Child artiste Shabih of Ahlcon International rocked the stage amidst professional performance by theatre groups in Komal & VK Pahuja Theatre Festival

Shabih of Ahlcon International School on stage in a memorable performance

It was splendid mono-acting performance by a 9-year old student from Ahlcon International School on the theme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-publicized ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ Abhiyan that received standing ovation from the audience at 4th Komal & V. K. Pahuja Theatre Performance held at Delhi’s hub of activity India International Centre yesterday. Shabih performed as a guest artiste in the day-long theatre festival attended by various prominent theatre groups including Anvaratt Theatre Group of Indore, UPTA Group of Meerut, Rahul Thapliyal’s group, Theatron Theatre Group, Soch Theatre Group, Shanjha Sapna Group and Nepathya – the theatre society of PGDAV College, University of Delhi.

Child artist Shabih (in centre) along with (from left) Sangeeta Sahni of Ahlcon International School, Supriya Pahuja of Komal & VK Pahuja Foundation, Monika Sawhney of Ahlcon International School and mother Tanveer Fatima

The event now an annual fixture of the city was organised by Dr. Supriya Pahuja and Meenakshi Pahuja in loving memory of their parents Komal & VK Pahuja. Inaugurated by Dinesh Ahlawat, the Festival saw presence of prominent personalities including Sheila Dikshit (former Chief Minister of Delhi), Prof. Kiran Walia (former Minister in Delhi Govt), Prof. Dinesh Singh (former Vice Chancellor – Delhi University), among others. Rajesh Dua and Sanjay Dhoundiyal were given Life Time Achievement Award. Komal & VK Pahuja Foundation is known for promoting cultural, sports and theatre activities. The event was anchored by Sandeep Mishra in his inimitable style, who introduces himself as the spokesperson of Dera Sacha Sauda in Delhi. He was ably supported by Ms. Lata.

The day-long Komal & VK Pahuja Theatre was judged by an eminent panel of jury which included renowned actor and director Dr Bikram Kesharee Mohanty, Manuv Mehra and Rakhi Chauhan Mehta. On stake were three awards for Best Production and an award each for Best Director and Best Actor. In the end, the Best Director Award was won by Nitesh Upadhyay for play Yeh Ishq Ishq (Anvaratt Theater Group).

Anvaratt Theater Group of Indore performed a play Ye Ishq Ishq, directed by Nitesh Upadhyay. This was followed by Kali Raat Ka Humsafer by UPTA Meerut, directed by Bharat Bhushan. Also a heart-rending performance was Panchlight by Theatron Theater Group. Rahul Thapliyal directed Mera Wajood (A Compulsion) enthralled the audience next.  Directed by Parminder Singh, it showed the plight of sex workers and how the society puts the blame on the female while the males who patronizes the profession and frequent red light areas escape the blame. Parichaya, directed by Rajiv Kohli and assisted by Pranav Shekhar of Soch Theater Group was a beautiful display of acting talent by artists who mesmerized the audience through depicting the pathos of parents who educate their children only to lose them later in their old age, owing to the charm of a better life abroad or developing personal careers in distant lands. Ashish Modi and Rani Sonkar through their  wonderful display of acting talent kept tickling the emotions of the audience amidst good acting display by Manoj Aryan and Arsh Khan. And none could escape from laughing whenever Sahil Arora entered the stage in his splendid comic act as a house servant.

A very excellent display of acting talent was also visible in the enactment of Othello by Nepathya – theatre society of PGDAV College (University of Delhi), which was followed by Chitthee by Shanjha Sapna, directed by Ishwar Shunya.

A scene from Panchlight by Thetron Theater Group

Amidst all this excellent rendering of theatre skills by trained professionals, child artiste Shabih showed that despite being of tender age and an amateur, she has got the talent to perform and win accolades while performing in the company of such talented professionals from various theatre groups. She showed the plight of a young girl, whose wish to go to school remain unfulfilled as circumstances forced her to work as a housemaid. For nearly seven minutes of her on-stage mono-acting performance Shabih managed to stir the emotions of many in the audience through projecting the emotions of the girl child and her resolve to study amidst circumstances that do not allow her to do so. This performance could serve as a great promotion for the already-publicized Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Abhiyan, which is one of the flagship social welfare campaigns by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Shabih Fatima, trained by her teacher Monika Sawhney and promoted for this stage by Sangeeta Sahni, is under the tutelage of Ashok K. Pandey – Principal of Ahlcon International School. Ahlcon International School is one of the foremost schools in East Delhi, which is known for promoting art, culture and sporting talent among the kids beside their overall educational development and grooming the students for their future lives.

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PDP-BJP coalition govt failed to address developmental aspirations of people of Jammu

Jammu Former minister and Congress leader Raman Bhalla has blamed the PDP-BJP coalition government of depriving the Jammu people of basic amenities. While addressing a huge public gathering at Shiv Nagar, Bandu Rakh, Kunjwani, Bhalla claimed that the unprecedented power and water crisis in Jammu highlights the apathy of the ruling coalition which had failed to address the issues of the people. Prominent among those present on the occasion include Sohan Singh, Sarpanch Kashmir Singh, Naib Sarpanch Satnam Singh Panch Gurnam Singh,Ghulam Farid,Rajinder Singh Lamardhar, Dr. Vijay, Sanjeev Katal, Puran chand. He said the situation in Jammu province had virtually turned out of control due to the severe shortage of drinking water and worst-ever power crisis during summer. “Despite persistent appeals to the government to ensure supply of basic amenities, no action has been taken. People are suffering, but there is no consolation from the government,” Bhalla added. He said lack of direction and political will have compounded the perception of political uncertainty in the state whereas the government should have tried to provide a hope of inclusive development, reconciliation and peace. The former Minister said the PDP-BJP government rather than engaging with aggrieved people with an aim to address their issues, had chosen to tread a path of isolation, arrogance and confrontation contradicting the promises made in the ‘Agenda of the Alliance’. He said Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution (CAPD) outlets lacked sufficient supplies and utility services were craving for maintenance. “The promise of 24×7 power supply has turned out to be a counter nightmare with unprecedented and unscheduled power cuts haunting the people of the state at the very onset of the winter season,” he said.

