VOL.4 1-31 July 2001 NO.4


(The Hindu – 4-07-2001)

The Center has decided to set up a separate commission for ocean development. It will be on the lines of the Space and Atomic Energy Commissions. The move is aimed at more efficient harnessing of the mineral and organic resources of the three seas surrounding the country and also to make the best use of the benefits accruing from the international agreements on ocean-related issues. The U.N Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS), in particular, has immense geopolitical ramifications. Under the UNCLOS, coastal countries could establish the territorial sea of 12 nautical miles, an exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles and the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical from the baseline.


(The Indian Express – 5-07-2001)

Two Indian scientists, C.Janakiram, Deputy Director in the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals and Dr. Md. Khallilullah, a Professor of the Jawahar Lal Technical University in Hyderabad have been awarded a U.S patent. The patent is for a new invention for the medicinal use for an analgesic anti-inflammatory composition and method of preparing the biologically active organic compound from a plant. The invention relates to topically applied pharmaceutical compositions for providing analgesic and anti-inflammatory relief in humans. The compositions have potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties and are thus useful in the treatment of conditions involving pain and/or inflammation such as migraines, musculo-skeletal and joint disorders, low back pain, spondilysis, cramps, sprain and the like.

Another object of this invention is to provide topical therapeutic composition which can be prepared in the form of a gel, lotion, ointment, spray, liquid, liniment and the like.


(The Hindu – 5-07-2001)

The Uttar Pradesh Government has launched a special campaign to ensure admission of the entire eligible child population to primary schools. A similar campaign, named "School Chalo Abhiyan", had been launched at the beginning of the academic session last year too, which paid dividends. According to State Education Department officials, while the rate of drop-outs during earlier years was about 50 per cent, last year the percentage came down to 28. The present campaign is expected to reduce it further. In the first phase of the campaign, it is proposed to identify all children who have reached the school-going age and who had been admitted last year but later dropped out. In the second phase the actual process of admission of the identified children to schools would take place. The first phase would be like a mass awareness programme when government agencies, voluntary organizations and social activists would create a congenial atmosphere in favour of literacy. The campaign would be publicized through route marches, community contact programmes and group discussions at the village level.


(The Hindu – 6-07-2001)

The new gas discovery made by Cairn Energy in the Krishna Godavari deep water block has been named "Annapurna" by the Petroleum Minister. The discovery, the first from the 25 blocks awarded under the first round of the new exploration licensing policy



(Ministry of Information and Broadcasting)

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(NELP), has been made at a water depth of 1,000 metres and a well depth of 2330 metres below sea level. The well flowed gas at a combined stabilized rate of more than 2.3 million standard cubic metres a day through 64/64 inch choke. The initial estimate of gas is in the range of 21 to 28 billion cubic metres of dry gas, primarily methane gas. The discovery augurs well as there is a large demand for gas in Andhra Pradesh and nearby areas. It will also encourage further oil and gas exploration in the area especially in the Krishna- Godavari basin.


(The Hindu- 6-07-2001)

Having declared 2001 "the Year of Books", the Human Resource Development Ministry has followed it up with requests to the management of all transit points – be it for air, rail or road travel – to set up book shops within their premises. Similar letters have also gone to town planners urging them to earmark space in every new shopping centre sanctioned for book shops. With distribution being identified as the weakest link within the book industry, the Ministry has written to the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the Railway Board and the Secretary of Road Transport in every State to put up book stalls at all points of transit under their jurisdiction to facilitate greater availability of books. Through a mandate of the Ministry, particular attention is being paid to book promotion this year with a special allocation of Rs. 1 crore.


(The Hindu – 7-07-2001)

There is a renewed interest in ayurveda as more and more people turn to traditional systems of medicines looking for cures without after-effects and reactions. Long queues in the Out Patients’ Department of the National Institute of Ayurveda (NIA) in Jaipur are a testimony to the hot new rage that is ayurveda. The Institute too, after working rather silently in the field of ayurveda education, research and treatment for over a quarter of a century, has woken up now to the need to reach out to more

and more people to popularise the system further. There is a flurry of activity at the Institute. Occupancy is 100 per cent in the two hospitals attached to NIA – the 160-bed Arogyashala located on the sprawling campus of the Institute and the 20-bed Seth Surajmal Bombaywala Hospital in the Walled City of Jaipur. The cottage and cubical wards, constructed lately amid considerable skepticism about their utility, are full too.


