Tuesday, January 31, 2012

First newborn with permanent pacemaker in Punjab

Baby’s heartbeat was only at 40 per minute 
Ludhiana// 31st Jan, 2012//Shalu Arora and Rector Kathuria
Baby with parents and Dr Gurmeet Kaur and Dr Harinder Singh Bedi in CMC
A young innocent baby boy was born to Mrs Monica and S Amit Singh   of Jammu. Unfortunately before birth they were told that the baby had a complete heart block. In this condition the electrical system of the heart is underdeveloped - so that the baby’s heart was beating at 40 beats per minute instead of the normal of 130 / min. The baby was born in Iqbal Nursing home.  Dr Iqbal S Ahuja realized that time was of essence as the condition could be fatal if untreated. He immediately referred the baby to Dr Harinder Singh Bedi – Head of Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery at the prestigious Christian Medical College & Hospital in Ludhiana.  Detailed examination by the Head of Paediatrics –Prof Gurmeet Kaur - confirmed the diagnosis and therapy was immediately instituted. An immediate permanent pacemaker was inserted in the tiny baby via a minimally invasive approach.
Dr Bedi explained that pacemakers are routinely put in adult patients by the venous route – but in a newborn the veins are too small and so a direct approach to the heart is made by a small incision and the pacemaker is attached to the delicate heart by a screw-in mechanism. The pacemaker was kept below the skin in a pouch specially created in the abdominal wall. The baby immediately improved. The other members of the surgical and anesthesia team were Dr A Joseph, Dr Paul, Dr S Garg, Dr Melchi, Dr Udeyana, Dr Marina and Dr Vaishu.

However because of the initial low heart rate the rest of the body was still damaged and took time to recover. The baby was kept in a special ICU called a Paediatric ICU where under the guidance of Dr Gurmeet Kaur highly trained ICU nurses and doctors slowly healed the baby and got her over the crisis. Dr Gurmeet Kaur said that such newborns need a very specialized environment and trained personnel. CMC is one of the few Institutes in India to have this service.  The other members of the Paediatric team are G Dhar, Dr A Mathew, Dr K Abraham, Dr K Sharma, Dr Tejmeet , and Dr Jaskaran.
The baby is now well and is a bouncy joy to the parents and doctors. Dr Bedi told that the pacemaker is a special one which will respond to the metabolic needs of the baby as he grows. A long length of the wire has been left so that it does not pull out with growth. The battery should last 10 – 12 years. The company has a lifelong free battery replacement warranty. Dr Bedi also said that the battery can be easily changed without disturbing the heart. Dr Gurmeet Kaur explained that the baby can develop to a normal potential in life and need not be limited in any profession he chooses to follow. According to the makers of the pacemaker (St Jude - an International company based in USA) this is the first such implantation in a neonate – a newborn baby – in Punjab    .

Dr Abraham G Thomas – Director of CMC& H - reiterated the commitment of CMC & H to deliver the best services for the betterment of people of this region.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ludhiana: 159 voters deleted illegally

Conspirators remained active to kill the democracy
Sh. Dharam Pal Maur who represent non teaching employees of PAU for six consecutive terms, for a total period of twelve years, have a considerable vote bank in the campus of PAU was shocked to see that the BLO Mehal Singh Sidhu, who affiliated to a particular political party, committed a corrupt practice and by ignoring all the directions of the election commission illegally deleted the names of 159 voters. The total numbers of the voters which were caste the votes pooling station no.26 was 724. Large number of voters whose names were deleted came present to caste their votes. Out of them some were renewed agricultural scientists. They were having valid election voter identity cards with them. The strongly protested against the corrupt practice of the BLO. 
Dharam Pal Maur also felt shocked and expressed grief that for narrow purposes of Sh.Mehal Singh Sidhu interfered in the pious act of exercise of franchise. This illegal act of the BLO has caused irrepairable loss to his win ability. He has requested the Chief Election Commission of India, Chief Election Officer Punjab and Returning officer to cancel the pooling in pooling station no.26 and to order to re-pole after correcting the voters list.
Another story from  a free lance journalist Manmeet Kaur conveys the same complaint.She and her mother were not allowed to cast their votes. she reports,"I left home to vote at 9:30 and got home at noon--in 24 years of voting, I've never seen this. I had to park way down the road from my polling place, which had 4 long lines that filled the building when I arrived and stretched outside by the time I left. The polls were well staffed and running smoothly. . Several neighbors waved from other lines, and a couple of them came up to chat. I could've voted absentee, but how many opportunities are there to participate publicly in our  democracy? And due to the government apathy i missed my right to vote but then I came to know that I was not only me who could not cast her vote. There were some 150 more voters in Kitchlu Nagar B block who could not cast their respective votes. Dr. Balwinder B O who was there in the sraff informed this,"when our employee go for the survey then there was lock or  some thing else so we delete the voter from the list. Frustrated voters were not satisfied with this cover up reply. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Medical checks on some Afghan children

