Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Why Petrol & not Alcohol, Tobacco Products?

Is increasing petrol prices repeatedly the only option left with Government of India? That too when petrol is the most essential commodity for the common man, who cant even think of earning his livelihood without it. Cant there be other better options which would not over-burden the common man in fulfilling his daily needs for survival and at the same time, reduce the risk to his life and reduce his expense on medical treatments in a country without most basic medical facilities for the common man?

Unfortunately we live in such a country where it takes death of almost 1000 children in GB Pant hospital, Srinagar for Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad (resident of J&K state) to wake up from his sleep and visit the state and from years together, the projects of first ever Super-specialty hospitals of J&K state are hanging in complete uncertainty.

Present Liquor Consumption in India- 6.7 billion litres. If the government charges Rs.20 extra year on year, extra annual revenue for present year will be Rs.134 billion (Rs.13,400 Cr).

Alcohol consumption is increasing in India at a whooping rate of 30% year on year. Projected consumption for the year 2015 is - 19 billion litres. By then government would be charging Rs.60 extra per litre above present taxes and thus the extra revenue collected will be Rs.1,140 billion (Rs.1,14,000 Cr).

At present, there are 180 million (18 Crores) tobacco consumers in India and tobacco consumption will account for 13% deaths in India. 1,11,487 million cigarettes were consumed in India in the year 2010- 11.

If the government charges just Re.1 extra per stick, extra annual revenue collected will be- Rs.11,148 Cr and cigarettes account for only 20% of the tobacco consumed in India. Even if 50 paise are charged per unit of other forms of tobacco, government will be able to collect Rs.22,296 Cr more on other tobacco products. Total extra revenue from all tobacco products put together can be Rs.33,444Cr.

Consumption of cigarettes and other tobacco products is increasing in India at the rate of 4% annually. So by the year 2015, government will be earning an extra revenue of Rs.1,50,433 Cr from all tobacco products if the government keeps charging Re.1 extra every year on each cigarette and 50 paise per unit of other tobacco products.

By charging the above mentioned extra amounts on harmful products, that are not a necessity and are cause of deaths, heavy health expenses, the government can collect an extra amount of Rs.2,64,433 Cr per year by 2015.

Similarly, taxes on luxury (not a necessity for survival) and still harmful products like fast foods, soft 'pesticide' drinks, etc must be increased.

Above all, according to conservative estimates, corrupt officials in India are cornering around Rs.1,00,000 Cr every year and corruption is increasing at a rate of over 100% every year. So if the government shows some sincerity and tries to reduce corruption by just 20%, it will be an extra saving of more than Rs.1,20,000 Cr in next 3 years. 

Since I am not a economist and my calculations are a layman's estimates, government has better people and can take care of other repercussions of such decisions like effect on growth, employment in these sectors, etc and work out something thats a win win situation for every Indian. But its not rocket science and needs just a pinch of sincerity while drafting policies and planning.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

World Environment Day - Lets make difference together!

Our school, G L S Public School, Jammu was founded by my father in the year 2000. It is named after his uncle, Gyani Lal Singh Ji (G L S), who was a great visionary, social worker and a wonderful human being. In 1947 at the time of partition, he along with few of his friends sold their Trucks, Buses and used that money to feed the hungry people who moved in to India from the present Pakistan. They distributed their land free of cost to as many people as possible so that they could construct shelters for their families. Throughout their lives, those people stood by the needy and helped in every possible way.

My father has been managing this school with the same spirit and though we dont earn huge profits yet, still there are many kids who are given concession in admission fee and some study free of cost. We have tried our best to give them all the facilities which includes well educated faculty, well ventilated and spacious classroom, Computer Lab, Art & Craft room, Library, green, clean and noise/pollution free campus with lot of space to play, games and sports facilities and also Educomp Smart Class.

Apart from studies, we have always tried to uphold moral and social values and ethics among our staff and the students and try our best to prepare them to contribute to the society throughout their lives. One important initiative in this direction has been the "World Environment Day"  (WED) Celebration. We have been celebrating WED from last 3 years. It includes Cultural Programs, Fancy Dress competition, Drawing Competition, Essay Writing Competition. The theme of all these programs and competitions is "Save Earth", and we try to make students aware of causes and effects of Global Warming and how can we fight with this ever growing problem.

