IRCTC CSR, NGO to Treat Patients With Life-Threatening Blood Disorder

20-year-old Harish battling Thalassemia Major receives his first blood tranfusion at TWF's newly inaugurated centre at Bhailal Amin Hospital in Vadodara, Gujarat. (Source: TWF)

As part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, the IRCTC will deliver Rs 13 lakh to the NGO. This sum will be spent on equipping blood transfusion centres in Pune and Ajmer with modern equipment that are both safe and efficient. In Pune, the facility will be built in partnership with the Indian Red Cross Society, while TWF is in talks with various medical facilities and organisation for the Ajmer centre.

“In most cities, blood banks are yet not able to provide nucleic acid testing facilities, which eliminates the chances of transfusion-related infections such as Hepatitis, etc.,” says Partth Thakur, founder and chairperson of TWF. As a patient suffering from Thalassemia major, Thakur is keenly aware of what more is required to tackle this problem.

“More importantly, the price of leukocyte blood filters should come down substantially. At current prices, the facility is way beyond the reach of ordinary citizens, thus leaving them with little option but not to use one,” he adds.

Also, these blood transfusion centres will also double up as a repository for iron chelation pumps. What these pumps do is get rid of the excess iron from a patient’s body. One such pump costs approximately Rs 36,000 in the open market.

Speaking to The Better India, senior members of TWF have said that these facilities will provide the pump to a patient free of charge which he/she will return after use. While the Indian Railways is funding the refurbishing of these centres, the recurring costs will be taken care of through contributions from individual donations and the managing trustee of TWF.

The project is slated for completion by the end of January 2018.

20-year-old Harish battling Thalassemia Major receives his first blood tranfusion at TWF's newly inaugurated centre at Bhailal Amin Hospital in Vadodara, Gujarat. (Source: TWF)

“Of all the patients registered with us most of them are underprivileged and find it difficult to avail of basic healthcare facilities like blood filters during blood transfusion and an infusion pump for iron chelation,” says Komal Mishra, President of TWF.

“Since last year, we at TWF, have focussed on looking after the healthcare needs of patients who cannot afford it and the blood transfusion centre is one such endeavour of ours to overcome it. In the upcoming year, we plan to work setting up infusion pump libraries at different blood transfusion centres so that maximum patients can benefit out of it,” Mishra adds.

Earlier this year, TWF secured ISO 9001:2015 certification. Their objective is to work towards raising the standard of living for patients in different cities by providing lifesaving medicines and giving them a sense of community.

“Looking at their past accomplishments and the purpose of providing best healthcare facilities, we went ahead with this association,” said MP Mall, the CMD of IRCTC. “We hope to bring the much-needed attention towards providing safe blood transfusion facilities to the patients and thereby enable them to live a healthy life.”

TWF’s tie-up with IRCTC is one such step towards making the lives of these patients easier. “We need more companies and individuals to associate with us so that we can improve the Thalassemia scenario in India,” Thakur adds.

Read More

New anti-trafficking law soon covering Blackmail, Pornography, Prostitution, Forced labour & Servitude etc.

Representative photograph


NEW DELHI: The government is set to introduce a law to guard against human trafficking, proposing a 10-year punishment for those engaging in “aggravated forms of trafficking” while seeking life imprisonment for repeat offenders.
A bill to identify various forms of trafficking, including for the purposes of bonded labour, sexual exploitation, pornography, removal of organs and begging, has proposed severe punishment for those engaging in the heinous crime.

The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2017, initiated by the Women & Child Development Ministry, is currently with a Group of Ministers (GoM) that will take a final view on the matter, official sources told TOI.

The bill proposes the establishment of a national anti-trafficking bureau, which shall be entrusted with the gamut of issues aimed at controlling and tackling the menace under various forms. These include coordination, monitoring and surveillance of illegal movement of persons and their prevention. The bureau will also be entrusted with increasing cooperation and coordination with authorities concerned and organisations in foreign countries for strengthening operational and long-term intelligence for investigation of trafficking cases, and driving in mutual legal assistance.


Listing out the ‘aggravated forms of trafficking’, the bill speaks about offences such as forced labour, or bonded labour, by using violence, intimidation, inducement, promise of payment of money, deception or coercion. Also, it mentions trafficking after administering any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance or alcohol, or for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage.