U.S. Army Spc. Joe Kunsch, a medic assigned to the 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, Task Force (TF) Spartan Steel, conducts medical checks on some Afghan children in Khowst province, Afghanistan, Jan. 25, 2012. TF Spartan Steel is part of the Spartan Brigade based at Forward Operating Base Salerno in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Epperson, U.S. Army/Released)

Greeting a guest

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta greets a guest at a Martin Luther King Jr. observance in the Pentagon auditorium Jan. 26, 2012. Keynote speaker the Rev. Samuel “Billy” Kyles, a civil rights activist, knew King and witnessed his assassination. (Department of Defense photo By Glenn Fawcett/Released)

Obama speaks during a press conference

President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., Jan. 26, 2012. (DoD photo by Senior Airman Marcy Glass, U.S. Air Force/ Released)

Approval for funding Phase-Ill of the UIDAI

UID scheme at an estimated cost of Rs.8,814.75 crore
The Union Home Minister, Shri P. Chidambaram briefing the media on UIDAI, in New Delhi on January 27, 2012. The Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Shri Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the Chairman, UIDAI, Shri Nandan Nilekani and the Principal Director General (M&C), Press Information Bureau, Smt. Neelam Kapur are also seen. 27-January-2012 (PIB)
The Cabinet Committee on Unique Identification Authority of India related issues (CC-UIDAI) today approved commencement of Phase-Ill of the UID scheme at an estimated cost of Rs.8,814.75 crore which subsumes the earlier approval of Rs.3,023.01 crore, and comprises costs for issue of 20 crore Aadhaar numbers through Multiple Registrars upto March 2012, printing and delivery of 20 crore Aadhaar letters, technology and other support infrastructure cost for creation, storage and maintenance of data and services for leveraging the uses of Aadhaar for the entire estimated resident population upto March 2017.

Out of amount of Rs.8814.75 crore that has been approved for incurring expenditure upto March 2017, Rs.2412.67 crore would be towards recurring expenditure including IT operational cost and recurring establishment cost and Rs.6402.08 crore would be towards non-recurring project related expenditure.              (PIB)  ***

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Vice President witnessing the Ghoomer

The Vice President, Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari witnessing the Ghoomer dance performed by the Rajasthan Tableaux Artistes, who participated in Republic-Day Parade-2012, in New Delhi on January 27, 2012.   (PIB)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra, at the ‘At Home` reception

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and his wife Smt. Gursharan Kaur with the Chief Guest of Republic Day the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra, at the ‘At Home` reception, hosted by the President, on the occasion of the 63rd Republic Day celebrations, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on January 26, 2012.  (PIB photo)

Address to the Nation on the eve of Republic Day

President of India,Shrimati Pratibha Devisingh Patil on Republic Day
The President, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil addressing the Nation on the eve of the 63rd Republic Day, in New Delhi on January 25, 2012.
The President, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, addressed the Nation on the eve of the 63rd Republic Day. Following is the text of the President’s address on the occasion: 
Dear Citizens, 

On the eve of our 63rd Republic Day, I convey my warmest greetings to all of you across the country, from every walk of life and in different parts of the world. I convey my special greetings to the Armed Forces and the Para-Military Forces who guard our frontiers with great vigil and valour, in high mountainous terrains, deserts and the plains, on the coasts and the seas. I also convey my best wishes to our internal security forces and to our civil services. I compliment all citizens for their contribution to the process of nation-building. 

We are living in a world that is complex and challenging. Forces of globalization have created an interlinked and interdependent world. No country exists in isolation; it is continuously being influenced by external developments. All nations, developed and developing, are facing the impact of global economic instability, as well as problems of unemployment and inflation, in varying degrees. Indeed, the 21st Century has brought in its trail a host of issues at a breath-taking pace. There are growing aspirations of the people, coupled with their expectations of immediate solutions. We are observing, an information explosion and ever-newer technological inventions. These have altered lifestyles and there is also a growing quest for materialism. There are persistent questions about how growth and resources will be shared in a more equitable manner. There are worries about the direction in which the human community is heading in this age of globalization, knowledge and technology. 

For us in India, the discourse is about how an ancient civilization and a young nation, will move ahead to take India to its destiny. Our vision and our goals are clear. We look at building our country, as one whose economy demonstrates a robustness to grow, so that we can become a developed nation. For us, however, economic prosperity alone is not enough. We look towards an India, where there is equity and justice. We look at democracy, rule of law and human values, as being essential for making our country strong. We want a scientific and technological outlook in our people. We also look towards India as a country which will continue to bring moral force on to the global stage. I believe that there is a unity behind this vision of India. But, yet, sometimes one gets distracted by discordant pulls and pressures. How should we proceed to build our nation and its people? I believe that the answer lies in our age old values; the ideals of our freedom movement; the principles of our Constitution, as also in our unity, a positive attitude and our aspiration to grow. 

