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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Maha to have highest urban population By 2026, 38% People To Live In Cities: Govt

New Delhi: Maharashtra would have maximum urban population by 2026, followed by Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Quoting the population projection by the Census of India, the Union urban development ministry in a reply in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday stated that country's urban population will reach 53.48 crore in another 13 years. 

    It is estimated that over 38% of total projected population will be living in urban areas. As per the projection, India's total population would reach 140 crore by 2026, minister of state for urban development Deepa Dasmunshi stated in her reply to a written question. According to the Census of India, urban population in Maharashtra would be 8.13 crore, while in UP it would cross 6.75 crore. The other states that make up the top five states are Tamil Nadu (5.37 crore), Gujarat (3.67 crore) and West Bengal (3.53 crore). Lakshadweep will have the least number of urban population at around 24,000. 
    Among cities, Mumbai would have the highest population of at least 2.63 crore, followed by Delhi (over 2.24 crore). Kolkata would slip to third slot with a little over 2 crore population. In 2001, Kolkata was the second most populated city in India after Mumbai. "Migration of population to both big and small cities and growth of towns will push the population growth in urban areas. This has happened in 
case of all the mostly urbanized countries and India cannot be an exception. Now we have a big challenge of managing the already overgrown cities and to ensure that smaller cities come up in a planned manner," said a senior UD ministry official. 
    In its bid to improve the infrastructure in 65 big cities, the government has been implementing several projects under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), while there is another project to cater to the needs of small and medium towns. "In the next one-andhalf years our focus would be to sanction more projects for smaller towns considering the critical need of these areas," said a ministry official. 

POPULATION BOOM 
    
Country's urban population will reach 53.48 crore by 2026—over 38% of total projected population will be living in urban areas 
    India's total population will reach 140 cr by 2026, minister of state for urban development Deepa Dasmunshi said 
    Urban population in Maharashtra will reach 8.13 cr while in UP, it will cross 6.75 cr 
    Among cities, Mumbai will have the highest population of 2.63 cr followed by Delhi with population of over 22.4 cr


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Plastic to fuel Sydney-London flight 5 Tonnes Of Waste Plastic To Be Turned Into Diesel For 16,898Km Trip

London: In a first-of-its kind attempt, an Australian pilot plans a 16,898 kilometre historic trip from Sydney to London using fuel produced entirely from plastic waste. 

    Forty one-year-old Jeremy Rowsell's flight will be powered by five tonnes of discarded packaging, waste collected from rubbish dumps and — using a pioneering technique — melted down into 1,000 gallons of aviation-grade diesel. 
    In July, he will embark on the journey from Sydney, flying over Asia, the Middle East and then Europe, and arrive in London six days later, after flying a single-engine Cessna 172 at about 2414 km a day with a speed of about 185kph. 
    Rowsell will have to fly for up to 
15-hour stretches to reach his scheduled stops on time, the 'Telegraph' reported. He will travel at an altitude of 5,000ft — much lower than commercial airliners, which reach up to 40,000ft on long-haul flights. 
    The fuel will be sourced solely from the so-called "end-of-life" plastic that cannot be recycled and would otherwise end up as landfill, including household waste such as packaging and wrapping. 
    The plastic will be collected from the countries in which Rowsell is scheduled to stop along the way and shipped to Cynar, the Dublin firm that will help process the waste into aviation-grade diesel. 
    Recent technological advances have made it possible to distill plas
tic — most of which is petroleumbased — into fuel, using a process known as pyrolysis that does not pollute the air. 
    Cynar claims its plastic waste diesel fuel is cleaner than that used by most planes, its production process is cleaner, and it estimates a lower cost per gallon. 
    Although it has been tested in cars, it is in the very early stages of aero engine tests and has never been used in flight, the report said. Rowsell, a hobby pilot, decided to undertake the trip to raise awareness of new technologies that are exploring viable, environmentally friendly ways to fly, while also cutting down amount of plastic waste in landfills around the world. PTI

GREEN MISSION

Thursday, February 21, 2013

DILSUKH NAGAR ROCKED 20 Dead, 84 Injured in Two Hyderabad Blasts

Bombs were planted in the same area on Aug 25, 2007, but did not go off; Shinde refuses to speculate about who could be responsible for bombings


