QBullet: Kerala Brings Down IMR; Pranab Mukherjee on DU Protests

1. Kerala as Good as US, OECD in Saving Newborn Children

Kerala's infant mortality rate (IMR) — the number of children under the age of 1 who die for every 1,000 born — has been brought down to 6, a level equal to that of the US and the average for developed nations, according to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) of 2015-16.

(Photo: iStock)

To put it in perspective, if India, with a current IMR of 41 could get it down to 6, around seven lakh children would be saved each year.

Kerala continues to be way ahead of other Indian states on this measure, the closest big state to it being Tamil Nadu with an IMR of 21. Paediatricians and public health experts in Kerala, however, are more sceptical than overjoyed at the new numbers.

Over 60 percent of infant mortality is neonatal mortality (death within the first 28 days of birth). Most of these deaths are due to prematurity, low birth weight and asphyxia at birth.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: India Has the Highest Rate of Infant Deaths Due to Premature Birth

2. RSS Leader Puts Bounty of Rs 1 Crore on Kerala CM Pinarayi’s Head

Blaming Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for the alleged murders of 300 Sangh workers in the state, an RSS leader on Thursday announced a bounty of Rs 1 crore on the CM’s head.

Addressing a programme in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain, Sah-Prachar Pramukh Kundan Chandrawat accused the Left-ruled government in Kerala of planning attacks on those working for the saffron outfit. He also sought to ‘remind’ the Kerala government of carnage in Gujarat that followed the Godhra train burning.

Kundan Chandrawat, RSS LeaderThey killed 56, we sent 2,000 to the graveyard.

He said he gave the statement in his personal capacity and not as a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh member.

(Read the full story on The Quint)

Also Read:
Bomb Hurled at RSS Office in Kerala, Three Workers Left Injured
Kerala Political Killings: CPI(M) Intimidating CBI, Says RSS

3. Demonetisation Will Have Positive Impact on Indian Economy, Says World Bank CEO

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to ban high-value banknotes as part of efforts to stamp out corruption will have a profound and positive impact on India’s economy, World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva has said.

Georgieva told Hindustan Times that “demonetisation” may have caused some hardship to people living in the cash economy but in the long run the move will help foster a clean and digitised economy.

What India has done will be studied (by other countries). There hasn’t been such demonetisation in a country so big.

The World Bank CEO’s praise is the latest for Modi’s 8 November decision, which culled 1000-and 500-rupee bills with immediate effect, triggering a months-long cash crunch. In November, the International Monetary Fund said it supported India’s efforts to fight corruption through currency control measures, which have since eased.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read:
Exclusive | If We Can Demonetise, We Can Do Anything: Subramanian
RBI Didn’t Want Demonetisation, But Modi Govt’s Bullying Worked

4. No Water, Impossible to Build SYL Canal: Punjab to Supreme Court

Depleting water flow makes it impossible to build the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, said Punjab in the Supreme Court on Thursday, reaffirming a stand that successive governments in the state have taken.

Also, Punjab argued that a 2004 state law that terminated water-sharing agreements with its neighbours was never challenged or declared unconstitutional.

The top court had struck down the law last November during a hearing in which Punjab defended its argument that the project cannot be executed because of decreasing water level.

The court reiterated later that the canal be built, saying: “Whether the water was there or not or it’ll be there only in the rainy season or how much quantity was being maintained could be sorted out later.”

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read:
SYL Row: Legal Team Constituted to Advice Punjab on SC Ruling
Sutlej-Yamuna Canal Row: Congress, SAD, AAP Scramble to Cash in

5. BSF Constable Tej Bahadur Yadav Alleges Conspiracy

BSF constable Tej Bahadur Yadav, who had in January posted a video alleging that troops were being served bad food, has in a fresh video claimed that he is being mentally tortured and that his phone has been tampered with to show that he has friends in Pakistan.

