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July 21, 2001 - July 21, 2001

Govt trashes last year's population policy draft Saturday, July 21, 2001

THE TIMES OF INDIA NEWS SERVICE
GANDHINAGAR: The Gujarat government's final decision to come up with a Bill on population control in the forthcoming state assembly session starting on July 26 sharply contradicts the 'Population Policy of Gujarat: Final Draft' prepared by a high-level committee set up by Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel in February 2000.
Headed by the then health and family welfare minister Ashok Bhatt, the committee's draft policy spoke sharply against the very concept of population control and rejected the focus on highly centralised target-oriented approach, even incentives, to stop the sharp population rise.
Favouring a paradigm shift in favour of stabilising population, instead of control, the state's draft policy takes its cue from the National Population Policy of 2000, which talks of "providing integrated health care services ... and upgrading health infrastructure" with specific measures like "raising the age of marriage of girls, providing health insurance, generating economic opportunities for women, raising literacy levels." In fact, the state's draft policy praises the national policy for adopting a "target-free approach as an alternative strategy."
The draft policy remains in hibernation ever since Bhatt resigned last year, though consensus was obtained from MLAs on March 14, 2000. The experts' working group formed on March 22, 2000 from various field comprising health, education, development, service, management and panchayati raj had also agreed with the draft policy. Subsequently, a state-level consultative workshop was held on May 1, 2000 with UNFPA support. The plan for a Gujarat Population Commission, under the CM's chairmanship to implement it, has also been forgotten.
Sharply criticising the past focus on "targets and incentives" to stabilise population, the draft policy takes its cue from the 1994 Cairo conference on population and development attended by 179 countries, including India, saying, "(It) helped in developing a holistic and integrated approach to reproductive and child health, and to stabilise population ... with a shift in focus to include stress on greater community involvement, removal of contraceptive targets, introduction of decentralised planning, improving quality of care, gender sensitivity in programme formulation."
Though a population policy statement was released on May 11, 2000, for some strange reason, the final draft population policy was never put out officially despite clear directions by the ministry of health and family welfare, Government of India, to come up with a state-specific policy on line with the national policy. The "final draft" just says the government of Gujarat is in the "process of formulating a population policy," with four main objectives in view:
* Strengthen health care infrastructure as a means to reduce the total fertility rate from 3.0 to replacement level of 2.1 by 2010.* Increase contraception prevalence from 57 per cent to 70 per cent.* Reduce infant mortality rate from 64 to 30 per 1,000 births.* Reduce maternal mortality from 389 to 100 per lakh live births.Particularly "realising that detriments to many reproductive and other health problems are due to gender imbalances in society", the draft policy wants to enforce "laws against sex determination vigorously", improve "nutritional standards of females through the life cycle approach and universalising primary education for girls that helps improve their self-esteem", stress on men sharing "responsibility of contraception", and incorporate "family life education in school curriculum."

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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MSU's record collection of Rs 51 lakh on Day 1 Saturday, July 21, 2001

THE TIMES OF INDIA NEWS SERVICE
VADODARA: M S University faculty of commerce has achieved a record by collecting more than Rs 51.05 lakh from students on the first day of admissions to FY BCom. Out of this amount, Rs 41.48 lakh was collected from 680 students who paid fees under the new self-financing scheme.
Amongst these there was a substantial number of students who were given admission to the Padra College but preferred to seek admission within MSU campus by paying Rs 6,100 as fee.
"I stay at Ajwa Road, and if attendance is compulsory, I would prefer paying extra to seek admission here since it is more convenient," said one student Hasnen Padaria.
According to MSU faculty dean Prof J R Khedkar, the overwhelming response of the students indicates that their scheme would be successful as most students who opt for coaching classes pay Rs 4000- 10,000 anyway.
Among the students who paid for the self-financing scheme was Vipul Shah who said that he had already paid for his coaching classes and had no option than to seek admission in the paid category. "The fee amount is high, but as I was unable to make it to the cut off percentage level, I have to pay. My father has a small shop at Bajwa and for us the extra Rs 6,000 (in addition to the private coaching classes) is a burden. But my career is a priority. I need a degree to gain a decent job," he said.
He said that even if there were other colleges available he would have preferred to seek admission in the payment category at the MSU as the degree from MSU was more important. Meanwhile, teachers who were present for admission duty at the General Education Centre said they spoke to many parents who wanted their children who received admission to the Padra college to be admitted to the MSU campus by paying through the self-financing scheme. Interim stay on schemeVadodara civil judge senior division Parikh has issued an interim stay order till July 23 against the self-financing scheme of MSU faculty of commerce. The stay follows a PIL filed by the Atyachar Nivaran Samiti president Chetan Gore and advocate Shiva Vaghela. The stay would now prevent MSU authorities from continuing to admit more students under the self-financing scheme until July 23."Our main contention is that the self-financing scheme commercialises education. "The MSU authorities had announced that they would provide admission to all students who have passed under the self-financing scheme on first-come-first-serve basis. This implies that a student having just 35 per cent, but able to pay Rs 6100 as fees, would get admission, while a student passing out with 58 per cent but unable to pay would be left out," said Gore. He said that these were the inherent problems with the scheme. The PIL is filed against MSU vice-chancellor and dean of faculty of commerce.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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No breakthrough yet in missing advocate's case Saturday, July 21, 2001

