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Indu Bhushan -- CEO of Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) -- interviewed by Bindu Shajan Perappadan (The Hindu)Indu Bhushan -- CEO of Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) -- interviewed by Bindu Shajan Perappadan (The Hindu)

-The Hindu The CEO of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana on the challenges and scope of the scheme and responses from the States Indu Bhushan is the CEO of the world’s largest government-funded health insurance scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 23. Until his appointment as CEO of PM-JAY, Mr. Bhushan served as director general for the East Asia Department of the Asian Development Bank, before which he worked as a senior economist with the World Bank Group. Here, he explains how the scheme works and the challenges it faces. Excerpts: * After many months of preparation, talks and planning, India has finally launched its ambitious Ayushman Bharat insurance scheme to benefit the poorest of the poor. Where do we stand today in terms of coverage offered and hospitals empanelled? It’s true that before the scheme was rolled out, several ground-level...

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Only 32% of India is resilient to drought -R Prasad

-The Hindu Despite the dense forest cover in the Western Ghats, Kerala had only about 19% resilience while Sikkim had 100%. Chennai: The increasing variations in rainfall, frequent drought and heat waves along with changes in evapotranspiration tend to alter the hydrological balance. This is turn affects the ecosystem productivity. A study was therefore carried out in India to assess the resilience of terrestrial ecosystem to drought at the district and State level. Based on data from 2000 to 2014, only 241 of 634 (about 38%) districts were found to be resilient to drought or dry conditions. The remaining 62% of districts were non-resilient to varying degrees — slight (180 districts), moderate (80 districts) and severe (133 districts). While the resilient districts covered nearly 32% of the area of India, the remaining 68% was non-resilient, with the severely non-resilient districts alone covering nearly 30% of India. And only 10 of the 29 States...

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Diabetic due to poverty -Maitri Porecha

-The Hindu Business Line How malnourished tribal adults come to have the ‘rich man’s disease’ About 50 km from Bilaspur town, a narrow road to the left leads to the Achanakmar Tiger Reserve in neighbouring Lormi district of Chhattisgarh. The Reserve is also home to 13,568 tribals in 40 hamlets inside the protected area. As one ventures deeper into the jungles, paintings across walls of tribals’ homes hailing Chief Minister Raman Singh’s benevolence stare back at us. Painted in bold font beside the BJP’s lotus symbol are the words: “Ek Rupaiya Kilo Chaawal, Shauchalaya Ki Saugaat, Dr Raman Singh Zindabaad,” (One rupee a kilo rice and the blessing of a toilet, hail Dr Raman Singh). Singh is fondly referred to as Chaawal Wale Baba, in the region. The question is whether this has led to a rise in diabetes. Sixty-year-old Bechain has walked 7 km barefoot from his hamlet Jakadbandha through thick forest to...

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Worsening Situation in our villages -Ashwani Mahajan

-The New Indian Express In August, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) released the All India Rural Financial Inclusion Survey, 2016-17 In August, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) released the All India Rural Financial Inclusion Survey, 2016-17. It has revealing data about the worsening situation of farmers and villages across India. The survey shows that the average monthly income of rural households in India is Rs. 8,059. For agricultural households in rural areas, it is Rs. 8,931, whereas for non-agricultural households, it is just `7,269. Further, we find agricultural households get hardly 43 per cent of their income from agriculture and allied activities such as animal husbandry, while the rest comes from wage labour and salaries from government and private services. Non-agricultural households get much of their income from wages and salaries from government and non-government jobs. They get hardly 11.7 per cent of their income...

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Is "Formalisation" possible? -CP Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

-Networkideas.org In recent times, the clamour for formalising economic activity, or shrinking its unorganised component and expanding the organised, has been heard from diverse sources. There are those who want formalisation to occur because the unorganised sector is seen as being largely outside the direct and indirect tax net, depriving the government of much needed resources. Hence, for example, one feature seen as favouring the Goods and Services Tax regime is that it is likely to force formalisation by requiring transactions to be recorded whenever those transactions are between the organised and unorganised units. Others see formalisation as the process through which workers realise workplace benefits such as written contracts, legal minimum wages, paid leave and social security. Framing and implementing legislation that ensures workers one or more of these benefits is seen as transforming the nature of the workplace as well. This, however, ignores the fact that a substantial part of...

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