Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
300-plus Facebook friends means stress for teenagers
Having more than 300 Facebook friends may increase a teenager's levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, says a new study.
 
"While other important external factors are also responsible, we estimated that the isolated effect of Facebook on cortisol was around eight percent," said lead researcher Sonia Lupien, professor at University of Montreal in Canada.
 
"We were able to show that beyond 300 Facebook friends, adolescents showed higher cortisol levels; we can therefore imagine that those who have 1,000 or 2,000 friends on Facebook may be subjected to even greater stress," Lupien noted.
 
On the other hand, the researchers found that teenagers who act in ways that support their Facebook friends - for example, by liking what they posted or sending them words of encouragement - decreased their levels of cortisol. 
 
Lupien and her colleagues recruited 88 participants aged 12-17 years who were asked about their frequency of use of Facebook, their number of friends on the social media site, their self-promoting behaviour, and finally, the supporting behaviour they displayed towards their friends. 
 
Along with these four measures, the team collected cortisol samples of the participating adolescents. The samples were taken four times a day for three days.
 
"We did not observe depression in our participants. However, adolescents who present high stress hormone levels do not become depressed immediately; it can occur later on," Lupien cautioned. 
 
The findings were published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 

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India provided $103 million per year in national subsidies to oil, gas and coal producers
Investment by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in fossil fuel production represented a large portion of overall government support, says a research study from IISD 
 
A research study by International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) on fossil fuels reveals that on an average over the years 2013 and 2014, India provided $103 million per year in national subsidies to oil, gas and coal producers. In particular, capital outlay targeting the extraction and production of crude oil, natural gas, coal and the development of fossil-fuelled power projects constituted the largest share of India’s national subsidies to fossil fuel production, averaging $64 million per year across 2013 and 2014. Other support in the form of tax breaks for coal excise duties and fossil fuel transport infrastructure also contributed to this total with average of $40 million each in 2013 and 2014.
 
India has substantial fossil fuel reserves, including 61 billion tonnes of coal, 5.7 billion barrels of oil and 1.4 trillion cubic feet of gas (BP, 2015). The Ministry of Coal (MoC) is responsible for overseeing the management of India’s coal industry through a number of agencies and companies, including Coal India Limited (CIL), a 90% state-owned enterprise (SOE). India’s upstream oil and gas industries are overseen by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) and, despite the markets opening up to private investment in the 1990s, upstream and downstream petroleum markets continue to also be dominated by state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
 
Investment by SOEs in fossil fuel production represented a large portion of overall government support with a number of state-owned companies being involved in the production of coal, oil and gas and also in the transportation and refining of oil and natural gas in India. Annual expenditure by these and other SOEs totalled nearly $15 billion on average in 2013 and 2014, points out the research note.
 
SOEs dominate India’s midstream and downstream oil and gas sectors. GAIL (India) is mainly concerned with transporting oil and gas while Indian Oil (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum (BPCL), and Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) are the dominant refiners in the country. The combined capital expenditure of the midstream and downstream sector was $5 billion and $4.5 billion in 2013-14 and 2014-15 respectively, says the research note. 
 
Indian public finance institutions and state owned banks provided $3 billion in fossil fuel financing domestically over both 2013 and 2014, for an annual average of $1.5 billion per year. The large majority of domestic financing domestically went to coal plants, reveals the research study. Further support occurs through schemes like the National Electricity Fund to encourage investment in electricity distribution projects and the Power System Development Fund to increase utilisation of gas based power generation capacity.
 
India also provides public finance for production of oil, gas and coal abroad: in both 2013 and 2014 its total value was $4.2 billion averaging $2.1 billion per year, adds the research note.

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100th RTI Katta: Stories of successful citizen empowerment
The 100th week of RTI Katta celebrated last week in Pune has empowered citizens to courageously and precisely file RTI applications
 
Two youngsters, studying in a Pune college (names withheld on request), had won scholarship of Rs25,000 each for their brilliant academic performance. But they did not get the same despite following it up with the college authorities. They wondered whether RTI could help them. Vijay Kumbhar, a prominent activist from Pune guided them on how to file the RTI application to find out the status of their scholarship. The college authorities pretty piqued with this audacity of these two students using RTI but unable to take them to task for it, followed the middle path. It did not accept the RTI application but immediately gave the scholarship money much to the delight of the students. However, they were told not to spread the word, otherwise the college would be inundated with such RTI applications!
 
