Posted: December 28, 2017 Filed under: Green Technology
What is the greenBUG bag?
It’s an eco-friendly alternative to plastic garbage bin liners. It is the only one of its kind available that is affordable and responsible, both.
Well, for one, it is made of recycled newspaper and natural glue, at no expense of electricity, water, fuels, or chemicals. It even handles moist kitchen waste well.
Then, on disposal, it does not pose the grave danger that plastic does for thousands of years to the environment and to human health.
So, its raw material is upcycled, its production process is energy- neutral and completely non-toxic, and, after it has served its purpose, it goes back into the environment entirely harmlessly!
OK. What else?
The greenBUG bag is produced by disadvantaged women, to whom this provides valuable supplemental income.
We train them, provide them with productivity tools, buy up their entire production output, and find the market for it. They are paid upfront, thus insulating them effectively from market vicissitudes.
RESPONSIBLE WASTE DISPOSAL
NEEDN’T BE INCONVENIENT
When you buy a pack of greenBUGTM bags:
You buy CONVENIENCE: Now, responsible waste disposal is convenient too!
You buy a product that is:
- GREEN to produce
- GREEN to use
- GREEN on disposal
… UpCycling never got better!
You buy a product that is made by disadvantaged women, who earn valuable supplemental income from this. We have asked them what they use this money for. The most common answer – for their Children’s schooling needs – fees, bags, books, shoes, the occasional candy…
RESPONSIBLE WASTE DISPOSAL
NEEDN’T BE INCONVENIENT
Posted: December 22, 2017 Filed under: Health
French drugmaker Sanofi has come under fire as Philippines has suspended the company’s Dengvaxia vaccine — the first promising vaccine for dengue— amid widespread fears about its safety and growing public anger over its use in 830,000 schoolchildren, reports The New York Times. Dengue is a disease spread by mosquitoes that infects about 400 million people worldwide. It puts 500,000 people in the hospital each year and kills 25,000, mostly in Latin America and South Asia.
“The newly revealed evidence, confirmed recently by Sanofi’s review of study data, found that in rare cases, Dengvaxia can backfire: If people who never had dengue are vaccinated and later become infected, the vaccine may provoke a much more severe form of the illness,” the report says.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is reviewing the situation and has issued an interim recommendation that only people who have had a prior dengue infection be vaccinated.
Sanofi too has said that the vaccine should only be given to people who have been previously sickened with dengue. Jack Cox, head of global media relations at Sanofi, told STAT
, that “We propose that health care professionals would need to assess the likelihood of prior dengue infection in these individuals before vaccinating and for individuals who have not been previously infected by dengue virus, vaccination should not be recommended.”
However, the issue is most people do not know if they have been infected or no. Dengue could be a serious disease with severe complications. However, in many cases there are no or mild symptoms. In addition, there is no ‘readymade’ test available to determine is someone was infected in the past and now can be vaccinated.
The Philippines health secretary, Francisco T Duque III, had reportedly stated that the government is demanding a refund from Sanofi for the 3.5 billion Philippine pesos, or about $69 million, it spent on the vaccine. It is also asking the company to set up a fund to cover the treatment of any children who develop severe dengue.
According to a report from the New York Times, the Philippines government has begun investigations into the rollout of the immunisation program by Sanofi, which allegedly discounted early warnings that its vaccine could put some people at heightened risk of a severe form of the disease.
Death rates are highest among children, and just last week a 7-year-old girl who had not been vaccinated died from dengue in the Philippines, says the NYT report, quoting agencies.
Dengvaxia, the world’s first dengue vaccine, had been developed by Sanofi over decades of research and is approved in 19 countries.
Meanwhile, the Indian government is working on such vaccines and Phase 1 clinical trials of this vaccine is likely to be held in 2020. Minister of State for Health, Ashwini Kumar Choubey told the Rajya Sabha that DSV4, the vaccine developed by International Centre for Genetic Biotechnology (ICGEB)-Sun Pharma collaborative venture, is a recombinant vaccine on the Virus-Like Particles (VLP) platform with a tetravalent four-in-one VLP design; expressed in yeast, it elicits antibodies to all four DENV serotypes in a shorter schedule of 0, 1 and 2 months.
