Book Review – Toxic Portents: CBRN incident management in India

2018年11月27日 0 Comments

By Karuna John The term Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN), is not as intense as the consequences of what devastation each of those elements can unleash on the world, should they be misused. Each time there is a war, a terror attack, or even a pandemic as the world is witnessing right now with Coronavirus, conversations and conspiracy theories start circulating, as news as well as keynotes of the infamous Even the former, unfortunately is under informed on the subject. There is not enough information on the dangers of CBRN elements should they fall into the wrong hands, because there are not enough subject experts willing to share information. A step in filling the glaring gap is Toxic Portents: CBRN Incident Management in India, authored by Col. Ram Athavale (retd). Athavale is a CBRN Security and Incident Management Consultant based in Pune, India and holds a PhD on the subject from the Savitribai Phule Pune University. His doctoral thesis was on According to Athavale, CBRN emergencies can be We see such incidents reported in the news often but as lay people seldom associate it with CBRN. Accidents such as these are often seen as a result of negligence in waste management, maintenance of equipment. The author states that CBRN can be both Here is a recap, remember the Bhopal gas tragedy (1984), the suspected The lack of preparedness shook India, was recorded in history and exposed the lack of critical infrastructure. Once there was calm after the storm, there was talk of preparedness before the next disaster struck. However, as the second wave of Covid-19 exposed, that too remained a pipe dream. Hopefully, lessons have been learnt. The book comes at a crucial time to remind that CBRN incident management has to be planned way ahead. When nothing is happening as far as an adverse incident is concerned. Rather, it is a reminder that CBRN incidents can and do happen, in varying intensities even though they are not noticed such as in vulnerable zones such as large public gatherings. The book aims at calmly raising awareness of CBRN threats and risk mitigation measures. It also stresses on an urgent need to educate and train all stakeholders including the general public on CBRN risks and threats. Is India prepared? However, CBRN incidents are yet to enter the priority files of policy makers who have to be the first to generate awareness of such risks and mitigation. This book is for them, to understand CBRN threats and perhaps discuss the possible response scenarios. It also bravely lists out Divided into chapters, with self-explanatory titles: Understanding CBRN Threats; Response to CBRN Incidents; Global Initiatives for CBRN Risk Mitigation, Is India Prepared?; What Ails the Indian CBRN Preparedness and Response; Enhancing CBRN Security, lead to suggestions such as However, it is not easy to predict if the book will have a difference where it matters: the political and policy making authorities. A typical reader will find it highly technical, but someone interested in defence issues, technology, and security concerns will find it an engaging read. However, the book needs more graphics, and better photographs to have a bigger impact, and perhaps reach a younger readership of students, and lay citizens, who urgently need this information now, to be equipped and informed about CBRN, when they find themselves in charge of decision making offices. Till then, it is a detailed reference book, which is likely to make the reader reach out to the author himself, for a detailed discussion. More about the reviewer of the book: Karuna John is an independent writer and editor. Shes worked with leading publications, print and digital for over two decades. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online. More about the author of the book: Col Ram Athavale, PhD, is a specialist in CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) Security, Risk Mitigation and Incident Management. He has been a Key CBRN Advisor to the Govt of India and the European Union CBRN Risk Mitigation Centers of Excellence initiative (EU CBRN CoE). He has authored a pioneering book on Presently based at Pune, India, he functions as a CBRN Security Consultant and a Visiting\/Adjunct Faculty at some Indian and overseas universities, academic institutions and military training establishments. TOXIC PORTENTS CBRN: Incident Management in India Author: Col Ram V Athavale, PhD Published by: Vij Books India Pvt Ltd Pages: 238 Price: 00.

