Wednesday, 17 June 2020 - Imphal Times

IT News 
lmphal, June.17:

12  Community Quarantine Centres at 10 villages and 2 PHCs - Talui PHC and Chingai PHC of Ukhrul District have been successfully installed with solar power jointly by Socio Economic Action Trust (SEAT),  SELCO Foundation and SNL Energy Solutions, Yairipok.
The installation of the 150 Wp Photovoltaic Solar Home Lighting Systems which include efficient LED lights and charging port, was carried out by SNL Energy Solutions, a well recognised social enterprise working in the field of sustainable energy in urban and rural areas of Manipur.
“We felt that the most feasible option would be solar energy lighting. The villagers and both the PHCs have also expressed appreciation as they have had no alternative arrangement so far. We thank SELCO Foundation for the timely intervention,” said Yuireihor Khaleng, CEO SEAT, an organisation working in 6 districts of Manipur in the field of livelihood and promotion of entrepreneurs.
In view of the inadequate infrastructure and amenities in the district, the District Administration with civil organisations and respective MLAs had advised/ directed the Village Authorities to set up Community Quarantine Centres at the village level for a collective fight against the ongoing pandemic. One of the major challenges the villages were facing was reliable power source for lighting. In these times of need, the villagers were facing difficulty in getting grid power supply which forced them to opt for other sources of lighting affecting the village resources and increasing the family expenses. It was therefore imperative to alternatively power these quarantine centres.
Access to solar energy lighting has a significant positive impact on efficient monitoring of the quarantine centre managed and run by the village administration. It also provides study opportunities especially for the students and encourages to fully make use of the time spent in quarantine. Once the lockdown and quarantine eases, the system will be  managed and used by the Village Authority for running their village administration.
SELCO Foundation aims to develop innovative, sustainable social, technical and financial models that impact climate change and poverty alleviation. It is a collaborative striving to work on solutions, support agents and build sustainable ecosystems for clean energy access. SELCO Foundation seeks to holistically facilitate context driven solutions and opportunities that result in improved well-being and livelihoods for underserved communities through sustainable energy and energy efficient applications. The interventions are developed with focus on local empowerment, replication and ethical scaling.

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News
Imphal, June 17:

The number of COVID-19 cases in Manipur stands at 540 on Wednesday morning, official reports said.
Totally, 198 persons have recovered from the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) and the JN Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS).
Director of the JNIMS T. Bhimo said on Wednesday morning that so far there was no death related to the pandemic. Thirtysix persons were found to be COVID-19 positive on Tuesday and there were 342 active cases.
Medical Superintendent of the RIMS C. Arunkumar said that 57 persons were tested again on Tuesday and 17 were found to be positive. So far 15,826 persons had been tested in the RIMS, he added.
Health Minister L. Jayentakumar said that 243 beds were now available in a school at Meitram in Imphal west district. It would soon be converted to a 300-bedded COVID-19 care centre.
On Wednesday morning, there was social media post saying that a father and son died due to the infection. Officials say that the matter will be looked into. The deaths reportedly took place at Konjeng Leikai near the Imphal international airport.
So far, 198 persons have recovered from the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences and the JN Institute of Medical Sciences.

Published in News
Wednesday, 17 June 2020 17:48

USA gifts 100 ventilators to India

IT Correspondent
New Delhi, June 17:

The first tranche of 100 ventilators gifted by the US Government, was handed over by the US Ambassador to India, Kenneth I. Juster to the Indian Red Cross Society of India (IRCS) at a brief function held at IRCS’s national headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The consignment was received by IRCS Secretary General, R K Jain, from Juster and extended heartfelt thanks to the US Government for gifting the state of the art ventilators to assist India’s fight against COVID-19.
“The donation of ventilators is a reflection of solidarity and friendship between the USA and India. Thanks to the US Govt on behalf of the people of India, who will benefit from these 100 ventilators which can be used in an ICU, an air ambulance and Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances. Shortage of ventilators is felt all over the world and under the current circumstances, this donation is immensely helpful”, Jain said on the occasion.
These high-quality machines have been produced by Massachusetts-based Zoll Medical Corporation to respond to India’s needs in this time of crisis, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said.
The USAID has announced USD 5.9 million in funding for India to combat COVID-19, including USD 2.9 million to help the country provide care for the affected, disseminate essential public health messages to communities, strengthen case finding, contact tracing and surveillance, a USAID official had said last month at a briefing organised by the US Embassy in New Delhi.

