Saturday November 25, 2017

Mental patients must not be neglected: President Pranab Mukherjee

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Bengaluru: People facing mental health issues should not be subjected to neglect and marginalization, President Pranab Mukherjee said at an event at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Sciences (NIMHANS) to dedicate it as an institute of national importance on Tuesday.

It is also an important priority to address the stigma experienced by persons who are mentally ill. They should not continue to be subjected to neglect and marginalisation.

Mukherjee lauded the objective of the National Mental Health Policy to speedily integrate mental health care services into general health care as part of non-communicable diseases, highlighting that India got its first comprehensive mental health policy only as recently as October.

I am glad to note that it (the policy) covers several aspects of mental health – including the rights of the mentally ill, the need to provide support to care givers, decriminalisation of suicide – and other progressive policy initiatives.

Mukherjee called upon medical institutions to adopt IT to invigorate healthcare delivery.

The use of IT to invigorate health care delivery also helps in reducing costs, optimising resource management and minimising paperwork. The e-hospital and e-project programmes taken up by NIMHANS are, therefore, excellent initiatives, worthy of emulation by other institutions.

Appreciating NIMHANS’ initiatives like brain bank, free legal aid clinic in its outpatient block, centre for well-being, centre for public health and centre for addiction medicine, he said: “I have no doubt that NIMHANS will continue to inspire and support the development of the mental health sector at state, national and even international levels.(IANS)(Picture Courtesy:economictimes.indiatimes.com)

 

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Osmania University turns 100: India’s First University to adopt Urdu as medium of Instruction

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A text written in Urdu language , Wikimedia

Hyderabad, April 25, 2017: It was India’s first university to adopt Urdu as the medium of instruction — but with English as a compulsory subject. And, as it turns 100 on Wednesday, Osmania University has blended tradition with modernity to emerge as one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious institutes of higher learning.

With President Pranab Mukherjee set to launch the centenary celebrations, the spotlight is on the premier seat of learning, known for its chequered history.

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Standing tall on its sprawling and picturesque campus, it bears testimony to the grandeur of the princely Hyderabad state, the tumultuous times before the state’s merger with India and several movements ranging from ‘jobs for locals’ to separate statehood for Telangana.

From its genesis in the rich Muslim legacy to cultural diversity and from its transformation as a modern institution imparting education in English and various branches of science and technology, Jamia-e-Osmania, as it was earlier known, has come a long way.

Its distinguished alumni include former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao; India’s first astronaut, Squadron Leader Rakesh Sharma; celebrated film director Shyam Benegal; former RBI Governor Y. Venugopal Reddy; founder and chairman of Cobra Beer and Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, Karan Bilimoria; and Magsaysay awardee Shantha Sinha.

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It was on April 26, 1917, that Nizam VII Mir Osman Ali Khan issued a ‘farman’ (royal decree) for the establishment of Osmania University.

“The fundamental principles in the working of the university should be that Urdu should form the medium of higher education, but a knowledge of English as a language should, at the same time, be deemed compulsory for all students,” said the decree.

Within two years of the decree, classes began for the first batch from a building in Gunfoundry area, conservation activist P. Anuradha Reddy pointed out.

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Arts and theology were only the two faculties in the first year with 225 students and 25 faculty members. It offered courses in different languages like Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Persian and Arabic besides Urdu and English.

As the ‘purdah’ system was strictly in vogue those days, the classes in the first few decades were conducted separately for boys and girls. A curtain would be hung between boys and girls for a common class or during guest lectures.

Academicians say Osmania University symbolised renaissance in the Indian educational system.

The move to set up the university with Urdu as the medium of instruction was seen as the first step to revolt against the supremacy of the foreign language in India. It was hailed by Rabindernath Tagore.

He wrote to Nizam: “I have long been waiting for the day when, freed from the shackles of a foreign language, our education becomes naturally accessible to all our people. It is a problem for the solution of which we look to our Native States, and it gives me great joy to know that your State proposes to found a University in which instructions are to be given through the medium of Urdu. It is needless to say that your scheme has my fullest appreciation.”

In 1934, the university was allotted 566 acres in the Adikmet area for its permanent campus. The Nizam laid the foundation stone for the iconic Arts College building, which later became the symbol of the university.

Rail tracks were laid to ferry workers and construction material and to speed up construction activity. Four years later, the campus and the Arts College, with its magnificent facade, was inaugurated.

A blend of Qutub Shahi and Mughal architecture, the granite structure was designed by Belgian architect Monsieur Jasper. With 164 vast rooms and a plinth of 2.5 lakh square feet, the Arts College is one the last major structures built by the Nizam.

In the pre-Independence era, Urdu was the medium of instruction in all branches of higher education, including medicine and engineering. Under-graduate, post-graduate and Ph.D. programmes were introduced in almost all the faculties.

Some of the premier institutions started in the city like Nizamia Observatory, Nizam College, Medical College, Law School and Teachers’ Training College were transferred to the university.

One such institute was the Dairat-Ul-Maarif, which was founded in 1888 to collect, preserve, edit and publish rare original and standard works in Arabic on humanities, religion, science and the arts.

