Hat-trick titles for India at Wimbledon

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Leander Paes acquiring his 16th Grand Slam Title At Wimbledon 2015

Leander Paes acquiring his 16th Grand Slam Title At Wimbledon 2015

“This trophy is for India,” said Leander Paes after acquiring his 16th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon with Martina Hingis.  Hingis paired up with Mirza too and helped her winning the appellation of India’s first women doubles Grand Slam winner. “I hope this inspires a lot of girls back home, that they can become Grand Slam champions too,” said Sania Mirza.
This year Wimbledon ended well for India, India has never had it so good. With three titles on the center court, young Sumit Nagal too grabbed the headlines when the 17-year-old partnered Vietnam’s Nam Hoang Ly to win the boys doubles trophy. The eight seeds beat fourth seeds Reilly Opelka and Akira Santillan 7 -6(4) 6-4 in the title clash.
Year 2015 has marked a great year in India’s sports till now. Recently Indian women hockey team qualified in the 3rd round of Hockey World League (HWL) and the Indian golfer Anirban Lehri is the highest ranked golfer in India after winning the two consecutive titles of Malaysia Maybank Open and the Hero India Open in February. The victory in Wimbledon is the cherry on the top for India’s sports.

Left- Martina Hingis with Right- Sania Mirza celebrating India's first victory in Grand Slam Women doubles at Wimbledon

Left- Martina Hingis with Right- Sania Mirza celebrating India’s first victory in Grand Slam Women doubles at Wimbledon

“To come out here at Wimbledon, this is something we dream of as kids,” said Mirza. “Every kid that picks up a tennis racquet this is about winning Wimbledon or playing at Wimbledon one day.
The common partner Hingis was overwhelmed and said. “It feels like another life. However, 17 years, usually you are lucky to win it once or happy to be out here and play on the Wimbledon grounds. It’s above my expectations.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the three winners by saying, “The accomplishments are truly inspiring and they make us very proud and also it is very heartening to see young talents like Sumit Nagpal, congrats and best wishes to all”.
This was the proud moment for the nation to witness its sports persons engraving their names on the international grounds. The face of sports is changing from being laid-back to a highly respectful thing. There was a time when viewership of cricket dominated over other sports but today things have changed, and it is admirable to see the equal craze for other sports too.

Wimbledon winners of India, the hat-trick victory.

Wimbledon winners of India, the hat-trick victory.

“Sports are an integral part of growing up and personality development. Unfortunately, in our country, sports have not been mainstream till today. The government will set up national level sports academies for major games in different parts of the country to mainstream sports,” said Arun Jaitley. Thus to encourage sports in the country government has hiked the youth affair and sports budget by  Rs. 384 crore  for the development of Indian sports, including upgradation of sports infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir, a sports university in Manipur and training for athletes for the upcoming Commonwealth Games and Asiad.

India steps towards preserving biodiversity

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Biodiversity in India, the richness of flora and fauna in the country

Biodiversity of India, the richness of flora and fauna in the country

The cheered figure of tigers in India was a great achievement for the government in the past few months. This step marked as a beginning of an initiative to protect the endangered species. India occupying 2 percent of the world’s land is the home for 91,000 species of animals and 45,500 species of plants that makes 8 percent of world’s biodiversity. The richness of flora and fauna is the heart of nation and thus demands preservation.
From the Project Elephant to Save Tiger campaign, government has played its part in conserving wild beings. Recently India has joined hands in global effort to save snow leopard habitat. The snow leopard is a large cat native to the high Himalayas, it is a species of extremely low density occurrence. With the help of advanced technologies and cameras, Uttarakhand was able to capture images of snow leopards in the higher reaches of Nanda Devi Biosphere, Gangotri National Park and Bagheshwar Forest Division.

