OHASA to Moot for a South Asia Regional Alliance to Fight Zoonoses
Scientists including veterinarians, epidemiologists, public health professionals, ecologists and policy makers to discuss strategies to tackle zoonotic infections specific to the region
New Delhi, 30th July, 2012
Delhi is hosting the fourth meeting of the One Health Alliance of South Asia (OHASA) on 31st July and 1st August in the capital. OHASA is a transnational network that addresses the challenge of zoonoses –diseases that transmit from animals to humans, such as avian influenza virus (H5N1), 2009 pandemic influenza H1N1, leptospirosis, rabies, anthrax and Japanese Encephalitis among others.The two-day consultation is being
organized by Roadmap to Combat Zoonoses Initiative (RCZI) in India under the aegis of the
Public Health Foundation of India and the New York-based EcoHealth Alliance. OHASA is
funded through a grant to EcoHealth Alliance from the Rockefeller Foundation.
The Regional Consultation on One Health Alliance in South Asia assumes significance as it
brings together experts in the field of zoonoses prevention and control at the human-animal
interface. Along with government officials, research organisations, scientists and policy-makers
from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan representing the three important sectors of health:
human, livestock, and wildlife, there will be international experts from EcoHealth Alliance, an
NGO dedicated to working at the intersection of health, environment, and development. The
goal of the meeting is to develop consensus for the development of a Regional One Health
Alliance and to gain multilateral endorsement to proceed as a working group to make such a
network sustainable.At the end of the consultation, aWhite Paperwould be produced with clear
recommendations, relevant to the South Asia region and which will guide policy makers.
The consultation will have presentations aboutOne Health (the idea that human health, animal
health, and the environment are interconnected) from Bangladesh and India by experts from
participating countries. Bangladesh would be talking about their One Health Movement and
India would be presenting the work done by the Roadmap to Combat Zoonotic Initiative (RCZI)
and the Disease and Mekong Basin Disease Surveillance Network would share its findings
on their Trans-boundary diseases surveillance. Experts would brainstorm with policy makers,
programme managers and researchers on expectations from a regional one health alliance besides
reviewing existing regional collaborative and coordinating mechanisms before finalising a
charter for a One Health alliance in South Asia
The first meeting of the Alliance was held in Chalsa, West Bengalin 2009, where the Bengal
Declaration was signed, highlighting the need for a concerted and united effort of the ministries
of wildlife, and forestry, health and agriculture, first of Bangladesh and India and later other
South Asian nations. The clarion call then was to collectively combat emerging zoonotic
diseases that affect humans, domestic animals and wildlife, irrespective ofgeographic and
political boundaries. There was growing conviction amongst members of the think tank that the
underlying cause of many diseases was linked to changes in their populations, activities, and
environment such as trade in wildlife, habitat changes such as deforestation and fragmentation,
changes in demography and socio--‐economic factors, exotic species introductions, and other
forms of globalenvironmental change.
Why a discussion around zoonoses is so critical is because of the growing threat to mankind,
with over half of all known human pathogens originating in animals, and nearly 75% of
emerging infectious diseases being zoonotic. Since majority of outbreaks of zoonotic disease are
driven by human activity, especially which alters our environment and brings people, domestic
animals and wildlife in close contact, greater advocacy is required.Zoonotic diseases have no
international boundaries, and do not carry a passport. Policies that promote the cooperation
between local and governmental agencies, as well as experts from different health fields, are
critical for monitoring and controlling infectious diseases that spread from region to region.
According to Dr. Jonathan H. Epstein, a disease ecologist and EcoHealth Alliance’s Associate
Vice President & Member of OHASA Steering Committee,“One Health recognises that humans
do not exist in isolation, but are part of a larger whole. By identifying high-risk interfaces
between humans and animals, and altering behaviors that increase our contact with wildlife, we
hope to mitigate the risk of zoonotic disease outbreaks. The cooperation and active participation
of countries in the South Asian region will be instrumental in building capacities and levels of
preparedness to pre-empt and fight the outbreak of zoonotic infections.”
Prof Ramanan Laxminarayan, Vice President, Research & Policy, PHFIsaid, “Having the
working group meeting in India is a very significant event. In the presence of experts and all
those departments and ministries which have an overlapping role in zoonoses control and
prevention, we will have the opportunity to discuss ways of overcoming some of our risk factors
and vulnerabilities, in the larger interests of public health.”
Dr. William Karesh, Executive Vice President for Policy and Health at EcoHealth Alliance is the
keynote speaker at this consultation and a long-time leader in One Health. He says “it’s vital to
bring scientists and policy-makers together in this context – to promote better communication
across ministries and disciplines which will lead to improved surveillance and response to
Penalty for violation of Advertising Policy!
