The Peoples Chronicle

The Peoples Chronicle


Railway Budget 2014-15: A Roadmap for Ppp, Fdi and Privatisation

Dr.Chinglen Maisnam

The political economy of railway budget has acquired new dimensions in the Modi-led NDA regime. The first Railway Budget presented by the new NDA Government on 8th July 2014 reflects nothing but continuity of the same pro-corporate policy of the much humiliated UPA regime, rather in more aggressive form.  Here are some facts about India's railway budget 2014-15.:



1. Safety 2. Project Delivery 3. Passenger Amenities/Services with focus on food services & on cleanliness, sanitation, toilets 4. Financial Discipline 5. Resource Mobilization 6. IT Initiatives 7. Transparency & System Improvements.


_ Works to be re-prioritized with more focus on doubling and tripling to decongest the over-utilized network.

_ Recent fare and tariff hike to mop additional revenue of about Rs 8,000 cr.

_ Alternate resource mobilization need to be explored as enlisted.

     a)Leveraging Railway PSU Resources by bringing in their investible surplus funds in infrastructure projects of Railways.

b) Domestic investments and FDI in rail infrastructure.

c) Pursuing Public Private Partnership.

_ Near Plan-holiday approach.

_ Prioritizing and setting timelines for completion of the ongoing projects.

_ Decision Support System for project implementation.

_ Strategic partnerships and transparency in procurements.

_ Aggressive indigenization of imported products.

_ Developing locomotives, coaches and wagon leasing Market.

Financial Performance 2013-14

_ Traffic growth declined and expenditure registered excess in 2013-14 as compared to Revised Estimates.

_ Originating passengers achieved less by 46 million; and passenger earnings short by Rs 968 cr over Revised Estimates.

_ Gross Traffic Receipts at Rs 1,39,558 cr though short of RE by Rs 942 cr grew by 12.8% over the previous year.


_ Ordinary Working Expenses and Pension outgo is higher than the Revised Estimates.

_ The year ended with a surplus of Rs 3,783 cr by registering a shortfall of Rs 4,160 cr over the revised target.

_ Dividend liability of Rs 8,010 cr to government fully discharged.

_ Railways generated internal resources of Rs 11,710 cr in 2013-14 for plan finance.

_ Operating Ratio at 93.5% deteriorated by 2.7% over R.E.

Budget Estimates 2014-15

_ Freight loading of 1101 MT, 51 MT more than 2013-14.

_ Growth in passenger traffic - 2%.

_ Freight Earnings – Rs 1,05,770 cr.

_ Passenger Earnings – Rs 44,645 cr, after revenue foregone of Rs 610 cr on account of rollback in monthly season ticket fares.

_ Total Receipts - Rs 1,64,374 cr; Total Expenditure – Rs 1,49,176 cr;

_ Pension estimated at Rs 28,850 cr.

_ Dividend payment estimated at Rs 9,135 cr.

_ Operating Ratio to be 92.5%, an improvement of 1% over 2013-14.

Annual Plan 2014-15

_  Plan outlay of Rs 65,445 cr.

Ø  Gross Budgetary Support - Rs 30,100 cr

Ø  Railway Safety Fund - Rs 2,200 cr

Ø  Internal Resources - Rs 15,350 cr.

Ø  EBR - Market Borrowing - Rs 11,790 cr;

Ø  EBR - PPP - Rs 6,005 cr.

_ Plan Outlay under budgetary sources placed at Rs 47,650 cr which is higher by Rs 9,383 cr over 2013-14 – higher plan outlay goes to safety related works.

_ Full financial outlays to projects targeted for completion during the year.

_ Adequate allocations made for 30 priority works for timely completion.


Projects for North-East

_ Higher funds for onging 23 projects in Northeast including 11 National Projects; Rs 5,116 cr outlay earmarked for projects of Northeast i.e. 54% higher than previous year.


