Odisha to include more people in welfare plans

first_imgOdisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday announced his government’s decision to provide old-age pension to an additional five lakh beneficiaries under its Madhu Babu Pension Yojana in the State.The new beneficiaries would avail of the benefits under the scheme from December 15.A total of 43 lakh people are getting old-age pension at present. While those aged between 60 and 80 years get ₹300, those above 80 years receive ₹500 every month. The Chief Minister also announced that 40,000 artists will get assistance of ₹1,200 per month under the Mukhya Mantri Kalakar Sahayata Yojana with effect from December 15.Mr. Patnaik directed the District Collectors to disburse the assistance to beneficiaries under both the schemes from December 15 to 20 by organising special camps.last_img read more

Mamata, Nusrat take part in Rath Yatra in Kolkata

first_imgCalling for religious harmony and unity, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday participated in a Rath Yatra celebration organised here by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). The newly elected Trinamool Congress MP from Basirhat, Nusrat Jahan, joined Ms. Banerjee at the celebration. Ms. Jahan was invited to the event by ISKCON.“We celebrate all festivals in West Bengal irrespective of caste, creed or religion. Under the leadership of ‘Didi’ [Ms. Banerjee], we believe that Bengal is the seat of peace and amity,” Ms. Jahan said, addressing the gathering from the stage. The MP was accompanied by her husband Nikhil Jain.The BJP also participated in a number of Rath Yatra celebrations where party leaders Mukul Roy and Arvind Menon were present.last_img read more

NCW writes to Uttar Pradesh DGP on Unnao rape survivor

first_imgThe National Commission for Women on Monday wrote to Uttar Pradesh Director-General of Police O.P. Singh seeking a ‘free, fair and speedy’ investigation into the alleged road accident involving Unnao rape survivor.“The commission is seriously concerned about the unfortunate incident. Considering the gravity of the matter, it is required to ensure absolutely free, fair and speedy investigation into the matter and take action deemed appropriate for the crime committed. The commission also demands that it be kept apprised at every stage of the investigation,” NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma wrote in her letter.Delay in casesSenior Supreme Court lawyer and women’s rights activist Vrinda Grover says it is the delay in disposing cases that render victims extremely vulnerable.“Where a perpetrator is powerful and victim is from a vulnerable group, it is apparent that that the law is not going to take its own course and the police are not going to act in accordance with the law. So, extraordinary measures will have to be taken to ensure the girl gets justice. I have always maintained that the best form of victim protection is a speedy trial. The chargesheet in the case was filed last July, but the case has not been adjudicated yet, while the survivor’s uncle has been framed in several cases which are moving by leaps and bounds. This is a classic textbook case of what happens when a victim comes from a very vulnerable group and seeks justice.”She added that if there was any political will to ensure reversal in crimes against women and girls, that the party ruling at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh so often talks about, the accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar would have been suspended.White PaperMs. Grover says that the government must issue a White Paper providing details of what stage the case was at, why was there a delay in disposing it of, who got adjournments, what reports were sent by the court concerned to the district judge and what was the supervision being done by the High Court of such cases.According to the last NCRB report for 2016, 89.8% cases of crimes against women brought before courts remained pending.last_img read more

