Sunday October 22, 2017

How will India look with Free Education and Healthcare ?

Education and healthcare are one of the biggest revenue generators for the country but some sects of the country's population have little or no access to proper facilities

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Representational Image. Pixabay.

Nov 17, 2016: In a country where people satiate their hunger and fulfil their basic needs on little wages, higher education is a luxury only a few can afford. Even though the public institutions charge a very subsidized amount compared to the other private institutions, the amount requested by them are beyond the reach of many.

The Right to Education act passed on 1 April 2010 allows children between the ages of 6 and 14 to receive free and compulsory education but the problem for these young minds begin after they walk into adolescence. The families which are poor and every member has to fend for themselves cannot afford higher education for their children. This pushes the young, green saplings into the world to earn money for the family. They start to become the bread-earners of the family and lose all time, opportunity and zeal to receive better education.

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The commercialization of education over the nation has resulted in robbing these aspiring children from their dreams. “Expensive coaching centers, schools and colleges do not ever give a chance to the underprivileged as they are too busy minting money for themselves” says Rashmi, a homemaker.

For a long time, various NGOs and independent workers have been trying to improve the condition of education in India and have also succeeded to some extent. The IITs have decided to provide students of classes 11 and 12 for free over DTH or internet. This initiative starting in January,  will expand the base of aspirants as it is more possible for some students to gain access to internet and DTH than enrolling for coaching centers. The IITs will record over 200 hours for each subject and the students will also contribute to this as assistants for free. This is an example of how if all the citizens tried together to bridge the gaps, this country could be a lot more developed.

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At a Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry consultation for Members of Parliament (MPs) on the New Education Policy (NEP), on which the government is working emphasis was placed on free and compulsory education till Class 12.

If education at undergraduate level is devoid of all cost, the countries literacy rates would shoot up resulting in a much greater national revenue than ever before. This could also lead to more students staying in the country to complete their academics only to repay the country later by contributing to its development. “There would be less pressure on each student as they would be able to put in more sincere efforts because they would not have to worry about their funds” said a student from a university in Bangalore.

These steps could help indecisive students find their goal as they could experience different options before excelling at one. This would not be possible to do today with the soaring prices of education.

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Apart from education, health care is a major factor denoting a country’s development. Good health care facilities are a necessity especially, in India. The ones to benefit most from healthcare being free would be the downtrodden and poor. They would not have to wait at long queues at affordable hospitals, instead they could get treated at any hospital. Some people would not have to wait for enough money to be accumulated so that they could get their illness treated nor would they have to borrow money from people.

Such free clinics should be opened at regular intervals so that it is convenient for people to get help in times of emergencies. “I was so surprised. It was all so quick and easy. It’s a real luxury to have a clinic close to my home instead of wasting a whole day at a hospital,” Wazir, a daily wager told the South China Morning Post. Better and free health care ensures the decrease in the mortality rate in our country due to medical reasons.

Even though the government did not declare free health care as a fundamental right, it is taking steps toward free or heavily subsidized healthcare. The health ministry proposed the increase in India’s health budget from 1.87 percent of the GDP to 2.5 percent to achieve its ambition to provide a basic package of healthcare services for free. Free healthcare means that the families in the country could invest this money in the development of the nation and hence, resulting in their own development.

– by Shivam Thaker of NewsGram. Twitter: @Shivam_Thaker

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WHO Releases New Guidelines to Fight Global Childhood Obesity

India ranks second in the number of obese children in the world with China taking the first spot

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OBESITY
Obesity exposes an individual to multiple health problems. VOA

New Delhi, October 12, 2017:  In 2016, an Official data in had revealed that over 41 million children below the age of 5 were affected by obesity. Without due attention and efficient treatment, they are likely to remain obese throughout their lives, with an increased risk of developing a host of diseases and physical and psychological consequences like anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and even premature death.

In view of an escalating number of people constantly coming under the ambush of obesity, and with childhood obesity becoming a cause of worry globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) released new guidelines on October 4, emphasizing the growing importance of healthcare experts and professionals, underlining their positive role in helping kids and teenagers fight the global menace.

What is Obesity?

Obesity is defined as ‘excess adipose tissue’. In other words, it is a body-weight disorder involving excessive body fat that exposes an individual to multiple health problems.  In case a person’s body-weight is nearly 20 per cent higher than it should be, he is considered obese.

obesity
Excessive body fat that exposes an individual to multiple health problems. Pixabay

There are different ways to calculate excess adipose tissue, the most common one being the Body Mass Index.

Index :

Overweight – BMI greater than or equal to 25

Obesity – BMI greater than or equal to 30

Global Data

According to data obtained by WHO, one half of all overweight children or obese children lived in Asia, and one-quarter of the total obese children lived in Africa.

According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in June, India ranks second in the number of obese children in the world with China taking the first spot.

The global menace continues to rise rapidly in low and middle-income countries.

Also Read: Obesity leads to 13 types of Cancer, including that of Pancreas and Esophagus: Study

WHO Guidelines

The new report released by WHO on October 4 is titled ‘Assessing and Managing Children at Primary Healthcare Facilities to Prevent Overweight and Obesity in the Context of the Double Burden of Malnutrition’.

The report provides guidelines and updates for the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI). The guidelines attempt to confine the spread of childhood obesity from expanding further, and prescribe undertaking proper assessment of dietary habits along with weight and height measurements. It also recommends dieting and proper counseling by healthcare experts.

