Category Archives: Education

A message for Russia

Putin should take note of the views of the global community and end the war

The suspension of Russia from the UN Human Rights Council has turned the global spotlight on the civilian killings in Ukraine. The U.S. sponsored resolution in the UN General Assembly was approved by 93 votes against 24, with 58 abstentions that included India. Russia has faced immense criticism after bodies were found, from where Russian troops withdrew following the Istanbul talks . Russia claims it to be ” staged events and fakes ” . While the truth should be established in an independent UN-monitored probe, there is no doubt that civilians were targeted . According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, at least 1,611 civilians have been killed and 2,227 injured in Ukraine since the war began. Russia cannot evade it’s responsibility for these losses. When Russia began the invasion, President Vladimir Putin had said the main objectives of what he called the ” special military operation” were the ” demilitarisation and denazification” of Ukraine. Considering the three front war Rissia launched , it was evident that Moscow wanted to meet its real objectives -whatever they were –quickly.

But Ukraine’s fierce resistance, especially in the north, has changed the course of the conflict, which now looks like a war of attrition, focusing on Ukraine’s east.

Now, both Ukraine and Russia are in difficult situations. The Ukrainians, with military and financial aid from West, have pushed back in the north, but lost territories in the east and the south. Given the power imbalance ,it is unlikely that Ukraine can regain the lost territories. Russia now seems to have been bogged Down in the battlefield, with international criticism mounting on its war conduct. What is in the best interest of all parties is a cessation of hostilities and a diplomatic solution.

The Istanbul talks had opened a path towards peace . According to the Ukrainian proposals , President Zelensky has agreed to accept neutrality in return for multilateral security assurances. He is also ready for a consultation period of 15 years for Crimea, which russia annexed in 2014 , and discuss the status of the self declared Donetsk and Luhansk republics in a summit with Mr. Putin. It was after these proposals that the Russians announced their pull back from the north. But the Bucha killings appear to have clouded the peace process . The investigation into the civilian killings should go in parallel and not derail the diplomatic process . Russia should follow up on its words with more demonstrable actions to end the hostilities.

The war has damaged it’s economy and it’s reputation as a great power , while causing unspeakable losses and destruction in Ukraine. The most important message from the UN body to Moscow is that it should cease the fire and take the path of diplomacy immediately.

13-year-old Para-Swimmer Creates Record

13-year-old Jiya Rai becomes the youngest and fastest female swimmer in the world to swim across the Palk Strait. The autistic swimmer began her swim from Palk Strait, Talaimannar in Sri Lanka at 4.22 AM on 20th March and reached Arichalmunai in Dhanushkodi, Tamil Nadu at 5.32PM on the same day. She covered 28.5 kms in just 13 hours and 10 minutes.  Although Jiya holds a world record in open water swimming, this achievement has added a feather in her cap. She now joins the elite group of swimmers such as Kutraleeswaran (1994), R Jai Jaswanth (2019), Edi Hu of the US (2020) and Shyamala Koli (2021), who swam from Sri Lanka to Dhanushkodi.

Jiya has broken the world record of Bula Choudhary who swam this distance in 13 hours and 52 minutes in the year 2004.

At Dhanushkodi, she was welcomed by the Director General of Tamil Nadu Police, C Sylendra Babu and a huge crowd gathered to congratulate her. The DGP said that the stretch is filled with water snakes, jellyfish, and rapidly changing currents, which can make it difficult to swim even a kilometre in 3 to 4 hours.

She was honoured by Ramanathapuram SP E Karthik and Municipal vice-chairman Dhakshinamoorthy.

The Indian Navy also congratulated her by sharing a laudatory note on its Facebook page.

The event was conducted by Para-Swimming Federation of India (PSFI). Sri Lanka’s Navy provided search and rescue services in Lankan waters, while the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard provided these services along its maritime borders.

Jiya Rai lives in Mumbai. Her father Madan Rai is an officer in the Indian Navy. She is studying in a Navy children school. She was diagnosed with autism when she was a little over 2 years old. Later, her doctor noticed that her repetitive knocking could be useful as a therapy in water sports. As a result, Jiya seemed comfortable in water and developed a lifelong love for swimming.

