Global Urban Vision – August 2012
(Compiled and Published by J.N. Manokaran (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Hudson Silas on behalf of Glocal Leaders Network)
- NCRB: Delhi is most violent city: This piece of news is not a surprise in a city where a vendor can be shot at for not being able to provide someone’s favourite ice-cream flavour, a cop can be mowed down for doing his job and women are scared to step out after sundown. The National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) statistics for 2011 show Delhi as the most violent city, confirming what is already known. New Delhi accounted for almost 10% of crimes reported from India’s 53 mega cities that have over a population of 10 lakh each. The NCRB’s latest statistics also show West Bengal is most cruel towards women, Madya Pradesh is India’s rape capital and Kerala has the highest rate of violent crimes. Uttar Pradesh accounts for 33.4% of total crimes in India. The report, made public on Saturday, shows crimes under IPC has registered a 2.5% rise in 2011 over previous year, while crimes under special and local laws — such as Arms Act and Gambling Act—have declined by 7.4%. While burglary and break-ins have shown a declining trend in 59 years, all other crimes have been steadily climbing since 1953. Number of murders has increased by 250% since 1953, while rape has gone up by 873% and kidnapping and abduction by 749%. India’s 53 mega cities have been seeing a spurt in criminal activity and are more violent than the states in which they are located. Delhi, Kanpur, Mumbai and Bengaluru accounted for 9.9%, 7.3%, 6.7% and 6.3% of criminal activities, respectively. Asansol in Bengal has reported significant increase of 83.7% of IPC crimes as compared to 2010. Statistics show crime against women has been steadily rising. Altogether, 2.28 lakh incidents of crime against women were reported in 2011 as compared to 2.13 lakh in the previous year. Bengal, with 7.5% of India’s population, has accounted for 12.7% of the total crime against women and reported 29,133 cases. Andhra, accounting for nearly 7% of the country’s population, recorded 12.4% of total crimes against women in India. MP has reported highest number of rape cases (3,406), accounting for 14.1% of total such cases in the country last year. The report finds that in 94% of the rape cases, the offenders were known to the victims and 10.6% rape victims were under 14 years, while 19% were teenagers. There has been a substantial rise in custodial deaths. It was 104 in 2011 against only 70 in 2010. The report has revealed how cyber-crime in India has almost doubled in the past one year. While in 2010, 966 such crimes were registered in the country, it increased to 1,791 cases in 2011. (Dipak Kumar Dash, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/NCRB-Delhi-is-most-violent-city/articleshow/14539801.cmsaccessed on 1 July 2012.)
- Please Pray for Delhi and its citizens that they may be more cultured and crime against men and women be eradicated
- Pray for effective policing and governance in Delhi and all of India.
- 40 surgeries put off due to water shortage in Delhi: The severe water shortage in the city has begun to take a toll on urgent health services. At Bara Hindu Rao, the largest municipal hospital in the city, more than 40 surgeries were cancelled over the past week because water could not be arranged for the procedures. Doctors at the hospital said there was no water to sterilize instruments, wash the operation theatre, clean the linen and wash hands – without which surgeries could not be conducted. At other hospitals such as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Ambedkar and Safdarjung, patients said they were buying water from outside for most of their needs as hospital taps ran dry. Washing and cleaning, a vital function in hospitals to prevent infections, has mostly been abandoned at many institutions. Toilets were stinking at a number of hospitals and doctors on night duty said they were having to carry their drinking water because there was no water in the wards. Sources said Bara Hindu Rao witnesses water crisis every year. (Durgesh Nandan Jha, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/40-surgeries-put-off-due-to-water-shortage-in-Delhi/articleshow/14379764.cms? Accessed on 26 June 2012)
- Pray for power situation in India to change
- Government may provide basic amenities to hospitals on priority basis.
- ‘More than 5 in every 10 Indian children bullied online’: According to Microsoft’s ‘Global Youth Online Behavior Survey’ of 25 countries, India ranked third with 53 per cent of respondents (children aged between 8-17) saying they have been bullied online, behind China (70 per cent) and Singapore (58 per cent). Cyber bullying can be defined as use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass or target another person. The survey was conducted among more than 7,600 children aged 8 to 17 years across 25 countries, including Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Pakistan, Russia, Spain, the UAE, the UK and the US. The survey focused on how kids are treating one another online and whether parents are addressing online behaviours. In India, the survey found that more than five in 10 children surveyed said they have experienced what adults might consider online bullying, while a similar number said they had done something their parents may consider online bullying. About 45 per cent of parents (respondents) said they teach their children online manners. The survey showed that about 38 per cent of the schools (attended by respondents) have formal policies on cyber bullying. “Protecting children from online bullying is a shared responsibility. Everyone plays a role: parents, educators, school counsellors, coaches, online safety advocates, industry, law enforcement, government and children themselves,” Microsoft Director (Trustworthy Computing) Jacqueline Beauchere said. Globally, the survey indicated that while children want to talk to parents about the issue, only 29 per cent of the children said their parents have talked to them about protecting themselves online. The survey said it was important for adults (parents and school) to discuss the issue with the children and provide guidance on how to identify and respond to a range of online behaviors from online meanness to bullying and beyond. (http://www.indianexpress.com/news/more-than-5-in-every-10-indian-children-bullied-online/967433/0 accessed on 28 June 2012.)
- Sexual violence mars the highs of God’s own country: Statistics show that the Kerala state’s record on crime against women is abysmal. According to the latest figures from the National Crime Record Bureau, Kerala’s rate of crime rate (number of crimes committed per one lakh population) against women is 27, followed by Delhi’s 24.6, the latter is oft maligned as India’s rape capital. A study conducted by the Sakhi Women’s Resource Centre in Thiruvananthapuram and Anweshi Women’s Counselling Centre in northern Kozhikode shows that verbal abuse and making lewd gestures are the most common forms of sexual harassment – 80% of the respondents attest to that. Sixty percent of the respondents reported physical harassment, 26% attested to being stalked, while 21% said they had been subjected to flashing by men. Society’s attitude towards women needs to change. Even in educated households, a woman is destined to do domestic chores. The state is also the biggest market for pornography. An employee of Kozhikode University says she was subjected to assault in a packed bus in 1991. She took the bus to a police station and got the offender arrested. Later, she faced a series of scandalous campaigns, which forced her to move to another department. (Ramesh Babu, http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/India/Sexual-violence-mars-the-highs-of-God-s-own-country/Article1-881494.aspx accessed on 1 July 2012.)
- Pray that sexual violence is eradicated from Kerala and in our country
- Pray that the attitude towards women may change that they may treated with dignity.