The transformation at Osmania was obvious following the merger of Hyderabad state with India in September, 1948, more than a year after country’s independence.

English replaced Urdu as the medium of instruction. Over the next two decades, the university added new disciplines and introduced diploma programmes in foreign languages like French, German and Italian. The Women’s College, which earlier operated from temporary buildings, moved to its present location.

The University permitted a number of affiliated colleges to be started to meet the growing demand. Today, it claims to have 1,000 colleges affiliated to it — arguably the largest in Asia and 550,000 students.

It continued its onward journey in the subsequent decades by giving impetus to research activities and introducing fresh courses to meet the new requirements of the job market.

In order to make higher education accessible to the deprived and disadvantaged, the Centre for Distance Education was established in 1977.

The university currently has 12 faculties and 53 departments with over 10,000 students. It conducts 25 undergraduate programmes and 75 post-graduate courses.With students coming from different regions and socio-economic backgrounds and even from abroad, the campus is known for its cultural diversity.

While continuing its march for academic excellence since inception, the university also became a nerve centre for various movements, reflecting the country’s socio-political changes.In 1952, the university students stood up in protest when the central government proposed to take over it convert it into a central varsity with Hindi as medium of instruction. Around same time, the campus was also rocked by protests demanding jobs for locals.

It witnessed massive violent protests in early 1970s during the Telangana movement. In the aftermath of the violent agitation, the employers had even stopped recruiting Osmania graduates.

While the first movement died down in 1971, nearly four decades later the university once again became the epicentre of Telangana movement, which culminated in the formation of the separate state in 2014. – (IANS)

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President Pranab Mukherjee urges people to support Government’s mission to make India a Cashless Society

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President Pranab Mukherjee. VOA

New Delhi, April 9, 2017: President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday urged the people to support the government’s mission to make India a cashless society.

“I urge all citizens to extend their unstinted support to the mission of a less cash India. All efforts of the government will achieve their end only if people were to adopt them proactively,” the President said.

Mukherjee was speaking on the occasion of the 100th mega draw of lots for Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana at Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

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“India has a long way to go to become a cashless society. Presently, we remain primarily a cash-based economy with about 95 percent of the personal consumption and 86 percent of all transactions being in cash,” President Mukherjee said.

Appreciating the government initiatives, he said: “It is necessary to reduce cash in circulation and impart greater urgency to promoting secure digital payment methods to ensure greater transparency.”

Calling the Aadhaar card a watershed event in the development story of India, President Mukherjee said: “Aadhaar enabled payment system has made digital payments possible for even those section of the population who may not have mobile phones.”

“Launch of BHIM has demystified the digital payments and brought it within the grasp of every citizen,” he said while discussing the new modes of digital payments which are being developed for making payments easier.

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He complimented the government for the initiatives, for promoting the culture of digital payment in the country.

The government launched the Lucky Grahak Yojana for consumers and Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana for merchants on December 25, 2016, in order to promote and encourage digital transactions. These schemes are being implemented by the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI).

The Lucky Grahak Yojana rewards Rs 1,000 daily to 15,000 customers undertaking digital transactions. Weekly prizes up to Rs 1 lakh for consumers and Rs 50,000 for merchants are given. As on March 30, 2017, 13.5 lakh consumers and 79,519 merchants have received prizes under these schemes. (IANS)

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President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari greet Indians living across the world on ‘Ram Navami’

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Ramlila, Wikimedia

New Delhi April 3, 2017: President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari on Monday extended their greetings to the Indians living across the world on the eve of ‘Ram Navami’ and said that Lord Rama’s life inspires us to “uphold his noble ideals” to “re-dedicate” for the progress and prosperity of the nation.

“On the auspicious occasion of Ram Navami, I extend warm greetings and best wishes to all my fellow countrymen in India and abroad,” Mukherjee said in a message.

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Praising Lord Rama as an embodiment of great virtues and the highest values, the President wished his example may guide everyone on the path of noble deeds and that the celebrations may bring us together.

“May the celebrations of this joyous festival bring our people together and lead to a unity of hearts and minds. Let us on this day re-dedicate ourselves to the progress and prosperity of our motherland.”

The Vice President said “the virtuous life of Lord Rama inspires us to uphold his noble ideals and high moral values”.

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“I extend my warm greetings and good wishes to the people of our country on the joyous occasion of Ram Navami, which marks the birth of Lord Rama. On this auspicious occasion, let us commit ourselves for building a prosperous, peaceful and virtuous society,” he said.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan also conveyed her greetings on the occasion from Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka where she is leading the Indian delegation to 136th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

In her message, Mahajan said: “On the festive occasion of Ram Navami, I convey my warm greetings and best wishes to all my fellow countrymen. May the life of Maryada Purushottam Lord Rama inspire us to follow the path of humility and righteousness and strive for the highest noble ideals and moral values in our lives at all times.

“Let the celebrations of this joyous festival bring all people together and fill our lives with happiness, peace and prosperity.” (IANS)