Posted on Leave a comment

DU Exams: Delhi HC Directs Centre And Railways To Consider Providing Assistance To PwD Students Willing To Take Physical Exams In Delhi

first_imgNews UpdatesDU Exams: Delhi HC Directs Centre And Railways To Consider Providing Assistance To PwD Students Willing To Take Physical Exams In Delhi Karan Tripathi27 Aug 2020 5:53 AMShare This – xDelhi High Court has directed the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment to coordinate with the Ministry of Railways on providing timely reservation and subsidised tickets to students under Persons With Disability (PwD) category, who are living in remote areas and are willing to come to Delhi to participate in physical exams organised…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginDelhi High Court has directed the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment to coordinate with the Ministry of Railways on providing timely reservation and subsidised tickets to students under Persons With Disability (PwD) category, who are living in remote areas and are willing to come to Delhi to participate in physical exams organised by the Delhi University. While issuing notice to the Ministry of Railways, the Division Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad has directed all the three Ministries to submit separate affidavits on steps taken to ensure that PwD category students, from remote areas such as Bihar, UP and Chhattisgarh, are able to come to Delhi at least 5 days prior to the commencement of DU’s physical exams. The order has come in petitions filed by Prateek Sharma and National Federation of Blind, seeking adequate assistance for students falling under the PwD category and Visually Handicapped (VH) category for enabling them to take final year exams of the Delhi University. Today, Senior Advocate SK Rungta, who was appearing for the National Federation of Blind, informed the court that around 222 students under VH category would be opting for the physical mode of examinations. Mr Rungta further submitted that most of these students are living in remote areas of Bihar, eastern UP and Chhattisgarh, and it would be extremely difficult for them to arrange finances to come to Delhi to participate in the physical exams. While arguing that it is the responsibility of the state in these extraordinary times to financially support the PwD and VH category students, Mr Rungta assured the court that the expenses pertaining to the boarding and lodging of these students in Delhi will be borne by the National Federation of Blind. ‘It is easier for students in Delhi to arrange for scribes. However, students living in remote areas will not have similar arrangements, and they will be forced to come to Delhi to take the physical exams and arrange for scribes’, Mr Rungta argued. On the other hand, Senior Advocate Saurav Datta, who appeared for DU, informed the court that the University has provided the leftover students options to either physically appear for the exam or take it remotely and submit the answer sheets through email. While directing the concerned Union Ministries to work out a plan for assisting the PwD category students in remote areas, the court also directed NFB to provide a list of students of the total number of PwD and VH category students from remote areas, who would be willing to come to Delhi to take the physical exams, to all the concerned Ministries. In addition to this, the court also directed the Delhi University to add a paragraph in its examination notification stating that the leftover students from remote areas who fall under the PwD and VH categories and are willing to take physical exams in Delhi, are required to send their requests for the same to the University through email latest by September 04. Next Storylast_img read more

