A long way ahead for children with disabilities

22 08 2014

A long way ahead for children with disabilities

© UNICEF India

Inclusion is not about inserting persons with disabilities into existing structures, but about transforming systems to be inclusive of everyone. When barriers exist, inclusive communities transform the way they are organized to meet the needs of all children’. UNICEF, 2007

18 August 2014 – In India, as elsewhere in the world, people and children with disabilities are too often invisible due to lack of availability of accurate data. Facing daily discrimination in the form of negative attitudes, lack of adequate policies and provisions, they are effectively barred from realizing their rights to healthcare and education.

India has achieved close to universal enrolment in primary education. However, the figures for children with disabilities are staggering: out of 2.90 million children with disabilities in India, 0.99 million (34.12%) children in the age group of 6 -14 are out-of-school. Percentage of out-of-school children is more in the group of children with intellectual disabilities (48%), speech (36%) and multiple disabilities (58.6%) as compare to other types of disabilities. (SRI-IMRB Survey, MHRD, Govt. of India, 2009).

Children with intellectual disabilities have seldom seen their rights fulfilled in our society. And, to make the matters even more complicated, experts believe that many schools are still not ready to equip themselves for the special needs of children with disabilities. Some schools are even wary about admitting them in their schools.

© UNICEF India

The Rights to Education (RTE) Act 2009 provides clear guidelines about inclusive education and emphasises on the rights of all children, including children with disabilities.

‘It is a challenging task’, says Niloufar Pourzand, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF office for Uttar Pradesh. She reiterates that ‘we must do all that we can to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities are realized. UNICEF is committed for the cause of children with disabilities and would continue to provide technical support to the state partners towards inclusion of all children in schools and in the society.’

At a recent workshop in Lucknow organized by Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (national programme on Education for All in India), UNICEF and School for Potential Advancement and Restoration of Confidence (SPARC), participants focused on key challenges of identifying and mainstreaming of children with intellectual disabilities, children with cerebral palsy and children with autism spectrum disorder.

Most were unanimous in their view that there has to be a convergent approach to address these issues. While we need to hire more itinerant teachers or special teachers who are more like roving teachers, we must also look at the curriculum itself.

© UNICEF India

The key to addressing the needs of children with disabilities would include: development of the early childhood interventions for children with disabilities, capacity building of Anganwadi Workers (centre based frontline workers of Integrated Child Development Services) on early detection and support for early childhood intervention, development of flexible curriculum for the needs of children with disabilities, preparation of qualified and trained teachers who are sensitive to the diverse needs of differently-abled children, and who are able to ensure that their attitudes, teaching practices and learning materials, and school environments are free from any biases or prejudices against certain groups.

While the dream of achieving the goal of RTE can only be realized when education system addresses the issue of inclusion, there is also a need to raise awareness amongst parents that like other children, these children have their dreams and aspirations too, and like other children, they have rights too.

All children, All rights, Everywhere.

 

Sonia Sarkar

Communication Officer (Media) , UNICEF India

Tel (+91) 9810170289,9891861445;

Email: ssarkar@unicef.org

 

United Nations Children’s Fund

UNICEF House, 73 Lodi Estate, New Delhi,

Follow us on  Facebook   Twitter  and at  www.unicef.in





Gov. Scott: Florida Tourism on Pace for Another Record Year

22 08 2014

 

Tourism-Related Employment Has Lead the State in Growth for 52 Straight Months  

Mumbai, 21st August, 2014: Governor Rick Scott announced that according to VISIT FLORIDA’s preliminary estimates* 24.0 million visitors came to Florida in the second quarter of 2014 (April-June), an increase of 3.0 percent over the same period in 2013.  This represents the largest second quarter for visitation Florida has ever experienced, exceeding the previous high of 23.3 million in Q2 2013.  Visitor spending is up 7.4 percent in January through May 2014, at $35.7 billion, which is more than the same time period in 2013.

 

Governor Scott said, “A thriving tourism industry is vital to growing jobs, and today’s report that Florida has experienced another record quarter for visitation is great news for Florida families. This year we invested $74 million into VISIT FLORIDA, and set a goal to have 100 million visitors visit the Sunshine State, which we are well on our way to reaching. Together we are creating an opportunity economy, and continuing to grow more jobs for Floridians with more than 1.1 million individuals employed in the growing tourism industry.”

