Clocks are turned back each fall, and moved ahead each spring andthat’s a good time to also change the battery in your home’ssmoke detector. Anyone who has not done it already, should replace theirbatteries this week, says Nova Scotia Fire Marshal RobertCormier. By linking the job to the changing of the clocks, peopleare more likely to remember the task. “Battery replacement is the easiest and most importantmaintenance to be done on a smoke detector yet many people neverdo it,” he said. When battery power is low, most smoke detectors emit a briefchirping sound. But Mr. Cormier said owners should not depend onthat. “Many people react to it by disconnecting the battery, with thegood intention of picking one up later in the day,” he said. “Theproblem is that the battery then gets forgotten and the detectoroffers no protection at all.” Changing the battery when the time changes will prevent mostdetectors from chirping and will ensure a high level ofprotection. Smoke detector operation should be checked once permonth.
Eight Nova Scotia shooting athletes are on target for the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon, from Feb. 23 to March 10. The final team was selected after two qualifying stages. The first stage provided the athletes expert coaching, while the second stage was used to select the Games team. The team consists of: Adrienne Ackerman, Sherbrooke Sarah Ackerman, Sherbrooke Tiffany Blaauwerndraat, Truro Richard Macaulay, Dartmouth Joshua Mailman, Lawrencetown Joseph Selig, Halifax Robert Selig, Halifax Christina Tucker, Sherbrooke HEALTH PROMOTION/PROTECTION–Shooting Team Named for Canada Games The team features Sarah Ackerman, who won Nova Scotia’s first medal, a bronze, at the 2003 Canada Games in Bathurst, N.B. In preparation for the Games, the team participated in an international tournament in Toronto from Feb. 2 to Feb. 5. The athletes will continue daily dry firing — shooting the gun without ammunition — and participate in up to two full matches a week. The team will be accompanied by coaches Shirley Ackerman of Sherbrooke and Joseph Hayes of Yarmouth. “We have a strong team, in particular, two really strong male competitors, and two really strong female competitors,” said Shirley Ackerman. “We are definitely hoping for a repeat medal performance.” Team Nova Scotia 2007 has 290 members — 213 athletes, 36 coaches, 23 managers, three artists and 15 mission staff. See the team’s website at ns.canadagames.ca for the latest information on Team Nova Scotia. The Canada Games is the country’s largest amateur multi-sport event. More than 3,600 athletes, coaches and managers will gather in Whitehorse to compete for 1,122 medals in 22 sports.
Finding accurate, up-to-date medical information is a mouse click away for Nova Scotians. Public libraries now offer free access to the Cochrane Library, a collection of databases in medicine and other health-care specialties that summarize and interpret the results of high-quality medical research. The results of clinical trials, assessments in health-care technology and medical reviews are readily available in a plain-language format. The Cochrane Library can be accessed at public libraries or remotely through library websites for those with a valid library card. “I am pleased that our public libraries have been involved in bringing the Cochrane Library to Nova Scotians. This is just one example of the innovative services accessible through our public libraries,” said Education Minister Karen Casey. “Nova Scotians can access reliable health-care information that is easily understood from the comfort and privacy of their homes.” Access to the Cochrane Library for all Nova Scotians is provided and licensed by the Atlantic Health Knowledge Partnership, an association between health and academic libraries and Nova Scotia’s public libraries. “The Cochrane Library is built on the partnership between health-care providers and their patients. We are delighted to expand access to the Cochrane Library to all Nova Scotians,” said Patrick Ellis, chair of the Atlantic Health Knowledge Partnership. The library’s collection of databases was previously available only to health practitioners, but is now accessible to more than two billion people in 15 countries, including two other Canadian provinces and three territories. It is administered by the Cochrane Consortium, an independent, international not-for-profit organization. More than one-third of Nova Scotians are active library users. Individuals who do not have a library card can apply for one at a local library or online. See the website at http://publiclibraries.ns.ca for branch information.