Addressing the women present in good number in programme, Bhalla said that the basic needs of one’s life becoming un affordable day by day due to soaring inflation. And the worst hit are the housewives, whose monthly budget has gone awry due to spiraling price hike of vegetables and fruits due to inflation.  Households in the City are finding it hard to manage their monthly budget because of skyrocketing prices, he added. Housewives in the City facing great difficulties in managing their monthly budgets and are not able to provide seasonal vegetables to their kids frequently because of higher rates.  This price rise is creating turbulence in their monthly budget. Inflation undoubtedly has an impact on the household expenditure as it affects the prices of practically all goods consumed and services availed on a daily basis – the most significant one being food. Skyrocketing rates of food articles like wheat and rice, which form the staple diet of state, have adversely affected the household budgets. Also the rates of other food articles like pulses, cooking oil, fruits, vegetables, milk and milk products have increased many folds, he added. The hardest hit is the persons who receive fixed income, usually called as the ‘middle class’. Persons who live on past savings, rent, pensions, salaries etc., suffer during these periods as their incomes remain fixed.

Bhalla said that middle class people work really hard to take care of children’s education, livelihood in the times of sickness and even old age.And this price rise is really making it quite impossible to accommodate day to day expenses.  Maintaining that a majority of students in J&K still depend on government schools, state Govt has failed working towards safeguarding the right to education of an average student. Acknowledging that the government-run schools have a lot of scope for improvement, Bhalla demanded government to work on model schools where children, especially from underprivileged background, can reap benefits with proper facilities. Senior Congress leader strongly condemned the closure of 1300 Primary Schools, mostly in Jammu region.  He particularly mentioned that Various Primary Schools closed including Primary School Mohalla Jogian, Primary School Khwaskhan, Primary School Dharap. Bhalla said that the previous UPA Government  started Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan program  to achieve 100 percent literacy rate in India, spent a huge amount to build schools at every kilometer  to establish schools to give quality education to the kids  in far- flung areas. After this the literacy ratio got a boost but now the J&K Govt seems to be sabotaging the program of Govt of India with the closure of Primary school over which BJP is a mute spectator.  The Primary schools closed played a major role in the basic education in the far flung areas. But coalition Government of BJP and PDP is deliberately sabotaging it. Despite crores of rupees funds available to build infrastructure like school buildings, kitchens, toilets and other teaching aids including teaching staff but all the infrastructure and funds utilized to build this infrastructure are going to be wasted with the closure of Govt schools.

Bhalla further said that as the city gets ready to welcome the rainy season, there are serious concerns about the lack of monsoon preparedness. Even a moderate rain causes hardship for the denizens, who have to wade through water-clogged roads and sunken residential areas. The rain that lasted only an hour on last Wednesday exposed the fact that the city is still unprepared for the monsoon. The rain led to knee-deep water in even many main roads in the city, leaving commuters in lurch. Though Jammu is
gifted with several water channels, due to the apathy of the civic authorities, most of them are clogged with plastic waste and silt. The people of Bilal Colony and Pamposh Colony and adjoining areas projected their demands which include repair of roads, lanes and drains, construction of household latrines, fresh BPL survey, repair and upgradation of existing transformers, adequate supply of ration, kerosene oil, LPG, timely disbursement of old age/widow/handicapped pension, financial assistance for construction of pacca houses etc, but Govt always lend deaf ear to their grievances. Bhalla said that Govt must convey specific instructions to all the concerned departments to put in there sincere and dedicated efforts to provide every facility to people at their doorsteps which should be top priority of the coalition government adding that every effort must be made to strengthen the developmental infrastructure in rural areas. It is the duty of the authorities to mobilize resources, provide funds for the sustenance of this class of people which cannot be denied on the ground of financial constraints. The State Government is not taking any keen interest in executing the developmental works in Jammu region where the condition of roads is worst as their renovation and repair work was not taken up in hand during last two years now. The main reason for this being that the developmental works have suffered in Kashmir valley due to unrest and the Government wants to keep the works pending in Jammu too. The Coalition Government which is making tall claims about development has failed during the last two years of its rule to restore the vital roads in the City and its outskirts, Bhalla added.

Castigating PDP-BJP coalition for pushing people to the wall, Bhalla said Jammu region has been worst hit where the government is almost missing with administrative inertia reflected in every sphere. He urged the people of Jammu province to sit up to find if they committed a grave blunder by voting for the anti-Jammu BJP and if they came to the conclusion that they did, then they must get united to get rid of the anti-Jammu PDP-BJP Raj and work for a dispensation that is exclusively of them, by them and for them. Any failure on their part at this critical juncture would further deteriorate the situation. Bhalla said that since the BJP had miserably failed to live up to the people’s expectations by pusillanimously surrendering all the Jammu based issues for the lust of power, the people of Jammu region were giving overwhelming response to the policies of Congress Party. While flaying the BJP’s policy of deceit, duplicity and double standards, Bhalla cautioned the people not to get trapped again by the rhetoric and tall pronouncements of the party and exhorted them to support and strengthen their own Congress Party which alone had the capacity and audacity to raise the voice of the people of Jammu region besides combating the anti-national elements. On the local issues of Gandhi Nagar constituency, Bhalla regretted the total neglect of the constituency with not even a single new work taken up for execution during the last more than two years. He further regretted the abandonment of all development works initiated during tenure of Congress Govt.