 

The average number of direct travel-related jobs in Q2 2014 was also a record high, with 1,151,400 Floridians employed in the tourism industry – an increase of 3.9 percent or 43,600 jobs from the same period in 2013.

 

VISIT FLORIDA estimates that 2.8 million overseas visitors and 1.0 million Canadians came to Florida in Q2 2014, both of which are record highs and represent 6.2 percent and 1.6 percent increases over Q2 2013 respectively.  Estimates reflect a 2.6 percent increase in domestic visitors to Florida in Q2 2014 and show that Floridians took just over 3.7 million in-state pleasure trips during the second quarter.

 

“Experiencing the largest second quarter for tourism in our state’s history, including a record number of tourism-related jobs, proves that this industry continues to be a vital force in Florida,” said Andrew Hertz, Chair of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors.  “These records also emphasize the power of tourism as a way to sustain Florida’s economic growth.”

 

Tourism and recreation taxable sales for Florida grew year-over-year for January-May 2014 (last reported month), representing a 7.4 percent increase over the same period in 2013.  Bed Tax also increased year-over-year for January-April 2014 (last reported month), representing a 10.1 percent jump over the same period last year.  Other indicators were up for Q2 2014 as well, with the average daily room rate (ADR) rising 7.0 percent, the occupancy rate for Florida hotels increasing 4.8 percent and the demand in rooms sold growing 5.5 percent compared to quarter two 2013.

 

“Florida tourism is maintaining strong momentum with all indicators up across the board for the quarter,” said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA.  “With occupancy, rooms sold, average daily room rate and tourism and recreation taxable sales all continuing to climb, we are well on our way to making Florida the No. 1 travel destination in the world.”

 

To view additional Florida visitor data, please go to the Research page on VISIT FLORIDA’s media website.

 

*Preliminary estimates are issued 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter. Final estimates are released when final data are received for all estimates in the report.

 

Warm Regards,

 

Anagha Nabar

Manager Corporate Communications

 

3B, Victoria Plaza,
SV Road, Santacruz West
Mumbai – 400 054
India





Bollywood stars come together in London to support children’s education in India

22 08 2014

 

From: Sonia Sarkar <ssarkar@unicef.org> Thu, 21 Aug ’14 6:32p

To: <recipients undisclosed>

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London, 21 August 2014

Bollywood actress and UNICEF India Goodwill Ambassador Sharmila Tagore and actress and UNICEF Celebrity Advocate, Kareena Kapoor Khan are pictured with former BBC war correspondent and UNICEF UK Ambassador, Martin Bell OBE, and UNICEF UK Deputy Executive Director, Anita Tiessen at The Ritz on Wednesday evening (20th August) for a dinner to support UNICEF’s education work for children in India.

Speaking at the event, Sharmila Tagore, who is celebrating ten years as a UNICEF India Ambassador, said; “Over the last ten years, I’ve seen first-hand, the work UNICEF does to ensure that the rights of every child are realised. Education is one such right. It is the passport to life; without it children are less healthy, less skilled, have fewer choices and less hope for their future. Yet, sadly, access to education still remains a challenge, for millions of children in India. I am privileged to be associated with UNICEF and support their work to improve the lives of children in India.”

UNICEF India Celebrity Advocate, Kareena Kapoor, urged guests to pledge their support for UNICEF, commenting; “I recently visited Rajasthan with UNICEF to see child friendly schools and to meet some of the girls and boys that are benefitting from these programmes. I was inspired to see spaces which are child friendly. These are places where children are full of joy when they interact with teachers, where children feel safe and secure and where interactive and creative tools are used to ensure that children are happy and learning.”

Anita Tiessen, UNICEF UK Deputy Executive Director, said; “Sadly quality education still remains a challenge in India, particularly for girls – where the dropout rate at primary level is 41%. This is often because of attitudes towards the value in girls having an education or schools not having adequate and safe sanitation facilities. When girls drop out of school they become more vulnerable to child marriage, early and unsafe pregnancies, and it has a lasting impact on their future earning power.

“By working with the Government and partners to roll out our education programmes in India, UNICEF can ensure more children, both boys and girls, are going to school, learning, and have a better chance of reaching their full potential.”

