Why you shouldn’t throw out your boarding pass

Hackers can gain access to your personal information via a boarding pass barcode. Security experts are advising passengers not to throw out their passes or post pictures of it online.

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Cooperative Societies Are Bound by RTI Act, Says Bombay HC order

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Notwithstanding the myriad opinions and interpretations of several court judgments on whether cooperative societies come under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, a recent landmark judgment of the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court reiterates that urban cooperative banks, cooperative financial institutions and other cooperative societies are bound by the Act.
The Association of Jalgaon Zilla Urban Cooperative Banks, Credit Societies and other financial institutions registered under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act 1960, appealed in a petition to the High Court that cooperative institutions cannot be treated as public authority under the RTI Act.
They contended, “In view of the provisions of Section 2(h) and Section 8 of the Right to Information Act 2005, cooperative institutions registered under the Cooperative Societies Act cannot be treated as public authority.”
They also argued that under banking rules too certain information cannot be disclosed. Their contention was that in view of the provision of section 34A of the Banking 3 WP 1304 of 2008 Regulation Act, 1949, these institutions are not bound to disclose certain information which, according to them, is confidential in nature.
The petitioners also argued that “these institutions are not receiving financial aid from the Government, directly or indirectly, and so the provisions of the Act cannot be made applicable to them”.
The petitioners, in their prayer, urged the court to declare cooperative societies and others as “not public authorities” under the RTI Act. Following was their submission:
  • The urban cooperative banks, cooperative financial institutions, Patpedhis (credit cooperative societies) and other cooperative societies, which are registered under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act 1960, are not public authorities within the meaning of Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act.
  • These institutions stand exempted from disclosure of information u/s 8)1 (d), (e) and (j) of the Right to Information Act
  • That the court issue a writ, order or direction restraining the officers of the cooperative department from supplying any information to the members or general public which is, according to the said societies, confidential in nature.
  • The court, pending the hearing and final decision of the writ petition, restrain the respondent from disclosing any information other than the balance sheet and profit and loss accounts of the cooperative societies, urban banks and Patpedhis to the general public under Right to Information Act.
In its order issued on 13 February 2017, the court observed that cooperative institutions, are registered under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960 and that cooperative societies and other such institutions are created by a statute; that they have a public authority over them which is the final decision-making body.
Certain Articles of the Constitution also show that such institutions are discharging the duty of the State and there is an ‘authority’ over them, which is the final decision-making body and the co-operatives are bound to supply information (all of which comes under Section 2 (f) of the RTI Act), to this authority. Hence, cooperative societies and other such institutions are bound to supply information under the RTI Act, the HC said.
The High Court observed:
  • Cooperative institutions are bodies created by the statute. But right from the registration till the liquidation there is control over these institutions by the authority created under the same Act. The authority steps in to take decisions on the rights of the members. The authority has control over the manner in which funds are invested or over the distribution of the funds. Such institutions cannot act independently and the apex bodies are created for such institutions.
  • Even Articles 38,39,43 and 48 of the Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution show that to some extent such institutions are discharging the duty of the State
  • The provisions of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act show that the authority under the Act can do the audit and inquire into irregularities. If loss is caused to the institution, by the directors, promoters etc., the authority can assess the damage, and the loss caused to the institution can be recovered from those persons. Under the Act, the authority can suspend the managing committee and remove its members. For all these and other purposes mentioned in the Cooperative Societies Act, the cooperative institution is bound to supply the record to the authority.
  • The provisions of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, if read with the definition of information given in Section 2(f) of the Act, makes it clear that everything which is mentioned in the definition of information needs to be supplied by the cooperative institution to the authority created under the Cooperative Societies Act. The definition of ‘Public Authority’ given in Section 2(h) shows that such public authority can be created by any law made by the State Legislature. It is already observed that the officers like Registrar and his subordinate officers are appointed under the Cooperative Societies Act.
The High Court therefore concluded that, “…the reliefs claimed in the present petition cannot be granted as the reliefs can be used 14 WP 1304 of 2008 directly or indirectly by the cooperative institutions to deny the supply of the information… This Court holds that no relief which is claimed in the present petition can be given to the petitioner.”
RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar, who has been pursuing this issue for long, says, “After the Supreme Court’s order in Thalappalam Services Cooperfative Bank Ltd. against State of Kerala, public authorities and public information officers (PIOs) said the RTI act was not applicable to cooperative societies. Actually even in the Thalappalam case, the apex court, in paragraph 52 of its judgment, had categorically stated that the PIO of Registrar of Cooperative Societies is duty bound to supply the information. But even then PIOs and cooperative societies were denying the information sought under RTI.”
Below is a copy of the order passed by Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court…
 Click Here for the full order
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(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting, which she won twice in 1998 and 2005, and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book, “To The Last Bullet – The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart – Ashok Kamte”, with Vinita Kamte, and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)
http://www.moneylife.in/article/cooperative-societies-are-bound-by-rti-act-says-bombay-hc-order/49794.html

