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Monday, January 30, 2012

Help available for the needy - and it's free

1. If you see children Begging anywhere in INDIA , please contact: "RED SOCIETY" at 9940217816. They will help the children for their studies. 2. Where you can search for any BLOOD GROUP, you will get thousands of donor address. 3. Engineering Students can register in to attend Off Campus for 40 Companies. 4. Free Education and Free hostel for Handicapped/Physically Challenged children. Contact:- 9842062501 & 9894067506. 5. If anyone met with fire accident or people born with problems in their ear, nose and mouth can get free PLASTIC SURGERY done by Kodaikanal PASAM Hospital . >From 23rd March to 4th June by German Doctors. Everything is free. Contact : 045420-240668,245732 "Helping Hands are Better than Praying Lips" 6. If you find any important documents like Driving license, Ration card, Passport, Bank Pass Book, etc., missed by someone, simply put them into any nearby Post Boxes. They will automatically reach the owner and Fine will be collected from them. 7. By the next 10 months, our earth will become 4 degrees hotter than what it is now. Our Himalayan glaciers are melting at rapid rate. So let all of us lend our hands to fight GLOBAL WARMING. -Plant more Trees. -Don't waste Water & Electricity. -Don't use or burn Plastics 8. It costs 38 Trillion dollars to create OXYGEN for 6 months for all Human beings on earth. "TREES DO IT FOR FREE" "Respect them and Save them" 9. Special phone number for Eye bank and Eye donation: 04428281919 and 04428271616 (Sankara Nethralaya Eye Bank). For More information about how to donate eyes plz visit these sites. 10. Heart Surgery free of cost for children (0-10 yr) Sri Valli Baba Institute Banglore. 10. Contact : 9916737471 11. Medicine for Blood Cancer!!!! 'Imitinef Mercilet' is a medicine which cures blood cancer. Its available free of cost at "Adyar Cancer Institute in Chennai". Create Awareness. It might help someone. Cancer Institute in Adyar, Chennai Category: Cancer Address: East Canal Bank Road , Gandhi Nagar Adyar Chennai -600020 Landmark: Near Michael School Phone: 044-24910754 044-24910754 , 044-24911526 044-24911526 , 044-22350241 044-22350241 12. Please CHECK WASTAGE OF FOOD If you have a function/party at your home in India and food gets wasted, don't hesitate to call 1098 (only in India ) – It’s not a Joke, This is the number of Child helpline. They will come and collect the food. Please circulate this message which can help feed many children. AND LETS TRY TO HELP INDIA BE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE IN Please Save Our Mother Nature for "OUR FUTURE GENERATIONS" Please don't delete this without forwarding. Let it reach the 110 Crores

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Suicides in the last three weeks (Jan 2012)

Suicides in the last three weeks in Mumbai an outskirts 1] SSC kid hanged : died 2] HSC kid hanged . died 3] Banker jumped down died 4] Banker's g.f jumped: alive 5] F.Y student jumps from 12th floor. alive 6] 10th std student jumps from high rise: alive 7] Woman jumps down from 7th floor: dies 8] Patient [HIV +] jumps down from a hospital: dies 9] Young man jumps after diagnosed of CANCER jumps .dies 10] 8th std girl from Vasai hangs herself . dies 11] 10th std topper jumps down from the 14th floor .dies Doesn't this shock You???????? Call Aasra- or inform those you feel need help. 91-22-27546669(24x7) Helpline for the depressed and suicidal

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Crisis in School system

crisis in school system Posted by: "Sheetal - Karmayog" Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:46 am (PST) Wipe the Blackboard Clean....URMI GOSWAMI Only when schools and teachers are empowered can there be a visible difference in outputs Two reports, Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Annual Status of Education Report in Rural India (ASER), leave no doubt that there is a crisis in the country's school system. Children, even when they attend school, are not learning as well as they should. This is not new. The response has been to stress on interventions to improve the 'quality', particularly of government schools. This debate needs to be anchored in facts if we are to avoid jumping to the conclusion that the government school system has failed or that it doesn't require the exchequer's support. First, there is a difference between learning the 3Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic), textbook learning and learning to think. ASER surveys children's skills of basic reading and maths skills at primary school or class-V level using standard texts. PISA tests critical thinking in maths, science and reading; it doesn't measure memorisation, rather demands drawing on knowledge and real-world problem-solving skills. Second, low learning levels plague the entire Indian school system. The focus has been on government-run schools. Though not quantified to the same extent, the learning problem is experienced in private schools as well. The problems revealed by ASER are likely to be less evident in private schools, because these schools cost money, pre-supposing that children who attend it have the requisite home environment and resources to buttress their school learning. Third, as the biggest education provider, problems in the government system are more evident. One reason why low learning outcomes is a bigger problem in government schools is because most of these children come from poor, disadvantaged and marginalised families, and often they are the first-generation learners. Given the sheer size of the government school system and the diversity, devising toscale solutions is difficult. Fourth, there has been a perceptible rise in the enrolment in private schools. Just about anyone with a bit of surplus money is sending their children to private schools. Two factors that contribute to this migration are teacher apathy and aspiration. A standard complaint is that teachers in government schools are not interested in teaching; often don't even come to the class. In private schools, because the management has far greater oversight, teachers - even when paid, according to some studies, only 20% or just 10% of a government teacher's salary - are seen in classrooms. Private schools invariably address aspirational issues such as teaching English and computers. So, the perception is that only private schools can help peopl

