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Old April 30th, 2012, 10:59 AM   #361
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Water woes a thing of past for 12 villages in Thar

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JAISALMER: Situated 80 km away from Jaisalmer district headquarters, 12 villages in the Thar region are busy scripting a success story.

With the help of NGO Sambhav, the villagers repaired 500-year-old 'baoris' or stepwells near Diprasar pond, some 10 km from the Ramgarh area. The hard work of the villagers has paid off and their water woes are now a thing of past.

Despite an annual rainfall that lasts for barely 8-10 days, the pond remains filled with water for 5-6 months, while the stepwells constructed around it can now retain water throughout the year.

Chatur Singh, a resident of Ramgarh who also works with the NGO, said the search for a 'suitable' site for constructing 'baoris' started over a year ago. That was when the villagers stumbled upon old 'baoris' near Ramgarh behind Netsi village. According to Singh, these stepwells were constructed nearly 500 years ago to save water as the region was affected by droughts, year after year.

However, these were in a decrepit condition. The villagers repaired these, besides constructing new stepwells. In a short span, migratory birds started visiting the pond, which also provides water for cattle. After some time, the height of the baoris was increased by two feet and the mud walls were turned into concrete.

The water in the stepwells is replenished at night owing to impressive underground water level in the area. Each village draws water from two 'baoris', which are 24 in number. These villages are Hamo, Natesi, Eklapar, Dablapar, Naval Singh ki Dhani, Ramgarh, Joga, Bhojraj Singh ki Dhani, Saueva, Ragwa and Miyaji ki Dhani. Each village has two barriers and villagers take water from their barriers. Although, there is no ban on taking water from anybarries, but still villagers take water from their barries.

Due to timely maintenance of these barriers, they are still working. The water in the pond remains for 7-8 months. The pond being very big, migratory birds come here during winters and thousands of cattle quench their thirst in this pond. Chatur Singh said with the hard work of villagers and help of his NGO, some time ago these water barriers were made pucca and the level was increased by two feet.

Villagers of 10-12 villages got the Diprasar pond constructed and dug around 2 dozen barriers.

Despite the fact that it rains only for 8-10 days in Thar desert during the entire year, there is no shortage of water. The villagers have learnt to conserve each and every drop of water and water conservation is in their blood. The water barriers near the pond are full even today. The rain water last for 5-6 months in ponds, while in these water barriers never go dry, but the condition is that from time to time, these water barriers should be dug and repaired. The commendable work done by villagers in the field of water conservation at Netsi village situated 80kms away from Jaisalmer district headquarters, has become an example.

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Old April 30th, 2012, 11:01 AM   #362
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Use of iodized salt to be promoted in state

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JAIPUR: The state government has stepped up efforts to stop the use of non-iodized salt, which is a major cause of goiter and other iodine deficiency disorders. The health department has sought the support of other departments including education, food and civil supplies and salt commissionerate for the purpose.

The education department has been directed to ensure that the mid-day meal supplied in government schools contain only iodized salt. Since a large number of schoolchildren are being given mid-day meals, the health department hopes that this would help in reducing the cases of iodine deficiency among children and ensure their proper mental and physical growth.

It also directed the food and civil supplies department that salt supplied through public distribution system should be properly iodized.

Health director B R Meena said: "Our main aim is to feed iodized salt only. For the purpose, we have sought the cooperation of various government departments. The deficiency of iodine could cause serious health and mental problems among the children."

They have identified 14 districts in the state where the use of iodized salt is common. He said that in all these districts, a survey would be conducted to find out how many households are not consuming iodized salt.

The iodized salt coverage study 2010 conducted in eight states by Centre and Micronutrient Initiative (MI), an international non-profit agency, shows that the availability of adequately iodized salt at the household in Rajasthan has improved substantially from 29.2% in NFHS 3 in 2005-06 to 50.2% in 2010.

MI president Venkatesh Mannar said that since Rajasthan is one of the largest salt producing states, it is necessary that the salt is iodized properly.

He said that MI, in collaboration with Unicef and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (Gain) has supported Salt Commissioner's office to set up web-based management information system which can track the real time information on quality and quantity of iodized salt.

Besides, the health department has given the responsibility to check salt, if it contains iodine or not. On each Thursday (day of vaccination), each ANM would test at least 10 samples of salt from as many households as possible. The ANMs, anganwadi workers and ASHA workers would counsel on each Thursday to the people to consume only iodized salt.

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Old April 30th, 2012, 06:10 PM   #363
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state government signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Jhpiego on Friday to launch 'Safe childbirth checklist' programme
idiotic decision
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Old April 30th, 2012, 06:45 PM   #364
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Care to explain how you came to this conclusion of yours.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 06:48 AM   #365
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Mining mafia forces transfer of police officer in Rajasthan?




Bharatpur SP Vikas Kumar, 35, who had carried out a successful crackdown on large-scale illegal gravel stone mining activity in Nangal village, has been transferred, allegedly under pressure from the mining mafia.


The crackdown in March had led to the arrest of 97 ground level operatives, but the kingpins could not be nabbed.
Mail Today had reported last month that about the meticulously planned operation, which resulted in the seizure of 15 vehicles and equipment worth crores belonging to at least 10 unauthorised companies.


Sources said Kumar was transferred at a time when the police investigation was close to identifying the powerful kingpins behind illegal mining. In fact, he had put on record detailed instructions to carry out operations against them.


Kumar had joined the force in Bharatpur on September 17 following the communal violence in the district's Gopalgarh town, where 10 Meo Muslims had died. His role in bringing normalcy to the area, as well as his courage to take on the powerful mining lobby was discernible when businesses in the entire district closed their shutters for half a day on Wednesday as a mark of protest against the transfer of a "good and courageous police officer".


However, the popular sentiment failed to convince Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who also holds the home portfolio, as Kumar's successor Anshuman Bhomia joined at around 10 pm on Wednesday.
Kumar gave his charge within two hours of the order transferring him to the 2nd Armed Battalion, Kota. "I have not joined my new post yet for domestic reasons. My wife, who was Hanumangarh SP, has also been transferred to Sawai Madhopur and children were not keeping well. I will join after attending to the family for some more time," he told Mail Today.



When asked if his transfer had anything to do with his action against illegal mining, Kumar's reply was on expected lines. "There must be a variety of reasons. The government must have taken a correct decision and might have thought of taking my services in Kota in a better way," he said.


Kumar's crackdown on the illegal mining operation was vehemently criticised by Congress MLA Zahida Khan, who represents the Kaman assembly constituency under which the Nagal village falls, and her husband Jalees Khan, the head of Kaman Panchayat Samiti, who blamed the police for targeting innocents.

Zahida was appointed a parliamentary secretary in the wake of Gopalgarh violence. The husband-wife duo was subsequently joined by ex-MP and former ruler of Bharatpur, Vishvendra Singh, against the police action. Besides taking up the matter with Gehlot, the protesters wrote to the National Human Rights Commission and National Minority Commission, alleging that 52 of the arrested persons were in no way connected with mining activities. Of the remaining 45, 42 were sweepers, drivers, helpers and labourers working on a daily wage basis. Only three of the arrested persons were associated with mining. This seems to have convinced the chief minister to transfer the police officer.


Kumar told Mail Today that the high court had already rejected the bail applications of the arrested persons. The mining department has filed an FIR against them and investigation was going on.
Dismissing the Congress leaders' allegation, Kumar pointed out that, initially, 128 persons were rounded up by the police. After screening, only 97 were arrested as the rest were found innocent, he added.
Kumar asserted that all those arrested were ground level operatives and the police had evidence to support this claim. He hoped that as the investigation was still being conducted by a special team, led by an able IPS officer Yogesh Yadav, it would reach its logical conclusion.
Meanwhile, two BJP legislators from the district, Vijay Bansal (Bharatpur) and Digambar Singh (Deeg-Kumher), who is also state vice president of the party, alleged that Kumar was transferred under pressure from the mining mafia, which enjoyed patronage of Zahida and her husband.


Most of those arrested belong to the Meo community to which they belong, they pointed out.

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Old May 5th, 2012, 04:28 PM   #366
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An article on the free medicine scheme

Health on mind, Rajasthan gives free medicines

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Around 800 million people in India — two-thirds of the population — lack access to essential drugs, according to the World Health Organisation. What’s more, about 20 million Indians slip below the poverty line every year because of the money they lose for falling ill.

Such alarming figures have prompted the Rajasthan government to pursue a programme to make free medicine a part of inclusive growth.
In October last year, chief minister Ashok Gehlot launched a programme to provide 385 generic drugs free at government health centres.

Though not the first-of-its-kind of initiative, the expanse of the programme makes it unique.

The medicines, distributed through 15,000 centres, include those for heart diseases, cancer, hypertension, diabetes and respiratory infections. Several vaccines are also provided.

The programme has led to a 40% increase in patient footfalls at government hospitals. About 200,000 people are getting free medicines every day.

For Nirmala Lalwani of Ajmer, the programme has “come as great relief for poor people like us”. Lalwani's husband suffers from diabetes, bronchitis and high blood pressure. "Earlier, a fifth of our income was spent on medicines. Sometimes, I had to borrow from neighbours,” she said.

Rajasthan ranks poorly on basic health indicators. About 44% children below the age of 3 suffer from malnutrition against the national average of 46%, while the corresponding number for women in the age group of 15 to 49 years is alarmingly high at 53% compared to the national average of 36%.

The programme, however, has had its share of problems. Government hospitals had initially struggled to handle the rush of medicine seekers. Non-availability of medicines continues to be reported from many places.

Satish Kumar, a retired government official in Sriganganagar, said, “The more expensive medicines are difficult to get.” The government is also motivating doctors to break the stranglehold of pharma firms. “Despite glitches, the scheme has been a success,” said Dr Samit Sharma, MD, Rajasthan Medical Service Corp Ltd, the nodal agency for procuring medicines in the state.


