‘Living Root Bridges’ in State an indigenous innovation: NIF


The National Innovation Foundation (NIF) has identified the ‘Living Root Bridges’ in Meghalaya as an indigenous innovation to be nominated for the National Level recognition Award in Delhi on March 4.

This war informed by Kit Swer official of the Meghalaya Basin Authority during a press conference on the National Science Day celebration, which will be held in the city on ‘Regional Innovators Conclave’ starting from 28th February to 3nd March, 2017 at State Central Library, Shillong from 10:00 AM onwards.

The event will be inaugurated by the Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Dr RC Laloo on February 28.

Addressing reporters here on Monday, Swer informed that the NIF has done its scouting and has identified the ‘Living Root Bridges’ as one area of innovation that they will nominate for the award this year.

He further informed that the nomination is under the 9th biennial competition of the National Innovation Foundation.

“The recognition is not for any single community but is for all communities who are engaged in growing living root bridges in the state. The recognition will be at national level however we do not know just yet who will confer the recognition,” he said.

Stating that Meghalaya is very unique in having the ‘Living Root Bridges’, he said, “When we look at places where tourism have managed to penetrate in a large extent we have a concern that if insufficient knowledge does not go to these people about preserving these root bridges then there is a huge chance that we might lose these heritage from our state.”

He said some of the communities engaged in growing living root bridges include Nongriat, Nohwet (Riwai, Mawlynnong), Kudang Rim, Nongthymmai, Mawkyrnot, Nongblai, Khonglah, Padu, and Shnongpdeng.

“There are many lesser known communities that grow living root bridges that we are yet to identify, “he said.

The first day of the celebration will kick start with a Science March from 9.30AM from the State Central Library which will be participated by school students including the general public.

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‘1,850 drugs sold in India not of standard quality’

Pills Spilling From Bottle

The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday said it has found 1,850 samples of drugs sold in India ‘Not of Standard Quality (NSQ)’ while 13 were found spurious.

“Overall, out of the 47,012 samples tested, 13 samples were found to be spurious and 1,850 samples were found to be ‘Not of Standard Quality’ (NSQ). As such, the percentage of NSQ Drugs in India has been found to be 3.16 per cent and that of Spurious drugs 0.0245 per cent,” said a statement from the ministry.

According to the Health Ministry, many of the drugs are of foreign companies that have their manufacturing units in India.

As part of the survey, touted to be the world’s largest, 47,954 drug samples relating to 23 dosage forms were drawn from 654 districts of 36 States and Union Territories from the supply chains including retail outlets, government sources and from eight airports and sea ports.

“The statistical design of the Drug Survey included as many as 224 Drug molecules belonging to 15 different therapeutic categories of the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) 2011,” said a statement from the Health Ministry.

The Ministry had entrusted the work related to carrying out a Survey of the extent of Problems of ‘Spurious and Not of Standard Quality Drugs’ to the National Institute of Biologicals (NIB), Noida.

As part of the survey, a nationwide training in drugs survey methodology was imparted at 28 centres across the country to over 1,800 Sample Drawing Officers (SDOs) and representatives of the Civil Society / Pharmacy Council of India (PCI).

“The role of the Civil Society/Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) representatives was to observe that the drugs samples are drawn in accordance with the sampling methodology and the highest degree of transparency and objectivity is maintained in the process to eliminate any bias,” said the Ministry.

All the samples were subjected to test/analysis as per pharmacopoeial requirements in the Central and State Drug Testing Laboratories that have been accredited by NABL.

