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By NewsGram Staff Writer
Prashant Pandey, the whistleblower who exposed the “Vyapam Scam” is scared for his life.
The tense situation Pandey finds himself in, is due to the removal of security cover accorded by the Delhi Police under the direction of the Delhi High Court.
According to a Delhi Police official, the reason for the withdrawal of Pandey’s security is that the petition had been disposed off and, in the final order, there was no mention of any security to be provided to him.
“There is no security from Delhi Police. The security personnel have been withdrawn. I fear for my security and for my family,” said Pandey while talking to PTI.
The digital forensics expert from Madhya Pradesh is known for uncovering the massive admission and recruitment scam in Madhya Pradesh which involved businessmen, politicians and other renowned senior officials.
After the unearthing of the scam in 2013, the Medical Council of India and the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board were also served notices by the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
Following the astounding disclosure, the whistleblower had a miraculous escape from the jaws of death, when a truck hit his car on the Indore-Mhow earlier this month.
Pandey also claims that he was framed by a senior IPS officer for allegedly possessing Call Data Records(CDR) of many individuals, following which he was arrested by the Bhopal Police in August last year.
Moreover, the state government filed a report in the Delhi High Court saying that Pandey holds a criminal background.
Such a desperate reaction by the state government comes after the Madhya Pradesh High Court-appointed Special Investigation Team(SIT), while being supervised by the state’s Special Task Force, discovered the role of senior state government officials and politicians in the scam.
Such a state-led backlash on exposers of truth is not an isolated case of the apathy with which the whistleblowers are treated in the country.
Earlier, in November 2003, Satyendra Dubey, a National Highways Authority of India(NHAI) engineer was murdered after he exposed corruption in the construction of highways.
According to the data compiled by Bloomberg, at least 12 whistleblowers have been killed since January 2010. More than 40 people have been assaulted for seeking information.
Niyamat Ansari, a Jharkhand resident who registered complaints against the winning bidders of the public-works contract under National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, was dragged from his house and beaten to death.
In spite of such overwhelming cases of gruesome crimes committed against whistleblowers, little action has been undertaken by the government to protect the rights of whistleblowers.
The Whistle Blowers Protection Act, a law meant to empower and protect people who report corruption, was passed by the Lok Sabha in 2011 but is still awaiting amendments in the Rajya Sabha.
As per activists, even if the law is passed, it is virtually toothless.
The law does not provide any protection to whistleblowers who disclose information under the Officials Secrets Act, a law which covers documents classified by the government, including defense deals.
Moreover, information termed as “unwarranted invasion of privacy”, will also not be covered under the act.
“The government is going back on its basic moral obligation of protecting whistleblowers,” said Anjali Bharadwaj of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information to NDTV.
Foreign countries hold a lesson for India in this regard. Strong anti-corruption laws such as the UK Bribery Act and US Corrupt Practices Act curtail the hedonist behaviour to an extent.
In the United Kingdom, The Public Interest Disclosure Act has given significant protection to the whistleblower from the employer.
The United States provides protection from retaliation in cases where whistleblowing is related to a specific topic protected by statute.
India on the other hand, is still struggling hard to put a worthwhile whistleblower protection legislation on the table.
How many more honest lives can India afford to lose, before it wakes up from its slumber?
Over the last one-and-a-half-year, people have been vocal about both mental and physical health in relationships. Even while miles away from one another, people kept checking on the health and well-being of their loved ones. However, one issue, i.e., breast cancer has been affecting women throughout the world, and it still needs much more focus and attention.
According to the World Health Organization, in 2020 itself, there were 2.3 million women diagnosed with breast cancer in the world. A report published by National Cancer Registry Programme (NCRP) estimates that breast cancer cases are likely to increase by nearly 20 per cent. Throughout the world, the tenth month of the year is recognized as the month of "Pink October" to raise awareness about breast cancer. The month should also be a celebration of encouraging the women in our lives to take the first step in this journey of staying in "Pink of Health". happen, an international dating app, conducted an in-app survey to understand how Indians discuss health issues like breast cancer with their partners. The survey gave a glimpse of whether health issues are impacting the life and relationships of singles.
41 per cent of users are not aware of examinations related to women's health
Forty-one per cent of users shared that they did not encourage the women in their life (mother, sister, friend, etc.) to go for checkups for issues related to health. Sixteen per cent of the respondents confessed that they did not remind women in their life to take examinations for their own health. It is important to note that regular self-examination is likely to detect breast lumps early. One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. If it is detected in time, it will be cured in nine out of 10 cases.
41 per cent of users are not aware of examinations related to women's health. | Photo by Unsplash
49 per cent of users said, "Breast Cancer is not an impediment when in love"
A disease like breast cancer is likely to affect the confidence and self-esteem of women who are diagnosed with the same. With the change in the body, they might feel scared, less confident, and unloved at times. However, when questioned if breast cancer can be a deal-breaker for men, 49 per cent of them shared that it is not a problem.