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Old May 5th, 2012, 04:32 PM   #367
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Housing scheme a relief for 1.1 mn in Rajasthan

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Chet Ram, a farm labourer in Shivpur-Fatuhi village in this border district, thought building a pucca house for his family of 10 would remain a pipe dream.

His savings amount to Rs. 15,000. But a grant of Rs. 50,000 from the government under its flagship housing scheme for the rural poor saw Ram move into a two-room tenement recently.

The Rajasthan government plans to finance the construction of such houses for 1.1 million below the poverty line (BPL) families in rural and tribal areas by 2014. Around 430,000 of these houses are being built under the centrally sponsored Indira Awas Yojana (IAY), while the remaining 670,000 will be constructed under the Chief Minister’s Rural BPL Housing Scheme, launched in June last year.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has scoffed at the project. It said, “The new plan is no different from the Indira Awas Yojana and is an attempt by CM Ashok Gehlot to make political capital.”

According to the chief minister, however, the need for the scheme was felt because under the IAY it would have taken 22 years to provide shelter to all BPL families in the state.

The list of the eligible families is based on the BPL census, which pegs their number at 1.39 million. It could go up as fresh census data were being compiled, said RP Chaudhary, superintending engineer in the rural development department and officer in charge of monitoring the housing scheme.

The state government has taken a loan of Rs. 3,400 crore from Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd (Hudco), a government-owned corporation, to provide Rs. 50,000 to each scheduled caste family and families in the tribal sub-plan areas and Rs. 45,000 for other eligible families.

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Old May 6th, 2012, 12:37 PM   #368
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Care to explain how you came to this conclusion of yours.
he just wants to damn the congress for everything!! :-)
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Old May 6th, 2012, 10:49 PM   #369
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Community health centres in 7 districts to have diabetes, cancer and heart clinics

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JAIPUR: Separate clinics for diseases like diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and stroke would be set up in each community health centre (CHC) of seven districts as the risk of these diseases has increased manifold.

The seven districts identified under the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) are Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Sriganganagar, Bhilwara, Barmer, Nagaur and Bikaner.

"In 2009-10 the NPCDCS programme was launched in three blocks of Bhilwara. But in 2010-11, the programme was introduced in the entire Bhilwara and Jaisalmer districts with free screening of diabetes. The officials tested people free of cost for diabetes. Now, it has been decided to open NCD clinics under the same programme at each CHC level in seven districts," medical health and family welfare department director (health) B R Meena said.

With the opening of the clinics, the department aims to detect cases of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes in early stages so that the patients will get proper and timely treatment.

The department would recruit staff for each NCD clinic. Also, there would a NCD cell at under the chief medical health officer of all these seven districts. These cells would monitor NCDs by collecting facts and figures in their respective districts.

Also, under the same programme, a cardio care unit (CCU) would be opened at Mandor hospital in Jodhpur for treatment of heart patients with cardiovascular diseases and strokes.

Last year at the World Health Organization's (WHO) South East Asian Region (SEAR) meeting held in Jaipur, union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said developing countries like India would face mounting challenge of NCD along with new and re-emerging infections.

A medical health and family welfare department official said the NCDs are directly linked to change in lifestyles. "With changes in lifestyles and food habits, people have been more vulnerable to NCDs," he said.

He further said with the opening of NCD cells and NCD clinics, the government would be able to treat patients on time.

The official also said soon the Centre would send glucometers and stripes for the free diabetes testing. The free diabetes testing would be conducted in seven districts. Also, the company that would supply glucometers and stripes would also impart training for the testing to department officials in the seven districts, he added.

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Old May 6th, 2012, 10:53 PM   #370
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Online system to track malnourished children

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JAIPUR: Malnourished children under five years in the state would be monitored closely by the medical, health and family welfare department though an online tracking system.

The department has decided to take the help of anganwadi workers and auxiliary nurse midwives (ANM) to measure weights and heights of all children in the rural areas of the state to find out malnourishment by calculating parameters like underweight, stunting, wasting and mid upper arm circumference (MUAC).

The figures collected by the ANMs and Anganwadi workers would then be fed on to the Pregnancy, Child Tracking and Health Services Management System.

A department official said there would be three signals (lights) in the website. After feeding details (like weight and height) of a child, if he gets the green light, it means that he is completely healthy, if he gets yellow, he is close to being malnourished and if he gets red light, the child is malnourished and needs complete medical care.

The official said all children who get the red light would be rushed to malnutrition treatment centres (MTC) in the state. "There are 89 three-bedded and 35 six-bedded MTCs in 31 districts of the state. The MTCs have the facilities to treat children. Also, parents of the malnourished child also get some money daily during his stay at the MTCs. Such children in MTCs are given nutritious food so that their weight increases," the official said.

Such an online tracking system to detect underweight and malnourished children is working in Gujarat.

Recently, the Hungama (Hunger and Malnutrition) survey carried out in 112 districts in the country stated that more than 42% of children under five years are underweight. Out of the 112 districts, 10 districts are in Rajasthan.

