Saturday, January 26, 2013

The 64th Republic day was celebrated at CMC

Remember the responsibility towards the nation--Darshan Arora
A grand celebration at CMC hospital
Ludhiana, 26th Jan, 2013(Shalu Arora and Rector Kathuria):The 64thRepublic day was celebrated at Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana with Patriotic spirit. The program started with thanks giving service for the country at college chapel, followed by Flag hoisting, March past and cultural events by staff and  students of various colleges at Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Guest Sh. Darshan Arora emphasized the responsibility of every citizen towards the nation and then to enjoy the freedom, brought to us by our martyrs. Earlier Sh. Darshan Arora was welcomed and introduced by the Director, CMC - Dr. Abraham G. Thomas. Present on the occasion were the Administrative team, staff and students to mark the celebration. At this occasion staffs who had completed 35 years of dedicated service were honoured. The Program was organized by College of Physiotherapy and Vice Principal thanked everyone for the help extended.
Associate Director, Dr.Kim Mammen, Principal CMC, Dr S.M. Bhatti, Principal Christian Dental College, Dr.Abi M.Thomas, Principal College of Nursing Prof.(Mrs.) Ponnamma R. Singh, Principal College of Physiotherapy, Dr.Jeewan S.Parkash, Principal IAHS, Dr.Anup Benjamin were also present on the occasion.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Republic Day 2013//Women’s Voice

Now being Heard through The Panchayats 
Feature on Panchayati Raj                      Dr. Hrusikesh Panda*                          
Gram Sabha is the deepest form of Decentralized Governance where every voter of a Gram Panchayat is a member and can participate in decision making, approval of plans, rejection of plans and selection of beneficiaries.

The Gram Sabha is being increasingly modelled to be the ideal institution for social audit.  The reason is that the Gram Sabha consists of people who are beneficiaries of schemes and programs and are at the spot when a program or a work is taken up and are the best judges of the quality of implementation of schemes and works.  Therefore, Gram Sabha should be the best agency for social audit.

A problem with Gram Sabha has been that in many places, the attendance is poor.  To begin with the agenda items are often limited to works taken up by the Panchayats and therefore many people have no interest to participate in the meeting.  There is the question of wage loss for a day.  In order to increase participation in Gram Sabha, it should have the time and wherewithal to take up a wide range of subjects.  These subjects should be of interest to the majority of population.  Examples of such subjects are: primary schools, mid-day meals, drinking water systems, sewerage systems, primary health care, child and mother care programs including Anganwadi and immunisation.  Most of these problems are faced by women and not by men in the villages.  Therefore, these subjects can be discussed only if there is sufficient participation of women.

Another set of subjects which affect women are cash income for management of household and food security.  Public Distribution System is one part of food security.  The other part of food is cash security, economic activities like agriculture, horticulture, dairy, fisheries, handlooms etc.  Some of the activities incidental to these activities are irrigation, land management and soil conservation.  Again, effective supervision over these programs by Gram Sabha is possible only if women participate sufficiently in the Gram Sabha meetings since they are witness to these activities and have to manage food security more often than men.  It has not always been possible to ensure women’s participation in many parts of the country where women do not speak before men.  Sometimes, the men would like women to attend to household chores and not attend meetings which they would consider wastage of time.  As a result of this vicious cycle, participation of women becomes negligible in Gram Sabha meetings, Gram Sabha does not take up issues which affect most of the people, and then the participation further declines.  To stem these problems, Ministry of Panchayati Raj has been taking up with the States to have special Gram Sabha meetings with a wider range of subjects.

Special Gram Sabha meetings to discuss nutrition were held in August, 2011 and again in August, 2012.  These meetings were attended by functionaries incharge of women and child care, health, sanitation, drinking water, PDS, education, mid-day meal, agriculture, horticulture, dairy and fisheries.  These meetings have seen greater participation of women and have also taken up issues which benefit a larger number of people and particularly women.

During October, 2012 special Gram Sabha meetings relating to women were held.  The issues which had been flagged are Anganwadi Centres, health, sanitation, drinking water, prevention of violence against women & children, prevention of dowry and female foeticide.  States have also been advised to have separate quoram for women in Gram Sabha in order to raise the attendance as well as participation of women.  Among others, the States of Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Rajasthan and Odisha have responded on special Gram Sabha on women issue. 

However, in addition to these efforts, it is necessary to have Mahila Gram Sabha meetings for various reasons.  First, in a Mahila Gram Sabha meeting, presence and participation of women is much better than in a Gram Sabha meeting.  Second, the Mahila Gram Sabha meeting also takes up more sensitive topics such as dowry, domestic violence, substance abuse, violence in public space, female foeticide and trafficking of women and children. Some States like Maharashtra have been holding Mahila Gram Sabha meetings before Gram Sabha meetings.  We have been advising the States to constitute Mahila Sabha meetings in addition to Gram Sabha meetings.  Recently, States like Rajasthan, Odisha and Karnataka have notified for holding Mahila Sabha meetings.  Our experience shows that with increased participation of women in Gram Sabha meetings or Mahila Sabha meetings, for example, expenditure from MGNREGS is going for activities like irrigation and creation of water bodies which helps in raising income through agriculture, horticulture and fodder and also helps in improving drinking water supply.