Minerals: Bob Bancroft, Pomquet, biologist Jonathan Porter, Liverpool, manager, Forestry and Fibre Resources, Abitibi Bowater Donna Crossland, Bridgetown, senior park warden, Kejimkujik National Park Parks: Under the guidance of the steering panel, the four panels will define the process for researching the issues and themes that emerged during the public consultations. The panels will seek technical expertise and hold consultations. They will also prepare and submit draft reports and recommendations to the steering panel. The steering panel oversees the strategy process during phase two, which incorporates information collected through public consultations held in 2008. The third and final phase of the process will see the development of a strategy to manage Nova Scotia’s natural assets, and guide the Department of Natural Resources and government for the next decade and beyond. More information on the natural resources strategy process is available at www.gov.ns.ca/natr/ . Tony Charles, Halifax, professor of management science and environmental studies, Saint Mary’s University Bruce Martin, Bear River, parks planner Dale Smith, Dartmouth, president, Nova Scotia Nature Trust Cliff Drysdale, Middleton, director, Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve Association Steve Mockford, Wolfville, assistant professor, Department of Biology, Acadia University Martha Jones, Sydney, associate professor, Department of Biology, Cape Breton University Biodiversity: Jacob Hanley, Halifax, geology professor, Saint Mary’s University David Duncan, Wolfville, geologist Marcos Zentilli, Halifax, geology professor, Dalhousie University Natural Resources Minister John MacDonell has appointed 12 Nova Scotians to guide the development of a new natural resources strategy for the province. The appointments were recommended by a steering panel chaired by former Chief Justice Constance Glube. “The steering panel has selected 12 well-qualified technical experts for this second phase of the natural resources strategy process,” said Ms. Glube. “The four expert panels will soon begin the job of consulting with stakeholders, and their findings will be reported to the steering panel late this fall.” The steering panel selected the panel members from applications received earlier this year. “I thank the steering panel for their recommendations and look forward to receiving the phase two report this fall,” said Mr. MacDonell. “Most important is that the panel members have demonstrated their technical expertise and that Nova Scotians will see a balanced approach on important resource issues.” The four, three-member panels of expertise will focus on the key components of the strategy: forests, minerals, parks and biodiversity. The members of the panels are: Forests:
The province is helping Cape Breton Regional Municipality deal with abandoned buildings that have become targets for arsonists. Amendments to the Municipal Government Act tabled today, Dec. 1, will clarify that a structurally sound building can be considered dangerous and unsightly. Municipalities will also now be able to ensure that basic building maintenance, such as removing garbage or replacing broken windows, is done on a building before it becomes unsightly. These amendments are being made at the request of Cape Breton Regional Municipality. “Abandoned buildings are not just an eyesore in our communities, they are magnets for crime,” said Ramona Jennex, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. “Cape Breton Regional Municipality asked us to make these amendments. We listened, and we are happy to support them.” There are about 700 abandoned buildings in CBRM with a number of them being targets for arsonists. “These amendments will help us tackle a pressing problem in our community,” said CBRM Mayor John Morgan. These changes will also be made to the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter to ensure consistent legislation across the province.
VICTORIA COUNTY: Seal Island Bridge High-sided vehicles and motorcycles are advised that the Seal Island Bridge is experiencing strong wind gusts and should be avoided until winds subside. All other traffic is urged to use caution on the bridge. Bridge updates are available by calling 511. Local Area Office: 902-295-2700 -30-
Smith Road Swallow Road from Trunk 4 to Route 246 Taylor Lane Porter Road from Trunk 2 to Gould Road Local Area Office: 902-667-2972 -30- CUMBERLAND COUNTY The following roads are closed because of flooding:
The province is fixing more roads than ever before, creating thousands of jobs, keeping communities strong and growing the economy. Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Bill Estabrooks released today, April 19, the province’s Five-Year Highway Improvement Plan, 2012-13 edition. “Our new approach to building and maintaining roads and bridges is working,” Mr. Estabrooks said. “Planning projects on a year-by-year basis helps us to repair more roads in more communities while being transparent and accountable. This is due in large part to the hard work of our staff and our road building partners across the province.” “Ninety-seven per cent of the projects planned for 2011-12 have either been completed or started. The department started 11 paving projects earlier than originally planned.” The plan outlines funding, initiatives to make taxpayers’ dollars go further, types of roads, how roads are prioritized and a project schedule for the next five years as well as a report on last year’s projects. In 2012-13, $363 million will be invested in Nova Scotia roads, leading to 500 kilometres of paving and over 200 kilometres of resurfacing. The investment creates thousands of jobs, allows local businesses to transport goods to market, connects Nova Scotians to vital services, employment and education and is critical for safe travel of residents and visitors. The province carried out some of its road construction program with its in-house chip seal crew during the summer of 2011. It added competition to the industry, saved taxpayers more than $2 million while still leaving the majority of the road work to private industry. “A new mobile asphalt plant will be in operation this summer and will focus on pavement preservation projects on trunks and routes,” said Bruce Fitzner, the province’s chief highway engineer. “We will apply a single lift of asphalt now, instead of waiting until the existing pavement has totally deteriorated. That way we can improve the condition of more roads and extend the life of these roads at a fraction of the cost. That will allow us to resurface more roads in more communities and help improve the overall road system.” Since 2010 when the province introduced its first Five-Year Highway Improvement Plan, the province has invested a billion dollars to repair rural roads and keep communities strong – amounting to 1,900 kilometres of paved road and 400 kilometres of resurfaced road. Highlights of the 2012/13 plan: The Five-Year Highway Improvement Plan is online at www.gov.ns.ca/tran/highways/hwyconstruction.asp overview of work completed since 2010 how projects are funded and prioritized details of 10 major construction projects on 100-series highways and trunks, with much work planned for the Cabot Trail listing of more than 100 repaving projects 20 new and/or refurbished bridges
The province is providing high school students with more learning opportunities in their own communities and helping prepare them for good jobs. Education Minister Ramona Jennex announced today, May 4, that Nova Scotia Virtual School is more than doubling its online course to 46 to meet the needs of more students. “As enrolments decline, we need to build on innovative ways to teach and engage children, while at the same time supporting rural schools,” said Ms. Jennex. “As part of Kids and Learning First, we are providing students with a quality education by giving them access to courses that otherwise would be unavailable at their schools.” In the Nova Scotia Virtual School, students access course materials online and are joined by a teacher and other students from across the province using a webcam and e-chat. The virtual school also helps ensure that students in math, sciences and other courses are taught by teachers with background and experience in these subjects. The online resources, courses and professional learning supports are accessible to all public schools in Nova Scotia and can be used by any teacher as part of their teaching plan. The $1.7-million provincial investment will cover the costs of the expansion, including hiring a French immersion teacher, hardware and technical support, training as well as resources and course development. “Teaching online has allowed me to join two things I love, technology and teaching,” said Guy Aucoin, Instructional Lead and teacher with Nova Scotia Virtual School. “During my virtual office hours, the students can come in during the day and ask questions. This allows me to build a good rapport with the students, as they often come in to ask a quick question, but stay a little longer to chat.” In September, students can select from 46 new and present courses including advanced courses in sciences, French immersion, global politics and global geography. About 500 students from 58 high schools took advantage of the 22 course offered online this year. There will be a projected 800 seats available next September and up to 1,500 in 2013-14. “I am enjoying this experience more than normal classes because all the resources and supports are in one place online,” said Grade 12 student Daniel Prest, who is taking calculus 12 at Bridgewater Junior-Senior High School. “If anything is confusing, it is easy to find support online or from the teacher. The e-chats help to learn new material but there are lots of opportunity to learn on your own.” The virtual school also enables students to develop organizational, independent learning and technological skills. “The online courses provided our children with the opportunity to achieve their educational dreams in a small rural school setting,” said parent Alvina Nix of Pugwash. Nova Scotia Virtual School is a joint partnership between the province and school boards. It was recently recognized by Progress Magazine as one of four education finalists at the Innovation in Practice World Café and Awards in Halifax that showcase, promote and award innovation in the public sector.
CONTINUING WORK COLCHESTER COUNTY: Riverside Road Sections of Riverside Road are closed for work to improve drainage. The road is closed from about two kilometres north of Route 236, Civic No. 3472 to Civic No. 3608. A detour is available on Route 236 to Princeport Road. Riverside Road will re-open March 31. VICTORIA COUNTY: Red Bridge, Big Baddeck The Red Bridge on the Old Margaree Road in Big Baddeck is closed to traffic. A detour is in place. The bridge is scheduled to be replaced by the end of March. -30- GUYSBOROUGH COUNTY: Melford Brook Bridge The Melford Brook Bridge, on Route 344 at Middle Melford, is closed. A two-lane detour bridge is in place until a permanent bridge is built. The speed limit is reduced to 60 km/h and warning signs are in place. INVERNESS COUNTY: Crowdis Bridge Crowdis Bridge will be closed until further notice for repairs. A detour will be available via Crowdis Cross Road, West Big Interval Road and Hatchery Road. PICTOU COUNTY: Highway 104 Highway 104, Exit 23 eastbound off Westville Road and MacGregor Avenue’s ramp and intersection, will have periodic lane closures for the installation of traffic signals until further notice. Traffic control people are on site. Please take alternate route if possible. Work takes place from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. HANTS COUNTY: Highway 102 Highway 102, about four kilometres north of Exit 10, at Shubenacadie Bridge, is reduced to one lane to remove and install guard rail until Thursday, Feb. 28. Work takes place from sunrise to sunset.
Government is supporting a research project that will help East Hants Community Learning Association and its transit service, East Hants Community Rider, deliver a more sustainable service to its clients. East Hants MLA Margaret Miller, on behalf of Energy Minister Andrew Younger, announced today, Oct. 24, that government will provide $11,000 to help the organization research options for an efficient, wheelchair-accessible, eight-passenger vehicle. “The minister and I commend the organization for thinking ahead about energy efficiency and providing accessible service in the community,” said Ms. Miller. “It’s clear they see the benefit in sourcing the right vehicle to meet their rural clients’ needs. We’re pleased to contribute to their sustainable transportation efforts.” The funding supports a full-time contract position to gather and analyze research, and work with industry experts to determine if a customized electric, hybrid, or high-efficiency vehicle is best suited for the organization’s transit service. The East Hants Community Learning Association and East Hants Community Rider plan to purchase a vehicle when the research is complete in March. “Purchasing an efficient passenger vehicle, based on research that takes into account our region’s needs, is important to us,” said Tanya Burke, executive director of the East Hants Community Learning Association. “We’re fulfilling our mandate in increasingly sustainable, cost-effective ways.” Among its other services, the association and East Hants Community Rider help people who do not drive or have access to transportation, travel to work, medical appointments and grocery stores. The new vehicle will complement the organization’s fuel-efficientcar and two wheelchair-accessible minivans. Funding for sustainable transportation projects is part of government’s Sustainable Transportation Strategy. Visit www.novascotia.ca/sustainabletransportation for more information. FOR BROADCAST COPY: Government is supporting a research project that will help East Hants Community Learning Association and East Hants Community Rider deliver a more sustainable transit service to their clients. Government announced today (October 24th) it will provide 11-thousand dollars for research into an efficient, wheelchair accessible passenger vehicle. The organization plans to purchase a vehicle when its research is complete in March. -30-
Nova Scotians will now have better access to the province’s archival heritage thanks to the Provincial Archival Development Program. The program contributes to strengthening and improving the archival network in Nova Scotia and will help increase public awareness, appreciation and use of heritage. Smaller archives around the province are able to cost share initiatives. “Nova Scotia has always been a place rich in culture and heritage and archives play a significant role in preserving and sharing that heritage,” said Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Tony Ince. “Supporting and strengthening the provincial archival community makes it easier to open windows into our past.” The Provincial Archival Development Program is funded and administered by the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, with the Council of Nova Scotia Archives assisting in the adjudication of the program. Up to $50,000 is available annually. The Eastern Shore Archives received funding for MemoryNS, an online tool that provides access to archival records from institutions across Nova Scotia. MemoryNS has detailed information about records and their creators as well as contact information for the contributing archives. “The Provincial Archival Development Program allows smaller institutions like the Eastern Shore Archives achieve archival goals which would otherwise be beyond the capacity of volunteer-run institutions,” said Thea Wilson-Hammond, executive director, Memory Lane Heritage Village. “With this year’s grant, we plan to make the entire collection lists of the Eastern Shore Archives available online so that researchers can view what is available in the archives and some of the representative images of our collection, through the online database MemoryNS. “We are excited to participate in this program and applaud our province for continuing to support archives, as it has done since the days of Joseph Howe.” Six projects are receiving funding through the program this year: Halifax Regional Municipality Archives, $15,000 Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum, $5,800 Parrsboro Shore Historical Society, $1,786 Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University, $14,755 Dalhousie University Archives, $7,736 Eastern Shore Archives, $4,500 For more information on the program, visit http://archives.novascotia.ca/padp .
