Saturday, December 27, 2014

दिल को बासी रोटी के साथ गाय को खिला देना

जब अंदर से थक जाता है
सर के बल खड़ा हो जाता है
आदमी उलटबंसी है
अरमान तोड़ दिमाग के डिसीजन्स
उफ़! की ज़िंदा हो तुम अब भी?

चार आदमी मरे चालीस के पहले
गुरुदत्त के मुंह से खून निकला....देखा तुमने?
एक दिन बस मेरी बारी, अगली तुम्हारी!

राख किनारे कितनी नदियां बही?
नदी में राख बही, आदमी बहे,
नदी ज़िंदा रही.

सदी ज़िंदा, साल ज़िंदा,
आँखें ज़िंदा, याद भी.

कल सपने में रात को ख्वाब दिखाया था
आज शाम तक सोती रही रात
सूरज उगने का इंतज़ार करता रहा.
उफ़! की ये ख्वाब मेरे,
एक तो लम्बे चौड़े
ऊपर से नींद में दौड़ने की आदत!

मत पढ़ो,
समझोगी नहीं.
दिमाग से ही काम लो
दिल को बासी रोटी के साथ
गाय को खिला देना,
जिसे तुम माँ कहती थीं!

Unposted Letter

लिखना जब ज़िन्दगी का आखिरी न मनाया त्यौहार लगे
और तुम्हारी सांसे फिर मुझे गर्माहट दें
चुपके से लबों में समा जीवित हो जाओ,
तो आखिरी लफ्ज़ भी आखिर तुम्हें ही दूँ.
तुमसे दूर जाना बोर्डिंग जाने सा है,
भय, भय और भय बस.
तुम तक पहुंचना मनु का पहला कदम धरती पे.
अफ़सोस में तुमसे दूर नहीं जा सकता, न तुम तक ही.
शादी के बाद लड़कियां घर से पराई नहीं होती बस,
तारों से भी होती हैं.
वे तार जो सितारे लाने के वादे करते हैं
फिर खुद अँधेरे में डूब जाते हैं.
पराई औरतें पराये मर्दों से बात नहीं करती
सभ्यता के आदम में किसी गधे ने लिखा था ये,
लेकिन पराई औरतें पराये आदमी के साथ जी लेती हैं,
प्यार और ऊष्मा के परे.
आज की कविता तुम्हारे नाम लिखता,
स्याही कम है, कागज़ स्याह हैं
और रात आधी है, जो काट रहा है
तुम्हारा ये तार सितारों की ओट में.
कविता टेबल पे पड़े
बिस्किट कुतर रही है.

New PPP contracts to have renegotiation clause / Vrishti Beniwal

The Union finance ministry is not for putting a renegotiation clause in previously awarded public-private partnership (PPP) contracts, saying that would be against law. It is, however, looking to put such a clause in new contracts, to revive investment in infrastructure projects.

Officials said certain renegotiation triggers might be necessary for long-term projects, as in the case of some complicated construction contracts. If the scope of a project is changed midway, that could trigger renegotiation. The ministry might soon come up with a guidance note or a discussion paper on this.

“You can’t change the conditions after awarding the contract. It can lead to disputes and others can challenge it. (But) In a 60-year contract, you don’t know what will happen. However, if a renegotiation happens, it should not alter financial returns,” said a  ministry official.

Earlier, the infrastructure sectors, particularly roads and power, had pushed for changes in the terms of signed contracts to get more favourable terms, in the case of those which had become financially unsustainable due to extra-aggressive bidding to secure them. GMR, GVK, Adani, Reliance Power and are some companies which have tried to modify their contracts or exit these.

“Most projects in the roads sector are not doing well. If they extend the maturity or reduce the premium, that would be a violation of original bid conditions. So, rather than renegotiating, they must concentrate on addressing the fundamental aspects,” said Rajaraman Venkataraman, director, infrastructure, India Ratings.

The industry has been pushing for introduction of a mechanism to avoid unrealistic over-bidding by companies. And, to enable contract renegotiation, to ease the pressure on the balance sheets of banks, staring at huge non-performing assets due to developers’ inability to pay.

Government officials, on the other hand, said there already was a ‘force majeure’ clause (meaning, for unforeseen events that include major macro economic changes and excuse a party from an obligation).

“We are looking at best practices in the world for contract renegotiation. The longer the term of contract, the better it is for both the sides,” added the official.

Globally, about a third of projects undertaken on a basis have to be renegotiated. This is higher in  sectors such as transport, water and sanitation. Usually, the renegotiations have been favorable to the companies, resulting in increased rates or lower investment obligations.

