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Friday, December 26, 2008

Britons to be warned of nuclear disaster by SMS

London: A text message will be sent to 20,000 families living near a nuclear facility in the event of a radioactive disaster or emergency.
    The new 'emergency notification system' will be put into place next year to replace an existing siren that sounds in the event of a crisis.
    The current siren is regarded as an inadequate way of warning people living in Plymouth, Devon—an area which is described as "hazard rich"—due to the dockyard's nuclear facilities, its Royal Navy weapons depot, a large petrol terminal, a fuel depot and a gas pipeline. So in the event of a nuclear leak, residents living within a 2kilometre zone around the site will receive
a text message warning them of the danger, reported the Daily Telegraph.
    The messages will be sent to mobile phones and landlines, giving information on the incident and advice on what to do in order to protect themselves.
    Giles Perritt, Plymouth City Council's lead officer on civil protection, said: "It will be a warning not just of radiological threats but anything in that part of the city. "We have identified that the dockyard siren does not really do the trick in terms of letting people know quickly."
    Some residents have dismissed the idea as "ridiculous". Paul Jones from Plymouth, said: "What if your mobile is off or you're on the landline? AGENCIES

‘Next Asian disaster could kill a million’

Oz Report Says Population, Climate Change Will Only Add To Toll


Sydney: Asia-Pacific faces an era of large-scale natural disasters which could kill up to one million people at a time, with Indonesia, the Philippines and China most at risk, according to an Australian report.
    The Sydney Morning Herald cited a scientific report which found that the impact of natural events such as earthquakes and tsunamis would in coming years be amplified by rising populations and climate change.
    The paper said the report, by government body Geoscience Australia, had prompted prime minister Kevin Rudd and Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to create a joint disaster training and research centre. Geoscience Australia could not be reached for comment on Friday.
    The Herald said the Australian scientists had analysed the likelihood of earthquakes, cyclones, tsunamis and volcanoes occurring in the region and then estimated the likely casualty toll.
    The study found that cities in
the Himalayan belt, China, Indonesia and the Philippines could experience earthquakes where the death toll could top one million.
    Indonesia and the Philippines were was also at risk of volcanoes which could affect hundreds of thousands of people while a low-lying country like Bangladesh could be ravaged by tsunamis, floods and cyclones.
    The study, part of an assessment by Australia and Indonesia on humanitarian crises, said catastrophes which killed more than 10,000 people were likely to occur several times each decade and there was the potential for events to affect more than one million people.
    The paper said that rising populations, climate change and food shortages could exacerbate natural events. Geoscience Australia scientist Alanna Simpson said the analysis looked at the data of natural events from the past 400 years to predict the likelihood of future events.
    "Whilst the incidence of nat
ural hazards themselves — earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and the like — hasn't really changed, the sheer number of people living in the Asia-Pacific region means any earthquake has the potential to affect hundreds of thousands, if not millions," Simpson said.
    "If we worked out that parts of Alaska, for instance, are likely to have a volcanic eruption every 100 years, the impact of those events would be pretty low because there is no one living in those parts of Alaska, whereas the same frequency in Java will have a huge impact." AFP

DANGER ZONE: The temblor that struck China's Sichuan province in May took a heavy toll. The report says Indonesia, the Philippines and China are most at risk from natural disasters 