Apart from this, we organize an "Awareness Rally & Plantation Drive". One plant each is given to our 250 students and staff of 25 odd people. At the same time, we distribute around 150- 200 plants, free of cost, during the rally, along with the informational pamphlets.

This year again, we will be doing the same and new additions will be increase in number of plants distributed and along with it, we will start distributing 4000 WED stickers (2 different stickers, 2000 each) with pictures and message on them and our school name and address below.

We have also formed "Environmental Club" in the school with 15 students as its members. We will be taking up "Green Project" in the school and will try to generate electricity using a wind mill and solar energy.

Lets all make it a habit to plant one tree on our and our beloved ones birthday. It wont cost more than what we spend for 1 soft drink or french fries at McDonalds. Lets spread the message across the world, to everyone we come in touch with and take measures to reduce Global Warming and emission of Greenhouse Gases. Its our earth, our home and we have only one.


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

"Mother Earth" is calling - Please dont keep her on hold!

Why is the Earth referred to as mother? Do we really treat her like our "Mother"? 

Our body is made up of constituents of this earth and its atmosphere. We are alive because it gives us food, shelter, air to breathe and water to drink, exactly like a "Mother nurtures a child".

As the mother cleans a child, the Earth absorbs our waste in it and again provides clean atmosphere to us.

Unfortunately, as we misbehave and disrespect our own "Mother" now a days and are "Thankless" towards her, our values have similarly eroded in every sphere and we are even worst in the way we treat the "Mother Earth".

Like a mother loves her child and forgives all his/her mistakes and tries to give as many chances to the child for improvement as possible for her, "Mother Earth" is still nurturing us, the "Most Thankless Creatures" in the universe.

A child can never give anything to the "Mother" and she never expects anything. She cries and begs the child not to give her a painful death and let her live so that she continues to serve/nurture him/her.

If we cant behave better and have become slaves to our greed, lust, lets atleast ensure that our "Mother Earth" remains alive and keeps nurturing us. If not for her, lets atleast be "Enough Human" to do it for our coming generations. If we dont have even that much of common-sense left within us and we have become such weak slaves of our greed and ill-habits, are we worth being called humans.

Lets all atleast plant a tree on our birthdays, once in an year. It wont cost us more than a McDonalds Burger or French Fries. 

Lets celebrate World Environment Day and make it a habit to be a bit Human towards "Our Mother".

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

1600 New cases, only 10 beds, 1 toilet - J&K Health Facilities

"The patients suffering from cancer require extra care but due to absence of basic amenities/facilities (trained nursing staff, infrastructure) in the department (Oncology, Govt. Medical College Hospital, Jammu), they are forced to go elsewhere for treatment." 
                                             ---- A Doctor in Oncology Dept.

1600 new cases of cancer are registered in the Jammu region every year, the Oncology Department of the Govt. Medical College Hospital, Jammu (the only major hospital in Jammu) offers just 10 beds to the patients in the name of basic facilities.

The patients, who come for Radiotherapy, are forced to share beds and the department lacks the specialized nursing staff.  The department has just two nurses who have gained knowledge with experience.

As reported by The Tribune, dated- 30th April 2012, Hygiene is a casualty in the department as a single bathroom is used both by male and female patients.

As one enters the oncology and the radiotherapy departments of the hospital, leaking water from the roof and stench from the public utilities greet the visitors.

What is more shameful is pointed out by the Committee of Estimates in its 42nd report tabled in the J&K state Assembly- non-utilisation of Rs.300 Crore (USD 60 million approx) meant for the purchase of linear accelerator required for the treatment of cancer.

Last and the most shameful part- R S Chib, Minister of Medical and Technical Education said,"I am not aware of the lack of facilities in the Oncology Department of the GMCH".

It must be noted that Congress contributes the most corrupt ministers in Omar Govt and they head the most sanctimonious fields of Education and Health. The Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is from Jammu but Health Minister Sham Lal belongs to the Saif-ud-din Soz faction of the J&K State Congress, who are opponents to Azad.