Threads of distress: Wanderlust leaves craftspersons in the wilderness

2018年11月27日 0 Comments

The debate around the Sabyasachi Mukherjee-HM line, Wanderlust, has rekindled the old question of traditional craftspersons Even as a number of India So, when one of India Craft organisations have come together to voice their protest against the appropriation of Sanganeri motifs for digitally printed clothes. Unfortunately, that is the furthest they have been able to go The travails of Indian artisans are understandable. They have to work doubly hard to survive in a market flooded by cheap replicas that are becoming harder and harder for customers to distinguish from the real thing. It might be too much to expect them to legally challenge every offender flourishing at their expense. Mukherjee The sophistry of this argument lies in the fact that it is applied to purchasing power, and not to taste. It is disingenuous to say that a consumer who can afford apparel priced at Rs 9,999 needs to evolve in some way to be able to buy a hand-printed saree for Rs 2,200. The irony is especially stark at a time when the Wanderlust line sells out within minutes of its launch, while the Sanganeri printer has to deal with haggling customers over WhatsApp just to sell some yardage going at Rs 250 per metre. The pandemic has disrupted the craft exhibition calendar, and craftspersons are having to look for buyers through other channels. Unscrupulous designers and unsuspecting consumers are two reasons behind the sorry state of craft livelihoods. Another is the apathy of the government to the grievances of India The powerloom lobby is strong and, in 2015, there was a buzz about the government scrapping the Handloom Reservation Act, which prohibits the use of handloom motifs in machine-made copycats. The Act was saved, thanks to a spirited speech in Parliament by MP Kirron Kher, who pegged the number of handloom artisans at 4.3 million. However, almost every Indian weave is today replicated on powerlooms, and the Act remains only on paper. In July 2020, the government dismantled the All India Handloom Board that was, with 88 artisan members from across the country, the only mechanism for direct dialogue between craftspersons and the government. The reason given was that the board had become inefficient and was riddled with middlemen. If true, that could only have been an opportunity to rejuvenate the board by bringing in the real stakeholders. The Wanderlust collection simply exemplifies the abandoning of craftspersons by the state and the market. There is time for course correction. We could begin with a survey to build a definitive registry of traditional craftspersons. At least, there should be a census to determine how many Indian individuals work with crafts, right down to the last woman who spins yarn and the last man who tans leather for Kolhapuris.

Covid-19: Delta variant increases risk of hospitalisation, read details

2018年11月27日 0 Comments

Patients of Coronavirus infected by its Delta variant are at double the risk of hospitalisation in comparison to those infected by the Alpha variant, as per an analysis of over 40000 Covid-19 cases in England. The study which was conducted by The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal zeroed in on these patients who had contracted Coronavirus during March 29 and May 23 this year, the Indian Express reported. The research also found that the risk of getting hospitalised in an emergency situation was also 1.5 times more in case of the Delta variant in comparison to the infection caused by the Alpha variant. Talking about the salience of the research, Dr Gavin Dabrera, one of the study Dr Dabrera said that the delta variant was more dangerous and put more people at risk of hospitalisation than the alpha variant. Dabrera also emphasised on the fact that most patients analysed during the study had not been vaccinated before they got Coronavirus. The delta variant which was first reported in India in December last year has spread to most parts of the world and also become the leading variant for most infections in recent times. Earlier studies on the variant had also found the variant to be not only more lethal but also rapidly transmissible. It is pertinent to note that all 40000 patients of Coronavirus who were part of the study had been genome sequenced to determine the variant they had got infected from. The researchers after taking into account age, ethnicity, vaccination status and other variable factors reached the conclusion that the delta variant was 2 times more likely to make patients severely ill needing hospitalisation. Dr Anne Presanis, who is another lead author of the study and a senior statistician at the MRC Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge was quoted as saying that the study had highlighted the fact that the delta variant can impose a greater burden on the health care system in the absence of full vaccination and urged people to get fully vaccinated at the earliest.