Recommendations by WHO

  • WHO has recommended that primary healthcare facilities should be made available to all children below the age of 5 years and infants. These should include measurement of both weight and height of the children to determine their weight-for height and nutritional status as previously defined by WHO child growth standards.
  • For children and infants identified as overweight, healthcare experts should provide counseling to parents and caregivers on nutrition and physical activity, which includes creating awareness about healthy practices like exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months and continuing the practice until 2 years or more.
  • WHO also prescribes that an appropriate management plan should be devised to counter the menace in obese children. This can be developed by a trained health worker at primary healthcare facilities, or local hospitals.

Healthy Eating Tips to Fight Obesity

Here are a few healthy eating tips that will not only help you maintain a healthy weight but will also prove be be beneficial for your metabolism, physical strength and general well-being,

  • Refrain from unnecessary indulgences or random snacking and encourage healthy snacking choices like popcorns, yogurt, fruits, etc.
  • Reduce your sugar intake to less than 10 per cent of the total calories for an individual with normal weight.

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Obese and binge eating junk food? Red Flag! Pixabay

  • Consume a gracious serving of seasonal vegetables and fruits everyday that are rich in soluble and insoluble fibres, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
  • Make healthy food selections- include whole grain products, avoid excessive use of oil and salt and refrain from processed or packaged food.
  • A balanced diet must be complimented with regular exercise to counter unnecessary weight gain

– prepared by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala

 

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India Demands Data on UN Staff Misconduct, Use of Immunity

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India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about misconduct by UN staff. Flickr

United Nations, Oct 7: In an attempt to break the wall of silence around the crimes and UN staff misconduct and those on its assignments, India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about such cases and the immunity invoked against prosecutions.

Yedla Umasankar, the legal advisor in India’s UN Mission, touched a raw nerve here by criticising the UN on Friday for not vigorously following up allegations of serious wrongdoing by its employees who enjoy the equivalent of diplomatic immunity, a prized possession of its staff.

“It appears that the UN system itself may be reluctant to waive immunity even for serious misconduct carried out by its personnel while serving on its missions, so that such cases can be prosecuted by the host governments,” he told the General Assembly’s committee on legal affairs.

“Even a few of such instances or allegations of crimes committed by UN personnel is highly damaging for the image and credibility of the United Nations system and its work around the world,” he added.

His statement also touched on the practice of some countries that protect their wrongdoers at the UN.

Umasankar demanded that secretariat disclose how many cases of serious misconduct by UN personnel were registered and the number of cases where the UN refused to waive immunity to allow their prosecution.

He also wanted to know in how many cases the host country wanted the immunity waived so it can prosecute those accused; the number of times the UN asked the host country or the country that sent them to prosecute them; how many times it consulted countries before waiver of the immunity of their personnel and how many of them refused UN’s request to waive their citizens’ immunity.

The information he wanted does not cover the diplomats sent by member countries to represent them at UN bodies and enjoy diplomatic immunity with the nations hosting the UN facilities.

After scores of serious allegations of sexual misconduct by peacekeepers, especially exploitation of children, the UN vowed to uphold a policy of zero tolerance and began publishing data on such cases in peacekeeping operations including how they were dealt with.

Starting with the year 2015, it began identifying the nationalities of those accused.

However, it has not made public a roster detailing all the allegations and proven cases of serious misconduct across the entire UN.

While the focus has been on sexual exploitation and abuse reported on peacekeeping operations, Umasankar said that “at a broader level, the issue of accountability has remained elusive in some cases”.

He attributed it to “the complexities of legal aspects relating to sovereignty and jurisdiction”, the immunity or privileges that may be necessary for UN operations, and the capability or willingness of countries to investigate and prosecute the accused.

He noted that the UN itself cannot make criminal prosecutions.

While Indian laws has provisions for dealing with crimes committed abroad by its citizens, not all countries have them, he said.

Those countries should be encouraged and helped to implement such measures, he added. (IANS)

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Indo-Pak Peace Talks Futile Unless Islamabad Sheds Links with Terrorism, says Study

A Study by a U.S. think tank calls India and Pakistan talks futile, until Pakistan changes its approach.

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India and Pakistan
India and Pakistan. Wikimedia.

A Top United States of America (U.S.) think tank, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace called the relations between India and Pakistan futile, unless Islamabad changes its approach and sheds its links with Jihadi terrorism.

A report “Are India and Pakistan Peace Talks Worth a Damn”, authored by Ashley J Tellis stated that such a move supported by foreign countries would be counterproductive and misguided.

The report suggests that International community’s call for the India and Pakistan talks don’t recognize that the tension between the two countries is not actually due to the sharp differences between them, but due to the long rooted ideological, territorial and power-political hatred. The report states that these antagonisms are fueled by Pakistani army’s desire to subvert India’s powerful global position.

Tellis writes that Pakistan’s hatred is driven by its aim to be considered and treated equal to India, despite the vast differences in their achievements and capabilities.

Also ReadMilitant Groups in Pakistan Emerge as Political Parties : Can Violent Extremism and Politics Co-exist? 

New Delhi, however, has kept their stance clear and mentioned that India and Pakistan talks cannot be conducted, until, the latter stops supporting terrorism, and the people conducting destructive activities in India.

The report further suggests that Pakistan sees India as a genuine threat and continuously uses Jihadi terrorism as a source to weaken India. The report extends its support to India’s position and asks other international powers, including the U.S., to extend their support to New Delhi.

Earlier in September, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) slammed Pakistan for its continuous terror activities. She attacked the country by saying that India has produced engineers, doctors, and scholars; Pakistan has produced terrorists.

Sushma Swaraj further said that when India is being recognised in the world for its IT and achievements in the space, Pakistan is producing Terrorist Organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba. She said that Pakistan is the world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity.

-by Megha Acharya  of NewsGram. Megha can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya.