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“Ineligible” people told to return ration cards in UP

Ration cards are the new methods of inclusion and exclusion into food security, as the UP government issues “guidelines” to declare people“ineligible”

20 May 2022

ration cards
Image Courtesy:newsnationtv.com

Increasing media reports, first in the Hindustan Times and then The Pioneer have reported that the Uttar Pradesh government is in a post-election spree of seizing “ineligible” ration cards. This is ironic given that political analysts have attributed the free ration scheme announced by the ruling regime in Lucknow to take the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to its second win the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh under Adityanath.

Immediately after results were announced on March 10, second time chief minister Ajay Bisht aka Yogi Adityanath had even announced that that his government would continue to give free ration to 15,00,000 eligible, poor people across the state for the next three months. But who is poor and who is eligible is the moot question given the April 2022 Government Order asking “ineligible” individuals to “surrender” their ration cards or, surprise or surprises, they will face punitive action, an FIR against them. The deadline for surrendering these is today, March 20. Individuals can surrender their ration cards at their block offices or the office of the district supply officer, the official said.

UP’s guidelines, reportedly under National Food Security Act 2013, are specific and particular: The government guidelines specify that the residents are ineligible to hold a ration card if one of the members of the family pays income tax, more than one member holds an arms licence, or if a member has an annual income of more than Rs 3 lakh in urban areas and Rs 2 lakh in rural areas, or he /she owns a house, flat or a commercial space of more than 100 square feet area. Families who own a four-wheeler/tractor/harvester/ air-conditioner or generator set at home are considered ineligible to hold ration cards as well, the guideline says.

A senior official reportedly told the media that the district administration would send recovery notices to those ineligible people who do not submit their ration cards by May 20 and may even lodge FIRs against them under provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure. He said the recovery would be made as per the guidelines. All district magistrates have issued orders accordingly. According to officials, the “recovery process” includes imposing penalties at a rate of Rs24 for a kilogram of wheat and Rs32 for a kilogram of rice from the time ineligible households started availing ration.

HT reports that 1520 ration cards were “surrendered” in Lucknow by March 17 fearing legal action. A senior official has told the media that the district administration would send recovery notices to those ineligible people who did not surrender their ration cards by May 20 and may initiate legal action against them under provisions of NFS Act 2013.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ration card holders were given free ration twice a month — once from the Centre and the other time from the Uttar Pradesh government. There were complaints that many non-eligible persons were getting ration but the government preferred to look the other way because of the assembly elections. There were also serious allegations of bias and prejudice with the rations not reaching minority dominated and Dalit dominated areas.

There are two types of ration cards — Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) cards and Priority Household cards. Families with an annual income of less than Rs 3 lakh per annum in urban areas and Rs 2 lakh in rural areas are eligible for priority household cards. People who have no house, fixed income or working skills — essentially, the poorest strata of the society — are eligible for AAY cards.

As per the district supply office record, as reported by HT, presently there are 7,86,218 ration cards in the state capital, covering around 31,18,110 units (people). Of the total ration card-holders, there are around 50,112 Antyodaya card-holders (covering around 1,51,317 people) and 736106 Priority House Hold (PHH) card-holders (covering around 6,34,901 people).

According to the present grain distribution system, Singh said of the two, the Antyodaya card-holders used to get 35kg food grains, including 20kg wheat at ₹2 per kg and 15kg rice at ₹3 per kg. The PHH or regular ration card-holders used to get 5kg food grains, including 3kg wheat at ₹2 per kg and 2kg rice at ₹3 per kg, per unit. In addition, under the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY), the UP government had announced 5kg food grains (per unit) and it was also giving one kg gram (chana), one litre oil and one kg salt packet to the ration card-holders.

India’s declining food security

India’s declining ranking (India has ranked 71 among 113 countries in the Global Food Security Index with a score of 57.2) leaves these recent moves open to question. If state governments or the Centre restrict distribution through the public distribution system (PDS) the policy will not just privatise trade in basic food but also affect overall food security of the country. The GFS Index is released by Economist Impact and Corteva Agriscience. The Index is measured on four metrics, Affordability, Availability, Quality &Safety, and Natural resources&Resilience.

Compared to few of its neighbouring countries, India has a better overall score. Pakistan is ranked at 75th position, Sri Lanka at 77th, Nepal at 79th and Bangladesh at 84th position. However larger countries like China (34) and Russia (23) hold a much better position than India.

Related:

Purvanchal: Silence of the Looms
Urgent need to revive and sustain Banarasi weaving industry
India ranks 71 in Global Food Security Index

“Ineligible” people told to return ration cards in UP

Ration cards are the new methods of inclusion and exclusion into food security, as the UP government issues “guidelines” to declare people“ineligible”

ration cards
Image Courtesy:newsnationtv.com

Increasing media reports, first in the Hindustan Times and then The Pioneer have reported that the Uttar Pradesh government is in a post-election spree of seizing “ineligible” ration cards. This is ironic given that political analysts have attributed the free ration scheme announced by the ruling regime in Lucknow to take the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to its second win the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh under Adityanath.

Immediately after results were announced on March 10, second time chief minister Ajay Bisht aka Yogi Adityanath had even announced that that his government would continue to give free ration to 15,00,000 eligible, poor people across the state for the next three months. But who is poor and who is eligible is the moot question given the April 2022 Government Order asking “ineligible” individuals to “surrender” their ration cards or, surprise or surprises, they will face punitive action, an FIR against them. The deadline for surrendering these is today, March 20. Individuals can surrender their ration cards at their block offices or the office of the district supply officer, the official said.

UP’s guidelines, reportedly under National Food Security Act 2013, are specific and particular: The government guidelines specify that the residents are ineligible to hold a ration card if one of the members of the family pays income tax, more than one member holds an arms licence, or if a member has an annual income of more than Rs 3 lakh in urban areas and Rs 2 lakh in rural areas, or he /she owns a house, flat or a commercial space of more than 100 square feet area. Families who own a four-wheeler/tractor/harvester/ air-conditioner or generator set at home are considered ineligible to hold ration cards as well, the guideline says.

A senior official reportedly told the media that the district administration would send recovery notices to those ineligible people who do not submit their ration cards by May 20 and may even lodge FIRs against them under provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure. He said the recovery would be made as per the guidelines. All district magistrates have issued orders accordingly. According to officials, the “recovery process” includes imposing penalties at a rate of Rs24 for a kilogram of wheat and Rs32 for a kilogram of rice from the time ineligible households started availing ration.

HT reports that 1520 ration cards were “surrendered” in Lucknow by March 17 fearing legal action. A senior official has told the media that the district administration would send recovery notices to those ineligible people who did not surrender their ration cards by May 20 and may initiate legal action against them under provisions of NFS Act 2013.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ration card holders were given free ration twice a month — once from the Centre and the other time from the Uttar Pradesh government. There were complaints that many non-eligible persons were getting ration but the government preferred to look the other way because of the assembly elections. There were also serious allegations of bias and prejudice with the rations not reaching minority dominated and Dalit dominated areas.

There are two types of ration cards — Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) cards and Priority Household cards. Families with an annual income of less than Rs 3 lakh per annum in urban areas and Rs 2 lakh in rural areas are eligible for priority household cards. People who have no house, fixed income or working skills — essentially, the poorest strata of the society — are eligible for AAY cards.

As per the district supply office record, as reported by HT, presently there are 7,86,218 ration cards in the state capital, covering around 31,18,110 units (people). Of the total ration card-holders, there are around 50,112 Antyodaya card-holders (covering around 1,51,317 people) and 736106 Priority House Hold (PHH) card-holders (covering around 6,34,901 people).

According to the present grain distribution system, Singh said of the two, the Antyodaya card-holders used to get 35kg food grains, including 20kg wheat at ₹2 per kg and 15kg rice at ₹3 per kg. The PHH or regular ration card-holders used to get 5kg food grains, including 3kg wheat at ₹2 per kg and 2kg rice at ₹3 per kg, per unit. In addition, under the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY), the UP government had announced 5kg food grains (per unit) and it was also giving one kg gram (chana), one litre oil and one kg salt packet to the ration card-holders.

India’s declining food security

India’s declining ranking (India has ranked 71 among 113 countries in the Global Food Security Index with a score of 57.2) leaves these recent moves open to question. If state governments or the Centre restrict distribution through the public distribution system (PDS) the policy will not just privatise trade in basic food but also affect overall food security of the country. The GFS Index is released by Economist Impact and Corteva Agriscience. The Index is measured on four metrics, Affordability, Availability, Quality &Safety, and Natural resources&Resilience.

Compared to few of its neighbouring countries, India has a better overall score. Pakistan is ranked at 75th position, Sri Lanka at 77th, Nepal at 79th and Bangladesh at 84th position. However larger countries like China (34) and Russia (23) hold a much better position than India.

Related:

Purvanchal: Silence of the Looms
Urgent need to revive and sustain Banarasi weaving industry
India ranks 71 in Global Food Security Index

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Over half of Karnataka’s children stunted and anaemic: NFHS

While the NFHS-5 report claims improvement over NFHS-4 report, the numbers raise concern in post-pandemic economy

17 May 2022

childrensRepresentation Image


Over a third of Karnataka’s under-five age children are stunted or too short for their age, while two-thirds of this age group are anaemic, said the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5) on May 3, 2022.

The 2019-20 report claims improved statistics compared to NFHS-4 yet shows worrying figures about child development in the state. Particularly, it stated that 35 percent of children under 5 years are stunted, 20 percent are wasted or too thin for their weight and 33 percent are underweight. According to the report, this indicates undernourishment for some time with underweight data considering chronic and acute undernutrition.