Government is helping the Town of Bridgewater advance a community energy initiative that will support local investment in sustainable energy solutions and drive economic activity. Minister of Business Mark Furey, on behalf of Energy Minister Michel Samson, announced $20,000 in support today, March 27, for the town’s Energize Bridgewater Project. Energize Bridgewater is a community-wide initiative developing a shared vision of how the area should develop local, efficient and renewable energy. “This project is breaking new ground for clean energy planning in rural Nova Scotia,” said Mr. Furey. “With local leadership and broad community support, Bridgewater is doing its part to help the province move toward a cleaner energy economy.” Launched in 2016 the project is expected to result in practical energy demonstration projects, innovative new partnerships, and new knowledge and skills. “The Town of Bridgewater is thrilled that the Department of Energy has recognized the environmental, social, and economic value of this project with today’s announcement,” said Mayor David Mitchell. “This initiative is unique in Canada and shows that Bridgewater is a leader in sustainability.” This project is one of the ways government is supporting innovation in renewable energy as outlined in the Electricity Plan. Once complete, the plan will be available to other municipalities and community organizations across Nova Scotia. To learn more about Energize Bridgewater, visit www.energizebridgewater.ca.
Des changements seront apportés à la façon dont le service de transport scolaire est offert dans la région d’Halifax. Des milliers de familles ont soumis leurs commentaires à ce sujet dans le cadre d’un sondage provincial en ligne. Le Centre régional pour l’éducation Halifax prépare une demande de propositions pour déterminer les options autres que Stock Transportation qui pourraient être utilisées pour la prestation du service de transport scolaire à Halifax. « Les élèves et les familles nous ont clairement expliqué les frustrations et les défis auxquels ils ont fait face en ce qui a trait au service de transport scolaire cette année, particulièrement dans la région desservie par le Centre régional pour l’éducation Halifax, souligne Zach Churchill, ministre de l’Éducation et du Développement de la petite enfance. J’assure aux familles que des changements immédiats et à long terme seront apportés sous peu pour améliorer le service de transport des élèves. » Plus de 8 000 personnes dans la province ont répondu à un sondage en ligne dans le cadre de la consultation sur le service de transport scolaire. Les résultats ont démontré que les répondants situés à l’extérieur de la région d’Halifax étaient satisfaits du service. Les répondants ayant les plus grandes préoccupations se situaient à Halifax. Les trois principales préoccupations étaient la communication, la sécurité et la fiabilité du service. « Puisque les familles n’ont pas eu l’expérience à laquelle elles s’attendaient, nous devons créer un service amélioré et plus fiable pour eux, affirme Elwin LeRoux, directeur général régional pour Halifax. Le contrat actuel inclut des responsabilités qui, à notre avis, seraient mieux gérées à l’interne. » « Nous voulons que notre fournisseur de service de transport concentre ses efforts sur le transport des élèves en toute sécurité et de façon ponctuelle. Des changements que nous apporterons dès maintenant, ainsi que la considération d’autres options dans le futur, permettront d’améliorer l’expérience des élèves et des familles. » Stock Transportation continuera d’assurer le transport scolaire en 2019-2020 jusqu’à la signature d’un nouveau contrat. En septembre 2019, le Centre régional pour l’éducation Halifax assurera une plus grande supervision des communications et des routes et prendra le contrôle de ces responsabilités en septembre 2020. De plus, il embauchera sept nouveaux membres du personnel pour effectuer ce travail, à un coût d’environ 464 000 $. Lorsqu’un nouveau contrat sera en place l’année suivante, ce coût sera intégré au budget d’exploitation du centre. La nouvelle demande de propositions exigera que le fournisseur assure l’achat, l’opération et l’entretien des autobus, ainsi que la sécurité des élèves à bord pendant leur transport entre l’école et la maison. Elle sera également conçue de façon à ce que plusieurs fournisseurs puissent assurer le service de transport scolaire. Stock Transportation assure maintenant le transport de 23 000 élèves par jour entre l’école et la maison dans la région d’Halifax. Le Centre régional pour l’éducation Halifax prévoit de publier la demande de proposition pour le transport scolaire au cours de l’été. Les commentaires reçus dans le cadre de la consultation serviront à l’élaboration de la demande. Tous les appels d’offres publiés par les centres régionaux pour l’éducation sont affichés sur le site Web des appels d’offres du gouvernement à l’adresse https://novascotia.ca/tenders (en anglais seulement). Une nouvelle politique de transport scolaire panprovinciale est également en cours d’élaboration. Elle sera mise en oeuvre en septembre 2020. Les résultats de la consultation se trouvent au https://www.ednet.ns.ca/docs/schoolbussurveyreport.pdf (en anglais seulement).