THE TIMES OF INDIA NEWS SERVICE
MEHSANA: The Mehsana police are yet to make any breakthrough in the case of Kadi-based advocate, who was found missing after he left his house on June 5 with a friend named Shahjada. The 40-year-old advocate, Satyandra Bhagwatprasad Brahmbhatt, had reportedly left his house at around 11 pm.
A complaint was filed in this regard at the Kadi police station by Hasmukhbhai, the younger brother of the advocate, after waiting for about 10 days.
The complainant suspects Shahjada's involvement in the mysterious disappearance of his brother. Hasmukhbhai said his brother was a High Court pleader and used to commute by bus everyday. He used to return home late in the evening and sat at the office of Shahjada who dealt with labour court cases. From there he used to return home late in the night. However, on June 5, Brahmbhatt could not go to Shahjada's office. Later, Shahjada himself came and took Brahmbhatt with him at around 11 pm, but since then there was no trace of his brother, Hasmukhbhai said.
According to inspector Panwer of LCB Mehsana, the police had first grilled Shahjada but could not elicit any concrete information. However, the police found that Brahmbhatt had some relation with one Tina alias Minaxiben Patel of Bapunagar in Ahmedabad. On interrogation, Tina _ who eventually turned out to be a sex worker _ admitted that Brahmbhatt used to come to her often and was her precious customer.
Hitherto, the police are clueless in this connection.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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JUNAGADH:::: Demand for corporation status to Junagadh Saturday, July 21, 2001

THE TIMES OF INDIA NEWS SERVICE
JUNAGADH: The BJP MLA from Junagadh city Mahendra Mashru and the party city unit president Pradee Khimani have reiterated the demand for converting the municipality into a city municipal corporation.
The demand was conveyed to Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel and urban development minister Permanand Khattar. Sorath development committee had launched an agitation on the issue sometime back and the urban development minister had promised to fulfil the demand. An official from the state ubran development department had also been sent to Junagadh who had elicited views from different sections. It is believed that corporation status to Junagadh was delayed due to the panchayat elections.
The state urban development department is yet to issue notifications inviting suggestions on according corporation status to Junagadh. The two leaders asked the state government to fulfil its promise to the city.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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Governor commends Ayurveda to fight mental disorders Saturday, July 21, 2001

THE TIMES OF INDIA NEWS SERVICE
JAMNAGAR: Gujarat Governor and Chancellor of Gujarat Ayurveda University Sundersingh Bhandari has said that only Ayurveda has remedy for stress-related disorders caused by fast life.
He was addressing a national seminar on Ayurvedic approach to mental health, organised by Gujarat Ayurveda University to mark the 46th foundation day of its post-graduate teaching and research institute here on Friday.
Bhandari said even the most advanced medical science has accepted that Yoga relieves stress and mental tension. Yoga has been adopted by even the West. Astang Yoga must be used to cure stress-related disorders. He urged Ayurvedacharyas to make medicines with proven herbs like Joteeshmatee, Ashwagandha and Sarpagandha to cure mental disorders that have been inflicted by the blind imitation of the western life style.
Planning Commission member DK Tiwari stressed the need to promote Ayurveda tourism by developing herbal tourist resorts in Gujarat. He said that Gujarat forests had wide herbal variety. Its potential could be harnessed. Of the three lakh foreign tourists in India last year, 22000 visited herbal resorts in Kerala.He said the Union government had sanctioned Rs.1000 crore for the development of Ayurveda and Rs.20 crore have been allotted to the forest department for the conservation and development of herbal plants. The Centre would upgrade the educational, research, pharmaceutical production and export departments of four Ayurvedic universities in India.Minister of state for urban development Parmanand Khatter appreciated the university's efforts in making Ayurveda global. He promised all the governmental support to develop research and development activities.Vice-chancellor PNV Kuroop detailed the university's efforts to make Ayurveda a globally accepted path. Vice-chancellor and director of National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience, Bangalore, M Gaurikumar inaugurated the Dr P N Mehta memorial lecture series on this occasion. Mayor Jayashree Jani was among those present.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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