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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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US Preschoolers on Government Food Aid Grown Less Pudgy: Study

Obesity rates dropped steadily to about 14% in 2016

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US, Preschoolers, Government
A photo shows a closeup of a beam scale in a Federal building in Washington, D.C., June 18, 2019. (Photo: Diaa Bekheet). Preschoolers on government food aid have grown a little less pudgy, a U.S. study found. A photo shows a closeup of a beam scale in a Federal building in Washington, D.C., June 18, 2019. (Photo: Diaa Bekheet). VOA

Preschoolers on government food aid have grown a little less pudgy, a U.S. study found, offering fresh evidence that previous signs of declining obesity rates weren’t a fluke.

Obesity rates dropped steadily to about 14% in 2016 — the latest data available — from 16% in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

“It gives us more hope that this is a real change,” said Heidi Blanck, who heads obesity prevention at the CDC.

The results were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

US, Preschoolers, Government
Preschoolers on government food aid have grown a little less pudgy. VOA

The improvement affected youngsters ages 2 through 4 who receive food vouchers and other services in the federal Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. About 1 in 5 U.S. kids that age were enrolled in 2016.

An earlier report involving program participants the same age found at least small declines in obesity in 18 states between 2008 and 2011. That was the first decline after years of increases that later plateaued, and researchers weren’t sure if it was just a blip.

Improvements in food options in that program including adding more fruits, vegetables and whole grains may have contributed to the back-to-back obesity declines, researchers said. Other data show obesity rates in 2016 were stable but similar, about 14 percent, for children aged 2 to 5 who were not enrolled in the program, Blanck noted.

While too many U.S. children are still too heavy, the findings should be celebrated, said Dr. William Dietz, a former CDC obesity expert. “The changes are meaningful and substantial.”

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Dietz said program changes that cut the amount of juice allowed and switched from high-fat to low-fat milk likely had the biggest impact. He estimated that amounted to an average of 9,000 fewer monthly calories per child.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends low-fat milk for children. It also suggests kids should limit juice intake and choose fresh fruits instead.

Further reducing U.S. childhood obesity will require broader changes — such as encouraging families and day care centers to routinely serve fruits, vegetables and whole grains; and employers to extend parental leave to make breastfeeding easier for new mothers, said Maureen Black, a child development and nutrition specialist at the University of Maryland.

Studies have shown breastfed infants are less likely than others to become obese later on. (VOA)