The Indian Express

Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agarwal raised a point about the 12 famous Rajya Sabha MPs who almost never grace the house with their presence. These include Sachin Tendulkar, actors Rekha and Rupa Ganguly, and Mary Kom. “If they have no interest they should resign, others will come,” said Agarwal, to the Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien. (The Indian Express, March 31). This issue has been reported several times, notably four months ago, when only 23 MPs showed up on a working day when a minimum of 25 out of 245 members are required to start proceedings.

It is worth noting that besides the immense prestige of being a Member of Parliament in the world’s largest democracy, these nominated candidates are very generously compensated. They get housing in central Delhi, 34 single air journeys for free anywhere within India, access to clubs, cars and medical allowances, not counting far more undefined areas of benefit, like proximity to some of the most powerful individuals in India. This is by virtue of being exceptional stars in their own chosen fields. The Rajya Sabha MP status for people in the arts is seen as a retirement reward after a distinguished career. Even if they don’t have the wherewithal to change legislation and remain mute spectators during proceedings, it’s not too much to expect them to show up occasionally in Parliament.

After all, could it happen that Tendulkar wouldn’t have gone to a stadium if he was scheduled to play cricket? According to reports, actor Mithun Chakraborty has attended Parliament for three days in two years. If a commitment has been made, disregarding it so completely is patently disrespectful to the House. Somewhere, it sends the message that celebrity is such an important idea, maybe even more so than running the nation.

Celebrities occupying different rungs on the scale of idolatry — the Twitter world, or Big Boss, TV and movie stars, or dotcom millionaires — are without a doubt the biggest influencers for young Indians. The professional making it to the business pages of newspapers has far greater capital among the youth than what a politician or religious leader can muster up. One may wonder if a PR-contrived lifestyle, conveying the right amount of melodrama via Instagram and Facebook justifies such adulation, but contemporary celebs receive a far more flattering reception than their counterparts holding government office. But the movie star MPs in any case fill our magazines and news feed for their wardrobes and their colourful personas. Let the hallowed halls of Parliament be reserved for people who are 100 per cent committed to treating politics like the serious business it is.

In the West, the stars who are in a position to make a real difference to public opinion take their roles seriously and are able to affect change. Leonardo DiCaprio brought the focus to climate change while Bono drew attention to famine in Africa. When Shah Rukh Khan says that the show Koffee with Karan has become boring because people are scared to say anything controversial since the atmosphere in India has changed, it should lead to a more thoughtful debate. These successful, alternate voices, hopefully immune to the murkier issues that arise with power are more important than ever, when political parties seem so radical and polarised. In these times, just to question the hand that feeds you is a big responsibility.

[email protected]

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now
Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/celebrity-absence-parliament-rajya-sabha-4596860/

Mumbai: 24 bikers held for riding at high speed, released

As many as 24 bikers who were riding their bikes at a high speed, were arrested by the Pant Nagar police station in Ghatkopar (east) in the wee hours of Saturday. The 24 bikers, mostly youngsters, were subsequently released on bail.

According to the police, the police control room had been receiving complaints from people, especially on Saturday nights. “When we started receiving these calls around 1.30 am again, we conducted a nakabandi at the Kamraj Nagar junction on the Eastern Express Highway,” said a police official.

During the nakabandi, the police came across several such bikes. When the police asked the bikers to halt, they fled, some of them riding at high speeds on the wrong side of the road. The police chased the bikers and arrested 24 of them. ENS

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now
Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/mumbai-24-bikers-held-for-riding-at-high-speed-released-4596954/

Year after assurance, govt yet to move on request to ban 37 ‘harmful drugs’

The drugs could be injected into the middle ear, from which they would diffuse across a membrane into the inner ear. )Source: Thinkstock Images) The drugs could be injected into the middle ear, from which they would diffuse across a membrane into the inner ear. )Source: Thinkstock Images)

OVER 16 months after the secretary, Department of Health Research (DHR), Soumya Swaminathan, wrote to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) and senior health ministry officials with a request to ban 37 drugs that she termed “very harmful”, these drugs continue to be freely available in the market. The DCGI had acted on Swaminathan’s email, which was sent on November 12, 2015, seven days later with a suggestion to the health ministry that a committee should be formed to look into this “complex” matter. But the ministry, in response to an RTI filed by The Indian Express, has stated that no such panel had been formed till January 27, 2017.