“Even during the first six months of life when almost all babies are breastfed, 20 percent of children are stunted, 27 percent are wasted, and 25 percent are underweight,” said the report.

Compared to NFHS-4, while children’s nutritional status in Karnataka has slightly improved. The percentage of children who are stunted decreased marginally from 36 percent to 35 percent in the four years between NFHS-4 and NFHS-5. The percentage of children who are wasted has decreased from 26 percent to 20 percent and children who are underweight decreased from 35 to 33 percent since NFHS-4. However, continuing high levels of undernutrition are still a major problem in Karnataka.

Meanwhile, 66 percent of children aged 6-59 months (i.e less than 5-years-old) are anaemic. This includes 28 percent infants who are mildly anaemic, 35 percent children who are moderately anaemic, and three percent children who have severe anaemia. However, the overall prevalence of anaemia in children increased from 61 percent in NFHS-4.

In terms of gender, 65 percent girls were anaemic whereas 67 percent boys were anaemic in the latest report. Children of anaemic mothers were much more likely to be anaemic.

“Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of children in Karnataka are anaemic even if their mother has 12 or more years of schooling,” said the report.

Nutritional difficulties among women

As many as 48 percent women in Karnataka had anaemia, including 22 percent with mild anaemia, 23 percent with moderate anaemia, and 3 percent with severe anaemia.

“The condition is particularly high among rural women and scheduled caste women, but at least two-fifths of women in every group have anaemia. Anaemia among women has slightly increased by 3 percentage points since NFHS-4,” said the report.

Meanwhile, only 20 percent of men in Karnataka were anaemic. Men between ages 15-19 years and men with no schooling are particularly likely to be anaemic.

Overall, 47 percent women and 45 percent men were either too thin or overweight or obese. More men and women are overweight or obese than thin, which is similar to the pattern observed in NFHS-4. As many as 17 percent women and 14 percent men were too thin. 30 percent women and 31 percent men were overweight or obese.

Gynaecologist and trainer in child protection at Bengaluru’s Acura Hospital Dr S. Saldanha told Deccan Herald that the data indicated long-term malnutrition. Covid-induced increased prices of nutritious foods like pulses, oils, and plant and non-vegetarian foods, further accentuated chronic malnutrition, said the article.

Similarly, public health activist Dr Sylvia Karpagam told DH that chronic under-nutrition is likely to have worsened in the state after the pandemic and the lockdown. The main causes are the loss of livelihood, displacement, shutting down of public transport, access to basic healthcare and breakdown of social security schemes like ICDS and mid-day meals.

She called for better decisions on food and nutrition based on data from NFHS, CNNS and similar studies.

Related:

Why does the Karnataka government not want children to eat eggs at mid day meals?

GOI rejects Global Health Index after India’s worst ranking ever

SC slaps fine on states for no reply on community kitchen schemes

India ranks first in child deaths under 5 years of age: UNICEF report

Karnataka gov’t delays malnutrition alleviation report, HC warns of contempt proceedings

Over half of Karnataka’s children stunted and anaemic: NFHS

While the NFHS-5 report claims improvement over NFHS-4 report, the numbers raise concern in post-pandemic economy

childrensRepresentation Image


Over a third of Karnataka’s under-five age children are stunted or too short for their age, while two-thirds of this age group are anaemic, said the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5) on May 3, 2022.

The 2019-20 report claims improved statistics compared to NFHS-4 yet shows worrying figures about child development in the state. Particularly, it stated that 35 percent of children under 5 years are stunted, 20 percent are wasted or too thin for their weight and 33 percent are underweight. According to the report, this indicates undernourishment for some time with underweight data considering chronic and acute undernutrition.

“Even during the first six months of life when almost all babies are breastfed, 20 percent of children are stunted, 27 percent are wasted, and 25 percent are underweight,” said the report.

Compared to NFHS-4, while children’s nutritional status in Karnataka has slightly improved. The percentage of children who are stunted decreased marginally from 36 percent to 35 percent in the four years between NFHS-4 and NFHS-5. The percentage of children who are wasted has decreased from 26 percent to 20 percent and children who are underweight decreased from 35 to 33 percent since NFHS-4. However, continuing high levels of undernutrition are still a major problem in Karnataka.

Meanwhile, 66 percent of children aged 6-59 months (i.e less than 5-years-old) are anaemic. This includes 28 percent infants who are mildly anaemic, 35 percent children who are moderately anaemic, and three percent children who have severe anaemia. However, the overall prevalence of anaemia in children increased from 61 percent in NFHS-4.

In terms of gender, 65 percent girls were anaemic whereas 67 percent boys were anaemic in the latest report. Children of anaemic mothers were much more likely to be anaemic.

“Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of children in Karnataka are anaemic even if their mother has 12 or more years of schooling,” said the report.

Nutritional difficulties among women

As many as 48 percent women in Karnataka had anaemia, including 22 percent with mild anaemia, 23 percent with moderate anaemia, and 3 percent with severe anaemia.

“The condition is particularly high among rural women and scheduled caste women, but at least two-fifths of women in every group have anaemia. Anaemia among women has slightly increased by 3 percentage points since NFHS-4,” said the report.

Meanwhile, only 20 percent of men in Karnataka were anaemic. Men between ages 15-19 years and men with no schooling are particularly likely to be anaemic.

Overall, 47 percent women and 45 percent men were either too thin or overweight or obese. More men and women are overweight or obese than thin, which is similar to the pattern observed in NFHS-4. As many as 17 percent women and 14 percent men were too thin. 30 percent women and 31 percent men were overweight or obese.

Gynaecologist and trainer in child protection at Bengaluru’s Acura Hospital Dr S. Saldanha told Deccan Herald that the data indicated long-term malnutrition. Covid-induced increased prices of nutritious foods like pulses, oils, and plant and non-vegetarian foods, further accentuated chronic malnutrition, said the article.

Similarly, public health activist Dr Sylvia Karpagam told DH that chronic under-nutrition is likely to have worsened in the state after the pandemic and the lockdown. The main causes are the loss of livelihood, displacement, shutting down of public transport, access to basic healthcare and breakdown of social security schemes like ICDS and mid-day meals.

She called for better decisions on food and nutrition based on data from NFHS, CNNS and similar studies.

Related:

Why does the Karnataka government not want children to eat eggs at mid day meals?

GOI rejects Global Health Index after India’s worst ranking ever

SC slaps fine on states for no reply on community kitchen schemes

India ranks first in child deaths under 5 years of age: UNICEF report

Karnataka gov’t delays malnutrition alleviation report, HC warns of contempt proceedings

Related Articles


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47.4 lakh excess deaths in India: WHO

Overall, the organisation estimates India accounts for a third of the 1.49 crore deaths

07 May 2022

WHO
Image Courtesy:aljazeera.com

Latest Covid death estimates shared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) point at a whopping 47.4 lakh excess deaths in India. This number is nearly 10 times the country’s official Covid-19 reported deaths between 2020 and 2021.

Readers would recall that CJP had published a study of excess deaths in the state of Uttar Pradesh's Purvanchal region alone. We found that from January 2020 to August 2021, the areas surveyed saw around 60% more recorded deaths than expected from 2019 records as well as from government data on the death rate in the state before the pandemic.

Estimates released by the WHO on May 5, 2022 say that globally, the coronavirus resulted in a total excess death toll of 1.49 crore deaths. Excess mortality is calculated as the difference between the number of deaths that have occurred and the number that would be expected in the absence of the pandemic based on data from earlier years.

With India accounting for an approximate 47,40,894 Covid deaths, this means that the country alone accounts for nearly a third of the world’s casualties!

These numbers are the result of a global collaboration supported by a technical advisory group and country consultations in line with several independent studies that claimed gross undercounting of deaths by India.

By December 2020, the data estimated 8.32 lakh deaths in India with the highest deaths reported in September 2020 (3.13 lakh deaths). Between January 2020 and December 2021, the highest deaths were reported in May 2021 (13.04 lakh deaths). Following India, are Russia (10,72,326 deaths) Indonesia (10,28,565 deaths), the US (9,32,458 deaths) and Brazil (6,81, 267 deaths).

“These sobering data not only point to the impact of the pandemic but also to the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Overall, 84 percent of excess deaths are concentrated in South-East Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Around 68 percent of excess deaths are concentrated in just 10 countries globally. Middle-income countries account for 81 percent of the 1.49 cr excess deaths. As many as 53 percent deaths were from the lower-middle-income countries and 28 percent deaths were from the upper-middle-income countries over the 24-month period.

Further, the WHO stated that the global death toll was higher for men than for women (57 percent male, 43 percent female) and higher among older adults.

Centre claims dubious methodology

Rejecting these data points, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare published a press release where it criticised the methodology adopted by the WHO to project excess mortality estimates.

“Despite India’s objection to the process, methodology and outcome of this modelling exercise, WHO has released the excess mortality estimates without adequately addressing India’s concerns. India had also informed WHO that in view of the availability of authentic data published through Civil Registration System (CRS) by Registrar General of India (RGI), mathematical models should not be used for projecting excess mortality numbers for India,” it said.

The Ministry claimed that birth and death registrations in India are robust aspects of the administration. Earlier, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) carried out a survey in Varanasi and neighbouring areas and showed for rural India the registration system has fallen into disarray.

The government also claimed other inconsistencies in the criteria and assumptions used to classify countries into Tier I and II and questioned India’s position as a ‘Tier II’ country. It stressed WHO’s own admission that data in respect of seventeen Indian states was obtained from some websites and media reports and was used in their mathematical model.