Why Cut Down Trees When They Can Be Translocated? Meet the Man Who Has Moved 5000 Trees This Way!

Residents of Bangalore are up in arms about the proposed felling of 112 trees in the Jayamahal area to make way for a steel flyover to help reduce traffic congestion in the city. Is there no way in which these large, old trees can be saved from sure death?

Urbanization and development are an inevitable part of living today. Road widening and building of flyovers has to happen in every city, but, this comes at the cost of losing green cover. Though transplantation and translocation of trees is an age-old activity the world across, it is rarely looked to as a solution before a tree is brought down.

In 2009, when the Hyderabad-Vijayawada highway was being built, the existing road needed to be widened. A large number of trees were cut down for this and no one from the general public raised an objection.

 

Moved by this unfortunate incident, Ramchandra Appari, a resident of Hyderabad, decided to do something to stop the indiscriminate felling of trees.

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Ramchandra, supervising the translocation work

“During a random conversation with a friend of mine in Australia I mentioned my feelings about this to him. He introduced me to the idea of tree translocation and after doing a lot of reading about it, I set up the Green Morning Horticulture Services Private Limited, which offers professional help in landscaping and tree translocation,” says Ramchandra, the managing director of the company.

While reading up and learning more about the process of tree translocation, Ramchandra found that knowledge about this practice has been around since 2000 BC. Ancient Egyptian pictographs depict men transporting trees, with their roots, in large containers. The Egyptians, supposedly transported large trees by ships from different parts of the world and transplanted them in Egypt.

“It is indeed amazing that a solution to the felling of large trees exists with humans for many centuries now. It is heartening to know that in most countries, the world over, trees are not cut down but are instead translocated. However, for some reason, in India, this is not popular as yet,” continues Ramachandra.

We all know that trees play a very important role in protecting the lives of all other living beings found around them.

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Uprooted tree, with roots packed, being moved by a crane.

Most of our activities generate plenty of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases that pollute the atmosphere, and it is only trees that can convert these gases into oxygen and help counter the ill-effects.

Trees take many years to grow and once fully grown, many species can live for more than a hundred years. The loss of even one tree in a vicinity can cause an imbalance in the natural wealth and health of the surrounding area.

“In India, apart from Hyderabad, tree translocation is being done in certain parts of Gujarat and in Bangalore too. Trees like gulmohar, neem, jamun, mango, pepul and other ficus species can be easily translocated. To date, our company has translocated some 5,000 trees and we can easily say that we have achieved a success rate of 80%. The process is slow and takes time and what makes it expensive is basically the need to hire earth movers, cranes and trailers,” adds Ramachandra.

Tree translocation is a tedious process, which has to be done very carefully. Once the tree is identified, the earth around the roots (at least 4 feet in diameter and depth) is dug and the roots are treated with chemicals to help in the transportation.

After a week the tree is lifted with a crane and the roots are packed up in a large jute bag, making a root ball out of them.

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A tree being lowered into the trench in the new location.

The tree with most of its branches pruned, is then transported in a trolley to the new place, where a root ball trench has already been made and the soil has been treated with anti-pest and anti-disease chemicals. The tree is planted in the new trench, and for the next couple of months requires close monitoring.

