Friday, January 20, 2017

International Symposium on Medicinal and Aromatic plants of India


At the two-day International Symposium on Medicinal and Aromatic plants of India here today, the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said that lifestyle diseases like Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 require holistic management and with more than 65% to 70% of India’s population today being less than 40 years of age, Diabetes and heart attack in young are going to be the main challenges ahead, because these tend to affect the youth potential which is imperative in the task of nation building.
Dr Jitendra Singh referred to the change of disease spectrum of India over the last few decades and said that India today has evolved from an era of communicable diseases into an era of non-communicable diseases like Diabetes Mellitus, heart attack, lipid disorders, hypertension and other metabolic diseases. Even though a number of new remedies and medicinal options are available for the treatment of these diseases, he said, the basic Mantra is still based on lifestyle modifications and natural methods, and for this purpose, the various Indian medicine regimens incorporated in Naturopathy, Yoga and other indigenous therapies find a contributory role, he added.
Under the leadership of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Dr Jitendra Singh said, in the last two years, not only the holistic medicine and the indigenous therapies have been accorded priority but have also been given a place of respectability. He said that the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi decided to establish the first ever independent Ministry of AYUSH in the Government of India after nearly 70 years of independence. Similarly, it was again Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on whose proposal the United Nations unanimously accepted to observe International Yoga Day on 21st June, he added.
India is the fountain- head and original birth-place of all the aromatic and medicinal plants, said Dr Jitendra Singh and regretted that in the last few decades, most of the research on the Indian medicinal plants was conducted in other countries and not in India. To that extent, he said, the Central Government has tried to vindicate the lapse of the earlier decades.
While emphasizing on indigenous research based on Indian conditions, Dr Jitendra Singh also called for change of mindset, so that those who choose to become practitioners of Indian medicine, should do so by aptitude and interest.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that the North East region of India has huge potential for the organic products which have huge health benefits. This unexplored potential needs to be explored, he added. He also said that Government is giving priority to tap this potential of the North East region as well as placing high priority on the health status of the citizens. This will be helpful in tapping the natural organic resources for the health benefit of the citizens, he added.
MoS Agriculture Shri Parshottam Rupala, while speaking on the occasion said that the Ministry of Agriculture will evolve a more comprehensive plan to promote medicinal plants and herbs and will also try to take the experts on board.

‘ShaGun’ – a web-portal for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

Union HRD Minister launches ‘ShaGun’ – a web-portal for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
The Union HRD Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar launched a dedicated web portal ‘ShaGun’ for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan at New Delhi today. ‘ShaGun’ aims to capture and showcase innovations and progress in Elementary Education sector of India by continuous monitoring of the flagship scheme – Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). The Union HRD Minister also unveiled the ‘Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs’, which has been prepared by World Bank in collaboration with Ministry of Human Resource Development.
On this occasion, the Union Minister also reiterated government’s commitment for improving the ‘Quality’ of Education. He said that in this direction Ministry of HRD will be codifying the learning outcome to set assessment standards for abilities with regards to comprehension, mathematics, language etc. and thus ensuring that “all children acquire at least the minimum levels of learning” from Class I to Class VIII under Right to Education Act, 2009.

CMS VATAVARAN film festival

9th CMS VATAVARAN International Competitive Film Festival and Forum scheduled on November 2-6, 2017
We wanted to share our accomplishments in the year gone by with our partners, supporters, well-wishers and friends. Please see attached CMS VATAVARAN highlights of 2016 or visit link : http://cmsvatavaran.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Highlights-2016_Jan-to-Dec_low-resolution.pdf .
We are grateful to your encouragement in making all these initiatives possible and hope to count on your continued support for our cause in making people informed & committed towards values of conservation.
We are developing plans for the 9th CMS VATAVARAN International Competitive Film Festival and Forum scheduled on November 2-6, 2017 (please mark your calendars) in New Delhi and the 8th travelling festival in 2018 across various cities.
Also, request you to please spread the word for film submissions to this competitive edition of this unique green film festival, as the last date for the same is February 2, 2017.
We would be delighted to get your suggestions or comments on making our endeavours more efficient and effective.
Thank you for your cooperation and looking forward your support in 2017.

Mozilla’s ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’