Schools step up disaster management


Crisis preparedness for students

Nirali Dixit-Hathi


Mumbai: While the debate of a mandatory military service for every Indian makes it to coffee-table discussions, the next best step being adopted in schools across Indian cities is setting up Disaster Management cells.
    Increasing incidents of natural calamities such as monsoon flooding, fire accidents, and now, terror strikes has lead to schools proactively training students and staff for such emergencies. Suggests Archana Tyagi, Additional Commissioner of Police (Mumbai Western Region), "After the 26 / 11 terror attacks, there was a spate of bomb hoaxes at educational institutes. Schools with disaster management in place are better equipped to avoid panic and control the situation till official security agencies and police reach. Schools must regularly conduct mock evacuation drills or even make disaster management a part of their curriculum, so that students can act quickly in an emergency.
    Be it CBSE centres across the country or the Council of the Boards of School Education, imparting formal training in disaster management to students of at least senior classes has now become the norm. Lectures on risk assessment and practicals on mock drills are in the syllabus in Ahmedabad schools under the Gujarat School Safety Initiative (GSSI) programme. Students learn first aid, fire safety, search and rescue operations too. In Chandigarh, basic lessons for junior classes, such as ducking for cover during a terror attack, not picking up any unidentified object and moving in a group in an emergency has been taken up. Going a step further, some school even teach students to be tolerant towards all religions and have feelings of national pride.
    States Joint Chief Fire Officer, Mumbai Fire Brigade, P D Karguppikar, "Installing public address systems, CCTVs and security systems in schools is a must, as is training staff to handle emergencies. Disaster management has to be integral into the educational system, with mock drills at least twice a month, if need be with assistance from the Fire Department or police."
    Several public schools, as well as government-aided and municipal schools in Mumbai are realising the need of being equipped for emergencies, especially after the 2005 deluge. Says Narendra Verma, Chairman, Jankidevi Public School, Mumbai, and President, International Schools Principal Management Foundation, "We had a bomb hoax call recently, and only because of our disaster management plan did we avoid panic among students. We took up a detailed disaster management plan after the July 26, 2005 flooding, when many schools had students stuck for almost three days without any facilities. Now, we have enabled a system to evacuate students and staff to safety."
    Adds Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Education), Mumbai, C B Rokde, "We are approaching Senior Police Inspectors to conduct mock evacuation drills in 1, 350 Mumbai schools for over four lakh students. Headmasters, teachers and other staff members will be trained for different emergencies, such as flooding and bomb hoaxes. We are also installing public address systems across schools in the coming week. Even disaster management workshops are planned from January 2009 onwards." Presently, in Maharashtra, a disaster preparedness project is also being formulated for schools. Says Suman Shinde, Education Inspector, South Mumbai region, "Deluge, riots and terror attacks have made students safety a priority. Thus the need for disaster management to be imbibed in curriculum has risen, and our project will take off in a fortnight."
    Sums up a child counsellor, "Training students for emergencies is necessary. However, schools must ensure they do not instil fear in students in any way. It should be done in a very matter-of-fact manner to avoid anxiety entering a child's mental framework."
    nirali.dixit@timesgroup.com

Disaster management demonstration being carried out by Fire Brigade in a Mumbai school