The aggravated form also includes trafficking for the purpose of begging or forcing those who are mentally ill or are pregnant. “Whoever commits the offence of aggravated form of trafficking of a person shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 10 years, but which may extend to life imprisonment and shall be liable to fine that shall not be less than Rs 1 lakh,” the bill proposes.

For repeat offenders, it suggests imprisonment for life “which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life”, apart from a fine that will not be less than Rs 2 lakh.

As per data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), human trafficking numbers rose by almost 20% in 2016 against the previous year. NCRB said there were 8,132 human trafficking cases last year against 6,877 in 2015, with the highest number of cases reported in West Bengal (44% of cases), followed by Rajasthan (17%).

Of the 15,379 victims who were caught in trafficking, 10,150 were female and 5,229 males. NCRB said the purpose of trafficking included forced labour; sexual exploitation for prostitution; other forms of sexual exploitation; domestic servitude; forced marriage; child pornography; begging; drug peddling; and removal of organs. It is believed that the numbers recorded by NCRB are a far cry to actual incidences of trafficking as many cases went unreported with many people still unaware of the crime or lacking confidence to seek police help.

For those engaging in ‘buying or selling’ a person, the bill proposes rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than seven years which can be extended to 10 years with a fine upwards of Rs 1 lakh. The bill also seeks punishment for those engaging in trafficking with the help of media, including print, internet, digital or electronic. It stipulates a punishment of not less than seven years which can go up to 10 years and a fine not less than Rs 1 lakh.
“Whoever distributes or sells or stores, in any form in any electronic or printed form showing incidence of sexual exploitation, sexual assault or rape for the purpose of extortion or for coercion of the victim or his/her family members, or for unlawful gain, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years but may extend to seven years.”
 Apart from the national bureau, the bill also aims at having state-level anti-trafficking officers who shall also provide relief and rehabilitation services through district units and other civil-society organisations.

The bill also spells out measures towards relief and rehabilitation for the victims of trafficking, and seeks the formation of a committee for this purpose. The committee is proposed to be headed by the women & child development secretary and would have members from the ministries of home; external affairs; labour and employment; social justice and empowerment; panchayati raj; and heath and family welfare.

Read More

NGOs Directed to Open FCRA Account with 32 Banks only

Home Ministry directs NGOs to open account in any designated bank in a month for transparency

The Home Ministry has directed all NGOs, business entities and individuals who receive funds from abroad to open accounts in any of the 32 designated banks, including one foreign, within a month for higher level of transparency. It also asked them to ensure that such funds are not utilised for activities detrimental to the national interest.
The directive to the NGOs, companies and individuals to open foreign contribution accounts in banks, which are integrated with the central government’s Public Financial Management System (PFMS), came for providing a higher level of transparency and hassle-free reporting compliance, according to the ministry order, accessed by the PTI.

The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010 provides for the regulation of acceptance of the foreign funds or foreign hospitality by certain individuals, associations, organisations and companies “to ensure that such contributions or hospitality is not being utilised for the activities detrimental to the national interest”, it said.

Therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred under the FCRA, 2010, the central government hereby directs all persons who are either registered or who have sought prior permission under the FCRA 2010 to open their bank accounts as mandated in one or more banks in the list of the 32 banks, the order said.

This exercise shall be completed expeditiously within one month (by 21-01-2018) with intimation of the details of the bank accounts to the ministry under a prescribed form, it said.

The central government has already decided that all banks where the FCRA registered persons and organisations have opened their foreign contribution accounts would be integrated with the PFMS for providing a higher level of “transparency and hassle-free” reporting compliance.

While some banks have already integrated their systems with the PFMS for compliance of the central government’s order, many banks have still not completed the integration of their systems with the PFMS despite repeated letters, directions and meetings, the home ministry said.

The 32 designated banks where individuals, NGOs and other entities can open their accounts are: Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, ICICI Bank, The Cosmos Co-Operative Bank, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, South Indian Bank, IDBI Bank, Central Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank Ltd, The Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd, HDFC Bank, UCO Bank, IndusInd Bank Limited, City Union Bank and Syndicate Bank.

