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Showing posts from July 4, 2017

Protein levels are rapidly declining in all foods in India (downtoearth)

The doctor's words will always ring in your ears: eat more protein-rich foods. But this timeless advice may be hard to implement if the latest report of the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad, is to be believed. The levels of protein in Indian foods, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, are declining rapidly. For instance, between 1993-94 and 2011-12, protein levels in beans dropped around 60 per cent; in brown lentil (whole), it went down by 10 per cent; and, in goat meat, it has come down by 5 per cent.

Protein is a vital macronutrient needed to cope with the wear and tear of the body, in making enzymes and hormones. It is the building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. The deficiency of protein can manifest itself in many ways—sluggishness, slow recovery from injuries and brain fog (lack of focus). If not addressed, this deficiency can lead to nutritional diseases in children like Kwashiorkor and Marasmus.

According to a recent report of the Natio…

WHO must play a decisive role in climate adaptation, says chief Tedros (downtoearth,)

The newly elected director-general of World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Ghebreyesus has emphasised on the health impacts of climate and environmental change, while outlining his agenda in his first address since election. Tedros was addressing a gathering of WHO staff in Geneva.

While keeping universal health coverage at the centre of his agenda, he listed out three priorities: Health emergencies; women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health; health impacts of climate and environmental change.

Tedros also spoke of ethical healthcare, calling it a human rights issue. On climate change, he said, “While health emergencies hit quickly, climate change is a slow-motion disaster. WHO must play a strategic and decisive role not only in adaptation but also in mitigation.”

On the recent controversy over travel expenditure in the WHO, its director-general said, “I am reviewing the situation thoroughly and will ensure that our resources are used efficiently. We have to be good stewards of o…

WHO must play a decisive role in climate adaptation, says chief Tedros (downtoearth)

The newly elected director-general of World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Ghebreyesus has emphasised on the health impacts of climate and environmental change, while outlining his agenda in his first address since election. Tedros was addressing a gathering of WHO staff in Geneva.

While keeping universal health coverage at the centre of his agenda, he listed out three priorities: Health emergencies; women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health; health impacts of climate and environmental change.

Tedros also spoke of ethical healthcare, calling it a human rights issue. On climate change, he said, “While health emergencies hit quickly, climate change is a slow-motion disaster. WHO must play a strategic and decisive role not only in adaptation but also in mitigation.”

On the recent controversy over travel expenditure in the WHO, its director-general said, “I am reviewing the situation thoroughly and will ensure that our resources are used efficiently. We have to be good stewards of o…

Around 20 tigers poached in Corbett national park in last two years: wildlife warden (hindu)

Over the last two years, around 20 tigers have been poached in Corbett National Park, according to Rajeev Mehta, honorary wildlife warden of Rajaji Tiger Reserve.

Mehta arrived at the figure by taking into account the poaching activities over the last two years. “Last year in March, five tiger skins were seized by the Uttarakhand police. After analysing the skins, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), found four to be of tigers from Corbett. Another poacher was caught with tiger skin from Corbett in May,” he says.

On March 14, after the seizure of tiger skins, Mehta, along with other forest department officials, searched the area where the poachers hid the tiger parts in Kotkadar in Uttar Pradesh’ Bijnor district.

“We found 32 holes used to bury tiger skins and bones. Apart from finding blood-soaked clothes, flesh and spears, we also found 130 kg of tiger bones,” he adds.

One of the holes used to bury tiger skins and bones. Credit: Rajeev Mehta
One of the holes used to bury tiger sk…

Midnight makeover: adoption of GST (downtoearth )

With the adoption of GST, a clear road map is needed to simplify the indirect tax regime

In a landmark reform, India today switches to a new indirect tax system, the Goods and Services Tax. The GST subsumes the multiple Central, State and local taxes and cesses levied on goods and services, unifying the country into a single market, thereby making it easier to do business and ensure tax compliance. This will attract investors and more efficiently mop up revenues for the exchequer. The reform has been years in the making, and having shown the political will to finally pull it off, the Central government must work with the States to chart a road map to simplify the tax regime. Currently there are multiple tax rates ranging from 0% to 28%, plus a cess on some products, creating incentives for lobbying and rent-seeking. The level of preparedness for the new tax system too is not optimal, with sections of industry, trade as well as the bureaucracy visibly anxious about several aspects of …

Nothing learnt from history (hinduE)

aising the Sardar Sarovar dam to its full height will result in more large-scale submergence of habitations

Since Independence, between 25 and 60 million people have been displaced from their homes and uprooted for India’s development projects. Most end up living in abysmal poverty and deprivation. That we do not even know the exact numbers of those affected — in a country that prizes bureaucratic record keeping — is a clear indication of the callous disregard we have for these lives.

Disregarding years of sustained non-violent protest and an iconic mass movement that drew national and global attention, the Narmada Control Authority decided on June 17, 2017 to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam to its full height, by ordering the closure of 30 gates. It was announced in time with the arrival of the monsoon. Once the dam is at its full height, it will submerge one town and at least 176 villages, displace close to 20,000 families, flood productive agricultural land, and destroy…

The delta miracle: Conservation vital in Sunderbans (hindu)

The steady loss of mangroves in the Sundarbans makes conservation efforts vital

Fresh evidence of loss of forest cover in the Indian Sundarbans, which represent a third of the largest contiguous mangrove ecosystem in the world, is a reminder that an accelerated effort is necessary to preserve them. Long-term damage to the highly productive mangroves on the Indian side occurred during the colonial era, when forests were cut to facilitate cultivation. As a recent Jadavpur University study has pointed out, climate change appears to be an emerging threat to the entire 10,000 sq km area that also straddles Bangladesh towards the east, and sustains millions of people with food, water and forest products. There is also a unique population of tigers that live here, adapted to move easily across the land-sea interface. The Sundarbans present a stark example of what loss of ecology can do to a landscape and its people, as islands shrink and sediment that normally adds to landmass is trapped up…

Open acres: The new hydrocarbon policy opens us exploration (hindu )

The new hydrocarbon policy makes exploration more attractive for investors

The recently unveiled Open Acreage Licensing Policy and the National Data Repository together are a significant and welcome step towards opening up the hydrocarbon exploration and production industry in India. By placing greater discretion in the hands of explorers and operators, the Licensing Policy attempts to address a major drawback in the New Exploration Licensing Policy, which forced energy explorers to bid for blocks chosen by the government. Companies can now apply for particular areas they deem to be attractive to invest in, and the Centre will put those areas up for bids. This is more attractive for prospective operators because in the past, the blocks chosen by the government often were large swathes of land or sea in which only a small fraction had hydrocarbon reserves. By offering companies the freedom to choose exactly the areas they want to explore, and their size, the government has a better ch…