- Is Young India drunk? Youngistan is talking bottles, pegs, pints and shots with the ease of seasoned drinkers, raising a toast to everything: Birthdays to cricket matches, before and after exams, to stave off boredom or the blues. And if opportunity knocks, an unusually high percentage are drinking until they land in trouble. In a country known for abstinence, the age-old notions of who drinks what, where, when and why are changing dramatically. In April, a study presented at the World Congress of Cardiology in Dubai revealed that alcohol consumption was three times higher among Indian youngsters watching movies where protagonists drank freely. On cue came a directive from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) that movies needed to display a statutory warning scroll against drinking and smoking during every scene that showed it. On June 17, however, Leela Samson, chairperson of cbfc, announced that a warning should be displayed at the beginning and after the intermission of the movie. It hardly matters to young tipplers. There’s early experimentation, more binge drinking (bouts of heavy drinking in very short time), high levels of fiesta drinking and a greater acceptance of social drinking, explains Dr G. Gururaj of NIMHANS, Bangalore, an epidemiologist who has been charting alcohol’s impact through the decade. A 2009 survey on 2,000 teenagers by apex trade body Assocham shows there has been a 60 per cent rise in alcohol consumption among the 19-26 age group in the last five years. The latest World Health Organisation Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health shows that India is facing an alcoholic tide, pushed up by the sliding age of drinking. From 28 in the 1980s, it has come down to age 15 now. In some metro pockets, it’s believed to have come down to 13. Dr Samir Parikh, Chief Psychiatrist at Max Healthcare, Delhi, and his team were taken aback by the results of a survey they carried out among 1,000 boys and girls from top public schools across the capital two years back. While 22 per cent thought having one drink at parties is something everyone does, for 16 per cent being “cool” meant having three to four drinks. “Drinking seems to be quite the normal thing among the 13-17 age group,” he says. Coming out of the woodwork are Happy Hour Kids in metros. With cafes and fast-food restaurants serving beer, pubs and bars slating early evenings as cheaper Happy Hour, alcohol is within easy reach, after school or before tuition. A disturbing nationwide problem visible now is the marked increase in alcohol consumption among girls and young women. Most schools are reluctant to admit it, but classroom drinking is in. This June, three schoolgirls were suspended from KB Patel Gujarati Vidhyalaya in Indore for swigging vodka on the sly from water bottles in class. They were caught after one girl vomited in class. College students in Lucknow sneak off for a nip or two of “angrezi sharab” with fried paneer in the air-conditioned cool of model shops, or government-consecrated watering holes dotted along the highways. Drinking starts at noon till late at night, with daily brawls, and even murders. Progressive schools have started to come up with innovative ideas to combat the menace of drinking in school. In 2009, a few students were caught drinking in the dorm at the RiverDale International Residential School near Pune. The school initially suspended them but soon revoked the punishment and took to imaginative counselling that showed almost 95 per cent results. The school has also started a three-tier programme with dorm parents, teachers and mentors. A disturbing trend is early drinking among girls and young women. Girls like to make a statement, just like boys. “It used to take 10 years for a social drinker to become an addict earlier. Today it takes just two,” says Fr Joe Pereira, founder of the Mumbai-based Kripa Foundation, one of the first de-addiction centres in India. He would know. A new study in May 2012 by the Public Health Foundation of India measured alcohol occurrence in 59 Bollywood movies and the impact on almost 4,000 teenagers. When asked if they had seen these movies, those who did were found to be nearly three times more likely to have tried alcohol compared to those who did not. It is reported that 46% drink to get high; 32% when upset; 18% drink alone and 15% drink when bored. Top Tippers: Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Hyderabad. (Damayanti Datta, India Today 2 July 2012, p.52-56.)
- Pray for abolition of drinking wine and alcohol in India
- Pray that youth of India may not become slave to such things but follow positive role models.
- 251 children die of encephalitis in Bihar: At least 251 children died following an outbreak of encephalitis in Bihar from May to June end in 2012. The highest number of 172 children died of the disease at Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) and Kejriwal Charitable Hospital in Muzaffarpur, Additional Secretary (Health) R P Ojha told reporters. Another 63 children died at the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), while 11 others succumbed to encephalitis at the Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College and Hospital (ANMMCH) at Gaya. The rest five children died under similar circumstances in Vaishali district, he said. A total of 662 children showed symptoms of the disease following its outbreak in May. The high casaulty figure was attributed to the heat wave conditions prevailing in past few months. (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/251-children-die-of-encephalitis-in-Bihar/articleshow/14611424.cms accessed on 2 July 2012.)
- Pray for eradication of encephalitis in Bihar and other parts of India
- Pray for effective health policy that would be beneficial for the poor and rural people.
- Despite ownership documents, poor fear eviction without notice: Around two in five households in Kolkata don’t have ownership or tenancy documents, while one in four live in the fear of being evicted without legal notice. In Mumbai, 30% households don’t have ownership or tenancy documents and one in five feel insecure against eviction, says the UN’s Millennium Development Goals Report, 2012. The report says the most visible violation of housing rights faced by the urban poor today is the practice of eviction without due legal process. Despite existence of ownership or tenancy documents among clear majorities in all the cities surveyed, insecurity regarding possible eviction was found to be high — ranging from 45% of inhabitants in Lagos to 20% in Sao Paolo. The latest National Sample Survey results for the period between July 2008 and June 2009 reveal about 49,000 slums existed in the urban areas of the country — both notified and non-notified. The corresponding numbers as per earlier surveys for 2002 and 1993 were about 52,000 and 56,000, respectively. The ministry of statistics and programme implementation claims there has been a decline in the number of urban slums by about 13% in a period of about 15 years since 1993. The percentage share of notified and non-notified urban slums in India remains the same in 2008-09 as in 2002 at 50.6% and 49.4%, respectively. According to the United Nations, slums are an urban phenomenon and by 2020, the target is to bring about significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum-dwellers. “Slums are an urban phenomenon and they represent an imbalance between migration into cities and economic growth within the city itself. In India, slum data have been collected for the first time in Census 2001 for towns/cities having urban population of 50,000 or more. Around 640 towns spread over 26 states reported existence of slums,” the report says. Around 42.6 million people consisting of 8.2 million households resided in slums of these towns in 2001. The estimated slum population for 1991 is 46.26 million whereas the estimated slum population for 2001 is 61.82 million showing a growth of 15.56%. Armed conflict and violence also uprooted more than 4 million people in 2011, either inside or outside the borders of their nations. This is the highest number in many years. (Kounteya Sinha, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Despite-ownership-documents-poor-fear-eviction-without-notice/articleshow/14621051.cms accessed on 3 July 2012.)
- Pray for a free and safe India wherein there is security for one and all
- Pray for the Government to provide low-cost housing for urban poor and not evic them illegally.