One year on Rohingya facing an uncertain fate

first_imgRohingya refugees make their way to a refugee camp after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Palong Khali, near Cox`s Bazar.File photo ReutersDoctors without Borders (MSF) in a statement on Friday said the denial of Rohingya’s legal status, coupled with unacceptable living conditions in haphazard makeshift camps, continues to trap refugees in a cycle of suffering and poor health.While Bangladesh showed extraordinary generosity by opening its doors to the refugees, 12 months on, the Rohingya’s fate remains very uncertain, said MSF, a Paris-based international humanitarian non-government organisation.“It is unacceptable that watery diarrhoea remains one of the biggest health issues we see in the camps,” says Pavlo Kolovos, MSF head of mission in Bangladesh.Host states in the region deny them any formal legal status, despite the fact that they are refugees and have been made stateless by Myanmar.Many of the refugees that MSF teams speak to are very anxious about the future.”I’ve lost my strength, my ability to work. I always have so many worries, worries about the future,” says Abu Ahmad, a Rohingya father of eight. “I think about food, clothes, peace and our suffering… If I stay in this place for 10 years … or even for one month, I will have to suffer this pain.”On 25 August 2017, the Myanmar Army launched renewed ‘clearance operations’ against the Rohingya people causing widespread violence and destruction, and forcing more than 706,000 to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh.They joined over 200,000 others that had fled to Bangladesh after previous waves of violence, bringing the total number of Rohingya hosted in Cox’s Bazar district to over 919,000.In the 12 months since, MSF has provided over 656,200 consultations, equivalent to more than two-thirds of Rohingya refugees, in 19 health facilities or mobile clinics.At first, more than half of MSF’s patients were treated for violence-related injuries, but other health concerns soon emerged that were linked to the overcrowded and unhygienic conditions in the camps. “The infrastructure to meet even the most basic needs of the population is still not in place, and that seriously affects people’s wellbeing.”  Donors and governments with influence over the Government of Myanmar have failed to show the necessary leadership by not pressuring it to end persecution against the Rohingya, which is the cause of their displacement.The UN-led humanitarian response in Bangladesh is, to date, only 31.7 per cent funded. The health care funding stands at a mere 16.9 per cent, leaving significant gaps in the provision of vital medical services.The Rohingya have long been excluded from healthcare in Myanmar, meaning they have very low immunisation coverage. Preventative health measures are therefore crucial. Vaccination campaigns, supported by MSF, have been instrumental in preventing outbreaks of cholera and measles, and in containing the spread of diphtheria.Under the pretext that the Rohingya will soon be returning to Myanmar, the humanitarian response has been hampered by restrictions placed on the provision of long term or substantial aid.The conditions endured by the Rohingya in the haphazard, makeshift camps fall far short of accepted international humanitarian standards, with the refugees still living in the same temporary plastic and bamboo shelters that were built when they first arrived.“In an area where cyclones and monsoons are common, there are almost no stable structures for Rohingya refugees, which has a tangible impact on their security and dignity,” says Kolovos.One refugee that MSF spoke to described how vulnerable his family felt in the camp: “When it rains we sit together, all our family members, [holding the house down] so the house won’t blow away. At night it is very dark here, we have no lights.”Considering the level of violence that the Rohingya faced in Myanmar and the trauma this will have caused, services to treat mental health issues and sexual and gender-based violence injuries remain inadequate.They are also complicated by the lack of legal status, which prevents people from reasonable access to justice and the rule of law.The Rohingya remain forcibly confined to the camps, and most of the refugee population in the camps has poor access to clean water, latrines, education, job opportunities and healthcare.“These restrictions not only limit the quality and scale of aid, but also force the Rohingya to depend entirely on humanitarian aid. It deprives them of any chance to build a dignified future for themselves and makes every day an unnecessary struggle for survival,” says Kolovos.More durable solutions must be found to respond to what is likely to be a protracted period of displacement.“The reality is that hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have been displaced in Bangladesh and elsewhere for decades, and it may be decades until they can safely return to Myanmar, if ever. The scale and scope of the Rohingya’s suffering merits a much more robust response – locally, regionally and globally,” says Kolovos.“Pressure must meanwhile continue to be exerted on the Myanmar government to halt its campaign against the Rohingya.”last_img

Saudi strike kills dozens of Yemen rebels Saudi TV

first_imgYemen. Photo: CollectedAn air strike on Yemen’s capital by a Saudi-led military coalition has killed dozens of Huthi rebels including at least two commanders, Saudi television reported Saturday.Saudi Arabia’s official Al-Ekhbariya television said two high-ranking insurgents were among more than 50 Huthi militiamen killed in Sanaa on Friday evening, without giving further details.Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television said a total of 38 rebels were killed in the strike on a Huthi interior ministry building.The Huthis confirmed an air strike on Sanaa but gave no details.The raid came hours ahead of a public funeral of the Huthis’ political head Saleh al-Sammad, killed last week in a Saudi-led coalition strike.It also came as newly-appointed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was scheduled to land in Riyadh for meetings including talks on the Yemen conflict.The Iran-backed rebels have been locked in a war with the Saudi-led military alliance, which since 2015 has fought to restore the internationally-recognised Yemeni government to power.The Yemen conflict is widely seen as a proxy war between regional titans Iran and Saudi Arabia.The Huthis control Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, as well as much of the country’s north — which borders Saudi Arabia — and the key Hodeida port on Yemen’s Red Sea coast.Nearly 10,000 people have been killed since the Saudi-led alliance joined the Yemen conflict, triggering what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.Yemen now stands at the brink of famine.The Saudi-led coalition imposed a total blockade on Yemen’s ports in November in retaliation for cross-border Huthi missile attacks on Saudi Arabia.The blockade has since been partially lifted, but access to the impoverished country remains limited.last_img read more

DU faces dengue detection kits shortage 8 more diagnosed

first_imgA student of Dhaka University’s political science department has been suffering from dengue for last 10 days. He is being treated at the university’s medical centre. Photo: Prothom AloThe authorities of Dhaka University have shut down dengue fever detection activities following a shortage of kits.On the other hand, eight more students were diagnosed with the mosquito-transmitted virus dengue taking the toll to so far 21 on the second day (Thursday) of the dengue test, making a huge outcry among the student communities on the campus.The university’s chief medical officer (CMO) Sarwar Jahan said that the Dhaka University jointly with Bangladesh Association of Clinical Biochemists had begun the initiative of detecting dengue patients.The physicians at the university medical centre, he added, identified 13 dengue patients among 168 students on the first day (Wednesday) of the test while eight more were diagnosed on Thursday.“The dengue test activities were shut down for weekend (Friday and Saturday). The activities will remain closed for Monday as well due to a shortage of test kits,” Sarwar Jahan added.The associate organisation has said that they are out of kits, said Sarwar adding, “When contacted, the government departments concerned also said no kits would be available before 6 August.”Earlier on 26 July, Dhaka University’s finance department student Firoz Kabir died of dengue fever that panicked the entire student community on the campus.Following the outcry, the authorities decided to test dengue among the university students.last_img read more