Former Minister expressing serious concern over law and order situation in valley said that Kashmir is on the boil once again. Be it the abysmal turnout for polls in Srinagar which were preceded by widespread violence and arson, or the now common sight of ISIS and Pakistani flags being waived in Kashmir, Kashmir in 2017 is reminiscent of the turbulent years of 1989-90. It is amply evident that the PDP-BJP government in Jammu & Kashmir has failed completely and that the BJP, other than reaping petty political gains has gained nothing by leading the government in Jammu and Kashmir. The current round of violence, coming after the lawlessness that followed last year has seriously dented the prospects of peace returning to the valley for some time. Instead of talks about tourism, infrastructure and peace, it is time to acknowledge that Kashmir is entering a phase of an era where any hope of peace in near future seems a distant reality. For all its talk of action and taking decisive steps, observers are at a loss to understand Modi government’s approach towards Kashmirs, he added.

Jammu region is experiencing frequent power as well as water crisis. For the last few days the people of Jammu region experiencing scorching heat and shortage of water supply and unscheduled power cuts has further compounded the hardships of the common people,” he added. Bhalla said that when NC-Congress government was in power, once the offices move to Srinagar and vice versa, a minister used to camp in winter/summer capital on rotational basis for redressal of the public grievances on priority and
“also to give appropriate directions to concerned departments for immediate solution of problems faced by common man”.“The present government hasn’t adopted this practice and as a result the burning issues of the people remain unattended and delayed. This speaks of indifferent attitude of this government towards the genuine problems of the people.”Taking a dig at the government, Bhalla said that since the inception of this government “there have been always crisis in all fields may it be water or power”. “We can say this is not coalition but a collision government”.“People are craving for power and drinking water facilities, especially in these months of scorching summer but the administration seems to be in deep slumber which is evident from frequent and unscheduled power cuts for hours and scarcity of drinking water in most of Jammu areas,” he added.

He also expressed his anguish over the ‘harsh’ attitude of the government towards daily wagers who were on strike since the past few months. He urged the government to intervene into their pending issues and redress them. He further said since the Aadhaar card had been termed as a bonafide document, the requirement of the same had now become all the more important. “There is a good percentage of people to whom the Aadhaar card has not been issued due to which they are facing a lot of difficulties,” he said. Accusing the BJP of indulging in ‘double speak’ on the issue of West Pakistan refugees, Bhalla said the party which had promised to provide citizenship rights to the refugees before elections was now providing meager compensation with lot of hardships. The BJP had completely surrendered before the PDP and was lacking courage to put forth the genuine problems of people of Jammu in front of the government. It was more interested in remaining in the government for the sake of enjoyment of power, Bhalla added.

Bhalla said that the perpetuation of bias by the incumbent govt by divesting Jammu region of its legitimate share in various sectors as clearly noticed during the last two years was wholly unacceptable to Congress party. He regretted that 10,000 posts of SPOs sanctioned last year by the GOI for state were all allocated to Kashmir division to the neglect of Jammu region with BJP leaders most shamelessly issuing statements that it was necessary in national interest. Likewise allocation of 57 PG seats in H&ME Deptt to Kashmir as against 13 seats for Jammu Medical Colleges was highly opprobrious. He strongly condemned the unabated regional bias in selections made by PSC and SSB for various state-level posts during the last two years. Describing the situation in Jammu as highly explosive, Bhalla  said that people of the region were feeling cheated and betrayed due to their complete neglect. He regretted that while the stone pelters of Kashmir were assured compensation and govt Jobs, the highly qualified youth of Jammu including females were left to agitate on the roads with no takers for their genuine grievances. Similar was the position in other sectors including development projects, Tourism, Health, Power etc with PDP walking away with a lion’s share and BJP left flaunting a consolation prize in the shape of few crumbs, he said. The former Minister said the menace of unemployment was rampant in the region with thousands of daily wagers and contractual employees working in PHE, PWD, PDD, etc including NYC volunteers, SPO’s, temporary teachers, MG-NREGA employees, Contractual
Lecturers, NHM and ReT teachers, etc on the roads protesting for their genuine demands related to their salaries and regularization of services. He maintained that the Jammu youth had played a pivotal role in bringing BJP to power in the State but now with their hopes having been belied, they were only feeling cheated, humiliated and betrayed for no fault of theirs. He urged upon the people to unite so as to ensure that much needed healing touch was provided to Jammu region.

Speaking on the progress of mega development projects being implemented in Jammu, Bhalla said that all the projects are moving at snail’s pace be it expansion of Jammu Airport and extension of Runway, Multi-tier Parking and Commercial Complex proposed to be constructed at General Bus Stand Jammu, development of Tawi River Front, construction of protection works, water treatment plants, development of reclaimed land into recreational areas and development of tourist facilities along the banks of the River Tawi, sewage project for Jammu city, multi-level parking facility at City Chowk Jammu, construction of New Legislative Complex, construction of barrage on River
Tawi, Jammu Ropeway Project, from Peerkho to Bahu Fort, construction of Ring Road around Jammu, from Raya Mode at Nagrota Bypass, construction of new Medical Colleges in Jammu region, four-laning of Jammu-Akhnoor road. The progress of potable water augmentation for Jammu city, formulation of Master Plan and implementation of Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme and AMRUT going on with no momentum at all. People of Jammu region are being neglected and discriminated despite repeated assurances from BJP. “The state government should honour the commitment made to the people of the equitable development of all the three regions of the state. He said BJP had assured of development of all the regions and that the differences and the alienation existing between people of Jammu and those of Kashmir Valley would be eliminated.