    Bomb explosions killed at least 20 people and injured 84 in Hyderabad on Thursday evening, breaking a nearly 18-month spell in which no major Indian city was subjected to a terrorist attack. The two blasts in a crowded area of the city also mark the return of terror to Andhra Pradesh's capital after 2007, when 51 people were killed in attacks three months apart. 
Initial information suggested that the explosives were strapped to bicycles placed near busy movie halls and eateries in the Dilsukh Nagar area. Home ministry officials said that bombs were also planted in the same area on August 25, 2007, but did not go off. Forty people were killed that day in other nearby parts of the city in an attack blamed on the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Indian Mujahideen. 
The terror strike on the day the budget session of parliament commenced presents a severe test for Sushil Kumar Shinde, who took over as home minister from P Chidambaram less than seven months ago. Shinde has sought to portray an uncompromising stand against terrorism by overseeing the execution of Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru, men who were convicted of the 2008 Mumbai attack and the 2001 attack on parliament, respectively. The last major strike on an Indian city was the September 2011 attack in Delhi when the high court complex was targeted, killing 13 people. 
On Thursday Shinde said that the intelligence agencies had an inkling of possible terror strikes two days ago and had shared this information with all state governments. "We did not have specific information that blasts will take place in Hyderabad; we had information of blasts anywhere in the country." Asked how an attack could take place despite an alert being issued, he said that it is only after a thorough investigation that all facts can be ascertained. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the attack as 
"dastardly" and promised that the guilty would not go unpunished. While Shinde refused to speculate about who could be responsible for the bombings, sources in the intelligence apparatus believe that the Indian Mujahideen, acting in concert with and at the behest of LeT, is the likely suspect. It is seen as having network of sleeper cells and sympathisers in Andhra Pradesh, particularly Hyderabad. 
THREAT INPUT GIVEN ON THURS 
Officials said the centre has information that a key Indian Mujahideen operative arrested by the Delhi police recently confessed to have conducted a recce of Dilsukh Nagar on a motorcycle last year. Moreover, intelligence inputs over the last two days had pointed to sleeper cells of Indian 
Mujahideen becoming active again and a specific input of a threat to six major metros, including Hyderabad, was sent out by the Intelligence Bureau on Thursday morning. Officials also admit a lack of coordination between the home ministry and the Andhra government over the input from the Intelligence Bureau. Shinde said the centre had given information about an impending terror attack on a few cities, but he was not sure if Hyderabad was among them. He refused to blame the Andhra Pradesh government for not acting on the input. 
For Andhra, the bombing is a further blow to a state which has been struggling with political instability after the death of chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter accident in 2009. The ruling Congress has been split by 
Reddy's son Jagan, the agitation for a separate state of Telangana has flared up, and a severe power crisis has badly affected India's fourth-largest economy. 
NO IMPACT ON BUSINESS 
Industrialists based in the city said for all their cruelty, the bombings are unlikely to have any substantial impact on business activity. Investor confidence will be shaken, but only for some time, said JA Chowdhary, co-chairman of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Suchitra Ella, chairperson of the Confederation of Indian Industry in AP, was also of the opinion that such attacks will temporarily affect business confidence but "vibrant cities like Hyderabad that are driven by business and commerce will bounce back quickly."


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Temperature fluctuations hit kids hard

 Little Nysha is an active 16-month-old, but has been ill for three days, with a cough and temperature. Her mother blames the freak weather. "Two days back it was hot. Then it turned suddenly cold. Now it is hot again. We can regulate the AC but my baby can't get accustomed to this fluctuation," said Natasha Dhanani, a Kandivli resident. 

    Nysha, however, is not the only child to have been laid low by the weather. Paediatricians across the city are reporting a long line of worried parents at clinics and out-patient departments. Fluctuations in temperature and low temperatures make children younger than five prone to the risk of contracting flu or respiratory ailments, which, if not treated in time, can cause pneumonia due to low immunity. Cold or flu creates an environment easier for the pneumococcal bacteria to trigger infections. 
    Dr Rohit Agarwal, president, Indian Academy of Paediatrics, said changing temperatures and high pollution levels make children ill. "We have more cases of nasal secretion, wheezing and chest congestion. Children, especially those below two years of age, have narrow wind pipes. In cold weather, these contract, 
making it difficult for a child to breathe," he added. 
    Dr Samir Dalwai, paediatrician at Sion Hospital said, "Pollutants can't mix easily in the environment during win
ter and cause allergic reactions especially in children, as their immunity systems are not that strong. " 
    Dr Ashok Anand, head of paediatrics at JJ Hospital said, 
"We are seeing a slight increase in upper and lower respiratory tract problems. If not treated on time, it can lead to pneumonia. A sudden rise of fever is a warning sign."