New Delhi: The University of Delhi curriculum revision committee on Wednesday opened its dashboard panel to accumulate the suggestion and feedback on the revised undergraduate courses syllabus from the stakeholders, teachers, experts and alumnae of the varsity. The revised syllabus is expected to be implemented for seven lakh students during the upcoming academic session of 2019-20.The varsity is revising the curriculum of all the undergraduate programmes to be aligned with the University Grants Commission’s learning- outcome based framework . “The process of revision of undergraduate course began on March 11 by inviting all deans and heads for a detailed consultative meeting,’ an official said. Moreover, a consensus emerged on the need to revise the curriculum and participation of students in the curriculum revision process has also been ensured. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal NagarThe “Under Graduate Curriculum Revision Committee” has developed a dashboard to facilitate the process. The dashboard has been developed to enable concerned teachers to work collectively and to share their inputs simultaneously. The revision schedule explicitly states different stages of involvement and approval of the revised curriculum from different statutory bodies of the University of Delhi. A member of the standing committee said that revised curriculum will have only 30 per cent weightage of state boards, meanwhile, for the first time curriculum will be similar for the regular colleges, School of Open Learning (SOL) and Non-Collegiate Women Education Board (NCWEB). Also Read – Two persons arrested for killing manager of Muthoot FinanceThe revised curriculum will be expressed in terms of outcome related to knowledge, understanding, and communication skills. It will be aimed to foster quality higher education in academic research, and contributing to society, states the varsity. Standing Committee and curriculum revision committee member, Dr Rasal Singh said, its an appreciable step to do amendment in curriculum occasionally. “Time to time revision of curriculum is an appreciable initiative. By ensuring broader participation of all stakeholders, such initiatives become more meaningful, enriching and democratic. Students directly get benefitted by Learning based curriculum and the university also gets international recognition.”
New Delhi: Ujjwala-man Dharmendra Pradhan is set to become India’s longest-serving Oil Minister as he set out for a second stint, during which his priorities he said will be to raise domestic oil and gas production, expedite creation of national gas grid and create common market-friendly infrastructure.Pradhan is the only oil minister after Atal Bihari Vajpayee government’s Ram Naik to have completed full five-year term. But unlike Naik, he has been reassigned the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, which he had made a common household name through the free LPG cooking gas connection scheme Ujjwala in the first stint. Late Murli Deora too had a five-year stint – from January 2006 to January 2011, as the oil minister but it was split over two governments, both led by the UPA. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoCWith Prime Minister Narendra Modi reposing faith in him again, Pradhan is set to break the records of Naik and Deora to be the longest-serving Oil Minister of the country. Hailing from Odisha, where his almost weekly visits and thousands of public meetings helped create a groundswell for the BJP in the state, he paid obeisance at Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri in the morning before coming to the national capital to take charge as the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citationsIn Modi 2.0 government, he has also been given additional charge of Ministry of Steel. He took charge of that ministry as well. “First five years of Modi government had seen several reforms, many projects and many new initiatives in the oil and gas sector. Those will continue and many more reforms will be ushered in,” he told reporters after taking charge as oil minister. The fruit of reforms undertaken during 2014 and 2019 will now be reaped, he said. “Creating a common infrastructure, market-friendly infrastructure will be the priority”. While the Ujjwala scheme helped take cooking gas to almost 90 per cent of households in the country, creating a grid of pipelines will help take the environment-friendly fuel the eastern and southern parts, which were left out of the gas revolution. Natural gas reaching eastern states will help the industralisation of the region and create jobs. “The work that we did in the last term will be expedited to see a comprehensive completion,” he said, adding city gas projects in 400 towns will be implemented expeditiously. “Many more policy reforms will be ushered in,” he said. Son of former Union minister of state for surface transport, Debendra Pradhan, he steered one of the two biggest social initiative of Modi 1.0 government. Besides providing free cooking gas (LPG) connection to poor women under Ujjwala scheme, the other big social initiative was to provide electricity connection to every household in the country. While he micromanaged implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjawla Yojana to see LPG customer base more than double to 26 crore in just five years, he kept Odisha central to his political priorities and virtually drove many a project in the oil ministry to the state. A tough taskmaster, Pradhan was picked to head the high-stake Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas when Prime Minister Modi first rode to power in 2014. He overhauled controversy-riddled oil and gas sector but kept touring his home state virtually every week during the last five years, building a base for the BJP. This paid off when BJP clinched 8 out of 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha, up from just one in 2014. It also improved tally in the state assembly to 23 from 10 previously.