Recently, in the stretch planned for the Hyderabad Metro Rail, around 800 trees had to be translocated. This major project was taken up by the company and almost all the trees are thriving in the new locations. To try and maintain some sort of balance in the vicinity from where a tree has been uprooted, the company generally tries to plant the uprooted tree as close to the place where it has been uprooted from.

However, if this is not possible, a 5-year-old tree is planted in the vicinity and the full grown uprooted tree is planted elsewhere.

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A ficus tree translocated to a large garden.

“The expenses for translocation of the trees mainly depends on three factors: the size of the tree, the number of trees that the client wants to translocate and the distance from where the tree is being uprooted to the place where it has to be replanted. We have once charged Rs. 6,000 for a 15-year-old tree and even charged Rs. 1.5 lakh for a 100-year-old one,” says Ramachandra.

With cities across the world rapidly losing green cover, there is an urgent need for more research on the viability of tree translocation, and it is becoming increasingly important that we take steps to save each and every full-grown tree.

For more details contact Mr Appari at ramachandra.appari@gmail.com.

Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us: contact@thebetterindia.com, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter (@thebetterindia).

About the author: Aparna Menon is a freelance writer, writing for various newspapers for the past 10 years. Her main fields of interest are wildlife, heritage and history. A keen traveller, she loves to read and write and does a lot of art work too.


Meet India’s ‘water doctor’

Ayyappa Masagi has a simple message: “You want water? Call me!” Thousands have. And his phone rings dozens of times a day. There appears to be an endless supply of patients for the man nicknamed India’s “Water Doctor”. “I faced a lot of water problems in my childhood,” he said. “I used to go at 3am to fetch water from the stream. So I made an oath that when I grew up I would find a solution. So I quit my job as a mechanical engineer in 2002 to solve India’s water problem,” Ayyappa told BBC.

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Image: (L-R) Water Literacy Foundation ; Know Your Star

India is enduring a catastrophic water crisis. About 330 million people are suffering water shortages after the failure of the last two monsoons. Reservoirs are dry. Farmers have committed suicide. Thousands of drought-stricken villagers have flocked to cities, desperate for water, praying for rain. According to Ayyappa’s calculations, if just 30 per cent of India’s rainwater were captured and stored, “one year’s rain would sustain the nation for three years.”

To prove it, in 2014 Ayyappa bought 84 acres of barren land near Chilamathur, a famously drought-prone region of Andhra Pradesh, 110km northeast of Bangalore. “The wind here was like a firewind. I told my partners, ‘Within one year I will make this land a water bowl.’” Today, a network of 25,000 sand-filled pits and four new lakes capture and store any rainwater that falls here. No drop is allowed to escape into rivers and run off to the sea. It stays on and in the land, keeping the subsoil charged with water which, when needed, is drawn from five shallow bore-wells.

The topsoil from digging out the lakes has helped level the land, which has been planted with trees and crops. Roughly 60 per cent of the trees will form dense forest, while 40 per cent will be fruit trees to generate income. Grains and vegetables have also been planted, and next year there will be a dairy here too. The plan is to make this a sustainable organic farm, totally self-sufficient for all its water needs.

Through his Water Literacy Foundation, Ayyappa is training “water warriors” to spread his message. He’s already written seven books and trained more than 100 interns from India and abroad, including Germany, Japan and the US. “If you only talk, nothing will happen. You have to do something and prove it. Governments are coming forward to take up my service, replicating my model. Once the community attitude changes, our political attitudes change, we can replicate this concept throughout the world.” Earlier, in 2013, Yourstory had published a story on Ayyappa.

https://yourstory.com/2016/05/ayyappa-masagi/


‘Chemotherapy Kills People, Not Cancer’,

According to former Professor of Medical Physics and Physiology at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Hardin B. Jones, it’s chemotherapy that kills people rather than cancer. As the professor explains, patients who refuse chemotherapy live, on average, 12 ½ years longer than patients who take the treatment. In his point of view, chemotherapy is only prescribed for profit taken that treatments cost between $300,000 and $1,000,000.