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Cash withdrawal weekly limit goes up to Rs 50,000


The first stage of the two-stage lifting of limits on cash withdrawals from savings bank accounts became effective on Monday, with the weekly limit rising to Rs 50,000 per account from Rs 24,000. Cash withdrawal limits are slated to cease from March 13. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Deputy Governor R. Gandhi announced the lifting of limits on February 8. On January 30, the RBI ended all curbs on withdrawals from Current Accounts, Cash Credit Accounts and Overdraft Accounts. The limits were placed following the November 8 demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes. The upper limit for withdrawals from ATMs was Rs 2,500 initially and was later raised to Rs 4,500. In January, the RBI hiked the daily ATM withdrawal limit to Rs 10,000 and doubled the weekly Current Account withdrawal limit to Rs 1 lakh. The upper limit for weekly withdrawal from bank accounts was raised to Rs 24,000 from Rs 20,000 in November.

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ISRO launches 104 satellites, sets world mark, kudos pour in


Greetings and praises for ISRO from various ministers, Bollywood stars and other eminent personalities flooded Twitter on Wednesday as the space agency created a world record by successfully putting 104 satellites into orbit.

The Indian rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) lifted off successfully with 104 satellites, including the country’s earth observation satellite Cartosat-2 series, from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday morning.

The co-passenger satellites comprised 101 nano satellites, one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UAE and 96 from the US, as well as two nano satellites from India.

President Pranab Mukherjee extended his greetings to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and its team, saying: “The nation is proud of the achievement which demonstrated India’s increasing space capabilities.”

Vice President Hamid Ansari in a statement said: “This has been a history-scripting effort of launching 104 satellites in a single launch… The flawless launch underlined the efforts to make the use and exploration of space more accessible and affordable.”

In his congratulatory tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “Congratulations to ISRO for the successful launch of PSLV-C37 and Cartosat satellite together with 103 nano satellites.”

Twitter handle of Congress quoted party President Sonia Gandhi as she dubbed the ISRO’s launch of a record 104 satellites in one go as “path breaking and historic”.

Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan tweeted that the launch of 104 satellites in a single mission is a glimpse of the potential Indian science holds.

“The whole world now looks at India for touching lives of people with science and technology and its philosophy of ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’,” he said.

BJP President Amit shah also applauded the achievement in his tweet: “I salute our scientists for their dedication and commitment. It is an incredible step for the country’s space programme. Proud moment. Jai Hind.”

Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar wrote: “Congratulations to ISRO scientists and team for launching a record 104 satellites in a single mission. It’s a proud moment for the nation.”

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that ISRO’s achievements have made the country proud on many occasions. “Today’s launch is a significant milestone in India’s space history,” he tweeted.

Union Ministers Arun Jaitley, Nirmala Sitharaman, M. Venkaiah Naidu, Manohar Parrikar and Suresh Prabhu were among the politicians expressing their joy in Twitter over the feat achieved by the ISRO.

Cricketer Virender Sehwag also professed his national pride and excitement about the ISRO’s world record. “Ek hi baar mein poore Ek Sau Chaar (104 in just one go). Congratulations to ISRO for launching a record 104 satellites in a single mission,” he tweeted.

Celebrities, including Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and Anupam Kher, were also among the Bollywood stars tweeting about the world record to express pride and happiness.

Amitabh Bachchan congratulated the space agency and said: “Hope one day we land on moon.”

Kher in his congratulatory tweet said: “India becomes the first country in the world to launch 104 satellites in one go. Jai Ho!”

Abhishek Bachchan, with the hashtag #ProudIndian, tweeted: “And ISRO gives us yet another reason to hold our heads up high.”

Spiritual leaders Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Jaggi Vasudev also took to twitter to share their good wishes and greetings.

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Brisk walk helps you block work frustrations reaching home


Besides keeping you physically fit, a brisk walk or a long swim may be the key to preventing a bad day at the office from spilling over into the home, says a study. “Research shows employees who are mistreated at work are likely to engage in similar behaviours at home,” said one of the researchers Shannon Taylor from University of Central Florida in the US. “If they’ve been belittled or insulted by a supervisor, they tend to vent their frustration on members of their household. Our study shows that happens because they’re too tired to regulate their behaviour,” Taylor noted. The findings showed that sleep and exercise are intervention points that can be leveraged to prevent the spread of harmful behaviour.

