Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Communicable diseases rise 32 percent in 5 years, spending up 7 percent
There has been a steady increase in the incidence of communicable diseases over the last five years, except malaria which declined 14 percent, which can be attributed to a special focus on awareness and detection
 
Spending on programmes to control India’s three main communicable diseases — malaria, tuberculosis and leprosy — increased seven percent over five years while cases reported, taken together, increased 32 percent, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of government data.
 
There has been a steady increase in the incidence of communicable diseases over the last five years, except malaria which declined 14 percent, which can be attributed to a special focus on awareness and detection.
 
We found a correlation between cases reported and budgets over five years. As funding rose, cases declined.
 
The central government finances three disease-control programmes: National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP); Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP); and National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP).
 
The programmes are funded under the National Health Mission, which also includes programmes for child - and maternal - health, health infrastructure, prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment.
 
There was a 12 percent increase in the National Health Mission budget, from Rs.17,188 crore to Rs.19,307 crore between 2012 and 2016, according to an Accountability Initiative report in February 2016.
 
In dollar terms, the allocation declined from $3.2 billion to $2.9 billion. There has been an increase in the exchange rate from Rs.51 per dollar in 2011-12 to Rs.65 per dollar in 2016-17. The value of Indian money to the dollar has depreciated over the last five years.
 
Communicable disease profile in India
 
The allocated funding has been increasing for the three main programmes, as we said, and is up 7.2 percent over five years, from Rs.924 crore in 2011-12 to Rs.991.5 crore in 2015-16.
 
The National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme covers malaria, dengue, chikunguniya and Japanese encephalitis, and also works for the elimination of kala-azar and lymphatic filariasis. The allocation to the programme has seen a three percent decline, from Rs.482 crore in 2011-12 to Rs.463 crore in 2015-16.
 
While malaria cases declined 14 percent, dengue cases increased more than four times and chikunguniya and Japanese encephalitis rose 33 percent, according to a reply in the Lok Sabha.
 
The tuberculosis-control budget rose 23 percent between 2011 and 2016, while cases reported almost doubled over the same period.
 
While there was a 16 percent decline in funding for the leprosy eradication programme, there was a 36 percent increase in leprosy cases nationwide.
 
There are also a host of other reasons, including dearth of awareness and access to medicine and treatment, which may have contributed to the rise of communicable diseases.
 
Over the last five years, funds released from the centre to the states under the three main programmes has been declining - from Rs.947 crore in 2011-12 to Rs.395 crore in 2015-16.
 
In the years 2011-12 and 2014-15, more funds were released than were allocated for the programmes.
 
In 2012-13, states received only half the funds budgeted for vector-borne diseases and leprosy.
 
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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SLAPP To Shut Up
Libel is not enough. Criminal charges are slapped 
 
As acronyms go, this one is illustrative of intent. The full form is ‘Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation’. It means a planned, legal assault on the freedom of speech. A ‘shut-up-or-else’ threat that hits those who annoy or expose. Big brother versus the small guy. With strange, draconian laws to quell disruption. Our Constitution allows free speech. Within limits, of course. The rub is that we lack good losers. We have a surfeit of very thin-skinned brethren who magnify every statement a million-fold; then either distort, or embellish, with manufactured venom; and all inconvenient truths are painted black. With predetermined results. Take this case.
 
An author, advocate by profession, takes the oppressive rulers head-on. He writes against the evils of subjugation by foreign powers, of the wholesale destruction of the local economy, of mass killings, massacres. He rails against militancy imposed on his countrymen, against their own. He calls on his people to stop obeying orders that are blatantly illegal. He asks them to rebel.
 
The government swoops down on the author. Libel is not enough. Criminal charges are slapped on him. He is arrested and brought to trial. The trial starts but the accused pleads guilty, right away. He says that he has broken every law that he is said to have. He corrects the prosecution’s statement by saying that he has been breaking the law much longer than charged! 
 
Next, he agrees that his thoughts, either written or spoken, had ignited passions far beyond his intentions or wildest beliefs. Yet, he threatens, if not incarcerated, he would continue to agitate, he would write and speak. If his remarks, on his disaffection, had led to violence, though he never wished it to be so, he must take the blame. In other words, he asks to be shown no mercy. Discharged, he would continue working to throw off the foreign yoke. 
 
You be the judge.
 
Every revolution is illegal, until it succeeds. The man was jailed for six years. Twenty eight years later, having succeeded in his aim, he fell to an assassin’s bullets, fired not by a foreigner, but by his own countryman.
 
Today, he is known as The Mahatma.  
 
Section 124 A of The Indian Penal code states: “Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.” The expression ‘disaffection’ includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity.
 
For an imperial power, it was a catch-all law, whereby any sort of unpleasant activity would lead to the wrong side of the bars. By opting to plead guilty, Gandhi showed his disdain for those who curtailed the freedom of his countrymen and their right to speak. 
 
Section 124 A. It can be, and still is, used. Along with the ambivalent word, ‘disaffection’. Does not every political speech by the opposition stress ‘disaffection’? Would you vote for the non-ruling party if it sang the praises of the incumbent? Every word, uttered at the stump, is specifically meant to cause loss of affection. No politician would be worth his salt if he did not incite passions to change the government that was not his. Yet, on the face of it, strictly read, 124 A must apply.
 
Nowhere is the word ‘sedition’ English ‘cede’ used. It originates from ‘sede…’, that is, to part, to render asunder. It implies a break-up. The Section, as initiated by the British, avoided the word because it would not be applicable to internal strife, which was simply calling for independence. 
As for the Mahatma’s ‘sedition’ case, aware of the harshness and immorality of the law, the judge, while convicting, had this to say. “If the course of events in India should make it possible for Government to reduce the period and release you, nobody would be better pleased than I.”
 
By the way, while quitting India, did not the British themselves break up the country into parts?
 
(Bapoo Malcolm is a practising lawyer in Mumbai. Please email your comments to mail@moneylife.in

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7-minute Workout
Lose weight, get a flat tummy or just get into a quick-fit regime
 
If you don’t have time to exercise and want to do it fast, sometimes even in your office room, the ‘7-minute Workout’ (by Simple Design) is for you. It supports Google Fit. If you want to lose weight, get a flat tummy or just get into a quick-fit regime, this is the app you want. You can do it anytime, anywhere—you just need seven minutes! It consists of 12 exercises to be done for 30 seconds with 10-second breaks between them. It even has a voice guide to goad you on. Now, the couch potatoes do not have an excuse. A great app for wives to motivate their hubbies with big paunches (assuming they themselves don’t have one)! Available for both Android and Apple.
 
Yazdi Tantra is a chartered accountant by training, computer consultant by profession, entrepreneur-developer by hobby and trainer in his leisure time. He is currently the vice-chairman of Zoroastrian Co-operative Bank Ltd and has been running a medium-sized computer company ON-LYNE for the past 24 years. 
 

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