Citizens' Issues
No conclusive proof that mobile radiation is harmful: BSNL

The BSNL official said that regular audit of electromagnetic field levels from the mobile towers through TERM (Telecom Enforcement Resource Monitoring) cells of the DoT is being done to ensure that prescribed standards are implemented

 

There is no decisive data or evidence so far to show that radiations from mobile phones or towers have adverse health or environmental effects in India, a top BSNL official here said.
 
"There is no conclusive study, data or evidences about the bad health or ecological effects of radiations from mobile phones or towers in India," Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) chief general manager (northeast circle one) D.P. Singh told reporters.
 
He said: "India's stringent measures against radiations from mobile phones or Base Tower Stations (BTS) are ten times more than the USA and European countries."
 
According to the officer, there are about 775,000 BTSs in the country and so far only about 90 cases have been found to be non-compliant by the department of telecommunication (DoT) and penalty has been imposed on the operators.
 
"A penalty of Rs.10 lakh has been imposed in each case on defaulting operators in case any BTS is found to be non-compliant," said Singh, who was earlier looking after the radiations related affairs in the DoT.
 
The BSNL official said that regular audit of electromagnetic field levels from the mobile towers through TERM (Telecom Enforcement Resource Monitoring) cells of the DoT is being done to ensure that prescribed standards are implemented.
 
Singh said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has done a large number of studies over the past two decades to assess whether mobile phones and BTS pose potential health risk.
 
"A section of so-called experts and environmentalists to achieve their personal gain and business benefit are occasionally spreading exaggerated facts about radiations from mobile phone or towers based on some myth and falsehood," the BSNL CGM said.
 
"These experts and environmentalists without any conclusive study and facts sometimes say that sparrows and other birds are vanishing, affecting breeding or reproduction, and foods due to radiation from mobile phone or BTS," he added.
 
"Had this (radiations) been harmful, Europe and the US would have done away with it long ago. Here, people make occasional hullabaloo about the harm being done by mobile towers, but actually nothing like that happens."
 
The CGM said that the DoT has recently sanctioned Rs.5,336 crore for the improvement of mobile and internet services in the eight northeastern states.
 
He said the BSNL would set up several hundred Wi-Fi hotspots in northeastern states soon, besides improving machinery and quality of service in the region.

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COMMENTS

Narendra Doshi

2 years ago

Let it be known how many & which countries have radiation limits much stringnent than US & which countries of Europe are being referred. I am aware that there are several counries with much stringent stipulations due to long term potential health hazards. Let there be a equal opportunity playing with both sides having open ears and minds and work for a practical healthy solution.

How Beatles, Ravi Shankar turned Brazilian into sitarist
Carraro, who started learning sitar from Ravi Shankar's disciple Alberto Marsicano, says India was the biggest inspiration in her life and Indian culture continues to fascinate her
 
It was her parents' love for sitar exponent Pandit Ravi Shankar that introduced Paola Carraro to Indian art and music far away in Brazil.
 
Carraro, who started learning sitar from Ravi Shankar's disciple Alberto Marsicano, says India was the biggest inspiration in her life and Indian culture continues to fascinate her.
 
"Indian music has always been a part of my life. My parents listened to Ravi Shankar and I always liked that sound. Growing up, I developed interest in the Beatles and Ravi Shankar. I was gradually discovering more about Indian culture that now fascinates me," the 32-year-old Carraro told IANS in an email interview from Sao Paulo.
 
Ravi Shankar's music had a major influence on the Beatles - the rock band of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. Dubbed the "godfather of world music" by Harrison, Ravi Shankar helped millions of classical, jazz and rock lovers in the West to discover the centuries-old traditions of Indian music through his sitar. He shared a close relationship with Harrison.
 
Carraro was in India in 2011, and studied sitar with Pandit Bhuwan Chandra in Rishikesh in Uttarakhand.
 
"It's a personal passion I have for India and its culture. That's what has driven me to know more and more about all its cultural manifestations, like music, art in general, dance and everything that involves culture," says Carraro, who also learnt kathak and tanpura in Rishikesh.
 
"I also found some Brazilian musicians who have dedicated themselves to the study of sitar. I bought my first sitar with the help of sitar player and multi-instrumentalist Marcus Santurys, who is now a close friend and with whom I usually play in recitals."
 
Carraro, who performs at major cultural events in Brazil, says people-to-people contact between India and Brazil was growing gradually.
 
She gives credit to popular 2009 soap opera "Caminhos da India" (India - A Love Story) in Portuguese for sparking interest about India among Brazilians and also the opening of the Indian Cultural Centre in Sao Paulo on May 25, 2011.
 
"The cultural centre has played an important role in bringing to Brazil the opportunity of studying Indian art and culture, especially dance, yoga and Hindi language," she told IANS.
 
"Interest about Bollywood is growing gradually among Brazilians, especially after the soap opera 'Caminhos da India' was telecast all over the country. The soap opera showed a bit of Indian dance, music, customs and religious values."
 
"Bollywood musicals and romances attract young Brazilians and they enjoy Indian movies. The joyful energy, the colours, the music and dance are too contagious," Carraro says.
 
According to official records, Indian film weeks organised by the Indian embassy and consulates have always received good response from Brazilians.
 
Encouraged by the response, film weeks were organised by the Indian mission in August-September 2013 to celebrate "100 years of Indian Cinema" in seven Brazilian cities. The Brazilian postal department reciprocated by issuing a commemorative stamp in May 2014 on "100 years of Indian Cinema".
 