The other experiment involves the Panacea Dengue Vaccine, which is a cell culture-derived live attenuated, recombinant, freeze- dried, lyophilized tetravalent vaccine with the seed strain borrowed from the US-based National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Drug Controller General India had granted permission to conduct clinical Phase I/II studies, the Minister said.
Triggering public outrage, politicians in the Philippines are demanding information about Sanofi’s advertising campaign and their government’s aggressive push, against the advice of some experts, to vaccinate a million children. The backlash has alarmed researchers who worry that Sanofi’s stumble could stoke mistrust in vaccines around the globe.
Dr William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, said, “It’s hard to think of another circumstance when a major public health program was introduced with this much controversy.”
The episode could prove to be a cautionary tale for pharmaceutical companies, who have already been reluctant to invest in vaccines and drugs that are used mainly in the developing world.
Sanofi saw the Philippines as a key market. In the fall of 2016, the company initiated a “disease awareness” campaign that did not name Dengvaxia but directed people to a Facebook page where Sanofi was mentioned.
The company has told investors that it expects to lose 100 million euros, or about $117 million, as a result of diminished sales. Sanofi is one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, reporting sales of nearly 34 billion euros in 2016, or nearly $40 billion. Two other dengue vaccines are in late-stage development and could threaten future sales of Dengvaxia if they show better results.
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Posted: December 13, 2017 Filed under: UID-Aadhaar
Deadlines postponed indefinitely
The deadline for linking bank accounts with Aadhaar is December 31, 2017
Key Aadhaar Linking Deadlines You Should Know
The last date to link Aadhaar with mobile phone number is February 6, 2018
Government has announced the mandatory linking of Aadhaar to various financial services, the deadlines of which are fast approaching. The Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) has announced different deadlines for linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts, PAN, mobile numbers and others. Missing these deadlines may lead to dissolution of important services. However, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court is yet to decide on granting of an interim stay on Aadhaar being made mandatory to be linked with all these utilities.
This is based on a plea by petitioners who challenged the linking of Aadhaar with various essentials, saying it violates the right to privacy.
Here’s the list of various deadlines that you must know in order to avoid termination of any of your essential services:
Aadhaar-Bank Account linking deadline
The deadline for linking bank accounts with Aadhaar is December 31, 2017. The linking can be carried out at the bank’s branch or through net banking.
Aadhaar-PAN linking deadline
The Central Board of Direct Taxes has extended the deadline for linking Permanent Account Number (PAN) with Aadhaar to March 31, 2018. The Aadhaar-PAN linking can be done on the Income Tax website.
Aadhaar-mobile phone number (SIM) linking deadline
The last date to link Aadhaar with mobile phone number is February 6, 2018. The linking can be done at a store or a service centre or by calling the customer services wing of the service provider.
Aadhaar-insurance policy linking deadline
The deadline to link insurance policies with Aadhaar is December 31, 2017. This can be done by logging into the insurance companys’ websites or visiting the customer services departments of the providers.
Aadhaar-Mutual Fund linking deadline
The last day to link your Aadhaar card with mutual fund investments is December 31, 2017. The linking can be done by taking help of the registrar and transfer agents.
Aadhaar-Social Security Schemes linking deadline
The last day to link Aadhaar to social security services is December 31, 2017. These services include availing of LPG cylinders and educational scholarships, among other things.
Aadhaar-PPF linking deadline
Updating Aadhaar details by December 31, 2017 is mandatory for subscribers of Public Provident Fund.
Posted: December 9, 2017 Filed under: UID-Aadhaar
Hello. My name is Rajesh Mehar. I am a law-abiding citizen of India. Wait. Actually, I am not so sure anymore.