Allahabad Bank, The Jammu and Kashmir Bank Ltd, Punjab National Bank, Allahabad UP Gramin Bank, DCB Bank Ltd, Manipur State Co-op Bank, Vijaya Bank, Bombay Mercantile Co-operative Bank Ltd, Yes Bank, Oriental Bank Of commerce, Dena Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Canara Bank, Andhra Bank and Axis Bank are the others.

The PFMS, which functions under the Controller General of Accounts in the Ministry of Finance, provides a financial management platform for all plan schemes, a database of all recipient agencies, integration with core banking solution of banks handling plan funds, integration with state treasuries and efficient and effective tracking of fund flow to the lowest level of implementation for plan scheme of the government.

It also provides information across all plan schemes/ implementation agencies in the country on fund utilisation leading to better monitoring, review and decision support system to enhance public accountability in the implementation of plan schemes.

Introduction of the PFMS resulted in effectiveness and economy in public finance management through better cash management for government transparency in public expenditure and real-time information on resource availability and utilisation across schemes.

It also resulted in improved programme administration and management, reduction of float in the system, direct payment to beneficiaries and greater transparency and accountability in the use of public funds.

Early this year, the home ministry had asked around 9,000 NGOs and other entities to open their accounts in banks having core banking facilities and furnish details for real-time access to security agencies in case of any discrepancy.

The Narendra Modi-led government tightened the rules for NGOs and took action against all such entities for violation of various provisions of the FCRA 2010 which include non- filing of annual returns as mandated in the law.

Last week, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju told Parliament that the registrations of 18,868 NGOs were cancelled between 2011 and 2017 for violating laws. Following the action, foreign funding to Indian NGOs has also come down drastically–from Rs 17,773 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 6,499 crore in 2016-17.

Rijiju had said the quantum of foreign funding received by NGOs in India in the last three years were: Rs 15,299 crore in 2014-15, Rs 17,773 crore in 2015-16 and Rs 6,499 crore in 2016-17.

Currently, around 10,000 FCRA-registered NGOs are operating in the country.

Read More

Social Worker – Ashwini Lakhmale

35 year old Ashwini Lakhmale is associated with MAULI BAHHIDESHIYA SEWABHAWI SANSTHA, PAITHAN, DIST AURANGABAD in Maharashtra. Inspired by his Grandfather, a Freedom Fighter; Ashwini has taken to his footsteps as his Ideal. The MAULI BAHHIDESHIYA SEWABHAWI SANSTHA is engaged in education, Health and Women Empowerment.

Ashwini Lakhmale was awarded with the Women day Award, for his work.

DSC_0561.jpg  IMG-20160308-WA0038.jpg IMG-20160310-WA0011.jpg

Read More

New Role for NGOs – E Waste Management

Delhi Public School (DPS)-Patna, Foundation School-Buxar and Shri Ram Centennial School (SRCS)-Patna were rewarded at a workshop here on Tuesday for their commitment towards working for a sustainable environment. It was organized under Karo Sambhav school programme, which aims at building awareness and inspiring students to act on recycling of e-waste (waste from old and unused electronic equipment).

Dps was rewarded for maximum collection of e-waste, Foundation School-Buxar for best execution of toolkits and SRCS-Patna got the best sustainable school award. Senior scientist of Bihar State Pollution Control Board Naveen Kumar honoured the representatives of the schools and appreciated their endeavours. “Such programmes encourage the students to lead a sustainable life and inspire them to become the catalysts of change,” Kumar said.

Around 75 schools from across the state participated in the three-phase awareness programme over a period of four months. In the initial phase, teachers were given training on the specially designed toolkit, consisting of six exercises based on circular economy, understanding waste, design for environment, e-waste introduction and collection, petitions and potential career options in the field of environment.
Organisers said the e-waste awareness initiatives, first of its kind in the country, comprise strategies like circular economy and inspiring the students and teachers alike to take actions in their daily lives. “We have designed a curriculum which enables development of teacher’s competence and empowers them to achieve the goals. We target students as it would cover many households in the city and make recyclable chain more environment-friendly.”

The teachers and students explained how the programme helped them to become responsible citizens to make the cleaner, greener and smarter city.

Read More

NGO – Citizen Circle for Social Welfare and Education files P.I.L against cancerous use of pesticides in Fruits and Veggie.

File picture of the Bombay high court.