Study participants included 118 MBA students with full-time jobs who took a survey and then wore activity monitors for a week. A follow-up survey was then sent to the participants’ cohabitants.

Tracking participants’ sleep patterns and daytime physical movements, the researchers found that employees who recorded an average of more than 10,900 steps each day were less likely to perpetuate abuse at home than those recording fewer than 7,000.

“The study gives us a new perspective on the importance of getting an adequate amount of sleep and exercise. It’s not just good for you, it’s good for your spouse, too,” Taylor said.

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Tripura, Mizoram to ban liquor shops along national highways


The Tripura and Mizoram governments would implement the Supreme Court order to ban liquor shops and outlets along the national highways, officials said on Monday. The Tripura government has asked all the eight District Magistrates and Collectors to relocate the liquor shops and outlets 500 metres away from the national highways. “We have already asked the DMs and Collectors to take immediate steps to move the liquor shops and outlets 500 metres away from the national highways. We would execute the Supreme Court directives by March,” Tripura’s Commissioner of Taxes and Excise Debapriya Bardhan said. He said: “Of the 97 foreign liquor and 37 country liquor shops in Tripura, around 84 liquor shops and outlets fall within 500 metres of the national highways. We would relocate all of them.” As per the apex court directive, wine shops, outlets and bars should move beyond 500 meters of the national highways. The court in its December 15 order had also stipulated a deadline to the states asking them to relocate the liquor joints by March 31, 2017. “Licenses of existing liquor shops along the national highways would not be renewed after March 31,” Bardhan said.

In Aizawl, Mizoram’s Excise and Narcotics Minister R. Lalzirliana said that the state government would implement the Supreme Court order to ban liquor shops along national highways. “The license of these shops would be cancelled if they do not comply with the direction,” the minister said.

After 18 years of imposing stringent prohibition, the Mizoram government lifted the liquor ban in the state in March 2015, allowing opening of liquor shops in the Christian dominated tribal majority state under the Mizoram Liquor Prohibition and Control Act, 2014.

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Zoom Air looks at starting operation from Arunchal’s Pasighat

Zoom Air, India’s 10th national scheduled airline which received an air operator’s permit (AOP) on February 3, is in talks with the Arunachal Pradesh government to connect newly built Pasighat airport with its operational network, an official said on Sunday. “We are looking to connect Pasighat airport in Arunachal Pradesh. In fact, we are in talks with the state government. We need to take some clearances from the state and Arunachal government also requires to get some clearances from Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA),” the airline’s Executive Director and CEO Koustav Mohan Dhar said. “It would take some time to get all the clearances. To be realistic, the operation in Pasighat is expected not before end of March,” he added.

The airline will launch its scheduled commercial operation on Delhi-Kolkata-Durgapur-Delhi route on February 12. “We are staring operation from February 12 with the triangle services-Delhi-Kolkata, Kolkata-Durgapur and Durgapur-Delhi route. There will be daily flights on these routes,” said Dhar. He also said that the airline planned to start the reverse triangle operations in evening on the same route by early week of March. Incidentally, the Delhi-based airlines is starting its operation from Kaji Nazrul Islam Airport at West Bengal’s Durgapur after Air India withdrew its operation on the Kolkata-Durgapur-Delhi route in June last year due to “operational reasons”. The new operator will have flights in regional routes. “We are doing Delhi-Allahabad Kolkata-Shillong as of now. We also start operation on Delhi-Amritsar-Delhi route. We will explore regional routes and will have services in many of such routes,” he said. On Friday, the DGCA granted the AOP to Zexus Air Services which will run the operation with the brand name Zoom Air. “This certifies that Zexus Air Services Pvt Ltd is authorised to perform commercial air operations….in accordance with the operations manual and Rule 134 of the Aircraft Rules 1937,” said the AOP.

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