Snow leopard caught on camera in wildlife park in India

Snow leopard caught on camera in wildlife park in India

“The task of managing the snow leopard habitat with the help of Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Programme (GSLEP) has been handed over to Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII),” said Uttarakhand’s chief conservator of forests Dhananjay Mohan.
There are 6,000 snow leopards in 12 countries counting Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Mongolia, India, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia and Kazakhstan. Out of which 400-700 snow leopards are found in the Indian states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Sikkim.
Mohan added, “WII will collect information from the Indian states with snow leopard habitat. This will then be circulated to the range countries to embark on a management plan to ensure conservation of key biodiversity and effective management of protected areas”.
Some environmental activists have accused government for focusing on the mega wildlife species and sidelining the other endangered species which are on the brink of extinction. Thus recently the centre has allocated special fund to protect some of them, which include Dugong (sea cow), Gangetic Dolphin, Great Indian Bustard, Manipur Brow Antler Deer (Sangai) and Wild Water Buffalo and also an initiative towards increasing the country’s wide forest cover.

Percentage of Endemic species in India

Percentage of Endemic species in India

India has 16 types of forests including the evergreen tropical rain forests, dry alpine scrub forests, semi evergreen rain forests, deciduous monsoon forests, thorn forests, subtropical pine forests and more.  11 percent of the world’s flora is found in India too. Also it is one of the 17 mega-diverse countries containing 70 percent biodiversity.
As the environmental activist, Vandana Shiva said, “Uniformity is not nature’s way, diversity is nature’s way and cultivating and conserving diversity is no luxury, it is a survival imperative.”

Healthcare in Delhi: Not a Healthy situation

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A patient getting a check-up for Tuberculosis in hospital

A patient getting a check-up for Tuberculosis in hospital

Jacintha Shekar, a forty-six year old New Delhi housekeeper, was diagnosed with stage-three uterine cancer and had to be operated within a week. Her family tried desperately to get her an emergency operation at a government hospital that ostensibly provides free healthcare to those who need it. But at each of the government hospitals she visited, Mrs Shekar was rebuffed, or told she would have to wait months for the life-saving procedure. Eventually, Mrs Shekar’s family turned to a private hospital, where costs for her surgery and subsequent chemotherapy exceeded Rs 500, 000 – far beyond the family’s means. Today she is alright but the family is under a huge debt.
Similarly Abhishek Khushwa and his family kept on struggling for the simple bladder defect that the nine year old boy had since his birth. The family had to come three times a year to AIIMS, Delhi for the regular check-up and when finally got the appointment after bouncing between the clinics and hospital they discovered that the machine required for operation was broken and unlikely to be working anytime soon. The family is still waiting for the treatment.
Such tales are common in India, highlighting the country’s difficulty in providing sustainable access to the healthcare. Being the third largest economy in Asia, India spends only 1 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on public health, compared with 3 percent in China and 8.3 percent in the United States.
Health is central to human happiness and well being. It is an integral component of the functioning of a society. And as said by the finance minister Arun Jaitley, “Good health is a necessity for both quality of life, and a person’s productivity and ability to support his or her family.”
Health is the building block of any country and it is disgraceful to know that India stands on 112 in the healthcare system according to the World Health Organization’s 2000 World Health Report ranking.

The most polluted capital city- Delhi

The most polluted capital city- Delhi

The capital of the country is itself considered very unhealthy and one of the most polluted capital cities in Asia. 43.4% people in Delhi suffer from acute respiratory Infection, 8% from Asthma and 5.2% from Bronchitis.
India is country where the states manage their health budgets separately, this year there was a downfall in the country’s health budget but considering the awful condition of hospitals, the Delhi government has raised the healthcare budget by 45 percent in comparison to the last year.
There are 976 registered hospitals and clinics, 338 private, 38 government, including five medical colleges and countless unregistered ones in Delhi. They include AIIMS, Aruna Asaf Ali Hospital, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Rockland Hospital and etc.
Delhi has the most number of hospitals but is still not enough for the patients to get treatment. Thus the AAP government has promised to induce 10, ooo beds in the government hospitals. “We will add as many beds to Delhi’s hospitals as there have been over the last 65 years,” said the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Not enough beds in government hospitals, patients and visitors sleeping on the floor