“This reflects a statistically unsound and scientifically questionable methodology of data collection for making excess mortality projections in case of India,” said the Ministry.

The Union health ministry had, on the basis of data from states, documented 4,81,000 Covid-19 deaths during 2020 and 2021 as opposed to WHO estimates.

Meanwhile, WHO Assistant Director-General for Data, Analytics and Delivery Dr Samira Asma said, “These new estimates use the best available data and have been produced using a robust methodology and a completely transparent approach.”

Similarly, Assistant Director-General for Emergency Response Dr Ibrahima Socé Fall stressed that data is the foundation for promoting health.“We know where the data gaps are, and we must collectively intensify our support to countries, so that every country has the capability to track outbreaks in real-time, ensure delivery of essential health services, and safeguard population health,” said Fall.

Related:

Covid numbers rise again: Don't panic, wear your masks!
India ranks high in cumulative excess Covid-deaths: Lancet report
Why does the Hippocratic oath need to be replaced with Charak Shapath?
In 2021, COVID Deaths Surged in Stunning Fashion in Eastern UP, Investigation Finds

47.4 lakh excess deaths in India: WHO

Overall, the organisation estimates India accounts for a third of the 1.49 crore deaths

WHO
Image Courtesy:aljazeera.com

Latest Covid death estimates shared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) point at a whopping 47.4 lakh excess deaths in India. This number is nearly 10 times the country’s official Covid-19 reported deaths between 2020 and 2021.

Readers would recall that CJP had published a study of excess deaths in the state of Uttar Pradesh's Purvanchal region alone. We found that from January 2020 to August 2021, the areas surveyed saw around 60% more recorded deaths than expected from 2019 records as well as from government data on the death rate in the state before the pandemic.

Estimates released by the WHO on May 5, 2022 say that globally, the coronavirus resulted in a total excess death toll of 1.49 crore deaths. Excess mortality is calculated as the difference between the number of deaths that have occurred and the number that would be expected in the absence of the pandemic based on data from earlier years.

With India accounting for an approximate 47,40,894 Covid deaths, this means that the country alone accounts for nearly a third of the world’s casualties!

These numbers are the result of a global collaboration supported by a technical advisory group and country consultations in line with several independent studies that claimed gross undercounting of deaths by India.

By December 2020, the data estimated 8.32 lakh deaths in India with the highest deaths reported in September 2020 (3.13 lakh deaths). Between January 2020 and December 2021, the highest deaths were reported in May 2021 (13.04 lakh deaths). Following India, are Russia (10,72,326 deaths) Indonesia (10,28,565 deaths), the US (9,32,458 deaths) and Brazil (6,81, 267 deaths).

“These sobering data not only point to the impact of the pandemic but also to the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Overall, 84 percent of excess deaths are concentrated in South-East Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Around 68 percent of excess deaths are concentrated in just 10 countries globally. Middle-income countries account for 81 percent of the 1.49 cr excess deaths. As many as 53 percent deaths were from the lower-middle-income countries and 28 percent deaths were from the upper-middle-income countries over the 24-month period.

Further, the WHO stated that the global death toll was higher for men than for women (57 percent male, 43 percent female) and higher among older adults.

Centre claims dubious methodology

Rejecting these data points, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare published a press release where it criticised the methodology adopted by the WHO to project excess mortality estimates.

“Despite India’s objection to the process, methodology and outcome of this modelling exercise, WHO has released the excess mortality estimates without adequately addressing India’s concerns. India had also informed WHO that in view of the availability of authentic data published through Civil Registration System (CRS) by Registrar General of India (RGI), mathematical models should not be used for projecting excess mortality numbers for India,” it said.

The Ministry claimed that birth and death registrations in India are robust aspects of the administration. Earlier, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) carried out a survey in Varanasi and neighbouring areas and showed for rural India the registration system has fallen into disarray.

The government also claimed other inconsistencies in the criteria and assumptions used to classify countries into Tier I and II and questioned India’s position as a ‘Tier II’ country. It stressed WHO’s own admission that data in respect of seventeen Indian states was obtained from some websites and media reports and was used in their mathematical model.

“This reflects a statistically unsound and scientifically questionable methodology of data collection for making excess mortality projections in case of India,” said the Ministry.

The Union health ministry had, on the basis of data from states, documented 4,81,000 Covid-19 deaths during 2020 and 2021 as opposed to WHO estimates.

Meanwhile, WHO Assistant Director-General for Data, Analytics and Delivery Dr Samira Asma said, “These new estimates use the best available data and have been produced using a robust methodology and a completely transparent approach.”

Similarly, Assistant Director-General for Emergency Response Dr Ibrahima Socé Fall stressed that data is the foundation for promoting health.“We know where the data gaps are, and we must collectively intensify our support to countries, so that every country has the capability to track outbreaks in real-time, ensure delivery of essential health services, and safeguard population health,” said Fall.

Related:

Covid numbers rise again: Don't panic, wear your masks!
India ranks high in cumulative excess Covid-deaths: Lancet report
Why does the Hippocratic oath need to be replaced with Charak Shapath?
In 2021, COVID Deaths Surged in Stunning Fashion in Eastern UP, Investigation Finds

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Covid numbers rise again: Don't panic, wear your masks!

India’s effective reproduction number (R-value) for Covid-19, has increased to over 1 for the first time since mid-January

21 Apr 2022

CoronavirusRepresentation Image

India reported 2,380 Covid-19 cases and 56 deaths in the 24 hours till Thursday morning. According to a report in the Indian Express, India’s effective reproduction number (R-value) for Covid-19 “has increased to over 1 for the first time since mid-January”. R-value is an indicator of how quickly the disease is spreading, and “was 1.07 for April 12-18," according to Sitabhra Sinha, a researcher from Chennai’s Institute of Mathematical Sciences who has been tracking the country’s R-value since the beginning of the pandemic and was quoted in the story. "It was 0.93 the previous week,” stated the news report. 

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The national capital Delhi has recorded around 1,009 cases in the last 24 hours, and on Wednesday the Delhi Disaster Management Authority made wearing masks mandatory with a Rs 500 fine for violating the rule. Before that Uttar Pradesh government had made wearing masks mandatory in Lucknow, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Hapur, Meerut, Bulandshahr, and Baghpat. By Thursday, the Punjab government also made face masks mandatory in crowded places. The Punjab government order stated, "Wearing of masks should be ensured in closed environments like public transport (bus, train, taxi and aircraft), cinema halls, shopping malls and departmental stores, and classrooms, offices and indoor gatherings." Haryana, Chandigarh are also likely to make masks mandatory again.

According to the IE report even though Covid cases are rising in Delhi, its vaccination coverage remains low at “around 22,500 on an average over the last seven days”. The vaccination numbers in Delhi reportedly fell “went down in mid-February and early March because Delhi reached a saturation point in most categories. Over 90% of the adult population in the capital have been fully-vaccinated”. However after this, the number rose as the vaccinations  for children were started.

Looking at the rise in Covid cases in states like Delhi, other states such as Odisha have also asked officials to monitor the situation, and “keep a contingency plan ready to deal with any possible exigency.” According to IE, Public Health Director Dr Niranjan Mishra, asserted that the situation in Odisha is under control and “there is nothing to worry about.”  

Reinfections on the rise?

The Pune-based Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV) has reported “three episodes of Covid-19 infection in a healthcare professional.” A report published in the Journal of Infection on Tuesday stated that the 38-year-old healthcare professional from New Delhi “had primary SARS-CoV2 infection, breakthrough infection with Delta and reinfection with Omicron over a 16-month period.” The ET too reported that “the rise in cases in Delhi and Haryana has begun to sound alarm bells once again.” Unlike the other major cities such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai or Pune where the number of daily new cases dropped to the lower double-digits, Delhi has continued to report a significantly higher number of cases, over 100 per day on an average, stated the news report.

According to a report in The Economic Times Rajeev Jayadevan, co-chairman of Indian Medical Association's (IMA) National Covid Task Force, said "it is possible to get reinfected in less than three months but that's not an indication that vaccines don't work." The report also quoted epidemiologist Chandrakant Lahariya, who said, “A previous infection does not alter the risk of future infection. In the Delta wave 70% got infected and then in Omicron again 50 to 60% got infected. Whether past infection or not, every second Indian got an infection in the recent wave.”

Related:

Bombay HC slams Prison Superintendent for selectively denying emergency parole to prisoners 
India ranks high in cumulative excess Covid-deaths: Lancet report
In 2021, COVID Deaths Surged in Stunning Fashion in Eastern UP, Investigation Finds
Covid-19: Which states fared worst and why?
Covid-19: Which states fared well and why?

Covid numbers rise again: Don't panic, wear your masks!

India’s effective reproduction number (R-value) for Covid-19, has increased to over 1 for the first time since mid-January

CoronavirusRepresentation Image

India reported 2,380 Covid-19 cases and 56 deaths in the 24 hours till Thursday morning. According to a report in the Indian Express, India’s effective reproduction number (R-value) for Covid-19 “has increased to over 1 for the first time since mid-January”. R-value is an indicator of how quickly the disease is spreading, and “was 1.07 for April 12-18," according to Sitabhra Sinha, a researcher from Chennai’s Institute of Mathematical Sciences who has been tracking the country’s R-value since the beginning of the pandemic and was quoted in the story. "It was 0.93 the previous week,” stated the news report. 