For more information about UNICEF’s work in India please visit www.unicef.org/india<http://www.unicef.org/india>

For more information about UNICEF UK please visit www.unicef.org.uk<http://www.unicef.org.uk>





Bollywood stars come together in London to support children’s education in India

22 08 2014

 

From: Sonia Sarkar <ssarkar@unicef.org> Thu, 21 Aug ’14 6:32p

To: <recipients undisclosed>

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UNICEF_UK_image.jpg97.90 KBDownload

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India_pledge_dinner_press_release_v2.docx18.94 KBDownload

ATT00002.htm0.16 KBDownload
London, 21 August 2014

Bollywood actress and UNICEF India Goodwill Ambassador Sharmila Tagore and actress and UNICEF Celebrity Advocate, Kareena Kapoor Khan are pictured with former BBC war correspondent and UNICEF UK Ambassador, Martin Bell OBE, and UNICEF UK Deputy Executive Director, Anita Tiessen at The Ritz on Wednesday evening (20th August) for a dinner to support UNICEF’s education work for children in India.

Speaking at the event, Sharmila Tagore, who is celebrating ten years as a UNICEF India Ambassador, said; “Over the last ten years, I’ve seen first-hand, the work UNICEF does to ensure that the rights of every child are realised. Education is one such right. It is the passport to life; without it children are less healthy, less skilled, have fewer choices and less hope for their future. Yet, sadly, access to education still remains a challenge, for millions of children in India. I am privileged to be associated with UNICEF and support their work to improve the lives of children in India.”

UNICEF India Celebrity Advocate, Kareena Kapoor, urged guests to pledge their support for UNICEF, commenting; “I recently visited Rajasthan with UNICEF to see child friendly schools and to meet some of the girls and boys that are benefitting from these programmes. I was inspired to see spaces which are child friendly. These are places where children are full of joy when they interact with teachers, where children feel safe and secure and where interactive and creative tools are used to ensure that children are happy and learning.”

Anita Tiessen, UNICEF UK Deputy Executive Director, said; “Sadly quality education still remains a challenge in India, particularly for girls – where the dropout rate at primary level is 41%. This is often because of attitudes towards the value in girls having an education or schools not having adequate and safe sanitation facilities. When girls drop out of school they become more vulnerable to child marriage, early and unsafe pregnancies, and it has a lasting impact on their future earning power.

“By working with the Government and partners to roll out our education programmes in India, UNICEF can ensure more children, both boys and girls, are going to school, learning, and have a better chance of reaching their full potential.”

For more information about UNICEF’s work in India please visit www.unicef.org/india<http://www.unicef.org/india>

For more information about UNICEF UK please visit www.unicef.org.uk<http://www.unicef.org.uk>





“Using Trade to Beat Inflation’

22 08 2014

Dr. Rajiv Kumar

To Me
Today at 11:46 AM

 

Dear Mr. Sagar,

I am forwarding my Mail Today column titled “Using Trade to Beat Inflation’ that appeared on Friday 15th August. Your comments and feedback are as always welcome.

With Best Regards,

Rajiv Kumar
USING TRADE TO DEFEAT INFLATION

Economic data in July on industrial growth and inflation have been disappointing. Industrial sector growth slowed to 3.4 per cent in June 2014 with the manufacturing sector, the largest component, growing at an anaemic 1.8 per cent.

This is worrisome because it reversed the rising trend of the previous two months despite the negative growth in June 2013. While a cyclical industrial recovery may well be in the making, it is still fragile. It needs nurturing and reinforcing by the government, taking the necessary steps to make business environment more friendly. In this regard the continuing spat between the ministries of commerce and finance on doing away with MAT on SEZ promoters is not a good sign, as it sends out confusing signals and shows lack of coordination.

Concerns

But the more worrying set of statistics was the rise in retail inflation to 7.96 per cent in July 2014, which also reversed the declining trend observed since December 2103. This will raise consumer angst against the government. It will also lower the prospects of an interest rate cut by the RBI that could reignite growth and investment in an environment in which credit off-take remains very poor. And finally, rising inflation always provides the political opposition with a long handle to beat the government with, thereby putting it on the defensive.