Not enough beds in government hospitals, patients and visitors sleeping on the floor

In India, government hospitals are preferred over private due to the authentic services in low cost.  But the condition of public hospitals are continuously degrading, apart from overcrowding and bed shortage, hospitals struggle with staff shortfalls, absenteeism, little accountability, infrastructure challenges, touts, and erratic supply of essential medicines and diagnostic tests.
“The Delhi High Court-constituted committee for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) patients seeing the condition of public hospitals have asked private hospitals to keep 40% of beds reserved for the poor. But still, the private hospitals are too busy in filling their pockets that  even sometimes they ask the poor to pay the bills,” said lawyer Ashok Agarwal, a member of the committee.
According to the ministry of health and family welfare, the country has just one doctor per 2000 people. The healthcare problems are not just confined to the hospital’s negligence or shortage of doctors, strikes also has a major role to play.
Recently FORDA, an association of 25 Delhi-based government hospitals, went on an indefinite strike demanding adequate stocks of life-saving drugs, security at work place, fixed duty hours and timely payment of their salaries. In all the cases, patients suffer.
By seeing the downgrading healthcare system, the Delhi government aims to make private clinics and hospitals in the city accountable by implementing the Clinical Establishments Act. The law, passed by Parliament in 2010 and notified two years later, provides for registration of all health facilities, clinics and pathology labs, even if it is run by a single doctor.

Clinical Establishment Act

Clinical Establishment Act

“The Act permits health authorities to conduct inspections and penalize or cancel licences of hospitals that are found to be fleecing patients, either by prescribing needless tests and procedures, or overcharging,” said a senior official in the directorate of health services.
Also in the recent healthcare budget government has planned to set up six AIIMS like institute in J&K, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Himachal, Assam and Bihar. Moreover Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Yojana is going to be launched soon to provide accident insurance of Rs 2 lakh on a premium of Rs 12 per year.
“Health has not received adequate attention and allocation in the country. The promise of universal health coverage will remain unfulfilled unless health is prioritised,” said K. Srinath Reddy, President of the Public Health Foundation of India

Mahabharata circuit an addition to the pilgrimage tourism

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Mahabharata- The fight between Pandavas and Kauravas

Mahabharata- The fight between Pandavas and Kauravas

Pronounced as one of the biggest wars that lasted for over 18 days, Mahabharata turned the battlefield in Kurukshetra (Haryana) red. It was called the Dharam Yudh (Justice War). One of the greatest epics in the Hindu mythology written by the sage Ved Vyas based in the period between 400 CE to 200 CE, Mahabharata depicts the war between two group of cousins Pnadavas (sons of King pandav) and Kauravas (sons of a blind King, Dhritrashtra) for the throne of Hastinapur (now in Uttar Pradesh) and simultaneously an important source of information for the development of Hinduism. In an effort to bring the places and stories from the epic into life, Uttar Pradesh government is developing Mahabharata circuit that would connect the key places in Mahabharata.

Hastinapur, the King's Landing and the part of Mahabharata Circuit

Hastinapur, the King’s Landing and the part of Mahabharata Circuit

The circuit will connect three major places of the Ved Vyasa’s epic i.e., Hastinapur, Kampilya and Ahichchhatra.  Hastinapur was the King’s landing and the capital of the Kuru clan that is located near Meerut. Whereas Kampilya, called Kampil now, near Farrukhabad is believed to be the birthplace of Draupadi, the wife of Pandavas (five brothers).  The third site is Ahichchhatra or Panchal Desha, which have been discovered near Ramnagar village in Bareilly. It was the kingdom of King Panchal, father of Draupadi.
India is known for its pilgrimage and spiritual tourism. Banaras, Haridwar and the famous Char Dham (the four abode) are a few of the attractions of religious tourism.  33o million deities in India reflect the faith and devotion of India.
Every year lakhs of foreigners visit country to explore religious tourism. India being a culturally diverse country has many stories and rituals that lure foreigners to research on the deep-rooted customs of India. These circuits serve as a good appetite for their curiosity.