Lack of TV norms lets terror take toll on kids

Post-26/11, 25% Rise In Children Suffering From Anxiety, Insomnia

Kounteya Sinha | TNN

New Delhi: India does not have a national guideline to regulate TV viewing among children. And it's seriously affecting the country's youth. Live images of Mumbai's recent siege by terrorists on TV—gun shots, bomb blasts, raging fires and charred bodies—have caused serious mental trauma among kids. Psychiatrists are seeing a 25% increase in the past one month of children suffering from anxiety and insomnia.
    Parents have no idea how much TV is safe. This made them allow their kids to stay glued to the TV, watching as Mumbai bled. Paediatricians, on the other hand, have no official regulation to refer to when examining children addicted to TV.
    Psychiatrist Dr Jitender Nagpal from Vimhans said, "Following the Mumbai attacks, we are seeing a stark increase in children suffering from insomnia, fear of going to school and anxiousness. WHO's recent report 'Violence and Health' clearly states how sounds of gunfights and its images can give kids nightmares, seriously putting at risk their personality development and affecting their sleep, appetite and motivation."
    "It is imperative that India comes out with guidelines specifying how much TV should children be allowed to watch and
what programmes are good for them."
    Paediatrician from Apollo hospital Dr Anupam Sibal said with changing social norms, largely unsupervised children are addicted to TV. "It's cutting down their physical activity, making them prone to obesity, hypertension and diabetes. The Mumbai attacks have shown us that time has come to develop TV viewing norms fit for Indian children," Dr Sibal said.
    Several western countries have in place such regulations. The American Academy of Pediatrics in 2004 recommended that chil
dren under the age of two not be exposed to TV at all, while youngsters over the age of two be limited to no more than two hours of TV per day.
    Officials of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) also says it has similar regulations in place. But a funds crunch has jeopardized its efforts to popularize the regulations. Dr C P Bansal, head of IAP's adolescents wing, told TOI, "At present, we prescribe no TV for pre-school children and half-an-hour to one hour of TV viewing for children aged 2-18 years of age. No TV should be allowed in the children's bedroom. Children should sit at least 6-7 feet away from the TV screen."
    "Last year, we disseminated the guidelines in 13 states but could not continue because of lack of funds," Dr Bansal said.
    Paediatrician Dr S C Arya said the guidelines should be nationally propagated. "Parents must take active interest in monitoring TV viewing of their kids from early childhood. Parents must fix TV viewing hours per day/per week and adhere to them strictly. They must also approve the programmes children watch."

Matrimonial disputes harming kids: HC
New Delhi: The trauma of children whose parents are involved in matrimonial disputes has drawn the attention of the Delhi high court which said such couples often remain unmindful of the psychological, mental and physical impact it has on kids. "They are not only deprived of the love, care and affection of one of their parents but practically become targets for the parties to score over one another in this mad race and obsession to win possession, exclusive control and custody of the children,'' the HC said in a recent judgment. "Children whose parents seek divorce witness negative family interactions prior to the divorce and experience strained familial relationships after the divorce.'' AGENCIES

Now, liquid wood to replace plastics

 German researchers are ramping up a manufacturing technique for making intricate Nativity figurines, toys, and even hi-fi speaker boxes from a renewable and surprisingly versatile source: liquid wood.
    The bio-plastic dubbed Arboform, derived from wood pulp-based lignin, can be mixed with hemp, flax or wood fibers and other additives such as wax to create a strong, nontoxic alternative to petroleum-based plas
tics, according to its manufacturers.
    Crude oil is the basis of the chemical for plastics, said Norbert Eisenreich, a senior researcher and deputy of the directors at the Fraun
hofer Institute for Chemical Technology in Pfinztal, Germany.
    As the price of crude oil increases, he said, so does the price of plastics — and the interest in
finding replacements.
    The growing list of health concerns linked to plastic ingredients, such as heavy metals and softeners known as phthalates, also has increased the impetus to find a good substitute for manufacturing toys and other products.
    Liquid wood, Eisenreich said, combines the high stability and good acoustical properties of wood with the injection-molded capabilities of plastic. AGENCIES



Return of bird flu in Bengal worries min

New Delhi: Health minister Anbumani Ramadoss on Monday said the government is concerned about the recurrence of bird flu in West Bengal and asked all states to draw up plans to fight it.
    At a meeting attended by officials of health, home, environment, I&B and agriculture ministries, Ramadoss said he would write to all CMs and health ministers to upgrade the preparedness to deal with the disease.
    Expressing concern over the recurrence of bird flu in West Bengal, the minister appealed to the state government "to scale up its preparations and efforts to deal with the situation". He advised the state to carry out a "regular drill to deal with the disease, irrespective of the outbreak conditions".
    Last week, Bengal confirmed an outbreak of avian influenza and has so far culled 22,000 poultry in Malda. In early 2008, the disease had hit 13 districts following which over 200,000 birds were culled. Health authorities maintained that people in the affected areas are not cooperating with the culling teams, as poultry is a source of livelihood in several villages. IANS