Carraro also feels India and Brazil have never been as close as they are today and hopes there will be greater connection, including in art and culture.
 
She feels the BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa - grouping will help in greater contact between the nations.
 
"With the creation of the BRICS, I believe there will be a greater connection between India and Brazil, including in cultural and educational areas. I feel there is greater possibility to broaden the knowledge that Brazilians have of Bollywood movies and Indian culture in general."
 
Carraro, who has been practising yoga for the past 13 years, hopes to return to India.
 
"I intend to return to India soon to dedicate myself to the study of music and learn traditional Indian painting techniques.
 
"I am very grateful to the Indian people, who are always cheerful and welcoming," she says.
 
The Indian community in the Latin American nation is small, numbering about 2,000, with the majority living in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Manuas. Brazil's total population is over 202 million.
 
The Indian embassy is located in Brasilia, while there are consulates in Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

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Greek tragedy of economic proportions
In many ways the present-day crisis can be attributed to the single currency introduced in 1999, the euro. Greece has been a member since Jan 1, 2001
 
What is the Greek referendum? How did the crisis there start? What next? Will India be impacted? IANS presents a primer on the crisis that is rocking not just Europe and its currency but also threatens to spill over to the global economy:
 
What has been the root cause: In many ways the present-day crisis can be attributed to the single currency introduced in 1999, the euro. Greece has been a member since Jan 1, 2001. This, no doubt, increased trade within the European Union, but also jacked up the labour costs in countries such as Greece, making their exports relatively uncompetitive. This continued to widen the country's trade deficit and shook government finances.
 
What is the current crisis: Also known as the Greek Depression, the present-day crisis actually started in 2009 mainly as the result of several inter-linked factors. These included high structural deficits of the government for around a decade, when the government thought it could spend its way to prosperity, the looming recession since 2009, and the threat of debt default by Athens.
 
What has been the effect: Credit rating agencies downgraded the sovereign bonds of Greece to junk status, making it virtually impossible for the government -- or the corporate sector -- to raise funds from overseas. Also, since Greece is a member of the European Union with a single currency in 19 member countries, it prevented the government from depreciating the legal tender or printing more notes.
 
What has been done so far: The troika of the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund approved a 110-billion euro bail-out package for Greece in May 2010 with some conditionalities, so that Athens does not default on payments. A year later, another dose of 130-billion euros was thought necessary and this was approved in February 2012. A third round of concessions also approved, but the fourth and the last one that came up for discussions last year came unstuck due to elections.
 
Why did the packages fail: Actually, since the last quarter of 2014, there were ample signs of an improvement in the Greek economy -- the unemployment rate declined and so did the deficits. Greece also managed to access the global debt market for the first time since 2009. But the premature elections called in December 2014, and the refusal by the new government to accept the conditionalities, led to the troika suspending all its support. Once again, the cycle of crisis re-surfaced.
 
Why a referendum: Even as it declined to accept the previous conditions of the troika, the new government under Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras continued to negotiate the subsequent course of action. There was hope. That was at least the case till June 25. But in a dramatic turn of events Tsipras said on TV two days later that a referendum would instead be held on July 5, seeking people's verdict on whether to accept or reject the proposal of the troika. The government also suspended trading on the Athens Stock Exchange and closed all banks till Sunday, while limiting the withdrawals from ATMs at 60 euros per day.
 
What is the referendum: The text reads as follows - Greek people are hereby asked to decide whether they accept a draft agreement document submitted by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, at the Eurogroup meeting held on June 25 and which consists of two documents: The first document is called Reforms for the Completion of the Current Program and Beyond and the second document is called Preliminary Debt Sustainability Analysis. Those citizens who reject the institutions’ proposal vote "Not Approved/NO" [and] those citizens who accept the institutions’ proposal vote "Approved/YES".
 
What next: Already, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has announced his resignation after the “no” vote to the bailout. The fact that negotiations with the troika will continue is a given. But the Tsipras government says the no vote gives it more elbow room at the negotiating table. But that is seen as misplaced bravado. It is the general belief that a rejection of the proposal by the Greek people will also mean Greece's exit from the Eurozone -- and further deepening of crisis.
 
What it means for Greece: The most telling impact can be on the financial system, where people will lose confidence and seek to withdraw every cent they hold in banks. European banks have already loaned over 100 billion euros to keep the banking system in Greece afloat. Once this dries up, and people don'e have access to money, a civil unrest then becomes inevitable. The country will also face rejection by the global investment community.
 
What about Eurozone: Greece's 180 billion euro economy contributes a little over 1.2 percent to European Union's 14 trillion. But around 315 billion euros worth of debt is owed by Athens, of which nearly 60 percent is owed to the European financial system. The country's exit from Eurozone can potentially shake the idea of 19 countries coming together and adopting a single currency. In case Greece also defaults on its debt payments, some other countries will can face a similar crisis. Investor confidence will be hit and the scramble for retrieving the money can cause a cascading effect, the fallout of which will hit the global markets.
 
The the impact on India: Analysts claim that a Greek default has been factored in by the markets. That, perhaps, explains why the Indian equity markets did not crash on Monday. But aftershocks will linger, as the mood among the foreign funds will be rather subdued. in a bid to soften their losses on account of the prevailing situation in Eurozone and elsewhere, they can potentially pull out significantly from India -- or, at least, refrain from further exposures. 

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