Buddhist Circuit in India

Buddhist Circuit in India

Buddhist circuit is the biggest one connecting all the holy sites related to Buddhism, his birth place Lumbini, place he attained enlightenment Bodhgaya, preaching place Sarnath and the place he reached Nirvana Kushinagar.
Mahabharata circuit will be an addition to the UP tourism. It will give face to the imagination and thus will not merely be connecting places but the hearts and faith as well. Mahabharata circuit will also promote Haryana and boost the UP tourism.

The project is expected to cost INR 80 million and the state tourism minister Kawkab Hameed has submitted a proposal to the central government to grant money for the development of the circuit.
Hameed talking about the places in circuit said, “Efforts are also on to pinpoint the spot where Lord Krishna preached ‘Bhagvad Gita,’ the gospel of duty, to Arjun at the onset of the great battle of Mahabharat”.
Director general, UP Tourism, Amrit Abhijat, said, “Linking these sites is not the only thing being worked upon. The plan also includes the development of tourist infrastructure in the selected destinations. Besides this, we would also be promoting the important Buddhist and Jain sites falling in the districts.”

80 Years devoted to Peace

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Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama

“I hope you will join me again to celebrate my 90th birthday,” said Dalai Lama to thousands of Tibetans gathered in the main temple Tsuglakhang at Mcleod Ganj in Dharamshala on June 21, Sunday to celebrate the 80th his birthday according to the Tibetan lunar calendar organised by the Central Tibetan Administration.  “I am 80 years old now and have lived my entire life practicing the knowledge that I have gained from the Nalanda tradition. I would continue to work for promotion of compassion and religious harmony,” said the 14th Dalai Lama who is also the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent campaign to end China’s domination over Tibet. Dalai Lamas are the Bodhisattva of compassion and the patron saint of Tibet who postponed their nirvana and chose to take rebirth in order to serve humanity.

Dalai Lama on his 80th birthday with Ministers

Dalai Lama on his 80th birthday with Ministers

Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Mahesh Sharma, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki marked their presence in the event. The Global Compassion Summit from July 5-7 in California will also celebrate Dalai Lama’s birthday officially.
Born on July 6, 1935, to a humble farmer in a tiny Tibetan village, Lhamo Dhondrup was recognized as the 14th incarnation of the Dalai Lama by a group of Buddhist monks when he was two years old.

The Global Compassion Summit celebrating Dalai Lama's 80th birthday

The Global Compassion Summit celebrating Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday

By bringing an end to the dual spiritual and political authority of his post in a landmark move in 2011, the maroon-clad monk with smile is focussing on what he sees as the core duties of his role. “He believes the cultural and spiritual values of Tibetan Buddhism can make an important contribution to the world,” Dalai Lama’s secretary Tenzin Takhla said.
The elderly monk’s promotion of non-violence with a smiling face has made him a global peace icon. The Nobel laureate has to his credit other awards such as Life Achievement Award, International League for Human Rights Award and Templeton Prize.
In his struggle for Tibet’s freedom and autonomy, India has always lend its hand for support. Dalai Lama called multiculturalism, the true beauty of India. Currently India remains home to an estimated 100,000 Tibetans who live in 35 settlements and numerous smaller communities in far-flung corners of the country striving to keep their cultural identity alive while adapting to a foreign land. They still wish to return to a democratic Tibet with Dalai Lama being the one of the few hopes to achieve this. 

International Yoga Day binds the world in one thread

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Aerial Yoga using Hammocks

Aerial Yoga using Hammocks

With the increasing popularity of Yoga the world has discovered their own ways of doing it, some of the interpretations are, Doga, which involves lifting the dog in the air or resting it on your stomach as you bend backwards. The Anti-gravity or the Ariel yoga involves transcending gravity using a hammock attached to the ceiling to aid practice. Another is Cold Yoga, a trend to do Yoga outside in sub-zero temperature etc.