Their success was the fallout of a novel initiative. Every Sunday, at the picturesque Chittaranjan Vatika, a popular public garden in the upper class neighbourhood of Model Colony in Pune, a motley crowd of about 30 to 35 people, of varied ages, gather at 9 am. The meeting is called RTI Katta (meet-up), pioneered by Kumbhar, to spur citizens to empower themselves to file RTI, on issues that they feel strongly about or are directly affected. The Katta is not about spoon-feeding RTI users, but guiding them to seek information, of their own accord.
 
K Mali was angry when a petrol pump was constructed in a vacant land of his housing society, illegally encroaching on the society land. He had filed several RTI applications but had failed to procure any information. He began to attend the RTI Katta and showed copies of his applications. He was told that he had applied in the wrong format. He was guided on how to precisely file RTI, which he did to the Pune Municipal Corporation as well as the Collector’s office. Lo and behold, he has managed to get 950 pages of information. He is now armed with enough ammunition to fight the battle in the court.
 
Jaisingh Jadhav is a small time builder who greatly feared to take on the municipal corporation officers, whenever he wanted information related to several of his projects. However, says Kumbhar, he has now completely shed off his inhibitions and has begun regular use of RTI. Based on the relevant documents he has also filed complaints with the PMC, and in one such case the corporation body has also slammed a legal notice on the offender.
 
Shailesh Gaikwad is a long time vendor, operating from outside one of the public gardens in Pune but permission was whisked away by the PMC. He invoked RTI at PMC, to procure documents to prove that he is a license holder and that the civic body had illegally snatched off his livelihood. The PMC, based on his fight through RTI, revoked his license. That was a great victory for him but it was short lived as the local political leader convinced him that he would offer him a better place for his business, and so he is still waiting. However, he is grateful that he now knows the RTI way to fight for his causes.
 
Mr Marathe has been fighting against an illegal restaurant that has sprouted in the garage below his building. No amount of letters to the PMC helped until he was advised at the RTI kata that he needs to get proof that it is illegal, through documents which he can procure under RTI. He successfully did so and this propelled the PMC to slam a notice against the restaurant owner but he is yet to vacate. The matter is presently pending in the court.
 
There are many such examples. States Kumbhar, "although RTI is here for 10 long years, citizens are yet not aware and informed about this powerful Act. It shows that the government has failed in public awareness, one of the mandatory clauses in the RTI Act. Besides, it is mandatory for Public Information Officers (PIOs) to assist the RTI applicant in case he has not filed his RTI in the proper format However, most of the PIOs resort to rejection of the application. At the RTI Katta, we encourage them to do file inspection under Section 4 of the RTI Act so that they can get information in a faster way. We are also putting pressure on public authorities like the PMC, to abide by the Suo Motu disclosure under Section 4 of the RTI Act as well as upload all RTI applications and replies on its website, so that people would be able to see how applications are filed.’’
 
Indeed, the RTI Katta, an informal platform to learn the use of RTI has helped in individual empowerment and confidence at that level, to use the tool to fight causes that directly affect the individual. Quite admirable and worth applying all across the country.
 
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, and also convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)

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COMMENTS

Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag

1 year ago

Contact Moneylife Foundation for guidance on how to make complaint
(1) Under RTI.
(2) Under Collector's Lokshahi Din.
(3) Under Municipality's Lokshahi
Din.
(4) For Deemed Conveyance Adalat.
(5) For Pension Adalat Camp.
(6) For National Lok Adalat.
(to be held on 12.12.2015)
Expert resource person will help you in guiding your all the queries received by Moneylife Foundation on its Email,
moneylife.in/lrc.html

Manohar Sabnis

1 year ago

Nice to read it but is there a RTI Katta in Mumbai for guidence ?

Manohar Sabnis

1 year ago

Nice to read it but is there a RTI Katta in Mumbai for guidence ?

manoharlalsharma

1 year ago

Nice 2 read and O.K. till the information provided in first or appellate but very difficult to get from commissioner level, because no time limit even after filling.

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