The journey was not easy for her as well as her parents. Being an autistic, initially it was difficult for her to grasp the technicalities of swimming. Her understanding of the sea current and simple things like replacing a start line by a whistle required a lot of conditioning. But her never ending attitude and her parents’ determination made her win laurels.

This is not the first time when Jiya has achieved such accolade. She was awarded the “Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar (PMRBP)” – 2022; it is the highest honour given to citizens of India below 18 years of age. In February 2021, she became the youngest and the first autistic girl to swim from Worli Sea Link to Gateway of India. She took 8 hours and 4 minutes to cover this distance of 36 kms. She has also received appreciation from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his show “Mann Ki Baat”.

Her other achievements include:

  • As the first autistic girl in the world to swim 14 km in three hours and 27 minutes from Elephanta Island to the Gateway of India, Jiya succeeded in setting a world record in February 2020. She entered Asia Book of Records and India Book of Records.
  • She became the first para-swimmer to swim from Arnala Fort to Vasai Fort in January 2021. She covered a distance of 22 km in 7 hours and 4 minutes.
  • In March 2021, she won 3 Gold Medals in the Twentieth National Para-Swimming Championship 2020.
  • She was also the winner of 24 Gold Medals and 1 Silver Medal in the National and State Swimming/Open Water Sea Swimming Championship.

The young swimmer dreams to become the first and youngest para-swimmer in the world to swim seven oceans.

Beyond Border -Gavaskar

Periodic reappraisal of the economic gains from the trade pact with Australia is pragmatic

The India – Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) signed last week is a key step in enhancing bilateral economic ties between the two major Indian Ocean littoral states and reflects the growing strategic alignment between New Delhi and Canberra . While India’s strongest ties with Australia had hitherto largely centred around their common colonial legacy of cricket,best exemplified in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, a more contemporary shared vision has emerged around the mutual need to strengthen their strategic and Trade engagement. This was manifested in the June 2020 virtual summit when Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Scott Morrison decided to elevate the relationship to the level of a comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Defence and strategic ties have gained significant traction and the latest ECTA has been hammered out in just six months since negotiations restarted in end – September. Envisaged as an ‘early -harvest’ agreement, the ECTA covers the gamut of economic and commercial relations including trade in goods and services, rules of origin, technical barriers to trade , dispute settlement and customs procedures . Targeting a goal of doubling bilateral trade to about $50 billion in five years , from the $ 27.5 billion logged in 2021, the partners have set about dismantling or lowering tariff barriers . While Australia has agreed to eliminate tariffs on more than 96% of Indian exports , including several labour – intensive industries, India will allow the duty free entry of 85% of Australian goods exports by value from day one and within the next 10 years cut tariffs to zero on another 5% of Australian merchandise.

That the negotiators adopted a pragmatic tack is evident in the way contentious issues such as the dairy sector, a politically significant export industry in Australia, were set aside for separate resolution at later talks . A key area that has been included is the movement of ‘natural persons ‘, which is inextricably linked to fostering closer people -to-people links and is an imperative in efforts to promote bilateral trade in services . The agreement aims to support access for a range of Australian and Indian skilled service providers , investors , and business visitors and also , crucially seeks to address an area linked to another major Australian export –education .

Canberra has now agreed, on a reciprocal basis , to ease visa restrictions, enabling students at varied levels of higher education to stay on for periods ranging from 18 months to four years to pursue work opportunities on a temporary basis. Arguably the best feature of the ECTA though is the incorporation of a compulsory review mechanism at the end of 15 years . With past FTAs having proved less than beneficial to domestic industry, India’s negotiators have set a meaningful precedent in including the feature to periodically reappraise the economic gains from such trade pacts.