- 40 vehicles stolen in Delhi every day: Every day, more than 40 vehicles get stolen in Delhi. The city accounts for 9.7% ofmotor vehicle thefts in the country, second only to the much larger states of Uttar Pradesh (14.1%) and Maharashtra (12.7%), says the latest National Crime Records Bureau report. At 87.6 per one lakh population, Delhi also has a much higher rate as compared to the national rate of 12.5. Only 20% of these stolen vehicles are recovered, say cops. In 2011, 14,668 motor vehicles were stolen in Delhi, which is a marginal decrease from 2010’s figure of 14,966. While 9,203 of these vehicles were two-wheelers, 5,050 were cars. Only about 2,957 of these vehicles were recovered, show Delhi Police statistics. Motor vehicle thefts comprise of 27% of the total IPC crimes in Delhi. ‘Auto theft’ in the country accounted for 44.4% (1,51,200 cases) of the total theft cases, which accounted for an increase of 2.5% in 2011 as compared to 2010 (1,47,475 cases). Theft other than automobiles has shown a declining trend of 0.7% from 1,82,837 (in 2010) to 1,89,600 (in 2011). The urban agglomeration centres accounted for 38.8% (67,880 out of 1,51,200 cases) of the total auto theft cases in the country. “The acute shortage of parking space and the general practice of parking vehicles on roadsides, coupled with the indifference of a majority of motor vehicle owners towards installing anti-auto theft equipment, is a major contributory factor to these thefts,” said a senior police officer. Many of the stolen vehicles are used by criminals in the commission of other crimes, making this a problem area for the police. Delhi Police has been sending out advisories to the public through advertisements and leaflets requesting vehicle owners to buy security gadgets. Repeat offenders are also a big reason for the alarming increase in motor vehicle thefts. (Indrani Basu, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/40-vehicles-stolen-in-Delhi-every-day/articleshow/14619149.cms accessed on 3 July 2012.)
- Pray that Government of India provides security for life and property of people.
- Pray for honesty and truth; covetousness to disappear and employment eradicated from India.
- Rape biggest crime trend in India: National Crime Record Bureau: Rape, which is yet to attract capital punishment in India, has seen the maximum rise among all the total cognizable crimes in the country recorded under the Indian Penal Code between 1953 to 2011, according to the latest data by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) – the statistical wing of Indian Police under ministry of home affairs (MHA). With 24,206 cases in 2011, rape cases jumped to incredible increase of 873 % from 1971 when the oldest case of rape was first recorded by NCRB. Even in 1971, there were 2043 cases of rape, the NCRB report said. Among all the states, Madhya Pradesh has emerged as the rape capital of India with 3406 cases involving this heinous crime – the highest in the country. West Bengal, the state known more for its rich literary heritage, ranks second with 2363 rape cases. Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan follow next with 2042 and 1800 cases. Among the union territories, Delhi with rising incidence of such cases reported in the NCR region ranked one with 507 cases whereas Mumbai reported 117 cases of rape in 2011. In 2011, there were 9398 cases of rape involving children. Kidnapping and abduction was the second biggest crime in the country with a rise of 749 % as compared with the data chronicled in 1953. Murder and riots followed next increasing by 250 % and 233 % respectively. Incidence of dacoity, burglary and house breaking, however, showed most declining trend over a period of 59 years. (Rohan Dua, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Rape-biggest-crime-trend-in-India-National-Crime-Record-Bureau/articleshow/14634857.cms accessed on 3 July 2012.)
- Pray for a paradigm shift in the attitude of men towards women in India.
- Pray that laws are enforced so that crime against women is completely removed
10. The Bang Bang Club: A woman approaching 60 tells you she loves using beer bottles as target practice. A schoolteacher tells you she takes her pistol to class. Until a succession of women — doctors, writers, professionals, the wives of politicians, property dealers and landed gentry — confess not only to owning guns but delighting in their power. But gun ownership in Punjab is no longer confined to men. A recently issued Right to Information report reveals that close to 31,000 women in the state have licences for firearms. If many women are proxies for husbands, fathers and brothers, many too, are unwilling to rely on absent men and an absent State for protection. “Most women I know,” says Gaurmail, “carry guns and many, like me, are schoolteachers. In Punjab, even children learn to shoot.” She fires shots into the air from her terrace every couple of months, “just to let people know I have a gun.” Aman K Singh, 32, her husband gave her a 12-bore shotgun on their wedding day. For Aman, who lives in Chandigarh, a “good Sardar is someone with a gun and a jeep”. She says her son “was three years old when he shot his first gun,” and that she herself learned by practising on a private shooting range in her home. Despite her apparent pride in her ability to handle guns (she carries one even when she visits her son at his boarding school), Aman maintains that she “hates violence and guns enhance violence”. For some women guns appeal to a deeper impulse: a self-image of hardy self-reliance. Of course, the statewide violence of the 1970s and ’80s lingers in the psychology of gun use in Punjab. While history explains aspects of Punjabi gun culture, it misses the almost familial attachment people have to their guns. A school principal in her 60s, told that owning a gun was an investment, like a piece of jewellery. (Garima Jain, Tehelka 18 June 2012, p. 47-48.)
- Pray for Violence free India and eradication of Gun culture
- Pray that laws are implemented to stop violence using various equipments.
- Separate but equal: On March 23, the Union Cabinet approved the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010, giving women the right to an equal share of property acquired after marriage. It has sparked off a nationwide debate, with a war of words in the Rajya Sabha on May 2. The Cabinet has now decided to take on board various views and amend it to provide for a clearly defined 50 per cent claim for a wife in her husband’s immovable residential property, acquired even before marriage. Although a wife’s share in her husband’s other assets is still left to the judge’s discretion, the Bill has the potential to make Indian divorces among the most equitable in the world. The Economic Research Foundation, Delhi, in 2010 study states that 74 per cent of separated women are full-time homemakers, with no income or job skills and 31 per cent did have a career before divorce. 69 per cent of divorced women do not get jewellery back. 88 per cent husbands in India are not affected financially by divorce. About 80 per cent women oppose divorce because they have no other economic alternative outside marriage. Women, if they can afford to file a case, do so primarily for maintenance and return of stridhan and dowry. But with most courts granting just 2-10 per cent of a man’s income after rounds of expensive litigation, women rapidly slide down the economic slope. 63% of divorced women become dependent on parets; 42 per cent have no income and 86% have children to take care of. Under the Indian system, a wife has to produce evidence of her spouse’s earnings before the court to get alimony. But the wife often does not have access to such papers. One-third of India’s 480 million jobs are held by women, show an imrb survey in 2011. About 60 per cent urban women say they are responsible for everything that happens in their life. And they are ambitious, with 86 per cent aspiring to a top job, says a 2011 global survey by Centre for Work-Life Policy. Their income has doubled, especially in the cities, boosting their family’s wealth. They buy 80 per cent of household goods, and are targets for half the nation’s advertising. Will money make men and women equal at last? Well, in divorce at least, if not in marriage. Vandana Shaw, edits India’s first divorce magazine Ex Files and coaches women how to survive a divorce. (Damayanti Datta, India Today 9 July 2012, p. 50-53.)
- Pray that men and women realize the equality of their value as a person rather than equality according to their belongings and diversity of roles as gender
- Pray for strong families that separation, divorce and domestic violence may not happen.