As is understood , Modi Govt’s first Railway Budget, 2014-15 chooses its dependence on so called public private partnership, private investment including FDI for funding its infrastructural and capacity augmentation projects. This new government is, thus, heading towards more and more privatisation of the railway sector. Just weeks before the Railway Budget, steep hike in passenger fares and freight charges to the tune of 14.2% and 6.5 % respectively exposed the  unfair  modus operandi of the Modi  Govt. Though no fares have been increased in the budget after the big increase days before, the chance for further increase is there connected with the fuel price increase. The budgetary announcement of linking the future prices of travel with fuel adjustment factor will result in “virtual deregulation” of rail fares providing for automatic hike in fares with the increase in price of fuel, adding to the burden of the common man. Also, announcements have been made about the introduction of new trains, but without developing infrastructure and adding manpower. “This will endanger railway safety,” commented Shiva Gopal Mishra, General Secretary, All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF), the largest union of rail employees. Reacting to the Modi Government’s thrust on privatisation, FDI and PPPs, Mishra further commented that  employees will not “tolerate any form of privatisation in the Railways…Who will benefit from privatisaton measures, such as wi-fi facility, food courts, ready-to-eat packs, mobile wake-up calls, laundry machines for AC coaches etc? It is only the upper class passengers. So, this Budget has nothing for common passengers or lakhs of dedicated employees and is disappointing,”

The Railway Budget presented by the NDA Government is, indeed, a roadmap for PPP, FDI and Privatisation. The budget proposals bring no relief from the recently hiked rail and freight fares. The first Railway budget of the Modi Government can be described as a “cosmetic exercise”. It is high on rhetoric and low on substance. Its high-sounding bullet trains and commercial freight corridors had no budgetary calculations to back them up. CITU has also made its criticism to this privatization oriented Railway Budget.  The thrust on PPP, FDI and outsourcing in various segments of railway operation and services as outlined in the current Railway Budget, is going to make the situation worse. Despite abject failure of the same exercise on depending on PPP route for infrastructural expansion and services during the UPA regime as reflected in plan expenditure in 2013-14 falling short by a whopping “Rs 59,359 crore from the target due to non-materialisation of PPP targets”, the Modi Govt also preferred to stick to the same provenly failed route. This means, either the expansion work will suffer or the private investors’ lobby will extract more undue concessions from the Govt in the process of their response, finally increasing the burden on the common people. Precisely, that had been the past experience of all PPP projects in sea-ports, airports, roads etc during the UPA’s tenure which increased the burden on the consumers and the people in a big way. Despite admitting in the budget the abject failure of the Railways to implement the declared and sanctioned projects even to an insignificant extent, resulting in huge accumulation of unfulfilled projects announced in successive budgets, the current Budget failed to present any concrete roadmap for their execution except giving sound bites on prioritization, time frame etc. Even the new announcements made in the current budget do not have appropriate budgetary back-up, rendering them to be deceptive in real sense.

Therefore, the case for opening up of the railway sector to private investment including FDI does not seem to be justifiable.


Football & Life’s Ultimate Goal

Thamsing Lamkang

                Nothing is more exciting than the football action, specially the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Brazil. A grueling run with a great dribble… run with a great dribble and feint. A thrilling save, an accurate pass! A tremendous and spectacular shot and ultimately … A GOAL!!

            To win on the field, players must have a solid technique, a firm grasp of soccer tactics and a commitment to teamwork. They must be skilled at controlling the ball, as well as passing and shooting. Above all, it’s essential that they use their heads with intelligence and read each game quickly as it moves around them.


The truth is that soccer isn’t too different from the ultimate competition-life. Each day brings a new “contest” that involves “opponents”, confrontations and challenges. Excelling-and ultimately winning-is determined by dozens of split-seconds we make the right ‘choices’ or ‘decisions’ to win the game of sport and life.

And as people with strong values based on the Scripture we would like to help people to be developed in the essential spheres of their lives using sports.


There is emptiness inside every person that can be filled only with God. But people filled it with varieties of replacement:

The man who made the balls has something in mind before making and designing the balls for the product. Though different ball has its sizes and weight it has to fulfill the purpose of making it. Though it comes to its completion from the factory, one most important thing is needed, to make use of it to fulfill its purposes - “it needs air” – so is man’s life. God made us so wonderfully in “His own Image and Likeness” but that’s not fully complete. We need the Holy Spirit to fulfill our purpose to why God created us.

