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Raju Vernekar

Raju Vernekar

Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]

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12,500 “Arogyavardhini” centres to be set up in the country for Ayurveda treatment

By Raju Vernekar
Pune, Dec. 6

The Union AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) Ministry is planning to set up 12,500 arogyavardhini centres through out the country to make available ayurveda treatment at cheaper rates, the Union Ayush minister  Shripad Naik, said here.
Speaking as a chief guest at “Sandu Ayurved Gaurav awards” function organised to felicitate ayurveda practitioners, by “Sandu Brothers” at Annabhau Sathe auditorium, Bibwewadi, in Pune in Maharashtra, Naik said that his ministry is also planning to start short term courses for foreign students to learn yoga. This is under “learn in India” initiative, he added.
Also All India Institute of Yoga and Naturopathy will be set up at Goa in the next two years. Various initiatives, including setting up of Ayush departments in rural hospitals which have ayurvedic medicines and panchakarma facilities, to set up botanical gardens in and around Ayush hospitals in the country, are on cards, he said.
Five Ayurveda practitioners were felicitated with “Ayurved Bhushan” and “Ayurved Gaurav” for their contribution to Ayurveda, at the hands of Naik. The chief secretary of AYUSH department Rajesh Kotecha and Director of Maharashtra ayurved department Kuldeep Raj Kohli were present.
On the occasion, Medha Joshi, Vikram Chauhan, Anandkumar Chaudhari and Jyoti Mundargi were felicitated with “Ayurved Bhushan” while Omprakash Gupta was given the “Ayurved Gaurav” award.
“The ancient science was striving to get the mentorship of the rule, which was not coming across since the independence. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, by constituting Ministry of Ayush in 2014, gave its mentorship to the ayurveda and other streams like yoga, unani, siddha and homeopathy of medical science. We are thankful to him for the attempt,” Sashank Sandu, director, “Sandu Brothers” said in his speech. “Sandu Brothers” has been engaged in the manufacture of Ayurvedic medicines since 1899.
In the meanwhile the Ayushman Bharat Yojana - National Health Protection Scheme, which has now been renamed as Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), plans to make secondary and tertiary healthcare completely cashless. The PMJAY beneficiaries will get an e-card that can be used to avail services at an empanelled hospital, public or private, anywhere in the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi rolled out PMJAY on 23 September 2018 to cover about 50 crore citizens in India. As of September 2019, it was reported that 21,000 hospitals were   empanelled, over 64 lakh beneficiaries were admitted and over 10 crore e-cards were issued. PMJAY is being implemented in 32 States and Union Territories. Based on the hospitalized cases so far, the treatment cost per hospitalization comes to Rs. 16108 compared to Rs.20135 estimated by the National Statistical Office (NSO). In order to cover 50 crore targeted poor, it is estimated that an amount of Rs. 23357 crore is required annually by the government, compared to the 2019-20 budget provision of Rs. 6400 crore.
The coverage includes 3 days of pre-hospitalisation and 15 days of post-hospitalisation expenses. Besides, around 1,400 procedures with all related costs like OT expenses are taken care of. All in all, PMJAY and the e-card provides  a coverage of Rs. 5 lakh per family, per year, thus helping the economically disadvantaged obtain easy access to healthcare services.
Other steps to reduce out of pocket expenditure include i) regulating irrational drug prescriptions, diagnostic and drug prices, opening more PM Jan Aushadi Stores, providing services closer to the habitations of the poor, etc.
As per the report “Social Consumptions in India: Health” released on 23 November, by the  NSO, based on a sample survey conducted from July 2017 to June 2018 covering about 1.14 lakh households across the country, 7.5 percent of the people suffered from ailments during 15 days preceding the date of survey. This means that during the said reference period of 15 days, over 10.1 crore people were ailing in India out of the total population of about 135 Crore. The average cost of ailment per, was estimated at Rs. 636 indicating that an amount of Rs. 6440 Crore was spent on the treatment in a 15 days period or about Rs. 157, 000 crore in a year.
The survey also estimated that 2.9 percent of the people were hospitalized during July 2017-June 2018, meaning that 3.92 crore hospitalizations occurred during this period. The estimated treatment cost per hospitalization estimated by the survey was Rs. 20135 indicating that an amount of about Rs. 79, 000 crore was spent on hospitalized treatments. The annual OPD and hospitalization treatment cost comes to a whopping Rs 2.36 lakh crores, (approximately 1.2 per cent of GDP).