Thursday, January 26, 2012

3 commit suicide in Mumbai daily

Alarming: 3 commit suicide in Mumbai daily Posted by: "Sheetal - Karmayog" Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:35 am (PST) Alarming: 3 commit suicide in Mumbai daily....JAYPRAKASH S. NAIDU
With incidents of suicide occurring every single day and little help coming from the state government to curb this menace, more attention is required to curb it In Mumbai at least three persons ( 3.13) committed suicide in Mumbai every single day since 2005 till November 2011 states statistics available with the Mumbai Police. With incidents of suicide occurring every single day and little help coming from the state government to curb this menace, more attention is required to curb it, felt psychiatrists and crisis intervention centres in Mumbai. Dr. Harish Shetty, a psychiatrist fears that suicides may become an epidemic. Speaking to around 80 students of a few colleges at National College in Bandra, Shetty tried to sensitise young students towards the factors that may lead one to feel suicidal and how his/ her friends and relatives may avert it. Using a little bit of humour, Shetty taught students how to deal with common feelings of anger ( resentment), hatred, frustration, helplessness, incompetence, anxiety, fear, disgust, victimisation, waste of time and being useless. These feelings along with avoidance, rejection, over- involvement or over- protection may lead to suicidal feelings and can be heeled by providing hope and confidence or love and humour, explained Shetty. Senior lecturer of Tata Institute of Social Sciences ( TISS), Katy Gandevia who for 14 years has helped to revive people feeling suicidal through a dedicated helpline service said, " Strengthening ones coping skills is required by parents. Also, counselors are required in every school to teach daily living skills and group discussions." Further, Shetty sighted break- ups, exams and parental pressure/ behaviour as triggering factors and informed students that a youngster going through such situations must confront it and his/ her friend who perceive his/ her notions must try to give him hope and confidence or love and humour. Shetty further asked the students to spread the word and played an AR Rahman song, 'Choti si asha'just to boost their confidence. Speaking to FPJ, Gandevia as well as Shetty agreed that more needs to be done and the media should be sensitive while reporting. Gandevia said media is one of the contributing factors to suicides and must refrain from carrying visuals or dramatic coverage that attracts a smaller section of the society, triggering a suicide. In 2011 till November 1037 persons committed suicide. URL:

Simplify your life, Be the change

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness. - Henry David Thoreau - Life Is Easy ...When You Simplify "Life is easy" says Jon Jandai. "Why do we have to make it so difficult?" After pursuing "success" in Bangkok for several years, Jo dropped out of university to return to village life. There, he went back to the life he knew as a child, working 2 months of the year to grow rice (with an additional 15 minutes a day to grow vegetables), dug a couple of fish ponds, built his own homes using earthen bricks, and gave up buying clothes (he has so many clothes from friends and visitors that he has to give them away). Jo contends that to be happy, we cannot just rely on money; we have to reconnect with each other. { read more } Be The Change What "want" can you forego that will simplify your life? Make that mental shift today.

Decriminalisation of suicide a must!

Suicide must be 'decriminalized' Posted by: "Sheetal - Karmayog" Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:20 am (PST) Suicide must be 'decriminalized' ....Shibu Thomas & Sumitra Deb Roy Decision To Slap Criminal Charges On Versova Woman Sparks Off Fresh Debate On Need For Change In Law Every day more than 273 people commit suicide in India, and around one lakh annually. And, if death doesn't get you, the law definitely will. The Mumbai police's decision to slap criminal charges on a woman from Versova who attempted suicide after seeing her friend commit it has once again sparked off a debate about a need to change the law. Legal experts agree that decriminalization of suicide is long overdue and the law commission as well as a recent Supreme Court (SC) judgment have recommended it. "A person who tries to commit suicide is not committing a crime but seeking help. Instead, the law today brands him as a criminal,'' said advocate Aniket Nikam, who practices in the Bombay high court. "The law should come to the aid of such persons by looking to rehabilitate them, not send them to prison.'' Under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, attempting suicide is a punishable offence. The provision says: Whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offence shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with a fine, or with both. The Indian government had spoken about deleting the provision in the 1970s but little came out of it. The Bombay high court in 1987 had held that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution includes the right to live as well as the right to end one's life if one desires, and had struck down Section 309. The SC upheld the view in 1994. But in 1996 a five-judge constitutional bench of the apex court ruled otherwise and held that the fundamental right to life did not include the right to live. It held that Section 309 was constitutionally valid. That remains the law of the land today, though the law commission in a report in 2008 had recommended decriminalization of Section 309. "It is unreasonable to inflict punishment upon a person who, on account of family discord, destitution, loss of a dear relation or other cause of a like nature, overcomes the interest of self-preservation and decides to take his own life. In such a case, the unfortunate person deserves sympathy, counseling and appropriate treatment, and certainly not prison." Last year, the SC, while ruling in the Aruna Shanbaug euthanasia case, told Parliament to delete Section 309 as it has become "anachronistic though it has become constitutionally valid". A bench headed by Justice M Katju remarked, "A person attempts suicide in a depression, and hence he needs help, rather than punishment." The Union government has undertaken steps to delete Section 309 and has obtained the consent of 25 states. Mental health professionals have pushed for the decriminalization of suicide and having a more sympathetic approach towards victims. "The nitty-gritties of decriminalization can be worked out but the basic concept is wrong and needs to change,'' said Dr Sanjay Bagadia, vice-president of the Bombay Psychiatric Society. Psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty called the act of booking the woman as "atrocious" and said, "It will cause more trauma to an already traumatized victim." Shetty said that at any given point of time, 500-600 patients, who are admitted to hospitals, are those who have tried to take their lives. "Why selectively victimize her when so many similar patients who have attempted selfharm are left without an FIR," he said. How to handle people with suicidal tendencies * Do not act shocked, stay calm, keep talking to individual * Get help immediately by calling a suicide prevention helpline or a medical professional * Listen carefully to every word the person says and comfort with words of encouragement * If the person is in a very high risk of committing suicide, do not leave him/her alone till there is professional help * Try to learn what is going on in the person's mind * Do not be judgmental or make inappropriate statements * Police dealing with victim should shed image of negotiator/arbitrator and be gentle and kind WARNING SIGNS * Saying things like 'life is not worth it' * Winding up behavior * Suddenly indifferent to events and people around * Sympathizing with other suicide victims * Stops taking medication How The World Sees It - INDIA Under Section 309 of the IPC, a person who attempts suicide, can be criminally prosecuted. If found guilty, the offence is punishable with a jail term of one year. One who abets suicide of another can be punished with a prison term of up to 10 years - UK Suicide was a crime till it was decriminalized in 1961 - US Attempting suicide is no crime; helping someone commit it is - SINGAPORE A person who attempts to commit suicide can be imprisoned for up to one year - AUSTRALIA While it is not a crime to commit suicide, in the state of Victoria, a person who survives a suicide pact can be charged with manslaughter - NORTH KOREA Relatives of a person who commits suicide can be 'collectively punished' HELPLINES: Aasra(24x7) 91-22-27546669/7 Times View Very few events in life can be as traumatic as an unsuccessful suicide attempt. To treat a person, who is trying to recover from such an attempt, as a criminal is inhuman. The Versova woman's case is the most recent example of total non-application of good sense and a blinkered application of the law. She has first had the misfortune of seeing her boyfriend die a violent death; she has been affected so much so that she tries to end her life -in a similarly violent fashion-within a couple of days. She lands in hospital. The doctors try to heal her physical wounds; the mental scars would, hopefully, heal but that would take some time. But, even as she battles all this, she finds herself a criminal in the eyes of law. Does she really need to be treated like this? Should she-and her immediately family-be put through even more trauma of going through a case at the police station and in court? Should she not be treated as a patient who needs help from experts? Do people who attempt suicide deserve to be traumatised even more by society and law? Our law-makers need to ask themselves all these questions as soon as possible to ensure the law takes a more rational and less Kafkaesque view of suicide. URL: Experts say it's an urgent public health issue....Sumitra Deb Roy The medical fraternity has reacted strongly after the police booked a woman from Versova for attempting suicide even as she is battling injuries at the Kokilaben Ambani Hospital in Andheri. The medical professionals were unanimous that suicide is not a law & order problem but an urgent public health issue. Mumbai, particularly, has seen an overwhelming increase in suicides in the past few years. Figures recently released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) showed that 1,192 Mumbaikars took their lives in 2010. The number was 13% more than that in 2009, and the reasons included family problems, illness, unemployment and exam-related failure. City hospitals, particularly civic ones, have jumped into designing programmes to educate community leaders, mohalla committees and institutions to read signs of disturbed minds. Sion Hospital has initiated an outreach programme in which its psychiatry department, in association with mental health professionals, started sensitizing mohalla committees, police officials, and school and college managements on signs of suicide and ways to help vulnerable ones. KEM too has designed a module for its students and has prepared suicide prevention programme CDs for schools. Psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty said suicides are a public health issue and the city's stressful lives and shifting aspirations could be some reasons for it. "Suicides as a health issue can not be ignored anymore," he said. A specialist from the Bombay Psychiatrist Society added that with the incidence of suicides rising, it is important to understand the issue in Mumbai's context. "It could be a personal act but the behaviour is determined by individual and social factors," the doctor said. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that it is the thirteenth leading cause of death worldwide, and one of the leading causes of death in teenagers and young adults. Psychiatrist Sanjay Kumawat said more suicides in women, senior citizens and students is a worrying trend. "It needs sensitive handling by the police and society," he said. URL:

First Aid worshop at Aasra on 29th jan 2012, 5.15 pm

First Aid workshop (suicide intervention) Date: Sunday 29th January 2012, 5.15 pm Language of Instruction: English (with mock drills) Venue: Aasra center( - for address and directions) Facilitator: Ronald Van Woerkom(Final Year medical student , Netherlands) Assists: Aasra volunteers Open to all. Limited seats only.Please call and register to attend. Helpline: 91-22-27546667/9

How to reduce stress at the workplace- Wall street journal

By RUTH MANTELL Your workload has increased, so have your boss's expectations. But scaling back could mean losing a job. Talk about stress. Paul Baard, an organizational and motivational psychologist at Fordham University's graduate business school in New York, knows just how stressful a work environment can get. He has consulted with athletes in the high-stakes, high-pressure world of professional sports. What secret has he passed along to those clients? When you are in a slump, you can still contribute by encouraging your teammates. Enlarge Image 15MWc 15MWc Christoph Hitz Rather than burdening a team with distracting self-doubt and pity, try to help others, he advises. "In order to remain self-motivated, research has found that the innate psychological need for competence must be satisfied," Mr. Baard says. "This drive pertains not only to the ability to do a job but to achieve something through it—to have impact, to contribute. A way an employee can expand opportunities to satisfy this need is to help her team succeed by encouraging others, even if her direct contributions are limited." Click Here to View Other Health & Wellness Articles Age, occupation and family circumstances, among other factors, can all play a part in how workers respond to different stressors. But experts say there are steps that can help you take control of your happiness at work this year. Find meaning in your tasks. Commitment to a goal beyond self-promotion can help a worker manage stress levels, says John Weaver, a psychologist at Psychology For Business, a Brookfield, Wis.-based employment consultancy. Several years ago, Mr. Weaver consulted for a long-term-care facility in Wisconsin that had flooded. Because of the water damage, the residents and employees had been forced to move into an already occupied facility. Employees felt cramped and annoyed, he says, and pettiness abounded. To help the workers regain a positive attitude, Mr. Weaver asked each person this question: Why do you do this work? "People don't work in nursing because it pays so much or it's glamorous or it's easy," he says. "As they heard the question you could see their attitude change. They could see the reasons why they needed to work together, to put aside difficulties and compromise, and residents were treated better." Remembering why you are in a business can help you manage stress, Mr. Weaver says. While working on his dissertation, Rick Best, now a health-services scientist for Lockheed Martin, researched stress among nurses who work with veterans, a group that faces high demands with low resources. One might have expected elevated levels of burnout. But there were high levels of satisfaction. "The meaning they got from their job was high," says Mr. Best. "They went into the profession of nursing to help people. As a consequence, they derived much meaning from what they were doing, and they were better able to handle stress." Reduce your expectations. Given how much energy employees devote to their job, there can be quite a few expectations wrapped up in work. Workers often look to employers for career, socialization, and personal and intellectual growth opportunities. "With so many expectations, it's no wonder that work can't meet all of that. So we get disappointed, but I don't know that work could fulfill all those things," says Ken Pinnock, associate director of employee relations and services at the University of Denver. Due to so many layoffs in the last few years, many have lost friends and colleagues, and have realized that job security, taken for granted at times, is gone. There have also been cuts when it comes to extras, such as educational opportunities, celebrations and room for career advancement. There can be an element of loss when employees realize that the workplace has changed. However, personal and professional goals can still be pursued without an employer's support. "The way back from this is to try to gain perspective about work, realizing that we are still ultimately in charge of our careers and work, and we don't have to turn to our employers to develop ourselves, or look to them to be responsible for us," Mr. Pinnock says. Look at "challenges," not "problems." Rather than perceiving problems at work, look at them as challenges. "The people who approach work as an opportunity to learn are much more satisfied with their jobs and performance, and find themselves eager to take on new challenges," Mr. Weaver says. "They aren't trying to prove that they are the smartest. They are more likely to learn from their own experiences and mistakes." Setting intermediate goals can also help workers derive a sense of accomplishment, and keep pace with longer-term targets, Mr. Best says. Write to Ruth Mantell at

Sunday, January 22, 2012

AasraVolunteerSpeak-Problem of plenty … Why having more choices is not always good?

In today’s world, there is an explosion of choices. We have more choices than ever before. But are we better of with so many choices? Well on surface it looks quite logical that more choices are always good. But recent research strongly suggests that, psychologically, this assumption is wrong. Although some choice is undoubtedly better than none, more is not always better than less.

When people are faced with having to choose one option out of many desirable choices, they begin to consider hypothetical trade-offs. They begin searching for the most ideal option. They evaluate options in terms of missed opportunities instead of the opportunity's potential. They become compulsive comparers. The sense of lose is caused due to having let go other opportunities. One of the costs of making a selection is losing the opportunities that a different option would have afforded. This leads to anxiety and sometimes opportunity costs may create enough conflict to produce paralysis i.e. one chooses to not chose at all. People start deferring there decisions because of fear of anticipated regret i.e. if they chose wrong alternative.

Even if one is able to chose, the satisfaction out of that choice suffers. One may do well objectively but feels worse. Losing opportunity of the good parts of other options make even good choices look less good. Unchosen possibilities linger forever. Feeling of regret also creeps. You start blaming yourself for not choosing the most appropriate option. When there are so many options, chances increase that a really good one is out there, and you feel that you ought to have been able to find it. It’s easy to imagine a better alternative. End result is under appreciation and self blame. But when there are limited number of options what one really does is he blames the world and there is blame-sharing which leads to no regret.

So what does all this mean? Does it mean that we would all be better of if our choices were severely restricted, even eliminated? I do not think so. The relation between choice and well-being is very complicated. Some choices is better is than none but there is some magical number (which I do not know) after which additional choices starts showing negative effects. (P.s: The views expressed in this post are entirely that of the author)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Stress and Coping workshop for 10th,11th and 12th std students of Municipal school at Shiravne

Workshop conducted at Kala Kendra, Shiravne village, near Nerul .70 particpants included students and parents. Facilitator : Johnson Thomas, Director, Aasra Host: Children of the World

51 % of colleges dont have principals, RTI query reveals

51% of city colleges don't have principals Posted by: "Sheetal - Karmayog" Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:06 am (PST) 51% of city colleges don't have principals....Prajakta Chavan RTI QUERY REVEALS 319 out of 620 posts in 24 streams are vacant As many as 51% colleges under the University of Mumbai do not have principals. According to information obtained by an activist under the Right to Information Act (RTI), 319 out of 620 principal posts in the colleges registered with the university are vacant in 24 streams. Some of the renowned city colleges in law, management, commerce, arts, engineering, aviation, architect do not have principals, revealed the reply received by Anil Galgali, RTI activist. Altogether, 28 out of 35 law colleges, 50 out of 137 arts, science and commerce colleges and 12 of the 14 architect colleges do not have a principal. "These figures are shocking as the situation at an educational institute can be chaotic if the principal is missing," said Dr Marie Fernandes, principal of St Andrews College, Bandra. The principal also serves as a common link between the education department, the Mumbai University, the college management and the college. "The absence of a principal could adversely affect coordination with the above agencies and subsequently the future of thousands of students," added Fernandes. A university official said, "Every year the university sends a circular to all colleges to appoint a principal as per university standards, which is compulsory 15 years experience and a Phd degree. Since colleges find it difficult to get eligible candidates, they do not appoint principals." University officials, however, say the situation is not that bad. "The university constantly follows up with colleges for the appointment of full-time principals. In addition, the colleges must be appointing ad-hoc authorities to take care of dayto-day administration," said Dr MS Kurhade, Mumbai University Registrar. URL:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Tragedy of Childhood in India