It is often said, but not fully realized, that we are very fortunate to have a rich legacy of values, traditions and teachings. The ageless spirit of India, the eternal voice of India, has been resonating through millennia. What are those intrinsic qualities which have seen India prosper through centuries and eras? What is the message that should light our path, as we chart our future course? Our civilizational ethos contains the lessons of duty and truth. It tells us to be humane in all our thoughts and deeds. It highlights the qualities of compassion, care and of respect for others. It teaches that human beings and nature must exist in harmony with each other. All issues should be viewed in the context of humanity as a whole. Concepts, like ‘समन्वय’, ‘सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः’ ‘वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम’, are the very essence of Indian thought. This philosophy has given succeeding generations the inherent strength to grow, embracing in their fold a vast diversity of cultures, languages, religions and communities. So, when the question is asked, as to what ideals should be placed before the new generation, to take the country forward, should then there be any dithering or doubt in a country like India? As the inheritors of thousands of years of history and culture, we should follow the high ideals of our age-old civilization. More particularly, the youth should understand this, as they are the architects of the future as well. Our past becomes the essential guide for the future as well. In this context, I recall the lines of Gurudev Tagore, “Every great people holds its history so valuable because… it contains not mere memories, but hope, and therefore the image of the future.” The past of India has been glorious and so must be its future. 

We can also draw inspiration from our independence movement. It was a unique struggle, as it involved non-violent methods and required extraordinary mass discipline, steadfastness and patience. We followed this course, under the leadership of Gandhiji, because we had faith in ourselves and in our strength. Surely, we can demonstrate the same discipline in nation building. But, how do we do this? It is, only when we resolve to make the goal of nation building more important, than anything else and, show strong belief in it. It is then that courage, confidence and determination, shall be our companions in this task, which has to be carefully piloted in a constitutionally acceptable order. 

In fact, during various times of difficulties or when searching for an answer, the Constitution has provided us our moorings. It was framed by those who had participated in the freedom struggle, and had a deep understanding of the aspirations of the people, and of our culture. The Constitution has been and should be our compass, guiding us in nation-building. It is the charter of our democracy. It is the document guaranteeing individual freedoms to its citizens. It is the basis on which institutions of the State have been created and have derived their powers and functions. Our Constitution is a living and dynamic instrument, which has demonstrated its ability to be flexible enough to meet the demands of changing times, while retaining its basic features. Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar in his closing speech at the Constituent Assembly said, “The first thing in my judgment we must do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives.” Unquote. 

Dear Citizens, 

There is tremendous work to be done to move forward on our social and economic agenda, if we are to achieve fast, inclusive and sustainable growth. Our foremost priority is the removal of poverty, hunger and malnutrition, disease and illiteracy. All social welfare programmes must be implemented efficiently. Agencies involved in the delivery of services should have a strong sense of duty and work in a transparent, corruption-free, time-bound and accountable manner. 

We have a population which is predominantly young. With education and training, they can become skilled and, thus, capable of finding their livelihoods, starting their own businesses and thus, becoming productive assets. Reinforcing our health and education sectors is fundamental for developing our human resources. Primary education is now a fundamental right for children. There is a commitment to universalize secondary education. Expansion of school education will also require increase in the number of higher education institutions. This process has to be structured with great thoughtfulness, to ensure quality and excellence. Moreover, education must reach every section of our society, as must access to health reach all. We need to expand health services, particularly in rural areas. We need quality medical facilities for our population, which are affordable. In today's era of ICT, technology can be very useful in our mission of health and education. In fact, science and technology is a critical input for the growth of the nation and for all sectors of the economy. Focus on research and development is an investment in our future. Our agriculture, industry and service sectors need to be working more efficiently, with greater scientific inputs and more inter-linkages with each other. Agriculture, however, is one sector whose integration with other sectors of the economy remains inadequate. We need to look at models of partnership, of farmers with industry and with R&D institutions in various activities, so that, not only does agricultural productivity increase, but farmers benefit as well. Special focus is necessary on dryland farming, given its enormous potential and, the fact that, a large proportion of farm labour and poor farmers are dependent on it. At the same time, it is very important to build our physical infrastructure – such as roads, ports and airports, to overcome constraints to rapid growth. 

I strongly believe that women need to be drawn fully into the national mainstream. Empowerment of women will have a very big impact on creating social structures that are stable. The National Mission on Empowerment of Women set up in 2010, should help in the co-coordinated delivery of women-centric and women-related programmes. An important component of women’s development is their economic and social security. Social prejudices prevalent in our society which have led to gender discrimination need to be corrected. Social evils like female foeticide, child marriage and dowry must be eradicated. Status of women is an important indicator of progress in a society. 