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MNS demands SRC throughout the country

IT News
Mumbai, Dec 5

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has demanded that close on the heels of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) of India, the State Register of Citizens (SRC) of  India, should be made applicable for the entire country to prevent Inter- state “illegal” migration of people.
In response to announcement by union home minister Amit Shah in ongoing session of the Parliament, that the NRC would be prepared for every state in the country, MNS leader Sandip Deshpande in a tweet, has demanded that SRCs be set up in every state so that “illegal” migration will be automatically controlled and “sons-of-the soil” will not be deprived of jobs. “There is heavy migration of people from the states like UP, Bihar, Jharkhand in Maharashtra and Delhi and the population of these states swelling. With a population of over 126 million, Maharashtra is the second largest state in India after Uttar Pradesh”  he added.
Shah told Rajyasabha in the ongoing session, that “no person, irrespective of religion, needs to fear due to NRC and the Assam govt will extend financial help to people with no money to approach tribunals. The NRC will not be based on religion, he said. In his speeches outside the Parliament, Shah has repeatedly claimed that the Modi government would implement the NRC all over the country and “throw out infiltrators” from every inch of India, before the 2024 general elections.
While MNS has demanded implementation of SRCs throughout the country, the system of Inner Line Permit (ILP) which began in colonial rule, under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act, 1873, is still functional in certain part of the North East India. ILP system restricts the entry and regulates the stay of outsiders in designated areas. ILP is a document that allows an Indian citizen to visit or stay in a state that is protected under the ILP system. The system is in force today in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram — and no Indian citizen can visit any of these states unless he or she belongs to that state, nor can he or she overstay beyond the period specified in the ILP.
The Union government has not specified any cut off for the proposed NRC yet. While several North eastern states are demanding the NRC, several non-BJP states have turned down the idea. According to unofficial sources, around 50 per cent of the 1.9 million excluded from the NRC are Hindus, the core vote bank for the saffron party.
As per of NRC, foreigners’ tribunals (FTs), quasi-judicial bodies will be set up to determine the citizenship of a person in India. So far, FTs exist only in Assam which hear appeals of those whose citizenship is under question by the Assam Border Police and those who have been excluded in the final NRC list.
Untill now, the Assam was the only state with detention centres housed inside existing jails. The construction of the first and largest official detention centre in Goalpara began in September this year. The camp, to be built at a cost of Rs 45 crore, is expected to hold 3,000 detainees.  
The Union Government has already began groundwork, to set up detention centres in certain parts of the country. One such detention centre for “illegal” immigrants has already been built in Sondekoppa in Nelamangala, around 40 km from Bengaluru,  in Karnataka,  while 3 acre plot of land for such centre has been identified in Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra. However the authorities in Maharashtra have denied links of this centre with the NRC and have maintained that the centre is being set up to detain offenders of illegal passport cases.  
The implementation of NRC first began in Assam after Indo-Bangladesh war of 1971. The Assam accord fixed March 25, 1971, as the cut-off date for determining anyone’s right to claim Indian citizenship. This special exception-granting citizenship to those who entered Assam between 1947 and 1971-was made only for Assam. According to Article 6 of the Constitution, applicable in the rest of the country, anybody from East or West Pakistan, who enters India after July 19, 1948, must apply for citizenship.

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Signature campaign to seek speedier trial in Vet’s murder case

IT News
Mumbai, Dec 4

Even as four accused arrested in connection with the recent rape and murder of the 26-year-old veterinarian girl in Telangana have been remanded to judicial custody for 14 days, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has began a signature campaign demanding that the trial by the Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs) be finished within 10 days instead of six months.
BJP MLA Mangalprabhat Lodha from Mumbai told this correspondent that a campaign to collect one lakh signatures of citizens has been launched. The signatures will be submitted to all MPs, especially women MPs of Parliament to demand completion of trial within 10 days in the fast track courts. “We will demand that the provision to complete the trial within 6 months be amended to complete the trial within 10 days. A memorandum will also be submitted to the Union Home Minister and BJP President Amit Shah demanding that the trial be completed expeditiously. We also demand that the accused be “hanged” as early as possible.
The POCSO Act mandates that the investigation in the cases should be completed within  two months and trial should be completed in 6 months. One of its key objective is to expedite the trial and disposal of cases involving women and children by setting up Fast Track Special Courts.
NCP MP Supriya Sule said that she agreed that the trial should be expedited and at the most it should be completed within 3 months. “We should have a zero tolerance about such heinous crimes. Over and above this, a social change is the need of the hour because marriages of minor girls are still being conducted in some parts of the country, a dowry is still being demanded. As such there should be drastic change in the mind set of people”.
The 26-year-old veterinarian was brutally gangraped and killed by four lorry workers before they burned her body on Wednesday night (27 November) in Telangana’s Shamshabad. They revisited the spot to ensure that the body is totally burnt.
All the four accused were nabbed from their houses on Friday (29 November) by Cyberabad Police. The four accused- Jollu Naveen, Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu, Jollu Shiva and  Mohammad Areef—were sent to judicial custody for 14 days on Saturday (30 November)  amid high drama with a large crowd facing off against police. Three cops were suspended on Saturday (30 November) for a delay in registering an FIR in the case. Cyberabad police filed the remand report on Sunday (1 December) four days after the vet was found with her body burnt under a culvert in Chatanpally on the Hyderabad-Bengaluru national highway.
The gruesome rape and murder case, which is being perceived as another ‘Nirbhaya’, has sparked national outrage. The incidents of rape and gang rape of minor girls below the age of twelve and similar heinous crimes against women continue to raise their heads.
To prevent such crimes, stricter laws were introduced through “the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018”. It strengthened he relevant provisions of Indian Penal Code (IPC), Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC), Evidence Act and Protection of Children Against Sexual OffencesAct (POCSO) and provided for stringent punishment for rape of children and women. The key motive behind introducing harsh punishment was to create deterrence against such crimes. However, it is only possible if the trial in the court is completed within the time frame and justice is delivered expeditiously to the victims.
The new ‘Women Safety Division’ was set up by the Union Home Ministry on May 28, 2018 to strengthen measures for safety of women in the country and instil greater sense of security in them through speedy and effective administration of justice in a holistic manner and by providing a safer environment for women. It is responsible for policy formulation, planning, coordinating, formulating and implementing projects/schemes to assist States/Union Territories to achieve this objective, as also prison reforms, anti human trafficking and related subjects. This, inter-alia, includes increased use of IT and technology in criminal justice system and enabling a supportive eco-system for forensic sciences and crime & criminal records. However, despite a strong law and policy framework, large number of rape and POCSO Act cases are pending in various courts in the country.