Statistical data reveal that on average 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women develop cancer during their life. What’s worse is that present-day cancer treatments are often unsuccessful and only aggravate the symptoms of the disease. According to the Berkeley doctor, chemotherapy is ineffective in 97% of the cases.

 

Dr. Hardin B. Jones has studied the life expectancy of cancer patients for more than 25 years, after which time he has come to the conclusion that chemotherapy does more harm than good. The research made the professor realize that ‘leading edge’ cancer treatment is a sham.

On the other hand, Dr. Jones is well-aware that cancer is a billion-dollar industry. “People who refused chemotherapy treatment live on average 12 and a half years longer than people who are undergoing chemotherapy,” said Dr. Jones of his research, published in the New York Academy of Science.

People who accepted chemotherapy die within three years of diagnosis, a large number dies immediately after a few weeks.” As seen by Dr. Jones, the only reason chemotherapy is prescribed to patients is because the medical industry can profit from it, which is quite plausible as cancer treatment runs, on average, from $300,000 – $1,000,000.

Patients with breast cancer who reject conventional therapy live four times longer than those who follow the system. So this is something that you will not hear in the mass media, which will continue to carry the myth that the best chemotherapy drug in the fight against cancer!

The US invests more in healthcare than any other high-income nation in the world. Still, ‘costly’ diseases continue to rise in prevalence, resulting in a shorter life expectancy. On the other hand, the importance of preventative medicine is completely disregarded by both mainstream media and the allopathic healthcare system.

Overall health and longevity largely depend on a healthy diet, regular exercise, positive thoughts, no stress, and fulfilled social life. Plus, there are powerful natural medicines, including cannabis oil, that have been more effective in treatment of life-threatening diseases than conventional treatments.

Statistics at a Glance

  • In 2016, an estimated 1,685,210 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the United States, 595,690 of whom will die from the disease.
  • The most prevalent cancers in 2016 are breast, lung and bronchus cancer, prostate cancer, colon and rectum cancer, bladder cancer, skin melanoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, thyroid cancer, kidney and renal pelvis cancer, leukemia, endometrial cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
  • Cancer incidence – the number of new cancer cases is 454.8 per 100,000 annually (based on 2008-2012 statistics).
  • Cancer mortality – the number of cancer deaths is 171.2 per 100,000 on an annual level (based on 2008-2012 statistics). Cancer mortality is higher in men than women (207.9 per 100,000 men and 145.4 per 100,000 women).
  • Cancer mortality is highest in African American men (261.5 per 100,000) and lowest in Asian/Pacific Islander women (91.2 per 100,000). The evidence is based on 2008-2012 statistics.
  • In 2014, the number of people living beyond a cancer diagnosis reached nearly 14.5 million and is expected to rise to almost 19 million by 2024. Approximately 39.6% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes.
  • In 2014, an estimated 15,780 children and adolescents, ages 0 to 19, were diagnosed with cancer and 1,960 died of the disease.
  • National expenditures for cancer care in the US totaled $125 billion in 2010 and could reach $156 billion in 2020.

 

http://reflectionofmind.org/chemotherapy-kills-people-not-cancer-doctor-claims/


Search for your polling booth for the MCGM elections – Operation Black Dot

android-icon-144x144Operation Black Dot is an apolitical initiative from social quotient to make voting easy, engaging and fun. OBD is a movement to bring about a change in the mindset of youth by using a variety of platforms and engagement models to achieve the objectives of increased voter participation in municipal elections and greater youth leadership in urban local governance. Essentially, we want to send a wake-up call to young India: the kind which is wired into Facebook every minute, binge watches House of Cards, parties every saturday, studies hard for entrance exams – but does not know who their corporator is!

 

Click Here –  https://operationblackdot.in/voter-list-search/#
And get the booth address where u will vote
This is really a good link. U can search with ur name


Grahak Sathi exposes shocking truth behind organic rice

Ref.: E&R/PR/AR/Organic rice/2017

Press Release

Grahak Sathi exposes shocking truth
behind organic rice

 Our tests find pesticide residues in 6 out of 7 brands and toxic heavy metals in all

Grahak Sathi (February-March 2017), the National Consumer Magazine in Hindi published by Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC), Ahmedabad released findings of its in-house comparative product testing laboratory on seven brands of organic rice. Shockingly, the findings revealed that 6 out of 7 brands had pesticide residues and all 7 brands contained toxic heavy metals! Ironic, isn’t it? The very rationale for buying an organic product is to buy a pesticide-free product.