SAFETY FIRST

The Dam safety Authority might be able to monitor safety aspects of Mullaperiyar dam

The Central Water Commission (CWC)’s proposal to let the Mullaperiyar dam’s Supervisory Committee continue for a year essentially means status quo continues. The proposal makes the chief Secretaries of Tamil Nadu and Kerala accountable and provides for the participation of technical experts as panel members. The proposed arrangement , presented before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, has become necessary as the CWC is of the view that the National Dam Safety Authority (NDSA) , the regulatory body envisaged under the recently enacted Dam Safety Act, will require one year to become fully functional. On Thursday, the two states are expected to inform the court of their response. Given the features of the 126 -year old Mullaperiyar dam and the conroversies surrounding it’s lime and mortar structure, both states would have nothing much to complain about regarding sticking to the existing arrangement for some more time although they differ in the way they approach the dam. Located in Kerala , it is used by TN for multiple purposes.

While TN is keen on getting the strengthening work completed to raise the water level to 152 ft from 142 ft, Kerala wants a new dam built . In the backdrop of landslides in Kerala after heavy rain , fears , though misplaced , have arisen over the dam’s structural stability. Regardless of these apprehensions being addressed through technical and scientific bodies,the issue of safety crops up time and again. What this underlines is that there should be no room for complacency about the dam’s Safety. It is for this purpose that the apex court too has been addressing the issue of having a stronger institutional mechanism that the existing supervisory committee which has been rendered almost toothless.

Ideally speaking, the authority would have been well suited to handle issues concerning the Mullaperiyar, as the Act empowers the body to perform the role of the State Dam Safety Organisation (SDSO) in this context because the NDSA assumes the role of SDSO for a dam located in one state and owned by another . But , as more time is required to have the authority fully in place , the Centre has chosen to rely on existing structure, with the respective Chief Secretaries being made accountable. With a sub- committee functioning under the supervisory committee and one more panel under the National Disaster Management Authority,the oversight mechanism appears to be fine . Still, however well- designed the scheme might be , it is for the authorities to make sure their actions instil public confidence during the monsoon, when the issue of safety in Kerala acquires precedence . It is also their duty to ensure there is no panic and to deal with scaremongers .

How To Develop Good Habits In Your Children

Your little one has started taking baby steps towards learning process and you are already freaking out. This is the age when the parents should start inculcating good habits in their children. Developing good habits is a process and takes time. Don’t rush yourself.

Follow these 11 tips shared below:

  • Start with basics: You should start with the basic things like brushing teeth, washing hands before and after a meal, eating food by themselves, taking a shower, hygiene etc. It’s never too early to begin these habits.
  • Set yourself as a role model: Children always learn from their parents. They try to imitate their elders. Before teaching your children, you should implement what you are going to teach your child.
  • Imbibe Good manners: Teach your child how to be polite and gentle, how to behave properly in front of guests and how to behave with elders as well as peers. Teach him the meaning and usage of phrases like thank you, sorry, welcome and like.
  • Create a positive environment: Your child should feel happy and positive around you. It may happen that your youngster has made some mistake for which you feel like yelling. This creates a negative reinforcement in the child. Instead of shouting and scolding, you can make him understand his mistake and why he should not repeat it in future. Don’t use abusive language before your children.
  • Have family dinners: Having dinner with family on the same table creates a sense of family attachment in the child. While eating with the family, your child is less likely to consume unhealthy food.
  • Physical activity: Physical activity not only includes outdoor games or sports but also household chores like arranging book shelf, keeping toys at proper place, walking the dog and like. This not only imbibes a feeling of bonding within the child but also develops a sense of responsibility.
  • Reward your child: You can reward your children on completion of certain task or for some behavior. He will be motivated to maintain his good behavior. But mind it that never reward your child with materialistic things like video games or chocolates. Try to come up with other ways to celebrate his good behavior. Take him to a long drive, go for a swimming together, play some games or even some simple words of appreciation will do.
  • Read out stories to your kid: You may have a hectic schedule but do take some time out to read stories to him. Choose stories like good over bad or fables. In this way your child will get to know the morals. His vocabulary will also improve. Also encourage him to read the books by himself.
  • Value his opinions: Many people do not seem to realize that kids have their say and opinion. Ask them about what they think of a particular situation. You can also ask his opinion about any family function. The child will feel valuable.
  • Set a time table: Once he starts going school, prepare a time table for him and specify his time for every activity including, playing, watching TV or studying. Be flexible. Let him skip some activities or do them later when he asks.
  • Be realistic with your expectations:  Each child’s learning capability is different. Don’t force him to hurry. It’s okay to let him progress at his own pace. Don’t compare him with other children. Like adults, children too do not like being compared.