Yoga with Dogs or Doga

Yoga with Dogs or Doga

Cold Yoga

Cold Yoga

Prime minister Narendra Modi’s effort to acknowledge Yoga seems to be fruitful. On Sunday, 21st June world will unanimously perform Aasanas (Postures). The first annual International Yoga Day is going to be a historic event where 192 countries will collectively participate.
The whole world is organising events in order to promote the day. Cairo in Egypt has organised a photography competition ‘Yoga in Egypt’ to encourage people’s participation. And as the day falls during the holy month of Ramdan the celebrations have been slated to take place in the evening after Iftar, according to Rakesh Kawra, director of Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture (MACIC) in Egypt. Also Indian embassy in Paris is organising a 2 hour program on Sunday morning with the support of Media India Group in popularizing and organising it. Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj will be representing India in United Nations expecting the involvement of 30,000 people.

Pre Yoga Day preparation in Paris

Pre Yoga Day preparation in Paris

Indian Navy performing Yoga

Indian Navy performing Yoga

India is all geared up for the day, from embassies to high commissions to army to students everybody is eager for it. The key event will be held in the capital’s Rajpath with 37,500 yoga mats to set a Guinness world record of the largest yoga class. The event will also mark the presence of PM Modi addressing the crowd.
India Navy has also planned “Yoga across the Sea” with units located as far as the Mediterranean Sea on the West, the Western Pacific Ocean on the East and the Southern Indian Ocean in the South to participate in yoga sessions, the Army too is planning events from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.

Yoga

Yoga

While the aim of yoga is to relax the body and unify the spirit, for some of India’s religious minorities, this Sunday’s event is neither relaxing nor unifying. Catholic leaders from the southern state of Kerala criticised the decision to hold the event on a Sunday and Abdul Rahim Qureshi from the All India Muslim Personal Law Board called it is a campaign to enforce Hindu rituals on all non-Hindus. Moreover Uttrakhand, the state devoting an entire week for the International Yoga Festival in Rishikesh from March 1-7 has also cut itself off from the day. Harish Rawat, the chief minister of the state called it a “propagandist exercise” and said, “We won’t be part of the International Yoga Day celebrations as we are not interested in drum-beating about it, we will soon come up with a detailed action plan for the promotion of yoga from September onwards.” Despite the criticism, the International Yoga Day has a long way to go. It is an initiative for healthy living. Yoga is not merely confined to postures but also breathing exercises and meditation and serves as a holistic development of the body.

Paris Air Show gives wings to Rafale deal

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Paris Air Show 2015

Paris Air Show 2015

The 51st edition of the Paris Air Show touched sky with a number of orders including the most awaited Rafale deal with India. The six days program from 15th to 22nd June presents around 120 aircrafts with a commercial motive every year. This year the major announcement in the show was made regarding the Rafale order. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said, “The discussions with the Indian authorities are progressing very well, and purchase of 36 rafale fighter jets would be finalised within 2-3 months.”  He further added, “I will travel to India very soon to see how it is all evolving but I don’t have a single worry,”  after meeting Rao Inderjit Singh, India’s Minister of State for Defence in the show.

Rafale Fighter Jet

Rafale Fighter Jet

The pact is worth 5 billion Euros and was announced by PM Modi during his visit to France. The Rafale deal has been in news since long, the former government planned to buy 126 fighter jets but was cut down to 36 jets. As Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, “they are way too expensive.”
The contract is beneficial for France as being going through an economic crisis to boost the capital inflow in the country and to meet the critical operational necessity of India Air Force (IAF). India is still negotiating terms and conditions for the Rafale order. The countries are trying to meet the negotiations as soon as possible for future developments. Modi’s initiative for 36 ‘fly-away’ war jets suggests a longer-term relationship with the French defence firm Dassault. If India plays its cards right, the deal also has potential for a ‘Make in India’ push in the defence sector. India has in recent years launched a vast defence modernisation programme worth about USD 100 billion, partly to keep up with rival neighbours Pakistan and China. Modi, a hardcore nationalist premier has his eye on ending the India’s status as major defence importer and to domestically manufacture 70 percent of its hardware.