Friday, February 15, 2013

Citizens take to streets to teach road safety

CITIZENS FOR THE CITY

Mumbai: Suburban motorists were in for a surprise on Friday morning when a group of placard-holding citizens greeted them at two junctions in Goregaon (E) and talked to them about road safety measures. The group of 50 odd members, hailing from various walks of life, was permitted by the traffic police to lend them a hand for over three hours. The group tried to convince motorists to wear their helmets and buckle them up instead of hanging them on the rear-view mirrors of their bikes. 

    "We divided ourselves between the MTNL junction and the Oberoi Mall junction. As soon as the signal turned red and motorists halted, we would approach them and talk to them about a few basic rules such as lane discipline, no jumping signals and no speeding," said one of the participants, Hitesh Dharawat, a finance professional. A large number of college students also took part in the initiative. While some motorists were skeptical, most listened patiently. 
    The citizens' group also interacted with pedestrians about prevention of accidents. "Pedestrians talking on the phone while crossing roads or, worse, texting or chatting on their tablets, are likely to cause fatal accidents. We tried to drive home this point on Friday," said Dharawat. The group was out on the streets from 8.30am to noon. 
    Senior inspector Vinayak Mule of the Goregaon (E) traffic outpost said such initiatives need to take place more often and across the city. "It's encouraging to see civilians coming out in our support," he added.

DRIVING HOME A POINT

Organ transplant: Doctors cheer move to scrap NOC

Paperwork Will Become Easier, Say Nephrologists


Mumbai: Anil, a 50-year-old kidney patient from Bangalore, spent two months running from one government office to another to gather 63 pages of proof that he is a law-abiding resident of Karnataka."Ihadto gothe police station several times and a policeman came to my house later to interview each of my family member for details of my disease," said Anil who is currently in Mumbai to meet his doctor. 
    If all the paperwork is in order, Anil will hopefully undergo a kidney transplant as soon as possible. His Punebased sister will donate one of her kidneys for him. 
    On Friday, Anil had mixed feelings when he heard that the Maharashtra government had decided to do away with the no-objection certificate (NOC) stipulation. "If only this stipulation had come a few months ago, I wouldn't have had to spend time gathering those 63 pages," he told TOI. 
    His doctor, Bharat Shah, who had moved the Bombay high court against the need for an NOC for interstate transplants when the donor and recipient are related, is ecstatic. "The problem is that this NOC was interpreted andfolloweddifferently in different states. Some states never insist on paperwork if the donor and recipient are related," said Dr Shah. 
    For many patients and their doctors,the newscalled for celebration. 
    "It will be a boon for patients,'' said Hinduja Hospital's nephrologist Jatin Kothari, who is also a member of the Zonal Transplantation Coordination Committee. He said securing an NOC adds six to eight weeks to any transplant. "A patient of mine from Uttar Pradesh needed eight months to get his permission. And it was his own sis
ter who was donating a kidney," said Dr Kothari. 
    City doctors are hopeful that several patients will benefit from this amendment, and that it is implemented at the earliest. 
    Dr Shah said that he had moved the high court because of the plight of his patients who hailed from economically poor economic backgrounds. 
    "Such uneducated pa
tients would invariably fall prey to touts who promised to help them with the paperwork. They would spend on dialysis aswell astoutswhile they should be saving for their medical care," said Dr Shah. "We can help and guide patients within the state. But if they are outsiders, even we are not aware of the system in other states, and so we cannot guide them," Dr Shah added.


SoBo bldg slab collapse: 3 dead

Mumbai: Three people died and one was injured after a portion of Khatija Mansion in Pydhonie, which was being repaired for the last five months, fell on a hotel and a shed on the ground floor on Friday afternoon. 

    Search was on for another missing person at the time of going to the press. Three floors were being added to the ground-plus three-storey cessed building. The Mhada had given the building an NOC, said civic officials. 
    Mhada officials will now undertake a structural audit of the building to check if there was any delay or lapses on part of the contractors. TNN

Firemen remove the debris of Khatija Mansion on Friday

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Civic body records nearly 700 malaria cases in JAN

Mumbai:The H1N1 virus may be back in circulation but it is actually malaria and dengue that is plaguing Mumbaikars. 