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IT News
Imphal, June17:

In a joint meeting of the Naga Students’ Federation and All Nagaland Private Schools Association was held on Monday the NSF officials requested the ANPSA officials to consider selective fee waiver for students whose parents falls within the lower strata of the economic set-up particularly those of daily wage earners and employees of private establishments as their means of livelihood are deeply affected by the lockdown. A statement by NSF said that the ANPSA officials assured the NSF that they will consider the fee waiver on a case-to-case basis and encouraged the parents who are facing difficulties in clearing their ward’s school fees to come forward along with the students and avail the same. 
The NSF officials also raised the issue of the teachers serving in various private schools who are facing lots of hardships due to non-payment of salaries by the school authorities.
“Having come to a logical understand on the various issues confronting the students and the teaching community, the NSF appeals those parents who can well afford to pay the school fees to come forward and pay the fees on time inorder for the schools to carry forth its duty of imparting education in a judicious manner”, the statement added.

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By NJ Thakuria
Guwahati, June 17:

Patriotic People’s Front Assam (PPFA) today expresses serious concern over the standoff with Chinese forces at Galwan valley of eastern Ladakh in the northern part of India causing martyrdom to many brave soldiers and injuring few others and urges every Indian citizen to support the nation according to their capacities.
The forum of nationalists in northeast India, while terming Beijing administration as an imperialist force to illegally occupy Tibet in Fifties and trying its best to destroy the Tibetan culture, also urges New Delhi to support the cause of an independent Tibet so that His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama can go back to the Potala palace in Lhasa within his lifetime.
“China does not share border with India. They are away from us. Since time immemorial we had Tibet as our friendly neighbor. It was only after the Communist regime captured the Buddhist land and came closer to us. Since then clashes between Indian soldiers and Chinese forces continued to erupt time to time,” said a PPFA statement issued to the media.
Ongoing violent clashes with the foreign forces remind patriots of northeast India to the bloody war of  1962 that snatched away thousand lives of soldiers and civilians in Arunachal Pradesh frontier.
Legendary Assamese cultural personality Dr Bhupen Hazarika created the fabulous song ‘Kata Jowanar Mritya Hal (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kt8Icxq2JOA)’ terming the Chinese aggressors as cruel enemies.
PPFA reiterates the recent appeal by innovator and social engineer Sonam Wangchuk to boycott all kinds of  Chinese products including their software produces like Tiktok, Pubg, BeautyPlus, etc by every Indian national. It supports his appeal to refuse  everything made by China as supports to the country as a whole and the soldiers on the border fighting the foreign elements commenting ‘citizens should react to the situation with wallets’.

Published in Guest Column
Wednesday, 17 June 2020 17:45

One sports centre to be made in Manipur

IT News
Imphal, June 17:

The Sports Ministry is all set to establish Khelo India State Centres of Excellence (KISCE) under the ministry’s flagship, Khelo India Scheme. One KISCE will be identified in each state and union territory, with an effort to create a robust sporting ecosystem in the entire country. In the first leg, the Ministry has identified state-owned sports facilities in eight states of India, including, Karnataka, Odisha, Kerala, Telengana and the north east states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland which will be upgraded into Khelo India State Centre of Excellence (KISCE).
Speaking about this initiative of strengthening sporting facilities in the states, Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Shri Kiren Rijiju said, “The Khelo India State Centre of Excellence are being established to strengthen India’s pursuit for excellence in Ölympics. Our effort is to scale up the best sporting facilities available in each state in India into academies of world-class standard, where athletes from all over the country will want to train in their specific discipline. The sporting facilities have been identified after in-depth analysis by a government committee. I am confident that this is a step in the right direction to tap talent from across the country and train them into elite athletes who can win medals for the country in all major international tournaments, and specifically the Olympics.”
The process of selection of these sports facilities was started in October 2019, when each state and UT was asked to identify the best sports infrastructure available with them, their agencies or any eligible agencies, which could be developed into a world-class sporting facilities. Of the 15 proposals received and examined, 8 have been shortlisted based on the training facilities available in priority sports, infrastructure facilities and champion produced by the centre.
In order to upgrade the existing centre to the KISCE, the government will extend a ‘Viability Gap Funding’ in sports science and technology support for sports disciplines practiced at the centre and also bridge the gaps in requirement of sports equipment, expert coaches and high performance managers. The support extended will be to Olympic sports, though support can be extended in sports science and allied fields in other sporting disciplines being run in the centre.
The state and UT will run the centre and build capacity to turn it into the world-class sporting facility, and will be responsible for all aspects of management of the centre including, boarding, lodging and maintenance, while funds for critical gaps such as expert coaches, support staff, equipment, infrastructure will be extended through the Khelo India Scheme.
The eight centres will be given a grant based on the actual amount finalised as per the requirement indicated after a comprehensive gap analysis study. In a bid to broad-base talent identification, the states and UTs will also identify and develop talent in each sport for which funding is received at the centre. The Sports Authority of India will extend expertise, resources and a monitoring system to ensure that the level of performance of the athletes improve to international standards.
In the first batch, the following sporting facilities will be upgraded to Khelo India State Centre of Excellence:
Sangey Lhaden Sports Academy, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh; Jaiprakash Narayan National Youth Center, Bangalore, Karanataka; GV Raja Sr. Secondary Sports School, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala; Khuman Lampak Sports Complex, Imphal, Manipur; Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Aizawl, Mizoram; State Sports Academy, IG Stadium, Kohima, Nagaland; Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneshwar, Odisha; Regional Sports School, Hakimpet, Telangana.

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IT Correspondent
Mumbai, June 17:

The Mumbai bomb blasts (12 March 1993) accused underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s aide Chhota Shakeel’s elder sister Hamida Sayyed passed away due to novel coronavirus infection in Mumbra in Thane district of Maharashtra on Tuesday.
Shakeel’s other sister Fahmida died due to pneumonia, in a hospital in Mira Road near Mumbai on 22 May,2020. At that time, her driver Altaf was tested positive. After that Fahmida’s husband Arif Aboobakar Sheikh’s bungalow in Thane, was sealed off by the Thane municipal commissioner.
Arif Aboobakar Sheikh who had fled to Dubai after the murder of Gujarat BJP MLA Haren Pandya in Ahmedabad in 2003, was deported to India. But he was acquitted in 2006.
The members of the crime syndicate run by Dawood, along with his key aide Ibrahim Mushtaq Abdul Razzaq Memon (Tiger Memon), Yakub Memon, Mohammed Dossa, Mustafa Dossa and Chhota Shakeel had plotted the dastardly attacks on Mumbai. They had also organised training camps in Pakistan and in India to impart and undergo weapon and arms training and handling of explosives, the prosecution said.
The blasts snuffed out the lives of 257 people. Though the hearing of the bomb blast case began in 2007, it was delayed as three simultaneous petitions were pending with the Supreme Court, one each filed by Dossa and Salem, and another by CBI. In the first leg of the trial that concluded in 2007, the TADA court had convicted 100 accused, while 23 people were acquitted. In 2013, the Supreme Court sentenced Yakub Memon to death. He was executed on 39 July, 2015.
Now it is believed that Chhota Shakeel is currently holding up in Karachi with his family. Recently some media reports suggested that Dawood Ibrahim had died due to Covid-19 infection but no intelligence report can confirm his death.