“In the tourism sector, Jammu got merely 20­25 per cent funds allocation and out of 13 newly identified tourist spots for development, Jammu has only four whereas rest are in Kashmir province”, he added. He said that the Tawi Lake Project in Jammu which was scheduled to be completed in March, has been extended for two years. Bhalla claimed no serious efforts are being made about the diversion of four streams carrying the city garbage in the Tawi River.”In the allotment of indoor stadiums, out of 12 indoor stadiums envisaged only three are allocated to Jammu region and nine to Kashmir province with two in Ladakh. The Congress leader said the discrimination is being faced by the people of the region in the matter of development of roads, infrastructure, irrigation, agriculture and horticulture sector. Bhalla cautioned the government of a great resentment brewing among the people of Jammu province and therefore immediate steps need to be taken for the redressal of grievance of the people. Bhalla said no appropriate strategy has been devised to create attractive assets in and around the winter capital to sustain tourist footfall. He described Jammu as a repository of rich heritage reflected in its historic temples and
monuments.




Portends of brighter days ahead – Slew of initiatives mark 100 days of Yogi-raj in UP

It has been 100 eventful days since Yogi Adityanath assumed charge as the Chief Minister of the most populous state of India. This period, already being fondly referred to as Yogi-raj by his friends and well-wishers, is remarkable because of slew of initiatives taken by the new government in Uttar Pradesh, all aimed at the common man. Actions of the young Chief Minister, who took two deputy CMs in his cabinet citing his own inexperience in managing the affairs of a State, already portend brighter days ahead for the State. Though some of the major decisions have created ripples in the political community and society at large, the sheer dynamism that reflects from the actions of initial days shows that we should be prepared for more public-centric and not populist measures in the days ahead.

It has been just a little over 100 days since Yogi Adityanath Government took charge in Uttar Pradesh. Slew of important decisions and instructions aimed at good governance and better administration have become the hallmark of these initial days.

People’s welfare foremost! This seems to be the mantra working behind all decisions. With roots in BJP’s Lok Kalyan Sankalp Patra (Pledge for People’s Welfare) – the manifesto that brought the party to power in the State – the State Government has given instructions to keep the salient points of the Sankalp Patra in consideration while finalizing the budget.

It is apparent that the CM means business. Instructions have been given that responsible officers are posted at all important positions and a citizen’s charter is prepared by each department for quick redressal of a citizen’s problem, and with a view to enhance the trust of the common man towards the Government.

Moving towards implementation of every promise that BJP made in its manifesto, the CM in his very first Cabinet meeting told his colleagues to take on corruption, lawlessness, casteism and the politics of appeasement and stressed forcefully that there will be no discrimination in the name of caste, religion or sex. Addressing a gathering in Gorakhpur, he said: “There will be no discrimination in name of caste, religion and sex. There will be overall development.”

In one such step, the women’s welfare department has put forth a proposal to make marriage registration mandatory for all in the State. The couples who are not registered will be deprived of benefits from Government schemes.

The Chief Minister has issued a timetable of meeting MPs and MLAs from the State. In a letter addressed to all State MPs and legislators, Adityanath said that the people of the State have voted them to power with great expectations and they have to give much of their time to their constituencies. He also mentioned that this arrangement of meeting these lawmakers has been rolled out to ensure immediate redressal of problems faced by the people and better coordination with public representatives.

Another major step taken is to scrap the manual tendering process in Government departments and replace it with online tendering and procurement systems to bring in transparency. “Manual tendering process is being scrapped from all Government departments and e-tendering and e-procurement system will be implemented,” CM Adityanath said.  Under e-procurement and e-tendering process, all work including e-registration, e-coding, tender creation, tender publication, tender purchase, submission and bid opening will be done through electronic medium.

In order to increase fertilizer capacity and create more jobs in the process, it is important that the mothballed fertilizer plants are revived. With a view to create the revival roadmap for the Gorakhpur Fertilizer Plant, the Government has taken the initial steps by approving the proposal for exemption of stamp duty for transfer of land to Hindustan Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd.

In another Citizen First initiative, instructions have been issued by the Government to observe Tehsil Diwas and Thana Diwas as Samadhan (Solution) Diwas. Instructions have been issued to senior officials of various police stations and Government departments that monthly progress of disposal of cases in SamadhanDiwas should be reviewed and apprised to respective senior officials.

Upon taking over the realms of the Government in the State, Yogi Adityanath has also cracked down on VIP culture in the State. Leading by example, the CM has said that no minister in the State will be allowed to use red beacons atop vehicles. He has also downgraded security cover of 46 VIPs and done away completely with that of 105 others.  “Those who are enjoying security cover for the sake of status symbol should be prepared to part with them,” he said.

Strengthening Law and Order

Moving ahead with execution of poll promises of BJP, the State has taken lead in banning cow slaughter and cattle smuggling. The safety of women under the governance of the young CM of Uttar Pradesh too will be the topmost priority in the future. As BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain stated in an interview: “Yogi Adityanath’s agenda is to ensure security and safety to women in Uttar Pradesh and incidents like eve-teasing, molestation, rape, etc. will not take place.”

Giving an open challenge to the anti-social elements in the State to either abide by the law or leave the State, the CM has issued instructions to run state-wide campaigns to prevent incidents of molestation, indecency, obscene exhibition and comments, towards women and girls. The Anti-Romeo Squad – a poll promise of BJP – formed to prevent sexual harassment cases has generated great headlines recently. The CM has directed the State’s top officials to chalk out clear guidelines so that there is no “unnecessary harassment” of boys and girls. The Government has also issued directives for taking quick and effective steps on incidents of harassment and acid attacks.

Instructions have been issued for taking strict action against criminals, smugglers, land mafia, etc. without any discrimination. Police have been told to get into direct communion with the common man and take cognizance of even the supposedly insignificant and minor incidents. They have been instructed to identify the potential trouble mongers and those who risk security and peace, and take proper action against them.

The CM has also instructed the Chief Secretary to make the legal process more effective, reliable and impeccable in criminal cases.

Medical and Health-Care

Giving a mammoth target to officials at the State Health Department, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed opening of 3000 generic medicine stores in the State. To be started under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jann Aushadi Pariyojana, the stores will provide generic (unbranded but equally safe versions of branded) medicines at least at 40-50% lower rates. He has also ordered that the process to achieve the target set should begin with immediate effect as this measure will ensure “availability of quality medicines at affordable prices to all.”