A Ramadoss

BIG PLANS FOR BIG CITY

From Constructing Dams To Building A Wax Museum On The Lines of London's Madame Tussauds, The BMC's Projects—If Implemented Diligently—Will Change The Face Of Mumbai

Sharad Vyas | TNN

The coffers of the country's richest municipal corporation may not exactly be swelling in the wake of the economic crisis, but despite setbacks, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is set to embark on some of its most ambitious initiatives in the coming year. From laying the foundation stone of the state's biggest and tallest dam to constructing a wax museum, on the lines of London's Madame Tussauds, on the anvil are projects which, if implemented diligently, will change the face of the city.
According to officials, the focus is on upgrading infrastructure and, at the same time, providing improved civic services to citizens. Come January you will be able to log on to a citizens'
portal and assess your property tax, obtain birth and death certificates, etc. For those who don't have access to the Internet, the reach of the civic Citizen Facilitation Centres (CFCs) will be extended to 90-odd Sify cyber cafes. Bill payments, including water charges, will also be made easier: an SMS to 57575 with details of your bill number will initiate the process.
    "With minimal expenditure, these simple steps will help citizens save on time, as they will no longer be required to run from one civic office to another to secure different permits, licences, certificates or to make bill payments,'' said V Radha, joint municipal commissioner.
    There's good news for vendors, too. From 2009, the BMC will also stagger its licencing system over three months, and provide an allin-one licence to vendors. At the moment, vendors have to queue up at the end of year to re
new or obtain multiple licenses, such as, a permit from the health department and trade licence in order to conduct business. "With the all-in-one licensing system, and staggering that over three months, this is set to change,'' said Radha.
The BMC is also thinking big in its infrastructure projects. It will be ushering in major multi-million infrastructure projects of water supply, sewerage and storm water drains, and so on.
Cynics, however, may raise an eyebrow or two, as collections from the BMC's two major sources of revenue—octroi and property tax—are plummeting. While the former's growth rate has dropped to around 15% from last year's 21%, collection from the latter has almost come to a standstill with a slump in the property market. But officials are confident that the pace of the projects will not slow down.
Funds are likely to flow under the Centre's Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM): alre a dy, work is underway on three major projects, including the Middle Vaitarna Water Supply Project, Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project II and Brimstowad, which promises to augment the city's storm water drains. "The focus next year will be on these three important projects. Even though these are expected to run into 2011, we don't want to relax and slow their growth. More pipelines will be laid, and shafts will be constructed to lift water from Middle Vaitarna. All this will gain more momentum next year,'' municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak told TOI.
Report card for 2008
Closure of the 25 hectare Gorai dumping ground at the cost of Rs 50 crore Introduction of smart cards for vehicle owners at five octroi nakas Measures were implemented to ensure that no flooding occurred in low-lying areas like Juhu Sterilisation of 13,152 strays Removal of 800 unauthorised structures as part of Brimstowad Collection a premium of Rs 74 crore on the additional .33 FSI on construction projects 119 owners of unauthorised hoardings were served with notices Under a BMC drive, 13,300 shop owners were prosecuted for not putting up Marathi name-boards

What the BMC has in mind for 2009
Expect better water supply under the Middle Vaitarana Water Supply Project. Costing over Rs 1,600 crore , major work will include the construction of a tunnel from Malabar Hill to Cross Maidan and a 500m dam on the Vaitarna River With the aim of upgrading the city's sewage system, several priority works are in the pipeline, such as the development of new pumping stations and treatment plants under the Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project (MSDP) II Several areas will get relief from floods as parts of Brimstowad projects will be implemented next year. A new reservoir at Worli—budgeted at Rs25 crore —will provide water to areas in Prabhadevi and Worli Citizens will be able to visit local Sify centres and log online to pay taxes, obtain certificates, etc An SMS to 57575 with your bill number will be enough to make payment. However, citizens will have to register for an ITZ card pre-paid card to avail of this facility. Vendors will no longer have to obtain separate licences to conduct business Major concretisation (CC) and asphalt works will be completed next year. In the Western and Eastern suburbs, 22- 24 roads will be concretised. Another 90-odd roads will be paved with asphalt. In the city, seven CC and 60 asphalt road projects will be taken up in South Mumbai