The Ministry of Panchayati Raj had advised the States to have Special Gram Sabha and Mahila Sabha meetings to discuss gender issues with special focus on  female foeticide and the social impact of having a larger number of men than women. It was  advised that these meetings should also be organised to discuss the issue of adverse Child Sex Ratio and female foeticide.  In the areas where Mahila Sabhas has not been constituted, they should be constituted and Mahila Sabhas should take up the matter of CSR.  Since the monitoring committee of Anganwadis have been put under the control of Panchayat / Ward member and Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committee (VHSNC) has been made a sub-committee of GP, Panchayats will have access to information on registration of pregnant mothers, birth of boys and girls and IMR/CMR. Therefore, Panchayats will be able to monitor sex ratio at birth and prenatal sex determination. I have attended several meetings of Gram Sabhas, Mahila Sabhas and workshops of elected Panchayat Representatives and seen how women are able to take up the problem of female foeticide upfront, discover the real reasons behind this mindset (violence against women in public space is a major concern) and how to face this. 

Accordingly, Special Gram Sabha on gender issues were held in various states.  In Haryana, in a programme 1500 women participated, at Julana Block on 1st September 2012.  This programme was represented by people from seven Gram Panchayats.  They took a solemn oath that they will make all efforts support to eradicate the social menace of female feticide. The women of these seven villages   largely discussed the impact of having a lower number of women on public order and the well being of adults.

Special Gram Sabha on Gender issues was organized by Namunaghar, South Andaman on 30th October 2012 which was attended by 30 women and young girls. Among other issues, prevention of violence against women and children, prevention of dowry and female feticide were discussed.  During this meeting, the people decided to organize Mahila Sabha to discuss women issues was emphasized.

A meeting in Mararikula South Gram Panchayat, district Alappuzha, Kerala was organised on 5th March, 2012 on “Mapping of violence against women”. About 2000 people, most of them women, attended this meeting. During this meeting, the findings and recommendations of the Mararikula South Gram Panchayat regarding crimes against women were discussed.  This Gram Panchayat had undertaken a mapping of crimes against women, particularly in public space and educational institutions.  The Gram Sabha found a few solutions too : keeping men engaged in gainful activities, particularly marine fishermen who remain inactive during their stay on shores, ensuring cash earning activities for women like dairy, establishing helplines and, providing counselling in schools to address confidence building measures so that students are able to stand up to violence. The Government of Kerala has adopted this concept and is in the process of replicating this in the state under a programme called NIRBHAYA.

The reservation for women among the elected representatives to Panchayats has increased the number of elected women representatives after 1993.  This has helped in great extent in increasing political leadership of women in Local Self Government.  The efforts of the Gram Sabha to take up issues which affect women and the constitution of Mahila Sabhas are empowering of women irrespective of whether they are elected or not.  The enthusiasm of women in Mahila Gram Sabha meetings in some parts of the country where their participation earlier had been next to nothing is something to be seen to be believed.
(PIB Feature) 
16-January-2013 17:26 IST
Click here to see Photos
*Additional Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj. SS-08/SF-08/16-01-2013RTS/HSN

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

That is not when it ends

01/21/2013 01:30 PM CST                                                      Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 1:08 AM
First Lady, Dr. Biden Vow to Continue 'Joining Forces'
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2013 - Lauding Americans' increased outpouring to service members, their families and veterans, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, have vowed to continue leading the Joining Forces initiative during the next four years with a goal of creating a national culture of appreciation and support.
The mission of Joining Forces is "to rally this nation to support our military families to make sure that we are supporting them – our troops and our veterans – as well as they have supported us," Obama said during an exclusive interview with Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Josh Hauser, a Pentagon Channel correspondent.
"Our belief is that everyone can do something," she said. "And we have seen the country step up in ways big and small."
Joining Forces has mobilized every sector of society by encouraging employers to hire veterans and military family members, promoting efforts to cut through red tape to transfer professional licenses as military spouses move between states with their loved ones, and giving teachers the tools to help military children, the first lady noted.
"People have really reached out, and we have gotten such great response. We feel pretty good about that," Biden said. "And we are going to continue this for the next four years – to keep pushing that and plugging away. ... We hope this continues in our culture for years to come."
As they prepared to kick off the presidential inauguration weekend by hosting a tribute to military families Jan. 19, Obama and Biden told Hauser they've seen increasing understanding among the American people of the contributions and sacrifices service members and their families make every day.
"There is growing appreciation, but I think there is still more work to do," Obama said. "We want to keep shining that spotlight."
Recognizing the end of U.S. military operations in Iraq and the drawdown in Afghanistan, the first lady said support for service members, veterans and military families is more important than ever.
"That is not when it ends. That is when it begins," Obama said. "Because as families are making that transition to civilian life, it is going to be more important than ever before for us to show them how valued they are to us – and not just in words, but in deeds."
Obama and Biden said they are struck as they meet with military families by their strength and resilience, and the maturity and adaptability of military children.
"They are learning to juggle responsibilities, dealing with their emotions and dealing with the highs and lows of life in very stressful, emotional conditions," she said. "And they are succeeding. They are successful, smart, bright young people."
The skills they are learning now will give them a leg up when they face other challenges in life, and an appreciation of the tradition of service that has made America great, Obama said.
"Our military kids are the best that the country has to offer. So we want to make sure they know this, and they can talk about their skills in a positive way," she said. "And we want to make sure the country can appreciate and understand the uniqueness that these kids bring to any task, to any group, to any situation, so that we embrace that."   Initiative during the next four years with a goal
Related Sites:
Joining Forces 
Pentagon Channel Interview
Special Report: Military Family Support
Special Report: Inauguration 2013