CM Adityanath has also ordered to make health education program compulsory in Government schools. Additionally, he has envisaged 40 yoga centres in existing Ayurveda, Unani and Homeopath hospitals in 40 districts of UP. The CM is also taking steps to create awareness for yoga among masses by ensuring greater participation in International Yoga Day (June 21), each succeeding year.

The CM is personally monitoring steps to ensure better and timely health measures for the citizens. He has given strict instructions to take steps against sex determination and female foeticide, as well as against the ill-educated physicians who at times con their patients. He recently rolled out a campaign in 38 districts to eradicate the deadly encephalitis disease that claims the lives of hundreds of children every year in Uttar Pradesh. Some 40,000 children have died of the disease in the past four decades in the region.

And as a major relief to medical aspirants, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences will be offering additional 150 MBBS seats for admission, thus taking the total number of seats to 1,990. Furthermore, 3 hospitals of Lucknow viz. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee (Civil) Hospital and Balrampur Hospital, have launched online patient registration facility in a bid to reduce waiting time of patients at OPD counters and streamline the rush for out-patient consultants.

Agriculture and Farmers

Decision to increase procurement of wheat from 40 metric tons to about 80 lakh metric tons is a major step in this area. Poor farmers of the State are likely to benefit enormously through the recently announced farm loan waiver scheme.  Loans of more than 86 lakh farmers, worth about Rs. 36,000 crore, have been waived off in a major initiative. Banks have been asked to issue loan waiver certificates to the bona fide farmers after the forthcoming Budget. The maximum limit for crop loan waiver will be Rs. 1 lakh per farmer. And true to its word, the BJP Government in the State has started cracking the whip on erring sugar mill owners who have not been paying cane farmers their dues in time.

Moreover, in the next 100 days, few of the sugar mills in UP are planning to modernize their complexes by adding power cogeneration and ethanol plants.

Sugarcane Development

In the short period in which the current government has been in office, the sugar cane farmers have been paid to the tune of Rs. 21 thousand 570 crores.

Food and Supplies

The UP CM has also reviewed the working of Food and Civil Supplies Department and has said that officers should ensure that the children and beneficiaries of the public distribution system, who’s Aadhar Cards have not been made so far, are not deprived of their quota of ration.

Mining

The BJP, in its vision document for the State assembly polls had promised to end the illegal mining. In a tough measure to take on the mining mafia in UP, the Government has hiked the penalty on illegal mining by over 20 per cent and the provision for jail sentence has also been increased from six months to five years.

Turning UP into a developed State

“We will fulfil all our promises. Uttar Pradesh will be turned into a developed state. We need your support to make that happen,” these are the words of CM Yogi Adityanath in a public gathering in Gorakhpur. Many more examples of exemplary work done by the CM can be given, but for space constraint. Factually speaking, CM Yogi has started the UP innings by delivery. And he is making preparations and setting the stage to turn UP into a developed state in the near future.

By Aziz Haider

 (Article exclusively done for Outlook Magazine)




Roadmap being readied by Ministry of Minority Affairs for setting up 5 world class universities and 100 odd schools for minorities: Shakir Ansari

Ministry of Minority Affairs under Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Union Minister of State with Independent Charge, is moving ahead with the announced plan for setting up of 5 world class universities and 100 odd schools for the minorities. In this regard, high level meetings have been held and planning is being taken to implementation stage. This information was given by Mohammad Shakir Ansari, Treasurer of Maulana Azad Education Foundation, who has been recently entrusted to take care of the task.

Ansari informed that the schools, to be named after Maulana Azad, will be opened in various cities across India on the lines of Kendriya Vidyalayas. Besides this, the 5 planned universities will work on the lines of modern institutes, providing all modern courses. This will go a long way in providing quality education and technical expertise to youth belonging to the Minority communities, informed Ansari.

Informing about the latest developments, Shakir Ansari said Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is taking keen interest both in the development of Schools and Universities and looks eager to roll out the projects at the earliest possible.

Ansari also lauded the efforts of the Ministry’s attempt to provide skill development training in the Madrasas. “On the initiative of Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Ministry is trying to rope in Madrasas under the Prime Minister’s Skill Development Program and in this regard a meeting was held recently with heads of various Madrasas,” said Ansari. Once this laudable scheme, which is the brainchild of PM Narendra Modi, is implemented in the Madarsas it will go a long way in bringing the youth from minority community in contention for mainstream jobs.

Such people-friendly schemes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi are getting good response from the public at large and this could be seen in the recent wins of the party in Maharashtra, UP, Uttarakhand and other states, Ansari added.

RNI (Real News Intl.) News




Social Organization asks Delhi Govt to spell out policy for opening of new schools in Delhi

A Non-Profit Social Organization, claiming to be seriously engaged in working towards creating social awareness and reform in the society, since 1987 has asked the Delhi Government to spell out its policy for opening of new schools in Delhi. This demand has been made in the wake of new schools mushrooming up on regular basis in the Capital on plots of 70 to 80 square yards or even lesser.

Despite rulings prohibiting coming up of new primary schools in Delhi on land less than 800 square yards, there are schools which come up on just one floor of a building or in apartments, wherein remaining floors of the building are given on rent to others or work as the residence of the plot owner. Our correspondent has even found office of one such newly opened school working in the garage of a house.

The opening of new schools on small pieces of land has picked up since the coming of present Government in Delhi. As per an estimate, about 50 to 60 new schools are opening up in Delhi on small pieces of land almost on daily basis.