Mumbai: A NGO has filed a PIL in the Bombay high court, raising several issues such as alleged use of hazardous chemicals in fruits and vegetables by traders and vendors, excessive use of pesticides by farmers, death of 20 farmers in September this year due to excessive use of pesticides in the state, and use of antibiotics on hens in poultry farms. The petitioner has requested the court to direct the state government and concerned departments to frame a policy to control these problems.

NGO, Citizen Circle for Social Welfare and Education, through its president, Arshad Ali, has filed the PIL based on information gathered from news reports published from time to time. The petitioner’s lawyer, Syed ShehzadNaqvi, has claimed in the petition that the health of the public at large is at risk due to use of chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics and genetically-treated substances in fruits and vegetables and in poultry farms.

Advocate Naqvi pointed out in the petition that in October this year, due to excessive use of pesticides, 20 farmers lost their lives in Maharashtra. The petition further claimed that according to a December, 2016, news report, out of the total fruits and vegetables exported to Switzerland, 34 per cent contained pesticides beyond the standards set by the European Union (EU). It also claimed that in 2014, Saudi Arabia banned import of chilli peppers from India after tests in the country’s laboratories revealed that the vegetables contained pesticides in proportions enough to cause cancer. According to the petition, the consignment of chilli that was sent back was sold in the Indian market. Later in 2015, UAE authorities also revealed that they found pesticides beyond permissible limits in fruits and vegetables imported from India.

The petition said that the director general of health services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Jagdish Prasad, had called for big and small fast food chains in India to stop using antibiotics in chicken and other food products.

Read More

A Tribute to Neerja Bhanot – The National Hero.

Neerja Bhanot, the purser on Pan Am flight 73 which was hi jacked to Karachi; laid down her life saving the passengers on the flight, helping them escape through the Emergency Door. She was shot by the terrorists.  She was honored with Ashoka chakara Posthumously her brother Aneesh Bhanot, now a Rotarian in Chandigarh has undertaken to help the Visually Impaired students in Chandigarh; as a tribute to Neerja Bhanot – the National Hero. The Times of India has covered his latest tribute.

Rotary Chandigarh Shivalik (RCS) presented scholarships worth Rs 1.80 lakh to nine visually-challenged college and university students. The funds had been raised through a unique fundraiser, “Rotary Dinner in the Dark”, held in September and October. Part of the funds came through a number of people pledging additional support to RCS for ensuring that visually impaired students were able to complete their education and achieve success in life.

A jury headed by J S Jyara, headmaster, Institute for the Blind, decided to confer the scholarships of Rs 20,000 each. The nine students include Manpreet Kaur (Late Col Harsharan Sandhu Scholarship), Labh Singh (Late H S Malik Scholarship), Yogita (Late Sarabjit Singh Scholarship), Sadanand (Late Santosh Mehra Scholarship), Hussna (Late Bimla Devi Laroia Scholarship), Princy Rani (Late Bimla Devi Scholarship), Prince Wadhwa (Adhiraj and Nandini Scholarship), Sajan Singh (Late Veena Gill Scholarship) and Ravi Paswan (Rama Bhanot Scholarship).

Jyara said while cheques of Rs 10,000 each were handed over to each awardee, the balance Rs 10,000 would be given in the next semester provided the student performed well in academics in the current semester.

Manjit Kaur, president, Rotary Chandigarh Shivalik, said, “We achieved our basic objectives, to ensure that ‘sighted’ people respect the blind by understanding how they smilingly face the problems they face in their daily lives as well as raise funds for providing scholarships. We are making this an annual event and there will be two Rotary dinners in the Dark in the New Year on January 4, which is Louis Braille Day, and on October 15, which is White Cane Day.”

Giving details of the January 4, event, Rotarian Aneesh Bhanot said this would also be a fundraiser for scholarships for the next academic session and would be limited to 50 people on a first-come, first-served basis. As RCS wants to spread the message of ‘Respect the Visually Impaired’ among the youth, there is a special discounted offer for students in the age group of 13-18 years.

The team of visually impaired youth who have selflessly volunteered to be part of RDID included Shiv, Amarinder, Kuljeet, Mohit, Meeta and Soni. They are being assisted by a number of volunteers.

Read More

Law on adultery punishing only men – Under SC Scanner


The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to examine the constitutional validity of a colonial-era law on adultery which punishes only the man even though the woman, with whom he has had consensual sex, may be an equal partner.