    According to BMC data, 693 people contracted malaria and 94 were treated for dengue in January. None of the vector-borne ailments claimed any lives. 
    Physicians said it is common to treat at least a couple of malaria cases on a daily basis during this time of the year. But dengue cases should not be rampant now. A senior physician from KEM Hospital said the severity of dengue cases as compared to last year had come down. "Dengue cases that we are treating now are quite common and less complicated. But we are getting more cases than we usually get at this time of the year," said the physician. Last year, dengue cases had witnessed a 100% increase as compared to 2011. At the national level too, dengue cases have increased by 163% while deaths have gone up by 47%. However, BMC officials 
claimed dengue should not be a cause for worry. "The graph is actually coming down now after the drive we had undertaken last year. From an average of 200 cases per month, it has come down below 100," said an official. Dr Kushrav Bhajan, chief intensivist of Hinduja hospital, said there has been a steady flow of malaria cases."Overall too, there has been a 79% decrease in cases and 69% in deaths," said the official.



Weather, bldg work worsen smog in city

Mumbai: Mumbai's weather has gone from pleasantly cold to stiflingly hot in a matter of days, but the smog that continues to envelop the city is an indicator of the poison Mumbaikars have been inhaling. The weather, along with the city's congested roads and constant 

construction activity, had resulted in pollution levels increasing three-fold over the standard acceptable limits last week. 
    According to the Mumbai Pollution Control Board, pollution levels—particularly nitrogen oxide (NOx) and suspended particulate matter (SPM) — 
have been exceptionally high in the past few days. While the pollution levels in January were more than double the accepted limits, they have further worsened in February. 
    On February 1, SPM levels rose to as high as 342 micrograms per cubic metre. On February 6, the levels were 335 micrograms per cubic metre. NOx levels were also high at 178 micrograms per cubic metre on February 7. "Anything above 100 micrograms of SPM and 80 micrograms of NOx in a cubic metre of air is bad for human health," said an MPCB official. He added that in certain parts of the city, pollution levels were perennially higher than the standard limits. 
Traffic congestion compounds weather woes Pollution Levels In City Increase Three-Fold Over Normal Level in February Due To Fluctuating Mercury, Construction Work 
    Blame the weather, the traffic and the city's unceasing construction work for the foul air you breathe. 
    "When the weather gets cooler, SPM levels tend to rise because of inversion," said Dr Rakesh Kumar of the National Environment Engineering Research Institute. 
    Normally, the air near the earth's surface is warmer than that in the upper atmosphere. During inver
sion, however, there is cold air near the surface, which gets trapped under the warmer air. "At such a time, hot and cold air don't mix easily in the upper atmosphere. Because of this, pollutants get trapped in the lower atmosphere," explained Dr Kumar. 
    Last week, however, the weather had been consistently warm. What's more, extremely high pollution levels were recorded at the Sion air quality station of MPCB. 
    The figures recorded at Bandra air quality station, though high, were not as alarming. 

    Dr Kumar has a possible explanation for this too. "Strong winds break inversion and blow away pollutants. Since Bandra has a sea face, the pollutants are occasionally blown away. But Sion is not so fortunate, hence pollution levels there are higher." 
    However, a mere fluctuation in mercury levels is not the only cause of Mumbai's poor air quality, said experts, pointing out that increasing vehicular density and construction pollution are equally to blame. 
    "Pollution norms for vehicles may be in place, but their sheer numbers in Mumbai override the norms and lend to the addition in SPM levels," said Dr Neelam Rane, professor of physiology at D Y Patil Medical College. 
    Dr Rohini Chowgule, from the Indian Institute of Environmental Medicine (IIEM), said that 100 micrograms per cubic metre is actually a standard limit for industrial areas. 
    "The limit for normal breathing air in a residential area is much lower. Human actions like burning grass to make soil more fertile, apart from traffic and construction activity, are causing pollution levels to rise exceptionally high," she said. 
    "Moreover, vehicles emit more pollution when moving slowly. In Mumbai, the problem gets amplified due to the bumper-to-bumper traffic. Also, there is always some construction, renovation or restoration work happening, which is an even greater source of pollution," added Dr Rane.