The tragedy of childhood Posted by: "Sheetal - Karmayog" Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:00 am (PST) Cafe Economics The tragedy of childhood....Niranjan Rajadhyaksha The pathetic state of Indian children is at odds with high hopes about the potential of a country with a young population It is not easy being a child in India. The results of a survey conducted by the Citizen's Alliance against Malnutrition and the Naandi Foundation showed last week that far too many Indian children continue to be malnourished. Millions of children under the age of six are underweight, stunted or anaemic. It is well understood that the first six years have a lasting impact on future productivity as well as quality of life. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called it a national shame. Two independent reports on how little children are learning in school tell a sorry story as well. A global study of learning outcomes places India (more specifically the states of Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu) at nearly the bottom of a pile of 74 countries. Only schoolkids in Kyrgyzstan did worse. Shanghai (a proxy for China) topped the league table in all three categories: reading skills, mathematics and scientific literacy. The latest report by activist group Pratham shows that fewer than half of the class V students tested could read the class II textbooks. Learning outcomes have fallen in recent years. Also, the two issues of malnutrition and poor educational outcomes could be linked: various studies show that inadequate nutrition in early childhood can affect school performance. To be sure, there are signs of gradual progress in many indicators of child welfare. Infant mortality continues to fall. School enrolment is now almost ubiquitous in even poor communities. Dropout rates have come down. The data on child malnutrition suggests that matters have improved a bit compared with the results of the third National Family Health Survey of 2006. However, the progress has been slow. Consider the data on infant mortality. India has to cut its child mortality rate by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015 if it is to meet the fourth of the eight Millennium Development Goals that countries have agreed to. Data from the World Bank shows that India had an infant mortality rate of 81.4 in 1990; it has to thus bring this down to around 28 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2015. The latest data shows that there were 50 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2010, three points down from the previous year. Even a reduction at the current rate-3 points a year-will not help India reach its target. This pace of decline is inadequate given what India has committed to. The pathetic state of Indian children sits tragically at odds with the high hopes about the economic potential of a country with a young population in an ageing world. A country with such poor quality of future human capital could find it hard to absorb people into the modern sectors of its economy. It is well known that a vast majority of even Indian graduates are unemployable. Though throwing more money at the problems will not help by itself, it is worth seeing how much money the Indian government spends each year for the next generation. The numbers are not explicitly released, but one civil society organization has been assiduously parsing the annual budget statements to understand how much money is allocated to programmes that help children either directly or indirectly. Such analysis by HAQ Centre for Child Rights shows that in the national budgets from FY05 to FY09, an average of 4.45% of total government spending was allocated to children. Of the money spent each year, an average two-thirds is spent on education, one-third is spread equally between health and development programmes, and there is a minuscule portion spent on the protection of children. There is no single explanation for these failures to provide adequate nutrition and effective schooling. Some critics see in them an indictment of economic reforms. Others point to state failure. The paradox of weak human development amid rising incomes suggests that many problems have deep social causes, which is why India often comes out worse on these parameters than even some of the basket cases in sub-Saharan Africa, where incomes are lower and state capacity is weaker. For example, the persistence of malnutrition across income groups is also a result of factors such as gender equality (pregnant women do not get extra nutrition), caste rules (diets in many social groups are not well diversified), public health systems (the abysmal state of drinking water) and ignorance (inadequate breast feeding of babies or lack of micronutrients such as iron and folic acid supplements). The problems faced by Indian children arise out of complex reasons, and thus need a multi-pronged attack. Not every problem can be solved with higher budgetary allocations to flagship programmes such as the Integrated Child Development Services. Yet, there can be no denying the state of the Indian child is nothing to write home about. It's not something that a country that is betting on a demographic dividend should either be proud or confident about. Niranjan Rajadhyaksha is executive editor of Mint. Comments are welcome at URL:

CSR not mandatory for Public Sector companies says Veerappan Moily

CSR not mandatory for private sector companies: Moily Posted by: "Sheetal - Karmayog" Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:24 am (PST) CSR not mandatory for private sector companies: Moily The government on Wednesday clarified that the new Companies Bill is not going to make spending on CSR activities mandatory for companies. "There is some misconception among the public that CSR will be mandatory...I would like to make it clear that it is not at all correct," Corporate Affairs Minister Veerappa Moily told reporters at the National CSR Conclave here. According to Clause 135 of the Companies Bill, 2011, every company with a net worth of Rs 500 crore or more, or turnover of Rs 1,000 crore or more, or a net profit of Rs 5 crore or more in a financial year, will have to form a CSR committee consisting of three or more directors, of which at least one director should be an independent director. Moily further said the government's initiatives on CSR are strong enough and this is the first time in the world that companies have been mandated to constitute a board for formulating CSR policies. "So this should show that we are serious enough. If for some reason the company fails to do so, the board will prepare a report explaining the reasons for doing so and give it to the shareholders," he said. In addition, he said the government is continuously updating the CSR guidelines for companies across all sectors. "We are trying to build up a CSR culture in the country like in the West and all companies are on board with us on this issue," Moily said. On being asked why there is no provision for penalising companies that do not comply with the CSR provisions, he said, "The CSR is a rule of law and not a rule by law. So we are confident that the companies will come up with new avenues to execute CSR... so there is no question of penalising them." Unlike the provisions stipulated for private companies in the new corporate law, spending on CSR activities is mandatory for PSUs and non-adherence to the guidelines attracts penal action. Under the CSR provisions for PSUs, a company with a net profit of less than 100 crore will have to spend 3-5 per cent of it on the CSR. Those PSUs with a net profit of Rs 100-500 crore a year will have to earmark 2-3 per cent of it for CSR. A company with a bottomline of Rs 500 crore and above will have to set aside 0.5-2 per cent for CSR activities, which should preferably be related to its business as a natural corollary. According to the norms, investment in CSR should be project-based and mere donations to philanthropic/charity bodies would not be treated as this activity. Furthermore, expenditure related to staff benefits will not be counted as CSR. URL:

The crisis in the Indian Education sytem

The crisis in learning: why increased spending is not improving outc Posted by: "Sheetal - Karmayog" Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:22 am (PST) The crisis in learning.....Rukmini Banerji Why isn't increased spending on education translating into better outcomes for children? The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2011 was released on January 16. Data collected from 558 rural districts, over 16,000 villages, 3.3 lakh households and 6.3 lakh children point to two clear national trends. Both of these need to be better understood, as they have important implications for growth and equity in India. First, nearly 50 per cent of rural children (age 6-14) pay for their education either in a private school or to a private tutor and benefit from this personal investment. As far are private inputs into elementary education are concerned, Indian states and regions can be neatly categorised into slabs. On the one hand, states in the northern belt - Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh - have private enrollment levels that are above 30 per cent, and rising. In the Northeast, more than 40 per cent of all rural children in Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya are enrolled in private schools. South of the Vindhyas, between 30 to 40 per cent of rural children in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh go to private schools. And then there is Kerala, where children attending government schools are now in a minority (at 40 per cent). On the other hand, there are states like Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal, where private school provision is low and most children attend government schools. Here the additional supplement for learning comes in the form of "tuition" classes . On average, across Std 1-5 close to 50 per cent of all children take paid classes outside of school. Adding together the proportion of children who go to tuition classes along with those who go to private schools we find that half of all children access some form of private education services. The HRD ministry's calculations for 2008-10 suggest that the current average per child expenditure by government is close to Rs 6,314 per year. The budget for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Government of India's flagship scheme for elementary education, has gone from Rs 7166 crore in 2005-2006 to about Rs 21,000 crore last year. Despite the rising expenditures on elementary education, parents seem to be increasingly "voting with their feet" and choosing private options. In the last five years since ASER started its annual measurement, private school enrollment across rural India has gone from 18.7 per cent to 25.6 per cent and some states getting close to the 50-50 mark. If this trend continues, then it is not impossible that in five years, children going to government schools will become a minority in India. The second headline from ASER 2011 has to do with the low level of basic learning outcomes of children, especially in reading and arithmetic. This estimate is half of all children in Std 5 cannot read Std 2-level text. Forty per cent of Std 5 students cannot correctly solve a 2-digit subtraction problem with borrowing. But this is not news anymore. For the last six years, ASER has been reporting similar findings. What is new is the hint that the already low levels may be witnessing a further decline. This year's ASER findings indicate that learning levels are lower as compared to last year, especially in government schools in the Hindi-speaking states. Domestic efforts at measurement of learning outcomes such as the annual ASER surveys, periodic studies by Educational Initiatives and NCERT are increasing. There is also an accumulating body of research by internationally known academics such as Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, Karthik Muralidharan and Lant Pritchett. Taken together, these point to a serious and deep crisis in learning in primary schools. The recent, much publicised PISA 2009+ result is the latest addition to the list. Many of these studies go beyond pointing to the problem, they also outline what "works". The growing body of empirical evidence shows that the increased expenditures in education are not translating into better outcomes. Yet, the Central government remains steadfastly focused on inputs and outputs and does not seem able or willing to bring issues of children's learning to the centre of the stage either in policy or in practice. There is no shift towards tackling the problem of low learning in a direct manner. Nor is there any effort to understand how expenditures can be made more effective in terms of learning outcomes. In a way, the provisions and norms of the RTE are used to justify the continued thrust on inputs. Much of the substance of the results framework of the annual planning documents in elementary education continue to be concerned with infrastructure, teacher recruitment and training. There is only a fleeting mention of reporting of learning outcomes towards the fag end of the list. In the SSA planning documents, there are only two line items where states and districts can directly plan and implement learning improvement programmes if they should wish to do so. These are (a) the innovation grant of Rs 1 crore per district, and (b) the learning enhancement programme. Together these account for less than 1 per cent of the total education budget (and 3 per cent of SSA budget in 2010-11). Expenditure tracking efforts by Accountability Initiative indicate that these expenditures are slow and tend to happen towards the end of the financial year (which is also the end of the school year). Expenditure on teacher training is about 2 per cent of the total SSA budget in 2010-11. Given the current guidelines by Government of India, it is not clear how a massive push for improvement of learning outcomes will be fuelled, if at all the government at any level should want to do so. The writing on the wall is clear and it is getting bigger and bolder each year. Ordinary people are able to read it. People are voting with their feet and trying to effectively use the resources they have to get the "best" education their money can buy. But policy makers and planners and those who control the expenditure of public funds on education are either unable or unwilling to read this writing on the wall. Without basic education, the future of children is grim. If 100 million children today do not get even the basic skills of reading and arithmetic, it is unlikely that India will grow into a mature economy or a mature democracy. The right to education promises many things. In addition to teachers in every class, drinking water, boundary walls and so on, it speaks of quality education at the appropriate age-grade for all children. By just providing inputs we are not bringing in equity. Unless the entire expenditure and the effort behind the provision of schooling is translated effectively into learning outcomes, the real battle for equal opportunity will be lost and our large and growing public expenditure in education wasted. The writer works with Pratham and ASER Centre URL:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Socialblood on facebook- Easy accesss to blood in emergencies

Karthik Naralasetty: socialblood saves lives Yahoo! India – Mon, Jan 16, 2012 Email Print Donating blood has gone the social network way, and has become much easier and accessible. is a social platform designed to serve a pool of emergency blood donors in 18 countries. All you have to do is become a member of the on Facebook. The brainchild behind this innovative service is 22-year-old Karthik Naralasetty. A Rutger school dropout, he started a technology company called redcode Informatics in 2009. By 2011, came into being. The idea behind this was sowed when he witnessed a family in India struggling to find regular blood transfusions for their four-year-old daughter to treat her for a genetic blood disease called thalassemia. Naralasetty says, “We created a social campaign that takes advantage of Facebook as a platform to connect citizens of the same blood group and quickly locate emergency blood donors. One of the most urgent needs in case of emergency is quickly locating blood donors so we created” Furthermore, there are eight Facebook groups for eight blood groups and is opened to the general public. Through the Blood Groups website, global citizens are asked to join a selection of eight different Facebook Blood Groups: A+, A-, B+,B-, AB+, AB-, O+ and O-. If there is a need for a specific blood type, a message will go out to all the members of that particular blood type group. In the coming days, socialblood plans to partner with hospitals and NGOs across the globe who are willing to take the advantage of the network and help people who need blood. Launched in July 2011, this social network has grown in leaps and bounds with over 2000 members as of today. Naralasetty expects to reach 10,000 members in all the groups by the mid of 2012. Their numbers in Brazil have been particularly impressive with 300 people joining their respective blood groups and sending out information and alerts in less than a week. In November 2011, he won the Staples Youth Social Entrepreneur Award for his work at Nalarsetty’s future plans include currently working on a website that allow users to sign up with their Facebook accounts, and using both data from Facebook and fetching the location data from the users’ browser, it’ll place them on a map. People searching for donors will then be able to press a button on the website and enter the blood type they require and the website will help them locate people within a five-kilometre radius who’ve registered as donors. If no one is found, the search is expanded to the entire city. Besides this, Naralasetty plans to work on Android and iPhone apps, too.