The top court also said if the husband gives consent for sexual intercourse between his wife and another man, then it nullifies the offence of adultery and turns the woman into a commodity, which goes against the principle of gender justice and the constitutional mandate of right to equality.

Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code states that “whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery”.

The offence of adultery entails punishment of up to five years in jain or fine or with both. However, in such cases, the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud termed the provision a “prima facie archaic” and said this “tantamounts to subordination of a woman where the Constitution confers equal status”.

“A time has come when the society must realise that a woman is equal to a man in every field. This provision, prima facie, appears to be quite archaic. When the society progresses and the rights are conferred, the new generation of thoughts spring, and that is why, we are inclined to issue notice,” the bench said.

It said it would examine the constitutional validity of the 157-year-old provision and issued notice to the Centre, seeking its response in four weeks.

The court said it needs to examine why a married woman, who may have been an equal partner to the offence of adultery with a married man who is not her husband, should not be punished along with the man.

Secondly, the bench said it will examine if the husband of a woman gives his consent or connives for sexual intercourse with another married man, then does it not turn her into a commodity.

“Prima facie, on a perusal of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, we find that it grants relief to the wife by treating her as a victim. It is also worthy to note that when an offence is committed by both of them, one is liable for criminal offence but the other is absolved,” it said.

The top court said the provision seems to be based on a “societal presumption” and ordinarily, the criminal law proceeds on gender neutrality but in this case, “as we perceive, the said concept is absent”.

“That apart, it is to be seen when there is conferment of any affirmative right on women, can it go to the extent of treating them as the victim, in all circumstances, to the peril of the husband,” the bench said.

It said when the provision is perceived from the language employed in the section, then the “fulcrum of the offence is destroyed once the consent or the connivance of the husband is established”.

“Viewed from the said scenario, the provision really creates a dent on the individual, independent identity of a woman when the emphasis is laid on the connivance or the consent of the husband”, it said.

During the hearing, Justice Chandrachud observed that at present, the law assumes a “patronising attitude” towards the woman and treats her as a victim which amounts to violation of a fundamental right and gender discrimination.

Advocates Kaleeswaram Raj and Suvidutt M S, appearing for petitioner Joseph Shine, an Indian citizen but residing in Italy, said section 497 was “prima facie unconstitutional on the ground that it discriminates against men and violates Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of”.

He said “when the sexual intercourse takes place with the consent of both the parties, there is no good reason for excluding one party from the liability”.


The lawyer said the provision also indirectly discriminates against women by holding an erroneous presumption that they are the property of men.

“This is further evidenced by the fact that if adultery is engaged with the consent of the husband of the woman, then such act seizes to be an offence punishable under the code,” he told the bench.

He said the said provisions have been treated to be constitutionally valid in three verdicts of the apex court in 1954, 1985 and in 1988.

Raj said that petitioner has also challenged the Section 198(2) of CrPC, which deals with prosecution for offences against marriages.

Read More

School asks parents to pick and drop girls! Psychologists must come forward to curb this sexual perversion in the society!!

Representational image



The La Martiniere For Girls school in Kolkata has banned pool cars for the students and has asked the parents to pick and drop their kids from next month. The development came a few days after a kindergarten student at a top school in Ranikuthi in Kolkata was sexually assaulted by a teacher inside a toilet. The teacher allegedly lured the 4-year-old and took her to the toilet where he reportedly physically abused her.

Even as the CISCE board asked all the schools to install CCTV cameras within two weeks, some of the schools have installed their own safety measures. La Martiniere For Girls is one of them.

The school has issued a notice to all the parents urging them to personally pick and drop their children. Although the school has banned pool cars, it said that even if the parents arrange pool cars for their children, they have to make sure that each child is accompanied by a family member.

“Either the mother or father of the child will drop her and pick her up from January 16, next year,” Rupkatha Sarkar, Principal, La Martiniere for Girls, was quoted as saying by PTI.

Not just pool cars, the escort must also carry an authorization letter with a picture and signature as identity proof.

A 4-year-old student was sexually and physically abused on December 1 by a male teacher in a top Kolkata school’s toilet. When the child returned home, her mother noticed blood stains all over her school uniform. Th kid was also found bleeding from her private parts.

Read More