this year.

The Fertiliser Ministry has assessed the total requirement of farm nutrients for the month of July at 64 lakh tonnes, while availability has been estimated at 56 lakh tonnes only, after taking into account imports and domestic output.

While there is no supply crunch for urea fertilisers, the shortage of phosphatic nutrients, especially DAP, could affect farmers in northern states like Punjab and Haryana, who are heavily dependent on this fertiliser.

The availability of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) is only 12 lakh tonnes for the current month, though de…

Women account for nearly half of murder convicts in Tihar jail

Women can kill not only with their looks but literally too as convicts belonging to the fair gender outdo their male counterparts when it comes to murders.

According to an annual survey report of 2011, of the 2,751 convicts lodged inside the Tihar jail last year for various crimes, 46.15 per cent of female inmates have been convicted for murder charges alone as against the male count of 33.47 per cent.

Along with this, 6.73 per cent of women have been convicted in attempt to commit murder cases as against 5.93 per cent of their male counterparts.

Female inmates also top the chart in kidnapping and abduction cases, dowry death cases and Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances cases.

Surprisingly, the review also showed that 7.69 per cent of females were convicted in rape cases too.

"The ratio of convict population rose from 20 per cent in the year 2009 to 25 per cent in the year 2010 because of better disposal of criminal cases and this has brought down the percentage of undertrial …

'35 per cent women face physical violence in India'

Thirty-five per cent of women in India face physical violence while 10 per cent of them suffer sexual violence from their intimate partners at home, according to a UN study.

Thirty-nine per cent of men and women in India also think that it is "sometimes or always" justifiable for a man to beat his wife, the study carried out by UN Women -- a newly created body -- said in a report released here.

"It was found that 35 per cent of respondents in India have reported to be victims of physical violence by their intimate partners, while 10 per cent of respondents were victims of sexual violence by their intimate partners," it said.

Quoting findings of a survey undertaken by an NGO, the first flagship report of the world body said 68 per cent of the respondents felt that provocative clothing was an invitation to rape.

The UN body, which examined plights of women in countries across the world in the report, deplored minuscule three per cent representation of women in India'…

"320 mn people in India, China to come out of poverty by 2015"

As many as 320 million people in India and China are expected to come out of extreme poverty in the next four years, while India's poverty rate is projected to drop to 22 per cent, says a UN report.

The UN Millennium Development Goals Report, however, suggested that even though progress has been made in reducing poverty, Southern Asia continues to lag in terms of nutrition, sanitation and gender equality.

"In Southern Asia, however, only India, where the poverty rate is projected to fall from 51 per cent in 1990 to about 22 per cent in 2015, is on track to cut poverty in half by the 2015 target date," the report said.

Those living on less than USD 1.25 a day are considered poor.

Talking to reporters in New Delhi today, UN World Food Programme's Representative and Country Director Mihoko Tamamura said, "Despite impressive economic growth in India in the last few years, inequalities persist among people based on class, gender and cast."

"If India does not mee…

'India needs USD 50 bn for incremental green investment'

India would require over USD 50 billion for "incremental green investment" to overcome poverty, increase food production to eradicate hunger without degrading land and water resources, and avert the climate change catastrophe, a senior UN official said.

The World Economic and Social Survey 2011, released here, shows that governments across the world would need to invest USD 1.9 trillion within the next few years to accomplish "the Great Green Technological Transformation" for addressing a combination of grave challenges, particularly for averting "the catastrophic impacts of climate change and environmental degradation."

"The new investments would enable a shift to more efficient and renewable energy technologies, including transforming agriculture technologies so as to guarantee food security," Sha Zukang, UN Under-Secretary-General for economic and social affairs, said, issuing the report on "The Great Green Technological Transformation.&qu…