“As the country with one of the world’s largest share of private sector investments, India is being keenly monitored and would do well to use this opportunity to devise best practices for renegotiation of PPP contracts and set global standards,” rating agency CRISIL had said in a report earlier this year.

Under the 12th five-year Plan, ending in 2016-17, an investment of Rs  55,75,072 crore or 8.18 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product has been pegged as needed for infrastructure. Of this, about half is expected from the private sector.

However, the mid-year economic analysis, penned by economic advisers in the finance ministry, said the PPP model had been less than successful. It pointed to over-exuberant investment, especially in the infrastructure sector in the form of PPPs, as the most important domestic challenge in the way of reviving of investments.

  • The finance ministry does not want a renegotiation clause in previously awarded PPP contracts, saying that would be against the law
  • However, it wants such a clause in new contracts to revive investment in infrastructure projects
  • Infrastructure sectors, particularly roads and power, had earlier pushed for changes in the terms of signed contracts to get more favourable terms
  • GMR, GVK, Adani, Reliance Power and Tata Power are some companies which tried to modify their contracts or exit these
  • The industry has been pushing for introduction of a mechanism to avoid unrealistic over-bidding by companies
  • It also wants to enable contract renegotiation, to ease the pressure on the balance sheets of banks, staring at huge non-performing assets due to developers’ inability to pay
  • Government officials, however, said there already was a clause for unforeseen events, including major macroeconomic changes.


Action plan soon to prevent deaths from diarrhoea, pneumonia / AARTI DHAR

The Centre will soon launch an action plan against diarrhoea and pneumonia in four States, including Rajasthan. The aim is to end preventable child deaths from these two by 2025. As high as 36 per cent of all child deaths, below the age of 5, in India are caused by these two conditions.
India accounts for the highest number of diarrhoea and pneumonia deaths among children in the world with over 2 lakh children dying of diarrhoea and over 3.8 lakh children of pneumonia annually, accounting for the mortality of 4 in every 10 children under-five.
The highest burden is being borne by the poorest sections of society.
The four States where the India Action Plan for Diarrhoea and Pneumonia will be rolled out — Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan — account for half of under-five mortality in the country which stands at 62 deaths per 1,000 live births nationally. The under-five mortality rate of Rajasthan is 59 per 1,000 live births.
Launch next month
The action plan, likely to be launched next month, is a follow-up of the Global Action Plan for Diarrhoea and Pneumonia that was launched by WHO and UNICEF in April 2013 which aims to reduce pneumonia mortality to less than 3 per 1,000 live births, diarrhoea deaths to less than 1 per 1,000 live births, reduce incidence of severe pneumonia and diarrhoea by 75 per cent compared to 2010 levels and reduce by 40 per cent the global number who are stunted as compared to 2010 levels by 2025.
While India has taken several measures to reduce maternal and child mortality over the years, including launching of the National Rural Health Mission; Reproductive Maternal Neonatal Child Health plus Adolescent programme and the India Newborn Action Plan to end preventable newborn deaths, the success in reducing under-five mortality has not been uniform.
Seven States have achieved the MDG-4 target of U5MR of 38 per 1,000 live births and nine States are showing a decline of more than the national average.
While Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have achieved the MDG target, the rate of decline is 7.3 per cent in Rajasthan, 5.6 per cent in Madhya Pradesh, 7 per cent in Uttar Pradesh and 6 per cent in Bihar.
Twenty per cent districts in Rajasthan have shown an increase in U5MR between 2010-11 and 2012-13 in the annual health surveys.
The WHO and UNICEF have been entrusted to collaborate with the respective governments in implementing the action plan which is not a new project or a programme but a framework for strengthening coordination of existing interventions where the coverage remains low like in exclusive breastfeeding (39 per cent), vitamin A supplement (75 per cent), DTP3 immunisation (83 per cent), measles immunization (84 per cent), HiB 3 immunisation (43 per cent) and other interventions like access to antibiotics and ORS solutions, sanitation, better living condition, hand wash and clean drinking water.
Since diarrhoea and pneumonia are caused by multiple pathogens, no single intervention, including vaccine, will help in protecting children.