Bandhani

India is a culturally rich country. It is rightly said that there is “unity in diversity”. From north –south and east-west, diversity can be seen in all realms, be it food, lifestyle, festivals, clothing, language and like. Today, let us visit the beautiful Indian state Gujarat. This state is famous for many things and Bandhani print is one of them.

Bandhani, also known as Bandhej, is a type of tie and dye technique in which the cloth is plucked with fingernails into numerous tiny bindings to form a figurative design. Bandhani means bandh (to tie or to bind) in Sanskrit. Indus Valley Civilization artifacts suggest that Bandhani dyeing was done as early as 4000 B.C. Historical evidence indicates that the first Bandhani saree was worn in a royal wedding at the time of Bana Bhatt’s Harshacharita. It was believed that wearing Bandhani saree brings good luck to the bride.

Bandhani is an art form that requires high level of expertise. The fabric is dyed and tightly tied with a thread at several points, thereby producing various patterns like Chandrakala, Bavan Baug, Shikari  etc. The pattern depends on the style of tying the cloth. Red, green, yellow, blue and black colours are mainly used in Bandhani. The colours used are mostly natural.

Once the fabric has been tightly tied, the tied area is dipped in for dye bath of bright colours. A cloth of one meter can have thousands of tiny knots. After the dye bath, the fabric is dried in open air. The weather determines how long drying will take. It takes 4-5 hours in summers and 7-8 hours in winters. The tied portion does not get coloured and remains the same colour as that of the fabric. Then the knots are opened to form dazzling designs and twirls. Depending upon the tying pattern of the fabric, it can produce different patterns like Ekdali (single knot), Boond (small dot with a dark centre), Trikunti (three knots) etc. Often Bandhani prints are adorned with mirror work to give them an elegant look.

There are several names for the final products such as Khombi, Gharchola, Patori, and Chandrokhani.

This is mainly a family trade and women of such families work in their homes. The fabric tying is easy but time consuming job. Bandhani is mainly made in Bhuj, Jamnagar, Mandavi, Jethpur, Pethapur, Anjar and Rajkot. However, Bhuj is known for its red and maroon Bandhani as the water of Bhuj gives a special brightness to these colours.

Bandhani has tasted great success, both nationally and globally. Several textile garments have been made from Bandhani using new colors, designs, and natural dyes developed by skilled artisans. Not only women clothes but Bandhani designs have found place in men’s garments too.

Bandhani designs appeal to Indians as well as to global consumers. It has found valuable space in different accessories and garments and has become a huge trend. A tradition that has existed for centuries, Bandhani will be here for many years to come.

Veto Power of The President

A veto is the power to stop an official action unilaterally, such as enactment of legislation. Let us see the veto power of President in respect of Indian politics.

When the Parliament passes a bill, it is sent to the President for his assent. Only then the bill becomes a law. Upon presenting a bill to the President for his assent, he has the following options:

  1. He may give his assent.
  2. He may not give his assent (veto).
  3. He may return the bill (except money bill) to the Parliament for reconsideration. In such case, if the Parliament passes the bill, with or without amendments, and again presents it to the President for his assent; he must give his assent to the bill.

The president has veto power over the bill in the sense that he can withhold his assent to the bill. The objective of veto is to prevent an unconstitutional legislation and to prevent rushed and injudicious legislation.

The Presidents of other countries enjoy 4 types of veto rights – absolute veto, qualified veto, suspensive veto and pocket veto. But President of India has only 3 veto rights – absolute veto, suspensive veto and pocket veto.

Absolute veto: It refers to the withholding of President’s assent to a bill (passed by the Parliament). Then the bill does not become an act. This power is exercised in 2 situations:

  1. Bills which are introduced by any Parliament member who is not a minister. These are called private members’ bills.
  2. Once the government bills are passed, the cabinet resigns and the new cabinet advises the president not to give his assent.