The 37 fixed-dose combinations (FDCs) listed by Swaminathan in her email are commonly used antibiotics. For example, one drug listed by Swaminathan is Cefpodoxime + Clavulanate, which is used to treat diseases like pharyngitis, urinary tract infection, gonorrhea and pneumonia.

When contacted, Swaminathan, who is also the director-general of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), told The Indian Express: “The DCGI has to take further action. ICMR can only bring to their notice. In fact, they had taken action on many FDCs but much more is needed on irrational combinations. The pharma companies should cooperate.”

According to IMS Health, a global market research company, this drug is sold by more than 70 companies — including Sun Pharma, Pfizer, Wockhardt, Mankind Pharma, Alkem Laboratories, Lupin, Zydus Cadila, Glenmark Pharma, Cipla and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories — in India under different brand names.

In her 2015 email, Swaminathan had stated: ‘’I am attaching a list of irrational antibiotic combinations that need to be banned. The list has been prepared by a group of ID physicians from the Clinical Infectious Disease Society of India (CIDSCON). I agree with them that these are very harmful and will spur additional antibiotic resistance in the community. I hope some action can be taken by DCGI. Am happy to assist in any way possible.’’

This email was sent to B P Sharma, the then health secretary; G N Singh, DCGI, who heads the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO); K L Sharma, joint secretary, health ministry; Jagdish Prasad, director-general of Health Services (DGHS) and S Venkatesh, director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). None of these officials responded to queries sent by The Indian Express seeking comment.

The present health secretary C K Mishra also did not respond to queries sent by The Indian Express. Sun Pharma, Glenmark Pharma and Cipla said they are not aware of Swaminathan’s email and therefore can’t comment on it.

A Pfizer spokesperson told The Indian Express: “We currently market two out of these combinations listed by you and have not been informed of any concerns on either of these. We place utmost emphasis on patient safety and will continue to remain committed to ensuring the safety and quality of our medicines.”

Wockhardt, Mankind Pharma, Alkem Laboratories, Lupin, Zydus Cadila and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories did not respond to requests by The Indian Express seeking comment.

On November 19, 2015, G N Singh, DCGI, wrote a note to the health ministry, stating: “Considering the complexity involved in the issue, examination of each of the antibiotic combinations included in the list forwarded by secretary (DHR) needs to be examined separately considering all aspects of safety, efficacy and present status.”

Singh proposed that a committee of experts under the chairmanship of Swaminathan, comprising experts from institutes like All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, “may be constituted for detailed examination and recommendations”.

Singh stated that the proposed committee’s recommendations will enable top health ministry body Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) “to take final decisions through deliberation”.

On January 27, 2017, the health ministry told The Indian Express — in response to an application filed under Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 — that no such committee “has been constituted so far by this ministry to examine 37 antibiotic combinations”.

The ministry stated that “three irrational antibiotic combinations (Cefixime + Azithromycin, Ofloxacin + Ornidazole Suspension, and Metronidazole + Norfloxacin) out of 37 mentioned in e-mail of Dr Soumya Swaminathan were banned by the Government vide notifications dated 10.3.2016. However, the Delhi High Court has struck down the said notifications.”

These three drugs were part of the 344 FDCs that were banned on March 10, 2016, by the central government on the recommendation of committee formed under the chairmanship of Professor C K Kokate. This committee, which studied the irrationality of various FDCs, recommended the ban on 344 of them, citing the rising “antibiotic resistance” in the country as one of the reasons. Antibiotic resistance is the ability of a microorganism, which is causing the disease, to withstand the effects of an antibiotic medicine.

On December 1, 2016, Delhi High Court struck down the ban stating that the government had acted in a “haphazard manner”. This January, The Indian Express had also asked the health ministry if there was any committee or any other government department that is currently examining the issue of banning 37 drugs mentioned in Swaminathan’s email. The ministry replied that it has “no such information”.

CIDSCON and Indian Drug Manufacturers Association (IDMA) did not reply to the queries sent by The Indian Express.

The Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) declined to answer queries on behalf of member-companies. D G Shah, secretary-general, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA), told The Indian Express: “We are not aware of any communication from the government specific to these 37 FDCs. Some general notices have been put on the website of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) and the ministry of health & family welfare about the FDCs from time to time.”

Swaminathan’s email stated that these 37 specific drugs “will spur additional antibiotic resistance in the community”.