NRI family suicide in Dubai

Indian man, daughter found dead in suspected suicide attempt in Dubai By ANI | ANI – Mon, Jan 16, 2012
Dubai, Jan 15 (ANI): An Indian man and his daughter have been found dead inside their apartment in Dubai while his wife is hospitalised in a critical condition in an apparent mass suicide attempt. Rijesh, 32, his wife Sreesha, 30, and five-year-old daughter Avanti, from Kannur district of Kerala, were living in a building behind the Al Musalla Tower in Bur Dubai. According to Gulf News, Dubai police found the man hanging from the ceiling in his flat and his little daughter dead in her room without any apparent signs of what caused her death. The man's wife was found in the bathroom screaming hysterically after slashing her wrist and was hospitalized in a critical condition. According to sources, police were informed after the family did not respond to repeated calls by relatives on their phones, and the neighbours grew suspicious when the family did not respond to the doorbell. The incident has sent shockwaves across the community as residents are baffled by what could have pushed the young family to take such extreme measures. According to the report, Rijesh was working with a consultancy firm and recently moved to an electronics company and his wife Sreesha was working with a private company. The daughter was attending kindergarten at an Indian school. (ANI)

Friday, January 13, 2012

20 creative geniuses who were also mentally Ill

Dear Johnson My name is Emma from Just wanted to drop you a line as a new fan of (AASRA Suicide Prevention http It's great finding a blog with such informative resources and creative insights. On a related note, we recently published an article that deals with Mental Health, so we thought you might want to share it with your readers. It's called 20 Creative Geniuses Who Were Also Mentally Ill, and you can find it here: ( Thanks for your time, and keep up the great work! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Sincerely, Emma 20 Creative Geniuses Who Were Also Mentally Ill Jan 8th, 2012 Both serious academics and pop psychologists appear preoccupied over finding definitive links between mental illness and influential, brilliant creative output, with floods of studies attempting to make sense of it all. Whether or not such a connection genuinely exists, of course, will probably remain in the theoretical realm for the foreseeable future. One can certainly alter the course of human achievement without any sign of mental illness or distress. And, despite unfortunate, prevailing stigmas often painting those with psychiatric concerns as incompetent or incapable of accomplishing much of anything to their fullest potential, it is entirely possible to exist as both a genius and a troubled individual. Without the following thinkers, mankind would end up denied some incredible insight into the elations and despairs inherent to existence. To condemn them for the pain so many were both with — or conditioned into by external circumstances — is, in some ways, to condemn the species itself. Vincent van Gogh Probably more than any other influential, creative mind in history, renowned painter Vincent van Gogh is so often cited as the quintessential troubled artist. His tragic life ended in suicide at age 37, and experts continue debating what diagnosis afflicted him; bipolar disorder, complications from epilepsy, or schizophrenia remain the most popular candidates. According to his correspondence, van Gogh experienced at least two major depressive episodes, followed by intensely innovative periods. Sylvia Plath Lauded for her deeply personal writings, much of this great American poet's oeuvre illustrated the very real suffering she experienced as a result of bipolar disorder. Semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar pulled from Sylvia Plath's own personal experiences with self-mutilation, suicide attempts, depression, insomnia, paranoia, and other manifestations of her diagnosis. Following a grim suicide, her work eventually became integral in helping mainstream readers better understand how mental illness impacts patients. Ludwig van Beethoven Psychology was not exactly a cohesive discipline in Ludwig van Beethoven's time, of course, but that doesn't stop contemporary professionals from analyzing his personal letters and other writings. The brilliant composer admitted to harboring suicidal thoughts, and some experts believe his cycles between crippling depression and wildly fertile creativity signaled bipolar disorder. Other theories posit that a history of physical abuse at the hands of his alcoholic father, which may have instigated his eventual deafness, left him traumatized and troubled in perpetuity. Martin Ramirez Fans of art history and The New York Times both consider Martin Ramirez's collages and drawings some of the most essential examples of Art Brut (or "outsider art") ever. During his three decades in a California mental health facility, he produced hundreds of pieces, attracting attention for particularly showstopping line work. The completely self-taught Ramirez lived with schizophrenia, although debates continue waging over whether or not it held any significant influence over his eventual oeuvre. Virginia Woolf Virginia Woolf likely experienced bipolar disorder during an era when medical professionals proved poorly equipped to deal with the symptoms and presentations. Writing offered one of her only solaces for channeling the transitions between suicidal depression and overwhelming elation, as her doctors preferred isolationist bed rest worsening the condition. Unfortunately, the solution eventually drove the modernist author to drown herself as a means of quelling the emotional and physical torment stemming from both her diagnosis and the loneliness of the main treatment option. Elliott Smith A history of abuse as a child — details of which neither friends nor family will disclose — drove this influential, introspective singer-songwriter to depression, substance abuse, and suicide. In all likelihood, his heavy heroin usage acted as a means of alleviating both the lingering trauma and resulting descent into despair; even after jettisoning the habit, though, Elliott Smith's music garnered acclaim for its honest depiction of wrenching emotional (and physiological) pain. From a Basement on a Hill currently stands as one of the scene's most earnest albums exploring the internal struggles of the not-so-willingly alienated. Eugene O'Neill Depression ran in this Pulitzer and Nobel-winning playwright's family, afflicting at least both parents, a brother, and even his children, two of whom eventually killed themselves. Eugene O'Neill himself grappled against alcoholism in response to the condition, to the point he attempted suicide and spent a stint in the hospital. Adding to the tragedy, a misdiagnosis of Parkinson's Disease (which was more than likely late-onset cerebellar cortical atrophy in reality) meant he ended up ingesting drugs that did nothing for his increasing physiological pain, including tremors and brain shrinkage, which exacerbated his mental health in turn. Michelangelo Buonarroti Literal Renaissance man Michelangelo Buonarroti garnered almost as much fame for his nasty temper and antisocial tendencies as his genuinely breathtaking sculptures, paintings/frescoes, architecture, and (to a lesser extent) poetry. Along with severe knee, kidney, and bladder issues plaguing him for much of his existence, the brilliant artist's output features a common melancholic, sometimes defeatist or fatalistic, theme. Obviously, at this point one cannot present a definitive diagnosis, though mental health professionals believe first-person accounts of his erratic behavior reveal a man with bipolar disorder, clinical depression, or both. Brian Wilson