Posted on Leave a comment

Explainer: All you need to know about the govt’s food estates

first_imgFood distribution improvementThe food estates are deemed essential as the COVID-19 crisis has aggravated Indonesia’s food security issues.In late April, a month after the outbreak in the country, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo reported that key commodities, such as garlic, sugar, chili and chicken eggs, were in short supply in more than 20 provinces, while rice, a staple food for Indonesians, was lacking in seven provinces.The World Food Programme’s (WFP) Indonesia office has estimated that the country experienced a 13.2 percent year-on-year decline in rice production to 16.1 million tons in the first half of 2020.Making matters worse, the dry season looms on the horizon and may impact overall output of the agricultural sector, which employs more than a quarter of the nation’s workforce. Haunting mistakes of the pastDwi Andreas Santosa, an agriculture expert from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB), told the Post that history showed a series of government’s failures in developing food estates in at least the past 25 years.In the mid-1990s, President Soeharto’s administration sought to develop a similar project called Peatland Development (PLG) comprising around 1.4 million ha in Central Kalimantan. The Jokowi administration will use some of the former PLG land to develop its food estate.“I was part of the environmental risk analysis team. We had warned [the government] about the possibility of failing. And it totally failed,” Dwi said in a phone interview.“All of them failed because they ignored the scientific principles in their development,” he added. “To develop a food estate for food crops on a large scale, four important [requirements] must be met.”They are land and climate suitability, infrastructure for irrigation and transportation, cultivation and technological feasibility, as well as social and economic feasibility, according to Dwi.Dwi also said the food estate needed to produce at least 4 tons per ha to prevent losses, otherwise farmers would leave the project. Moreover, the government also needed to take into account the necessary labor.Each hectare will require at least four people, according to Dwi’s estimate.The Agriculture Ministry is providing production tools worth Rp 379 billion (US$25.4 million). The ministry has offered 98 four-wheel tractors, 150 two-wheel tractors and 35 rice transplanters.The Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS) lauded the government’s efforts to boost food production, but did not necessarily support the food estate program, it said in a statement provided to the Post on Thursday. The CIPS is of the view that the program, which involves peatland development, could have a negative impact on the local environment and the peat forest ecosystem.“[The program] could result in losses for farmers and certainly for the government, since it is not spending the budget properly,” CIPS researcher Galuh Octania said by text message on Sept. 26.The government should instead focus on policies to attract greater investment and encourage agricultural innovation to support domestic production, the think tank said in its statement. The Indonesian government is pinning its hopes for bolstering the nation’s food security on the development of food estates in Central Kalimantan and North Sumatra, despite a similar project having failed in the past and COVID-19 disrupting logistics today.In Central Kalimantan, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration plans to develop around 164,600 hectares of food estates for crops like rice, which is part of its National Strategic Projects for the 2020–2024 period.In the first phase, which commences this year, the government aims to develop around 30,000 ha, two-thirds of which will be located in Kapuas regency and the rest in Pulang Pisau regency. The Central Kalimantan food estate is estimated to produce 7 tons of rice per ha, Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo said in July.“Even though it started in September in two regencies, namely Pulang Pisau and Kapuas, we have developed around 4,200 ha as of today. The initial target for September was only 1,921 ha,” Indonesian Army chief of staff Gen. Andika Perkasa said in a statement on Tuesday.The Army has been helping the ministry with the food estate project in Central Kalimantan. On Tuesday, it inked an agreement with the Agriculture Ministry to partner on agricultural human resource development, among other things.Meanwhile, in North Sumatera, the government wants to develop a total of 61,000 ha of food estates for horticulture including potato, shallot and garlic, in the regencies of Humbang Hasundutan (Humbahas), Central Tapanuli, North Tapanuli and West Pakpak.The first phase of development of the North Sumatera food estates will cover 4,000 ha, which has been surveyed by the government from Sept. 20 to 24.This year, the government said, it would focus on developing a 1,000 ha center for agriculture training and technology in Humbahas, which would serve as a partnership model between farmers and investors.The Agriculture Ministry will handle 215 ha, and private investors will take 785 ha. According to the Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister, food manufacturers PT Indofood Sukses Makmur, PT Champ Resto Indonesia and PT Calbee Wings Food have expressed interest in the project.“After we managed the food estate in Humbahas, our next big plan in 2021 will be developing the North Sumatra food estate not only in one regency, but we also want to support other regencies with this program,” Nani Hendiarti, the deputy of Environment and Forestry Management at the Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister, said in a statement on Sept. 25. Read also: Pandemic disrupts food distribution across country, minister saysThe projects were also aimed at overcoming food distribution issues across the archipelago, land use change, especially in Java, and the increase of the country’s population, said Andriko Noto Susanto, the head of food availability and risks at the Agriculture Ministry’s Food Security Agency (BKP).“One of our approaches is to develop new food production centers outside the existing ones,” Andriko told The Jakarta Post in a phone interview on Monday.“So the Central Kalimantan food estate for food crops and the North Sumatra on for horticulture are the measure we take to provide new sources of food there.”The food estate in North Sumatera is expected to ease the country’s dependency on imports of garlic and other commodities where national production currently fails to meet national demand.For the May–December period, the Agriculture Ministry estimated Indonesia’s garlic imports would reach around 604,000 tons, mostly from China. It would add to the expected domestic production of 17,600 tons that could not meet the estimated demand of 377,500 tons on the period.“The one for horticulture in Humbang Hasundutan, North Sumatra, is very important for shallots, garlic and chili,” said Andriko. “We have a national surplus of chili, but since it is perishable, there will be a problem if the distribution gets disrupted. Developing new production centers is therefore important,” he added.The logistics disruption caused by restrictions enforced to contain COVID-19 has affected food delivery to many regions in Indonesia, particularly the eastern parts, Minister Syahrul also said earlier in July.Andriko also said the Central Kalimantan food estate was expected to improve rice distribution, which was presently too heavily concentrated on Java, with some other big production centers in Sumatra and South Sulawesi.The three main rice producing provinces of East Java, West Java and Central Java produce a combined 37 million tons a year, according to data from the Agriculture Ministry. The three provinces accounted for 67.8 percent of last year’s rice production, according to data from Statistics Indonesia (BPS). Editor’s note: This article has been revised to correctly state Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS) researcher Galuh Octania and CIPS statements.Topics :last_img read more