The 10 districts are Banswara, Baran, Jaisalmer, Jhalawar, Dholpur, Dungarpur, Barmer, Bharatpur, Karauli and Kota where severe underweight children are 25%, 13%, 11%, 20%, 18%, 29%, 18%, 21%, 18% and 13% respectively.

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Old May 11th, 2012, 04:10 PM   #371
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Guar brightens Rajasthan farmers' life

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SRI GANGANAGAR (RAJASTHAN), MAY 10:

Seventy-year-old Birbal Ramji has locked in a safe a quintal of guarseed. He's kept it for sowing on his 10 acre land at Shree Ganganagar. The seeds are sown in July and the crop is harvested in November. He is elated that he sold 20 quintals for Rs 560,000 early this month.

Another farmer Ramesh Beniwal, 73, could not stomach the dizzying price rise in guar. Now, he feels unsafe in his own village. “I have to take extra care of 10 quintals of guar left out of last year's harvest. If this price rise continues, robberies will increase,” he says.

Guar is the new gold in the Bikaner district of Rajasthan. A number of farmers have reaped a huge bonanza. It has led to a mix of emotions and reactions. There is elation. There is fear. There is ostentatious consumption and extravagant indulgences. A few are using the windfall to expand their land holdings.

Guar prices have skyrocketed from Rs 2,000-Rs 4,000 a quintal last season to Rs 30,000 a quintal on the back of strong demand from the oil and gas sector. The sharp increase in price has led to termination of futures trading in this commodity. The measure could hardly cool down the prices.

Guar prices in Jodhpur had jumped to Rs 30,300 a quintal on Wednesday from Rs 26,700 on March 27, when futures were banned.

CAPITALISING ON HIGH PRICE

Mr Gurbal Pal Singh from Takrawada village, who owns 48 acres, has bought a high breed Nukra stallion for Rs 5 lakh. His face lights up when his 12-year-old son saddles the horse with ease. Most of the farmers in this village have sold guarseed at Rs 6,500 a quintal, he said.

Mr Dharmendra Rewar, who found employment with the Delhi Police recently, realised Rs 240,000 by selling eight quintals of guarseed two days back. His brother takes care of the field in his absence.

Mr Rewars, who currently own 25 acres, plan to buy more agriculture land. Sale of latest model of Audi, BMW and Toyota-Fortuner has seen a steady rise among the young farmers in these villages.

Having missed the opportunity to save enough money for buying a tractor, Mr Bagyarath Saran has already started preparing the field for sowing in July.

“I missed capitalising on the last season as I sold my produce at Rs 5,000 a quintal. My field is almost ready. If rain God is kind to me, I will buy a tractor like my neighbour,” says Saran.

With guar farmers on cloud nine, traders are not far behind.

Mr Radhashyam Krishan, a stockist, has been accumulating guar for last 10 years. In January, he offloaded 500 quintals at Rs 11,000 to Rs 12,000 a quintal. He wants to take his family on a holiday to Hong Kong and invest in real estate.

“We have been leasing out our 25 acres for about Rs 1 lakh every year. This time around we want to cultivate on our own by employing a few farmers,” he said.

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Old May 14th, 2012, 04:42 PM   #372
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Ex-soldier turns 100, gifts hospital to village

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Dudawas (Rajasthan): Rao Kabool Singh, a World War-II veteran from Rajasthan who has turned 100, Sunday gifted a 15-bedded hospital to this remote village in Jaipur district.

Kabool Singh's grandsons, Madan Mohan and Krishan Mohan, who run a car-rental service, constructed the hospital to fulfil their grandfather's dream.

"We have some land in this village and used to come here. Baba ji (Kabool Singh) saw the plight of the people and expressed his desire of establishing a hospital in the village," said Madan Mohan.

"This is just a start, we plan to upgrade it to 30-beds very soon. Also, we will install an X-ray machine and we hope the hospital will begin functioning within two months," he added.

Before inaugurating the hospital, Rajasthan Health Minister Aimaduddin Ahmad Khan congratulated Kabool Singh on turning 100 Saturday and lauded his social work.

"I hope the people would take inspiration from Rao sahib's life. He first spent the active years of his life in the army, serving the nation, and now he spends the time in social service," he said.

For the 5,000 residents of Dudavas, the inauguration of the hospital was nothing short of a carnival with Kabool Singh flying in with his family members in two helicopters. Another unusual attraction was a 1931 Chrysler from the family's vintage car collection.

The choppers, however, remained the biggest draw with groups of children running around the helipads and cheering whenever the choppers took off or landed.

The function was replete military flavour with the presence of army officers and ex-servicemen, besides a bagpipers' band playing in the background.