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The national capital Delhi has recorded around 1,009 cases in the last 24 hours, and on Wednesday the Delhi Disaster Management Authority made wearing masks mandatory with a Rs 500 fine for violating the rule. Before that Uttar Pradesh government had made wearing masks mandatory in Lucknow, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Hapur, Meerut, Bulandshahr, and Baghpat. By Thursday, the Punjab government also made face masks mandatory in crowded places. The Punjab government order stated, "Wearing of masks should be ensured in closed environments like public transport (bus, train, taxi and aircraft), cinema halls, shopping malls and departmental stores, and classrooms, offices and indoor gatherings." Haryana, Chandigarh are also likely to make masks mandatory again.

According to the IE report even though Covid cases are rising in Delhi, its vaccination coverage remains low at “around 22,500 on an average over the last seven days”. The vaccination numbers in Delhi reportedly fell “went down in mid-February and early March because Delhi reached a saturation point in most categories. Over 90% of the adult population in the capital have been fully-vaccinated”. However after this, the number rose as the vaccinations  for children were started.

Looking at the rise in Covid cases in states like Delhi, other states such as Odisha have also asked officials to monitor the situation, and “keep a contingency plan ready to deal with any possible exigency.” According to IE, Public Health Director Dr Niranjan Mishra, asserted that the situation in Odisha is under control and “there is nothing to worry about.”  

Reinfections on the rise?

The Pune-based Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV) has reported “three episodes of Covid-19 infection in a healthcare professional.” A report published in the Journal of Infection on Tuesday stated that the 38-year-old healthcare professional from New Delhi “had primary SARS-CoV2 infection, breakthrough infection with Delta and reinfection with Omicron over a 16-month period.” The ET too reported that “the rise in cases in Delhi and Haryana has begun to sound alarm bells once again.” Unlike the other major cities such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai or Pune where the number of daily new cases dropped to the lower double-digits, Delhi has continued to report a significantly higher number of cases, over 100 per day on an average, stated the news report.

According to a report in The Economic Times Rajeev Jayadevan, co-chairman of Indian Medical Association's (IMA) National Covid Task Force, said "it is possible to get reinfected in less than three months but that's not an indication that vaccines don't work." The report also quoted epidemiologist Chandrakant Lahariya, who said, “A previous infection does not alter the risk of future infection. In the Delta wave 70% got infected and then in Omicron again 50 to 60% got infected. Whether past infection or not, every second Indian got an infection in the recent wave.”

Related:

Bombay HC slams Prison Superintendent for selectively denying emergency parole to prisoners 
India ranks high in cumulative excess Covid-deaths: Lancet report
In 2021, COVID Deaths Surged in Stunning Fashion in Eastern UP, Investigation Finds
Covid-19: Which states fared worst and why?
Covid-19: Which states fared well and why?

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BMC reports only 43 vasectomies in 2021-22

Blaming the decline on the Covid-19 pandemic, authorities said they will address the issue with new vigour

31 Mar 2022

Population
Image Courtesy:freepressjournal.in

After only 43 vasectomies were reported in Mumbai in 2021-22, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has renewed attempts to encourage sterilisation in the community. It called upon men around March 27, 2022 to accompany their wives for routine antenatal screening and consider counselling sessions on the subject as efforts to intensify the awareness campaign.

Sterilization is a medical process of birth control that keeps a person from reproducing. The medical procedure conducted on men is called vasectomy while the surgery on women is called tubectomy. According to the BMC, sterilisation is among the better family planning options but is not the preferred option. BMC data shows that sterilisation is losing popularity in Mumbai. Over the last five years, the city witnessed a 44 percent decrease in contraception operations. The BMC health department said that as many as 914 males had the procedure in 2017-18. However, this decreased to 185 operations in 2018-19, then 116 operations in 2019-20, only 49 in 2020-21 and finally just 43 operations in 2021-22.

Meanwhile, in August last year, the Indian Express reported how more women than men underwent sterilization, even though tubectomy is more dangerous than vasectomy. The BMC sterilised 48,725 women in the three years before 2021 while only 350 males had vasectomy in the same period.

Data showed that 19,263 women were sterilized in 2018-19, followed by 17,659 women in 2019-20 and 11,803 women in 2020-21. Moreover, vasectomies only decreased during this time. The authorities blamed this trend on the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, activists accused the BMC's family welfare department of growing complacent. Further, experts interviewed for the BMC Elections article said that the myths and misconceptions around the process is the main repellent. There are also religious and cultural reasons behind not following birth control procedures.

BMC Executive Health Officer Dr. Mangala Gomare said that people from low-income families believe vasectomy can harm health, masculinity, or reproductive capacities. In reality, the no-scalpel vasectomy (NSV) approach adopted by the BMC is a more advanced treatment that requires less bleeding and stitching. There is also the role of gender discrimination that pushed the societal idea that women, not men, should undergo such invasive processes.

To address this the BMC has launched multiple public awareness campaigns as possible and directed maternity and prenatal homes to dispel sterilisation myths and worries. The prenatal screening team can with consent record the husband's responses and refer them to the appropriate team. There are also talks of starting counselling for men.

Regarding the bias for tubectomy, senior gynaecologist Dr Rajashree Katke said that women suffering from health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, and other severe disorders should not take chances.

Related:

Hijab case verdict based on erroneous interpretation of Holy Quran: SKJU
Masterminds behind ‘S**li Deals’ and ‘B**li Bai’ apps granted bail
In rare circumstances woman can acquire caste of husband: K’taka HC
Muslim woman makes history in Odisha, elected chairperson of Bhadrak Municipality

BMC reports only 43 vasectomies in 2021-22

Blaming the decline on the Covid-19 pandemic, authorities said they will address the issue with new vigour

Population
Image Courtesy:freepressjournal.in

After only 43 vasectomies were reported in Mumbai in 2021-22, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has renewed attempts to encourage sterilisation in the community. It called upon men around March 27, 2022 to accompany their wives for routine antenatal screening and consider counselling sessions on the subject as efforts to intensify the awareness campaign.

Sterilization is a medical process of birth control that keeps a person from reproducing. The medical procedure conducted on men is called vasectomy while the surgery on women is called tubectomy. According to the BMC, sterilisation is among the better family planning options but is not the preferred option. BMC data shows that sterilisation is losing popularity in Mumbai. Over the last five years, the city witnessed a 44 percent decrease in contraception operations. The BMC health department said that as many as 914 males had the procedure in 2017-18. However, this decreased to 185 operations in 2018-19, then 116 operations in 2019-20, only 49 in 2020-21 and finally just 43 operations in 2021-22.

Meanwhile, in August last year, the Indian Express reported how more women than men underwent sterilization, even though tubectomy is more dangerous than vasectomy. The BMC sterilised 48,725 women in the three years before 2021 while only 350 males had vasectomy in the same period.

Data showed that 19,263 women were sterilized in 2018-19, followed by 17,659 women in 2019-20 and 11,803 women in 2020-21. Moreover, vasectomies only decreased during this time. The authorities blamed this trend on the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, activists accused the BMC's family welfare department of growing complacent. Further, experts interviewed for the BMC Elections article said that the myths and misconceptions around the process is the main repellent. There are also religious and cultural reasons behind not following birth control procedures.

BMC Executive Health Officer Dr. Mangala Gomare said that people from low-income families believe vasectomy can harm health, masculinity, or reproductive capacities. In reality, the no-scalpel vasectomy (NSV) approach adopted by the BMC is a more advanced treatment that requires less bleeding and stitching. There is also the role of gender discrimination that pushed the societal idea that women, not men, should undergo such invasive processes.

To address this the BMC has launched multiple public awareness campaigns as possible and directed maternity and prenatal homes to dispel sterilisation myths and worries. The prenatal screening team can with consent record the husband's responses and refer them to the appropriate team. There are also talks of starting counselling for men.

Regarding the bias for tubectomy, senior gynaecologist Dr Rajashree Katke said that women suffering from health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, and other severe disorders should not take chances.

Related:

Hijab case verdict based on erroneous interpretation of Holy Quran: SKJU
Masterminds behind ‘S**li Deals’ and ‘B**li Bai’ apps granted bail
In rare circumstances woman can acquire caste of husband: K’taka HC
Muslim woman makes history in Odisha, elected chairperson of Bhadrak Municipality

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India ranks high in cumulative excess Covid-deaths: Lancet report

A global report looking at excess deaths during the pandemic period put India in a harsh light

14 Mar 2022

Lancet Reports
Image Courtesy:thehindustangazette.com

India recorded the highest estimated number of cumulative excess Covid-19 deaths beating the USA, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia and Pakistan, reported a Lancet report on March 10, 2022. The paper that looked at deaths due to Covid-19 between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021 also estimated that nearly 18.2 million people died globally as opposed to the official figure of 5.94 million.

With a goal to estimate excess mortality during the pandemic period, the Lancet published a paper wherein researchers searched various government websites, the World Mortality Database compendia, the Human Mortality Database, etc. and identified 74 countries and an additional 266 subnational locations where either weekly or monthly all-cause mortality data were reported for the required period. Further the paper used empirical assessments of excess mortality for 12 states of India.

The study found that the number of excess Covid-related deaths was largest in regions of South Asia, North Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. However, in all this, India estimated the highest cumulative excess deaths at 4.07 million deaths, way ahead of the US, where the estimate stood at 1.13 million deaths. In Russia, estimates stood at 1.07 million deaths, Mexico suffered around 7,98,000 deaths. An estimated 7,92,000 deaths took place in Brazil while the estimated figure for Indonesia was 7,36,000 deaths and for Pakistan it was  6,64,000 deaths.