Posted on Leave a comment

South African art scene set for 2010

first_img21 May 2010 Art and football may not seem the most obvious of bedfellows, but with a huge influx of tourists set to descend on the cities of South Africa for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the galleries around the country are preparing to show off the country’s inherent artistic talent. “The 2010 Fifa World Cup offers a unique opportunity to showcase South African artists,” says Jacques Michau, curator at the Everard Read Gallery in Johannesburg. “Our artists will have the world here, and it’s the perfect opportunity for them to expose themselves.”A View from the South The Everard Read Gallery exhibition A View from the South is a collection of pieces from some of South Africa’s best artists, a cross-section of both old and new pieces. “What we thought is that instead of having a specific artist exhibiting, we would invite our stable of artists to produce one or two works that really push the envelope, so that we could show off our talent and what South African artists are doing,” Michau said. During the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup the gallery saw a marked increase in visitors, Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson among them. “There were more feet coming through the gallery, and this is what we are expecting from the World Cup. In Johannesburg, as far as tourist destinations go, it’s not a hive of activity on the same level as Cape Town or Durban, so I think people do tend to come to the galleries.” With the global community focusing its attention on South Africa ahead of the World Cup, galleries like the Everard Read have noticed a growing interest from international clients. “There have been more inquiries about our artists, a growing interest in what is going on in the South African art scene.”Fifa 2010 Official Art Poster collection Another major player in the South African gallery scene is David Krut Projects. The company comprises a collection of gallery spaces, workshops and bookstores dedicated to highlighting contemporary South African art and design. “We are fortunate to have a range of spaces in various locations in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, where we will be exhibiting the Fifa 2010 Official Art Poster Edition as well as a selection of prints and paintings,” says Taryn Hackett, gallery manager at David Krut Projects in Johannesburg. “We are hoping for an increase in foot traffic through our gallery during the World Cup,” Hackett says. “We want to be able show an international audience the inherent creative talent in South Africa. We have chosen to exhibit works which reflect a wide range of subject matter, techniques and mediums, by both established and upcoming South African artists.” David Krut Projects have been involved in retailing the Fifa 2010 Official Art Poster collection. The posters are prints of specific art pieces commissioned for the World Cup. Out of the 17 artists who produced work for the poster collection, 12 are originally African, with seven of the artists from South Africa. “The reception to the posters has been fantastic in that, by combining the visual arts with the global popularity of football, the project has sparked an interest that has resonated with a much wider audience,” says Hackett.Exposure gallery The Exposure gallery in Cape Town is a predominantly photographic concept space that prides itself in being a platform for cutting edge photographic artists and photographic concepts. “We have been showcasing South African photographers for the last three years and will be showcasing as many local photographers as possible over the World Cup period,” says Fernando Badiali, owner of the Exposure Gallery. “We also be exhibiting a number of photographic books based around football.” One of these books is AMEN, a 208-page photo-essay by Jessica Hilltout focussing on grassroots football across Africa. “The piece I feel that best encapsulates the spirit of the World Cup is the local flavour of this book,” said Badiali. Aside from the tourists who will be enjoying the rare experience of seeing much of this art for the first time, the World Cup also presents an opportunity for the country’s creative community to get behind the tournament. “Our artists are excited; South Africa is excited – you can feel it,” says Michau. Source: 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa Organising Committeelast_img read more

Posted on Leave a comment

iShack: informal housing ‘gets smart’