IANS

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Old May 16th, 2012, 05:43 PM   #373
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Government okays 1 crore for a pilot project dealing with infertility in animals (10% of the animals in the state suffer from it)



Free veterinary drugs in Rajasthan from August

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Jaipur, May 16 (PTI) The Rajasthan government has announced that commonly used veterinary drugs would be available free of cost in government clinics and hospitals across the state. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot directed officials to execute this announcement which was made during the budget from August 15 this year. Under the scheme, 87 types of generic veterinary drugs would be made available at poly-clinics and district level veterinary hospitals, 75 types of drugs at Tehsil level hospitals whereas Gram Panchayat level sub-centers will have 35 kinds of drugs with an estimated overall cost of Rs 60 crore, according to an official. In a meeting held last night, Gehlot reviewed the progress of programmes and schemes run by the animal husbandry department and directed officials to ensure successful delivery and time-bound implementation of the scheme. PTI SDA ARN

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Old May 16th, 2012, 05:52 PM   #374
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Over 4 cr condoms sold in 2 yrs in 18 districts

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JAIPUR: Over the past two years, the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) and the Rajasthan State AIDS Control Society (RSACS) have sold 4.70 crore condoms in 18 districts of the state which have high fertility rate.

NACO and RSACS have opened 9,228, which are non traditional outlets, to sell condoms in the districts where the total fertility rate (TFR) is high and high prevalence HIV/AIDS districts under the Condom Social Marketing (CSM) programme.

A couple of years ago, the two organizations had identified 18 districts where Condom Social Marketing Programme was introduced. The districts are Alwar, Ajmer, Bharatpur, Bikaner, Jaipur, Tonk, Jodhpur, Barmer, Pali, Sriganganagar, Churu, Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Bhilwara, Karauli, Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Nagaur with high TFR and high prevalence of HIV/AIDS.

Now, with the inclusion of 9,228 new outlets, now total non traditional outlets in the 18 districts have increased to 45,520. In the last two years, under, the officials have so far sold 4.70 crore condoms in the 18 districts the Condom Social Marketing Programme. Among these 18 districts, three of them are high prevelance districts for HIV/AIDS. Apart from this, NACO and RSACS also provided free condoms in the districts. The non traditional shops include provisional stores, pan shops, thela, thadi, motor parts shops, and any other shops except medical shops.

A medical, health and family welfare department official said contraceptive social marketing is a way of supplying contraceptives to consumers who cannot afford to buy them at the full market price and also not reachable under the free public distribution program. The process involves supplying a subsidized product through existing commercial distribution networks and other retail marketing techniques to commercially advertise the products.

To encourage people on using condoms, NACO and RSACS flagged off a van to create awareness on safe sex. RSACS director Dr J P Dhamija said, "We want to spread the message in selected districts that stick to one (married or unmarried) partner only. But, in case of truckers or other individuals, if sticking to one partner is not possible for them, then we ask them to use condoms for safe sex. It will help in controlling the spread of HIV/ AIDS. We are sensitizing people for safe sex as 86% of HIV/AIDS infection spread through sex."

Dhamija said they are strengthening the existing system of sensitizing people on safe sex by restructuring and preplanning the project.

In Rajasthan, Population Services International (PSI) is carrying out the CSM Programme from 2008 onwards, as a social marketing organization with NACO.

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Old May 16th, 2012, 07:18 PM   #375
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Drought-hit Rajasthan floods coffers with tax money

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Jaipur: The figures for income tax collection in the country for the year 2011-2012 are just in.

As assumed, it is neither Narendra Modi’s prosperous Gujarat nor Prithviraj Chavan’s Maharashtra but it is Ashok Gehlot’s Rajasthan that has registered highest growth in income tax collection in India in the just ended fiscal year 2011-12.

It looks like Rajasthan just beat the other two states to become India’s most tax-savvy state. As against country’s income tax growth of ten per cent, Rajasthan’s growth was more than 30 per cent in 2011-12.

Any guesses for the top tax paying individual from Rajasthan? Well it is none other than lawyer and Rajya Sabha MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi, the Congress leader from Rajasthan, who has the distinction of being the highest tax payer from the state.

“Rajasthan’s total income tax collection remained at `7,697 crore in comparison to last fiscal’s `5,851 crore, showing a growth of 31.3 per cent. The target of 2011-12 was `6,744 crore, which has been achieved for the first time in the last five years,” said chief commissioner of Income Tax, Brijesh Gupta while talking to DNA.

In 2011-12, India’s total income tax collection was `4,88,554 crore while last year it was `4,41,304 crore. This indicates that there has been a growth of 10 per cent at national level. Uttar Pradesh stands next to Rajasthan by witnessing a growth of 31.2 per cent in tax collection.

Gupta reasoned out three major things for Rajasthan’s significant success. “There is surely improvement in tax administration and we held several tax education programmes in the state. Secondly there was good number of searches conducted to reach the target. And finally, the production of guar gum in Jodhpur was very good, from where we got good tax collections,” said Gupta.

The five top five individuals who paid highest advance taxes are Avishek Manu Singhvi, Natwar Lal Sada, Padam Chand Mehta, Ajay Gangwal and Pradeep Kumar Jain. In the corporate category, Udaipur’s Hindustan Zinc paid highest tax, while State Bank of Bikaner, and Jaipur, Chambal Fertilizer, RSSML and Maharaja Shri Ummed Mills Limited remained the other four top tax payers.