Paris: Australian tennis legend Rod Laver, the last man to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time twice, backed current world number one Novak Djokovic to repeat the feat at this year’s French Open. The now-80-year-old Laver won calendar Grand Slams in 1962 and 1969, the first year all four majors were professional, to write his name into the history books. But Serbia’s Djokovic, who first held all four when he won his maiden Roland Garros title in 2016, is hunting him down after adding the Australian Open trophy earlier this year to his 2018 Wimbledon and US Open titles. Also Read – We don’t ask for kind of tracks we get: Bowling coach Arun”I’m probably favouring Novak at the moment and then Rafa (Nadal) and then it goes down the line. Then it’s who’s going to play who,” said Laver on Monday. “I marvel at someone like Novak with his ability and his consistency.” Laver, an 11-time Grand Slam title winner, also thinks Djokovic is capable of becoming the first man since himself 50 years ago to win a calendar clean-sweep. “He’s won all four at one time or defending champion at all times, so he’s already done that portion of it,” he said. “But I think more so when I look at today, he just won the Australian, so, now he’s in line to win a Grand Slam. “It’s a long way to go, he’s only got one, but this is probably, for him, I would think, it’s probably the toughest.”
Zurich/New Delhi: Money parked by Indian individuals and enterprises in Swiss banks, including through India-based branches, fell by nearly 6 per cent in 2018 to 955 million Swiss francs (about Rs 6,757 crore) to hit its second-lowest level in over two decades, Swiss National Bank data showed Thursday.Aggregate funds of all foreign clients of Swiss banks also fell by over 4 per cent to CHF 1.4 trillion (nearly Rs 99 lakh crore) in 2018, as per the annual banking statistics released by the Zurich-based central banking authority of Switzerland. However, the ‘locational banking statistics’ of the Bank for International Settlement (BIS), which the Indian and Swiss governments had said last year was a more reliable measure for deposits by Indian individuals in Swiss banks, showed a greater fall of 11 per cent for 2018. According to the SNB, its data for ‘total liabilities’ of Swiss banks towards Indian clients takes into account all kinds of funds of Indian customers at Swiss banks, including deposits from individuals, banks and enterprises. This includes data for branches of Swiss banks in India, as also non-deposit liabilities. The funds, described by the SNB as ‘liabilities’ of Swiss banks or ‘amounts due to’ their clients, are the official figures reported by the banks and do not indicate the quantum of the much-debated alleged black money held by Indians there. The official SNB figures also do not include the money that Indians, NRIs or others might have in Swiss banks in the names of entities from different countries. The SNB data had shown the total liabilities of Swiss banks towards Indian clients rising by over 50 per cent in 2017 to CHF 1.01 billion (Rs 7,000 crore), reversing a three-year downward trend. However, the quantum of such funds has fallen again in 2018 to CHF 954.71 million, which includes about CHF 15 million held through fiduciaries or wealth managers. This is the second-lowest total since CHF 723 million recorded over two decades ago in 1995. The lowest ever amount of CHF 675 million, ever since Switzerland began making the data public in 1987, was recorded in 2016. As per the latest figures, the total customer deposits of Indian clients rose to CHF 572 million in 2018, but funds held through banks fell to CHF 104 million, while money parked through securities and other instruments and via fiduciaries also declined. On the asset side, Swiss banks saw a marginal increase in the amount due from their Indian customers to CHF 212 million (from CHF 210 million in 2017). In comparison, the BIS data showed that the total amount outstanding to non-bank or individual Indian clients of Swiss banks fell to USD 84.6 million at the end of 2018 (by 11 per cent from USD 94.8 million at the end of 2017). The fall was much larger at 44 per cent during 2017. The BIS publishes quarterly figures, which shows that these funds rose during the first quarter of 2018 (to USD 100.9 million), but declined in the three remaining quarters of the year.