Retail food inflation continues to persist at near double digits (9.36 per cent in July) despite the high base of 11.22 per cent in July 2013. In the case of food inflation, it is the same old story with the prices of proteins (eggs, fish, meat), milk and fruits and vegetables leading the inflationary charge. The principal culprits have once again been fruits and vegetable where inflation in July 2014 has come in at 22.5 per cent and 16.8 per cent respectively. This could only worsen as monsoons continue to disrupt supplies and demand becomes stronger with the onset of the Hindu festival season.

Clearly, measures taken by the new government have failed to make any significant dent in inflation. These measures have been largely in the nature of ‘administrative’ steps of raids against hoarders and issuing of non-bailable warrants against them. I am genuinely surprised that the government continues to expect this ‘district magistrate’ type of approach to yield results in economic management. It should surely realise by now that it does not. Apparently, even the removal of fruits and vegetables from the APMC lists in Delhi has not had dampening effect on prices. Farmers have clearly been unable to find alternated channels for selling their products.

One way forward could be for the government to incentivise NDDB to scale up their successful Safal venture and enter wholesale markets more aggressively.

The medium-term solution for controlling food inflation can only and only be raising production of commodities in short supplies and also improving yields and productivity so that costs per unit decline. Unfortunately, investment is shy of entering into the production of these perishable goods because actual and perceived risks are much higher than in crops enjoying minimum support prices. This necessitates some radical thinking.

Measures

The absence of large-scale organised retailers, like supermarkets, has resulted in meagre investments in logistics and backend infrastructure between farm gates and markets. Consequently, wastage remains high. It is indeed surprising that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has not uttered even a word on the persistently high and worsening food inflation or about any measures to raise production or productivity. I hope this does not reflect a lack of sensitivity to the aam aadmi’s travails.

It seems that after having announced those ineffective administrative measures, the government has virtually thrown up its hands about trying to control food inflation in the short term. Let it first be understood that a price rise or inflation is only a symptom of the supply-demand imbalance. Hoarding, if and when it happens, reflects the traders’ expectations of upcoming supply shortages.

De-hoarding can only bring very temporary respite, if any, and is not a solution. Therefore, it is critical that the government considers some other supply augmenting measures, which alone will help to rein in food inflation and reverse inflationary expectations.

Two such measures can be considered right away. One, the government should liberalise agriculture imports and lower import duties on fruits and vegetables to a flat 10 per cent. That will bring downward pressure on prices and offer real competition to traders by augmenting supplies. At present fruits attract a rather wide range of import tariffs ranging from 25 per cent for grapefruits to 50 per cent for apples, 70 per cent for coconut inners and 105 per cent for dried grapes. The majority of fruit varieties, as also nearly all the vegetables, however, attract an import tariff of 30 per cent. The rationale, if any, for differentiated import duties on fruits is not clear to me. At least in the case of vegetables this has been made uniform at 30 per cent with imports from preferred destinations charged at 20 per cent.

Results

Vested interests will raise the bogey of such import duty reduction hurting our poor farmers. This is not only spurious but horribly dishonest and disingenuous. The reduction in import prices will only affect the margins of the traders and unscrupulous intermediaries and will have no affect on farmers’ incomes, because they receive a fraction of the price anyway. It can hardly be brought down any further without stoppage of supplies completely. India’s balance of payments will also not be much affected. In 2013-14, India imported about `4,000 crore of fruits and vegetables – that is less than $1 billion.

These imports have been rising at nearly 20 per cent over the last three years. Even if these imports grow at double the rate as a result of reducing the import duties it will not have any serious impact on our current account, given their very low base. The second immediate step should be to minimise non-tariff barriers that plague importation of food stuffs into India. From high-end products like Lindt chocolates to poor man’s consumption items like ginger from Nepal, the entire range of food imports are subject to long procedural delays, arbitrary and frequent changes in regulations and unpredictable rent payments. Testing laboratories, located far from the borders, take weeks to give their reports and often only on payment of speed money. It is high time that India removed these non-tariff barriers and opened its markets for fruit and vegetable imports from neighbouring countries.This will have the twin benefits of winning friends in our neighbourhood and also augmenting food supplies to rein in inflation. Most importantly, it will demonstrate to the traders, hoarders and speculators the government’s determination to fight food inflation, which ultimately hurts the poor most of all. It is time that the Government thought a bit less administratively and a bit more imaginatively to defeat inflation.