Alert in city over fears of V-Day terror

Mumbai: A high alert has been sounded in the city after the police control room received a call from a person claiming to be from UP on Sunday warning that six terrorists had sneaked in and would target Juhu Chowpatty or Bandra Bandstand on Valentine's Day. 
    Although it could be a routine alert, security agencies are taking no chances, considering that both Juhu and Bandstand will be teeming with youngsters on February 14. 
    Another reason for concern is the alert has come just days after the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, leading to strong criticism from LeT founder Hafiz Saeed. 
    Police chief Satyapal Singh has directed searches of all hotels and lodges in the western suburbs, besides ordering nakabandis. P 3 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Docs warn H1N1 may again be on its way back


Mumbai: City doctors caution that the H1N1 virus may be back again and those at high risk should remain alert. 
    With Pune losing five lives in a month's time to the influenza virus that caused a pandemic in 2009, doctors warn that the virus may have returned. 
    After affecting more than 358 people last year, the H1N1 virus remained dormant through November and December. Three patients from the city have tested positive in the past month but no death has been reported. In the same time, more than 54 tested positive in the state. 
    State epidemiologist Dr Pradeep Awate said of the seven deaths had been reported from the state, five were from Pune and one each from Aurangabad and Jalgaon. "Just like the rest of the country, we are also witnessing more cases of H1N1, but it is nothing unusual," he said, adding there might be more cases. But he added the state machinery was equipped to handle the situation if the virus starts affecting more people. 
    Both the 44-year-old woman and 31-year-old man from Mulund, who tested positive for H1N1 on Saturday, are stable. Infectious diseases consultant Dr Om Srivastava said, "The fluctuating temperature makes it conducive for the virus to thrive. H1N1 will circulate as seasonal flu now with occasional peaks." He said children, pregnant women, senior citizens, diabetics and others with underlying ailments need to be extra vigilant.

Friday, February 8, 2013

From July, failure to segregate waste could invite prosecution BMC To Enforce 100% Separation Of Wet & Dry Waste

    In an unprecendented attempt to enforce 100% door-to-door segregation and collection of waste, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to aggressively prosecute defaulters. Other than a fine of up to Rs 50,000, the punishment for repeated non-compliance could even include imprisonment for office-bearers of the defaulting society or the flat owners. Jail term would be decided by court. 

    The civic authority will make segregation of dry and wet waste at source compulsory from July. The circular, issued by deputy municipal commissioner (solid waste management) Prakash Patil, states that by July, the BMC will make available all the infrastructure needed for the initiative. It will purchase additional collection compactors and upgrade segregation centres. The BMC will stop accepting mixed waste. 
    The civic body will issue a notice to any society that fails to segregate waste and initiate prosecution proceedings in accordance with the Municipal Solid Waste Rules 2000. 
    There is a provision for a minimum penalty of Rs 1,000. The society will be given a notice period of 30 days before it is fined. If a society fails to comply with the rules after three notices, the BMC could file a case in a metropolitan court. 
    Civic officials added that societies will be sent a special notice listing guidelines on how to go about segregating waste. They will be allowed to engage a rag-picker for their dry waste; this could earn them revenue. In case a society cannot find a rag-picker on its own, the BMC will give it a list of NGOs in an area and the society can choose from them. 
    Currently, the BMC collects door-todoor waste from 30-40% households; less than 2% waste is being segregated. 
    This time, the BMC will have to meet the target as it is one of the service level benchmarks prescribed by the Union ministry of urban development. Failure will make the BMC ineligible for Central funds under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The 100% collection has to be achieved by March 2014 and segregation by 2015. 
    Similar initiatives were undertaken earlier but due to lack of infrastructure for collection, transportation and disposal, the practice did not take off.


Google reads emails of Gmail users to insert ads, claims MS

    In a vicious attack on Google, Microsoft has alleged that the company violates the privacy of Gmail users by reading their emails to serve advertisements. 