Dear Citizens, 

India can take pride in its democratic record, but as in any functional democracy, it faces pressures and challenges. An important feature of a democracy is the constant expression of opinions. This process of incessant dialogue should flow in such a manner, that we are willing to listen to each other. Those who believe in democracy must try to see whether there is rationale in the others’ point of view. Gandhiji once said, “Evolution of democracy is not possible if we are not prepared to hear the other side. We shut the doors of reason when we refuse to listen.” The purpose of discussions and deliberations is to find solutions. Often, we are quick to find blame with others; but, yet are unable to give constructive responses. There seems to be a tendency to doubt almost everything. Do we not have faith in our own people’s strengths and in our institutions? Can we afford distrust amongst ourselves? Nations are built through great patience and sacrifices. Concord and not discord is the way forward for a country as large as India. All issues, therefore, must be resolved through dialogue and there can be no place for violence. Negativity and rejection cannot be the path for a vibrant country that is moving to seek its destiny. Our work, our values and our approach, must be based on the vast capability and capacity that India and its people have. 

Our institutions may not be flawless, but they have coped with many challenges. Our Parliament has enacted path-breaking laws. Our Government has put together schemes for the progress and welfare of the people. Our judiciary has a reputable standing. Our media too has played an important role. With all institutions working together for the same national purpose it will create a stream of positive energy. Our effort to improve is an on-going process. While bringing about reforms and improving institutions, we have to be cautious that while shaking the tree to remove the bad fruit, we do not bring down the tree itself. There will be short term pressures, but in this process we must not lose sight of the long term goals, and must work together on our core national agenda. I do hope in the spirit of national interest, matters of national importance, are discussed and solutions are found between different stakeholders. This will strengthen the roots of our democracy and the foundations of our nation. We have a shared future, and we should not forget that it can be achieved if we demonstrate a sense of responsibility and a show of unity. I think India could set an example before the democratic world of progress and growth. 

Dear Citizens, 

India’s foreign policy is aimed at the promotion of an environment that is conducive to its socio-economic transformation. We seek to build bridges of cooperation and friendship with all countries of the world. We constructively engage with the international community to find responses to global challenges. The role and stature of India, has been growing and our nation has been scaling up in the ladder of the comity of nations. India seeks an architecture for global institutions that is more reflective of contemporary realities. We are also proud of the contributions of the Indian Diaspora, spread over many countries and across continents, to the economic, professional and political fields of the countries where they live.

Dear Citizens, 

In conclusion, I would like to say that we must build a strong, prosperous nation, based upon a firm system of values. As we remove poverty, let us also enrich our thoughts. As we remove disease, let us all remove ill-will towards others. As our youth study more and acquire more knowledge, let them also learn to be more involved in activities for the progress of the nation, other than only self advancement. As we legislate, let us also understand that the most effective law is the conscience of citizens. As we advance in science and technology, let us realize and understand that it is more for human welfare. As we use the Earth’s resources, let us not forget to replenish and renew its vitality. On the eve of our Republic Day, let me once again convey my greetings, to all fellow citizens and end with the following lines which describe an India we should work for: 

बहें जहां सदभाव की नदियां। 
उगें जहां नैतिकता की फ़सलें। 
सब मन एकता का गीत सुनाएं। 
पग-पग देश का विकास बढ़ाएं। 
मिलकर ऐसा देश बनाएं। 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

25th Anniversary of the Mizo Peace Accord

The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region, Shri Paban Singh Ghatowar at the inauguration of the Centre for North Eastern Culture and exhibition on the 25th Anniversary of the Mizo Peace Accord, organised by North-Eastern Council and Centre for Cultural Resources and Training, in New Delhi on January 24, 2012. The Union Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Culture, Kum. Selja and the Minister of State for Water Resources and Minority Affairs, Shri Vincent Pala are also seen.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Amarinder forced to adopt PPP agenda – Dr. Johal

PPP is happy that it is the agenda setting party of Punjab
Courtesy photo: The Tribune
Chandigarh : Capt. Amarinder Singh has been shamelessly trying to copy the campaign agenda of the People's Part of Punjab (PPP). While he had tried to dismiss the PPP agenda initially, now he is trying to ape it in a desperate attempt to save himself from oblivion. Copy cats like Amarinder will no doubt be rejected by the people of Punjab because of their inability to present anything new and worthwhile. 
Dr. Sardara Singh Johal, Patron of PPP stated that it was PPP which was the first party to announce doing away with the VIP culture and stopping all beacon lights and security paraphernalia. Amarinder, who being a feudal lord, is himself trapped in the false aura of servants, orderlies and hanger-ons; is now desperately trying to salvage his piteous situation by claiming that the Congress part would do away with these.

Punjabis know how Amarinder has misused the apparatus of the state when he was the Chief Minister. And now when people are revolting against this system, he has been forced to present a different view of himself.

Similarly, it was the People's Party of Punjab which announced the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Rozgar Yojana. Capt. Amarinder who failed to come up with a policy program blindly copied it in the Congress manifesto. Not only that the Congress has also copied the Bebe Nanki Shagun scheme. The list goes on, but it only shows the intellectual bankruptcy of the Congress party.