Author is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research. He is also the former Director of ICRIER and former Secretary General of FICCI. <





AIIMS Sanjiv Chaturvedi issue : sack Harshvardhan if he does not resign

22 08 2014

 

From: Media Cell AAP <mediacellaap@gmail.com> Thu, 21 Aug ’14 5:07p

To: undisclosed-recipients:;

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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) demands the immediate resignation of union health minister Dr Harshvardhan failing which the Prime Minister should sack him for his illegal action of having approved the shunting out of whistleblower officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi from the post of Chief Vigilance Officer of AIIMS.

It is shameful that the health minister is defending his shocking action to save his skin, but either he is ill-informed or is deliberately trying to mislead the nation for his blatant compromise with corruption.

AS the CVO of AIIMS, Chaturvedi had recommended CBI probes in scams involving top officials of AIIMS and the AAP is making public nine of these important cases.

Dr Harshvardhan’s action flies directly in the face of Prime Minister’s recent statement that he will not allow anyone to indulge in corruption and loot. There are enough indications of involvement of more ministers in the AIIMS issue and the AAP will reveal more details in coming days.

What is further damning is that the NDA government has even surpassed the record of the previous UPA government in the harassment of this honest officer.

In the previous UPA regime, after being transferred 12 times in five years by the Congress state government of Haryana, which also implicated him in half a dozen false cases and even suspended him, the Prime Minister’s Office had intervened to get him a central deputation and the President had quashed his suspension orders.

Now, when Chaturvedi’s tenure was fixed till June 2016, on which basis has he been divested of the CVO’s responsibility ?

The AAP is making public the letter written by the health ministry on May 23 to AIIMS, in which the ministry has mentioned that BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP JP Nadda had objected to Chaturvedi’s appointment, but this objection was overruled since the appointment was as per the rules (Please find enclosed a copy of this internal letter, which was approved by none other than the health secretary).

On what basis has Dr Harshvardhan forced the health ministry to do a u-turn and reverse its stand within three months ?

Why Mr Nadda wanted Chaturvedi out from the CVO’s post was because on his recommendation, the CBI had registered a case of corruption against Mr Vineet Chaudhary, a Himachal Pradesh cadre IAS officer, when he was posted as Deputy Director at AIIMS. (Details attached with this press release along with other cases probed by Chaturvedi as CVO).

The NDA government’s latest action is the third suspect decision of its direct compromise with corruption.

Earlier, on July 23, the union home ministry issued a completely unjustified notification to restrict the powers of Delhi’s Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB), in a desperate bid to prevent it from probing the Rs 54,000 crore natural gas pricing scam involving two former ministers of the UPA government.

This was followed by the union petroleum ministry’s affidavit in the Delhi High Court, where it refused to back the ONGC stand that the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) was stealing gas from its fields in the KG D6 basin off Andhra Pradesh coast.

 

Regards,

AAP Media cell





PRESS INVITE

22 08 2014

 

From: shabnam hashmi <shabnamhashmi@gmail.com> Thu, 21 Aug ’14 2:42p

To: shabnam hashmi <shabnamhashmi@gmail.com> and others

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PRESS INVITE

 

Subject: A Panel Discussion : Right to Choose & Politics of Love Jihad

 

Dear Sir/ Madam,

 

DHANAK and ANHAD are jointly organizing a panel discussion of the topic of “Right to Choose & The Politics of Love Jihad” at 1st Floor, Press Club of India, Raisina Road, New Delhi on 22nd August 2014, between 3 to 6 pm. Eminent speakers and couples in interfaith/caste marriage will share the challenges and experiences related to mixed marriage, the right to choose and the politics of ‘Love Jihad’.

 

August 22, 2014

3-6pm

Press Club of India, 1st Floor, Raisina Road, New Delhi

 

Introduction: Asif Iqbal

3-4pm

Panel 1: Prof Apoorvanand, Seema Misra, Shabana Siddiqui & Manish Garg

4-5pm

Panel 2: Nivedita Menon,Tehmina Arora , Munnalal Verma & Razia Kazmi

5-6pm

Panel 3- Jagmati Sangwan, Manisha Bhalla, Paul Divakar, Shweta Verma, Yusra Yamin

 

Kindly depute a reporter and  a photographer to cover it.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Shabnam Hashmi

Asif Iqbal








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