Covid Death

It may be noted that of these countries, Russia had the highest excess mortality rate at 374.6 deaths per 1,00,000 followed by Mexico (325.1 deaths per 1,00,000), Brazil (186.9 deaths per 1,00,000) and the USA (179.3 deaths per 1,00,000). The global all-age rate of excess mortality due to the Covid-19 pandemic was 120·3 deaths per 1,00,000 of the population. It exceeded 300 deaths per 1,00,000 of the population in 21 countries.

Estimated deaths much higher than reported in India

As per the report, excess mortality rates due to Covid-19 in some Indian states were similar to those of some high-income countries in the northern hemisphere. The report also computed the ratio of excess mortality rate to reported Covid-19 mortality rate to measure the undercounting of the true mortality impact of the pandemic. Accordingly, it found that the national-level ratios in south Asia ranged from 8·33 in India to 36·06 in Bhutan. The most extreme ratios in the region were found in the states and provinces of India and Pakistan, ranging from 0·96 in Goa, India to 49·64 in Balochistan, Pakistan.

Using data from the civil registration system data for 12 states, and the mean reported deaths during the relevant periods in 2018 and 2019, the report obtained excess mortality estimates for select periods during the first and second waves. It also calculated a country-level residual using the residual from the 12 states.

Specifically, the report found that at the national level, India had an estimated 152·5 excess deaths (95 percent UI 138·6–163·3) per 1,00,000 of the population. This number is much higher than the data that was reported during the two Covid-waves. Covid-19 mortality rate was 18·3 deaths per 1,00,000 over the same period.

Further, heterogeneity in excess mortality among the 30 states of India was extremely high. From January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2021, as many as 8 Indian states had excess mortality rates higher than 200 per 1,00,000 population, a level only exceeded by 50 other countries in the world. These states were: Uttarakhand, Manipur, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Karnataka.

Meanwhile, Arunachal Pradesh, Telangana, Sikkim, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Goa had excess mortality rates that were lower than the global average of 120.6 deaths per 1,00,000 population (although 95% UIs overlap). Similarly, sub-national heterogeneity was evident in the excess death counts. Seven states had excess deaths higher than 2,00,000 as of December 31, 2021, namely: West Bengal (2,20,000 deaths), Madhya Pradesh (2,23,000 deaths), Tamil Nadu (2,60,000 deaths), Karnataka (2,84,000 deaths) Bihar (3,23,000 deaths), Uttar Pradesh (5,17,000 deaths) and Maharashtra (6,16,000 deaths).

Lancet Reports

Lancet Reports

“Although the excess mortality rates due to the Covid-19 pandemic among Indian states are not the highest in the world, because of India’s large population, the country accounted for 22.3 percent of global excess deaths as of December 31, 2021. Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra had excess deaths higher than South Africa (3,02,000 deaths), with South Africa ranking tenth among all countries,” said the Lancet report.

States with ambiguous mortality data

Earlier, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and The Wire published data about Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh that showed huge data discrepancies in death-related data during the Covid-19 pandemic. As per the 2019 Sample Registration System (SRS) bulletin, the actual crude death rate (CDR) for the state as a whole was to be 6.5 percent. Based on the rural-urban make-up of the surveyed population, the study expected the CDR in the surveyed areas to be around 6.7. However by 2019, the recorded CDR of 6.4 percent in this population was close to state-level expectations. There was not much room for further improvement in reporting to push the numbers up.

But in 2020 the CDR rose to 15-20 percent higher than expected either from 2019 data or from the state-wide CDR estimates from the annual SRS. In fact, the death rate during January-August 2021 was, over double the expectation. Even assuming the SRS significantly underestimated pre-pandemic yearly deaths but improved record-keeping to perfection during the pandemic, the deaths during the pandemic period were greatly above expectations.

The surveyed area had 55-60 percent more deaths during the 20 months from January 2020 to August 2021 than expected during that time. Across UP, this surge would amount to around 14 lakh excess deaths.

As per SRS and civil registration data, the state expects around 15 lakh deaths in a normal year. Further 14 lakh people also account for 0.6 percent of the state’s estimated 2021 population of around 23 cr people. Thus, the study claimed that the pandemic excess death toll amounted to almost a full year’s deaths.

Similarly, the report talked about Gujarat as a state with lower excess mortality rate than the global average. Yet, in May 2021, CJP reported data that estimated great under-reporting during the pandemic. On April 27, of the same year local newspaper Sandesh set aside five pages for obituaries in the Rajkot edition alone, while the state’s Covid-19 dashboard recorded only 14 deaths in the previous 24 hours. On the same day, the newspaper stated that 87 bodies were cremated following Covid protocol over the last two days while the government only recorded two Covid deaths.

This showed that despite Lancet report’s efforts to get official data, even the comparatively better surviving states in India were under great duress. Newspaper obituaries made for better indicators of death count in the area rather than official data, said CJP.

The Lancet report concluded that the full magnitude of COVID-19 was much greater in 2020 and 2021 than was indicated by reported deaths. It still called for further research and increased availability of ‘cause of death’ data for distinguishing the proportion of excess mortality directly caused by Covid-19. However, the study, coupled with previous reports of CJP show that there was great discrepancy especially in areas with a considerable Hindutva influence.

To verify this to certainty, the study stresses for ways to strengthen death reporting systems and mitigate political barriers to accurately track and monitor the continuation of the Covid-19 and future pandemics.

Related:

In 2021, COVID Deaths Surged in Stunning Fashion in Eastern UP, Investigation Finds
Covid-19: Which states fared worst and why?
Covid-19: Which states fared well and why?

India ranks high in cumulative excess Covid-deaths: Lancet report

A global report looking at excess deaths during the pandemic period put India in a harsh light

Lancet Reports
Image Courtesy:thehindustangazette.com

India recorded the highest estimated number of cumulative excess Covid-19 deaths beating the USA, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia and Pakistan, reported a Lancet report on March 10, 2022. The paper that looked at deaths due to Covid-19 between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021 also estimated that nearly 18.2 million people died globally as opposed to the official figure of 5.94 million.

With a goal to estimate excess mortality during the pandemic period, the Lancet published a paper wherein researchers searched various government websites, the World Mortality Database compendia, the Human Mortality Database, etc. and identified 74 countries and an additional 266 subnational locations where either weekly or monthly all-cause mortality data were reported for the required period. Further the paper used empirical assessments of excess mortality for 12 states of India.

The study found that the number of excess Covid-related deaths was largest in regions of South Asia, North Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. However, in all this, India estimated the highest cumulative excess deaths at 4.07 million deaths, way ahead of the US, where the estimate stood at 1.13 million deaths. In Russia, estimates stood at 1.07 million deaths, Mexico suffered around 7,98,000 deaths. An estimated 7,92,000 deaths took place in Brazil while the estimated figure for Indonesia was 7,36,000 deaths and for Pakistan it was  6,64,000 deaths.

Covid Death

It may be noted that of these countries, Russia had the highest excess mortality rate at 374.6 deaths per 1,00,000 followed by Mexico (325.1 deaths per 1,00,000), Brazil (186.9 deaths per 1,00,000) and the USA (179.3 deaths per 1,00,000). The global all-age rate of excess mortality due to the Covid-19 pandemic was 120·3 deaths per 1,00,000 of the population. It exceeded 300 deaths per 1,00,000 of the population in 21 countries.

Estimated deaths much higher than reported in India

As per the report, excess mortality rates due to Covid-19 in some Indian states were similar to those of some high-income countries in the northern hemisphere. The report also computed the ratio of excess mortality rate to reported Covid-19 mortality rate to measure the undercounting of the true mortality impact of the pandemic. Accordingly, it found that the national-level ratios in south Asia ranged from 8·33 in India to 36·06 in Bhutan. The most extreme ratios in the region were found in the states and provinces of India and Pakistan, ranging from 0·96 in Goa, India to 49·64 in Balochistan, Pakistan.

Using data from the civil registration system data for 12 states, and the mean reported deaths during the relevant periods in 2018 and 2019, the report obtained excess mortality estimates for select periods during the first and second waves. It also calculated a country-level residual using the residual from the 12 states.

Specifically, the report found that at the national level, India had an estimated 152·5 excess deaths (95 percent UI 138·6–163·3) per 1,00,000 of the population. This number is much higher than the data that was reported during the two Covid-waves. Covid-19 mortality rate was 18·3 deaths per 1,00,000 over the same period.

Further, heterogeneity in excess mortality among the 30 states of India was extremely high. From January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2021, as many as 8 Indian states had excess mortality rates higher than 200 per 1,00,000 population, a level only exceeded by 50 other countries in the world. These states were: Uttarakhand, Manipur, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Karnataka.

Meanwhile, Arunachal Pradesh, Telangana, Sikkim, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Goa had excess mortality rates that were lower than the global average of 120.6 deaths per 1,00,000 population (although 95% UIs overlap). Similarly, sub-national heterogeneity was evident in the excess death counts. Seven states had excess deaths higher than 2,00,000 as of December 31, 2021, namely: West Bengal (2,20,000 deaths), Madhya Pradesh (2,23,000 deaths), Tamil Nadu (2,60,000 deaths), Karnataka (2,84,000 deaths) Bihar (3,23,000 deaths), Uttar Pradesh (5,17,000 deaths) and Maharashtra (6,16,000 deaths).

Lancet Reports

Lancet Reports

“Although the excess mortality rates due to the Covid-19 pandemic among Indian states are not the highest in the world, because of India’s large population, the country accounted for 22.3 percent of global excess deaths as of December 31, 2021. Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra had excess deaths higher than South Africa (3,02,000 deaths), with South Africa ranking tenth among all countries,” said the Lancet report.

