Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Pulse Beat

Marigolds To Fight Mosquito Menace

Mosquitoes are a menace everywhere, especially in summer. Chemicals do not kill mosquitoes. In fact, they have become resistant to DDT. The latter also contaminates our food, increasing the risk of cancer. One natural way of keeping mosquitoes away is to grow marigolds. They blossom for most part of the year, in India.
 
Marigolds can be grown anywhere by anyone—even gardening novices. There are two varieties and both smell good—the French variety, which is small in size and comes in many colours, and the African variety, which gives large flowers, again in many colours. but the same smell. The French variety is easier to grow. One-time seed purchase is good enough; later, you can get the seeds easily from your own plant.
 
For some reason, mosquitoes cannot stand the marigold’s smell and are repelled by it. Mosquitoes try and keep away from the plant. Plant the flowers all around the house. 
 
If one grows marigolds in the company of the basil plant, it is even better as the latter also repels mosquitoes. Marigold plants in pots kept on window sills are a good insurance against the entry of mosquitoes. One of the biggest worry about mosquitoes is malaria but many viral diseases, like dengue, are also conveyed by them.
 

Increase in Myopia

A recent study published by Ulster University found that the rate of nearsightedness among young people has doubled in the past 50 years: 23% of British children now suffer from myopia; this number was just 10% in the 1960s. East Asian countries are much worse off with 90% of children being short-sighted.
 
This rising number of children with myopia is being blamed partly on a lack of exposure to daylight. 
 
Dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain, is important for eye health and is released by daylight, says David Allamby, an ophthalmologist and medical director of Focus eye clinics. “Not having enough daylight may cause the eye to grow in an uncontrolled manner,” he says. Many other serious eye diseases can be related to myopia. In fact, direct sunlight also stimulates the pineal gland which is the top boss of the endocrine orchestra. Wearing dark glasses even inside the house might be bad for eye health.
 

Disturbing Matter in Beards

A recent research shows that growing beards might not be a healthy habit. A shocking new study has warned that facial hair could be dirtier than a toilet bowl. According to a group of microbiologists in New Mexico, “The rancid bacteria that beards collect could be putting owners’ health at risk.” Microbiologist John Golobic, of Quest Diagnostics, found that some of the bacteria “are the kind of things that you find in faeces.” There would be a degree of uncleanliness that can be somewhat disturbing.
 

Fruits and Chronic Diseases

Increased fruit and vegetable consumption was associated with a modest, although not statistically significant, reduction in the development of major chronic disease. The benefits appeared to be primarily for cardiovascular disease and not for cancer, according to an article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
 
Cranberries, avocados, blueberries and pumpkin seeds are supposed to be super-foods in this range. For people at risk of killer diseases, tart cherries might actually be better than what the doctor ordered, according to new research. The results, which were seen in stroke-prone rats, were presented on 23rd April, at the Experimental Biology 2013 meeting in Boston.
 
There are a few more things one has to do, in addition to the diet, to remain healthy. Don’t smoke or use tobacco; exercise regularly; maintain a healthy weight; get your regular sleep; cut out processed foods; and keep an eye on how much alcohol you drink; in fact, don’t drink alcohol at all. 

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Shah panel on MAT levy on FIIs holds first meeting
The Justice A.P. Shah-led three-member committee on direct tax matters held its first meeting on Monday on the applicability of the controversial minimum alternate tax (MAT) on Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) for previous years.
 
An official source told IANS on late Monday evening that the three-member panel met to discuss on its terms of reference and the methodology it is going to adopt for considering the contentious tax issue.
 
The panel, headed by Law Commission chairman Shah, was formally set up last week with former chief economic advisor Ashok Lahiri and noted chartered accountant Girish Ahuja as the other members.
 
The finance ministry in a statement on Wednesday said other tax issues would be referred to the Shah committee in due course.
 
The Income Tax department had sent notices to 68 FIIs demanding Rs 602.83 crore as MAT dues of previous years, with FIIs, in turn, moving the higher court challenging the demand.
 
The Shah committee will examine MAT notices for the period before April 1, 2015, and has been requested to "give its recommendations expeditiously".
 
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Budget 2015-16 had exempted FIIs from paying MAT with effect from April.
 
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) earlier this month said it will not issue any new demands for payments, and will take no coercive action to pursue claims that have already been filed under the controversial MAT.
 
Even after Jaitley's announcement exempting FIIs from paying MAT on capital gains earned by them, the income tax department sent notice to at least 90 foreign portfolio investors.
 
With the uncertainty created by MAT, foreign investors sold around $630 million in Indian shares and bonds on May 6, marking the biggest single-day sales since January 2014.