Sunday, December 14, 2008

BMC to upgrade fire alarm systems in city

The Rs 80 crore automated system will cut time it takes to reach areas of distress

The BMC is set to upgrade the fire alarm systems in the city, in a bid to reduce time taken by the fire brigades to get to areas where a fire may have broken out.
    The civic body will introduce the 'wireless addressable emergency communication system' with centralised monitoring, which are equipped to detect fire and relay such information to nearest fire stations, besides sending a message to the main control room at Byculla.
    "We have received the proposal from Electronic Corporation India Ltd. We will have the system in place
shortly, as soon as all the formalities are completed. The system will be installed at the cost of Rs 80 crore," said Kishore Gajbhiye, additional municipal commissioner.
    He explained that at present, information about fire are first relayed to the main control room, who in turn, inform the closest fire station. However, the new system will automatically relay such messages simultaneously to the nearest fire station as well as the main control room at Byculla.
    Installation of the system will occur in a systematic manner. In the first phase, BMC will install the systems at all ward offices, BMC hospitals and
auditoriums in the city. In the second phase, the devices will be connected to local fire stations or base stations. In the third stage, the base stations will be connected to a centralised monitoring system at the main fire control room at Byculla. In the last stage, all the stations will be connected to the main disaster management cell or BMC headquarters.
    "The system will be especially effective during public holidays. As they are automated, they can detect and send messages on their own. We will also ask residential complexes, educational institutions, multiplexes, malls and private hospitals to install them," said Gajbhiye.

The main control room at Byculla will receive the automated messages from the system

Are you a worrywart?

Security from terror and the economy may be our first concern today, but a survey of the average Indian's worry index gives Times Life some interesting insights, reports Nona Walia

 IT'S 3 a.m., and you're awake — palms sweaty, mind racing. You're worried about your life. Your kids. Your parents. Your promotion. What are people thinking about you? The sad truth about modern life is: We're becoming worrywarts! We worry about everything! We worry about the 'what-ifs' in life. In an all-India survey by Times Life across eight cities, we asked worriers to write down everything that bothered them; 80 per cent people worried most about their family, 75 per cent about relationships. All Indians were worried about losing their self-esteem!
    Risking one's self-respect is sure to result in tense moments. Says actor Zulfi Sayed, "When we were inside Bigg Boss in confinement, we worried about our image. How are we being shown, what are people thinking about us? It became an obsession."
    Top worries are personal health, money, relation
ships followed by crime, the cost of living, terrorism and children's future. But silly worries count too: A teenager worries that her mom may find her secret diary, another schoolgirl worries about her dog being fat.
    Interestingly, 80 per cent people in
Mumbai w o r r y about m o n - e y o ve r family or relationships. They are also concerned about what people think about them. While 80 per cent Delhiites and Bangaloreans worry mainly about relationships, people in A h m e d - abad really w o r r y about losing their self-respect.
    Interestingly, in his book, The Worry Cure, author Robert Leahy writes, worriers respond differently to frightening situations than other
people. They stay upset, rather than becoming less anxious over time. According to Psychology Today, worry is often like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but doesn't necessarily get you anywhere. Says spiritual guru Ma Naina, from Osho Delhi, "To put an end to worries, you have to live in the present — then, there's no past and no future!"
Says spiritual guru Thich Nhat Hanh, "We spend spirit energy when we worry. It saturates us."
So, are we wired to worry? In these terror times, we're all worried about our security. Says Poonam Verma, vice-chairman of Property Guards, security agency, "I've had women wanting to know how to safeguard themselves, how to use weapons, men wanting to know if sniffer dogs can protect them, parents wanting to train kids to deal with panic. Corporates are worried about bomb threats." There are different kinds of worriers too. Chandrashekhar H. Panara, 21, a mountaineering instructor says, "I worry about small things that I can't control!"
The good thing about worrying is it can mobilise us into action. Like
Anuja Chauhan, author of Zoya Factor, who worries about whether her kids are eating right. "I don't worry about long-term stuff," she says.
Most worry today is about everyday
things rather than longterm threats. Says classical dancer Geeta Chandran, "I worry about old age. Small, daily irritants can be bothersome. Right now, the economic downturn is occupying a lot of my mind space. I think also about how there's lack of sensitivity today." Evolution may have given us the opportunity to worry, but that doesn't mean we should take the bait. Gitanjali Prasad, author of The Great Indian Family agrees, "Indians worry too much. Most worry about loss of a dear one. Losing your health is also a reason for anxiety."
    It seems people also worry a lot before they make big, life-changing decisions. But there's no need to kill yourself with worry. Says TV actor Hiten Tejwani, "I think a lot before making career decisions. My
wife, Gauri Pradhan also worries about small things."
    The website reallyworried.com logs 853 health worries, 580 current affairs worries, 333 money worries. That's a lot of worrying going around the world. Says its founder Richard Rubin, "I was a chronic worrier. I wanted people to have a place to share thoughts on worrying."
    Bosnian fitness expert Vesna wants to help create a worry-free world, "Indians worry about small things. We waste our lives worrying, but it can't change anything. So, why worry?"