Interestingly, it was Udaipur division, which witnessed the highest tax collection with Rs3,268 crore. Jaipur remained second with Rs 3,176.3 crore. Jodhpur contributed Rs993 crore.The two other sections of income tax department-DG (Investigation) contributed Rs242.5 crore while international taxes department collected Rs21.4 crore tax in fiscal year 2011-12. There are around 30 lakh income tax payers in all categories in Rajasthan and Pink City alone has 12 lakh taxpayers.

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Old May 23rd, 2012, 09:02 PM   #376
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Tigers get younger in Ranthambhore!


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It is raining litters in Ranthambhore National Park; more tiger cubs sighted


Rajasthan's Ranthambhore National Park is turning into a little kingdom of tiger cubs with their number registering an all-time high figure of two dozens. One new cub was discovered on Monday morning in the Sultanpur locality of the park while tiger-watchers insist that T-17, the tigress born to Machli and now called “Sundari” by virtue of her good looks too has turned a mother though photographic evidence on the young ones is awaited.

The Monday morning celebrity was T-39, the daughter of the Sultanpur tigress which had left the park some months back and is now living in the Chambal ravines in Kota and Baran districts of the State. T-39 obviously inherited her mother's terrain in her absence as she was spotted with a cub in that locality (see photo).

“This is an exciting find! I am sure we will have more good news when T-17 comes out in the open with her cubs. I had seen her mating with the male tiger T-25 some time in January. Thereafter she was spotted in the company of another male, T-28. Ever since, the Forest staff in the park had been keeping the date and counting the days as it is approximately 90 days of pregnancy for tiger,” said Bina Kak, Rajasthan's Minister for Environment & Forests, talking to The Hindu. “It is very difficult to decide whether a particular tigress is pregnant or not. They all look the same if the tummy is full,” she noted.

Ms. Kak is especially happy about T-17 as she (the Minister) had insisted on getting the collar round the feline's neck removed. “The decision to remove the collar seemingly worked in reproduction. I want the collars to be removed in the case of the female tigers in Sariska as well so that the existing spell over tiger breeding in that park after the re-introduction of tigers breaks,” she said.

Ms. Kak said if the National Tiger Conservation Authority approves she would move two more tigresses from Ranthambhore to Sariska.

If regular park visitors are to be believed, the number of cubs has reached 22-24 and this means that the average age of Ranthambhore tigers is coming down. The park at present has 34 adult tigers and the water hole census carried out on May 6-7 too had confirmed this. The female tigresses with cubs at present are: T-13, T-5, T-8, T-31, T-9 (all with two cubs each), T-19, T-26, T-11 and T-30 -- all with three cubs each. Yet counting the tiger cubs may be more like counting your eggs before they are hatched. That is why the Forest authorities are often reluctant to give out the numbers of litters at any given time. Perhaps that also explains why they had kept the number of tiger cubs in the park as “over a dozen” after the water hole census this time. “It is a very risky area. All the tiger cubs are not likely to survive and if the figures are given out in advance the media is bound to make a big fuss when the deaths take place due to various reasons,” pointed out Rajpal Singh, Member, Rajasthan Board for Wildlife. “The fact that tigers are breeding copiously in the park is surely very exciting. Even if 60 per cent of the present cub population survives that is going to be a big number,” he added.

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Old May 25th, 2012, 05:53 PM   #377
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24-hour helpline to protect Rajasthan women

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Jaipur: The state government is all set to give the distressed women of Rajasthan some reason to cheer. To help these women the Rajasthan Women’s Commission plans to launch a 24-hr helpline in state where they can call up and seek help in case of distress or emergency and get rid of their woes.

After ensuring protection of girl child by putting tracking device on sonography machines across the state, the government seems to have now woken up to protect the women in Rajasthan with launch of 24-hour helpline for women from June 1.

“For the first time, the helpline will provide socio-legal-moral help under one roof, to women and girls who are facing any kind of problem,” said Ladkumari Jain, the commission chairperson, while talking to DNA.

“The implementation of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act is not satisfactory in state. We are also receiving many sexual harassment-related complaints from working women in various government departments like judiciary, education, health (ANMs), aaganwadi workers, railways and police,” Jain said.

The helpline will be run by four counsellors whose posts will be shortly advertised for. One will be a general counsellor, qualified in law or social work, while three counsellors with a post-graduate in clinical psychology and sociology will provide specialised help, she added.

Jain further said that sexual harassment at work place is on the rise, as more and more women are coming out of homes and working, whereas the work environment remains unhealthy. While the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill is still pending before the Parliament, the Commission has been following the guidelines laid down by the historic Vishakha judgment of the Supreme Court in 1997. In an important initiative, reflecting the spirit of the Supreme Court's judgment, the Commission has set up 6-7 monitoring committees in various departments and offices in Rajasthan in February.

These monitoring committees established in departments such as education, judiciary, secretariat etc. are different from the departmental committees or disciplinary committees. They have members from non-governmental organisations to ensure there are no biases in dealing with complaints from within the department. The committees will prepare their reports and submit it to the Commission shortly, Jain informed.