Rain inundates Delhi, highest in September in 12 years

2018年11月27日 0 Comments

Delhi saw the highest single-day rainfall in September in at least 12 years, with weather stations in the city recording 112.1 mm rainfall in 24 hours ending at 8:30 am on Wednesday. The heavy burst of rain submerged low-lying areas in knee-deep water and affected traffic movement in parts of the city. On an average, the capital gauges 125.1 mm precipitation in September every year, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). This means that Delhi recorded 90 percent of the monthly quota of rain on the first day of the month. Mahesh Palawat, Vice President, Skymet Weather, a private forecasting agency, said the monsoon pattern is changing due to climate change. The number of rainy days has reduced over the last four to five years, and there has been an increase in extreme weather events, he said. We have been recording short and intense bouts of rains, sometimes around 100 mm rainfall in just 24 hours. In the past, this much precipitation would occur over a period of 10 to 15 days, he said. Officials at the India Meteorological Department (IMD said the Safdarjung Observatory, considered the official marker for the city, gauged 112.1 mm rainfall in the 24 hours ending 8:30 am on Wednesday, the highest on a day in September in at least 12 years. The weather stations at Lodhi Road, Ridge, Palam and Ayanagar recorded 120.2 mm, 81.6 mm, 71.1 mm and 68.2 mm rainfall, respectively, in the 24 hours ending 8:30 am. On Tuesday, Delhi gauged 84 mm rainfall in just six hours – between 8:30 am and 2:30 pm – that flooded roads and led to massive traffic snarls on key stretches such as ITO, Ring Road near IP Estate flyover, Dhaula Kuan, and Rohtak road. It recorded 28 mm rainfall between 5:30 am and 8:30 am on Wednesday, officials said. Patchy rains are likely till late afternoon. Thereafter, the intensity will reduce. Another spell of rain is likely from September 7, an IMD official said. The Delhi Traffic Police issued an advisory against traffic obstruction at the Azad Market Subway going towards Pratap Nagar due to the heavy waterlogging at the road. The Zakhira underpass is also closed due to waterlogging. Weather experts said such spells of rain do not help recharge groundwater and lead to flooding in low-lying areas. The water percolates in the ground if it rains slowly over four to five days. In case of heavy falls, the rainwater runs off quickly, Palawat said. The rain washes away pollutants, but since the number of rainy days has reduced, the average annual air quality is also getting affected, he said.

PFRDA proposes to make eNPS mandatory for government employees by 1st April 2022 – Details

2018年11月27日 0 Comments

Opening of National Pension System (NPS) account for central government employees and state government employees including employees of Autonomous Bodies may soon be mandatory through eNPS-Government PFRDA proposes to make the eNPS mandatory for Government employees by 1st April 2022. Central Record Keeping Agencies(CRAs) would be rolling out the feature e NPS for Government PFRDA has sought comments from the Government nodal offices on the new digital initiative of providing the option to the employees of Government Sector to register under NPS through eNPS-Government The proposed digital platform shall also enable Inter Sector Shifting (ISS) of existing Subscribers of other sectors to seamlessly transfer their NPS account into Government Sector. E NPS registration modes The employees of Government Sector (Central\/State Government including Autonomous Bodies) would be provided with the option to digitally register themselves under the respective Government Sector by the following modes: 1. Through Aadhaar Online\/Offline e-KYC 2. Through Permanent Account Number (PAN) What is eNPS eNPS is the online platform hosted by NSDL-CRA on behalf of NPS Trust wherein a Subscriber can register and contribute online under NPS. At present, under eNPS, the facility of online registration is available to All Citizens of India Sector and Corporate Sector Subscribers. Whereas, the online contribution and Tier II Account activation facility is available to all the registered Subscribers including Government Sector Subscribers having active PRAN under NPS. Under e NPS, the Government employees (who are covered under NPS) will have the facility to register online in NPS and generate Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN) through eNPS. The process of registration through eNPS will be a paperless process wherein the Subscriber will submit the registration request through digital signature.