The Union Government in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is contemplating to amend the Advertising Policy of the Government to provide for penal action against the violating Ministries and Departments, which choose to release advertisements directly on their own to media and not through the Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity (DAVP) as required in the scheme of the Constitution of India and the rule of law based democratic system of governance.
This has been necessitated to undo the imbalance in the release of advertisements to media, especially denial of fair share of advertisements to small, medium, regional, vernacular and other languages news papers across the country.
All Ministries, Departments, attached and subordinate offices have been mandated to route their advertisements, in terms of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, Manual of Office Procedure and the Advertising Policy of the Government, through DAVP only. However, there is no penalty for violation presently.
Violating Ministries and Departments do release advertisements to select media resulting in imbalance in the form of deprivation of fair share to small, medium, vernacular and other languages media. They also release ads at commercial rates to the dismay of small, medium, vernacular and language press.
This violates with impunity the Advertising Policy of the Government. Once penalty clause is incorporated in the Advertising Policy, it can be invoked against the violating Ministries and Departments, responsibility fixed against concerned personnel and deterrent action taken to ensure fair play in the release of advertisements.
However, the Central Public Sector Undertakings, Autonomous bodies and Societies of the Government of India are required to issue all ads directly, at the DAVP rates only, to empanelled newspapers in terms of 15 per cent of the cost to small papers, 35 per cent to medium and 50 per cent to big.
Of these, English language papers will get 30 per cent share, Hindi 35, regional and other languages 35 per cent approximately. Other languages comprise Bodo, Dogri, Garhwali, Kashmiri, Khasi, Konkani, Maithili, Manipuri, Mizo, Nepali, Rajasthani, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Urdu and Tribal languages as certified by State Governments.
The Prime Minister’s Office, Cabinet Secretariat and Planning Commission are non-paying wings of the Government. Costs of advertisements on their account are borne by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
The proposed amendment in the Central Government Advertising Policy will meet the long felt demands of the small, medium, language and vernacular press across the country. It will also put an end to arbitrary release of ads, independent of DAVP, by some Ministries and Departments at commercial or otherwise rates, thus curbing malpractices and corruption in the release of Government ads.
Well, the well meaning proposal is there. But the question arises whether the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Ambika Soni, notorious for her incompetence, does have right inclination to bell the cat. Only the time will tell!
KIDS SUFFERING FROM CANCER VISIT METRO MUSEUM
A group of over 100 children suffering from cancer along with their family members today visited the Metro Museum at Patel Chowk Metro station and also travelled in the Delhi Metro for a joy ride for the first time. These kids who hail from different parts of the country and are under treatment for cancer under the aegis of an NGO CanKids…KidsCan spent over one hour on the Delhi Metro.
A train ride was also arranged for these children, aged between 5 and 14 years, from AIIMS Metro station to Patel Chowk Metro station and back to Race Course Metro station. At Patel Chowk Metro station, they were shown around the Metro Museum where they got to know about one of the most modern Metro systems in the world.
In the past also, DMRC has been active in arranging visits for such sections of the society who need special attention and care. NGOs like Saksham Daksh from Noida involved with blind children, Masoom Duniya from Dwarka who look after mentally challenged children, Samarthyam - an NGO of international repute working for people with different abilities, Family India Foundation- an NGO dealing with underprivileged children etc. have all travelled in the Metro in the past.
DMRC, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility has also built a shelter home near Tis Hazari for homeless street children which is run by the Salaam Balak Trust and is also involved in the running of an ‘Old Age Winter Home’ for male senior citizens at Govindpuri in south Delhi.
Slow Progress of Nalanda University
The setting up of the Nalanda University at Rajgir (Bihar) under the Nalanda University Act, 2010, now underway, has made little progress. It is bogged down in bureaucratic mud of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the controlling Ministry in the Government of India. The international university is intended to revive the ancient seat of oriental scholastic learning.
The Nalanda University is an ambitious project of the Government of India, designed to build upon the intellectual and cultural traditions of the South-East Asian Region. It is an international University, under the nodal MEA, intended to reflect the best standards and practices of similar institutions globally. It will also reflect India’s civilisational strength in the form of respect for others, cultural diversity, linguistic plurality, co-existence and tolerance.
However, there is a public dismay over lack of progress of the physical infrastructural projects on the ground despite the Bihar Government having been fully cooperating in provision of land and meeting other related requirements. Total funding to the University in 2010-11 and 2011-12 together was Rs.10.27 crores. During the current financial year,2012-13, the budgetary provision is a meager Rs.15 crores against a proposed outlay of Rs.598.95 crores. Construction of boundary wall has begun at an estimated cost of Rs.10.19 crores.
