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New Delhi, Sep 18, 2017: Arm yourself with some handy tips to overcome barriers when you travel to unknown destinations — whether in India or overseas, say experts.

Aloke Bajpai, CEO and co-founder of travel website ixigo, suggests a few things you need to keep in mind when travelling in India if you are a foreigner:


* If you know English, then there are chances that you might survive easily. Though you can easily find English-speaking people everywhere in the country, the regional difference in the accent makes it really difficult to understand the language. Despite the language barrier, you can survive in this country by following some simple tips —

– Break your sentences into simple comprehensible parts. Make sure you carry a pen and a notepad to draw pictures or write words. Pen down all the important names and addresses before your leave your hotel. Look for locals who speak in English and record your route.

* This country is widely known for its delicious cuisine with all kinds of curries, breads, chutneys and sweets. Indian food is spicier for its foreign visitors. Also, tourists fall victim to the infamous ‘Delhi Belly’ due to the poor sanitation facilities when they travel in India.

Here is how to avoid an upset stomach —

– Eat cooked food and avoid salads or juices from any local vendors.

– Consider becoming a vegetarian while in India.

– Avoid eating too much spicy food, especially chillies.

– Wash your hands often.

– Carry probiotics that suit your body.

* Indian news channels are usually filled with news related to how one community has hurt the religious sentiments of another community. Being Indians, we might be familiar with such a thing but witnessing this might turn out to be really scary for a foreigner.

They are in constant mental dilemma on what to wear, when to cover their head, what to touch and so on.

To avoid offending anyone, you must keep these things in mind —

– Respect local dress codes.

– Take your shoes off before you enter a place of worship.

– Don’t eat or pass things from your left hand as it is considered uncouth.

– Don’t discuss religion with the locals.

– Taking a photograph of the deity in a temple is not permitted at most places.

* While wandering in India, you will come across a number of hawkers, local guides and auto-drivers who will be eager to assist you. But remember that most of them are just looking for a chance to extort some money.

– Travelling in a group is best.

– Drinking and smoking in public is offensive.

– Don’t hire taxis or auto-rickshaws from unlicensed operators.

– Never book tickets from unauthorised travel agents.

– Don’t take any offerings like ‘prasad’ from saints or godmen.

Abhishek Ranjan, Vice President, digital wallet company Paytm, has tips for people travelling overseas —

* In this digital-savvy world, we have everything we ought to know, on the internet. Yes, from tips to overcoming different barriers, visiting picture galleries, and accessing travel blogs, reviews, etc., everything is out there. So get researching and a plan will fall into place.

* Download a language and translation app like Duolingo. This would help you understand the basics and give you the much-needed confidence.

* Family, friends, colleagues, neighbours; talk to anyone who travels often and get some advice. You would not just get an idea about where to go and what to see, but they would also prepare you for scenarios that you may have to face.

* Get money exchange done before-hand and set yourself a budget. Know how much you are supposed to spend per day and stick to your plan to avoid running out of money. Also, ensure that you have international transactions activated on your debit/credit card, if travelling overseas. (IANS)


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Dozens of female high school and university students in Afghanistan have joined vocational centers to learn tailoring and cosmetology

Dozens of female high school and university students in Afghanistan have joined vocational centers to learn tailoring and cosmetology as the women and girls have been banned from school and university since the Taliban took over the country, Tolo News reported.

According to these girls, sitting at home is very difficult for them, therefore they are willing to learn a profession.

"It has been a couple of months that we are at home since schools and universities were closed. We have to learn a profession or a job because we can't sit like this at home," said Samira Sharifi, a student.

"I want to learn a profession for my future to help my family, we want our schools to be opened so that we can carry on with our education," said Mahnaz Ghulami, a student.

Most of the trainees in the vocational centres are students of high schools and universities.

After the closure of high schools and universities across Afghanistan, Herat female students have started gaining vocational training in the province.

"We have decided to learn tailoring along with our education," said Shaqaiq Ganji, a student.

"It's necessary for every woman to learn tailoring to help her family and her husband, especially in this bad economic situation," said Laili Sofizada, a teacher.