SAIL aims at reducing net debt to Rs 15,000-20,000cr in FY22

2018年11月20日 0 Comments

Steel Authority of India Ltd is aiming at reducing its net debt to a range of Rs 15,000-20,000 crore in the current fiscal if the prices and demand for the commodity remain stable, a top company official said on Thursday. The Maharatna PSU has around Rs 30,000 crore net debt as of June 30, 2021, down from Rs 35,350 crore by end of the previous fiscal. She was hopeful that demand will pick up in the coming months. Prices of flat products remain stable, while those of long ones are improving, Mondal said. Domestic steel major had decreased its net debt by Rs 16,131 crore to Rs 35,350 crore during the 2020-21 financial year. The company had announced that it would spend Rs 8,000 crore as capital expenditure during the current financial year. The steelmaker posted a consolidated net profit of Rs 3,897 crore for the April-June quarter of the 2021-22 fiscal, as against a loss of Rs 1,226 crore in the year-ago period.

How a financial planner can help you grow your wealth, save taxes

2018年11月20日 0 Comments

While most people understand the significance of saving and making investments for the future, some might not have the time or flair to keep up with a long-time period plan. A financial planner guides an investor on their wealth management path and helps manage the finances. There are instances when employing the services of a professional has been very helpful. To get on track for wealth creation – For those who are ready to take control of their present and future financial situation, hiring a financial planner could be helpful. A good financial planner will first understand ones current situation, future goals and emotional biases concerning wealth, and then chart out a comprehensive customised plan. Need clarity in a portfolio – Most start investing in an ad-hoc manner, trying to replicate the success of others or based on suggestions. Experts say everyone A financial planner can assist in evaluating a cluttered, directionless or inadequate performing portfolio, in the context of ones risk profile, while suggesting the right course. During a major life-altering event – Major life-altering events affect ones finances, such as getting married, having a baby or buying a new house. Experts say one needs to plan and align their finances with the event as well as the impact it could have on one. In such a situation, a financial advisor can offer sound advice and help navigate the event with the correct and long-term approach. During windfall gains – This could include gains from an insurance pay-out, inheritance, sale of assets, IPO, or unexpected winnings from lotteries, etc. Commonly seen, most people start overspending or get overwhelmed with the situation, and end up making poor personal and financial decisions. A financial advisor can guide an individual on various legal, financial, and tax implications surrounding different types of such gains with the right investment plan to help grow ones wealth. When closer to retirement – Ones approach towards money management changes from wealth creation to capital preservation and income generation, when closer to retirement. During this time, a portfolio should have low-risk assets that can generate a steady source of income, which could also require a complete reassessment by a financial planner to ensure that the corpus outlasts the investor and is not affected by inflation and longevity risk. To optimise your tax liability – A change in the tax regime, raise in income, or to get the best of various tax breaks could be another opportunity to seek professional help. One could be aware of the key deductions, but a financial expert can help maximise the benefits available for a taxpayer under their tax slab and also find opportunities to save tax.

Pawan Kalyan starrer Hari Hara Veeramallu gets release date on ‘Mighty Power’s’ birthday

2018年11月20日 0 Comments

Makers of Hari Hara Veeramallu (HHVM) have finally announced the release date of the period drama. The makers took the opportunity of the film lead hero Pawan Kalyans birthday to proclaim the release date of the film. As per the announcement made by the makers, the film is all set to be released on April 29 next year in the cinema halls across the country, the Indian Express reported. The film-makers also said that the film will be released in a total of four languages namely-Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi. Mega Surya Production which is financing and producing the period drama took to twitter to announce the development. Wishing Pawan Kalyan on his birthday by addressing him as the mighty power, the tweet said that the legendary heroic outlaw Hari Hara VeeraMallu will hit theatres on April 29, 2022. In a similar announcement on a social media platform, Hari Hara Veeramallu, director Krish Jagarlamudi wrote that it was an honour to wish Pawan Kalyan on his birthday. Heaping praise on the Telugu star, the director wrote that Kalyan was a real hero who always gives the welfare of society a thought in all actions of his life. The film is set back in time in the 17th century and narrates the story of a legendary outlaw and is the first ever collaboration between Kalyan and director Jagarlamudi. Beefed up with a mega budget of Rs 150 crore, the film features Nidhhi Agerwal as the female protagonist against the superstar. On the production front, the film is being produced by A Dayakar Rao whereas AM Ratnam is the presenter of the film. Every department of the film has been backed up with a powerhouse of talent and expertise. While the cinematography team of the film will be working under the wings of Gnanashekar VS, the films music will be rendered by MM Keeravani. There is a palpable excitement amongst the fans of Pawan Kalyan months before the scheduled release of the film.