Indian Project for Affordable Rural Broadband Among Semi-Finalists in Mozilla’s ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’
  • Global non-profit organisation Mozilla releases the list of five semi-finalists for its ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’ 2017
  • Mumbai-based Gram Marg Solution concept for affordable broadband access in the race for global honour.
New Delhi, January 20, 2017: The Indian Gram Marg Solution project is one of the five semi-finalists of the Mozilla ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’. The Mumbai-based team led by Prof. Abhay Karandikar, has successfully developed an open source low-cost prototype to provide affordable broadband access to the Internet in rural communities utilizing Television White Space Spectrum.
Other projects in the reckoning for the top honour include Freemium Mobile Internet (FMI) of Canada, Afri-Fi: Free Public Wi-Fi of South Africa, Free Networks P2P Cooperative of Brazil and Zenzeleni ‘Do it for yourselves’ Networks (ZN) of South Africa.
Mozilla, the non-profit organisation behind the open source browser Firefox, launched the ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’ in October 2016 as part of its endeavour to help catalyze new thinking and innovation for providing open Internet access to communities living without it. It called out to entrepreneurs, designers, researchers and innovators from all over the world to propose creative and scalable ideas that can cultivate digital literacy and provide affordable access to the Internet’s full diversity. Mozilla offered an award of US$250,000 in funding and expert mentorship to bring these solutions to the market.
The challenge received a total of 98 submissions from 27 countries. The final shortlist was prepared after benchmarking submissions againstcriteria of compliance with Equal Rating, affordability and accessibility, empathy, technical feasibility, as well as scalability, user experience, differentiation, potential for quick deployment, and team potential.
Katharina Borchert, Chief Innovation Officer at Mozilla, said in a blog post: “While we did have almost a hundred teams submit solutions, we also had thousands of people meeting and engaging in this content through our events, webinars, and website. With this in mind, Mozilla aims to further engage with more teams who sent us their concepts, connect them to our network, and continue to grow the community of people working on this important topic.”
Nikhil Pahwa, Founder and Editor of MediaNama and member of the Challenge’s esteemed panel of judges, added: “To ensure that governments are not pressurized into allowing projects which violate net neutrality, we need initiatives that help bring down the cost of access to the open Internet. This means reduced cost of hardware, community Internet access models, and innovations that help use unlicensed spectrum. It’s heartening to see such a wide variety of submissions from across the globe for this challenge. I am confident that, with time, initiatives like the Equal Rating Innovation Challenge will lead to many more diverse ideas, which will shape the landscape for affordable internet access in the future.”
Following eight weeks of mentorship for the semi-finalists, on March 9, Mozilla will host a day-long event in New York City on the topic of affordable access and innovation. Speakers and researchers from around the world will provide their valuable insights on the global debate, various initiatives, and the latest approaches to affordable access. The main feature of this event will be presentations by semi-finalists, with a thorough Q&A from the Challenge’s judges. This will be followed by a week of open public voting on EqualRating.com to help determine the winners of the Challenge. The winners will then be announced at RightsCon on March 29 in Brussels, Belgium.
Additionally, the evaluation process for submission has thrown up a set of four interesting observations.
One, cooperatives were a popular mechanism to grow buy-in and share responsibility and benefit across communities. This is in contrast to a more typical and transactional producer-consumer relationship. Digital literacy was naturally integrated into solutions, but was rarely the lead idea. Instead it was the de facto addition. This signals that digital literacy in and of itself is not perceived as a full solution or service, but rather an essential part of enabling access to the Internet.
Two, several teams took into account the unbanked and undocumented in their solutions. There seemed to be a feeling that solutions for the people would come from the people, not governments or corporations.
Three, there was a strong trend for service solutions to disintermediate traditional commercial relationships and directly connect buyers and sellers.
Four, in media-centric solutions, the voice of the people was as important as authoritative sources. User generated content in the areas of local news was popular, as was enabling a distribution of voices to be heard.
Mozilla will disclose further information about the semi-finalist teams and projects in the coming weeks on www.equalrating.com.

M6.8 – SOLOMON ISLANDS

Derk Segaar Director of United Nations Information Centre in New Delhi

UN- India and Bhutan-logo

Secretary-General Appoints Derk Segaar Director of United Nations Information Centre in New Delhi
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Derk Segaar of the Netherlands as Director of the United Nations Information Centre in New Delhi, covering India and the Kingdom of Bhutan.  Mr. Segaar assumes his duties on 20 January 2017.
Prior to this appointment, Mr. Segaar served since 2013 as the Chief of the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan’s (UNMISS) Relief, Reintegration and Protection Section.  He was responsible for the overall managing of the UNMISS protection of civilians sites, where more than 200,000 people had sought shelter from the violence.  Mr. Segaar provided operational leadership, developed policy guidance and conducted regular press conferences on protection related issues in South Sudan.  During that period, Mr. Segaar was on separate assignments as Chief of Office for the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola and as Senior Communications Adviser for the World Humanitarian Summit.
From 2011 to 2013, Mr. Segaar was the Head of Communications of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in New York, where he directly managed its global media and communications activities, including the development and implementation of its corporate advocacy and communications strategy.  From 2009 to 2011, he served as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Under-Secretary-General for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, advising on strategic, policy and operational decisions.
Mr. Segaar worked in different capacities in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs field mission in El Fasher, Sudan, from 2006 to 2009, including as Acting Head of Office.  From 2004 to 2006, he worked as a journalist for IRIN News, based in Nairobi, Kenya, where he wrote about Sudan, Somalia and Kenya.
Prior to joining the United Nations, Mr. Segaar worked as communications specialist in the private sector and for various advocacy organizations and think tanks in the Netherlands, and at New York and Columbia Universities.
Mr. Segaar holds master’s degrees in human geography from Utrecht University (Netherlands) and in international affairs from Columbia University (United States).  He was awarded a Fulbright and a Columbia University scholarship and is fluent in English, French and Dutch.  He is married and has one child.

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cid:image001.jpg@01D0DFEF.3FAA7D60cid:image002.png@01D0DFEF.3FAA7D60
RAJIV CHANDRAN
National Information Officer
United Nations Information Centre
for India and Bhutan
55, Lodi Estate, New Delhi 110003
Tel: 91 11 46532237
M: 9810606833

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