first_img31 January 2013 A team of researchers from Stellenbosch University’s (SU) Sustainability Institute have developed an innovative approach to upgrade housing and improve living conditions in informal settlements. The iShack, or improved shack concept, offers a potential solution to South Africa’s housing delivery backlog, increasing urbanisation and the growing number of informal settlements in the country. According to the UN Habitat State of the World’s Cities 2012/2013 report, 62% of the urban population in sub-Saharan Africa lives in slums. Such dwellings are characterised by poor living conditions and inadequate access to infrastructure such as basic energy, sanitation and water services. “Shacks are becoming the new norm – so what can we do today to improve the living conditions of people through energy intervention, lighting, cell phones, communication, upping security?” says Andreas Keller, one of the designers of the iShack. The sustainable housing concept allows people who don’t have brick and mortar houses to upgrade their existing shacks, or install new shacks, by incorporating solar power panels to meet basic energy needs and ecological design principles to make daily living a little bit more comfortable.Solutions for South Africa’s housing challenges In 2011, the National Research Foundation awarded a grant to SU to find ways to upgrade informal settlements, focussing on priority areas such as water, sanitation, food security, waste management, energy and general structural upgrades to shelters. The first iShack was built in October 2011. It drew the attention of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which was so impressed with the idea that it provided grant funding for a pilot project to determine if the improved shack system can be applied at a large scale. Up to 100 shacks will either be newly built or refurbished, and two lucky families are already testing the first prototypes – one new, one refurbished – in the Enkanini Township just outside Stellenbosch. For one of these residents, Nosanjo Plaatjie, a single mother who works as a domestic worker once a week, and her three young children, the brand new iShack has changed their lives. Keller explains that it is important to test how well the iShack design works in new structures, as well as those that are already standing. If you take a quick look at the newly built eco-friendly shelter it doesn’t look that much different from any of the other makeshift wooden or corrugated houses in the area. But on closer inspection, the improvements are significant. Keller says the structural modifications using ecological design principles make the dwelling much more comfortable to live in. The large windows are positioned in such a way to achieve better air circulation and sunlight heating during the day. The sloped roof and overhang shades the structure on hot days, but in the winter months residents can also harness this handy feature to harvest rainwater. Access to power through solar panels Keller says that for communities living without electricity, access to power through the solar panels is one of the biggest benefits. Having electricity means that residents have more disposable income, as they don’t have to spend money on candles and paraffin for lighting and cooking. The iShack prototype is equipped with a photovoltaic solar panel capable of producing enough electricity to power three lights, a mobile phone charger and an outdoor motion detector spotlight, which reduces the risk of crime and helps people feel safer in their homes. Households can access these services on a pay-as-you-go basis, and upgrade the solar infrastructure to run more appliances such as a radio, television or fridge. With electricity residents can also charge their mobile phones at home, a luxury for many people who have to walk long distances to charge their phones elsewhere. Keller explains that a working mobile phone is a lifeline for many South Africans as it enables people to find jobs and earn a better income – as the resident of the second retrofitted iShack prototype discovered. “The man, who relies on casual painting jobs for his weekly income, was able to keep his phone charged and switched on to find more work,” he says. “Mobile phone connectivity is perhaps the greatest example of how the iShack is helping people. We take for granted the ability to be connected all the time.”Using recycled materials “One of the objectives of the project is to use existing materials,” Keller says. This also reduces the overall cost of the iShack. In the pilot houses, the developers have made use of recycled cardboard boxes and old Tetra Pak containers, such as long life milk boxes, for insulation between the exterior zinc surface and the interior. Flame-retardant paint reduces the risk of fires, and inside there are rows of recycled bricks to create a durable floor that can also protect against temperature changes. Keller says one of the most important aspects of the project is training, education and maintenance of solar power systems. Without this, technological interventions in community upgrades often fail. To ensure the iShack concept is successful, local entrepreneurs will receive accredited training in business and engineering principles to help community members maintain the technology in their houses. Technicians will be paid from user fees. “It is important to inform residents about the type of appliances they can use,” he says. “Direct current appliances are more energy efficient and designed to run on solar energy.” “We also have to tell residents about the maintenance of solar panels, because if you don’t clean them often it will reduce their efficiency and the number of solar units you can get out of them.” Keller and his team are also looking to set up energy hubs in the communities where iShacks are built. These facilities will be the base from where trained technicians assist communities and where residents can buy suitable appliances and top up their energy accounts. First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.last_img read more