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By: Taniya Khangembam
A single thought from you makes a single wish which lead to a prudent and holds the social action. What kind of wish you want to give for a woman who is expecting her first child? Will you talk about a healthy baby boy or simply a healthy child?
Traditionally, male kids are preferred as their first babies. It has been analysed that the importance of religion is misused in giving births to young ones. Any religion does not encourage its people to be gender selective but the social cohesion where individuals have certain preference eliminates the morality and discipline of religion. Not only religion but the positivism of science is also being misused for this traditional belief system.
The roots of this problem lie in a strong patriarchal society that has translated into an obsessive preference for sons. The orthodox system believes that first female child won’t help with work, she won’t continue the family name, parents will need expensive dowry for the groom’s family, she will move to their in-laws and will not take care of her parents in old age. There is a traditional healer who believes in the saying, “ We accept the first girl, the second should be killed then the third will be a son”.
We are usually encountering in our daily life where couple pray at temples for their first born child to be a son. It has become a form of prestige and dignity in the family. We have also seen big celebrations for every families when sons are born. Another event is in terms of adoption. When adoptive parents seek for their child, biological parents rarely give their baby if the baby is boy. Are they showing their negligence to their daughter? Interestingly, numerous researchers have found that parents who are expecting a child biologically prefer a boy while adoption agencies for both international and national shows that 75-80% of adoptive parents favour to adopt girls. Why adoptive parents prefer girl child and biological parents prefer boy child? One of the most common theories behind this reality is adoptive parents are afraid of boys because they are emotionally weak and there are general propositions which believes that girls are quieter, more well behaved and easier to understand and accept the situation of her life. Eventually you might be asking, “How about the biological boy?” This is all about the psychological conceptions with prejudice and preconceived notions.
Today is the day to change the wish from ‘a healthy baby boy’ to ‘a healthy baby’ irrespective of gender because both of them can bring the real happiness in a family. A healthy child is the future of every nation with a little amount of care, a handful of warmth and a heart full of love, can make a big difference in the development of a country instead of making efforts in gender selective.
The writer is Pursuing BA Honours in Sociology at Assam Downtown University.