Or else, man’s life without God’s Spirit will be like a flat ball – though the balls looks so beautiful and colorful, it will never fulfills the purpose!


God Has a Goal for Your Life


He is like a coach who provides a playbook and rules that enables his athletes to fulfill their potential and play their best. God has given you His playbook and His set of rules for successful living – “the Bible”.

Sure anybody can give you a new set of rules. But God gives you more than rules. He gives you ‘Reasons’. In fact, He gives you the best reason of all: “Life, Incredible, Abundant, Excitement and Eternal life”. He wants the very best for you!!

Just as an athlete dependant upon his coach for guidance- you need direction, too. You need someone who will steer you past the opponents and trails you face… and on to the ‘Goal’. There is only one place to look - and that is ‘God’.

God started loving you long before you started even breathing in your mother’s womb. He created you: He puts you together- cell by cell- piece by piece. He knows every thought that crosses your mind and He feels every feeling you experience in your life, because He died for your sins.

You can call on ‘JESUS’ anytime and anyplace, He is waiting for you.

A Christian is a person who has said “No” to Satan and death: And said “Yes” to Jesus awesome offer to choose life – and win the greatest goal ever! God be with you!!!

(This article is extracted from the book- “Football Focus”, Author by Dr.Thamsing Lamkang at Sports Resource Center, Dimapur).


Impact and Development of Newspaper in Manipur

Dr. H. H. Mate, Churachandpur.

During 1980-1990 I was not having knowledge of Journalism and its impact. As I was keenly interested to know about the field of Journalism, I started writing Articles on various fields/topics and contributed to the Manipur Mail edited by (L) N. Tombi Singh (Ex-MP) and in other daily news-papers published in bilingual languages like Sumkawn, Thinglhang post, Manipur Express, Thuthang, etc. during 1985-1992. I then enrolled/admitted to study Post-graduate Diploma in Journalism (PGDJ) in Management Studies Promotion Insttitute (MSPI) , New Delhi in 1992 and completed the course in 1993. During 1992-1999 I was a regular contributor of articles in various topics/fields in the esteemed papers The Freedom Manipur, The Imphal free Press and Eastern Herald Tribune which were edited by R.K.Ranendrajit, PradipPhajoubam and Hijam Rajesh.

            But I could not contribute articles regularly after 2000 A.D due to heavy works in my home town in Churachandpur. Sometimes, I used to contribute articles, not regularly, to the Imphal Free Press, The Sangai Express and other daily newspapers and magazines edited by tribal editors in Manipur during 2000 AD-2010. It was in 2011 that I started writing articles on various topics for contribution and publication in the states daily newspapers magazines like the Sangai Express, The people’s Chronicles, The Imphal free Press, The Gosem, Eimi Times, Lamka Post, Zogam Today, Manipur Express and in bilingual magazines like Khohui magazines, AhshiSomleng, Voice of the Hills, Jing Daitwi, Nineljem magazines, Zallen Banner. Right from 7988 to till date (25 years) I had written and contributed 1326 articles and published in the daily newspapera, weekly newspapers and magazines in Manipur and abroad. 

        During 1980-1990 there were no offset Press, only printing Press were available and used for printing newspapers. But in 1990-2000 A.D offset press were available and newspapers, magazines and books were printed in offset press. Development of media fraternity came in the last part of 20th century and in the beginning of the 21st century in our states. Thanks to the advancement of computer technology for developing the standard and quality of newspapers, magazines and books in Manipur.

