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Digital India Policy by Government to spread its wings in Villages through new Digital Village initiative

This programme aims to cover 100 villages at its initial stage after which it will spread further

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Digitization Of Rural India
An Indian Village(pixabay)

New Delhi, Dec 20, 2016:  Government’s Digital India policy will soon see a boost with a new programme known as  Digital Village. This initiative will provide services like health and education in villages with the help of technology.

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This programme aims to cover 100 villages at its initial stage after which it will spread further, Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today. In an event Prasad said “We are going to unleash another important initiative- Digital Village. As per my understanding, it will be a collector-driven initiative. We propose to begin with 100 villages and expand it later.”

Collector in collaboration with local bodies may select a village to provide health, education and other virtual world service through Wi-Fi connectivity. The minister also appealed to the officers for pro-actively supporting government’s digital initiative aimed at transforming the country, mentioned PTI.

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“We have trained 18 lakh people over a span of four days. We may scale it (digital payments training) up in January,” he said.

Government has set a target of training 1.25 crore people on digital payments by March 31, 2017. Appreciating National Informatics Centre, Minister of State for Law and IT P P Chaudhary said that there are about 8,000 websites carrying information about government work and facilitating transactions.

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“I would like to suggest some of the areas where we have to perform. We are far behind in the generation of Intellectual Property. In the area of cyber security, we have to be pro-active and not only be reactive,” Chaudhary said.

This is the first time Indians are having access to the government without intermediaries, said IT secretary Aruna Sundararajan. At the event, e-governance service of departments from Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Jharkhand won Digital India awards, earlier known as Web Ratna Awards.

Rajasthan won platinum award in the state category while Tamil Nadu received Gold and Haryana silver award for e-governance services. North Goa won platinum award in districts category. Kupwara received Gold and Udham Singh Nagar bagged silver award for e-governance. Municipal Corporations of Surat, Greater Visakhapatnam, Madurai and UP’s e-NagarSewaUP bagged award.

prepared by Saptaparni Goon of NewsGram. Twitter: @saptaparni_goon

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New York City’s Mandatory Measles Vaccination Order Stands Still

The health department's lawyers argued that quarantining was ineffective because people carrying the virus can be contagious before symptoms appear.

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Materials are seen left at demonstration by people opposed to childhood vaccination after officials in Rockland County, a New York City suburb, banned children not vaccinated against measles from public spaces. VOA

Brooklyn judge on Thursday ruled against a group of parents who challenged New York City’s recently imposed mandatory measles vaccination order, rejecting their arguments that the city’s public health authority exceeded its authority.

In a six-page decision rendered hours after a hearing on the matter, Judge Lawrence Knipel denied the parents’ petition seeking to lift the vaccination order, imposed last week to stem the worst measles outbreak to hit the city since 1991.

The judge sided with municipal health officials who defended the order as a rare but necessary step to contain a surge in the highly contagious disease that has infected at least 329 people so far, most of them children from Orthodox Jewish communities in the borough of Brooklyn.

Another 222 cases have been diagnosed elsewhere in New York state, mostly in a predominantly ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Rockland County, northwest of Manhattan.

The New York outbreaks are part of a larger resurgence of measles across the country, with at least 555 cases confirmed in 20 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health experts say the virus, which can cause severe complications and even death, has spread mostly among school-age children whose parents declined to get them vaccinated. Most profess philosophical or religious reasons, or cite concerns — debunked by medical science — that the three-way measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine may cause autism.

The judge rejected the parents’ contention that the vaccination order was excessive or coercive, noting it does not call for forcibly administering the vaccine to those who refuse it.

He also dismissed assertions in the petition disputing the “clear and present danger” of the outbreak. “Vaccination is known to extinguish the fire of contagion,” the judge said.

FILE PHOTO: A sign warning people of measles in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Williamsburg in New York City, April 11, 2019.
A sign warning people of measles in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Williamsburg in New York City, April 11, 2019. VOA

Secret identities

The vaccination order, which was extended this week, requires residents of certain affected Brooklyn neighborhoods to obtain the MMR vaccine unless they can otherwise demonstrate immunity to measles, or face a fine.

The court challenge was brought in Brooklyn’s Supreme Court by five people identified only as parents living in the affected neighborhoods. Their identities were kept confidential to protect their children’s’ privacy, their lawyers said.

In court on Thursday, they told Knipel the city had overstepped its authority and that quarantining the infected would be a preferable approach.

Robert Krakow, an attorney for the parents, estimated that just 0.0006 percent of the population of Brooklyn and Queens had measles. “That’s not an epidemic,” he said. “It’s not Ebola. It’s not smallpox.”

The health department’s lawyers argued that quarantining was ineffective because people carrying the virus can be contagious before symptoms appear.

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The vaccination order, which was extended this week, requires residents of certain affected Brooklyn neighborhoods to obtain the MMR vaccine unless they can otherwise demonstrate immunity to measles, or face a fine. Pixabay

The judge cited 39 cases diagnosed in Michigan that have been traced to an individual traveling from the Williamsburg community at the epicenter of Brooklyn’s outbreak.

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The surge in measles there originated with an unvaccinated child who became infected on a visit to Israel, where the highly contagious virus is also running rampant.

The number of measles cases worldwide nearly quadrupled in the first quarter of 2019 to 112,163 compared with the same period last year, the World Health Organization said this week. (VOA)