- In south India, Tamil Nadu records most building collapse deaths: At least one person dies every day in building collapses in Tamil Nadu, which recorded the highest number of such fatalities in south India in 2011. With 437 deaths in building collapses in 2011, Tamil Nadu is also the second most unsafe state after Uttar Pradesh (461). National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics show that Tamil Nadu accounts for a significantly larger number of deaths in building collapses than neighbours Andhra Pradesh (407), Karnataka (142) and Kerala (84). Experts attribute the high fatality numbers in the state to flawed building plans and substandard construction material and practices. More people are likely to die in a single collapse in Tamil Nadu than in other states. TN’s 437 deaths were the result of only 285 fatal accidents. In Andhra Pradesh, 397 mishaps accounted for 407 deaths, while in Karnataka 140 accidents left 142 people dead and 80 accidents caused 84 deaths in Kerala. Of the 285 structures that collapsed in the state, 71 were residential complexes, eight were bridges and the rest were unauthorized commercial buildings. Statistics shows that there were 21 deaths in 22 building collapses in Chennai last year. Experts said even the authorities have identified more than one lakh buildings in the state that violate rules, no action had been taken against the owners of these structures, all of which should have been razed but were not. A city-based builder said quality of construction is in dangerous decline and untrained workers also increase the chance of a building collapse. Officials said many building approvals are granted without any construction safety or fire audits. A senior CMDA official said shortage of staff has hampered enforcement in the city. (Christin Mathew Philip, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/In-south-India-Tamil-Nadu-records-most-building-collapse-deaths/articleshow/14661723.cms accessed on 4 July 2012.)
- Pray for an accident free India
- Pray for safety measures and safety codes in all aspects of life.
- Govt buses killed 1,300 people in state last year: Tamil Nadu State run buses cause more deaths than vehicles of government transport services anywhere else in the country. Data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau show that Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) buses were involved in mishaps that claimed the lives of 1,317 people in 2011 — an average of around four people a day. TNSTC vehicles are much more lethal than buses elsewhere. Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation vehicles, which account for the second largest number of fatalities, caused 704 deaths last year, around half as many as TNSTC’s killer fleets were responsible for. Tamil Nadu has 21,207 buses in the fleets of seven corporations, including Chennai’s Metropolitan Transport Corporation that runs around 3,500 buses. (Karthikeyan Hemalatha,http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Govt-buses-killed-1300-people-in-state-last-year/articleshow/14703362.cms accessed on 6 July 2012.)
- Pray that people who are driving and people who are walking on the road have proper traffic sense
- Pray for Government bus drivers to be alert and vigilant and not negligient.
- Chennai roads most dangerous in India: NCRB report: According to statistics in the recently released report titled Accidental Death and Suicides in India (ADSI 2011), prepared by the National Crime Records Bureau, Chennai has recorded the highest number of road accidents. The number is a staggering 9,845 cases in the year 2011. This is the highest among 53 cities in the country last year, and has almost doubled from 2010 when 5,123 road accidents were recorded. Followed by Chennai is Delhi, distant second with 6,065 road accidents, while Bangalore clocked 6,031. Against the backdrop of these figures, the number of deaths in road accidents in Chennai might give a little relief to the motorists. A total of 1,399 lives were lost in road mishaps in Chennai, while Delhi recorded 1,679 fatalities.The biggest concern for Chennai’s road users though seems to be freak accidents, which accounted for the highest number of injuries. Accidents on the Chennai’s roads left 7,898 persons injured – 6,280 males and 1618 females. This only goes to show that motorists and pedestrians not only need to be aware of traffic rules but also follow them. Motorcycle rides seem to be no fun at all in Chennai, with two-wheelers being involved in as many as 341 cases of accidents. This makes up for a major share of the cases. Two-wheelers were followed by private lorries at 266, cars at 159 and private tempos and vans at 133. The recent accidents involving government vehicles, at Anna Flyover and near Poonamallee, have proven to be symptomatic of the 112 road accidents involving government vehicles. Also, one accident was caused by a bicycle and ‘nil’ by pedestrians, according to the report. The statistics in the report also point out that motorists need to be more vigilant during the dark hours and not resort to rash or drunken driving. The largest number of accidents occur between 9 pm and midnight (1,626), while the period between 3 pm and 6pm comes close (1,614). Accidents were also highest in the seven-month period between March and September. Interestingly, Chennai also has the most dangerous roads and the least diligent motorists in Tamil Nadu, according to the report. Other major cities in Tamil Nadu do not even come close to Chennai as far as road mishaps go. Coimbatore reported 1,131 cases while Madurai recorded 685 and Trichy 781. (http://ibnlive.in.com/news/chennai-roads-most-dangerous-in-india-ncrb/269555-62-130.html accessed on 6 July 2012.)
- Pray for safe roads in all the states in India and mostly in Tamilnadu
- Pray for Chennai and other metropolitan cities to be accident free.
- Tamil Nadu bucks cybercrime trend: Cyber spooks are on the prowl to outsmart smart phone and steal data. And, going by statistics, the number of such crimes have nearly doubled in the country every passing year. Quite on the contrary, the incidence of such online crimes in Tamil Nadu seems to be throwing up a downhill trend. Crime in India – 2011, a report compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau, points out that as many as 1,791 cases were registered in India under the Information Technology (IT) Act, which is 85.4 per cent more than the previous year’s figure of 966. This was the second consecutive year that the number of cyber crimes doubled in the country. In 2010 too, the number of cases registered under the IT Act had rose by 130 per cent compared to the previous year. Strikingly, the number of persons arrested under the IT Act had risen by four times — from 288 persons in 2010 to 1,184 persons in 2011. With the increasing use of electronic gadgets, the spurt in the number of cyber-crimes was only on the expected lines. But experts also blame it on the lack of adequate awareness among technology companies and end users. Hacking accounted for nearly 55 per cent of the cyber-crimes. The second most common cybercrime was obscene publication or transmission in electronic form – it accounted for 27.7 per cent of the cases. Among the states, Andhra Pradesh topped the list accounting for 19.5 per cent (349 cases) of the cases booked under the IT Act. It was followed by Maharashtra (306 cases), Kerala (227 cases) and Karnataka (151 cases). With 117 cases, Bengaluru topped among the cities. Interestingly, Tamil Nadu, a major IT hub, has recorded a decline in the cybercrimes. While 52 cases were registered under IT Act in 2010, it has declined to 37 cases in 2011. Two main cities of the state — Chennai (13 cases) and Coimbatore (15 cases) — accounted for over 75 per cent of the cyber-crime cases in the state. While Madurai city registered no cases, Trichy had registered a lone case under the IT Act. (http://ibnlive.in.com/news/tamil-nadu-bucks-cyber-crime-trend/269517-62-128.html accessed on 6 July 2012.)
- Pray that cyber crimes are completely eradicated in India.
