The Supreme Court has agreed to examine a plea that
starvation deaths continue to eat into the right to life and dignity of
social fabric and a “radical” new measure like community kitchens need to be
set up across the country to feed the poor and the hungry.
The petition said State-funded community kitchens was not a
novel concept in the country. They pointed out how Tamil Nadu's AmmaUnavagam had
become a roaring success by involving peers in self-help groups, employing the
poor to serve hygienic food to eradicate the gnawing problem of hunger on the
It urged the court to direct the Chief Secretaries across the
country to formulate schemes for the implementation of community kitchens and to
further ensure that “no person should sleep on an empty stomach”. It called for
the creation of a national food grid by the Centre that would be beyond the
scope of the Public Distribution Scheme (PDS).
The petition said it has been “reported in 2017 by the National
Health Survey (NHS) that approximately 19 crore people in the country were
compelled to sleep on an empty stomach every night”.
“ Moreover, the most alarming figure revealed is that
approximately 4500 children die every day under the age of five years in our
country resulting from hunger and malnutrition, amounting to over three lakh
deaths every year owing to hunger, of children alone”.
The government on Tuesday raised the price of
sugarcane-extracted ethanol used for blending in petrol by up to ₹1.84 per
litre as it looked to cut oil import bill by $1 billion annually through its
greater use in auto fuels.
State-owned oil marketing companies will buy ethanol from sugar
mills, for mixing in petrol, at enhanced rates for ethanol from December 1,
Petroleum Minister DharmendraPradhan said here.
The price of ethanol from ‘C-heavy molasses’ has been raised by
29 paise per litre to ₹43.75 while the same from ‘B-heavy molasses’, also called
as intermediary molasses, by ₹1.84 to ₹54.27 a litre.
Pradhan said the higher price is expected to increase the
procurement of ethanol to 260 crore litres between December 2019 and November
2020, up from 200 crore litres bought in the previous ethanol year.
Commenting on the decision, Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA)
director general AbinashVerma said: “Government’s decision to increase ethanol
price once again, with special emphasis and a higher increase for ethanol made
from B-heavy molasses, confirms the government’s commitment towards encouraging
more diversion of the surplus sugarcane/sugar into ethanol.”
The minister said “Additionally, GST and transportation charges
will also be payable. OMCs have been advised to fix realistic transportation
charges so that long distance transportation of ethanol is not disincentivised,”
he said adding the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels will reduce
import dependence and give boost to agriculture sector.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) continues to be the leading
cause of death across the world, but there are significant variations
between rich and poor nations. While in high income countries, death from
cancer is twice that of CVD, in low income countries, including India, death
from cardiac disease was three times that of cancer.
Additionally, indoor or household air pollution has been
identified as a key cause of CVD, research papers published in the Lancet, on
Tuesday, have shown.
“The study establishes that though risk factors are lower in low
income countries, factors such as access to quality health care and lack of
insurance have a play, leading to the mortality,” explained V. Mohan, one of the
co-authors of the study, and president, Madras Diabetes Research Foundation,
Chennai. With better insurance and improving hospital standards, it is possible
for LIC to head towards similar outcomes, he said.
In another paper, also published in the Lancet on Tuesday, on
‘Modifiable risk factors, cardiovascular disease, and mortality’, researchers
established indoor air pollution as an emerging source of risk for
cardiovascular disease in LIC and MIC.
“This is a worrisome fact — the identification of indoor air
pollution or household pollution as a risk factor for CVD. So far we have looked
at upper respiratory diseases as a consequence, but this does not sound good,
and we must take measures to modify this particular risk factor,” Dr. Mohan
Prime Minister NarendraModi will embark on a three- day
visit to Vladivostok in Russia this evening to take part in the 5th Eastern
Economic Forum - EEF summit. Prime Minister will be the Chief Guest at the
5th Eastern Economic Forum. The Prime Minister will also attend the 20th
annual summit between Russia and India during the visit.
Ahead of his visit, in his departure statement, Prime Minister
said his visit to Vladivostok is the first-ever by an Indian Prime Minister to
the Far East Region of Russia and it underlines the desire on the both sides to
strengthen the bonds of robust bilateral relations. He said the EEF summit
presents enormous potential for developing close and mutually beneficial
cooperation between Rusia and India in this region.
He said India and Russia enjoy excellent relations, based on the
strong foundation of special strategic partnership and also have robust and
growing trade and investment opportunities. The Prime Minister said, Our strong
partnership is complemented by a desire to promote a multipolar world and the
two countries closely cooperate towards this end in regional and multilateral
In Russia, Prime Minister would also visit to the Zvezda
ship-building complex. In a tweet, Prime Minister said, It would present a great
opportunity to learn about Russia’s exemplary capabilities in the ship-building
sector as well as explore possibilities of cooperation in this area.
The possibility of oil and gas supply from the Arctic will also
be explored during the bilateral talks. In addition, both countries will explore
ways to enhance cooperation while working in multilateral organisations like
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and BRICS.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani today ruled out holding any
bilateral talks with the United States. He also threatened to further cut
Iran's commitments to a nuclear deal within days.
In an address to Parliament, Rouhani said any dialogue with the
US would have to fall within the framework of the group of major powers that
agreed to a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran in 2015.
He also said Iran was ready to further reduce its commitments to
the accord in the coming days if current negotiations with European nations
yield no results by Thursday.
Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since May last
year when President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal and
began reimposing crippling sanctions.
The arch-foes were on the cusp of confrontation in June when
Iran downed a US drone and Trump ordered retaliatory strikes before cancelling
them at the last minute.
The 2015 deal was agreed between Iran and permanent members of
UN Security Council Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus
About 70 hatchlings of the rare Black Softshell and Indian
Softshell turtles bred in the ponds of two temples in Assam were on Monday
released in the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, about 50 km east of Guwahati.
The sanctuary is often called ‘Mini Kaziranga’ because of
similar landscape and a sizeable population of the one-horned rhino.
The “wild restocking” of the two turtle species was done under a
joint programme of the management committees of two temples — Ugratara in
Guwahati and HayagrivMadhav in Hajo about 35 km north-west — the Assam Forest
Department and two NGOs specialising in the conservation of reptiles.
“This wild restocking programme is important for sustaining
turtles in the Brahmaputra river system, especially the Black Softshell (Nilssonianigricans)
that is considered extinct in the wild. Thankfully, the last of these rare
species were surviving in some of Assam’s temple ponds that are not ideal
habitats for them,” Help Earth’s JayadityaPurkayastha told.
Assam is the most species-rich State in India in terms of turtle
diversity. It is home to 20 species of freshwater turtles and tortoises out of
29 species found in India. But, 80% of these species are threatened with