Meanwhile, consultants to the University, Education Consultants India Ltd. (EDCIL), a Central public undertaking, has projected a sum of Rs.3553.70 crores, equivalent to US $710.74 millions, for developing the Nalanda University over a period of 10 years covering the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) and the 13th Five Year Plan (2017-22). Added to this, foreign Governments have so far pledged contribution of US $10 millions, out of which US $1.1 million has been received, a pointer that the entire project will ultimately be funded by the Central Government in the MEA.
With the receipt of ECIL report, presently under consideration of the Government, the MEA will now invite a Global Design Competition in the last quarter of the current fiscal year 2012-13, which was scheduled in the last financial year (2011-12) itself. Soon thereafter, construction of the campus and refurbishing office at Rajgir will commence. Right now the University office is operating from New Delhi.
While the details of the lay out and construction work of the University are still being worked out, the MEA has manipulated its Governing Board to announce as its own decision to set up the elite School of International Studies in Delhi, ostensibly to maintain presence of the University in the National Capital. This is viewed by academics and well meaning people as a ploy by the MEA to park its officials in its faculty in the cosy Delhi, while at the same time this has potential to take the wind out of the sails of the Nalanda University. This will also take the sheen out of the unified campus of the University. When confronted, sources in the MEA stated that location of School of International Studies at Delhi will help international community, foreign missions in India, controlling MEA and other Ministries have better interaction and coordination with it.
People view this move of the MEA as a sabotage and agenda of the vested interests to defeat the very objective of setting up of the Nalanda University at the very ancient seat of knowledge at Rajgir. To thwart the sinister move of MEA, people, devoted and genuinely committed, be entrusted with the responsibility to develop this prime institution at the very location and not sitting at Delhi. The Government must intervene to ensure that the School of International Studies is set up at Rajgir itself to provide integrated and holistic view of the University in its entirety, not the fragmented one as is smelt in the present move of the MEA.
With the setting up of the School of International Studies at the main Campus, the University will be able to carve out a unique identity for itself and focus on the issues of cultural diplomacy and cultural engagements to imbibe, build upon and advocate the diplomatic and cultural traditions of the South-Asian Region. It will also endeavour to be a distinctive and one of its kind institution of global repute, which is highly specialized in subjects that are not replicated or stereotyped by other academic institutions or organizations.
The course content, academic structure and faculties for the Nalanda University have to be in consonance with its unique identity and academic character, as envisaged in its founding philosophy and ideas. The University is expected to emerge as a valuable resource for promotion of studies and research in oriental cultural diversity, literary traditions, languages and civilization based on native knowledge systems to act as a living repository of cultural and literary traditions of the Region. It should strengthen and build upon the cultural capital and carry forward the thread of identity and consciousness within the South-East Asian countries.
The University’s aim it is to attain highest intellectual and academic standards of international quotient. The administrative MEA is expected to be an active partner in all such endeavours of the international community besides articulating civilisational strength of India for a better bonding through the portals of the University.
DRAW OF LOTS FOR TEXTILE TRENDS 2012 CULMINATES SUCCESSFULLY
Draw of lots for 3rd edition of the Tex Trends India 2012, scheduled to be held in July 16th -18th July at Pargati Maidan New Delhi, was held today. It is the largest fair that AEPC have ever organized. A letter has been sent to 472 buying agents inviting them to visit fair. The focus of the fair is to promote apparel exports especially with the Latin and Scandinavian Countries. The response is good in terms of 1400 buyers are already registered for the upcoming Tex Trends. Draw of lots is organized by Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) in New Delhi.
Tex-Trends India 2012 is an initiative by the Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India with financial assistance under the Market Access Initiative (MAI) of Ministry Commerce & Industry, Govt. of India. AEPC the largest export promotion council has been extended the task of lead agency to organize this exhibition along with other Textile Export Promotion Councils of India. It is a proactive effort to bring under one roof the diversity, tradition and colours that the Indian textile and handicrafts industry offer.
Tex Trends India 2012, aims to provide the biggest platform in Asia to the exporters and the buyers, to bring together the best in Indian Garments and Accessories, Fabrics, Home Furnishings & Made-ups, Indian Handicrafts, Handlooms, Jute and Carpets – all under one roof. Speaking on the occasion Shri Rajiv Bhatnagar Director AEPC Said, “Tex Trends 2012 puts a window of opportunities for the industry where products from handlooms to technical textiles are under one roof. It caters to product categories in casual wear, city wear, high fashion & occasional wear, specialist garments, sportswear, knitwear & made-ups bed linen, napkins, cushion covers, floor mats, curtains, etc.”