Narendra Modi and Francois Hollande shaking hands

Narendra Modi and Francois Hollande shaking hands

This is not purely a commercial deal but a larger government strategy. Both the countries are looking to kick start their economy and the rafale deal is their first step together in the direction. Defence analyst Rahul Bedi praised and called it a “clever” move to buy the jets directly from France, overriding commercial agents.
It is the biggest ever international order for France. French President Francois Hollande said he was “deeply moved” by the jets sale and that it would take the partnership between the two countries “into a new gear”.

 

Guntur girl makes her way in chess

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Bommini Mounika Akshaya holding her gold medal

Bommini Mounika Akshaya holding her gold medals

Bommini Mounika Akshaya, a girl from Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh bagged two gold medals in the 16th ASEAN age-group chess championship in Singapore. The Guntur girl won seven points from nine rounds to pocket the gold in the under-12 girls segment, and added 150 points to her rating. Being financially deprived, the girl was helped by Andhra Cricket Association of INR 50,000. Mounika has lost only one match to Zhang Jasmine Haomo, a New Zealander, and drew with Bach Ngoc and Tran Nhat Phuong, both from Vietnam and awarded with the title of Women Fide Master (WFM). The girl still has a long way to go, she will be further taking part in the Commonwealth Chess Championship in New Delhi from June 20 and then the Asian under-13 championship at Seoul from August 3 to 11. Bommini Mounika Akshaya will now compete in rapid and blitz formats at 16th ASEAN age-group chess championship.
The Guntur girl is following the path of India’s chess Grandmaster and former World Chess Champion,Viswanathan Anand. The ace chess player has been awarded with Chess Oscar, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri, Arjuna Award and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award etc.

Sports person in India

Sports person in India

There was a time when Indian women did not have much presence on the national platform. But now, the time has changed, from PT Usha to Sania Mirza, India has traveled a long destination towards the achievements of our women folk in the sports world. Indian women are making news in areas of sports like boxing, wrestling, cricket, and shooting once dominated by men. Recently Saina Nehwal became the World champion in badminton and Yogeshwar Dutt ended India’s long wait for gold in wrestling.
In India cricket is growing as a religion beyond cast and creed and it is admirable to see other sports making their way out of it. The charm of different sport is luring people to participate.  Youngsters are trying their hand in different sports like badminton, tennis, kabbadi, wrestling, chess etc. Government encouragement for sports can be seen through the policy made by Haryana government ‘Haryana Physical Activities and Sports Policy-2015.’  The policy provides monetary benefits, pensions and employment to the meddlers.

Chandigarh’s French Connection

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Rock Garden Swings

Rock Garden Swings

Rock Garden or the fantasy of a lost kingdom, is a magnificent beauty. It does not only evoke a sense of creativity but also a queer sense of humility through its narrow streets and lanes.  Rock garden is the symbol of making best out of waste. The imperfect tiles, broken bangles, cutlery, chinaware,  switches,  tube-lights, marbles, household junk, stones, building material were compiled to build the garden.  The creator Nek Chand Saini, a Padma Shree recipient, passed away this morning leaving the heritage behind. His contribution to the union territory can be measured by the fact that the Chandigarh administration declared the day off.  PM Modi in his tweet said, “Nek Chand-ji will always be remembered for his artistic genius and fabulous creation that is cherished by many. May his soul rest in peace.”

Chandigarh City

Chandigarh City

The city itself is an example of modern and contemporary planning. To many of us who may not know, the well-known French architect Le Corbusier had a key role in Chandigarh’s urban development. He divided the city into rectangular patterns, forming identical looking sectors that measured 800m* 1200m. The neighbourhoods thus formed were self-sufficient and comprised of market, temples, schools and colleges within 10 minutes of walking distance. The city is surrounded by a 16 kilometre wide greenbelt to ensure that no development could take place in the immediate vicinity.