No standards
Since there are no specific standards for organic rice at present, why is the product being allowed to be sold in the country?

Why a variety of logos?
The brands carried a variety of logos and certifications from different national and international agencies. This is confusing for consumers. Why should a product meant for the domestic market carry so many international logos?

Alarming findings
The 3 heavy metals tested were – lead, copper and arsenic. We tested the products for 16 pesticides. The four detected belonged to the Organophosphate group.

Pesticide residues: Six of the 7 brands of organic rice contained pesticide residues. Fabindia Organics did not have pesticide residues. Two brands had Chlorpyrifos levels above the prescribed limit – Organic on Call and Sanjeevani Organics. Two of the four non-organic rice brands had pesticide residues.

Over a long duration even microscopic quantities of pesticides can harm. The pesticides detected by our tests are not in the US list of pesticides permitted in organic products.

Heavy metals: All the organic rice brands showed presence of all three heavy metals though they were within the limits. None of the non-organic rice brands had arsenic. Copper levels were higher than in organic rice brands, though within limits. Lead levels were within limits and slightly lower than that in the organic rice brands. (See Annexure for detailed results)

Highly priced
Organic rice brands were much costlier. Comparing the extremes, you would be paying  more than five times the price for the costliest organic rice brand –Fabindia Organics – than you would pay for the cheapest non-organic rice brand – Hypercity. Why should the organic version of a staple product like rice be so expensive? It is unaffordable for the common man.

False label claims
Most organic rice brands claimed to be free of pesticides. Illustratively, Morarka Organic Down to Earth, which contained both pesticide residues and toxic heavy metals, claimed to be: “…free from chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, toxic substances, synthetic hormones…”Two organic rice brands –Vikalp Organic Product and Organic on Call – did not have any organic certification.

Manufacturers’ response
As a policy, we convey the test results to all the manufacturers and await their response. We received the following responses:

Sanjeevani Organics said that organic certification was done for the practices and processes and not for the products. Our response: “Consumers are concerned not with processes and practices but with the end product. Certification for processes must reflect in quality of final product.”

24 Mantra Organic said that the pesticide detected by our tests – Chlorfenvinphos – was not used even in conventional paddy cultivation and not available in their project area. Our response: “The presence of Chlorfenvinphos could be due to cross contamination during harvesting. Also, some pesticides can persist in the environment even after use is discontinued.”

Organic Tattva said that as per APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) guidelines there is no requirement for testing of heavy metals for organic products. Our response: “True. However, we have tested for them as consumers should be concerned about their presence in foods. Heavy metals accumulate in the human body over a period of time and cause harm.”

Urgent action needed 
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) should set specific mandatory standards for organic foods. In response to our appeal over a year ago, we received a letter from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) saying that BIS has constituted a committee to formulate standards for organic foods. However, no concrete action has been taken as yet.

Too many logos confuse consumers. NPOP (National Programme for Organic Production) certification should be made mandatory. NPOP, which currently certifies organic process standards, should also certify the final product. Also, India needs to follow labelling norms as per global best practices.

Regular monitoring of organic food quality, including that sold online, is necessary.

Advertising claims made by organic product manufacturers should be closely monitored.

Grahak Sathi’s conclusion
Our tests proved that organic brands of rice are not safer than non-organic ones. There is no concrete evidence that organic food has higher nutritional value than regular food. Also, organic rice brands are much more expensive. Our advice is not to buy organic rice.

People want to make healthier choices and the Government must support them in this matter. It should ensure that consumers do not get exploited in the name of organic foods. It is vital that the regulatory authorities set standards and closely monitor the quality of organic food products.

To read the complete story CLICK HERE 

For further information please contact
Ms Pritee Shah (O) 079-27489945/46   (M) +91 99048 63838