 I think I have fulfilled my interest in Journalism as I have the knowledge of Journalistic field and have written more than 1300 articles in different fields in different topics which are all published in the state newspapers and magazines. The more I wrote articles, the more I learnt knowledge and wisdom and have more contribution to/for the society. I am not expert in English as I studied/opted science upto doctorate degree in physics. I hoped the readers of my contributed articles will understand my English easily as I often used simple words/English in my written articles. I think that  I am also one of the persons who is fully involved in the advancement and development of newspapers and magazines in Manipur as I have a burden in the field of Journalism in our state. Thanks to the editors of the esteemed English daily newspapers and bilingual daily newspapers and magazines published in Manipur for willfully publishing my contributed articles for the stringent welfare of our people and society in the state. Knowledge is not to be buried but to be explored/spread for civilization of people. Because unused knowledge is a buried treasure.

       I am not fully involved in the field of Journalism, because I have many other professions/ works to achieve/fulfill in my life. Running a high school and having scientific research are my works/profession in life so as to have outstanding services, achievements and contributions to/for the society, nation, country and world-wide. Many are wondering and ask me how I have time to write articles for publication in the newspapers and magazinefor regular publication in the state. I tell them that I used to write the articles when I have ideas or when I am compelled to write on any issue/topic in my spare times, may be during the day or at night time. Because they know that I am mostly absorbed in school administration/management, and in my research works  for publication in scientific journals  or in book forms. Not only that I used to be invited to attend the National seminars and International and Global Summits in India and in foreign countries to attend/participate the seminars/summits to present papers or to receive awards. That is why, people are surprising when they can see and read the articles published in the newspapers and magazines in every week or in every month in the state.

            It is expected that Manipur will be developing more and more in the field of journalism besides in any other fields. I really appreciate the editors and joint or assistant editors of daily newspapers, weekly newspapers and magazines because they still can publish the papers regularly and in distinguished styles like those of other national newspapers though many of them are not possessing diploma degree in journalism or bachelor’s degree in journalism.This proves that men is able and can do what they desire and intend to fulfill in life. They are daring to do good things for the society. I am glad beyond measure upon the editors of Manipur’s daily newspapers, weekly newspapers and monthly magazines for publishing the papers in distinguished styles and regularly for the welfare of the people, society and the state.


Modi regime's first budget gives tax sops, promises growth

Tax payers could save on their salaries and consumer goods like TVs, soap, footwear, processed food and computers will cost less as the Rs 18-lakh crore ($300-billion) maiden budget of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government promised to arrest price rise, boost investor mood, cut expenditure and restore India's growth to 7-8 percent in three years.

During a 128-minute speech in the Lok Sabha by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, with a five-minute break allowed by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan upon his request due to momentary discomfort, a host of other proposals, both welfare schemes and reformist policy measures, were also unveiled that were aimed at a wide range of stakeholders -- from the girl child to senior citizens and overseas investors to the defence forces.

At the same time, he acccepted as a challenge -- given the state of the flagging economy and rising prices -- the task to cut fiscal deficit, which indicates the extent to which the government overspends, to 4.1 percent of GDP for this fiscal, and further to 3.6 percent and 3 percent over the next two years.

As high expectations ran high from the first budget of the Modi government, after having been voted to power with a landslide victory mainly on promises of "happy days" for India's 1.2 billion people, Jaitley also made it clear that putting the Indian economy back on rails remained a daunting task needing more than one dose of corrective action.

"The steps that I will announce in this budget are only the beginning of a journey towards a sustained growth of 7-8 percent or above within the next 3-4 years along with macro-economic stabilisation," the finance minister said.

"Therefore, it would not be wise to expect everything that can be done or must be done to be in the first budget presented within 45 days of the formation of this government," he added, setting the agenda for his speech.

"We are going in the right direction to overcome challenges faced in the last decade," echoed Modi while congratulating Jaitley for the budget in which he provided a "new ray of hope for the poor and downtrodden sections of society."

It was also in line with the "government's vision to create a skilled and digital India," the prime minister said. One of the most appealing proposals for the average tax payer was the hike in the exemption limit for individuals below 60 years to Rs.250,000, and Rs.300,000 for senior citizens. Deductions under various heads such as investments in insurance, pension and house rent were also proposed to be raised by Rs.50,000 to Rs.150,000. Interest on housing loans will also get a higher exemption. This apart, the duty-free baggage allowance for Indians returning from abroad is also sought to be raised to Rs.45,000 from Rs.35,000.