Until 1 April of 2017, I was a good citizen. You could even have called me an Adarsh Citizen. I paid my taxes on time, did not participate in cash transactions if other alternatives were available, did not hoard cash or have undisclosed income, did not use unregistered mobile phone SIM cards, did not claim subsidies surreptitiously, and definitely did not resort to legal action against my own country.
But since 1 April 2017, it has all been coming apart. I have not been able to file my Income Tax returns despite wanting and trying to. My bank accounts are most likely to become non-operational at the end of this month and I will be forced to transact only in cash. I will not be able to receive a salary, declare my income, or participate in the economy legally. My mobile phone connection will be blocked in February 2018, and I may need to borrow a SIM card and impersonate someone else. I still do not plan to claim any subsidies, but I most definitely plan legal action against my government.
All of this has happened only because of one powerful force in my life. No, not my faadhaar, not my maadhaar, but Aadhaar. My name is Rajesh Mehar. I do not have Aadhaar and I am an orphan of our democracy.
But why? What am I hiding?
Several friends have laughed at my stubbornness. Why don’t you want to get Aadhaar? What are you hiding? Don’t you know Aadhaar is stopping many illegal practices? If you can give your fingerprints to the US Consulate for a visa, why can’t you give your biometrics to our government? Do you hate our Prime Minister?
I have been thinking about these questions without scepticism and formulating my honest answers. It makes sense to start in reverse order.
No, I do not hate our Prime Minister. I disagree with him on many counts, and I think he has made some grievous mistakes along the way, but I like him as much as I like any other political leader from any other party. And that is NOT why I have not got my Aadhaar.
Yes, I have obtained a visa and travelled to other countries and I have submitted my fingerprints in the process. However, I did so feeling powerless, criminalised, and disenfranchised every moment of that process. I did so knowing that I would go back to the welcoming, safe bosom of my country at the end of the ordeal. Now to feel the same way about the land I was born in makes me sad beyond description. I feel like a crying child, beaten and abused outside, coming back home to discover that my parents had gone mad and I was to be beaten and abused at home too.
No, Aadhaar has not stopped criminal activities and illegal practices, or even reduced them. In fact, criminals are using Aadhaar, and common citizens’ lack of understanding about it, to perpetrate crimes and continue illegal practices. The government themselves have leaked citizens’ private information
, even the President’s office has
. Sometimes, private information has been leaked through obscure websites that nobody knows about, like Zambo dot in
. Using Aadhaar, common citizens’ money has been redirected without their knowledge
, or cheated out of them again
. In fact, criminals have even managed to make fake Aadhaars
and the initial promise of weeding out fake claimants of government subsidies and entitlements is also now broken
Are there safeguards?
But my friends are not idiots. “Arre, but it will never happen to you yaar. The government has made sure that there are safeguards. Even if anything goes wrong, you will be able to get redressal,” they say. Well, no
Why is it compulsory?
Orphaned by Democracy
Indian citizens are constitutionally blessed with three parents for support, one more than the average child gets allocated. These three parents are the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. Citizenry have tried to tell these three parents that they are being abused. Unfortunately, these parents have orphaned us. The first parent, our legislature, passed the Aadhaar related legislation as a money bill
, which means it did not get debated in the Rajya Sabha at all. The second parent, our executive, has been indirectly making Aadhaar mandatory by making it compulsory to link it to several other services
. There is no option for those who do not have Aadhaar or those who do not want to link it. Our last resort, our judiciary, has been patiently wearing down our complaints by not substantially hearing the several Aadhaar related matters before it for the last two and a half years
So, bereft of any parental support, here I stand.
Thank you for listening to my story. I am Rajesh Mehar, a law abiding citizen of India until the next Aadhaar linking deadline. I am now an orphan of our democracy. Will civil society adopt me?
(Rajesh Mehar is a father of two beautiful children and also works for an IT company. He does not have Aadhaar yet.)