Capitol Complex

Capitol Complex in Chandigarh

A milestone in Modern Architecture and Urban Planning, Chandigarh attracts numerous architects, planners, historians and conservation professionals for carrying out their research. One of the key conserns, however, remains the conservation of this planned city that also the capital of two states, Haryana and Punjab. Thus for the conservation of its heritage and exchange of expertise in the civic development of the city, the Chandigarh administration is set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a group of eight French municipalities, Plaine Commune Urban Community, on Saturday, June 13 in Paris. Plaine Commune, the former member of the French National Association of towns and regions of art and history, will support the Chandigarh administration in promoting the city as heritage hub.
With the consent of external affair ministry, the adviser to administrator Vijay Kumar Dev, home secretary Anurag Agarwal along with chief architect Kapil Setia and secretary urban development Vikram Dutt left for Paris this morning.
“It is going to be a historic moment when both administration and Plaine Commune will sign joint pact, “said Vijay Dev. “The pact will have twin objectives. Apart from civic development, the commune will also help us in our effort for the conservation of Le Corbusier’s heritage. This is important for the purpose of getting UNESCO world heritage status for the Capitol Complex,” he added. Capitol Complex is the legislative assembly designed by Corbusier that is a part of the UNESCO world heritage nominations from India for the year 2016.

2- Minute Noodles is on a Long Haul

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 2- Minute Noodles is on a Long Haul

2- Minute Noodles is on a Long Haul

Meri (my) maggi, a respite for bachelors, one of the most dependent and quickest answers for hungry night, every party snack is been recalled. The high content of lead and MSG found in the product has left people surprised.  The Lucknow Food Safety and Drug Administration found monosodium glutamate (MSG) and lead contents in Maggi, in amounts exceeding the permissible limit. The permissible lead content is 0.01 parts per million as opposed to 17 parts per million that Maggi is claimed to contain.
The 2-minute Maggi noodle is a household name and is consumed ubiquitously across India. Until recently, it enjoyed the unequivocal trust and faith of mothers, children and people across all strata.

According to WHO, lead is particularly harmful for children causing intellectual disabilities. “There is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe,” says WHO. MSG’s long run effects are not yet discovered but in a short run can cause hyper-tension, palpitation, headache, eye damage, rapid heartbeat and numbness etc. Also the contents can affect the reproductive system severely.

“In India, Maggi is synonymous with noodles and dominates the market with 63pc share in 2014. This means that the brand has a lot to lose,” said Lianne van den Bos, a food analyst at Euromonitor, a London-based market intelligence firm.

The controversy on Maggi has dragged Nestle to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) for “unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements.”

Maggi endorsers in trouble

Maggi endorsers in trouble

India’s market for processed, packaged and branded foods is at nascent stage where consumers are unaware of the ingredients, additives and other attributes of what they buy and eat.  The monetary dominance overpowers the need for checking ingredients.
Amit Khurana, the Program Manager (food safety and toxins) from the Centre for Science and Environment explains, “There is a larger food safety issues. Our laws on labeling need more improvement. As of today, the Indian safety authority does not have a law on nutritional fact labeling. The consumer should know what he/she is buying and what kind of ingredients are there and what their nutritional value is.”
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has ordered testing of branded noodles, pasta and macaroni made by firms that include ITC, GSK Consumer, Ruchi International, Indo Nissin, besides Nestle. Many states like Delhi, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat have banned Maggi due to food safety concerns.

While Nestle is in a crisis, so are its endorsers. Indian actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta who promoted the brand in the past have also received legal notice.

The trouble mounting on Nestle, however, is not restricted to India. In East Africa, Nakumatt, the Kenyan-based supermarket chain, has decided to withdraw the noodles from its stores. Bahrain and Dubai have temporarily banned the import and sale of Nestle’s Maggi noodles from India. And UK is constantly checking the reports.

The hazards in Maggi have raised many questions and legitimacy on the food laws in India. Questions over the clearance of Maggi by the FSSAI,and  the periodic evaluation of  the packaged food are sprouting among the consumers and has left a question mark on the packaged food industry.

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