When questioned if breast cancer can be a deal-breaker for men, 49 per cent of them shared that it is not a problem. | Photo by Angiola Harry on Unsplash
55 per cent believe talking about physical and mental health is no longer a stigma
The past year provided users with an opportunity to be open about their health issues--both mental and physical. Fifty-five per cent of users agreed that they are comfortable talking about such issues even when they still explore the relationship. Thus, establishing how the new generation is not shying away from breaking the taboo and stigmas around the notion of keeping one's health issues secret.
Fifty-five per cent of users agreed that they are comfortable talking about such issues even when they still explore the relationship. | Photo by Unsplash
40 per cent of users believe that a couple's everyday life can be affected by some health problems
A minimal headache can disrupt our whole routine for the day, so relationships are bound to be impacted by the health problems of our partner. Users shared that health issues can bring a little bit of tension and worry in the relationship with their partners. Health issues can be overwhelming for couples; thus, it becomes essential to voice your concerns to your partner. Sharing what you feel will provide you with clarity and make your partner your biggest support system. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Indians, women health, relationship, breast cancer, mental health, examinations
One of the world's largest oil producers, Saudi Arabia, announced Saturday it aims to reach "net zero" greenhouse gas emissions by 2060, joining more than 100 countries in a global effort to try and curb man-made climate change.
The announcement, made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in brief scripted remarks at the start of the kingdom's first-ever Saudi Green Initiative Forum, was timed to make a splash a little more than a week before the start of the global COP26 climate conference being held in Glasgow, Scotland.
Although the kingdom will aim to reduce its emissions, Prince Mohammed said the kingdom would do so through a so-called "Carbon Circular Economy" approach. That approach focuses on still unreliable carbon capture and storage technologies over efforts to actually reduce global reliance on fossil fuels. The announcement only pertains to Saudi Arabia's efforts within its national borders and does not impact its continued aggressive investment in oil and exporting its fossil fuels to Asia and other regions.
"The transition to net zero carbon emissions will be delivered in a manner that preserves the kingdom's leading role in enhancing the security and stability of global energy markets, particularly considering the maturity and availability of technologies necessary to manage and reduce emissions," a statement by the Saudi Green Initiative forum said.
The kingdom's oil and gas exports form the backbone of its economy, despite efforts to diversify away from reliance on fossil fuels for revenue.
The global summit COP26 starting Oct. 31 will draw heads of state from across the world to try and tackle global warming and its challenges. It is being described as "the world's last best chance "to prevent global warming from reaching dangerous levels. The summit is expected to see a flurry of new commitments from governments and businesses to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases.
Leaked documents first reported by the BBC emerged Thursday showing how Saudi Arabia and other countries, including Australia, Brazil and Japan, are apparently trying to water down an upcoming U.N. science panel report on global warming. The documents are purportedly evidence of the way in which some governments' public support for climate action is undermined by their efforts behind closed doors.
Saudi Arabia has pushed back against the recommendation that fossil fuels be urgently phased out of the energy sector. Instead, the kingdom is touting, thus enabling nations to continue burning fossil fuels by sucking the resulting emissions out of the atmosphere, according to Greenpeace, which obtained the documents.
The kingdom repeatedly seeks to have the report's authors delete references to the need to phase out fossil fuels, as well as the panel's conclusion that there is a "need for urgent and accelerated mitigation actions at all scales," according to the leaked documents
Earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates - another major Gulf Arab energy producer - announced it too would join the "net zero" club of nations with a target to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
The UAE did not announce specifics on how it will reach this target but said its Ministry of Climate Change and Environment would work with the energy, economy, industry, infrastructure, transport, waste, agriculture and other sectors on the government's strategies and policies to achieve net zero by 2050.
The UAE says it is home to three of the largest solar facilities in the world and is the first country in the Middle East to deploy nuclear power. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: UAE, Oil Producer, Carbon Economy, COP26, Saudi Arabia
Apple has updated its App Store rules to allow developers to contact users directly about payments, a concession in a legal settlement with companies challenging its tightly controlled marketplace.
According to App Store rules updated Friday, developers can now contact consumers directly about alternate payment methods, bypassing Apple's commission of 15 or 30%.
They will be able to ask users for basic information, such as names and e-mail addresses, "as long as this request remains optional", said the iPhone maker.
Apple proposed the changes in August in a legal settlement with small app developers.
But the concession is unlikely to satisfy firms like "Fortnite" developer Epic Games, with which the tech giant has been grappling in a drawn-out dispute over its payments policy.
Epic launched a case aiming to break Apple's grip on the App Store, accusing the iPhone maker of operating a monopoly in its shop for digital goods or services.
In September, a judge ordered Apple to loosen control of its App Store payment options, but said Epic had failed to prove that antitrust violations had taken place.
For Epic and others, the ability to redirect users to an out-of-app payment method is not enough: it wants players to be able to pay directly without leaving the game.
Both sides have appealed.
Apple is also facing investigations from US and European authorities that accuse it of abusing its dominant position. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Apple, App store, Epic, Games