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Public Interest Exclusive
Is Modi following BJP’s pre-election Vision Document 2020

Or is it lost in the flurry of socialist schemes?

 

At the end of one year in office, public opinion remains strongly in support of prime minister Narendra Modi. It is universally acknowledged that the days of rampant, monumental, high-level corruption are over and that his foreign engagements have been an impressive image boost for the nation. The average Indian, especially BJP supporters, will aggressively assert that it takes time to clean up the mess inherited after a decade of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). And, when industry captains complain about the lack of access to Union ministers, they get no public sympathy. There is good reason for this.
 
Under the UPA, crony capitalism had reached a stage where industrialists were inside parliament as ‘honourable’ members, shaping policy to facilitate large-scale loot of India’s resources. Open plunder took place in land dealings (remember Singur and the special economic zones), telecom (2G spectrum scandal), allocation of coal mines, iron ore, irrigation, aviation, power and infrastructure. The net worth of many industrialists shot up in direct proportion to the increase in bad loans of public sector banks that financed this loot. 
 
Significantly, most of the blue-chip names of Indian business were involved in these shenanigans; but only a few will face the consequences. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has the dirty job of cleaning up the mess. The public knows this; which is why Mr Modi’s clearly articulated vision for India persuaded many to give him the best ever electoral mandate in 30 years. 
 
But a year later, some BJP senior leaders are also worried with the pace and direction of change. Writing in The Hindu, Dr Subramanian Swamy, an economist who taught at Harvard, says that instead of heading for GDP growth of 10%+, ‘regressive markers’ are rearing their head. Among others, he flags the recapitalisation of public sector banks (PSBs), which is going to need Rs1,21,000 crore in this financial year against a provision of Rs11,200 crore in the Union Budget. If the rest were to be raised through public sector disinvestment, the government has done a great job or frightening away foreign investment with the threat of continued ‘taxtortion’. Reform, and even top appointments, at PSBs have yet to begin.
 
Importantly, Dr Swamy reveals that a blueprint for recovery called the ‘Vision Document 2020’ was prepared for the prime minister under the leadership of Nitin Gadkari which has not been implemented. 
 
Dr Swamy does not disclose what Vision Document 2020 was; but he flags key issues that need to be addressed: low-yield, one-crop agriculture employing 62% of the labour force; flawed education system; poor infrastructure; and massive poverty. 
 
What is perplexing is that the government is more focused on social welfare schemes which are necessary but could easily have been put off for a year or two while working to get the economy back on the high growth path. It is also disappointing that a government that promised ‘maximum governance’ seems to have no interest in appointing a central information commissioner under the Right to Information Act. 
 
And, yet, all things considered, if one were asked whether Modi Sarkar is an improvement on the deadening UPA decade, the answer would be a resounding ‘Yes’. Will Mr Modi realise that better economic performance, job creation and agricultural growth must come first?

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COMMENTS

Santosh Gupta

1 year ago

Instead of tightening avoidable expenditure, NDA is following the footsteps of UPA: Enhance Tax rate to increase income. This leads to vicious circle on higher inflation and again shortfall in govt needs.

Instead, as proposed by Arthkranti, eliminate all form of taxation except transaction tax and de-notification of Rs 500 & 1000 notes. most of the balck money will become useless.

But Politicians & Babus....... will they let this happen.

LALIT SHAH

2 years ago

Abhi to 18 country hi ghuma hun baki 4 saal me ek bhi country nahi chhodunga
Bakki public co Dharm ke naam ULLOO bannan ashan hey

Dayananda Kamath k

2 years ago

the pre-election vision was proactive.but opposition succeeded in making their policies reactive. so there is every chance they will loose the vision and become an upa 3. the govt before bringing out their policies should have thought about the reactions of opposition and how to tackle it. in the uforia of majority in lokasabha. they forgot their position in rajya sabha which led them to the present situation. they are not creating the public opinion against the game plan of opposition. which may lead to policy paralysis of a different kind.

JAYENDRA PANDYA

2 years ago

Will Mr Modi realise that better economic performance, job creation and agricultural growth must come first?
Only time will tell. But one has to acknowledge the efforts of the present Govt. Indeed it is their achievement that they have transparently worked so far and tried to plug and recover what was lost under UPA regime. This Govt. realizes what is in India's interest and are steadfast in their stand. They are not bowing down under pressure of foreign countries.
Message is clear. To protect the India's interest at all cost...
Dr Swamy is veteran and he ought to know that it requires some more years before we see the results. Unfortunately, the Govt. is trying their best to pass maximum bills in Parliament and also attempting to enter into bilateral pacts with neighbouring countries...
Let us all give them support, co-operation and time to prove themselves

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