While the PPP is happy that it is the agenda setting party of Punjab, it is with regret that the other parties are mere copy cats who are unable to formulate their own independent agenda. However, it is glad that the voice of the people which is manifest thought the PPP is increasingly becoming the agenda of all political parties in the state.    ***

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rescue and relief operation in snow-hit J and K

Indian Air Force air lifted over 1100 stranded civilian in a rescue and relief operation in snow-hit Jammu and Kashmir.

PIB photo

Role of Children in Water Conservation

Second National Painting Competition
Art on Water Conservation Organised
The first prize winning Painting of 2nd National Painting Competition, organised by the Central Ground Board under the Ministry of Water Resources, in New Delhi on January 21, 2012.
The Minister of State for Water Resources and Minority Affairs, Shri Vincent Pala presented awards to the winners of 2nd National Painting Competition, organised by the Central Ground Board under the Ministry of Water Resources, in New Delhi on January 21, 2012
Union Minister of State for Water Resources and Minority Affairs Shri Vincent H. Pala presented the prizes to the winners of the second National Painting Competition organised by the Central Ground Water Board, Ministry of Water Resources at a function in New Delhi toady. The theme of the competition was “Role of Children in Water Conservation”. 

Speaking on the occasion Shri Pala underlined the need to harvest the rainwater in view of limited availability of fresh ground water resources. He said It is necessary that the young generation is fully aware about the water resource scenario of the country and understands the concerns and steps to mitigate the challenges in water resource management, in particular the water conservation efforts. He called for actively involving children in spreading of awareness on water conservation and efficient water use practices in the country. 

The first prize at the competition was won by Disha Roy Choudhury of Siliguri, West Bengal. She was awarded cash prize of Rs. one lakh. There were four second prizes of Rs. 50,000/ each. The winners included Bhavika Dugar of Coimbatore, A.Yokaran of Chennai, Yeerandip Debnath of Sealdah and Devjit Choudhury of Jamshedpur. The eight third prize winners with cash prize of Rs. 25,000/ each included Shreya Das of Faridabad, Kshitiz Rawat of Delhi, Sayani Das of Jamshedpur, A.Esha Rayal of Hyderabad, Shreeraksha of Mangalore, A.Priya Darsini of Coimbatore, Bhagyashree Kunwar of Mumbai and Imon Chetia Phukan of Guwahati. All the participating students were awarded Rs. 5000/ each as consolation prize and a certificate. 

About sixteen lakh students of 4th, 5th & 6th standards from all over the country participated in the painting competition organised at different levels. In all 23,475 schools in 27 States and Union Territories participated. Out of these, 50 students selected in each State were invited to participate in the State Level Painting Competition organised on 14th November, 2011 except in Pudduchery and Goa where it was organised on 9th November, 2011. The three winners of State Level Painting Competition were invited to Delhi to participate in National Painting Competition. 87 students participated at the National Level Painting Competition. (Ministry of Water Resources) {21-January-2012 19:56 IST} [PIB]

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Roadmap for Growth of Electronics Industry