Regardless of one's opinion regarding surf, pop, and psychedelic rock, nobody will deny that The Beach Boys left a significant impression on the music industry; frontman Brian Wilson typically earns most of the credit for their widespread success. A mélange of drug use, depression, and schizoaffective disorder plagued him with hallucinations, paranoia, bouts of overeating, and stints in bed sometimes lasting months on end. These days, Wilson does not shy away from detailing his experiences, hoping that the honesty will help others come to terms with their own mental health struggles. Amy Tan The Joy Luck Club still sits on English class syllabi across the nation, and for good reason; few novels delve so deeply into the oft-marginalized experiences of Chinese-American women with such deft insight. Author Amy Tan hails from a family plagued with depression and suicide, and when symptoms of the former started creeping in, she panicked to the point she denied herself valuable treatment. But once everything grew almost entirely unbearable, Tan courageously entered psychotherapy and started on a Zoloft regimen that met her personal needs. Edvard Munch Even individuals largely uninterested in the art world still know expressionist masterpiece "The Scream" through pop cultural osmosis (or, at least, news regarding a plethora of thefts and theft attempts!); artist Edvard Munch's entire body of work encompasses some truly amazing paintings, drawings, prints, and etchings beyond that, of course. Growing increasingly hermitic as time ticked forward, he oftentimes found himself crunched beneath despair due to his own poor health, losing his mother and sister at an early age, an emotionally estranged father, frustration with the art scene, and a mounting obsession with death. Anxiety and depression, as one can imagine, fueled some of his most powerful, memorable images — including his most famous piece. Kurt Vonnegut One of America's most beloved 20th century wits fell into such a heavy state of depression for a time — to the point he ditched his celebrated writing career almost entirely. Breakfast of Champions marked his emergence from the period, and Kurt Vonnegut also followed it up by openly talking about everything the experience entailed with the hopes of promoting mental illness de-stigmatization. Part of him, however, always thought that some degree of melancholia was absolutely essential in cobbling together literary masterpieces. Frida Kahlo For much of her troubled life, Frida Kahlo found herself forced to live with a staggering array of neurological, physical, and mental conditions; almost all ended up depicted in her art with the raw honesty that landed her a laudable spot in history. Decades-long battles with immense physiological pain eventually led her to start relying on increasingly heavy painkillers to dull the depression, which in turn stoked suicidal thoughts, especially after her art began declining in quality. She died of a pulmonary embolism instead of her own hand, but her masterpieces remain among the world's most effective, evocative creative depictions of pain ever produced. Woody Allen Anyone who's ever sat down with a Woody Allen film probably wouldn't be surprised to find out about his ongoing fight against depression, nor the fact that he uses comedy as a coping mechanism. The roles he assigns himself grow organically from his own perspectives, flaws, and experiences, serving as both self-assessment and an effective glimpse into how anxiety comes to shape a patient's life. Movies, however, do not offer the only creative solace — he has also written extensively about depression and anxiety, usually with a splash of his signature humor. Philip K. Dick Drug abuse, particularly hallucinogens, and mental illness involving visions (more than likely schizophrenia exacerbated by rampant LSD usage) almost singlehandedly kickstarted the entire cyberpunk genre. One of pioneer Philip K. Dick's seminal novels, VALIS, exists solely because of the visual and auditory experiences resulting from this mix. His depression, nervous breakdowns, and anxiety over a dead twin sister receive less attention than the other conditions, but still left a major mark on the science fiction classics he published. Mark Rothko Mark Rothko, the genius abstract expressionist, only started garnering his current acclaim after committing suicide in 1970. Episodes of crushing despair pockmarked most of his life, costing him his first marriage and requiring medication (which, tragically, he voluntarily overdosed on) to curb. Because Rothko also dealt with almost manic periods of lush creativity, leading some contemporaries and mental health experts to postulate that he may have experienced bipolar disorder comorbid with his depression. Daniel Johnston For most of his life, this acclaimed outsider artist and singer-songwriter has grappled with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, though none of that prevents him from enjoying a sizable fanbase. After moving to Austin, he earned attention by giving demo tapes to those falling within his orbit, quickly garnering enthusiastic listeners eager for his next live performance or art show. Many of Daniel Johnston's drawings feature pop culture fixtures like Captain America as well as his own imagined creations, such as Jeremiah the Innocent — of whom a very famous mural sits in his adopted Texas home. David Foster Wallace When renowned postmodernist author David Foster Wallace took his own life in 2008, friends, family, and fans reacted with both shock and understanding. For 20 years, he received both therapy and medication for severe depression, and an improperly coordinated switch between prescriptions may have very well triggered his unfortunate passing. The experiment ended up inspiring a far darker period than Wallace had ever encountered, sadly reflecting the realities of many individuals whose medications damage their brain chemistry beyond repair. Ian Curtis Joy Division vocalist Ian Curtis, one of the most iconic frontmen of post-punk, committed suicide at age 23 and launched a maelstrom of speculation which almost rivals that surrounding Kurt Cobain. Some blame his epileptic seizures, others his regular difficulties with woman (and, according to his family, everything else) for the debilitating depression encompassing his entire life — though nobody suspected it would end so tragically. Even before Curtis' death, Joy Division defined the British post-punk sound almost singlehandedly, and musicians today still consider them a major influence. Jackson Pollock A history of substance abuse and bipolar disorder ravaged one of the premiere (and obviously controversial!) abstract expressionists; in all likelihood, the former existed as a means of coping with the latter. A brilliant painter whose splattered works even now elicit either frothing mouths or enthusiastic hosannas, both conditions instigated major gulfs between his friends, family, and lovers alike. Evidence exists suggesting that Jackson Pollock struggled immensely with the extreme reactions to his art and mounting fame, which may have very well worsened his already stressful mental state.

How your memory works

Hi Johnson, I work with We recently published an article that you may be interested in entitled, “How Memory Works". I thought perhaps you'd be interested in sharing this article with your readers? After having followed your blog for a while, I feel that this one article would align well with your blog's subject matter. If interested, here's the link for your convenience: ( Either way, I hope you continue putting out great content through your blog. It has been a sincere pleasure to read. Thanks for your time! Regards, Jasmine Hall ------------------------------------------------------ How Memory Works
Via: Online Colleges Blog