Suspensive veto: When a bill, not assented by the President is returned to the Parliament for reconsideration, and the bill is again passed by the Parliamentary by the same majority (with or without amendments), it becomes mandatory for the President to assent the bill. This is called suspensive veto. This is not applicable in case of money bills. The President has to assent a money bill as passed by the Parliament with his prior permission.

Pocket veto: The President neither assents nor rejects the bill. He does not return the bill to the Parliament. Instead, he holds the bill for an indefinite period of time. As far as the constitution is concerned, it does not mandate any time limit within which the President must decide on a bill submitted to him for his assent. But in USA, the President needs to return the bill for reconsideration within 10 days.

Anyhow, there is no power of veto for the President in relation to constitutional amendments.

President can also apply veto in case of state legislation. A bill passed by state legislatures can become an act only if it is assented by the Governor or the President.

When a bill which has been passed by the state legislature is presented before the Governor, he may:

  1. Give his assent to the bill
  2. Withhold his assent
  3. Return the bill (except money bill) for reconsideration.
  4. Reserve the bill for the consideration of the President.

If a bill has been reserved for assent by the Governor, the President has the following options:

  1. He may assent the bill
  2. He may withhold the bill
  3. He may instruct the Governor to return the bill to the state legislature for reconsideration. If the bill is again passed by the state legislature, with or without amendment, and is presented to the President for his assent, he is not bound to give his assent to the bill.

Also, the President can exercise pocket veto in case of state legislation.

How Much Water Should You Drink Every Day?

There is nothing newness to the fact that drinking water is good for health. Lore has it that you should drink 8 glasses of water every day. Is that so? Let’s check.

Each individual’s body is different. Consequently, every person’s water needs shall differ. It also depends on other factors such as your health condition, your physical activities and geographical location. There is no thumb rule regarding the quantity of water intake. But having a better idea of your body’s needs for fluids will make it easier for you to figure out how much water to drink.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Now let us see the health benefits of this wonder fluid.

  • Water keeps you hydrated. Even water loss of an amount as small as 1 percent can drain out your energy. Your body needs adequate quantity of water to perform day to day activities.
  • Water helps to reduce oxidative stress that occurs during an intense workout session.
  • Helps in proper brain functioning.
  • Treats headaches. National Institutes of Health studied 393 people and found out that 40 percent of them had headache due to dehydration.
  • Staying hydrated is important for smooth bowel functioning.
  • Prevents the formation of kidney stones. Once formed, drinking water may help in passing the smaller stones.
  • Assists in weight loss.
  • Provides cushion to joints and prevents muscle sprain.

An adult human body is 60 percent water and our blood is 90 percent water. So you know that water is an indispensable element for human body.

How much water to consume?

According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an average healthy adult should consume:

Men – About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids each day

Women – About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids each day

This covers fluids from water, other beverages and food. Usually only about 20 percent of daily fluid intake comes from food, with the rest coming from beverages.

8 glasses of water a day – Is it a myth?

There is no scientific evidence to prove that you should drink 8 glasses of water. An athlete may need even more and for some people lesser than 8 glasses can be sufficient. You need to adjust your fluid intake based on several factors:

  • You need more water in hot and humid weather as compared to winters.
  • If you do workouts, you will need greater amount of fluids.
  • You need additional fluids during pregnancy and breast-feeding to stay hydrated.

Other sources of fluid:

Water is not the only source of hydration. Your Daily intake of food like soup, tea, coffee, green vegetables, fruits like cucumber, watermelon provide hydration. Your water intake will depend on your hydration sources.

Is overconsumption of water dangerous?

Yes it is. Our body cells need water to function smoothly. But excess water can cause them to swell. Even the brain cells swell leading to drowsiness and headache. Ultimately, it will lead to hypertension or bradycardia. Over hydration causes hyponatremia because sodium is the electrolyte most affected by it. Sodium is a significant element that helps regulate fluid exchange between cells. When its levels fall as a result of high water content in the body, fluids get into the cells. This may result in seizures, coma or even death.