The idea of draw of lots to be organized in the public is to keep to entire process transparent. A panel of jurist was picked from the group of exporters to keep an eye on the entire process. Shri Lalit Thakural and Sunder Anand also addressed the meeting.
A24 MEDIA PARTNERSHIP WITH NBS NEWS
A24 MEDIA is excited to announce our new partnership with NBS News in
India. This will bring the finest news coverage from the Indian
Subcontinent to an emerging Africa with strong economic ties to that
region. It will also create an opportunity for Indian broadcasters to
access A24 MEDIA’s first class coverage of our continent.
With a huge Indian diaspora across Africa, TV stations here will be
able to finally serve that wealthy demographic, with news of Bollywood
celebrities, cricket stars, titans of industry and political
heavyweights. NBS’s digital content will be in greater demand as
African broadcasters make the change from analogue and new channels
look for unique programming.
With 150 correspondents across the region, NBS boasts not only a vast
reach, but also the industry’s best professionals. Yahoo, one of the
world’s internet giants, subscribes to NBS News on its platform with
a huge viewership in India and globally.
A24 MEDIA is the proud producer of the Pan-African news magazine
program AFRICA JOURNAL, seen around the continent for almost 2
We also aggregate and produce thousands of feature stories, dozens of
documentaries, with exciting new programs appearing frequently.
NBS News has been a pioneer in multi-platform efforts in its region,
which makes it an ideal partner for A24 MEDIA, which is busy on-line,
with mobile phone platforms and on TV as well.
A24 MEDIA looks forward to a relationship that brings people, business
and cultures together, as viewers across Africa get a sharper view of
the Indian Subcontinent, and Indian viewers learn why Africa is such a
special place, to visit, to live in and to grow with.
EXCERPTS: Opening Remarks by Secretary (Economic Relations) on forthcoming BRICS Summit
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen -
The Fourth BRICS Summit will be held in New Delhi on 29 March 2012. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh will host President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, President Dimitry Medvedev of Russia, President Hu Jintao of China and President Jacob Zuma of South Africa. With this, India assumes the Chairmanship of the group for the coming year.
The Delhi Summit, which is the Fourth in the series so far, is taking place under the broad rubric of 'BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Security and Prosperity'. We attach the highest importance to this forum. The BRICS are brought together by their shared capacity and will to engage with each other as well as with the rest of the world in the global quest for meaningful, sustainable solutions to contemporary challenges of regional as well as global ramifications.
The original economic rationale put forward by Goldman Sachs in 2001 when they coined the term BRIC was the potential of these four countries to be drivers of global growth.
Indeed intra-BRICS trade is growing at an average of 28% annually and currently stands at about $230 billion. Intra-BRICS investment flows drawing from the complementarities in their economies are increasing. Consumer expenditure in BRICS countries as percentage of GDP ranges from 35-61% and there is strong and growing middle class with rising levels of income. The BRICS countries today present an opportunity as new growth poles in a multi-polar world, as demonstrated during the global economic crisis when they played a vital role that helped the world economy emerge from the shadows of the crisis.
Institutionalized in September 2006, at the initiative of Russia, with a foreign ministerial meeting of the four countries in New York on the sidelines of the UNGA, the BRIC grouping took shape with the first Summit in Yekaterinburg (2009), followed by Brazilia (2010). At Sanya (2011), South Africa joined the group to form BRICS.
The BRICS agenda is not a fixed one. It is a positive, forward-looking agenda that tends to reflect the main issues and challenges before the world community at a given point of time. It draws from the perspective of five major countries and economies with the capacities to contribute substantively to the global discourse for peace, security, stability and development for all.
It is a perspective that seeks practical solutions and ways forward for global growth through cooperation and policy coordination. It seeks political dialogue towards a more democratic multi-polar order, in a world that is undergoing major and swift changes that highlight the need for corresponding transformations in global governance. It works on the principle of consensus.
STREAMLINED VISA PROCESSES BOOST HIGHER EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES IN AUSTRALIA
The Australian High Commissioner to India, HE Mr Peter Varghese AO, today welcomed the announcement of further key changes to Australia’s student visa requirements for the Higher Education sector.
Mr Varghese said these changes, which build on the first phase of Knight Review changes implemented in November 2011, will make Australia a highly competitive choice for Indian students seeking a good quality tertiary education in an international environment.