On February 1 this year, the DCGI wrote a letter to associations of doctors and pharmacists on the subject of “rational use of antibiotics for limiting antimicrobial resistance”.

The DCGI stated in the letter: “Antibiotic resistance is the result of environmental and behavioural causes. Indiscriminate prescription of antibiotics and laxity of enforcement laws are the main causes of antimicrobial resistance. This may be due to injudicious use of antibiotics in hospitals as well as in private practice apart from easy availability of prescription drugs in the country. In this regard, it is requested that you may kindly sensitise your members by raising awareness for rational use of antibiotics so as to curb antimicrobial resistance in the interest of patient safety.”

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now
Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/year-after-assurance-govt-yet-to-move-on-request-to-ban-37-harmful-drugs-4597024/

एमसीडी चुनाव 2017: भाजपा ने जारी की 160 प्रत्‍याशियों की पहली सूची, चार मुस्लिमों को दिया टिकट

© The Indian Express Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com

Source: http://www.jansatta.com/rajya/mcd-elections-2017-bjp-releases-first-list-of-160-candidates-including-4-muslims/290099/

Delhi MCD polls: Will give power subsidy to tenants, says CM Arvind Kejriwal

Arvind Kejriwal (Source: Express Photo by Amit Mehra/File) Arvind Kejriwal (Source: Express Photo by Amit Mehra/File)

DAYS AHEAD of the polls to the municipal corporations of Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Sunday said that if voted to power, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) would extend power subsidies to tenants as well. The AAP had earlier promised to abolish residential house tax. “The tenants living in Delhi do not get the benefit of low tariffs on power and water. After the MCD polls, we will also work to extend the relief to these tenants,” Kejriwal tweeted.

Kejriwal, however, did not give any timeline on implementation of the promise. He also alleged that if the BJP and the Congress are voted to power, they are likely to hike the electricity tariffs in the capital.

As per the Delhi government scheme, consumers whose monthly power consumption does not exceed 400 units get 50 per cent subsidy. Many of those who sublet rooms in Delhi do not have a separate electricity meter. So, even if the tenant consumes 250 units and the landlord uses as many units, jointly it exceeds the slab of 400 units, depriving the tenants of subsidy.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now
Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhi-mcd-polls-will-give-power-subsidy-to-tenants-says-cm-arvind-kejriwal-4597006/

PM Modi inaugurates India’s longest Chenani-Nashri tunnel, dedicates it to the nation

The Indian Express photojournalist Tashi Tobgyal visited the site of the tunnel in 2012, when construction was under way. The Indian Express photojournalist Tashi Tobgyal visited the site of the tunnel in 2012, when construction was under way.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated the Chenani-Nashri tunnel on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, the longest in India. The prime minister dedicated the tunnel to the nation. The 10.9-km long tunnel will reduce the time taken to travel between Jammu and Srinagar by shortening the distance between Chenani-Nashri from the existing 41 kms to 10.9 kms and is likely to save fuel worth nearly Rs 99 crores a year. The tunnel in Udhampur district, built with new Austrian tunnel technology, has a series of smart safety features — all functioning through a single software.

#WATCH live from J&K: PM Narendra Modi inaugurates Chenani-Nashri tunnel http://t.co/FSArUJETin — ANI (@ANI_news) April 2, 2017

The Prime Minister, the Governor and the Chief Minister then posed for a photograph with the engineers who were involved in construction of the tunnel. After the inauguration ceremony, the prime minister is scheduled to address a public rally in Udhampur’s Battal Ballian village.

The tunnel is equipped with world-class security systems, and is expected to boost tourism and economic activities in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The estimated value of daily fuel savings will be to the tune of Rs 27 lakh, according to the PMO.

Union Minister Jitendra Singh had earlier said that the tunnel “is a game changer.” “The connectivity through this tunnel will decrease the time of journey by two hours. It is an alternative all weather route. It is an alternative to the highway which is closed at the time of snow and rains. It will boost trade and increase revenue in the state. It will also help boost tourism,” Singh had told PTI.