Published in Guest Column
Wednesday, 17 June 2020 17:43

Cataclysm of Covid-19 & Climate Change

Global methane levels have hit an all-time high after what appears to be a near-record yearly atmospheric increase in the potent greenhouse gas. The concentration of methane in the Earth’s atmosphere reached nearly 1,875 parts per billion in 2019, up from 1,866 parts per billion according to preliminary data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Though, methane remains in the atmosphere for only few years, it is 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping the sun’s heat and it poses an increasingly gave threat to effort to tackle escalating global heating. Three months ago we would have been describing the climate crisis. Instead, those same words now apply to Covid-19. Leading scientists repeatedly warned us it was coming. They told us, it would kill millions, cost trillions and transform the way we live but that modest preparation could forestall the worst impact. The two crises are borne of the same human falling: our inability to act now to forestall future consequences. Both require swift comprehensive response but their severity and duration varied widely. The pandemic is personal. We empathise with the most vulnerable and with those suffering in viral hotspots and also fear for ourselves and our loved ones. Consider how quickly governments have acted, asking citizens to radically shift their ways of life and fast-tracking billions in bailout funds and relief packages and justifiably so. This kind of emergency mobilise us.
The climate emergency is more insidious, where the impacts of Covid-19 are rapid and easily identifiable, climate damage is gradual and multifaceted. Many scientists have criticised governments’ covid-19 response as slow or inadequate. But the response to climate change has been even more negligent by comparison, the damage more permanent. The death toll from Covid-19 is serious and the rising and all efforts must be made to save lives. But the scale of tragedy will be finite and measurable once the pandemic is over. Predicting the ultimate death toll is difficult but it could be in order of two to 20 million worldwide. The driest estimates predict waves of outbreaks with cyclical social distancing for 18 months. Fatalities traced to climate change on the other hand, take many forms-from millions of early deaths already caused each year by fossil fuel combustion to the more than 7 million, cumulative deaths expected by 2050 due to heat stress, malnutrition and directly related causes. Isn’tjust deaths for which climate change is responsible? The additional toll on human wellbeing includes mass displacement, armed conflict and 120 million thrown into poverty. But like the coronavirus pandemic, the sooner and more seriously we act, the fewer will suffer. The pandemic and climate crisis are enormously costly. One UN estimate puts the cost of coronavirus to the global economy in 2020 alone at one trillion dollar, just 1% of global GDP-though once society opens up again, these losses should be recouped within the decade. In contrast, climate change permanently changes the frequency and severity of negative impacts from the increased flooding and heat waves to crop failure and air pollution, so the damage they cause keeps adding up year after year. But investing now will make a huge difference. One study found that immediate investment to adapt to climate change would yield more than 7 trillion dollars. Yet predicting how much climate change will cost is difficult. Even the seemingly small difference between 1.5 degree Celsius and 2 degree Celsius of global warming would cumulatively impair GDP by an additional 5% by the end of the century with far worse outcomes if warming exceeds 2 degree Celsius. Then there are the investments we’re making in high emitting power plants, factories or vehicles that after we have exhausted our remaining carbon budget (within the next 15 years at current emission rates) could become stranded assets.
The most pronounced difference between the climate and coronavirus crisis, however is how long their effects will be felt. The increase in the number of individuals infected with the virus feels akin to the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the more we have each, the worse the impacts. But this analogy is misleading because most individuals recovers from the virus and stop infecting others in a matter of weeks. As soon as the number of daily recoveries exceeds the number of daily infections, the impacts of the virus will begin to recede. If this state can be maintained until a vaccine becomes widely available – for example with sustainable physical distancing strategies- the human and economic costs associated with coronavirus will eventually disappear. In contrast, every tonnes of carbon dioxide we emit resides in our climate system indefinitely, warming the atmosphere and acidifying our Oceans. The number of patients infected with coronavirus is more analogous to the amount of atmospheric methane, which spends a relatively short time warming the planet at a high rate before deteriorating. The figure above highlights the difference between the warming caused by permanent carbon dioxide build up and the more transient impacts of pandemics. When the rates of both carbon dioxide emissions and new covid-19 cases are rising; both the warming caused by carbon dioxide and the number of active covid-19 cases rises. But when the rates of both are constant; covid-19 cases eventually level out, as the number of new infections balances the number of patients recovering or dying. Not so for carbon dioxide which even at constant rates causes permanent and ever-increasing warming. When the rates of both are falling, covid-19 cases eventually drop to zero, but the total amount of warming levels off and remains in the new, warmed state in perpetuity.
Mitigating the effects of the coronavirus pandemic should unequivocally be our top priority right now. But as we emerge from the pandemic, we have the opportunity to begin preparing in earnest for a larger threat; climate change. This moment also presents critical leverage points to fight the pandemic and climate crisis simultaneously. Some of the industries that contribute most to the climate change – airlines, oil and gas companies- are in a rare position of vulnerability. As a society, we can demand that the assistance they receive requires them to decarbonise their businesses after the pandemic is over. Don’t let the lesson of coronavirus go unheeded. We could have made modest investment to avert a pandemic years ago-we didn’t. We can avoid the more severe impacts of climate change if we start decarbonising now and our response to the pandemic is an important place to start. So when recovery measures are being considered, contact your MPs or elected officials. Don’t let them make this same mistake twice. Instead fell them to apply the lessons of today’s crisis to tomorrows.

 

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Elizabeth , Nandita and Surbhi