From 24 March, all visa applicants, regardless of country of origin, applying to study in Bachelor, Masters or Doctoral degrees at participating universities, will be treated as though they are lower risk and will need to submit less evidence in support of their visa application.
“These streamlined visa arrangements recognise the strong record of Australia’s universities in attracting high quality students and will not only reduce the complexity of the visa application process but also result in faster processing of student visas,” Mr Varghese said.
“The Australian High Commission has been working closely with Australian university representatives in India and their contracted education agents to prepare for these very positive new visa processing arrangements. There is a very strong commitment from all sides to ensure these changes lead to a steady and sustainable growth in high-quality Indian student enrolments.
“I believe we are moving into a very exciting time in the Australia-India educational relationship and these changes recognise the role the Higher Education sector can play in both the educational outcomes of Indian students and the broader people-to-people relationship between India and Australia.”
From 26 March 2012, more flexible work conditions for all student visa holders will be introduced. All students will be entitled to work a maximum of 40 hours over a two-week period, rather than being restricted to 20 hours each week. Post graduate research visa holders will be entitled to work an unlimited amount of hours per week once their course has commenced. These changes provide greater flexibility for students in managing their course commitments and gaining valuable work experience.
These and other changes were announced yesterday by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP. The full text of his announcement is attached.
The changes are in response to the report by the Hon Michael Knight AO on the Strategic Review of the Student Visa Program 2011 which was released in September 2011. Mr Knight visited India from 28 February – 5 March 2011 as part of his review.
Further information on the changes can be found at the website of the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship at: http://www.immi.gov.au/students/knight/
NBS Media Academy launches first batch of PTM course
NOIDA, March 23 - The first batch began its Professional Training in Media (PTM) course at NBS Media Academy on Friday. The PTM course has been launched by Centre for Excellence in Media Studies (CEMS) at NBS Media Academy in NOIDA. NBS Media Academy is a training division of Newzstreet Broadcast Services.
PTM is a month--long intense training programme specially designed for media students. The objective of this month-long course is to prepare media professionals, who could take care not only of the profession but also of the society and the academics. CEMS stands for progressive, innovative and futuristic media studies.
The integration of a functional media house NBS and a vibrant media educational institute CEMS has ensured that the education and training imparted here will have a fine blend of education and the industry.
The NBS Media Academy is headed by a very well-known media and academic professional Dr. Ambrish Saxena, who was formerly Director of the Department of Media Studies at Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University. Dr Saxena has a distinguished career of over 30 years during which he worked with many national newspapers and also taught at various universities.
While addressing students at the inauguration of the course Dr Saxana said, "the course will help prepare students for multi-media opportunities in the digital media organizations. The course is offbeat and will cover uncared aspects of media education and training."
There are already many media education centres in the country but what puts CEMS ahead of other institutes is the promise of providing practical exposure and multimedia training at an affordable cost. The CEMS will not only train students for diverese jobs but will also give them confidence to kickstart their career in digital media.
On the occasion of inauguration of the course Editor-in-Chief Alok Verma, Chief Operating Officer Sidheswar M and Assignment Editor Ashish Tiwari also addressed students and apprised them of the challenges ahead a media professional will face in the digital age.
The next batch of PTM will start in April 2012. With the purpose of providing media education and training in a structured manner. Students can reserve their seats for Professional Training in Media (PTM) programme by submitting the CV along with an application, with fee of Rs.4.000/-, to be paid through DD in the name of Newzstreet Broadcast Service Private Limited. Every month a new batch will join for the course.
ILFI WELCOMES RAILWAY BUDGET
New Delhi, 14th March 2012:
Welcoming the Railway Budget Mr Sushil Jiwarajka, President, Infrastructure and Logistics Federation of India (ILFI) said that heavy investment envisaged by the government during the 12th plan for modernization of railways would go a long way in making the railway network system comparable to the best in the world.
In a statement issued today by ILFI President, Mr Sushil Jiwarajka said that it is a redeeming feature that the railway minister have pragmatically taken a decision to increase the passenger fare which was untouched in the last 10 years. Along with the fare increase, he hoped that passenger amenities would improve considerably. Railways have considerable potential to mobilize resources by developing the sidings along the railway lines with efficient commercial use. The resources generated through these measures will reduce the dependence on the budgetary support.
Welcoming the move to augment the wagon acquisition by the railways, Mr Jiwarajka said that this should be done at the earliest and sourcing of wagons also should be done increasingly from the private sector. There are many avenues in railway operation where there can be considerable scope for public private partnership (PPP). He also welcomed the decision to set up an independent Railway Tariff Regulatory Authority which will help in taking decisions transparently and objectively.