- Pray that people are made aware of the issues that come up with use of internet continually
- Maharashtra tops abandoned babies list: Maharashtra has the highest number of abandoned new-borns in the country and is placed sixth in cases of infanticide and foeticide. Mumbai came third among cities in abandoning new-borns, said a National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) report. 1,232 new-borns were abandoned in Maharashtra from 2007 to 2011. This is way ahead of states like Rajasthan with 674 cases, Gujarat with 660,Madhya Pradesh with 525, Amndhra Pradesh with 269, and Delhi with 201 cases. Surprisingly, no new-borns were abandoned in Uttar Pradesh in the last five years. Maharashtra has been in the news recently after the illegal abortion racket at Beed was exposed, forcing the government to crack down on doctors carrying out illegal pregnancy tests and abortions. The report showed variations in cases of feticide and infanticide had placed Uttar Pradesh on top with 174 and 33 cases respectively. It was followed by Madhya Pradesh with 96 and 109 cases respectively from 2007 to 2011. Maharashtra was sixth in feticide with 12 cases and fourth in infanticide cases with 37. The all-India report for the last five years showed 500 cases were registered under IPC section 315 (act done with intent to prevent child being born alive or to cause it to die after birth); 535 cases were registered under section 316 (causing death of unborn child by act amounting to culpable homicide) and 3,569 under section 317 (exposure and abandonment of child under 12 years). In the city-wise break-up of cases of abandoned new-borns and infanticide, Delhi topped with 177 and 16 cases respectively in 2007-11. Mumbai came third with 114 cases. (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Maharashtra-tops-abandoned-babies-list/articleshow/14738746.cms accessed on 8 July 2012.)
- Pray that infanticide is completely removed from India
- Pray that government may come up with rules that would stop crime against children in Maharashtra
- 626 million Indians lack access to closed toilets: By the of June-2011, 98.1% of the country’s inhabited villages had been connected by wireless mobile networks. At the same time, 626 million people in the country — the highest in the world — don’t have a closed toilet and consequently practice open defecation. The United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals Report, 2012, says by the end of 2011, close to 35% or more than one-third of the world’s population was online. But 1.1 billion people, or 15% of the global population had no sanitation facilities at all. Over a period of 12 years, India’s internet subscriber base shot through the roof — increasing 97 fold from 0.21 million in 1999 to 20.33 million in 2011. Use of personal computers also increased in India — from 5.4 million PCs in 2001 to 19.6 million in 2006. Notebook sales were estimated to be 3.5 million in 2010-11 against 2.5 million in 2009-10, registering a growth of 40%. The developing world including India’s share of the world’s Internet users rose to 63% in 2011, when 35% of the world was online. However, a proposal to the Planning Commission to make Right to Toilet an integral part of the 12th plan got junked. Experts now say sanitation is the big failure, when it comes to India’s target of achieving its MDG goals. Nearly 60% of those practicing open defecation live in India. The UN said, “The MDG sanitation target is still out of reach”. In 1990, households without any sanitation facility stood at 76%. To meet its MDG goals, India is required to reduce the proportion of households having no access to improved sanitation to 38% by 2015. India may achieve to reduce the proportion of households without any sanitation to about 43% by 2015 missing the target by about 5 percentage points. By 2015, India is likely to reduce the rural proportion of no sanitation to 58.84% (against target of 46.64%) and urban proportion of no sanitation to 11.64% (against target of 12.14%). The UN says, the number of people forced to resort to open defecation remains a widespread health hazard and a global scandal. “In 11 countries, a majority of the population still practices open defecation. Even in countries with rapidly growing economies, large numbers of people still must resort to this practice — 626 million in India, 14 million in China and 7 million in Brazil,” the MDG report said. It seems having a cellphone is more important in the country than having a proper toilet. The number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 846.32 million in March, 2011, to 885.99 million in end-June, 2011, registering an increase by 39.6 million (4.7%) in a period of three months. The overall teledensity (number of telephones per hundred persons) in India has reached 73.97 by June 30, 2011. (Kounteya Sinha, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/626-million-Indians-lack-access-to-closed-toilets/articleshow/14739145.cms accessed on 8 July 2012.)
- Pray that proper sanitation facilities are provided to one and all in India
- Pray for people to develop hygienic activities.
- 40% of urban Indians use untreated underground water for drinking, cooking and bathing: Study: Cities including Indore and Bhopal have used up or polluted their local water resources. To quench their expanding thirst, they have started sourcing water from further and further away. This has pushed up the cost of water, increased leakages to around 40 per cent, and sparked conflicts. Cities have to pay a heavy price for infrastructure and more to fetch this water in terms of power – electricity accounts for nearly a third of average urban water utility’s bill. These and other facts have came to light in a study titled Excreta Matters done by New Delhi-based research and advocacy body, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). Several cities of Madhya Pradesh including Indore, Bhopal, Ujjain, Gwalior and Jabalpur feature in this study. There are stark inequities in water supply; slums account for a quarter of the urban population but get just a 20th of the water. Even those connected to the water supply system get water erratically, and of dubious quality since leaking pipes draw in pollutants. The solution – bore a well. Cities are sucking the earth under them dry. People need water now, but water engineers draw pies in the sky with fanciful schemes to satisfy some future scenario. The result is a national groundwater crisis. The study stressed that waste is the Siamese twin of water. But Indian cities have not understood that where there is water, there will be waste that needs to be collected, treated and then disposed. The report states that the shocking lack of foresight in urban liquid waste management – how no city is fully covered by a sewage system, how sewage treatment plants are sited without any thought as to how sewage will get there, how India has the capacity to treat less than a third of its urban sewage and actually treats only a fifth, and how untreated sewage is killing our water. Cities discharge untreated sewage into the nearest river or lake through unlined drains. This kills the receptacle. It also pollutes groundwater. The treated sewage of a few is mixed with the raw sewage of the many and dumped into any convenient water body, making it a sewer or cesspool and poisoning groundwater. This is the groundwater around 40 per cent of urban Indians use without treatment – for drinking, cooking and bathing. Cities are sitting on a health bomb. They are responsible for the death of many rivers. (Bagish K. Jha, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/indore/40-of-urban-Indians-use-untreated-underground-water-for-drinking-cooking-and-bathing-Study/articleshow/14776029.cms accessed on 9 July 2012.)
- Pray that pure and clean water is provided to people of India
- Pray that govt. authorities have wisdom to do better planning.
- Tamil Nadu is southern topper in kidnapping of women: Tamil Nadu recorded 1,743 cases of kidnappings of women including girls, followed by Andhra Pradesh at 1,612, Karnataka at 1,395 and Kerala with 299 cases. In comparison, UP, the topper in the all-India list, recorded 7,525 cases followed by West Bengal at 3,711. Bihar, once perceived as the kidnap capital of the country, recorded 3,050 cases. The highest number of cases in TN has been reported from Villupuram district (187) followed by Salem (rural) (108) and Cuddalore (100). Chennai with 41 cases and Coimbatore with 39, fare better than most other districts. Tamil Nadu police is quick to dismiss any alarm that could arise out of the dramatic figures and claim that majority of these cases are about elopements. Except those cases in which the involved victim is a minor, the other cases are usually settled amicably between the parents of the involved couple and police officials later, police say. Legal and psychological experts closely who have handled abduction cases argue such incidents should not be merely treated as regular crime cases since these reflect changing social mores. Young women are becoming financially independent and socially secure by themselves and hence often decide to select life partners by themselves, which the elders refuse to acknowledge. However, there is an alarming trend where young girls below the age of 18 are lured into relationships during their school days. (A. Subburaj,http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/coimbatore/Tamil-Nadu-is-southern-topper-in-kidnapping-of-women/articleshow/14814658.cms accessed on 11 July 2012.)