Read Also: 10 facts about India’s longest tunnel

Meanwhile, normal life was affected in Kashmir Valley due to strike called by separatist groups against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the state for inauguration of Chenani-Nashri tunnel. Most of the shops, business establishments and fuel stations were shut in Srinagar – the summer capital of the state, officials said. The officials said most of the public transport was off the roads, while private cars, cabs and auto-rickshaws were seen plying normally in many areas of the city here.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now
Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/pm-modi-inaugurates-indias-longest-chenani-nashri-tunnel/

Student, arrested for stalking Smriti Irani, apologises to minister

Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna) Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

One of the four Delhi University students accused of tailing Union Minister Smriti Irani’s car has tendered his apologies to her, saying they didn’t know that the car they had overtaken had the minister sitting on it. Earlier in the day, four students of Ram Lal Anand college were formally arrested after being detained last night for allegedly ‘stalking’ and ‘outraging the modesty of a woman’. They were caught chasing Irani’s vehicle near the Myanmar Embassy in Lutyens’ Zone.

“We four were returning from our friend’s birthday party. We do agree that we have flouted the rules. We were making a video for Instagram and the music in the car was loud. We were just making funny videos. When we overtook the car, we didn’t know that Smriti Irani was there in it. We would have not done this if we knew that it was Smriti Irani’s car,” one of the accused was quoted as saying by ANI.

#WATCH One of the four college students accused of tailing Union Minister Smriti Irani’s car, apologizes to the Minister pic.twitter.com/NDQINzgR2l — ANI (@ANI_news) April 2, 2017

The medical examination of all the four youths confirmed that they had consumed alcohol. They had liquor at a friend’s birthday party before driving around for fun last evening.

All four were chased down by a PCR van that Irani noticed at Shantipath. She asked police personnel stationed outside the French Embassy to chase the speeding Hyundai Santro when she saw the PCR van. Despite trying to flee, they were caught before they could travel 100 metres. They were later handed over to Chanakyapuri police station.

The FIR has been registered against them under Section 354 D (stalking) and Section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). According to reports, they have been released on bail.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now

© IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd
Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/one-of-four-du-students-accused-of-stalking-apologises-to-smriti-irani-for-chasing-ministers-car-4596448/

VIRAL VIDEO: लाईव्ह न्यूज सोडून त्याने वाहत जाणाऱ्या कुत्र्याचे प्राण वाचवले!

Copyright © 2017 The Indian Express [P] ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com

Source: http://www.loksatta.com/trending-news/viral-video-journalist-rescues-dog-while-reporting-live-1444811/

University, college staff strikes banned in Uttar Pradesh till June 30

The state government said that the ban has been put in place keeping in mind the “public interest”. It said that many examinations will be conducted during the period. (Express Photo: Prem Nath Pandey) The state government said that the ban has been put in place keeping in mind the “public interest”. It said that many examinations will be conducted during the period. (Express Photo: Prem Nath Pandey)

The Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath government has banned strikes by university and college employees under the Essential Services Maintainance Act (ESMA). The ban has been imposed in the state till June 30, 2017 under the act.

The 1968 Act gives the police powers to arrest, without a warrant, those who violate provisions. The state government said that the ban has been put in place keeping in mind the “public interest”. It said that many examinations will be conducted during the period. The academic calendar in the coming months will be filled with entrance exams for higher education institutions.

Read | UP Board: Besides students, government acts against invigilators, exam centre in-charges

“The ban will be applicable to all services in universities, constituent colleges and affiliate colleges,” an official release by the state government said.

Under the act, people taking part in such strikes are punishable with imprisonment of half a year while those who instigate such events can be put in prison for a whole year.

For more stories on UP education, click here

For all the latest Education News, download Indian Express App now

© IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd
Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/education/university-college-staff-strikes-banned-admissions-entrance-exams-students-in-uttar-pradesh-till-june-30-4594838/

Sania Mirza-Barbora Strycova enter Miami Open final

Sania and Barbora will now face unseeded pair of Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan in the final. (Source; Express Photo) Sania and Barbora will now face unseeded pair of Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan in the final. (Source; Express Photo)

The Indo-Czech pair of Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova on Saturday defeated the Swiss-China pair of Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan to enter the finals of the women’s doubles at the Miami Open.

The third seeded pair defeated fifth seeded duo of Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan 6-7, 6-1, 10-4 in a hard-fought last four contest.

Sania and Barbora will now face unseeded pair of Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan in the final, who defeated fourth seeds Peng Shuai and Andrea Hlavackova in their semifinal match 7-5, 5-7, 10-7.

For all the latest Sports News, download Indian Express App now
Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/tennis/sania-mirza-barbora-strycova-enter-miami-open-final-4596387/