(The Pioneer – 8-07-2001)

For the first time in the country, an indigenous, effective and economical treatment has been found for Acute Promyelocytic Leukaemia (APML) – a deadly strain of blood cancer. An ayurvedic drug, Navjeevan, has been found to be 100 per cent effective in curing this deadly disease the cure for which had so far eluded the medical fraternity. Navjeevan comprises a silver compound with a combination of potent herbs. "This drug is administered orally and the effect is visible within 30 days. The treatment however, continues for one year", says Dehradun-based Vaidya Balendu Prakash, who has successfully conducted a study on 22 APML patients without any side-effects. The Ministry of Health has accepted the clinical findings of the study and has set up a committee for the development of the drug. Interestingly, for the first time in the study, both allopathy and ayurvda were involved closely in testing the drug. The drug is available at the Vaidya Chandra Prakash Cancer Research Foundation, Dehra Dun and the Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. The study on Navjeevan was carried out in collaboration with Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha, an autonomous body of the Ministry of Health and Kerala Government.


(The Hindu – 8-07-2001)

In the absence of primary health centers in the rural areas, the Chhattisgarh Government has decide to convert local schools as health information centers for monsoon-related diseases. The students of these schools

will act as ‘informers’ and report about malatia malaria and gastroenteritis cases. Any Non-Governmental Organisation in the area can also interact with the students on a daily basis, gather information and send medicines besides collecting data.


(The Hindu – 13-07-2001)

The South Asian Community Center for Education, Research and Action Trust, based in Chennai, has set up an "India-Pakistan Reconciliation School". The school offers a six-month online-cum-correspondence course for Indian and Pakistani youth. Interested person can log on to site, read the lessons and other supplementary readings and do the exercises or the self-tests each month. On successful completion, the students will receive a certificate saying that they have completed a course on India-Pakistan reconciliation. A correspondence version of the same programme is being launched from September 2001. The six areas that would be covered in six months are: (i) envisioning a common future; (ii) taking stock of the present decadence; (iii) removing the stumbling blocks; (iv) meeting each other half way; (v) walking together to peace and development and (vi) nurturing peace and development. Some conventional subjects such as history would be avoided for obvious reasons. The "India-Pakistan Reconciliation School" students would be organized informally through an e-mail network and /or other conventional means of communication so that they stay in touch with each other in a sustained way and contribute to the promotion of goodwill between the two countries. The experiment could be used as a basis for establishing a South Asian community school or university in the future that would include other countries of the region also.


(The Hindustan Times – 13-07-2001)

The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry announced the launch of "Swayamsiddha", an integrated self-help group-based programme to empower women by amalgamating the Indira Mahila Yojana and the Mahila Samridhi Yojana. The scheme would aim at the holistic empowerment of women through awareness generation, economic empowerment and convergence of various schemes. The Rs 116 crore scheme will be launched in 650 blocks and implemented by an appropriate government or non-government agency that could even be a district or intermediate-level Panchayati Raj body.


(The Hindu –17-07-2001)

The country’s first "Service Centre" in the housing sector was inaugurated in Bhopal. The Centre developed by the Madhya Pradesh Housing Board, will provide maintenance, repair and other housing services to the residents. The Service Centre has been equipped with technically trained staff including masons, plumbers, electricians, and carpenters. Their services can be hired on telephone or pager. The State Government’s plan to authroise such service centres in all M.P. Housing Board colonies. Five per cent income from these service centres would go to their technical staff as an incentive. The residents of the colonies could be motivated to maintain cleanliness. A fine would be imposed on those responsible for polluting or keeping their residential areas dirty. It is significant for M.P. Housing Board to have become the country’s first State-owned autonomous housing corporation to translate into reality the concept of a service centre in the housing sector through public-private partnership. The service centre will provide guidance and consultancy about the utilization of housing materials and also their availability in the market. Assistance, in terms of architecture and building design, will also be offered to the public on nominal charges.



(The Hindu – 17-07-2001)

The Haryana State Electronic Development Corporation (HARTRON) is taking initiatives to set up Haryana State Wide Area Network for connecting the State headquarters in Chandigarh with all district headquarters, tehsils, blocks, villages, departments and apex organizations. The State Information Technology Department says that software export from Haryana had achieved a growth rate of over 90 per cent as compared to the country’s average of 55 per cent. Haryana has achieved the distinction of becoming the country’s second fastest growing region in software exports which had touched the staggering figure of Rs. 2075 crore in 2000-2001 as compared to Rs. 400 crore during 1998-1999. Another significant achievement of the State in the IT sector is that HARTRON has become the first electronic development corporation in India to attain ISO-9001 Certification for Software Development. As part of the Government’s commitment to making Haryana an IT-savvy State, it has decided to set up a hi-tech cyber city in Gurgaon, which would be spread over an area of 100 acres. The State Government has taken another major step in this sector by implementing Haryana Registration Information System (HARIS) in 23 tehsils and three sub-tehsils. This has not only resulted in an increase in revenue but also cut down the time a person has to spend on registration of documents. By the end of August 2001, HARIS would be introduced in all 67 tehsils and 47 sub-tehsils of the State.