Farmers will also stand to gain largely with Jaitley's proposal for an integrated national market for agro-produce that will enable them to sell their crops directly to consumers and earn better prices. The subsidies to them, notably for soil nutrients, have also been enhanced.

For industry, he assured that the pan-India goods and services tax will be introduced by the year-end and a fresh view taken on the direct tax code. Retrospective tax, which creates liabilities not planned for and has been a matter of much concern for both domestic and overseas investors, will not be imposed at random. Customs duties and excise rates were also rationalised for a host of sectors.

He also sought to remove the perception of policy inaction and a freeze on economic reforms by hiking foreign equity in insurance and defence equipment to 49 percent from 26 percent, but left for later the much-promised overhaul of the subsidy regime after constituting an expenditure management commission and getting its recommendations.

In his speech, Jaitley also touched upon areas which few finance ministers in the past have done. Such proposals included new schemes for conservation of sacred rivers, a sports university in Manipur, welfare fund for migrants from Kashmir, conservation of the Himalayas, support for organic farming and a 24X7 channel for northeast and protecting the heritage of the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

He also promised at least four institutions modelled on the premier All India Institute for Medical Sciences and Indian Institutes of Management, and said the union government will look positively at every similar proposal forwarded by states.

For the defence forces, he said the allocation was being raised by about 12 percent to Rs.229,000crore (nearly $40 billion), besides Rs.5,000 crore ($830 million) for the modernisation of the 1.2 million-strong armed forces.

Other proposals, with enhanced monetary allocations, covered areas like education, urban renewal, transportation, malnutrition, minorities, infrastructure, food security, capital markets, banking, insurance, state-run enterprises, tourism, war and police memorials, interlinking of rivers, space, sports and bio-tech.

As Jaitley was unveiling his proposals, the stock markets swung both ways with a key index gaining more than 300 points at one point, then falling by some 250 points, before closing with an overall loss of around 70 points or 0.25 percent.

Industry, nevertheless, welcomed the proposals and said it laid down the requisite ground for a medium-term course correction to revive the Indian economy.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) complimented the finance minister "on a pragmatic and extensive Budget that lays out a medium term vision for the economy and meets industry expectations on growth and employment creation."

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) also reacted in a similar vein and said the budget laid the ground for rejuvenating the economy. "There has been a mix of both short-term and long-term measures, geared towards boosting the confidence of all key constituents."


Enhancing govt schools reputation

There is no denying the fact that private run schools over the last many years have streak away way past the government-run schools in terms of enrollment and the success rate in the Board Exams. It is also a fact that the private schools attract the brightest students which would partly explain the good showing of these schools. But why are the students attracted to these schools or why do the parents run from pillar to post to get their wards admitted to private schools. Obviously, these schools have made their reputations backed by verifiable data as reliable institutes capable of imparting ‘quality education’.  Butthere is no reason why government schools should lag behind the private run schools. First on the question of quality of teachers, the government schools should be much better placed than the private schools, considering the manner and criteria of recruitment of teachers. All government school teachers possess qualifications which include a BEd degree and have been appointed following well laid out process of recruitment. This is not the case with private schools, where most recruitments are generally carried out in a very ‘private manner’ and many of the teachers do not possess the required qualifications to be a teacher. Since the government schools teachers are more qualified – in most cases at least, and since they are also much better paid than their private schools counter parts, they should be producing much better results. But it is just the contrary, looking at this state of affairs; you can’t fault someone if he or she comes up with a perverse logic that salary of school teachers is inversely proportional to the result they are able to produce. Several factors have converged to bring the situation to such a sorry state in government schools. It starts right from the recruitment stage where the most qualified among the various aspirants are seldom chosen; there has hardly been any teachers’ recruitment in the state which has been free of controversies. Then once they become there is no accountability, they have a secure job and they need not work to keep it, seems to be the guiding principle. Interference from higher authorities and political bosses has also contributed significantly to the erosion in the quality of government schools. Those who do their job sincerely instead of getting rewarded are shunted around from one school to the other if he or she is not close to the power that be, whereas someone who has the right connection will not be moved from a convenient posting for a lifetime. In such a scenario, it is only natural for them to pay more attention to keeping the right persons in good humour than spend their energy to teaching the students sincerely. If the government is serious about arresting the rapid decline of government schools, the first thing they should do is to recruit well qualified teachers and secondly they should bring about accountability among the teachers and school administrators. Also most importantly, the higher officials of the education department and the political bosses should stop interference in any manner, save to ensure accountability. The infrastructural needs of the schools, in terms of school buildings, sanitary facilities, laboratories, library, playground etc should also be taken care of. Taking care of all these will go a long way in rebuilding the reputation of government schools.