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Old May 27th, 2012, 01:21 AM   #378
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Illegal mining: 900 cases filed, Rajasthan earns over R 200 lakh from firms

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Jaipur: As many as 898 cases have been registered in the past month during the state government's campaign against illegal mining. Over Rs 215 lakh have also been generated in form of penalty.

Sudhansh Pant, secretary, mines and petroleum, informed that in the one-month-long campaign against illegal mining that concluded on May 23, department has registered 396 cases against illegal mining, 473 cases of egression and 29 cases of illegal stock. Pant said that more than 236 first information reports have been filed in various police stations across the state. Around 127 people have been arrested and more than 500 vehicles have been seized.

“We have registered around 898 cases against illegal mining and generated Rs 215 lakh as penalty against the illegal mining in the state. Besides this, 54 machines, 727 equipments have also been seized,” said Pant.

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Old May 30th, 2012, 01:17 PM   #379
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Explore window of opportunities in Rajasthan

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Rajasthan, the land of royalty and ancient architecture. The tourism capital of India, the vibrant desert state of resplendent colours and history has a new story to tell. One of speedy economic growth, rapid industrialisation and foreign direct investments.

Rajasthan is now ready for new initiatives and is emerging as an investor friendly state. CNBC-TV18’s special show "Rajasthan - New Horizons" emphasises on the new developments in the desert state.

AB Ravi of CNBC-TV18 talks to a panel comprising of Rajendra Pareek, (Minister for Industries), Rajasthan, Rajendra Bhanawat, (MD), RIICO, Purshottam Agarwal, (Commissioner, Investment & NRI), Bureau of Investment Promotion. Chitra Shringare, (MD, Site Head-Jaipur), DBOI Global Services, Srinivas Kumar, (Commercial Plant Management), Bosch, Yaduvendra Mathur, (CMD), Rajasthan Financial Corporation to give us more insight into the new developments in Rajasthan.

Below are edited excerpts of the panel discussion.

Ravi: What are the schemes you are introducing to make Rajasthan more investor-friendly?

Pareek: First of all for any state to create an investment climate, it is essential to develop confidence amongst investors. When I took over as industries minister, people used to complain that work is not done on time, that their project costs increase because of not being able to complete work on scheduled time and so their projects are not viable. So, I thought that a mechanism should be created by which investor feels that the project will be completed in a time bound period. To achieve this we created a single window act.

Single window is internationally known but we have imposed this in a form of an act. The one most important thing that the act did was that when most of the investors submit their project, they do attestation from various people. We gave confidence to them to self-certify the documents submitted to us. Now, today, investor feels that whatever project he submits to us, it will be completed in a time bound manner.

Ravi: How did the idea about single window come about? When you look at other states, what is unique about the single window here?

Bhanawat: For entrepreneurs time is money and to respect that aspect, for them we introducedthe single window act in Rajasthan. Under this window he has to just electronically submit an application and then there is a time bound disposal of applications within maybe say 30 days for some and 40 days for others. If it does not get cleared by the specified time then it goes to the Committee of the Chief Secretary, Empowered Committee and then they take care of that. Therefore the investor feels assured that in Rajasthan, if he wants to come and invest, his application can be submitted online and its disposal will also be assured in a given timeframe.

Ravi: What has been the response after introducing the Single Window?
Agarwal: Till date 800 odd applications have been received from over 243 companies and each company sometimes requires more than one clearance, so 800 odd clearances have been applied for. Today only three applications are pending beyond the time prescribed which means all have been decided well in the time prescribed.

Ravi: What made you set up a base here and what has the experience been?
Shringare: We got some parametes which made us come into Jaipur. One was that almost one-third of accountants, ICWA's, Company Secretaries either come from the state of Rajasthan or have routes in Rajasthan. So we are from financial institute industry in the country and from that perspective that was one plus point for us.

Second was the talent pool that was available here in terms of very good educational background, very good university background and in terms of population we had very good strong young skilled labour that was readily available. Third was work-life balance, if one compares with any other metro cities across India, this city provides and excellent lifestyle and work-life balance.

Ravi: Did you come to Rajasthan from logistic point of view because it is close to Noida and Gurgaon or was it the incentive that drove you to set up a base here?

Kumar: We looked at lot of factors before we decided to set up our plant here in Jaipru. The first and foremost was it was close to our customers. A lot of our customers are based in the North and West. But we also looked at the incentive that was offered by the Rajasthan Government, we had a 10 year sales tax holiday, so this was also a motivation for us to come through Rajasthan.

Our experience has been good, there is good infrastructure here and also power supply, roads. The support we get from RIICO and various industries is very good. So our experience has been excellent.


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Old May 31st, 2012, 04:27 AM   #380
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Shale energy triggers bean rush in India

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Mumbai/New York: In Rajasthan, farmers are scrambling to harvest as much as they can of a bean with the power to lift them out of poverty. In the United States, the multi-billion dollar shale energy industry is banking on their success.

US companies drilling for oil and gas in shale formations have developed a voracious appetite for the powder-like gum made from the seeds of guar, or cluster bean, and the boom in their business has created a bonanza for thousands of small-scale farmers in India who produce 80% of the world’s beans.