States with ambiguous mortality data

Earlier, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and The Wire published data about Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh that showed huge data discrepancies in death-related data during the Covid-19 pandemic. As per the 2019 Sample Registration System (SRS) bulletin, the actual crude death rate (CDR) for the state as a whole was to be 6.5 percent. Based on the rural-urban make-up of the surveyed population, the study expected the CDR in the surveyed areas to be around 6.7. However by 2019, the recorded CDR of 6.4 percent in this population was close to state-level expectations. There was not much room for further improvement in reporting to push the numbers up.

But in 2020 the CDR rose to 15-20 percent higher than expected either from 2019 data or from the state-wide CDR estimates from the annual SRS. In fact, the death rate during January-August 2021 was, over double the expectation. Even assuming the SRS significantly underestimated pre-pandemic yearly deaths but improved record-keeping to perfection during the pandemic, the deaths during the pandemic period were greatly above expectations.

The surveyed area had 55-60 percent more deaths during the 20 months from January 2020 to August 2021 than expected during that time. Across UP, this surge would amount to around 14 lakh excess deaths.

As per SRS and civil registration data, the state expects around 15 lakh deaths in a normal year. Further 14 lakh people also account for 0.6 percent of the state’s estimated 2021 population of around 23 cr people. Thus, the study claimed that the pandemic excess death toll amounted to almost a full year’s deaths.

Similarly, the report talked about Gujarat as a state with lower excess mortality rate than the global average. Yet, in May 2021, CJP reported data that estimated great under-reporting during the pandemic. On April 27, of the same year local newspaper Sandesh set aside five pages for obituaries in the Rajkot edition alone, while the state’s Covid-19 dashboard recorded only 14 deaths in the previous 24 hours. On the same day, the newspaper stated that 87 bodies were cremated following Covid protocol over the last two days while the government only recorded two Covid deaths.

This showed that despite Lancet report’s efforts to get official data, even the comparatively better surviving states in India were under great duress. Newspaper obituaries made for better indicators of death count in the area rather than official data, said CJP.

The Lancet report concluded that the full magnitude of COVID-19 was much greater in 2020 and 2021 than was indicated by reported deaths. It still called for further research and increased availability of ‘cause of death’ data for distinguishing the proportion of excess mortality directly caused by Covid-19. However, the study, coupled with previous reports of CJP show that there was great discrepancy especially in areas with a considerable Hindutva influence.

To verify this to certainty, the study stresses for ways to strengthen death reporting systems and mitigate political barriers to accurately track and monitor the continuation of the Covid-19 and future pandemics.

Related:

In 2021, COVID Deaths Surged in Stunning Fashion in Eastern UP, Investigation Finds
Covid-19: Which states fared worst and why?
Covid-19: Which states fared well and why?

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UP: Insufficient nutrition packages cause rift between anganwadis and community

Union of Anganwadi workers urges the state government to supply adequate nutrition and resolve the conflict

02 Mar 2022

Rural health
Representation Image


Uttar Pradesh Anganwadi Employees Union demanded timely and appropriate delivery of supplementary nutrition to anganwadi centres as per Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) scheme. The demand was reiterated following a conflict between workers and the people of Bulandshahr on February 28, 2022.

On Monday, anganwadi workers protested outside the district administration’s office to demand an FIR and arrest of the people who attacked employees distributing food in Kucheja village. Villagers tried to snatch the meagre rations, enraged by the little supply available. They accused the workers of hoarding ration meant for beneficiaries.

But the truth according to State President Veena Gupta is that many anganwadi centres received the supplementary ration supply after three months. She told SabrangIndia that the growing discontent among the people has begun ruining the relationship between anganwadi workers and society, as such incidents have increased across the state. “Anganwadi workers have to face the wrath of the local community due to lack of nutrition. The incidents of snatching by beneficiaries are becoming common due to low nutrition in many places in India,” said Gupta.

Under the ICDS scheme, beneficiaries, i.e., children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers receive a supplementary nutrition package as per Supreme Court orders. However, Gupta said that centres have not been receiving appropriate nutrition packages during the tenure of the Yogi Adityanath-led government. “We had to write to human rights authorities to finally avail half a kilogram of rice. Even that is very little,” she said.

Meanwhile, people are enraged that only 30 to 40 percent of the total beneficiaries receive nutrition supplies at the Anganwadi centres. As such, the union demanded that nutrition should be provided based on the number of beneficiaries.

Every district centre must also get a board to display the ration available for the determined number of beneficiaries on that day. Similarly, the government should issue a press release when it sends the ration to publicly announce how many beneficiaries will receive nutrition on that day.

Gupta said that conflicts will escalate if this is not done and the situation may go astray. For example, the angered people in Bulandhahr belonged to the Muslim community. Shortly afterwards, the incident was mistakenly dubbed as a Hindu-Muslim conflict. In reality parents were worried about feeding their children and other family dependents during an economic crisis arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Already, anganwadi workers, mid-day meal workers and ASHAs have reiterated time and again about insufficient help from the government in the form of honorariums, health-related gear and scheme-related ration. The union strongly condemned the attack on the anganwadi workers and urged employees to exercise restraint and beware of communal elements.

Related:

UP: No payment for MDM cooks on election duty?

UP: Anganwadi workers demand payment for election duties

All-India Anganwadi worker and helper strike on February 1

Midday Meal cooks struggling to put food on their own tables in UP

UP: Insufficient nutrition packages cause rift between anganwadis and community

Union of Anganwadi workers urges the state government to supply adequate nutrition and resolve the conflict

Rural health
Representation Image


Uttar Pradesh Anganwadi Employees Union demanded timely and appropriate delivery of supplementary nutrition to anganwadi centres as per Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) scheme. The demand was reiterated following a conflict between workers and the people of Bulandshahr on February 28, 2022.

On Monday, anganwadi workers protested outside the district administration’s office to demand an FIR and arrest of the people who attacked employees distributing food in Kucheja village. Villagers tried to snatch the meagre rations, enraged by the little supply available. They accused the workers of hoarding ration meant for beneficiaries.

But the truth according to State President Veena Gupta is that many anganwadi centres received the supplementary ration supply after three months. She told SabrangIndia that the growing discontent among the people has begun ruining the relationship between anganwadi workers and society, as such incidents have increased across the state. “Anganwadi workers have to face the wrath of the local community due to lack of nutrition. The incidents of snatching by beneficiaries are becoming common due to low nutrition in many places in India,” said Gupta.

Under the ICDS scheme, beneficiaries, i.e., children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers receive a supplementary nutrition package as per Supreme Court orders. However, Gupta said that centres have not been receiving appropriate nutrition packages during the tenure of the Yogi Adityanath-led government. “We had to write to human rights authorities to finally avail half a kilogram of rice. Even that is very little,” she said.

Meanwhile, people are enraged that only 30 to 40 percent of the total beneficiaries receive nutrition supplies at the Anganwadi centres. As such, the union demanded that nutrition should be provided based on the number of beneficiaries.

Every district centre must also get a board to display the ration available for the determined number of beneficiaries on that day. Similarly, the government should issue a press release when it sends the ration to publicly announce how many beneficiaries will receive nutrition on that day.

Gupta said that conflicts will escalate if this is not done and the situation may go astray. For example, the angered people in Bulandhahr belonged to the Muslim community. Shortly afterwards, the incident was mistakenly dubbed as a Hindu-Muslim conflict. In reality parents were worried about feeding their children and other family dependents during an economic crisis arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Already, anganwadi workers, mid-day meal workers and ASHAs have reiterated time and again about insufficient help from the government in the form of honorariums, health-related gear and scheme-related ration. The union strongly condemned the attack on the anganwadi workers and urged employees to exercise restraint and beware of communal elements.

Related:

UP: No payment for MDM cooks on election duty?

UP: Anganwadi workers demand payment for election duties

All-India Anganwadi worker and helper strike on February 1

Midday Meal cooks struggling to put food on their own tables in UP

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Why does the Hippocratic oath need to be replaced with Charak Shapath?

The Charak Shapath is said to contain several Hindu elements, allegedly including the requirements to "lead the life of a celibate and eat no meat"

12 Feb 2022

Hippocratic Oath
Image Courtesy:onmanorama.com

The Hippocratic oath, believed to have been written by the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, is taken by newly minted doctors as part of their graduation ceremony as a guide to conduct medical practice as they begin their careers. There is the traditional version, and a modern version, both roughly mean that the doctor swears to follow a scientific ethical code and will treat patients to the best of their ability. It also states that a patient's privacy will be respected, and the larger meaning of both ancient and modern versions are words that mean that the doctor will treat everyone with equal care. 

However, there are sections among medical authorities who seem to think that the Hippocratic oath is perhaps not “Indian encough”. According to news reports, the National Medical Commission (NMC), country’s apex medical education regulator, is now discussing that the Hippocratic oath be replaced with ‘Charak shapath’. Social media users shared the minutes of NMC’s discussion with medical colleges across India circulated, “No Hippocratic Oath. During white coat ceremony (with parents) the oath will be “Maharishi Charak Shapath” present on the NMC website.”  

“This is just in discussion stages as of now; no final decision was taken in the meeting. It does not work like that there has to be a due process that needs to be followed before a decision is taken,” the Hindustan Times quoted an unnamed NMC member as saying. According to the news report, another document that had highlights of the video conference of NMC’s undergraduate medical board that was held on February 7, stated that the reason for proposing to replace the Hippocratic oath with Charak Shapath was that “Charak belonged to our motherland— oath-taking to be conducted during White Coat Ceremony in local languages/vernaculars.”

