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Cabinet approves Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA) to make 6 Crore Rural households Digitally Literate

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Urja Ganga Project,an ambitious Gas pipeline in the eastern region of the country
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Wikimedia

New Delhi, Feb 8, 2017: The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minster Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA) to make six crore rural households digitally literate, according to an official statement.

“The outlay for this project is Rs 2,351.38 crore to usher in digital literacy in rural India by March 2019. This is in line with the announcement made by the Finance Minister in the Union Budget 2016-17. The PMGDISHA is expected to be one of the largest digital literacy programmes in the world,” read the statement.

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Under the scheme, 25 lakh candidates will be trained in 2016-17, 275 lakh in 2017-18 and 300 lakh in 2018-19.

Each of the 250,000 gram panchayats would be expected to register 200-300 candidates to ensure equitable geographical reach, the cabinet statement said.

“Digitally literate persons would be able to operate computers/ digital access devices (like tablets, smart phones), send and receive emails, browse internet, access government services, search for information, undertake cashless transactions, and hence use IT to actively participate in the process of nation building,” it underlined.

The scheme would be implemented under the overall supervision of the Ministry of Electronics and IT in active collaboration with states and Union Territories through their designated state implementing agencies and, District e-Governance Society. (IANS)

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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People Living in Rural Households are at Lower Risk of Developing Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Living in rural households decreases a person's risk of developing an inflammatory bowel disease, especially young children, and adolescents, according to a new study.

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Rural Household, diseases
According to a new study, living in rural households decreases the chances of a person developing an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Pixabay
  • The findings showed that children, especially those under the age of 10, experience a protective effect against IBD if they live in a rural household.
  • The findings also strengthen the understanding- environmental risk factors that lead people to IBD may have a stronger effect in children than adults

Canada, July 27, 2017: According to a new study, living in rural households decreases the chances of a person developing an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), in particular, young children and adolescents. The study has been undertaken by researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), and the Canadian Gastro-Intestinal Epidemiology Consortium (CanGIEC).

The findings showed that children, especially those under the age of 10, experience a protective effect against IBD if they live in a rural household.

Lead author Eric Benchimol from CHEO Inflammatory Bowel Disease Centre, in Ottawa, said, “This effect is particularly strong in children who are raised in a rural household in the first five years of life. These are some important findings since our previous work shows that the number of very young children being diagnosed with IBD has jumped in the past 20 years.” “The findings also strengthen our understanding that environmental risk factors that lead people to IBD may have a stronger effect in children than adults,” he added.

Why there is need for good Home-care Health System in Rural Areas?

As per the study, 45,567 patients are diagnosed with IBD; 6,662 of those patients diagnosed with IBD were living in rural households and 38,905 were living in urban households from 1999 to 2010 in four Canadian provinces (Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Ontario).The overall incidence of IBD was 30.72 per 1, 00,000 person-years in the rural population compared with 33.16 per 100,000 in the urban population.

Canada has one of the highest rates of IBD in the world, with most cases diagnosed in individuals between the ages of 15 and 30, and an increased incidence seen in children under the age of 10.”The new study demonstrates the importance of early life exposure in altering the risk of IBD and that needs further study,” Benchimol noted

The researchers suggest that living in a rural or urban environment can change the intestinal micro biome due to different exposures early in life and may result in decreased or increased risk. The research appears in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

– by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08


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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393