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OIL, Piramal Swasthya launches mobile medical vans for Assam, Arunachal Pradesh

By -  Raju Vernekar

Dibrugarh, Dec 3

The Oil India (OIL) and Piramal Swasthya Management and Research Institute (PSMRI), have joined hands to launch SPARSHA mobile medical units in under-served areas of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, with initial launch of seven mobile medical vans in Dibrugarh in Assam. 

Each van is equipped with two doctors, two nurses and two pharmacists. All the seven vans will conduct 168 camps in a month by providing free health check-ups, lab tests and medicines to the vulnerable population of  Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Charaideo districts in Assam and Changlang district in Arunachal Pradesh. Non-Communicable diseases and maternal and  child health will be the major focus area under this service. 

These vans were recently launched by Union Minister of State, Food Processing Industries Rameshwar Teli, along with BJP MLA Rituparna Baruah (Lahowal constituency), in presence OIL ED (HR&A) RK Talukdar, OIL Head (Assam & North East Operations)  Hardeep Singh Bambrah and Dibrugarh Deputy Commissioner Pallav Gopal Jha. 

According to sources in OIL here, the concept is to provide primary healthcare services to the inaccessible and vulnerable population of the remote OIL operating areas. The health services will be provided right at the door step of the beneficiaries, which would reduce the distance, cost and time. The mobile dispensaries will handle the jobs such as: Clinically diagnose and treat select Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs),chronic diseases and common diseases, to conduct health check-ups, lab tests and dispensing medicines to beneficiaries as deemed necessary via valid prescriptions provided by competent medical officers and to create  awareness about the  diseases and  to hold special flood relief camps. 

Each of the seven vans would conduct 24 service camps in a month and the mobilisation of beneficiaries will be facilitated by engaging two field volunteers in each location of service. Given the inaccessibility of primary health services in the remote areas, the SPARSHA  Mobile healthcare Service at the beneficiaries’ doorsteps comes as a boon for the needy patients. 

During the launch of the vans, Teli said, “I appreciate the efforts being made by OIL to provide healthcare services in its operational areas of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Going by the shortage of doctors in rural and tea garden areas, the SPARSHA project would  immensely benefit its covered population. I also acknowledge the contribution by the  ”Piramal Swasthya” in running Govt and CSR projects across India including 104 services in Assam. If time permits I will personally visit the camps to have a look at the activities and will also inform the community members through the village and panchayat members to avail this service”. 

Talukdar stated, “OIL is extending mobile dispensary services in the remotest parts of its operational areas of Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Charaideo districts of Assam and Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh where medical services are not readily accessible. We have collaborated with “Piramal Swasthya” to  implement the “OIL SPARSHA mobile dispensary project” for the next four years, we will contribute towards the healthcare sector of our region.” 

Piramal Swasthya CEO Vishal Phanse, said “India has embarked upon the journey towards “ universal health” and Piramal Swasthya has been contributing to achieve this aim with its experience and expertise. The medical service in Assam and AP,  would certainly help in moving the health indicators of the states significantly”. 

OIL has been conducting mobile dispensary services in the OIL operational areas in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh through its in-house healthcare team of doctors and paramedics and catering to the primary healthcare needs of poor, free of cost since 1980s. This service has also been supplemented with Project SPARSHA under which mobile health camps are conducted in remote areas, where the primary healthcare is a challenge.  

“Piramal Swasthya” is operational in 21 states in India through its 35 innovative public health care programs and it has served over 10.7 crore people till now. It employs over 2500 employees, including nearly 250 doctors, who work with motto of public service. In the last 12 years, its focus has been on influencing policies, governance, and accountability of the public health care system as a knowledge and implementation partner of the NITI Aayog. 

Recently, Piramal Foundation partnered with NITI Aayog to transform 25 districts across 7 states in India. It has built partnerships with governments, technology partners and international organizations, including with Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Harvard Graduate School of Education and World Diabetes Foundation. These projects are implemented through “Piramal Swasthya”, “Piramal Sarvajal” and “Piramal Foundation for Education Leadership.

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