‘Coral bleaching in Pacific may become worst die-off in 20 years’ / KARL MATHIESEN

Scientists warn extreme sea temperatures could cause a “historic” coral reef die-off around the world over the coming months, following a massive coral bleaching already under way in the North Pacific. Experts said the coral die-off could be the worst in nearly two decades.
Reports of severe bleaching have been accumulating in the inbox of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coral Reef Watch programme since July.
A huge swathe of the Pacific has already been affected, including the Northern Marianas Islands, Guam, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Hawaii, Kiribati and Florida. Some areas have recorded serious bleaching for the first time.
“On a global scale it’s a major bleaching event. What it may be is the beginning of a historic event,” said Coral Reef Watch coordinator Dr. Mark Eakin.
Thermal stress
In the Marshall Islands, bleaching of unprecedented severity is suspected to have hit most of the country’s 34 atolls and islands. The Guardian witnessed devastated expanses of coral that look like forests covered with snow. Warm water will soon begin hitting reefs in the southern Pacific and the Indian Ocean as the seasons and currents shift. Dr. Eakin said coral watch modelling predicts bleaching on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef as early as January. Bleaching is caused by persistent increases in sea surface temperature. Just 1°C of warming lasting a week or more can be enough to cause long-term breakdown of reef ecosystems.
The worst coral bleaching event on record is a mass die-off during 1998. A massive El Niño event combined with climate change to raise global sea and air temperatures to never-before-recorded levels and killed around 15 per cent of the world’s corals.
Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a coral reef expert from the University of Queensland, said the current bleaching event was on track to be as bad or worse than 1998.
“Many coral reef scientists are expecting something similar to 1997-98 to unfold in the next six to 12 months.” Dr. Eakin said. Even under a weak El Niño, bleaching could continue until 2016 — lasting twice as long as the 1998 event. High sea surface temperatures due to climate change are making El Niño a less decisive factor in coral bleaching.
Initial analysis of the Guardian ’s photos from the Marshallese atoll of Arno showed its reefs could be added to the fast-growing list of seriously affected places. In less extreme temperatures, bleached coral may not die completely. But Karl Fellenius, a coral reef manager from the University of Hawaii said that in the Marshall Islands “it’s looking like the thermal stress was so profound that the corals died within days of getting bleached.” This does not augur well for the future of the world’s reefs under climate change. “The real problem is that recovery from a major bleaching event can take decades and these events keep coming back every 10 years or less. [Reefs] just don’t have time to recover,” said Dr. Eakin. The combined effect of rising temperatures and sea levels could mean the end for coral reefs in the next 50 years, said Prof. Hoegh-Guldberg.


Agricultural Households in Debt

A little over half of India's were in debt, with 40 per cent of the dues from non-institutional lenders, during agricultural year 2012-13 (July to June), according to a official survey.

This 'Situation assessment survey of agricultural households' showed 51.9 per cent of all agricultural households were indebted, with the average amount of unpaid dues being Rs 47,000.

Conducted by the Office, this should not be confused with a Census, as these figures would provide only broadly representative data. For instance, the survey was conducted in 4,529 of India's 638,000 villages. It covered 35,000 agricultural households.

Among the major states, Andhra Pradesh had the highest share of indebted agricultural households in the country (92.9 per cent), followed by Telangana (89.1 per cent) and Tamil Nadu (82.5) per cent.

About 60 per cent of the loans dues were taken from the institutional sources. About 42.9 per cent were from banks, 4.8 per cent from cooperatives and 2.1 per cent from the government, among other institutional sources. About 40 per cent of loans were received from non-institutional lenders - 25.8 per cent were from money lenders.

Meanwhile, another survey on 'Debt and investment in India' showed non-institutional agencies played a major role in advancing of credit to households, particularly in rural India. This covered the period of January-December 2013 and sought responses from 4,529 villages in rural areas and 3,507 urban blocks. Non-institutional agencies had given credit to 19 per cent of rural households, while institutional agencies had done so to 17 per cent.

In urban India, institutional agencies had advanced credit to 15 per cent of households, against 10 per cent by non-institutional ones.

The institutional agencies played a significant role in providing credit to households with a moderate rate of interest (six to 15 per cent) for both rural and urban areas. Among total cash dues funded by institutional agencies, 89 per cent in the rural and 92 per cent in the urban areas were provided at less than 15 per cent interest.

On the other hand, non-institutional agencies provided a significant amount of its total loans to households at an interest rate of 20 per cent or above. The share of such loans to the total by non-institutional agencies was 69 per cent in rural areas and 58 per cent in urban ones.

  • 2.6 per cent of agricultural households own less than 0.01 hectares (ha) of land
  • Among the agri households having less than 0.01 ha land, about 56 per cent gets wage/salary employment as the principal source of income and another 23 per cent depends on livestock as their principal source of income
  • A third of agri households own up to 0.4 ha
  • A majority of agricultural households which possess more than 0.4 ha has cultivation as the principal source of income
  • About 63.5 per cent of agri households has cultivation as the principal source of income. About 22 per cent has wage/salaried employment as the principal source
  • About 44 per cent of agri households has a job card of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
  • About 12 per cent of agri households do not possess a ration card
  • A Below Poverty Line card is possessed by about 36 per cent of agri households and another five per cent has Antyodaya cards
  • About 13 per cent of agri households having less than 0.01 ha do not have a ration card