New Delhi: In an attack on the Economic Survey released by the government on Thursday, senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram said that the government seems to be ‘pessimistic about the economy’.”It appears to me that the government, speaking through the Economic Survey, is pessimistic about the economy,” he said soon after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the survey in Parliament, a day before the Union Budget. Also Read – Balakot strikes show major shift in govt’s handling of terror attacks: IAF chiefHitting out at the government, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said that the survey has exposed BJP’s hyperbole on the economy. “The survey that was tabled in the Parliament on Thursday is truer than the multiple tall claims of the BJP government, even though it attempts to whitewash the massive failures and gross economic mismanagement of the BJP-led government in the past 5 years,” Surjewala said. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal expressed concern over “worrying signs” for country’s economy, pointing to “virtually stagnant” GDP growth rate, as the Economic Survey report was presented in Parliament on Thursday. See P7
New Delhi: Healthcare services at several government hospitals, including AIIMS and RML here, were disrupted on Thursday as resident doctors went on a strike and withdrew all services including that at the emergency department to protest a key legislation that seeks to regulate the medical education sector. Resident doctors have threatened to continue the strike for an indefinite period if the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill is tabled and passed in Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder Resident doctors will refrain from working in OPDs, emergency departments and ICUs as a mark of protest. Amid widespread protests by the medical fraternity, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in a tweet on Wednesday night said he would table the NMC bill for consideration and passage in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. He also assured countrymen that the “historic” bill, if passed, would bring “mega changes in the medical education sector”. The bill, which seeks to replace the graft-tainted Medical Council of India (MCI), had got the nod of Lok Sabha on July 29. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings Dr Sumedh Sandanshiv, president, Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA), charged that the bill was “anti-poor, anti-student and undemocratic”. Resident Doctors’ Associations (RDA) of the AIIMS, RML and some other hospitals in the city had given notices to the respective administrations regarding the strike on Wednesday. Several Delhi government hospitals too have joined the the stir on the call of FORDA. “OPD services are closed and no new cards will be made for any patients. Services are expected to be hit in emergency department too, but we will try to manage,” LNJP MS Dr Kishore Singh told PTI. LNJP is the largest facility under the Delhi government. Resident doctors at AIIMS will hold a demonstration on Thursday and march towards Parliament in the afternoon. Following the strike notice, several hospital authorities have put in place contingency plans for the smooth functioning of healthcare services as a part of which emergency services will function with the help of sponsored residents/pool officers and faculty members. “In addition, faculty members of other medical/surgical departments wherever applicable will also be deployed in the emergency. Further ICUs will also be managed with the help of sponsored residents/pool officers and faculty members. “Inpatient (general and private) wards patient care services, labour room and maternity operation theatre (OT) and support services will function normally and will be supervised by the faculty of hospital administration concerned,” according to the contingency plan drawn by AIIMS. While the out patient department (OPD), dialysis, radio-diagnosis and laboratory diagnosis services are scheduled to function on a restricted basis, routine operation theatre services will largely remain suspended on Friday, the authorities said. Emergency cases of operations will be taken up as per requirement while for routine OT services patients will be taken up for surgery as per feasibility and mutual agreement between concerned faculty of surgery and anaesthesiology. The Indian Medical Association (IMA), which has also expressed reservations over several sections of the bill, had given a call for a 24-hour withdrawal of non-essential services on Wednesday across the country. It has warned in a statement that it will intensify the agitation if the government continues to be “indifferent to our concerns”. At a joint meeting of representatives of the FORDA, the URDA and the RDA-AIIMS held on Tuesday, it was resolved to oppose the NMC Bill, 2019 in its current form. “It is to inform all concerned that a gross breach of medical ethics and utter disregard for the noble profession in the form of the NMC Bill has been passed in Lok Sabha and is also scheduled to be tabled in Rajya Sabha.” “The provisions of the said bill are nothing short of draconian and promote gross incompetence and mockery of professionals currently working day and night and sacrificing their youth for this broken system.” “If it is tabled in its current form in Rajya Sabha without any amendments, the medical fraternity across the country will be forced to resort to extreme measures, which may hamper healthcare services nationwide. We will withdraw from essential and non-essential services from hospitals for an indefinite period,” the AIIMS RDA, the FORDA and the Untied-RDA said in a joint statement. The bill was passed by Lok Sabha on Monday even as thousands of doctors protested against it across the country. It provides for setting up of a National Medical Commission in place of the MCI for development and regulation of all aspects of medical education, profession and institutions. The fraternity claims that the bill will encourage quackery. Doctors are demanding certain amendments in the bill. According to them, if not amended, the bill will lead to deterioration of medical education and degradation of healthcare services. They are objecting to section 45 of the bill, which, they claim, empowers the Union government to override any suggestion of the National Medical Commission. “The autonomy and pride of the entire medical fraternity has been surrendered to whims and fancies of politicians and bureaucrats even as the Union health minister is a doctor himself,” AIIMS RDA president Amarinder Singh Malhi and president of its students’ union Mukul Kumar had said in a joint statement.