Draft National Policy on Electronics 2011                                                                                          

Information Communication Technologies and Electronics have been contributing significantly to the economic growth of India and have the potential to script India’s future across the economy, society and government and epitomize what modern, resurgent and youngIndia is capable of accomplishing. Achievements in the recent past in the IT and Telecom sectors have been spectacular and unprecedented in India’s history. Yet, it is the future that holds even more breathtaking possibilities. In October 2011, a combination of three interdependent and synergistic policies for IT, Telecom and Electronics were formulated by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
Of the three sectors – IT, Telecommunications and Electronics - Electronics presents special challenges. Lack of a strong base, an adverse international environment and failure to build an enabling eco-system are among the major barriers. The Government recognizes that a stage has now been reached where not only the lofty aspirations for the future, but even sustaining growth trends in IT and Telecom is critically dependent on India’s ability to foster a strong electronics systems design and manufacturing (ESDM) base in the country. The silver lining is the strong chip design and substantial R&D capability that has developed in the country.
It is in this context that the draft National Policy on Electronics, 2011 has tremendous importance. The Policy envisions creating a globally competitive ESDM industry including nano-electronics to meet the country's needs and serve the international market. One of the important objectives is to achieve a turnover of about USD 400 Billion by 2020 involving investment of about USD 100 Billion and employment to around 28 million by 2020. This is a quantum jump from production level of about USD 20 Billion in 2009. This interalia, includes achieving a turnover of USD 55 Billion of chip design and embedded software industry, USD 80 Billion of exports in the sector. Moreover, the policy also proposes setting up of over 200 Electronic Manufacturing clusters. Another important objective of the policy is to significantly upscale high-end human resource creation to 2500 PhDs annually by 2020 in the sector.
Some of the major strategies proposed in the policy include:
·         Providing attractive fiscal incentives across the value chain of the ESDM sector through Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS).
·         Setting up of Semiconductor Wafer Fab facilities and its eco-system for design and fabrication of chips and chip components.
·         Providing Preferential Market Access for domestically manufactured/ designed electronic products including mobile devices, SIM cards with enhanced features, etc. with special emphasis on Indian products for which IPR reside in India to address strategic and security concerns of the Government consistent with international commitments.
·         Providing incentives for setting up of over 200 Electronic Manufacturing Clusters with world class logistics and infrastructure.
·         Creating an “Electronic Development Fund” for promoting innovation, R&D and commercialization in ESDM, nano-electronics and IT sectors including providing support for seed capital, venture capital and growth stages of manufacturing.
·         To use innovation and R&D capabilities to develop electronic products catering to domestic needs and conditions at affordable price points.
·          Setting up Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) specific Incubation Centres across country.
·         Developing an India microprocessor for diverse applications/ strategic needs.
·         Creating a 10 year stable tax regime for the ESDM sector.
·         Setting up a specialized Institute for semiconductor chip design.
·         Encouraging greater participation of private sector in human resource development for the sector. Also encouraging setting up of skill-oriented courses for electronic designs along with hands-on laboratories enabling graduates from other disciplines to migrate to ESDM.
·         Developing and mandating standards for electronic products specific to Indian conditions of power, climate, handling etc.
·         Creating linkages for long term partnership between domestic ESDM industry and strategic sectors like Defence, Atomic Energy and Space.
·         Setting up of Centres of Excellence in the area of Automotive electronics, Avionics, and Industrial electronics.
·         Adopting best practices in e-waste management
·         Setting up of a National Electronics Mission with industry participation to advance the implementation of various programmes in this policy.
·         The Department of Information Technology to be renamed as Department of Electronics and Information Technology to reflect the desired focus on electronics.
It is expected that these policy initiatives will provide necessary impetus to Electronics Manufacturing in India and help in building an environment that will nurture an Electronics System Design and Manufacturing ecosystem.          (PIB Feature).  ****

*Inputs from the Department of Information Technology.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Unique Workshop at CMC Ludhiana

To replace animals in medical training discussed by experts
Medical college and other colleges participated in PETA PROJEC
Ludhiana// January 20, 2012//Shalu Arora and Rector Kathuria

This month, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals(PETA) India is sponsoring a series of free continuing medical education workshops on alternatives to the use of animals in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) programmes at numerous Indian medical colleges. The series is the first of its kind in India and workshop at Christian Medical College in Ludhiana was held on Friday January 20, 2012. The series was developed after the adoption of a policy by the Medical Council of India in 2009 that cleared the way for medical schools to end all use of animals in MBBS training. Other schools presenting the professional advancement workshops include All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi, St John's Medical College in Bangalore and Jawaharlal Institute of Post graduate Medical Education and Research in Pondicherry."By relegating the use of animals in training to the history books,India's medical colleges will ensure that students are given the most modern educational tools available", says PETA India Science Policy Adviser Dr Chaitanya Koduri. "Students across the country can now learn life-saving techniques without participating in cruel class room exercises that defy the physicians' Hippocratic Oath to help, heal and save lives."In the US, non-animal medical training curricula have already been adopted in 95 per cent of programmes and are 100 per cent in use in Canada and the UK. Institutions in these countries provide studentswith the latest training methods, including human-patient simulators,supervised clinical practice and interactive computer-aided teachingmodels. Non-animal training methods have repeatedly proved to besuperior to those that use animals.Dr. Kim Mammem, Associate Director, Christian Medical College,Ludhiana inaugurated the workshop and emphasized the role ofalternatives in medical education. Dr. SM Bhatti, Principal, Christian Medical College, Ludhiana welcome all the delegates. Dr. Kulwant Singh, Member, Punjab Medical Council informed that the CME has beenawarded 4 credits hours and is a very good initiative.  Dr. Dinesh Badyal, Professor & Head, Department of Pharmacology and organizing secretary informed that more than 100 delegates from various medical colleges of Punjab and adjoining states attended the workshop and they plan to use these alternatives in their institutes. The workshop featured presentations and demonstrations  by leading medical experts, including John Pawlowski, MD, PhD, Harvard Medical School (US); Dinesh Kumar Badyal, MD, Christian Medical College (Ludhiana, India) and Mohammad Akbarsha, PhD, Bharathidasan University (Tiruchirappalli,India).