Taliban all set to announce its new govt in Afghanistan; Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzada to be named Supreme Leader

2018年11月20日 0 Comments

The Taliban are all set to announce the formation of a new government in Kabul on the lines of the Iranian leadership, with the groups top religious leader Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzada as Afghanistans supreme authority, a senior member of the group has said. Consultations are almost finalised on the new government, and the necessary discussions have also been held about the cabinet, Mufti Inamullah Samangani, a senior official in the Talibans information and culture commission, said on Wednesday. He said the group is all set to announce the formation of the new government in Kabul in the next three days. In the new set-up, 60-year-old Mullah Akhundzada will be the Supreme Leader of the Taliban government, which will follow the pattern of the Iranian leadership. In Iran, the supreme leader is the highest political and religious authority of the country. He ranks above the president and appoints the heads of the military, the government, and the judiciary. The supreme leader has final say in the political, religious and military affairs of the country. Mullah Akhunzada will be the leader of the government and there should be no question on this, he said, indicating that the president will work under his oversight. Mullah Akhunzada is the top religious leader of the Taliban and has been serving at a mosque in Kachlaak area of Balochistan province for 15 years. Samangani said that under the new governmental set-up, governors will control the provinces, while the district governors will be in-charge of their respective districts. The Taliban has already appointed governors, police chiefs and police commanders for provinces and districts. The name of the new governance system, the national flag and the national anthem are yet to be finalised, he said. Meanwhile, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, deputy leader of the Taliban political office in Doha, on Thursday told the foreign media channels that women and members from all tribes in Afghanistan will be part of the new government set-up. Any person who was part of any former Afghanistan governments during the last 20 years will not be included in the new Taliban administration, he said. He said that Mullah Akhunzada will monitor the government from Kandahar, the stronghold of the Taliban movement. The Taliban want to have friendly relations with the European Union, the US and India, and members of the Taliban political office in Doha are in close contact with different foreign countries, he said. The Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul will be functional in next 48 hours and people with valid travel documents will be allowed to leave the country, Stanakzai said, adding that it will cost USD 25-30 million to renovate the airport.

Covid third wave: Paediatric beds to be increased in Bengal

2018年11月13日 0 Comments

The West Bengal health department has decided to increase the number of paediatric beds especially at critical care treatment facilities across the state in view of the possible third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, a senior official said on Monday. A decision was made to add beds to the existing critical care units (CCUs), paediatric intensive care units (PICUs) and neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). The number of Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) beds will also be augmented to make ready a total of 2,476 beds, the official said. Training of doctors including paediatricians and general duty medical officers, the nursing staff and other support staff have been arranged, he added. Meanwhile, seven people succumbed to Covid-19 in the state on Monday taking the death toll to 18,371, the health department said. The tally went up to 15,43,496 with 510 fresh cases. At least 628 people have recovered from the disease in the last 24 hours, the department said, adding that the discharge rate improved to 98.20 per cent. Till Monday, at least 15,15,789 patients have been cured of coronavirus in the state. The number of active cases was recorded at 9,336. Meanwhile, over five lakh vaccine doses were administered in West Bengal taking the total number of people vaccinated to 3.67 crore, a health department official said. Of them, over one crore have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.