New Delhi: The government is likely to provide subsidised wheat and rice to 1.5 crore additional below poverty line (BPL) families from October 2, reports PTI quoting food and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar who made a statement in the Rajya Sabha today.
Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, he said the Planning Commission will give the revised number of people living below poverty line in a month's time.
The revision is being done based on the parameters decided by the Tendulkar Committee for identifying the poor. The exercise has been undertaken in view of the proposed Food Security Act, which promises assured quantity of foodgrains to BPL families, he said.
The number of BPL people is likely to go up from 6.5 crore to 8.07 crore, he said adding, "It is the desire of the government, if possible, to introduce the scheme from October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti day)."
At present, the government is supplying every month about 35 kg of rice and wheat at subsidised rates to each poor family under BPL and Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) category. Rice is sold at Rs5.65 a kg and wheat at Rs4.15 a kg to BPL families, and at Rs3 and Rs2, respectively, for AAY families.
Mr Pawar said the government intended to give wheat and rice at Rs3 per kg to people living below poverty line but it has not yet been decided if the quantity would be 20 kg or 25 kg or 35 kg a month.
This will be possible only after passage of the National Food Security Bill, he added.
It’s said the best way to swiftly kill a bad product is to run equally bad ads. Well, Open has just demonstrated that.
Open, the weekly newsmagazine, has positioned itself as "The weekly for the young mind". Fair enough. All its rivals, especially India Today and The Week, seem to be read only by the oldies these days. Most Indian magazine publishers still aren't alert to the seismic changes the digital media has brought into the younger people's reading habits, and are still living in denial… using the same old, boring, dead techniques of journalism.
So Open's message was apt, timely and inviting. I bought the very first issue in great excitement, expecting to discover an all-new approach to journalism… but sadly, closed the magazine in a few minutes. Open pretends to be young and youthful in its content and treatment, but it's actually pretty much the same old tired journalism we are used to in the print media - same old style, same old stories, same old everything. What a letdown!
And now, they have released a couple of such absolutely appalling commercials, they only help highlight the 1963-ish content of the mag. In one commercial, a good uncle (huh?) preaches from inside his home about how his open mind is waiting to be ignited. And belts out such philosophical trash. In the other one, a middle-aged woman lets out more philosophical mumbo-jumbo from inside a bookshop about a society that's open for new ideas. And more such clichés.
Here's the thing, and I am not joking: At first, when I watched the commercials, I was stunned. I really thought these were spoof commercials, or there was some ingenious trick that I was missing. Surely a mag that claims to be for the young CANNOT be putting out such drivel. Surely the publishers would know this sort of advertising is the surest way to alienate Young India. Then I kept watching the ads over and over again, in utter disbelief. And realised these were no 'bakra' ads created by Mr Cyrus Broacha, they were the real thing! Absolutely shocking!
It's said the best way to swiftly kill a bad product is to run equally bad ads. Well, Open mag has just demonstrated that. This is hara-kiri advertising, to put it mildly. If the tired content of the mag doesn't drive the young readers away, this sort of prehistoric advertising certainly will. The only question that now waits to be answered is this: When will Open shut shop? Sad.
Malaria is swamping Mumbai, with the number of cases steadily increasing, and the city is facing an acute shortage of hospital beds. Doctors now fear that the next threat could be dengue
Yesterday, Moneylife had reported (http://moneylife.in/article/78/7932.html) on how malaria is spreading like wildfire across the city. Hospitals are being swamped by an increasing number of cases. It is not just the civic hospitals that are facing this deluge of patients; private hospitals are also being hit by a shortfall in bed capacities.
Now, doctors are cautioning that if and when the malaria outbreak is contained, the city could witness higher amounts of patients being affected by dengue - another debilitating disease - due to the sporadic rainfall being witnessed in the city over the past few days.
"We are aware that once this present spell of malaria subsides, there is a real danger of dengue setting in," said Dr Lalit Kapoor, a member of the Association of Medical Consultants (AMC).
Doctors believe that cases of dengue may start becoming visible from September and last till the end of October. The mosquitoes that spread dengue only appear during sporadic rainfall and create their menace thereafter. "Dengue has a seasonal pattern, which usually occurs after the rains, (especially) during sporadic rains. After years of observation, we can say that with the change in weather patterns, we might get some cases of dengue creeping in," said an official from civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), preferring anonymity.
Malaria is spread by the female Anopheles mosquito, which generally breeds in fresh or brackish water, especially if it is stagnant or slow flowing. However, in the case of dengue, the Aedes mosquito which spreads the disease breeds in households. For instance, the parasite can multiply in cans, air-conditioners or even under tyres.
"It is difficult to control dengue as it is more prevalent in houses," the BMC official said. Dr VS Vincent, assistant medical director at Holy Spirit Hospital (at Andheri, a Mumbai suburb) also agrees, "Dengue would be hard to control."
As dengue fever is caused by a virus, there is no specific medicine or antibiotic to treat it. "There is no proper treatment for the disease," Dr Kapoor added. The treatment for dengue revolves around providing relief from the symptoms of the disease. Dr Kapoor has told BMC officials to intensify the fogging process (for destroying the parasite) and has told the civic body to promote the use of larvae insecticides and continue to educate people on how to ward off the disease.
BMC's chief insecticide officer Dr Arun Bamne told Moneylife that plans are already underway and there "shouldn't be any problems" with dengue.
Dengue fever can last up to 10 days; complete recovery can take as long as a month.
(This is the second part of a continuing series on the various health threats (including malaria) facing the city)
Malaria War: Mumbai does not have enough insecticides