Biomass - A Storehouse of Clean Energy

Gargi Malik* 
Agriculture continues to be the main source of livelihood for a large part of   population in the country. Biomass, thus, is readily   available widely across the country, thereby, overcoming regional limitations. Biomass, which implies biological material from living or recently living organisms, can be used as an important source of energy. It is a renewable and carbon natural source of energy. 
Biomass resources in India are estimated to be about 565 million tonnes per year. It includes agriculture residues and forest residues. Agriculture residues result from crop harvesting and processing. They include rice husk, bagasse, sugar cane tops and leaves, groundnut shells, cotton stalks and mustard stalks. Forest residues result from logging and wood processing. They include small trees, branches, tops and un-merchantable wood left in the forest. 
The surplus biomass resources available for power generation annually are about 189 million tonnes, which could support roughly 25 GW of installed capacity. Further, co-generation plants provide both heat energy, used in the mill, and electricity, which is typically sold to the grid. It is estimated that about 15 GW of electricity generating capacity could be achieved through adding cogeneration capabilities in various industries including sugar mills, breweries, textile mills, distilleries, fertilizer plants, pulp and paper mills, and rice mills. In addition, there exists a potential of setting up 12 million family type biogas plants.

Types of Biomass                                                                                                      
Biomass includes three distinct categories:
·         Solid Biomass, which includes tree, crop residues like rice husk, bagasse, coconut shells, jute waste, etc. and animal and human waste.
·         Biogas which is obtained by anaerobically digesting organic material to produce combustible gas methane.
·         Liquid biofuels which are obtained by subjecting organic materials to one of various chemical or physical processes to produce usable combustible liquid fuels.

 Biomass Conversion To Useful Energy                                                                              
A number of technological options are available to make use of a wide variety of biomass types as a renewable energy source. Conversion may release energy directly in the form of heat/electricity or, may convert it into another form such as liquid biofuels or combustible biogas. There are basically three types of conversions:
·         Thermal Conversion- A process in which heat is used to convert biomass into another chemical form.
·         Chemical Conversion - A range of chemical processes may be used to convert   biomass into other forms so that fuel may be used more conveniently, transported or stored.
·         Biochemical Conversion- It involves anaerobic digestion fermentation and composting.

Benefits Of Using Biomass
·         It reduces air pollution as biomass emits less Sulphur dioxide and Nitrogen Oxide than fossil fuels. Further, biomass fuels recycle atmospheric carbon, minimizing global warming impacts since zero net Carbon dioxide is emitted during biomass growth phase. Amount of carbon dioxide emitted is equal to the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed from atmosphere during growth phase of biomass.
·         Using biomass decreases animal and municipal waste. Through anaerobic digestion process biomass in the form of waste is converted into useful energy.
·         Using biomass  as  fuel  reduces  the  landfill  space  required  to  dump  the    woody biomass, lumber  mill waste, etc.
·         It helps in creating local jobs in a rural areas. 

            Presently, biomass contributes to around 30% of the total primary energy supply in the country. The major source of energy for cooking for 85% of households in rural India includes firewood, chips, dung cake, etc.  Moreover 20% of urban households still rely primarily on traditional fuels to meet their cooking needs. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has initiated various  schemes  and  also  promoted  various  NGOs to  work  in  the field of energy from biomass. The initiatives can broadly be classified into two categories:

·         Rural  Areas  Initiatives: National  Biomass  Cookstove  Initiative(NBCI); Family  Type  Biogas  Plant; Biomass  Gasification  System.
·         Urban  Areas  Initiatives: Programme  for  Energy  Recovery  from  Urban  Waste; Biomass  Gasifiers  and  Biomass  Cogeneration (Non-Bagasse) Projects.

Rural Areas Initiatives
            National   Biomass  Cookstove  Initiative(NBCI): In  rural  areas  a  large  percentage  of  population  continues  to  depend  on  biomass. Clean  and  efficient  energy  is  provided  for  energy  deficient  section  of  population  through  smokeless  chulha, where  different  types  of  fixed and  portable  cookstoves  are  made  available  to  rural  household. In a  case  study  on  various  Dhabas  and  roadside hotels  in  Andhra Pradesh,  it  was  observed  that  fuel  efficient  stoves  installed  were able  to  conserve  about  50-60%  of  fuel  as  compared  to  traditional stoves.   There  was  reduction  of  smoke  and  thus  increase  in  productivity  with  a  positive  impact  on  environment.

Family  Type  Biogas  Plant: In family type biogas plants  cattle  and  other  organic  wastes  are  used  to  produce  energy  and  manure. India  supports  the  largest  cattle  wealth  and  this  scheme  helps  to  answer  the  growing  energy  crisis.  In this technology,  anaerobic fermentation  of  biodegradable  materials  such  as  biomass ,  sewage,  green  waste, etc.  is  done  to  produce  biogas  which  mainly  comprises  of methane  and  carbon dioxide.  This biogas is used for cooking purposes in the households.
The National Programme on biogas development has multiple benefits. It helps to save tonnes of fuel wood every year. Biogas technology provides energy in a clean and unpolluted form and makes available enriched organic manure as a by-product for supplementing and optimizing the use of chemical fertilizers. Now-a-days institutional and night-soil-based biogas plants are being deployed increasingly. Toilet linked biogas plants are coming up in places like bus stands and educational institutions.