Due to the closure of schools and universities, the number of students in vocational centers doubled compared to recent years, the report added.

"Our classes had the capacity of 20 to 25 students but we increased it to 45 students, because most of the students have lost their spirit, and their schools and universities have closed," said Fatima Tokhi, director of technical and professional affairs at the Herat department of labour and social affairs.

The Labour and Social Affairs department of Herat said the department is working to provide more opportunities for Herat girls and women to learn vocational training.

"The art and professional sector and the kindergarten departments have started their activities, we support them and supervise their activities," said Mulla Mohammad Sabit, head of the labour and social affairs of Herat.

During the past two months, most of the women and girls who worked in state and private institutions lost their jobs and are trying to learn handicrafts and vocational training. (IANS/JB)


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Prime Minister launched Pradhan Mantri Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana (PMASBY) from his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched the Pradhan Mantri Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana (PMASBY) from his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi which will be one of the largest pan-India schemes to strengthen healthcare infrastructure.

The Prime Minister said that the scheme, estimated to cost Rs 64,000 crore, would make the health infrastructure self-reliant.

"Aarogya concept is needed in everyone's life. We should invest the maximum in physical and mental wellness but, sadly this was not done in the post-Independence period. Due attention was not paid and those who were in power, kept the healthcare system deprived and lacking," he said.

Modi said that the middle-class groups and the poor were the worst sufferers in the absence of adequate facilities at the grassroots level.

"This mission will solve these problems. We are focusing on hill states like Uttarakhand and Himanchal Pradesh and also the northeast. We will address the gaps," he said.

The Prime Minister said that special attention would be laid on early detection and 125 districts will have referral facilities.

Secondly, testing would also be stepped up and 730 districts will get integrated testing laboratories.

He said that research centres will also be upgraded and four new National Institute of Virology units would be set up so that the country can be ready to deal with new viral issues and the pandemic.

He said that as the health infrastructure developed, it would generate new employment opportunities too.

The Prime Minister also announced new development projects worth Rs 5,200 crore for Varanasi.

He said that in the past seven years, Kashi had undergone a change with the building of roads, ghats, bridges, parking lots, and cleaning of the Ganga and Varuna rivers.

"This could have been done earlier but the previous governments lacked political will," he said. (IANS/JB)


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Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Central Vista- the new builddesign of Government of India.

The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Centre, within three days, on a plea challenging a notification for change in land use, which would deprive residents of Delhi a vast chunk of green space in the Central Vista area.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted before a bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar that he will seek instructions from the government. He added since the Prime Minister and Vice President's house is coming up there, therefore it would not be possible to have a recreational area in the vicinity.

After hearing arguments, the bench, also comprising Justice C.T. Ravikumar, posted the matter for further hearing on Friday.

The plea, filed by social activist Rajeev Suri, who had earlier challenged the project earlier citing an illegal change in land use and absence of environmental clearance, through advocate Shikhil Suri, contended that the Centre did, mala fide, issue a notification dated October 28, 2020, notifying the change in land use, which will deprive residents of Delhi a vast chunk of highly treasured open and green space in Central Vista area available for social and recreational activity.

The plea argued that this notification stands against Article 21 (Right to Life) in the right to the enjoyment of wholesome life. "Since the subject plot no 1 takes over spaces of a children's recreational park and bus terminal for public transport, heightened judicial scrutiny is required to cut through the well-disguised illegalities and infirmities to reach the violations of statutory laws," said the plea.

The plea sought the top court to issue directions to call records and quash the notification concerned issued by the Centre, through the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, and, also to prevent loss equities by staying activities such demolition of buildings, cutting of trees, excavation of land and other actions which may be irreversible.

The Central Vista redevelopment project, which covers a three-km stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate in Lutyens' Delhi, at the cost of Rs 20,000 crore, where several government buildings -- including the Parliament House and ministry offices, will be rebuilt.

In January, this year, the Supreme Court had cleared the decks for the Central Vista project by upholding the environmental clearance and the notification for change in land use. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: India, Government, Central Vista, Supreme court of India.