(The Hindu - 17-07-2001)

Villagers, especially women, are participating in a big way in various afforestation and reforestation programmes in Himachal Pradesh these days. A beautiful forest raised in seven hectares of land by the women belonging to Gram Van Vikas Samiti in Balag area of Theog forest division in Shimla, has become a talk of the area and an example of active people’s participation in environment development. Women are involved in other parts of the State also by participating in forest development committees working for the afforestation drive.


Till now 262 village forest development committees have been registered out of 364 committees constituted so far and are going ahead with their work after preparing their own schemes. The results are very encouraging of a scheme called "Sanjhi Van Yojna" launched in December 1998 with an objective to actively involve local population including ‘mahila mandals’, youth, schools and NGOs. The Village Forest Development Committees (VFDCs) are being constituted in the State in villages located around the forests by involving one member of each family of the village and it is being ensured that each of theses committees has at least 50 per cent women members. A new programme called "Apna Van Apna Dhan" is also being initiated to make afforestation a mass movement by involving all sorts of groups in villages including voluntary organizations and ex-servicemen. These groups will be given rights to select the types of species and also all utilisation rights till the trees are fully grown and 75 per cent of income at the time of last felling with 25 per cent of remaining income going to the local panchayat. This active participation of local people is helping the State retain and increase its green cover.


(The Indian Express – 18-07-2001)

As India strives to rein in its explosive population growth rate, coming to its aid is a unique social project that seeks to popularize oral contraception and enhance usage of pills not only among the consumers but also the influence group of doctors and chemists, called Goli Ke Hamjoli. The project launched about two years ago is unique in that it ropes in the private sector join the programme by producing oral contraceptives to meet the rising demand that is being created by mass awareness media campaigns and special orientation workshops for doctors and chemists. Goli ke Hamjoli promotes the entire ‘brand-width’ of available oral contraceptives in the market by educating the target audience about their significance and convenience of usage.


(The Hindu – 19-07-2001)

India’s first geo-thermal minor hydel plant will be installed in the Sarguja district of Chhattisgarh. The 30 MW project will be installed on a natural geyser in tatapani village of this tribal-dominated district. To be set-up at an estimated cots of Rs. 4.60 crores, the Chhattisgarh Government has given a green signal to the project which will be installed by the National Hydel Power Corporation (NHPC). Depending upon the preliminary results of the production the State Government and NHPC will run it a as joint venture with the distribution rights of electricity produced fully under the control of Chhattisgarh Electricity Board. The project is expected to start production by October this year and the construction will be carried out under the supervisions of Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA). The Union Energy Resource Ministry has sanctioned the entire Rs. 4.60 crores needed for the project which is the first of its kind in the country. The amount has already been allotted to NHPC. The Tatapani project is the first of the nearly 320 spots identified for installation of minor geo-thermal hydel project.


(The Hindu – 19-07-2001)

The country’s fifth national university for legal education started functioning in Jodhpur with the inauguration of its first degree and postgraduate courses. The university will promote education and research in the field of law and develop professional skills of young men and women opting for law as their career. The institutions of national stature imparting education exclusively in law are currently functioning in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Bhopal and Kolkata. With the objective of integrating knowledge at the optimum level, the university has introduced integration of social science with law, physical and life science with law, and management science with law. To meet the growing needs of legal profession in the global context, the university will design various undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing legal education course, training courses and research programmes in the near future. It would, thus, develop several schools of excellence in various branches of knowledge.


(The Hindu – 21-07-2001)

The forest cover in Chhattisgarh has increased by 635 sq kms in the past decade. The increase in the forest area has come following participation of people through 2,995 Forest Protection Committees, 3,207 Village Forest Committee and 199 Eco Development Committees which function within 10 kms of the forest area to protect and conserve the forest and its produce. As much as 44 per cent of Chhattisgarh in under forest cover accounting for 12.5 per cent of the total forest in the county. The forests are equally useful in maintaining environment and ecological balance in the State and its neighbouring areas. While the forest comprise sal, teak, bamboo and timber tress these are storehouses for many Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFP) like tendu leaf, dal seed, lac, mahua flowers and fruits, gums, dyes mushrooms and essential oils. The Forest Department claims it had started various schemes in the past decade where the participation of the local people was sought in conserving the forest and , at the same time, not disturbing the natural habitat and socio-cultural system of the tribal. The most effective among these processes was the concept of People Protected Areas (PPA) where the people themselves protect and manage the forest areas on the principal of exploitation of forest without destruction and with respect to there own tradition knowledge and enhancement of local technology. About 50 per cent of the places in these committees are reserved for women to ensure their participation. Large-scale plantation was carried out under these schemes which not only increased the forest cover but also earned 9,63,761 mandays of work. About 96 handpumps and 70 wells were installed at a cost of Rs. 90 lakhs to provide drinking water to the people besides implementation of developmental works like construction of stop dams, tanks and approach roads.