The letter written by Social Workers Association says: “In recent past, the Delhi Government had allowed schools that had been in existence from 2009 or before to function on 200 square yards of land. Though it had been decided that schools functioning on land less than 200 square yards will not be allowed to function, no policy decision has been taken so far and innumerable such schools continue to function in Delhi. We agree that it will require a big displacement of students if such schools are closed, the government should take a decision on schools that have opened up on small plots after 2009. At least no new schools should be allowed to come up now. Lack of policy decision is leading to opening up of new schools even now on plots as small as 70-80 square yards, and even on just one floor of a multi-storied house.”

The NGO has also desired that the Education Department relook at the files of several schools who applied for recognition earlier and were in possession of 200 square yards of land but their files have been closed by officers on one pretext or other, some of which are false or fabricated. It has been demanded that all such schools should be given recognition immediately so that they are able to shoulder the burden of Government schools, in low-income group colonies.

The Association has demanded that the Delhi Government come forward with its guidelines for opening of new schools without delay and at the beginning of the new session so that no new schools on land area 70-80 square yards or even lesser are allowed to come up and further clutter the already unruly and dishevelled education scenario in the country’s capital.

RNI (Real News Intl.) news agency




A senior teacher to taste mid-day meal as part of new dictate from Education Department

Useless exercise, say the teachers. Mid-day meal contains nothing but water.

RNI, New Delhi:

Dy CM Manish Sisodia tasking mid-day meal at a Delhi school

Dy CM Manish Sisodia tasking mid-day meal at a Delhi school

As part of a new dictate served by the Education Department of Delhi Government, a senior teacher in every school providing mid-day meal to students will have to taste the food and give his OK report before the food is served to the children. This dictate is being seen by the teachers as another gimmick out of the countless that the Department resorts to and will have no impact whatsoever on the quality of the food. Instead, the poor teacher will have to bear eating mandatorily the tasteless food which otherwise he would never do. This RNI correspondent sat across the table of a Government school teacher while he tried to gulp down two pooris and a sabzi that appeared more as dal than sabzi and recorded his observations. Needless to say, the identity of the poor teacher who had to undergo the ordeal in front of our correspondent is not being revealed, to save him from any consequential trouble.

The new circular has been issued by the Delhi Government’s education department consequent to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s surprise inspection of a Government School in West Vinod Nagar in Delhi. Sisodia who also holds the education portfolio, visited the school just as the mid-day meal was being served to the students. He tasted the meal himself and found it was of poor quality. Prior to leaving, Sisodia had warned that action will be taken against schools which fail to meet guidelines set under the mid-day meal scheme and had said the government will soon take ‘big steps’ to improve the quality and provide nutritious food to children.

The ‘big steps’ that Sisodia announced have resulted in the new circular making it mandatory for a senior teacher to taste the food before it is being served to the student. But as can be heard from the recording, the teachers are of the view that adversely commenting on the quality could become troublesome for them in the future.

Says the teacher: “What can you give in 5-odd rupees. You do not get a roti in 5 rupees. In this meagre amount, the contractor will keep his profit while a share will also go to the officer in charge.” As the teacher ate the food, he continued to stress to this correspondent that it had nothing but water, also giving justification as to how any ingredients can be put in the sabzi in the meagre amount that the contractor receives. “It has neither salt nor oil,” said he.

The teachers are afraid that if you make a comment, you will be exposed to action. They are of view that the entire system is corrupt. You cannot make an adverse comment or else you will expose yourself to action. In the succeeding conversation, they even expressed disillusion at the hopes being belied of a corruption-free government in Delhi.

RNI News Network




The pitiable plight of Ministry of Minority Affairs in the Congress regime

MOMA_ImageIt’s all there in the name; Call it ‘madrasa’, ‘yes’, call it ‘seminary’, ‘no’

Darul Uloom Nadvatul Ulema is one of the leading Islamic seminaries in the country. The seminary has provided religious education of the highest order since much before India’s Independence. It draws students in pursuit of religious education from all across the world. It is a matter of common knowledge that the word ‘seminary’ when used for a religious Muslim institute is an English translation of ‘madrasa’. Internet describes Darul Uloom Nadvatul Ulema as a seminary at several places. Even Google dictionary translates ‘seminary’ as ‘madrasa’, both in Hindi and Urdu.

This said and done, there is every likelihood that if Maulana Syed Rabey Al Hasni Nadvi, the noted Islamic scholar and rector of the country’s leading Islamic seminary, Nadvatul Ulema would be applying for a Minority Status Certification of his madrasa with NCMEI (National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions), his application would be rejected because the name Darul Uloom Nadvatul Ulema does not contain the word ‘madrasa’. This is the sad plight of the Ministry that is responsible for Minority Affairs. And this is the reason why Congress, despite mouthing concern for minorities on every platform, is yet to gain their trust.

In a matter brought to light recently, NCMEI (National Commission for Minorities Educational Institutes), which is responsible for giving minority status certification to institutes belonging to the minority community, denied the minority certification to a seminary of 21 years by the name Unity Modern Seminary on grounds that it was named seminary (in English) and not Madrasa (in Urdu). It is essential to have the word ‘madrasa’ in the name, if you are applying for the certification for a madrasa, said an official. The matter was even brought to the knowledge of the Minister for Minorities Affairs, K. Rahman Khan, by RNI through his private secretary Badruddin, but the authorities higher up in the Ministry of Minorities Affairs proved to be as deaf as NCMEI.

Said a spokesperson of the seminary in contention: “We were told in explicit terms by a member of NCMEI Shri Zafar Agha that minority certification cannot be given to the institute because the name does not include the word ‘madrasa’. Earlier, giving the same argument, Justice MSA Siddiqui, Chairman of NCMEI gave us two choices, either to withdraw the application or he would reject it. He even said that if the application is rejected, the institution would not be able to apply again. We were left with no choice but to withdraw.”

RNI talked to Shri Zafar Agha later who reiterated that as per guidelines issued to NCMEI by Ministry of Minority Affairs, the institute has to include the word ‘madrasa’ in its name, if it is to get minority status certification. Shri Zafar Agha even criticized the people who runs madrasas and said that if he had his way, all the madrasas in the country should be closed. He further said that he has been expressing the same views time and again through his columns.