    Microsoft, which competes with Google, has also launched a website—www.scroogled.com—that talks about "Google's practice of going through the contents of all Gmail emails to sell and target advertisements". 
    Stefan Weitz, senior director of online services at Mic
rosoft, said in a statement emailed to media, "Emails are personal and people feel that reading through their emails to sell advertisements is out of bounds…We are concerned that Google violates privacy every time an Outlook.com user exchanges messages with someone on Gmail. This campaign is as much about protecting Outlook.com users from Gmail as it is about making sure Gmail users know what Google's doing." No humans read your mail, says Google 
    Commenting on Microsoft's campaign, a Google spokesperson said that advertising allows the company to offer free services. "Advertising keeps Google and many of the websites and services Google offers free of charge… We work hard to make sure that ads are safe, unobtrusive and relevant," said Samantha Smith, a Google spokesperson. 
    "No humans read your email or Google Account information in order to show you advertisements or related information. An automated algorithm determines which ads are shown," added a Google official. 
    Personalised advertisements have been a part of the web for several years now and are considered industry practice. Websites like Google and Facebook not only track web users when they are logged into their network but also keep an eye on the content they produce 
through automated processes. In this way, these websites figure out keywords and serve advertisements that users may need. 
    In fact, Microsoft too shows personalized advertisements across its websites, including on outlook-.com. The company also reads emails landing up in an outlook-.com mailbox but claims that it is done to filter out spam. 
    Google had earlier said that its computers also scan the user-generated content to make services more relevant to users. One example of such service is Google Now, a virtual assistant available on Android phones, which can automatically track a shipment for user after scanning the tracking number in emails that courier companies send. 
    This is not the first time Microsoft has launched a 'scroogled' attack on Google. Last year, Microsoft tried to "educate" web users about Google Shopping, a search engine specific for products. Earlier in 
2012, the company created a goofy video in which a person called 'Gmail Man' was shown reading messages before they got delivered. 
    Similarly, this is not the first time Google's practice to keep track of its users is under spotlight. In the past, the company has faced several lawsuits from consumers. Last year, Google paid a fine of over $22 million to the US Federal Trade Commission for ignoring the Do Not Track option enabled by users of Safari web browser. 
    In the last few years, the competition between Microsoft and Google has intensified. The rise in popularity of Android devices and cloud-based services like Google Docs means Google is now more than a search engine company. While Microsoft has launched direct attack on Google services with campaigns like 'scroogled', Google has hit back by refusing to create Gmail or Google Drive apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

1cr stolen using mobile in Meerut


Mumbai:The probe into the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 1 crore from a Mumbaikar's account has shown that the 12 transactions siphoning off the funds were made from an IP address that has been traced to a mobile device in UP's Meerut. 
    The main accused used a prepaid 3G connection to access the account through his mobile banking application on January 31, said investigators. Four teams have been sent to Delhi and Uttar Pradesh from where Rs 39.5 lakh have been withdrawn from ATMs. 
    "Three teams are in UP to collect details of the accounts from which the money was withdrawn. Another team is in Delhi trying to locate the main accused with the help of the prepaid 3G SIM card details," said Mulund police. 

    Police said cosmetic company director Ankur Korane learnt about the fraud when he tried to log on to the company's current account that was opened only eight days before the fraud. "On January 31, Korane and his accountant found the password locked. So his accountant used the alternative password and found out about the fraud and told Korane," said the police. 
    Korane complained with the bank and the police and got the 12 accounts to which Rs 1 crore was transferred between 9.45am and 10am frozen. But money has been withdrawn through ATMs in UP. One person was arrested when he came to withdraw money from Vasai.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Prez gives nod to tough anti-rape ordinance New Law Takes Effect Immediately


New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday gave his assent to the ordinance sharpening laws against sexual assault, mandating harsher punishment like death penalty for offenders in cases where the victim dies or is pushed into a persistent vegetative state. The amended law comes into force immediately. 
    The ordinance, which also introduced voyeurism, stalking, disrobing of women and acid attacks as specific offences under the Indian Penal Code, was approved by the Union cabinet on Friday. 
    Though the presidential assent has brought the 'changed' provisions of the law into force, the government will have to get it passed in Parliament within six months. 
    With the BJP welcoming the move, the Centre is 
confident of getting the new provisions passed after putting it up for discussion and modification, if needed, during the Budget session. 
    The assent came even as women's rights activists expressed unhappiness over the 
provisions. They were upset over the Centre's refusal to recognize marital rape as an offence, failure to hold command officers accountable for rapes by their subordinates and omission of rapes by military personnel as a category. 
ACTIVISTS STILL UNHAPPY 
    
Two days after govt issues ordinance on sexual crimes against women, President Pranab Mukherjee signs it into law 
    Assent comes amid protests by women's groups who demanded inclusion of marital rape as an offence and a separate category for rape by armed forces personnel 
    Coming in aftermath of Nirbhaya case, law includes provision of death penalty in rapes leading to victim's death or pushing her into a persistent vegetative state 
    With Presidential nod, Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 becomes a law. Govt will have to get it approved by Parliament in 6 months 
A peek into the juvenile home horrors 
    Rohan (name changed) is all set to start life at 17 as a motor mechanic after doing time in a juvenile observation home for crimes committed to fund his drug addiction. "I was lucky," he says, and gives an account of what goes on inside the correctional facilities that seems like a Dickensian description straight out of Oliver Twist. P 8 



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