“I want to tell you that my phone was taken away on 1 January and then they did something to it. They said that I have contacts with people from Pakistan. However, I request you not to believe any of these rumours until I make a video myself,” Tej Bahadur is heard saying in the video.

He has also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come out in his support as he is being targeted for exposing corruption.

(Source: Indian Express)

Also Read:
Tej Bahadur Is Not Alone: Jawans Share Grim Reality of BSF, CRPF
Rajnath Vows Action After BSF Jawan’s Emotional Video Goes Viral

6. Gurgaon Pub, Bar Owners Relieved After Exclusion From SC's Liquor Ban

Thousands of visitors, employees and managers of various bars and pubs in CyberHub, Sector 29, Gurgaon and those along the Sohna Road expressed happiness after hearing the news that the Supreme Court ban on sale of liquor is not applicable to them, but only to liquor vends.

The total number of bars in Andhra Pradesh will increase to 1,100 from the current 780. (Photo: iStock)

While visitors said this decision will save these places from being shut down, the employees said their livelihood would have been destroyed had the ban been applied on them.

Earlier, excise department officials in Gurgaon had identified 43 liquor vends and 143 pubs in the red zone, including CyberHub and Sohna Road, along the state and the national highways.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read:
Gurgaon Bars Forced To Raise Foreign Liquor Prices by 300%
Not a Joke: Gurgaon’s CyberHub Could Go Dry From 1 April

7. Pranab Mukherjee on DU Protests: No Room for Intolerant Indian

Days after a Delhi University student came under vicious attack on social media, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said India couldn’t afford the "intolerant" tag.

There should be "no room in India for the intolerant Indian", he said in Kochi.

India has been, since ancient times, a bastion of free thought, speech and expression. Our society has always been characterised by the open contestation of diverse schools of thought and debate as well as discussion. 

"Freedom of speech and expression is one of the most important fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution. There must be space for legitimate criticism and dissent," he added.

Mukherjee voiced his pain over the incidents involving Delhi University. Students, he said, should engage in discussion rather get into a conflict mode.

(Read the full story on The Quint)

Also Read:
Kargil Martyr NOT Gurmehar Bearing the Brunt of Hyper Nationalists
Watch: Director of Gurmehar’s Anti-War Video Replies to Her Trolls

8. Assam: Sanskrit a Must Till Class VIII, Congress Says More Burden on Kids

The Sarbananda Sonowal-led BJP government in Assam has made Sanskrit compulsory in all state board schools till Class VIII. Attacking the recent move, the Congress said it would “increase the burden on children”.

While the Congress has not dismissed the move outright, the government’s step has met with some criticism from the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).

Aminul Islam, AIUDF leaderThe government should have brought the matter to the Assembly so that the pros and cons of making Sanskrit compulsory could have been discussed.

The Sonowal cabinet in February decided to make Sanskrit compulsory till Class VIII.

The Congress has asked if Sanskrit could be made optional. “Making Sanskrit compulsory will only increase the burden on children. We would have been happy if Sanskrit was made optional… It would have been better if history and geography were re-introduced,” Debabrata Saikia, leader of the Congress.

(Source: Indian Express)

Also Read:
Sad State of Sanskrit in India and a Book’s Effort to Change It
Who Says Sanskrit Is Dead? It’s Rocking the Wiki World

9. 'Dangerous' Flyers to Be Kept off Skies

Misbehaving on a plane or doing anything that endangers flight safety and fellow passengers could soon mean getting debarred from taking to the skies again for some time.

A Jet Airways passenger aircraft. Image used for representation. (Photo: Reuters)

Aviation minister Jayant Sinha is finalising India’s own “no fly list” that will grade unruly acts committed by flyers and accordingly bar them from flying for a period ranging from a few months to a few years.

People who wish to fly on domestic routes now need to provide identity proof such as Aadhaar number, PAN card, passport or driving licence number at the time of booking tickets.

For international tickets, passport numbers and visa details have to be furnished.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: Sachin Tendulkar Just Put British Airways on India’s No Fly List

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