- Pray for alarming trend wherein young girls below the age of 18 are lured into relationships during their school days
- Pray for eradication of crime against women
- Chennai women are smartest tax planners: When it comes to managing money, no one is smarter than women in Chennai. According to a recent countrywide survey, conducted by TaxSpanner, a website for e-filing of income tax, Chennai ladies have emerged as the country’s smartest tax planners. The national capital region (NCR) stands second and Bangalore comes third in the survey conducted by an e-filing website. On an average income of Rs 4 lakh per annum, average tax ratio of a Chennai woman taxpayer – percentage of gross salary paid as tax – is just 2%, the lowest in the country and much less than what their male counterparts, both in Chennai as well as in the rest of India, pay. On the whole, women emerged as better taxpayers though their tax ratio is lower because a larger chunk of taxpayers fall in the 0% and 0-5% taxpaying category. One of the findings of the research was that only 1% of the females in Chennai paid self-assessment tax. This implies that they had taken care of the amount they were liable to pay and paid the dues in time, which indicates smarter tax planning. Incidentally only 2.35% of male taxpayers in Chennai pay self-assessment tax, the lowest in the country. Mumbai had the highest number of taxpayers paying self-assessment tax – 4.29% of men and 2.86% for women. According to the survey – conducted among employees of more than 500 corporate clients of TaxSpanner including the likes of HCL, Citibank and Google – the tax ratio is highest among male taxpayers in Bangalore (8%) followed by Mumbai (7%) and Hyderabad (6%). Chennai and NCR’s male taxpayers clocked around 5% in tax ratio, the lowest among male taxpayers across all five metros. Among women taxpayers, NCR clocked 3% followed by Bangalore (4%), Mumbai and Hyderabad (5%). In terms of average income too Chennai and NCR women clocked the lowest ( 4 lakh) followed by Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad ( 5 lakh). Among male taxpayers, Bangalore and Mumbai clocked highest average incomes at 7 lakh followed by Hyderabad and NCR ( 6 lakh) and Chennai lowest at 5 lakh. (Nandini Sen Gupta,http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Chennai-women-are-smartest-tax-planners/articleshow/14829350.cms accessed on 12 July 2012.)
- Pray that men and women in India emerge as smart tax planners for betterment of Indian society
- Pray that all tax evaders may bring to book.
- Women on Top: Hindi TV entertainment channels comes with a twist. Not that conniving mothers-in-law, sacrificial daughters-in-law, chocolate-boy heroes and their conspiring families have been booted out. But now, they have to contend with their progressive, relatable and far more interesting avatars. Widows, divorcees and women with careers play bahus and betis, while middle-aged men partner them and drive male-centric stories. Their lives are moving out of kitchens to bedrooms; from metros to small towns, with provocative social and moral edges. Their homes are convincing urban set-ups, their make-up minimal, their concerns rooted in the reality of our times. Shailaja Bajpai, media critic says, “The portrayal of women today is one of the biggest positives. We are seeing women in professional areas, whether in Parichay (lawyer) or Kya Hua Tera Vaada (corporate diva). Also, the girl, whom we have always seen portrayed as a burden, is now the one looking after the family.” In one seial: A middle-class girl, single till her early 30s, Priya discovers the joys of conjugal life on an equal footing with her husband. She doesn’t go to bed dressed for a wedding, can give as good as she gets, and takes on conspiracies by the horns. Mona, on Kya Hua Tera Vaada, has lost her husband Pradeep to his boss, Anushka, but won’t give up without a fight. “It’s a mature love story, where love goes out of the window because priorities change,” the actress, Mona Singh, says. “Hitler Didi” is an assertive working girl whose income keeps her large family going, and Krishna Raj is Afsar Bitiya, a block development officer zooming past naysayers in her sarkari car. On Punar Vivaah, Aarti is a divorced mother who remarries at the insistence of, yes, her mother-in-law. “There is still a perception that a woman divorcee is to blame for her failed marriage, and the stigma is greater if she has kids. Here, the husband is at fault, and she moves on to a new life.” Megha, on Colors’s Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha, a young widow who supports her children with a magazine job, also considers a second shot at love. Social realities, even if they make for uncomfortable dinner table conversation, are now the stuff of prime-time. Be it corruption (Na Bole Tum and Life OK’s Sach Ka Samna Season 2 Bhrastachar ke Khilaf), domestic violence (Life OK’s Dil Se Dua Saubhagyavati Bhavo, the story of a wife tortured by her psychotic husband has a tie-up with the Bell Bajao Campaign), illegitimate relationships, homosexuality (Maryada Lekin Kab Tak), abortion when a pregnancy gets in the way of a career (Bade Achhe Lagte Hain), or simply the daily travails of emis and bringing up children (Parvarrish), they are all concerns protagonists are dealing with. In the heartland, too, as in the metros. Lucknow, Allahabad, Ujjain, Bhopal, Indore, Bhagalpur, or a small town in Himachal, these are all backdrops where such issues are playing out. As Ajit Thakur, GM, Life OK, explains, “The idea is to reach out to that large part of India that fears it’ll get left behind in the growth story.” If relationships—extramarital, post-marital or pre-marital—are pivotal to plots today, they are not consummated by implication, but dwelt on, hyped up and even played out over an entire episode (Mr and Mrs Kapoor had 20 minutes of air-time and the blessings of the nation in Bade Achhe).( (Arpita Basu, Outlook 16 July 2012, p. 50-52)
- Pray for Indian women to balance office and family life.
- Pray for media that they may do responsible presentation of issues.
- Share autos: Illegal, but sought after: Many of the share autorickshaws may be unsafe or illegal, but passengers are flocking to them because of their affordability in a city where regular autorikshaws are notorious for fleecing. It is alleged that of the 1,600-odd share autos in the city, only 300 are registered. The rest of them have no permits and are illegal. Road Transport officials say they frequently fine illegal share autos, but commuters say share autos are a solace since many of them cannot afford regular auto rides. An auto driver charges not less than 100 for a ride from Guindy to Adyar, while a share auto charges only 20. Sanjay Arora, additional commissioner of police (traffic) says that 49,395 cases were registered under the Motor Vehicles Act against share autos and 60,200 cases against maxi vans since January. The police have collected 111, 45,450 as fine, but the drivers say they still make a good profit. (Manish Raj, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Share-autos-Illegal-but-sought-after/articleshow/14919038.cms accessed on 15 July 2012.)
- Pray for effective traffic and transport management in cities.