Rs 100 cr for sports varsity in Manipur

The Finance Minister in his budget presentation set aside Rs 100 crore for setting up a sports university in Manipur, in recognition of the tremendous potential for sports among the youth of the state.

Apart from this, with an allocation of Rs 53,706 crore in the ongoing fiscal for the North East, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today sought to end the 'sense of isolation' of the region proposing a slew of proposals,including enhanced road and rail connectivity and fostering oforganic farming.

Underlining the importance attached by the Narendra Modi-led government to the region, the finance minister also mooted launching of a 24x7 television channel for the region apart from setting up a sports university in Manipur.

This is a part of the government's overall plan to set up national level sports academies for major games in different parts of the country to mainstream sports for disciplines such as shooting, archery, boxing, wrestling, weightlifting and various track and field events.

"North Eastern Region has suffered from under development and a sense of isolation due to lack of proper connectivity,"Jaitley said while presenting the Budget in Parliament.

Reminding the house that it was the previous NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee which made compulsory 10 per cent allocation of plan funds for North Eastern regionand had made them non-lapsable in nature, he said from the current budget the new government has introduced a statement which will separately show plan allocation made for the North Eastern Region.

"In the Financial year 2014-15, an allocation of Rs 53,706 crore has been made for North Eastern region," Jaitley said.

In the Budget for 2014-15, the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region has been allocated Rs 2,332.78 crore,out of which Rs 2,306 crore is under plan and Rs 26.78 crore non-plan.

Stressing on the need for development of rail system inthe region urgently to bridge the gap with the rest of the country, he said: "I intend to expedite the development of rail connectivity in the region and for this purpose I propose to set aside an additional sum of Rs 1,000 crore over and above the amount provided for in the interim Budget."

Giving equal importance to the development of roads, he proposed a total investment in National Highways Authority of India and state roads of an amount of Rs 37,880 crore, which includes Rs 3,000 crore for the North East.

The finance minister also emphasised on the need to tappotential for development of organic farming in India's NorthEastern (NE) region.

"With a growing global demand for organic food, peopleliving in the NE states can reap rich harvest from developmentof commercial organic farming. To facilitate this, I proposeto provide a sum of Rs 100 crore for this purpose in thecurrent financial year," he said.

Commenting on the plans to launch a dedicated channel forthe region he said TV is a very powerful tool for theexpression of cultural identities and for creating awarenessof the richness of the diversity of our country.

"To provide a strong platform to rich cultural andlinguistic identity of the North East, a new 24x7 channel' ArunPrabha' will be launched," Jaitley said.


Priorities will be given to disposal of pending cases: Chief Justice

Justice Laxmi Kanta Mohapatra was formally sworn in on Thursday as Chief Justice of the High Court of Manipur. Oath taking ceremony of the first Chief Justice of the only high court of the State was held at the Darbar Hall of Raj Bhawan, Imphal wherein Governor Vinod Kumar administered the oath of office.

The former judge of Allahabad High Court, Justice Laxmi Kanta Mohapatra, was sworn-in as Acting Chief Justice of the High Court of Manipur on October 21 last year and Thursday’s oath taking ceremony was made following the official announcement made by the Registrar General of the High Court of Manipur in the wake of warrant of appointment issued by the President Pranab Mukherjee.

