Citizens' Issues
Government warns against rumours; Rajya Sabha condoles deaths
People should not believe rumours about earthquake that are being spread through social media and messages, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Monday as the Rajya Sabha condoled the deaths in Nepal.
 
"There are messages coming on social media that at 9 p.m. earthquake would come, or at 8 p.m. earthquake would come," Prasad said in the Rajya Sabha.
 
"Such rumours should be ignored. There is no basis to it, and if there is some authentic information, government will act on it," he said.
 
Rumours have been afloat on social media and through messages giving time for a "predicted" earthquake.
 
The Rajya Sabha condoled the deaths in earthquake in Nepal and expressed commitment on Indian side to help people of Nepal.
 
Members also appreciated the government's efforts for the relief and rescue work.
 
Over 2,600 reportedly lost life and more than 5,000 were injured when a massive earthquake 7.9 on Richter scale struck Nepal followed by a series of aftershocks, causing extensive damage to life and property.
 
Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Hamid Ansari said the house stands in solidarity with the "friendly people of Nepal".
 
"The earthquake in Nepal caused huge devastation. India is willing to help and we have taken immediate action," Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said as the issue was raised in the house.
 
Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien pointed that "no politics" should be brought in as members speak on the issue.
 
Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Ram Gopal Yadav said: "The loss is unimaginable".
 
He added that Uttar Pradesh has deployed several buses to get people out from Nepal.
 
Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien said the government should fill the vacancies in the National Disaster Management Authority.
 
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad cited the friendly relations with Nepal and shared the grief.
 
"The government needs to be vigilant as many parts of the country are on the seismic zone," he added.
 
"There should be state- and district-level disaster management arrangements," he said.
 
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati appreciated the government's quick reaction to the disaster, which also hit parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
 
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury suggested MPs should make a contribution towards sending relief.
 
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut also suggested that MPs can use their MPLAD funds to provide assistance in building hospitals, schools and roads in quake-affected areas.

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Campaigns against unethical cosmetic products ads
Two campaigns have been launched in Delhi against unethical and misleading advertisements of cosmetic products, skincare experts said on Monday.
 
'Swachh Twacha' and 'Chalein Gaon Ki Aur' have been launched by the Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists (IADVL). It would raise awareness against the social stigma related to skin diseases in the society.
 
"The issue of removing fake concepts of cosmetics to overcome skin diseases, including leprosy and vitiligo, especially in rural areas and villages, have become important. People were being misled through anti-ageing and anti-marks advertisements," said Rohit Batra, IADVL joint secretary.
 
Batra is also a senior dermatologist at the Delhi-based Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
 
IADVL president Venkatraman Mysore said: "The 'Chalein Gaon Ki Aur' is an initiative to conduct skin health camps in villages, schools and rural areas where people do not have access to good dermatologists."
 
"People should not get influenced by advertisements of skincare products shown on TV," he said. 
 
It will soon launch a mobile app to provide access to skincare for people in remote areas, according to the IADVL.
 
Venkatraman urged the government to form strict regulatory mechanisms and implement laws to stop the racket of organised quackery prevalent in the medical profession.
 
He said that due to mushrooming of uncertified skincare clinics, dermatological, laser and skincare-related malpractices were rampant.

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Airtel makes voice calls free for broadband customers
Bharti Airtel on Monday said it has launched round-the-clock free voice calls to any network in the country for its broadband customers.
 
The company has launched two voice calling packs for its broadband customers, offering unlimited free voice calls to any number in India on any network, both fixed line and mobile, round-the-clock.
 
Launched exclusively for broadband users, the offers are available only for non-commercial use, a company statement clarified.
 
"Customers can enjoy unlimited free local calls with the pack priced at just Rs.49 per month and unlimited free STD plus local calls at just Rs.99 per month to any network, anywhere in the country to both landlines and mobile phones round the clock," it said.
 
At present, the company provides fixed-line telephone and broadband services for homes as well as offices in 87 cities pan-India.
 
"The product offerings include high-speed broadband on copper and fiber and voice connectivity for the home segment," it added.

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