TOP 10 WORRIED CITIES IN INDIA
1. Chennai 2. Mumbai 3. Bangalore 4. New Delhi 5. Hyderabad 6. Kanpur 7. Kolkata 8. Pune 9. Lucknow 10. Ahmedabad
4 STEPS TO NO WORRY!
ShareI Reveal your worries by talking. RelaxI Learn to let go and relax. DietI Cut down on caffeine and spicy food. DrinkI Avoiding alcohol keeps you in control of your worries.




Monday, December 8, 2008

Services for Senior Citizens

TELEPHONE
Telephone connection is given on priority to senior citizens aged 65 years and above.They are entitled to registrer their demand for one telephone connection in their names.The telephones thus provided is transferable only in the name of spouse, if alive after death of the subscriber as a general category telephone and subsequent transfers is governed by prevailing telephone transfer rules.
HELPLINES
    
Helpage India, Chennai: HelpAge India has a helpline for elders in Chennai city, with the association of Chennai Police.This helpline is operating from the office of the City Police Commissioner.
    Agewell Helpline, Delhi: Agewell Foundation has set up a helpline for senior citizens in Delhi.The volunteers are constantly available to attend to matters of medical or psychological nature, as well as legal and financial advice. Help line numbers are: 2983 6484, 2983 0484.
    Heritage Helpline, Hyderabad: Elders can access this helpline (No. 23390000) daily from 8am to 8pm, except on Sundays and national holidays.Trained volunteers provide counselling, health assistance and referral services.
    Nightingale Helpline, Bangalore: The Nightingale Medical Trust, Bangalore runs a 24-hour, toll-free Elder's helpline (no.1090) that counsels elders, reconciles family disputes, provides information and renders advocacy services.
EXPEDITIOUS DISPOSAL OF COURT CASES
    