RNI talked to Dr. Husain of nearly 4-decade old non-profit organization Social Workers Association, which is spearheading the cause of meaningful education besides its other activities related to minority and social welfare. Said Dr. Husain: “There are several minority institutions that do not include the word ‘seminary’’. Dr. Kalbe Sadiq, an internationally renowned Islamic scholar, educationist and reformer initiated a modern concept of a madrasa sometime back in Aligarh under the name Madinatul Uloom Seminary. The same logic is not followed in other educational institutions as well. There are so many schools whose name does not depict that they are schools. MAF Academy or Shishu Vidya Niketan is an example. Likewise, there are universities whose name does not mention the word ‘University’. ‘Kashi Vidyapeeth’ and ‘Jamia Millia Islamia’ are just two cases in point. Yet, if a minority institute that is even accredited with Ministry of Human Resource Development’s NIOS as a madrasa is not given minority certificate, it speaks of the dual policies of the Ministry of Minority Affairs as well as the party that is in power.

Says a senior academician related to the Aligarh Muslim University, who doesn’t wish to be named: “Ministry of Minority Affairs has been created only to appease the minorities but with no real intention to work for them. This is the reason why the Ministry of Minority Affairs has withheld its five year report from bringing to public, despite the fact that it has already been published. It is the policy of the Congress government that it plants bottlenecks so as to unable the minority institutions from taking benefit. A great portion of budgets allocated to Ministry of Minority Affairs remain underutilized even after 5 years. If Ministry of Minority Affairs appoints a person, who has been open in his criticism of madrasas even through his columns, as the Member of an organization where madrasas too approach for minority status certification, this leaves no doubt that Congress is not serious about providing benefits on the ground level.”

Real News International News Bureau




“Paramatma will never forgive Congress for the injustice it has committed towards children through bringing RTE”

school childrenWhen the ruling party Congress brought the Right to Education Act, more commonly referred to as RTE, it was widely publicized that each child would get the right to education. The HRD Ministry gave large sized advertisements and employed various other means to take the message to nook and corner of the country. Aim was to create an image as if an unsurpassed feat has been accomplished.

But the ground reality turned out to be different. Upon seeing this Act from outside, it appeared as if each and every child would get educated. But instead of bringing about a change at all levels, the Act merely tried to tame the small and middle-level schools. Several schools running in poor and middle-income colonies are on brink of closure while several have closed. This has been courtesy the RTE Act.

According to a source more than 2000 schools have closed down in Mumbai alone.

Whereas this is the plight of smaller schools, the bigger schools are reaping big money. In fact they have become untamed enough to at times flout the RTE rules at will. There are so many schools in Delhi today who charge some amount on papers while in reality take a higher amount from parents. Our correspondent visited about a dozen schools on the pretext of getting admission and found that these schools were charging from Rs. 35000 to Rs. 1.5 lakh over and above the amount that they reveal in papers. Most of the people running these schools are connected to politics in one way or the other.

We asked these schools whether the exorbitant amount they were asking for could be given by cheque. Baring one or two schools, the rest refused. Apparently all this money is being collected as black money.

Most state governments have stopped allocating lands to schools. What did the Central Government gained through reducing the number of schools in cities like Mumbai and Delhi? There is paucity of land in these cities and if somebody wishes to open a school crores of rupees will be spent on merely purchasing the land. Who would educate the poor after investing such great sums of money?

Had the Government been emphatic, it would have tried to improve upon the plight of Government run schools and given some benefits to small schools who were doing commendable job in limited resources. Instead the Act tried to lead smaller schools, who were providing better education than Government schools but lesser than the big private schools, towards closure.  All this happened in the name of Right to Education Act.

Some people working in the field of education are of the opinion that this was done so as to facilitate the entry of corporate houses into education; they will get a great number of students ready for admission when they open. This tells why the corporate houses who were vying with one another to open budget hotels at one point of time are now increasingly getting into opening schools in the name of philanthropy and charity. Was the entire game plan designed to help this motive?

Some experts working in the field of education even go on to say that RTE is actually a planned conspiracy against low and middle income people. People like RC Jain, who have been associated with the education industry since years and who have been vociferously fighting against the policies of the Government go to the extent of saying that “Paramatma will never forgive Congress for the injustice it has committed towards children through bringing RTE.”

S. Aziz Haider/RNI News Agency




They Are the Champions in Academics @ Unity

2 (1024x697)Unity’s jubilant celebration at its Annual Felicitation Ceremony was heightened amidst the festive season of gaiety and myriad colours on the eve of Holi. On the fortunate evening of 16th March, 2014, the meritorious students of the ICSE and ISC 2013 were honoured and applauded along with their educators for the best results. It is an honour that elevates each achiever and acts like a catalyst for higher accomplishments.

As per the theme of the ceremony ‘Unity in Diversity’, an ensemble of spiritual leaders from different religions graced the auspicious occasion. Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji, Founder- Art of Living was the Chief Guest for the occasion. He is better known as the ambassador of religious harmony and world peace for his philanthropic mission and rehabilitation services across the world, espically in Iraq. He upholds the teachings and sacrifices of Hazrat Imam Husain (A.S.), and urges people to follow the Imam in fighting corruption and oppression fearlessly. The Chief Guest praised Janab Kalbe Sadiq for his concept of unity that is evident in name and form at Unity College. He further said that sensitivity as well as sensibility is the need of the hour in the present scenario of violence, because of diversity in, thought and concepts. He stressed that distances create fear- so they should be removed by communication. All religious scriptures render the same life values in us.3 (1024x435)

The Guests of Honour were Rev Fr. Ignatius D’Souza, Gyani Jagjeet Singh, Shri Bhikku Davendra Thero, Qaziye Shahar Mufti Abul Irfan Farangi Mahali, Maulana Prof. Dr. Syed Ali Mohd. Naqavi, Chairman Department of Shia Theology, AMU Aligarh and Swami Sachidananda Bharathi. The benign presence of these renowned dignitaries under one roof added an all-embracing intellectual elegance to the assemblage. At the onset of the function, the divine renditions from the Quran, the Bible, the Bhagwat Geeta and the Gurugranth Saheb emphasized the enlightening message of education that binds all irrespective of different castes, religions, communities or nationalities. Then the Principal read the College Report with pride mentioning the landmark achievements of the Session 2012-13.

