Wednesday January 17, 2018

Jharkhand doctors, teachers oppose new leave system

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Ranchi: Doctors and teachers in Jharkhand on Sunday protested against the leave system introduced by the state this month.

According to the new system, the doctors and teachers posted in rural areas would have to seek leave from ‘mukhiyas’ (village heads).

The mukhiyas have also been empowered to check the attendance of the doctors and teachers.

The new system has not gone down well with the doctors. More than 600 doctors under the Jharkhand Health Services Association (JHSA) took out a protest march on Sunday.

The agitating doctors were on their way to blockade the chief ministers’ residence but were stopped near the governor’s house. The doctors then staged a sit-in near the governor’s house.

“We demand immediate withdrawal of the leave and attendance system introduced by the state government. We will not seek leave from the mukhiyas,” JHSA president Bimlesh told reporters.

He said: “If the state does not roll back the new system, then we will step up our agitation.”

A teachers’ association also announced their protest against the new leave system.

“The teachers will launch a signature drive against the leave system and hand over a memorandum to Chief Minister Raghubar Das,” said Arvind Kumar Singh, president of the Jharkhand Primary Teachers’ Association, to reporters.

“The new leave system is not acceptable as it will increase political interference in the education system,” he said.

(IANS)

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Indian Hospitals are using cameras, tags, lasers to curb Baby trafficking and theft

Indian hospitals are educating their staff to spot baby thieves amid fears that baby trafficking is becoming an organized crime nationwide

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Activists of Socialist Unity Center of India-Marxist (SUCI-M) protest a recent case of child trafficking in West Bengal state in Kolkata, India, Nov. 29, 2016. Officials busted a child trafficking racket and rescued more than 20 children, according to news reports
Activists of Socialist Unity Center of India-Marxist (SUCI-M) protest a recent case of child trafficking in West Bengal state in Kolkata, India, Nov. 29, 2016. Officials busted a child trafficking racket and rescued more than 20 children, according to news reports. VOA

Hospitals in India are starting to tag newborns, mothers, and medics as well as installing extra security cameras and educating staff to spot baby thieves amid fears that baby trafficking is becoming an organized crime nationwide.

Officials said this was part of a drive starting at government hospitals in southern Tamil Nadu state to ensure nurses, doctors and visitors know of the threat of babies being stolen from maternity wards and babies being sold illegally for adoption that is baby trafficking.

At the Rajaji government hospital in Madurai, the first in Tamil Nadu to introduce the program, laser beams at exit points trigger alarms if untagged adults take babies out in order to curb baby trafficking.

“We just want to prevent the theft of babies,” N.K. Mahalakshmi, the doctor in charge of laser tagging at the hospital, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “It is not fool proof but a deterrent. … Our hospital staff has also been told to be extra vigilant.”

Traffickers, officials sometimes collude

Campaigners have raised concerns that traffickers are often colluding with officials to steal babies from maternity wards and illegally sell them for adoption which is baby trafficking.

Mumbai police arrested a gang for convincing single mothers to sell their babies last year, while in West Bengal police found newborns being stolen from mothers in medical clinics after staff told them that their babies were stillborn.

Dev Ananth, a child protection officer in Tirunelveli district, said the state government is investigating several cases where hospital staff persuaded mothers to sell their babies for about 10,000 Indian rupees ($156).

Tirunelveli district will put posters up in every hospital, alerting pregnant women, families, and staff to the dangers of baby trafficking in overcrowded corridors.

“Many don’t see it as a trafficking issue,” he said.

“We are going to train hospital staff to identify potential cases, including what to do if a baby is abandoned at birth. At present, the do’s and don’ts are not clear.”

No official data on baby trafficking

There is no official data on the number of babies stolen from hospitals in Tamil Nadu, but almost 180,000 children were born in government facilities in 2016, statistics show.

More than four out of 10 of human trafficking cases in India in 2015 involved children being bought, sold and exploited as modern-day slaves, according to crime figures.

“Public hospitals are vulnerable spaces where there are no effective ways to monitor access to newborn babies,” said Paul Sunder Singh of the children’s charity Karunalaya. (VOA)

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