- Pray that govt. may increase availability of public transport vehicles and make them affordable to one and all
- Child marriage in boys more than girls: Study: More boys than girls are getting married before the legal age of 21 years. The new survey has revealed that every fourth girl marrying in rural Rajasthan and every fifth in Bihar and Jharkhand are below the legal age of 18 years. The Mean age at marriage of females varies from 19.7 in Rajasthan to 22 years in Uttarakhand. For males, the mean marriage age is 22.2 in Rajasthan and a maximum of 27.6 in Assam. A woman on an average gives birth to more than three children in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Rajasthan, with the highest of 5.9 children reported in Shrawasti district of Uttar Pradesh. The Total Fertility Rate (TFR), the average number of children born to a woman during her entire reproductive span, is 3.6 for Uttar Pradesh and 3.7 for Bihar, where women in rural areas in both these states have a TFR of 3.9. The Annual Health Survey was conducted by the Office of Registrar General, India in all the 284 districts (as per 2001 Census) in eight Empowered Action Group States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Rajasthan, besides Assam for a three year period 2007 to 2009, carried out in 2010 and 2011. These nine states account for about 48 per cent of the total population, 59 per cent of total births, 70 per cent of Infant Deaths, 75 per cent of Under-5 Deaths and 62 per cent of Maternal Deaths in the country. They are the high focus states in view of their relatively higher fertility and mortality. (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Child-marriage-in-boys-more-than-girls-Study/articleshow/15000581.cms accessed on 16 July 2012.)
- Pray for eradication of child marriages in India
- Pray that people are made aware of the issues that crop up with child marriages
- Suburban network’s killer line claims 1 life every day: More than 220 people lost their lives in 176 accidents on the rail tracks on the Chennai Beach-Guduvanchery stretch between January and mid-July this year, say government railway police (GRP) figures. On the same 46km stretch during the same period last year, 208 people died in 180 accidents. Kodambakkam and Pallavaram-Chromepet and Urapakkam remain the deadliest points with 48, 45 and 13 deaths respectively. Most of those killed were in the 18-30 age group and many were talking on mobile phones while crossing tracks, police sources said. Nearly 286 suburban services are operated between Chennai Beach and Tambaram daily. The lack of side walls along the tracks at most stations, is a big problem. Trespassing is frequent. At Kodambakkam station, footboard travelling is rampant and the main cause for the high number of fatal accidents. Most youngsters wear headphones and don’t hear an approaching train until it is too late. Trains are not like buses where brakes can be applied suddenly. Even after the brakes are applied, the train comes to a halt only after travelling a certain distance. The many human habitations on both sides of the tracks are a big threat. Residents of slums near Kodambakkam station and migrant workers in Urapakkam use dismantled or unused metre gauge tracks as toilets and often become victims of train accidents. Often, migrant workers, who go in small groups to the track side, keep stones on joints of two tracks that leads to wires of train signals being cut. As a result, the signal always shows red and results in train delays. Cattle crossing tracks is another irritant and is the cause of at least 10 disruptions of trains between Guindy and Guduvanchery every month, said a railway source. (D. Madhavan, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Suburban-networks-killer-line-claims-1-life-every-day/articleshow/15050574.cms accessed on 20 July 2012.)
- Pray that proper steps are taken to avoid accidents at railway tracks
- Pray that railway department takes necessary steps to control issues that are costing lives
- Knot before 18: The State Of The World’s Children 2011 report says one in four marriages in India involves child brides. Forty per cent of the world’s child marriages occur in India, says Unicef. Child marriage is more or less the norm in many places in Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh; 82 per cent of females in Rajasthan are married before 18, says Unicef. As per The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, any marriage involving a girl below 18 years of age or/and a boy below 21 years is a child marriage. Despite the Act, 15 per cent of girls in rural areas are married before 13. Sometimes they forge age certificates. Doctors in government hospitals here used to accept bribes and issue age certificates to minor girls. In some places, attending a grandchild’s wedding is a shortcut to heaven. In other places, parents are forced to marry their children out of poverty. An example is Bihar, which has the lowest per capita income in the country. Natural calamities also make the children more vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers, and many are pushed into marriages. But, last month, the Delhi High Court surprisingly ruled that a Muslim girl can marry “as per her choice at the age of 15 years if she has attained puberty.” Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and S.P. Garg said that as the “Mohammedan Law” permits a girl to marry without the consent of her parents once she attains puberty, she has the right to reside with her husband even if she is below the age of 18. The court also allowed a 16-year-old girl to stay in her matrimonial house, holding her marriage to be valid. Children who are married at a young age often find it very difficult to continue their education. Some stop going to school because classmates tease them. Some buckle under the pressure of running a home; others are sent to work by their in-laws.Child marriage is a serious violation of human rights, say sociologists. Children who get into early marriages lose their childhood as adulthood is moved up. Unable to negotiate their freedom, they are at a higher risk of domestic violence also. The victims undergo physical and mental abuse and sexual exploitation. Most of them do not get proper medical care when they fall ill. Being isolated from their friends and relatives, they may not even be able to share their problems with anybody. Child marriage victims take long to recover from the trauma, even after separation. Experts say that prevalence of child marriage is one of the important reasons of high maternal mortality in India. Recent studies indicate that 45 out of every 1,000 births in India are by girls aged 15-19 years. In early pregnancies there will be more chances of eclampsia, pre-eclampsia, hypertension, post-partum haemorrhage, Caesarean section and higher rate of mortality. Sexual relationship at an early age exposes the children to many health problems. Emotional wounds can be equally devastating for the child marriage victims. If the marriage fails, parents refuse to accept the children. Many of them turn to prostitution to make a living. In child marriages, girls are married to men twice or thrice their age. (Mini P. Thomas The Week 22 July 2012, p. 20-27.)
- Pray that social evil like child marriages are completely eradicated from India
- Pray that govt. takes up this and brings in laws that would stop the evil from spreading
- Driving drunk may land you behind bars in Chennai. Literally: When you drive past Chennai, the Police ask the motorists to blow into breath analysers or right into the faces of traffic cops to detect drunkenness. Those who fail the test are bundled into police vans and taken to the nearest government hospital for a blood test. Anyone with more than 30 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood is certified to be ‘under the influence of alcohol’ and booked for drunken driving. All along, this meant a fine of Rs 2000. Not anymore. A mobile court in the city recently sentenced five offenders to simple imprisonment for 15 days. The punishment has sent Chennaiites into a tizzy and is being seen as a form of judicial activism. The magistrates have merely used a bottled up provision in Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, which prescribes imprisonment of up to six months and/or a fine and if repeated within three years, an enhanced penalty of a 2-year jail term and/or a fine of Rs 3000. A criminal lawyer in the Madras High Court said that “ the trauma that goes with a jail term, whatever be the period, even if it is for a day, is far more deterrent than just coughing up a fine of Rs 2000.” The 67 traffic police stations in the city all have breath analysers. Interestingly, this new measure almost coincides with the latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) that flags Chennai as the city with the most unsafe roads and the highest number of fatal accidents. And there is no sign of last year’s 1,513 deaths on the roads coming down. The last six months have already seen more than 700 fatalities. The Tamil Nadu government has decided to allow bars in 5 star hotels in Chennai and Tiruchirapalli, which have international airports, to remain open round the clock on payment of an annual privilege fee that now stands at Rs 16 lakh. Similar leeway in 5 star hotels in Madurai and Coimbatore would attract double the privilege fee. Pubs in other places, which earlier had to strictly play the last song or serve the last drink at 10 minutes to 11 pm or face the police’s music, have an extra hour till midnight. Just how can we forget the Tamil Nadu government owned and run TASMAC (Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation) liquor retail shops? The state has a monopoly over the wholesale and retail vending of alcohol, through its 6,823 outlets. TASMAC’s net income in 2010-11 is a staggering 14,965 crore; an almost 20 per cent jump every year. (Source: TASMAC). An official from the Excise Department reveals that “the revenue from alcohol sales is almost half the state’s annual tax revenues.” Is it any surprise that the brisk sale of booze has led to a corresponding ‘steady’ spike in the incidence of drunken driving in the city? In 2010, 12,335 cases of drunken driving were registered by the traffic police. It went up to 16,538 cases in 2011. In the last six months alone, that figure stands at 9718. (Source: Chennai City Traffic Police) Sources also reveal a big factor that results in under-reporting of drunken driving cases—as the offence is an exclusion in an insurance claim (as drunken driving is not considered an accident in insurance parlance), in order to help victims and accused persons, some government doctors do not stamp blood samples with the drunken seal and the traffic investigation officials too stop short of registering a drunken driving case. (Sanjay Pinto, http://www.tehelka.com/story_main53.asp?filename=Ws190712Chennai.asp accessed on 23 July 2012.)