1 (1024x642)As the evening was solely dedicated to success, the ISC toppers Amaan Haider Zaidi of Science and Anamta Ali of Commerce, and the ICSE hi-fliers Nausheen Hasan of Science and

Tanzeem Fatima of Commerce were conferred with awards, medals and scholarships that enlisted Late Syed Husain Memorial, Late Mukhtar Husain Memorial for Mathematics, T.Z. Naqvi for Biology, Mohini Saxena and Unity College Scholarships. Alongwith them scores of brilliant achievers of the same batch were also honoured.

Next in the array of awardees was Unity College II Shift that administers a free education programme for the underprivileged and the downtrodden. The students were no lesser achievers in the High school and Intermediate 2013. The toppers Ali Zaidi (X) and Afreen Fatima (X) led a long queue of Good First divisioners of both the classes.

The moment of pride was shared by the teachers who ministered the best results in the Boards, the most popular teacher, the best support staff from the twin institutions- Unity College and Unity College-II shift.

The off campus Excellence Awards were a magnanimous part of the ceremony. Dr. Nahid Abidi clinched the coveted award for achieving excellence in the field of Sanskrit Language, Dr. Parveen Talha in the field of Social Service and Muzzammil Jamal in All India Engineering Services.

At last, the College President Dr. S. Kalbe Sadiq addressed the students and reiterated his strong views that education is the one and only means that can better the life of people, empower them and unite them too. Then he urged the students to strive for excellence and only excellence in every field.

The ceremony concluded with a thanksgiving note and bundles of smiles from the students.




Delhi’s education minister versus the messiah of education and small schools

Arvinder Singh Lovely

Arvinder Singh Lovely

RC Jain

RC Jain

RNI, New Delhi:

Arvinder Singh Lovely has served as the Minister for Education in the present Delhi Government that is fighting a pitted battle against a spirited fight put forth by the BJP under former education minister Dr. Harshvardhan and an unprecedented onslaught from Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party. Elected to the Delhi Legislative Assembly for the first time in 1998, Lovely has won three consecutive times from the Gandhi Nagar constituency in East Delhi and has served as the Minister in the Delhi Government for last 10 years.

The Education Minister in Delhi Government is pitted against the BJP candidate RC Jain who is considered a messiah of the small and unrecognized schools in Delhi and who has regularly been at loggerheads against the Delhi Education Minister for several faulty policies of the Government, particularly in regard to the children belonging to low income areas, minorities, SC/ST and OBC community. It has been courtesy RC Jain’s fight to save small schools from the stringent Right to Education norms that lakhs of students belonging to low income areas in Delhi are still getting reasonably good quality education in these small schools, who would have otherwise seen closure if the Education Minister had had its way. While several schools were considering downing their shutters, RC Jain came as saviour to them and took their fight to streets claiming that many schools in India will not be able to fulfill Centre’s land norms and will shut down, bringing lakhs of children on roads. The fight that he took brought hundreds of school owners and children on street and culminated in a gherao of Delhi Assembly, consequent to which the Delhi Government was forced to ease some of the stringent policy related to land norms.

Ironically, RC Jain has served on several education committees formed by the Delhi and Centre Government, some of which were till now chaired by Lovely. Also the President of Delhi State Public Schools Management Association, Jain has been with the Congress all through and has risen from the unit level to the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee but left Congress and joined BJP in the consequence of Government’s faulty education policies. Never the one who would let an opportunity go waste, Jain wrote a book ‘Tihar Jail Me Paanch Din’ when he landed in the prison for a demonstration against the education policy of the government. He has also written two other books ‘Antim Satya’ and ‘Bapu ki Hatya’, which have received rave comments.

Jain’s previous attachment with the Congress is something which shall be worrying Lovely, whose popularity has waned considerably due to the miserable plight of his constituency and his name coming in the alleged corruption in grant of fitness certificate to commercial vehicles. The wholesale cloth market, which is said to be Asia’s biggest, has compounded problems for the residents as it has been putting pressure on existing infrastructure, besides causing heavy traffic jams on major roads. Residents dread monsoon season as even a short spell of rain at times results in flooding of the lanes in colonies as well as major roads. They complain that despite sewer lines being laid over 10 years ago, these were never made functional. Besides, there is a growing resentment among voters over scarcity of water supply in the area. Areas like Seelampur and Welcome are the worst affected.

Gandhi Nagar’s crumbling infrastructure, poor civic amenities, large scale encroachments, traffic snarls, lack of parking space and faulty drainage system have gone from bad to worse during the past 15 years. Strangely enough, the Gandhi Nagar constituency has continued to send Lovely to the Assembly for three consecutive terms. Lovely is now aiming for the 4th tenure as MLA but presence of several star campaigners like Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj, Dr. Harshvardhan and Manoj Tiwari to Jain’s campaign, Jain’s clean image, his commitments and fights in the past against the system and some of Congress’s own misdoings seem to be working against Lovely this time.

Gandhi Nagar has been with Congress since 1998 when Lovely contesting for the first time defeated the BJP candidate by a huge margin and became the youngest MLA at the age of 30. Though not that popular any more, it remains to be seen if the Education Minister is able to meet the challenge posed by the messiah of education and small schools in Delhi.

Real News International News Bureau