Immediately after taking oath as the Chief Justice of High Court of Manipur, Justice Laxmi Kanta Mohapatra  said priority will be given towards the disposal cases pending at various courts of the state.

Replying to queries from media persons immediately after the swearing-in ceremony, the Chief Justice said concerned officials of subordinate courts of the state have been instructed to coordinate and take measures for disposal of different pending cases as soon as possible. As compared to neighbouring states, Manipur recorded lowest pending cases and possible steps will be taken up to appoint another Judge for the Manipur HC above the existing two Judges, he added.

The ceremony at Raj Bhawan was also attended by Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly Th Lokeshwar, Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh, Deputy CM Gaikhangam, Ministers, MLAs, DGP Manipur and other high ranking civil and police officials. Representatives of High Court Bar Association, Manipur and prominent lawyers of the state also witnessed the ceremony. Born on June 10, 1954, Justice Laxmi Kanta Mohapatra graduated in law from MS Law College, Cuttack in 1977 and he was enrolled as advocate on January 25, 1978 and practiced mainly on civil, criminal, service and labour laws.


Yearlong HCV advocacy campaign kicks off

The yearlong observance of HCV (Hepatitis C Virus) advocacy campaign conducted as part of the World Hepatitis Day kicked off here at Manipur Press Club under the joint aegis of Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE), Directorate of Health Services, Government of Manipur, and Zydus Heptiza on Thursday, with releasing of balloon and IEC materials marking the occasion.

IMPACT TV & Manipur Updates are the official media partners of the campaign.

The 2014 theme for World Hepatitis Day is “Hepatitis: Think Again”. The theme stems from the previous year’s campaign theme “This is hepatitis… Know it. Confront it” and hopes to raise awareness of chronic hepatitis B and C around the globe, driving policy change for improvement in health outcomes for patients.

The function was attended by MLA Dr I Ibohalbi, Secretary, Manipur Legislative Forum on HIV & AIDS (MLFA); Dr Kh Sasheekumar Mangang, Joint Director, Directorate of Health Services, Government of Manipur and Shailesh Kumar Chaurasia, Project Director, MACS as Chief Guest, President and Guest of Honour respectively.

While speaking on the occasion, chief guest Dr I Ibohalbi stressed on the need to spread awareness and take up intervention programme on HCV as HIV and HCV co-infection has become a serious threat to the society. “Though the rate of infection of HIV and AIDS has decreased during the last couple of years among the IDUs, the rate of ‘HIV and HCV co-infection’ has increased to a considerable level of late.”

Shailesh Kumar Chaurasia, Project Director, MACS, while speaking on the occasion stated that Hep-C is one of the biggest health issues in the world and as far as Manipur is concerned, the situation is harsher as it normally comes along with HIV and AIDS (HIV & HCV co-infection).

He also pointed out the need to come up with a concerted approach along with the cooperation from all stakeholders with regards to every health issue.“There is no specific rules and programmes for HCV in India as well as in Manipur. Moreover, the support from the public in the regard is very less. As such there is the need of every possible support from all sides”, he added.

President of CoNE, RK Nalinikanta said that CoNE and other partners recognise that the world cannot be changed in a single day. “World Hepatitis Day is a stepping stone that focuses first on raising awareness and then on securing national and state support for improvements in prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and support for people living with chronic viral hepatitis B and C and those at risk of becoming infected”.

Informing on the necessity of the campaign, Nalikanta pointed out “The focus of the World Hepatitis Day campaign is to raise public awareness and improve access to prevention and treatment in Manipur. With this campaign we call our political leaders, Government and other key stakeholders to take immediate steps to tackle the issue of Hepatitis B and C in the state”.

Nalikantaalso said that they will be conducting the campaign in and around the valley first and will gradually spread to other parts of the state after the World Hepatitis Day observation on July 28. Besides poster campaign by popular film actors(Boney and Abenao),HCV screening sessions will also be organized with the help of state health authority to study the actual status of the HCV in the state, he added.