The impact of Coronavirus has been disproportionately felt by informal migrant workers who have found themselves severally challenged with questions of survival and health at this time. As sole earning members of their families and already challenged with severe economic and social insecurities, the pandemic and the ensuing lockdown have had debilitating impacts on the domestic workers and their families. Among informal migrant workers, domestic workers are the most vulnerable to exploitation, violence, harassment, and forced labour, especially in the absence of laws that ensure social protection.
More than 60 domestic workers led a National-level virtual Round Table today on International Domestic Workers Day. The Round Table – ‘Reimagining the world of work for Domestic Workers: Covid and Beyond’ was co-organised by Martha Farrell Foundation, Nari Shakti Manch, National Domestic Workers’ Movement, SEWA Bharat, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), Jagori, Samarthan CDS, Domestic Workers Network, Domestic Workers Forum Chetanalaya, Delhi Gharelu Kamgar Union, Shahri Gharelu Kamgar Union, National Platform for Domestic Workers (NPDW) and Gharelu Kamgar Panchayat Sangamto deliberate on strategies for actualising the manifesto of demands framed by domestic workers that reimagines a world of work for Domestic Workers that promises safety and dignity in their work.
The Manifesto was informed by an assessment led by Domestic Workers’ Action Network (an initiative of Martha Farrell Foundation) on the impacts of Covid-19 among domestic workers in Delhi and Haryana. The assessment found that more than 95% of domestic workers had not received their salaries since March. Many had lost their jobs at the beginning of the lockdown, many were being forced to leave their families and live in their employer’s home and those who wanted to leave and go back home were not able to do so due to the high cost and non-availability of seats on the shramik railways.
At the Round Table domestic workers deliberated on these and other challenges.
Migrant domestic worker Surekha (name changed) narrated how she managed to escape the clutches of her abusive employers in Mumbai - “They were refusing to let me leave (for home) when the lockdown was announced; they had confiscated my mobile phone and Aadhaar Card.”
Bhanwari (name changed), a domestic worker in Delhi, reported that many of her sisters were out of work and their employers (belonging to affluent households in South Delhi) were denying them full wages. She also highlighted another acute problem faced by domestic workers returning to work today, saying, “With rising oil prices, domestic workers are also having to contend with the lack of affordable public transport in our routes.” 
From Hyderabad, Jyotipriya (name changed) shed light on another pressing issue for domestic workers today. “Some states like Telangana have made it mandatory to produce a No Objection Certificate (NoC) to be able to return to work. But how can domestic workers pay for the NoC? It costs somewhere around Rs 2000! If our employers can demand it from us, shouldn’t they also show us a clean bill of their health?”
A Manifesto of demands prepared by domestic workers was shared and endorsed by all present. Envisioning a time in the near future when India would have a comprehensive Central legislation for Domestic Workers, they laid down specific working conditions to protect their work and themselves from exploitation and harassmenthttps://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1nyqEq6Cy0iUUHw27 WJTHSHxkfmbeTL_M? usp=sharing
Some highlights from the joint Manifesto:
- We expect that our employers will treat us well, with dignity and not like “Corona carriers”.
- We expect them to provide us with the same professional and safe environment that they would expect from their workplace.
- Demand to the State Government to constitute an institution of mechanization for domestic workers through the proper registration of employers and domestic workers.
- It is also essential that domestic workers have the same recourse to time-bound justice in cases of sexual harassment at the workplace through Local Committees as other workers do.
- Our work must be given due recognition
- Our concerns understood as serious
- As important stakeholders, we expect from RWAs that they should notify an order to the employers of each household to give the balance payment of all the domestic workers working in their society
- Workplace harassment and job insecurities are ever-present for us. The insecurity is intensified because of the absence of regulatory structures, redressal mechanisms and labour laws to protect us and our work.
- Bring domestic workers under the ambit of Labour Laws and employment regulations.
- Standardise wage calculation, and ensure domestic workers receive the standardised minimum wages. Under the current circumstances, the government must transfer Rs 5000 to every domestic worker in order for them to survive the pandemic.
- Support Domestic workers from India who are stranded abroad to come back home safely. Many have been thrown out of their houses and others are unable to do so because of the costs. The Indian Community Welfare Fund can be used to fund the travel for domestic workers.
- Ratify ILO Conventions 189 and 190 to accord domestic workers their rights as stipulated under global standards. Ensure time-bound redressal of sexual harassment faced by domestic workers at their workplace.
Guest speakers included District Labour Officers and experts from National Domestic Workers’ Movement (NDWM), International Labour Organisation (ILO) and International Domestic Workers’ Federation (IDWF), who laid down the primary challenges for domestic workers post-lockdown, and offered valuable insights into good practices that can help prepare for a more egalitarian future of domestic work. 

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