Beyond Money
A Home for the Mentally Challenged
Mental retardation is a disability and not a disease; such people need support throughout life and Adhar strives to do just that
 
Adhar is an institution by the parents, of the parents and for the parents of special children. A group of 20-30 parents from middle-class families came together under the leadership of the late Madhav Gangadhar Gore and started a residential institute at Badlapur (Thane district, Maharashtra) for the mentally retarded. This beginning was made in 1990 when Adhar was registered as Association of Parents of Mentally Retarded Children.   
 
Mental retardation has no cure in medical science. It is a disability and not a disease. Mentally retarded persons need support throughout their life. It is very difficult for them to become completely independent physically, mentally or even financially. Hence, the need for a residential institute like Adhar that will always be there to provide support to mentally challenged children and adults.
 
Vishwas Gore, who now heads the NGO as its chairman, says that Adhar is the first institute of its kind in India that takes the responsibility of lifelong care and protection of mentally retarded children into their adulthood. Seven of the nine trustees on Adhar’s board are parents of special children. Adhar has 251 mentally challenged children, male and female, under its care. Interestingly, Adhar does not get any grant or aid from the government but runs on contributions from parents and donations. 
 
Apart from Thane, Adhar has a facility at Nashik, called Adhar-II, which can provide care to 100 children but currently has 51 male children. 
 
The concept of lifelong care for mentally children includes the effort to make them self-sufficient, to an extent, by providing vocational training. Children are taught to make articles such as chalk sticks, candles, paper bags, agarbatties, dusters, mats, decorated earthen lamps (diyas) for Diwali, wall hangings, etc, as per their physical and mental abilities. Inculcating work discipline is also part of the training. The children work from 9.30am to 4.30pm.
 
Adhar’s support system includes the care of a psychologist, psychiatrist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, medical officers, social workers, special teachers, caretakers and other office staff who ensure treatment, recreation and rehabilitation.
 
A proud and relieved parent was quoted as saying, “...My son Akash is with Adhar for the past 14 years. After coming here, he has improved a lot. Whenever, I take him home, he just wants to come back to Adhar. When I come here, I feel I am coming to a resort. Now, I am no longer worried about who will look after Akash after I am gone.” We learn from the NGO that this parent passed away last year and his son Akash continues to reside at Adhar.
 
Another happy parent says that he had seen a dozen of such institutes; but this one had the happiest residents. 
 
On Adhar’s future, Mr Gore says, “The financial model of Adhar in the early days was 75% contribution from parents and the remaining 25% from donations. Over a period, the financial conditions of many parents deteriorated substantially and they could not be burdened in future. Hence, increased support and involvement from society by way of doantions has become a necessity for long-term survival and sustainability of the institution.”
 
Moneylife readers are welcome to donate to Adhar. All donations received by Adhar are exempt under Section 80G of the Income-Tax Act. There are over 1.5 million mentally challenged persons in India and over 200,000 of these are in Maharashtra alone. Clearly, there is utmost need to support organisations like Adhar and help them reach out to more children. 
 

 

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Flaws in Air India's ticket booking system: Gurgaon police

Police Commissioner Navdeep Singh Virk said that the flaw came to light following the arrest of an IGI Airport ticket booking attendant for fraud

 

The Gurgaon police on Wednesday said there were loopholes in Air India's ticket service system at Delhi Airport, leading to people booking tickets using debit cards getting cheated.
 
Police Commissioner Navdeep Singh Virk said that the flaw came to light following the arrest of an IGI Airport ticket booking attendant for fraud. 
 
Virk said there were vulnerabilities in Air India's ticket booking system at IGI Airport and passengers paying for tickets through debit cards were being cheated.
 
"We are officially writing to Air India officials to rectify the flaws," Virk said.
 
Acting on a complaint b Sanjay Kumar of Nathupur village here on the Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, Gurgaon police's cyber crime cell on Tuesday arrested 22-year-old Mandeep Kumar Mishra from IGI Airport's terminal-3 on charges of fraud.
 
In his complaint to cyber crime cell, Sanjay Kumar said that on April 28-29, an amount of Rs.25,000 was deducted from his account through his debit card by fraud.
 
"After investigation, Mishra was arrested on the ground of technical evidences by cyber crime cell chief Sudhir Kumar and his team," a senior police officer said.
 
Accused Mishra told investigators that he used to note down the debit card number, card verification value (CVV) number, PIN number and other details of customers coming for ticket booking through their debit cards.
 
"Mishra did online shopping fraudulently via debit cards and cheated many Air India customers through this technique. We are grilling him on police remand," an investigator told IANS.
 
Mishra hails from Jamtara district in Jharkhand and was living on rent in Delhi's Mahipalpur area.
 
A school pass-out from Kolkata, Mishra was working with the ticketing department of Air India at IGI's terminal-3 for the last one year through an outsourcing firm.
 

 

"We have one of the best cyber crime investigation teams in Gurgaon and were able to solve various types of cyber crimes," commissioner Virk said. 

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Hackers steal data on 100,000 US taxpayers

At a Tuesday press conference, Koskinen said that the hackers accessed tax returns containing a large amount of personal data

 

A group of hackers stole confidential data on more than 100,000 US taxpayers over the past four months, the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, John Koskinen, reported.
 
At a Tuesday press conference, Koskinen said that the hackers accessed tax returns containing a large amount of personal data via the IRS "Get Transcript" service between February and May.
 
"Get Transcript" is a way to download several years of tax forms when a taxpayer would like to apply for a mortgage or educational financial aid, for instance.
 
Of the 200,000 attempts by the cybercriminal group to download individuals' tax data between February and May, about half were successful, but - although an investigation is under way - US authorities still do not know who could have carried out the hack attack.
 
The IRS chief said the agency is sure that the hackers were not novices. "We're dealing with criminals with a lot of money and using expensive equipment and hiring a lot of smart people," he said.
 
Koskinen said that the aim of the info-pirates was to use personal data they had already stolen from taxpayers to request fraudulent tax refunds in their names, and about 15,000 such refunds were issued.
 
The IRS will send letters to the 200,000 people potentially affected by the data theft starting this week to inform them of the problem.
 
According to the agency, the hackers already had acquired - possibly through the social networks - private information, including names, addresses, social security numbers and certain other personal details, on citizens whose tax data they then attempted to steal.
 
The IRS has temporarily disabled the "Get Transcript" service. Over the past few months, Americans used it to download 23 million transcripts, the agency said, but - for the moment - those requests will have to be filled by sending out paper copies of past tax returns. 

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