The Hon'ble Chief Justice of India has advised Chief Justice of all High Courts in the country to accord priority to cases involving older persons and ensure their expededitious disposal.
    Mumbai High Court has announced that it would give out-of-turn priority to hearing and disposal of petitions wherein litigants have crossed 65 years of age.The High Court decision would also be applicable to its benches at Goa,Aurangabad and Nagpur besides the subordinate courts in the State. It would extend to all the matters including civil or criminal pending in any court of law.
MOBILE MEDICARE UNIT PROGRAMME
The Mobile Medicare Unit (MMU) Programme is the only programme directly implemented by HelpAge India to provide basic essential medicare at the door steps of needy and underprivileged elderly in India. Presently, HelpAge India has a fleet of 55 directly-controlled MMUs.These are at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad,Ahmedabad, Pune, Nagpur, Lucknow, Jammu, Faridabad, Chandigarh, Bhadohi, Bhubaneshwar, Paradeep and Bikaner.
BANKING
Post Offices, Banks offer a higher interest for investments.
MAGAZINES FOR THE ELDERLY
There are two magazines specifically for elderly Dignity Dialogue brought out by Dignity Foundation and Senior Heritage Selections by Heritage Medical Centre.The publications deal with a wide spectrum of issues, starting from the indignity of elder abuse to alternative medicine, to some philosophy and some inspirational material. Moreover, they provide a forum for the elderly to express their opinions and creativity.
DELHI POLICE AND SENIOR CITIZENS
Delhi police has introduced some special schemes for the safety of senior citizens under which the beat officers in the area have been directed to make a list of senior citizens and help ensure a secure environment for them. Under the plan, the local SHO will visit them every first Saturday of the month and the beat constable will visit once a week on Sunday. In Delhi, senior citizens can mail to the Commissioner of Police on the following address about any sort of crime/ harassment: 'Commissioner of Police, P B No.171, GPO, New Delhi'
    Courtesy: www.helpageindia.org


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Most cos lack disaster management plans

 MUMBAI may slowly be returning to normalcy after the terror attack, but most Indian organisations could lack the same resilience. A terror attack on any of India's IT or financial service processing firms could paralyse them for days and possibly cause irreparable damage, fear experts.
    A yet-to-be-released survey by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has found that only a small percentage of Indian organisations — around 12% — carries out a detailed risk assessment and chalks out threat scenario-based plans. The survey — carried out among 140 firms — however, notes that there is progressively higher awareness compared to previous annual surveys. "It is evident from the industry responses that while we have done a lot in the past couple of years compared to the preceding decade, we still have a long way to go in our disaster readiness," said Nikhil Donde, managing consultant, PwC.
    "We've come a long way compared to a few years ago. There is an appreciation that 'it can happen to me'. After 9/11, most firms have a basic plan of redundancy — back-up is done largely by all organisations. They also use multiple service providers for connectivity," agreed KPMG executive director (IT advisory) Akhilesh Tuteja.
    Most two-year contracts today also have a business continuity clause, according to Mr Tuteja. But process capability and people availability are overlooked, he said. For instance, if one facility is destroyed in a terror attack, how soon will it take for the process to be serviced from the second location — 2 hours, 5 hours or 2 days? Most organisations also assume people availability. If people working in
one location are lost, then does the second location have people with those skills? "That is one of the big threats, but which is rarely taken into account," he said.
    "Disaster recovery plans are like an insurance you may never use," said Mr Donde. "In today's environment, every bit of money saved matters to your margins. This is a paradox as they don't help you grow your business. If you replicate your entire infrastructure in a different location, it may be like over-kill." Of all the organisations PwC polled in India, around 17% had no formal business continuity or disaster recovery plans, but were aware of the need for it. Around 48% of the responding firms identified that preparing business continuity and disaster recovery plans was the prime objective in the current year.

FIGURING IT OUT
Around 12% of firms in India carry out detailed risk assessment and chalk out threat scenario-based plans
17% had no formal business continuity or disaster recovery plans
48% of firms identified that preparing business continuity and disaster recovery plans was the prime objective this year


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

the largest citizens’ rally in recent times

SHOW OF ARMS: The mood at what must have been the largest citizens' rally in recent times was more combative than peaceful. Thousands, including many from GenNext and relatives of the terror victims, gathered at the Gateway on Wednesday to protest the attacks by Pak-based terrorists and the government's inability to protect its citizens.

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