- Pray that govt. of India comes up with a plan to stop drunken driving accident cases
- Pray for safe roads in India.
- Exam failure second biggest cause for kids’ suicides: report: Failure in examinations has been the second biggest reason for children’s suicides across India in 2011, reveal statistics compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau. The only other provocation that is worse is family problems, which pushed 344 children up to 14 years of age to kill themselves in 2011, as per records available with police stations in the country. Data shows that 283 suicides were reported last year among children where the cause was failure in examinations. Of the 283 cases, 161 cases were boys and 122 girls. (Mohamed Thaver,http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/Mumbai/Exam-failure-second-biggest-cause-for-kids-suicides-report/Article1-895205.aspxaccessed on 25 July 2012.)
- Pray for eradication of children’s suicides across India
- Pray that parents teach children to handle failure.
- Four out of 10 Indian engineers can’t comprehend English: According to the survey by employability measurement company Aspiring Minds, English learning level among engineering graduates is very poor in India. More than 25 per cent of engineers do not even possess the English comprehension skills required to understand engineering school curriculum, the survey, which analysed the English skills of over 55,000 engineers in 250 different engineering colleges in India, said. Around 36 per cent of engineering graduates would be unable to read official reports and transcripts and derive information out of them, even when the information is explicitly stated. The findings of the survey are in sharp contrast to the fact that English fluency is considered as one of the key qualities that recruiters look for during the interview process. The survey found that only 57 per cent of the respondents can write grammatically correct sentences in English and less than 48 per cent can understand moderately sophisticated words of English. Moreover, candidates with English skills above the local average stand out from the crowd and garner 30-50 per cent higher salaries than similarly-qualified candidates without English skills. Interestingly, not more than 30 per cent of engineering students, who undergo stress and exhaustion while preparing for entrance exams, were acquainted with the word ‘exhaust’. In order to improve this situation, schools need to do a lot more to cover the gap and engineering colleges need to introduce bridge courses in the first semester and during semester breaks for students with deficient skills, the survey added. (http://www.deccanchronicle.com/channels/nation/north/four-out-10-indian-engineers-cant-comprehend-english-313 accessed on 25 July 2012.)
- Pray for revamp of higher education in India. Pray that more people in India are given good and proper English education
- Meet 9-yr-old Indian American Mensa boy who’s working on college degree: A nine-year-old Indian American boy Tanishq Abraham was inducted into genius society Mensa at the age of 4, and scored in the 99.9 percentile on a standardized intelligence test. The youngest student to be accepted at American River College in Sacramento, California at the age of 8, Abraham spends his days among students more than twice his age – whom he also occasionally lectures. “I like particle physics and contemplating the fate of the universe,” the Daily Mail quoted him as telling the Digital Journal. Precocious being an obvious description for him – while his acute intelligence was first recognized by his mother at the age of 2-1/2 – Abraham keeps his parents busy trying to keep up. His father, Bijou, is a software engineer, and his mother Dr. Taji Abraham, a doctor of veterinary medicine. Able to count to 100 at the age of 2, and having to skip the first grade when fully capable of performing 4th and 5th grade mathematics instead, Abraham’s life could be seen as a challenge for him to fit in.Thanks to his college enrolment he instead gives class presentations and occasionally guest lectures on subjects like palaeontology, astronomy and one of his favourites, dinosaurs. His little sister Tiara, too is in MENSA. At the age of six, she was inducted after scoring in the 98.8 percentile.Balancing his academia, Abraham performs in the San Francisco Boys Chorus, in gymnastics, soccer, piano and even sang the National Anthem at the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s games.When asked what he thinks he may want to do when he’s a bit older, he ponders and then shoots out his answer. “I really want to be a scientist or a president. President of the United States,” he said. “I’ll make the United States more healthy for us and more efficient,” he added. (http://www.deccanchronicle.com/channels/world/europe/meet-9-yr-old-indian-american-mensa-boy-whos-working-college-degree-277accessed on 7 July 2012.)
1 Churches are turning into temples in UK and US
US & UK, June 29, 2012: Next month, a Swaminarayan temple will be thrown open to devotees in Los Angeles, California. While there are many Hindu shrines the world over, a majority of them built by global Gujaratis, the consecration scheduled on July 22 is special. For, this abode of Lord Swaminarayan was once a run-down church. The 80-year-old church was acquired for $1.3 million by Swaminarayan Maninagar Gaadi Sansthan (SMGS) last year. SMGS has acquired five such old churches in Canada, the US and the UK. A fortnight ago, the sect acquired a 121-year-old heritage church building in Toronto, Canada for $1.6 million. While the building is now being converted into a temple-ashram, SMGS plans to retain carvings and glass paintings which are of great heritage value. “The idol installation at the California temple will take place in the inspiring presence of Gaadipati Purshottam Pridasji Maharaj,” said Bhagwati Priyadasji of SMGS. Gujaratis constitute one of the largest immigrant communities and the growing number of Swaminarayan temples all over the world only underline the financial clout of the community. The SMGS has 12 temples abroad. Most of the churches acquired are situated in prime areas and in a run-down condition. Bhagwat Priyadasji said a 40-yearold church spread over three acres in Dalas, Texas, was acquired for $700,000 just a month ago. The trend started in the UK in 1982 when St Ninian’s Church was bought for 200,000 pounds and a temple built on the 2.5 acre compound. In 1998, when a 70-year-old church in Bolton was bought and turned into a temple, the glass paintings which had images of Jesus Christ and Mother Mary were retained. “People from different faiths visit this temple,” says Mahesh Varsani, trustee of Swaminarayan Temple Trust in the UK. – times of india
http://persecutedchurch.info/2012/07/10/churches-are-turning-into-temples-in-uk-and-us/ accessed on 10 July 2012
- Pray for rejuvenation and revival of churches in UK and US
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