Charak Shapath is the oath mentioned in the ancient Indian medical text Charak Samhita, recognised as being authored by Acharya Charaka also known as Charaka Rishi, who is said to have also been the major force behind developing Ayurveda. 

According to a report in NDTV, the as yet unverified minutes of a meeting regarding first year medical students, for whom classes begin Monday - says "no Hippocratic Oath. During white coat ceremony... the oath will be 'Maharishi Charak Shapath'...". Students may also face "compulsory 10 days of yoga (in the) morning on (an) empty stomach".

Originally in Sanskrit, the Charak Shapath allegedly contains several Hindu elements including the requirements to "lead the life of a celibate and eat no meat,” stated the portal Encyclopedia.com. It cites that according to the oath the teacher “should instruct the disciple in the presence of the sacred fire, Brahmanas [Brahmins] and physicians.” There are other sections that state, “Thou shalt dedicate thyself to me and regard me as thy chief. Thou shalt be subject to me and conduct thyself for ever for my welfare and pleasure. Thou shalt serve and dwell with me like a son or a slave or a supplicant.”

The caregiving of a patient is also referred to as “day and night, however thou mayest be engaged, thou shalt endeavour for the relief of patients with all thy heart and soul. Thou shalt not desert or injure thy patient for the sake of thy life or thy living.” But there are also some truly disturbing elements to this shapath, such as, “No persons, who are hated by the king or who are haters of the king or who are hated by the public or who are haters of the public, shall receive treatment. Similarly, those who are extremely abnormal, wicked, and of miserable character and conduct, those who have not vindicated their honour, those who are on the point of death, and similarly women who are unattended by their husbands or guardians shall not receive treatment.”

While it is still a proposal, and no formal order in this regard has been issued, the news has created a divide in the community. However, according to Dr Mahesh Verma, a member of NMC as quoted by HT, “There is a due process that is followed before a final decision is taken on any matter. From individual boards, the matter goes to the main commission, and is discussed in great detail. The decision is based on what the majority thinks.” The news report also stated that AIIMS has already been using Charak Shapath or the modified version of the Hippocratic Oath.

In November 2014, the Ministry of Ayush was formed, for “ensuring the optimal development and propagation of the Ayush systems of healthcare.”. Ayush expands to Ayurveda, Yoga, and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy. The National Medical Commission (NMC) has been constituted by an act of Parliament known as National Medical Commission Act, 2019 which came into force on September 25, 2020. The Aim of the National Medical Commission are to:

(i) improve access to quality and affordable medical education

(ii) ensure availability of adequate and high quality medical professionals in all parts of the country

(iii) promote equitable and universal healthcare that encourages community health perspective and makes services of medical professionals accessible to all the citizens

(iv) encourages medical professionals to adopt latest medical research in their work and to contribute to research

(v) objectively assess medical institutions  periodically in a transparent manner

(vi) maintain a medical register for India; (vi) enforce high ethical standards in all aspects of medical services

(vii) have an effective grievance redressal mechanism.

Related:

In 2021, COVID Deaths Surged in Stunning Fashion in Eastern UP, Investigation Finds
UNICEF and parents worry about India’s future generations in the aftermath of Covid-19
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Why does the Hippocratic oath need to be replaced with Charak Shapath?

The Charak Shapath is said to contain several Hindu elements, allegedly including the requirements to "lead the life of a celibate and eat no meat"

Hippocratic Oath
Image Courtesy:onmanorama.com

The Hippocratic oath, believed to have been written by the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, is taken by newly minted doctors as part of their graduation ceremony as a guide to conduct medical practice as they begin their careers. There is the traditional version, and a modern version, both roughly mean that the doctor swears to follow a scientific ethical code and will treat patients to the best of their ability. It also states that a patient's privacy will be respected, and the larger meaning of both ancient and modern versions are words that mean that the doctor will treat everyone with equal care. 

However, there are sections among medical authorities who seem to think that the Hippocratic oath is perhaps not “Indian encough”. According to news reports, the National Medical Commission (NMC), country’s apex medical education regulator, is now discussing that the Hippocratic oath be replaced with ‘Charak shapath’. Social media users shared the minutes of NMC’s discussion with medical colleges across India circulated, “No Hippocratic Oath. During white coat ceremony (with parents) the oath will be “Maharishi Charak Shapath” present on the NMC website.”  

“This is just in discussion stages as of now; no final decision was taken in the meeting. It does not work like that there has to be a due process that needs to be followed before a decision is taken,” the Hindustan Times quoted an unnamed NMC member as saying. According to the news report, another document that had highlights of the video conference of NMC’s undergraduate medical board that was held on February 7, stated that the reason for proposing to replace the Hippocratic oath with Charak Shapath was that “Charak belonged to our motherland— oath-taking to be conducted during White Coat Ceremony in local languages/vernaculars.”

Charak Shapath is the oath mentioned in the ancient Indian medical text Charak Samhita, recognised as being authored by Acharya Charaka also known as Charaka Rishi, who is said to have also been the major force behind developing Ayurveda. 

According to a report in NDTV, the as yet unverified minutes of a meeting regarding first year medical students, for whom classes begin Monday - says "no Hippocratic Oath. During white coat ceremony... the oath will be 'Maharishi Charak Shapath'...". Students may also face "compulsory 10 days of yoga (in the) morning on (an) empty stomach".

Originally in Sanskrit, the Charak Shapath allegedly contains several Hindu elements including the requirements to "lead the life of a celibate and eat no meat,” stated the portal Encyclopedia.com. It cites that according to the oath the teacher “should instruct the disciple in the presence of the sacred fire, Brahmanas [Brahmins] and physicians.” There are other sections that state, “Thou shalt dedicate thyself to me and regard me as thy chief. Thou shalt be subject to me and conduct thyself for ever for my welfare and pleasure. Thou shalt serve and dwell with me like a son or a slave or a supplicant.”

The caregiving of a patient is also referred to as “day and night, however thou mayest be engaged, thou shalt endeavour for the relief of patients with all thy heart and soul. Thou shalt not desert or injure thy patient for the sake of thy life or thy living.” But there are also some truly disturbing elements to this shapath, such as, “No persons, who are hated by the king or who are haters of the king or who are hated by the public or who are haters of the public, shall receive treatment. Similarly, those who are extremely abnormal, wicked, and of miserable character and conduct, those who have not vindicated their honour, those who are on the point of death, and similarly women who are unattended by their husbands or guardians shall not receive treatment.”

While it is still a proposal, and no formal order in this regard has been issued, the news has created a divide in the community. However, according to Dr Mahesh Verma, a member of NMC as quoted by HT, “There is a due process that is followed before a final decision is taken on any matter. From individual boards, the matter goes to the main commission, and is discussed in great detail. The decision is based on what the majority thinks.” The news report also stated that AIIMS has already been using Charak Shapath or the modified version of the Hippocratic Oath.

In November 2014, the Ministry of Ayush was formed, for “ensuring the optimal development and propagation of the Ayush systems of healthcare.”. Ayush expands to Ayurveda, Yoga, and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy. The National Medical Commission (NMC) has been constituted by an act of Parliament known as National Medical Commission Act, 2019 which came into force on September 25, 2020. The Aim of the National Medical Commission are to:

(i) improve access to quality and affordable medical education

(ii) ensure availability of adequate and high quality medical professionals in all parts of the country

(iii) promote equitable and universal healthcare that encourages community health perspective and makes services of medical professionals accessible to all the citizens

(iv) encourages medical professionals to adopt latest medical research in their work and to contribute to research

(v) objectively assess medical institutions  periodically in a transparent manner

(vi) maintain a medical register for India; (vi) enforce high ethical standards in all aspects of medical services

(vii) have an effective grievance redressal mechanism.

Related:

In 2021, COVID Deaths Surged in Stunning Fashion in Eastern UP, Investigation Finds
UNICEF and parents worry about India’s future generations in the aftermath of Covid-19
KEM Hospital accused of atrocities against SC students

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Odisha’s JSW project could cause 94 deaths a year: CREA report

The report takes a close look at the health impact of the development project while highlighting missing data in the original EIA

28 Jan 2022

EIA
Image Courtesy:businesstoday.in

Air pollutant emissions from the proposed integrated steel plant near Paradip port in Jagatsinghpur, Odisha, will cause an estimated 94 deaths per year, as per a Health Impact and Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report released on January 25, 2022.

For years now, villagers in the district have been protesting the development projects proposed in their area by Indian steel company JSW Utkal Ltd. Alleging that the authorities are in cahoots with the company, the community earlier rejected the environmental clearance, as local Gram Sabhas has not been consulted.

However, CREA’s report titled Health Impacts Assessment of Integrated Steel Plant, JSW Utkal Steel Limited exposed how the report’s serious shortcomings not only falsify the actual environment impact but also serious health impact.

Health impact of JSW project

“Air pollution would also lead to a projected 180 emergency room visits due to asthma, 160 preterm births and 75,000 days of work absence per year,” wrote Sunil Dahiya and Lauri Myllyvirta in the report.

The proposed project site is 5-10 km away from an already severely polluted area of Paradeep – one of the most polluted geographies in India and classified as ‘severely polluted’ by the Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI). The pollution received from there has already caused high air pollution levels at the site. This is mentioned in the original EIA report.

Yet, the EIA report claimed that the fine particles (PM10 levels) in the ambient air during project work will remain within the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) as prescribed by MoEFCC. The health assessment report said this is misleading because the prevailing PM10 levels are already higher than the prescribed standards.

Further, the emission load of the proposed plant will be about twice the fine particle emissions for the entire cluster at Paradeep and two-third sulfur dioxide (SO2). This means that the worsening air quality will result in severe health impact and extend the intensity and geographical reach of pre-existing CEPI area.