Biomass  Gasification  System: In  the  scheme  various  biomass  gasification  systems  are  set  up  in  rural  areas  to  provide  electricity supply  in  villages  as  well  as  develop  the  industries  there.  Various  gasifiers  fed  on  rice  husk,  wheat  husk , maze , etc  are  set  up  in  the area  depending  on  the  sustainable  source  of  supply available  from  agriculture  or  plantation.  In gasification process  organic  material  is converted  into  methane,  carbon  monoxide, hydrogen, carbon dioxide . It  is  obtained  by  reacting  the material  at  high  temperature (>7000C) without  combustion  with  a controlled  amount  of  oxygen / steam  and  the  resulting  gas  mixture  is  called  Syngas  or  Producer Gas  which itself  is  a fuel.
India is known as an acknowledged leader in conversion of solid biomass into clean gaseous fuel.   Small-scale biomass gasifiers of upto 500-600 KW capacity are eminently suited for off-grid electricity supply in our rural areas. A number of projects have already been initiated with private sector participation for supply of 6-8 hrs electricity daily through gasification for domestic lighting and 6-8 hrs for other commercial activities like water pumping for irrigation purposes and to micro enterprises and telecom towers.  Projects are  being  carried  out  in  Araria  and  Purnea   districts  of Bihar where Daincha/Ipomoea,  maize  residues  and  hardwood  ensure  perennial  supply  of  feedstock.

Rice Husk based power generating units in the villages of West Champaran district in Bihar have been lighting up around 500-700 households spread over 20 villages in the district, and changing the profile of cluster altogether. The west Champaran experiment is supported by the Ministry and implemented by Husk Power System(HPS), an NGO. The technology employed is simple: It uses the Husk based gasifier technology to provide electricity using 32kWe ‘mini power plants’ that deliver power on a ‘pay-for-use’ basis to households in rice producing belt of India. The price paid to procure electricity generated by these mini power plants is very low, Rs 2 per day per household, located within a radius of 1.5 km. It results in a reduction of consumption of kerosene by as much as two thirds. Power is supplied from 5 pm till midnight each day. Success of this initiative has led to further planning for  installation of such plants  in Samastipur and Lakhisarai. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has now plans to take up the rice husk based electricity systems on a ‘Mission Mode’. It has enormous potential and even some of the larger rice mills can feed power to grid as well as distribute locally. More than 5000 to 10,000 industries can be benefitted in the next 2-3 years. These systems can lead to saving diesel to the tune of 200-250 million litres annually.
Click here to see Photo: A Biogas Plant  and the Design                              

Urban Areas Initiatives         
Biomass  In Urban  Areas  and  Commercial  ApplicationsCrop  residues  and  agro  industrial  wastes  are  used  through  biomass gasification  technique  for  both  electrical  and  thermal  energy. Several industries like sugar, paper and pulp, fertilizers, food processing, etc. Require   electrical as well as thermal energy for their operations.  These  requirements  can  be  met   through  different  energy  sources  or  a  single source.  The  simultaneous  production  of  power and  thermal  energy  from  a  single  source  is  termed  as  Cogeneration. The Government  is providing  assistance  for  setting  up of  Biomass  Gasification  and Biomass  Cogeneration (Non-Bagasse)  Projects.

Programme For  Energy  Recovery From  Urban Waste: According  to  a  recent  estimate,  about  42  million  tons  of  solid  waste and 6000  million  cubic  meters  of  liquid  waste  are  generated   every  year  by  our  urban  population.  A  total  of  8  projects  for  energy  recovery from  urban  waste  i.e.  an  aggregate  capacity  of  19.05 MWeq  have  already  been  set up.

Biofuels  are a  type  of  fuel  whose  energy  is  derived  from  biological  carbon  fixation. It  includes  fuels  derived  from  biomass conversion as  well as solid  biomass, liquid  fuels  and  various  bagasses.  Biodiesel and bio-ethanol  can  be  used  as  diesel  additive  and  gasoline  additive  respectively.
              Biofuel   development  in  India  mainly  centres  around  the  cultivation  and  processing  of  JATROPHA  plant  seeds  which  are  very rich  in  oil (40%). Jatropha  oil  can be  used  directly  in  diesel  generators  and engines.
While a target of 20% blending of biofuels in diesel and petrol by the year 2017 has been indicated in the National policy on Biofuels announced in December 2009, a mandatory target of 5% blending of ethanol with petrol and recommendatory target of 5% blending of bio-diesel with diesel is in force since October 2009. Indian  Railways  has  already  started  using  Jatropha  oil mixed  with  diesel  for  meeting  the  fuel requirements.

The potential of biomass energy is yet to be exploited fully for India. Considering the nature and current growth of economy and the future trajectory of growth, optimal exploitation of biomass energy will offer a great respite to India at energy front. (PIB Feature).       *****

*Assistant Director (Media & Communication).