Posted on Leave a comment

Iran seizes third foreign ship in less than a month

first_imgTehran: Iran has seized a foreign tanker in the Gulf, state media said Sunday, in what would be the third such seizure in a month amid heightened tensions with its foe the United States. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps “seized this ship around Farsi Island which was carrying around 700,000 litres of smuggled fuel”, said a Guards statement quoted by the official news agency IRNA. Seven foreign crew were arrested in the operation carried out on Wednesday night, said Fars news agency, which is considered close to the Guards. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USTensions between arch-enemies Iran and the US have soared this year after Washington stepped up its campaign of “maximum pressure” against Tehran. Ships have been attacked, drones downed and oil tankers seized since May, a year after the United States withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and began reimposing biting sanctions against the country. At the height of the crisis, US President Donald Trump called off air strikes against Iran at the last minute in June after the Islamic republic’s forces shot down a US drone. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThe seizure of the latest tanker would be the third by Iran in less than a month in Gulf waters — a conduit for much of the world’s crude oil. On July 18, the Guards said they had detained the Panama-flagged for MT Riah for alleged fuel smuggling. And a day later, they announced they had impounded the British-flagged Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz for breaking “international maritime rules”. The identity of the latest vessel seized and the nationality of its crew had not yet been revealed on Sunday. The Guards said their boats had been patrolling the Gulf to control traffic and detect illicit trade when they seized the tanker. “The ship was transferred to Bushehr and its smuggled fuel was handed over” to the authorities in coordination with judicial authorities, said a statement. Fars quoted Brigadier General Ramezan Zirahi, a commander of the Guards who carried out the seizure, as saying the tanker had been en route to deliver fuel to Gulf Arab states. The reports came after an Iranian general said the chances of a conflict breaking out in the Gulf region had decreased. “At first glance, it may seem that the situation in the Persian Gulf is heading towards a military conflict but when studying the situation more deeply, we see that chances for such a conflict become less probable,” said Brigadier General Ahmadreza Pourdastan. “All countries which have interests in the region are by no means willing to see a new crisis in the Middle East,” he said, quoted by Mehr news agency. “The Persian Gulf is like a tinderbox and explosion of the first firecracker can lead to a huge disaster.” On the diplomatic front, officials in Iran said Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had been hit with US sanctions after turning down an invitation to meet Trump in Washington. The New Yorker magazine reported on Friday that Republican Senator Rand Paul met Zarif in the US on July 15 and had Trump’s blessing when he extended an invitation to the Iranian minister to go to the White House. Officials in Iran confirmed the report and heaped scorn on the Trump administration for claiming to want dialogue with Iran while slapping sanctions on its top diplomat. The sanctions announced on Wednesday are aimed at freezing any of Zarif’s assets in the United States or controlled by US entities, as well as squeeze his ability to function as a globe-trotting diplomat. “For a government to constantly claim (to favour) negotiations and afterwards sanction the foreign minister… if this is not ridiculous, then what is it?” said foreign ministry spokesman Ali Rabiei. Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said the invitation and sanctions amounted to a failure of US diplomacy. “Imposing sanctions on the honourable foreign minister of Iran after the refusal of Trump’s proposal for face-to-face talks with him showed the ‘maximum pressure’ train has stopped at the ‘failure station’,” he said, quoted by ISNA news agency. Trump has said publicly several times that he is willing to hold talks with the Iranians even as he lambasts Tehran as a corrupt, incompetent and dangerous regime that is a threat to regional security and US interests.last_img read more

Posted on Leave a comment

PMO seeks litigation withdrawal update from Tax department

first_imgNew Delhi: The PMO has sought an update from the CBDT about the number of appeals it has withdrawn from various courts after a direction was recently issued to enhance monetary limits for filling appeals in various legal forums in order to reduce litigation between the Income-Tax department and the taxpayers.The Prime Ministers Office (PMO) has sought data on withdrawal of cases and the cases identified for withdrawal till August 31, official sources told PTI. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’All the regional heads of the Income-Tax department have been asked to compile this data in a tabular format and send it to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) by September 5, they said. The entire exercise of withdrawal of cases, on the basis of an order issued on August 8 for enhancement of monetary limits for filing of appeals in tribunals (ITAT) and courts (HC and Supreme Court), is stipulated to be completed by October, they said. The CBDT frames policy for the I-T department. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe issue of litigation between the tax department and the taxpayers is being constantly monitored by the PMO as it is a special thrust area for the top office, the sources added. The monetary limit for filing an appeal before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) has now been increased to Rs 50 lakh from Rs 20 lakh earlier. In case of high courts, the limit has been doubled to Rs 1 crore and in case of Supreme Court, the revised limit for filing appeal has been increased from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore. “There is a substantial pendency of appeals of the Income-Tax department before various appellate fora. The CBDT is aware of the importance of litigation management and has been continuously working towards achieving the same,” the Board had said in a statement on August 8 while announcing the new limits. It had said the revised limits will help “to effectively reduce taxpayer grievances and litigation and help the department focus on litigation involving complex legal issues and high tax effect.” The latest move, it had said, will further reduce time, effort and resources presently deployed in litigation to focus on issues involving litigation of substantial value. These limits were last revised in July, 2018.last_img read more