Citing this report, Lok Shakti Abhiyan President Prafulla Samantara wrote to the entire Environmental Action Committee (EAC) that the affected villages in Dhinkia Charidesh house over 22,000 people.

“[They] will be forced to bear the brunt of dangerous cumulative emissions of greenhouse gases along with scarcity of clean drinking water,” he said.

EIA shortcomings listed

Focusing on the EIA, the report said that the EIA makes a “skewed” comparison between the three-season average to daily PM10 levels. The daily PM10 standard is 100 μg/m3, whereas the annual standard is 60 μg/m3. Due to this significant difference in data points, the report said seasonal and cross-seasonal averages should be compared to annual rather than daily standards.

The EIA report also included 50 readings per station, collected across seasons to assess ambient air quality. According to the CPCB protocol, 50 or more days of monitoring in a year should be compared to the average annual concentration.

Similarly, the EIA does not account for incremental PM2.5 from the plant operation, the most harmful part of the particulate pollution. The health assessment report said data on such emissions is integral to Environment and Health Impact Assessments. Other important data points missed are accounting for mercury or any other heavy metal from the plant operation.

Dahiya and Myllyvirta also pointed out that the air pollution dispersion model in the EIA fails to account for secondary particulate formation PM2.5 formed from SO2 and nitrogen oxide emissions. This significantly underestimates the total pollution concentrations.

“These formed secondary PM2.5 make up a more significant component of the total PM2.5 emission load from any fossil fuel combustion facility. Accounting for secondary particulates make the predicted PM levels from the plant multiple times higher,” said the health report.

Additionally, Lime Kiln, Cement Plant and other combustion sources entirely omitted NOx emissions data without any explanation. Combustion of any fuel produces NOx emissions, which should be accounted for to ensure EIAs are comprehensive and nuanced.

Samantara and other activists appealed to officials to withdraw the project proposal in light of these findings. Rather than using an inadequate and fraudulent EIA, Samantara asked that fresh assessment be done instead.

“We demand an independent assessment based on understanding the comprehensive environment and health impacts of the proposed project on the surrounding areas including human settlements to be carried out before proceeding any further,” he said.

The full report may be read here:

Related:

Odisha: 3 activists arrested for speaking truth to power in fact-finding report
Dhinkia: A story of perseverance against administrative oppression
End police oppression! FIAN Int. stands with Odisha’s adivasis
Odisha Police beat up Adivasi villagers

Odisha’s JSW project could cause 94 deaths a year: CREA report

The report takes a close look at the health impact of the development project while highlighting missing data in the original EIA

EIA
Image Courtesy:businesstoday.in

Air pollutant emissions from the proposed integrated steel plant near Paradip port in Jagatsinghpur, Odisha, will cause an estimated 94 deaths per year, as per a Health Impact and Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report released on January 25, 2022.

For years now, villagers in the district have been protesting the development projects proposed in their area by Indian steel company JSW Utkal Ltd. Alleging that the authorities are in cahoots with the company, the community earlier rejected the environmental clearance, as local Gram Sabhas has not been consulted.

However, CREA’s report titled Health Impacts Assessment of Integrated Steel Plant, JSW Utkal Steel Limited exposed how the report’s serious shortcomings not only falsify the actual environment impact but also serious health impact.

Health impact of JSW project

“Air pollution would also lead to a projected 180 emergency room visits due to asthma, 160 preterm births and 75,000 days of work absence per year,” wrote Sunil Dahiya and Lauri Myllyvirta in the report.

The proposed project site is 5-10 km away from an already severely polluted area of Paradeep – one of the most polluted geographies in India and classified as ‘severely polluted’ by the Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI). The pollution received from there has already caused high air pollution levels at the site. This is mentioned in the original EIA report.

Yet, the EIA report claimed that the fine particles (PM10 levels) in the ambient air during project work will remain within the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) as prescribed by MoEFCC. The health assessment report said this is misleading because the prevailing PM10 levels are already higher than the prescribed standards.

Further, the emission load of the proposed plant will be about twice the fine particle emissions for the entire cluster at Paradeep and two-third sulfur dioxide (SO2). This means that the worsening air quality will result in severe health impact and extend the intensity and geographical reach of pre-existing CEPI area.

Citing this report, Lok Shakti Abhiyan President Prafulla Samantara wrote to the entire Environmental Action Committee (EAC) that the affected villages in Dhinkia Charidesh house over 22,000 people.

“[They] will be forced to bear the brunt of dangerous cumulative emissions of greenhouse gases along with scarcity of clean drinking water,” he said.

EIA shortcomings listed

Focusing on the EIA, the report said that the EIA makes a “skewed” comparison between the three-season average to daily PM10 levels. The daily PM10 standard is 100 μg/m3, whereas the annual standard is 60 μg/m3. Due to this significant difference in data points, the report said seasonal and cross-seasonal averages should be compared to annual rather than daily standards.

The EIA report also included 50 readings per station, collected across seasons to assess ambient air quality. According to the CPCB protocol, 50 or more days of monitoring in a year should be compared to the average annual concentration.

Similarly, the EIA does not account for incremental PM2.5 from the plant operation, the most harmful part of the particulate pollution. The health assessment report said data on such emissions is integral to Environment and Health Impact Assessments. Other important data points missed are accounting for mercury or any other heavy metal from the plant operation.

Dahiya and Myllyvirta also pointed out that the air pollution dispersion model in the EIA fails to account for secondary particulate formation PM2.5 formed from SO2 and nitrogen oxide emissions. This significantly underestimates the total pollution concentrations.

“These formed secondary PM2.5 make up a more significant component of the total PM2.5 emission load from any fossil fuel combustion facility. Accounting for secondary particulates make the predicted PM levels from the plant multiple times higher,” said the health report.

Additionally, Lime Kiln, Cement Plant and other combustion sources entirely omitted NOx emissions data without any explanation. Combustion of any fuel produces NOx emissions, which should be accounted for to ensure EIAs are comprehensive and nuanced.

Samantara and other activists appealed to officials to withdraw the project proposal in light of these findings. Rather than using an inadequate and fraudulent EIA, Samantara asked that fresh assessment be done instead.

“We demand an independent assessment based on understanding the comprehensive environment and health impacts of the proposed project on the surrounding areas including human settlements to be carried out before proceeding any further,” he said.

The full report may be read here:

Related:

Odisha: 3 activists arrested for speaking truth to power in fact-finding report
Dhinkia: A story of perseverance against administrative oppression
End police oppression! FIAN Int. stands with Odisha’s adivasis
Odisha Police beat up Adivasi villagers

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Mumbai: Aadhaar card mandatory for Covid self-test

According to Mayor Pednekar, the move will ensure better tracking of positive cases

15 Jan 2022

Antigent kit

Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar mandated on January 15, 2022, that all those who buy self-test Covid kits must show their Aadhaar card number to chemists. She further called upon the people to take responsibility for their self-test and report to authorities if they are Covid-positive.

“Mandating Aadhaar card number for buying the kit does away with the question of where a person bought the test and when. Manufacturers will also be similarly monitored,” she said during a media briefing.

As per official data, as many as 3,549 people tested Covid-positive out of the 1,06,987 Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) distributed in the area by January 13. However, by January 14, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) voiced a concern about Covid cases going unreported.

For this reason, the authorities have mandated registration of Aadhaar card numbers for the procurement. This may complete RAT for workers or individuals who do not have Aadhaar cards. However, Pednekar assured that the move will also prevent the illegal sale of such tests that may be “unhygienic”. On questioning, she also said that the sale of online RATs will also be monitored, although she did not elaborate the details.

Regarding Covid-19, the official said that the situation was improving with most people having to quarantine at home for seven days with mild symptoms or sans any symptoms. However, she urged people to inform authorities or upload their positive reports on the portal to ensure that proper data is maintained.

Related:

Amidst new variants, governments demand calm

Delhi: 923 new Covid cases reported in 24 hours, an 86% rise

Covid in 2022: Is India battle-ready?

Covid-19: Have we learnt anything from challenges faced in 2021?

Mumbai: Aadhaar card mandatory for Covid self-test

According to Mayor Pednekar, the move will ensure better tracking of positive cases

Antigent kit

Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar mandated on January 15, 2022, that all those who buy self-test Covid kits must show their Aadhaar card number to chemists. She further called upon the people to take responsibility for their self-test and report to authorities if they are Covid-positive.

“Mandating Aadhaar card number for buying the kit does away with the question of where a person bought the test and when. Manufacturers will also be similarly monitored,” she said during a media briefing.

As per official data, as many as 3,549 people tested Covid-positive out of the 1,06,987 Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) distributed in the area by January 13. However, by January 14, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) voiced a concern about Covid cases going unreported.

For this reason, the authorities have mandated registration of Aadhaar card numbers for the procurement. This may complete RAT for workers or individuals who do not have Aadhaar cards. However, Pednekar assured that the move will also prevent the illegal sale of such tests that may be “unhygienic”. On questioning, she also said that the sale of online RATs will also be monitored, although she did not elaborate the details.

Regarding Covid-19, the official said that the situation was improving with most people having to quarantine at home for seven days with mild symptoms or sans any symptoms. However, she urged people to inform authorities or upload their positive reports on the portal to ensure that proper data is maintained.

Related:

Amidst new variants, governments demand calm

Delhi: 923 new Covid cases reported in 24 hours, an 86% rise

Covid in 2022: Is India battle-ready?

Covid-19: Have we learnt anything from challenges faced in 2021?

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