“Guar has changed my life,” said Shivlal, a guar farmer who made Rs. 3,00,000 ($5,400) - five times more than his average seasonal income - from selling the beans he planted on five acres (two hectares) of sandy soil in Rajasthan.

“Now, I have a concrete house and a colour TV. Next season I will even try to grow guar on the roof.”

Guar gum, which is also used to make sauces and ice cream, is a main ingredient of the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process used to extract oil and gas from oil shale.

Fracking has been called the technology that will change the geopolitics of energy, boosting domestic North American gas supplies to such an extent that experts predict the net importing region will soon turn into a significant gas exporter.

It has also turned guar into a precious commodity farmers now call “black gold”. In the Rajasthani city of Jodhpur, under the shadow of an ancient fort, traders buy guar seed at Rs. 305 ($5.5) a kg, a 10-fold increase from a year ago.

“The whole world got caught not ever thinking they would need as much guar as they do now,” said Wade Cowan, co-owner of West Texas Guar Inc., a Brownfield, Texas, company that supplies the powder to US energy companies.

India, on average, produces more than 1 million tonnes of guar beans annually, the biggest crop in the world. It exported more than 400,000 tonnes of guar products, including gum, in the fiscal year that ended in March 2011. Exporting beans is prohibited.

US energy firms, however, will need nearly 300,000 tonnes of guar gum this year, energy investment banking firm Simmons & Company International said in a February report. Last year, the guar shortfall forced some US firms to halt fracking, it said.

“There is a shortage of seeds. Last year, good quality seeds were available at around Rs. 60 a kilo but now, traders are demanding over Rs. 500 per kilo for the same seed,” said Shyam Lal, a farmer based in the Churu district of Rajasthan.

Guar’s Rise To Glory

Guar gum is used to increase the viscosity of proppants, materials which are forced into shale fractures to enlarge them so that the oil and gas can be extracted. It also helps reduce friction, which in turn decreases the energy consumed.

In March, the United States bought 33,800 metric tonnes of guar gum from India, the highest amount ever. Last year, US firms bought an average 22,000 metric tonnes from India a month.

About nine tonnes of guar gum are used per well. Some companies are also fracking wells several times to squeeze out as much as possible, which means using even more guar.

As a result, guar prices in India has risen rapidly, so fast that the local commodity exchanges halted trading in guar futures in late March amid a ministerial inquiry.

David Lesar, CEO at market leader Halliburton, recently said the cost of the guar gel now accounted for up to 30% of fracking costs to customers in some basins.

“The problem with guar is it is probably the fastest-moving commodity price that I have ever seen,” Lesar said.

To cash in on the guar rush, Vikas WSP, India’s largest producer of guar gum, is distributing, free of charge, seeds worth more than Rs. 900 million to 100,000 farmers and giving them guaranteed returns, said B.D. Agarwal, its chairman and managing director.

Some farmers are planting more seeds early this year, taking advantage of early rain. “This upcoming season supplies will definitely be higher than 2011,” said Uday Merchant, managing director of Lucid Colloids, a guar exporter based in Mumbai.

The United States produces guar, but only on 40,000 acres (16,187 hectares), an area that pales in comparison with the more than 10 million acres (4 million hectares) Indian farmers are expected to plant this year in the Thar desert.

In 2011, about 20,000 acres were planted with guar in Texas but only 5,000 acres were cultivated as the crop was hit by drought, said guar supplier Cowan. He estimates the planted acreage might be twice as much this year.

Searching For Substitutes

With the North American shale boom expanding to China, South America and Eastern Europe, oil field services firms around the world are poised to gobble up guar. US industry researchers reckon the global fracking business will grow to $37 billion in 2012, up $6 billion from a year earlier.

But the rising prices and tight supplies are spurring a search for alternatives.

“Guar substitutes become attractive at a certain guar price. We’re at that price right now,” said Tim Probert, Halliburton’s president of strategy and corporate development.

Halliburton touts its “CleanStim” technology as a possibility while Schlumberger points to “HiWay,” which it says will cut back on the water and sand use in fracking.

Both firms did not provide specific details about their products, which they said can replace proppants.

CleanStim technology has been used effectively in a number of basins, including the Eagle Ford prospect, and will essentially create a ceiling on guar prices, Probert said.

Other industries that use guar, such as paper, food processing and textiles, have already turned to alternatives.

For fracking, replacing guar will only make sense if prices continue to rocket. But guar producers expect prices to ease by 2013 as the new crop comes to market and supplies increase from all the extra acreage planted.

Guar merchants say prices, like those of many agricultural commodities in India, will hinge on the monsoon rains. The rains are expected to arrive on time at the beginning of June and progress as normal.

But even if guar eases from its current levels, prices would still be highly profitable for farmers who cultivate the crop at very little cost.

And the robust demand from the US shale oil and gas industry shows no sign of abating.

“We’re out desperately trying to find more of this product to process for the market, because we could sell all we can find,” Jim O’Brien, chief executive officer of US chemical maker Ashland Inc, said.

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