A variety of events and initiatives is to be conducted across the state in partnership with different key stakeholders during this campaign in line with the global campaign theme. The key activity includes - Media Briefing to sensitize the public about hepatitis; distribution of posters and leaflets on hepatitis; Radio Talk Show to aired in All India Radio; awareness program in colleges and Higher Secondary Schools; Road Show by Film Star; Live Panel Discussion on Impact TV; Mass Screening of Hepatitis B and C and finally the observation of World Hepatitis Day on July 28.


Sold infants rescued

Two baby girls who were reportedly sold by their father have been rescued by the Churachandpur district police from Moirang Khunou area.

According to sources, the girls were sold by their father Thangchinmang due to family problems on Tuesday to two women. However, when news of the act broke out, members of Child Welfare Committee, and Manipur Alliance for Child Right along with Zomi Students Federation, Zomi Mothers Association, Zomi Youth Association, and the police launched intense search operations to find the girls.

Later, the police rescued the child from a place near INA Complex, and the other from MoirangKhunou. However, the two women who bought the girls have absconded and their whereabouts are unknown.                   

During a press meet, SP Kabib of the district remarked selling of the child was akin to trafficking and the responsible should be duly punished. Appealing social bodies to provide any information related to similar crimes in the future, the Kabib also expressed thanks the civil bodies for their support to rescue the girls.

The two infants were taken by CWC members to be looked after at Observation Home.


Cabinet okays job to 12 sportspersons

In addition to the appointment of 109 gold medal winning sportspersons in various departments some years back, a recent decision of the State Cabinet finalised appointment of 12 more gold medallists in the Sports Department.

The cabinet made the decision  on compassionate ground despite recommendation for Government job to the latter group rejected by both Department of Personnel and Finance Department.

Confiding that the case of the 12 sportspersons was discussed by the State Cabinet in its June 2014 sitting on the ground that the sportspersons are in no way inferior compared to those already enrolled in different departments, a source said, as per Cabinet decision adopted in 2008 the state has a policy of encouraging excellent sportspersons with government job based on their educational qualifications.

In addition to the Cabinet decision, a high level committee constituted by the Government to specifically address grievances of meritorious sportspersons as well as facilitate their appointment, approved the recommendation for effecting appointment of 109 medal winners after relaxing certain recruitment norms, explained the source adding that those appointed earlier comprised gold medallists in the 5th, 31st, 32nd and 33rd National Games.

Recounting that appointment of 109 sportspersons effective from January 12, 2009 was in sync with the Cabinet decision and finalisation by the high level committee, the source said that based on their respective educational qualifications, 40 of the players were enrolled into the Youth Affairs and Sports Department, 19 as Education (S) employees and 50 of them as police personnel.

On top of the said appointments, the Cabinet had also recommended appointment of five more sportspersons in the Sports Department out of whom one declined to accept the job offer while in another case official appointment in the police department is being kept in abeyance as the candidate concerned is yet to submit relevant documents, conveyed the source.

It is also said that consequent to appointment of the sportspersons, complaints were received from 12 other sportspersons alleging deprivation of government job security despite the latter group also making top podium finishes in four National Games.

On perusal of their achievement it came to light that all 12 also deserved service appointment even though 11 of them were found to be staying outside the state, said the source and informed that the Cabinet, based on their educational qualifications consequently approved appointment as Grade III employees in the Youth Affairs and Sports Department, where some Grade III posts are still informed to be vacant.

Prior to appointment of the 12, recommendation was forwarded to the Department of Personnel (DP), currently under the ambit of the Chief Minister, and the Finance Department.

While DP disapproved the Cabinet decision citing blanket ban on fresh appointment, the Finance Department too rejected the recommendation on the ground that the Government is yet to amend/relax the appointment ban, said the source while revealing that the Finance Department instead proposed financial incentives to gold medal winning sportspersons who are yet to be enrolled as Government employees.

In spite of the said departments spurning the initial Cabinet recommendation the recent Cabinet meeting eventually decided to finalise appointment of the 12 sportspersons on compassionate ground and to ensure that the sports movement in Manipur is not dented as a result of meritorious sportspersons not getting their due in terms of job security.