How to know if you are over hydrated?

You body will show sign of over hydration:

  • Frequent urination
  • Colour of urine is clear or transparent
  • Nausea
  • Swollen feet, hands or lips

MBA Chaiwala

Know the story of a MBA dropout who went on to become a multi-millionaire chaiwala (meaning tea seller).

A 25-year old MBA dropout now runs a cafeteria with more than 50 outlets throughout India. Prafull Billore, founder and owner of MBA Chaiwala started this organization in the year 2017. He is also TEDx and Josh Talks Speaker. He has featured in BBC, CNN, TOI, ZEE and other such platforms. He has also delivered lectures in many colleges, including IIM Ahmedabad.

Prafull belongs to a small town Dhar in Indian state Madhya Pradesh. He was pursuing MBA from Ahmedabad University. He also started doing a part time job at McDonald’s to have an experience of professional work. Soon he lost interest in his studies and left midway. He also realized that earnings at this rate would never make him rich. “How will I become a big man if even after MBA I’d work like this?”says Prafull.

In the year 2017, he started a tea cart on SG Highway in Ahmedabad. Despite opposition from family and friends, he saw nothing wrong in MBA Chaiwala which stands for Mr. Billore Chaiwala. Initially, he struggled with tea making. But he knew that tea being the most preferred drink in India, people will drink it anyway. Soon he mastered the art of making tea. Moreover, seeing an English speaking man selling tea, people were fascinated by his cart. His tea cart started gaining popularity. He also tried different things like organizing cricket matches, ludo games, and also put up a whiteboard where people could leave messages for their dear ones.

After running the tea cart for two years, Prafull expanded into a franchise café in Bhopal. Once started off as a cart, MBA Chaiwala now runs 50+ stores throughout India and plans to open 100 outlets by the end of this year.

The young entrepreneur has also set up a MBA Chaiwala Academy. A combination of his inspiring storyline and his adeptness on social media led to a large following, which he says played a pivotal role in establishing his brand. He talks about entrepreneurship on social media, pointing out the limitless possibilities open to everyone who wants to pursue their goals.

Degree-based learning restricts you to explore as the path is already defined. But in skill-based learning, you get to explore and feed your curiosity.

That’s why: Skill-based learning > degree-based learning.

 

Prafull Billore

International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action

On 8th December 2005, it was decided by United Nations General Assembly that 4th April of every year will be observed as International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. It aimed at creating national mine action capacities in countries where mines and explosive remnants of war pose a serious threat to civilians with the joint efforts of the United Nations and the countries as well as other relevant organizations.

Theme: The 2022 theme of the United Nations Mine Action Service is “Safe Ground, Safe Steps, Safe Home.”

Safe Ground is the name of the global campaign “turning minefields into playing fields,” It works for creating a safe environment for development by clearing the earth of landmines and other explosive hazards. The campaign was launched by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in 2019.

Safe Steps is about the apprehension faced by the civilians when they move around not knowing whether that step would be their last step.

Safe Home aims to restore the personal and communal security of individuals and communities after a conflict has ended.

History: In 1997, Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, commonly known as the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention was opened for signature. 164 countries ratified to it. On 12 November 2006, the Secretary-General hailed the entry of force of Protocol V on explosive remnants of war from the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. In December 2008, the Convention on Cluster Munitions was opened for signature. This move was welcomed by the Secretary-General. 108 states supported this convention. In 2018, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) convoked and led the drafting of the United Nations Mine Action Strategy 2019-2023.  The strategy had two major aspects – accountability framework for the United Nations System and Theory of Change for the United Nations engagement in mine action.

Since its inception over 20 years ago, UNMAS has attempted to address the needs of affected people as well as the dangers of explosive hazards faced by civilians, peacekeepers, and humanitarian personnel.

Significance: In celebration of International Day for Mine Awareness, people are encouraged to consider providing assistance for mine action efforts, raise awareness of the hazards posed by landmines, and work towards eradicating them.