(The Hindu – 24-07-2001)

Non-proprietary software may emerge as an alternative to e-governance and e-education programmes in the country with the


inauguration of the Indian chapter of the Free Software Foundation (FSF). The Free Software Foundation headquartered in boston

U.S., is dedicated to promoting computer users’ rights to use, study, copy, modify and redistribute computer programmes. The software is supplied under a special General Public Licence that allows users to modify the software ,subject to the condition that redistribution should be with the source code under the Public Licence. The FSF India is the result of initiative taken by a group of Government officials and Free Software practitioner and enthusiasts in India. A Government that wants to implement vernacular language in a proprietary Operating System (OS) has no alternative but go to the company that produced the software in the first place. That company, on its part, will undertake to do this work only if it made commercial sense. On the other hand, with a free OS, the Government could adopt an existing product and produce a custom implementation that can be distribute without any legal problems. Along with the inauguration of the FSF India, Free Developers, a self-regulatory organisation of Free Software developer from around the work, has also set up its branch in India.


(The Pioneer – 24-07-2001)

Alarmed by the decreasing sex ratio between boys and girls in the State as per the 2001 census, the Haryana Government has slapped a ban on prenatal sex determination tests of pregnant women of about 12 weeks. The doctors doing ultra-sound diagnosis in private and Government hospitals would now be required to keep a record of the patients. It has also drawn the attention of the doctors to the Pre-Natal Diagnositc Test (PNDT) Act of 1994 which provides for penal action with imprisonment up to three years. To ensure proper implementation of the Act provisions, the State Government plans to set up supervisory committees in all

district. These committees would be headed by respective civil surgeons of each district and the members would include the district family welfare officer, immunization officer, child specialist and gynecologist employed with the State-owned General Hospital, the district attorney and three women activities. The committees would act immediately on detecting sex determination by any doctor. A public awareness campaign about these panels has also been launched.


(The Hindu – 25-07-2001)

The second longest bridge across the Ganga in the Bihar opened by the Chief Minister. The 4.6 km long bridge, named the Vikramsheels Setu commemorating the ancient Vikramsheela University, connects Barari Ghat in Bhagalpur with Naugachia on the other side. At the cost of Rs. 168 crores with World Bank aid. The bridge connects National Highway 31 with National Highway 80, considerably reducing the distance between several points including the north-eastern States and West Bengal and the neighbouring countries of Bangaldesh and Nepal. The distance it compress between several points ranges upto over 250 km, thus not only saving time, but also the cost of transport enormously and brings good tidings to the township and its adjoining areas. The bridge is the third across the Ganga in the State and the second longest after Mahatma Gandhi Setu at Patna, which is about 5.6 km long, the longest road bridge in Asia over a river. Apart from silk, the bridge is a blessing for banana cultivators around Naugachia as it will give a ready market for the perishable commodity. More importantly, it will save the lives of lakhs of rural people who cross the river by boats and steamers during the monsoon when the river is in spate and from the clutches of the water transport mafia.



(The Hindustan Times – 26-07-2001)

Cutting-edge technology developed by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur may soon enable the blind to move about in the countless alleys of cyberspace. The sightless would be able to surf the Net, read texts in Indian languages, take up normal office work or even perceive images. IIT Kharagpur has taken Louis Braille’s system a quantum step ahead. The technology, a fruition of years of research, involved developing software that easily translates Braille into plain English or any other languages on a computer. The user just has to punch in the keys of his keyboard, a specially designed one that would have all Braille characters. As the keys in words, the computer, through a specially installed sound card, would read out the written text to avoid mistakes. The text on the screen would, however, be displayed in plain English. The project has been funded by the Ministry of Information Technology and is being jointly conducted by Webel Media-tronics Ltd. The software Bharat Braille 1.0 would be further developed to translate Braille not only into English, but six other Indian languages – Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Telugu and Marathi. The best part is that it is much affordable and easy to operate. The complete system with several devices and Braille printers will be available for Rs 1.5 lakh. In order to bring it within the reach of the common man five Braille resource centres already formed all over India where blind students can receive training at very low cost.



(The Hindu – 29-07-2001)

The world’s first remelt technique-based plant for converting industrial waste into pig-iron will be established in Bastar. This would reduce the high water and air pollution besides help in restarting a sick cement plant and generating employment. Developed by Russia, the latest technique-based Rs. 298.6 crore plant will convert industrial waste, containing a high percentage of iron ore into pig-iron. The iron ore is released from the mines of National Mineral Development Corporation in the tribal-dominated district of Dantewada’s Bailadilla region. The remelt process is best suited for India ecological conditions and it involves production of liquid iron after reduction process in a single stage which will help in reducing pollution. Minimum silica will be found in the produced hot iron metal which can be directly used in the production of high quality iron. It would also produce good quality slag which can be used in the production of cement.