• Killing fields

    Killing fields

    AIDS threatens subsistence agriculture in Africa


    • Animal rights activists are up in arms over a Halloween contest in New York which offers customers free entry if they eat a live Madagascar hissing cockroach. The People for the Ethical

  • In Short

    for andhra farmers: The government has formed a 13-member commission to examine the agricultural system of Andhra Pradesh and formulate an action plan to strengthen it so that the high rate of

  • In Court

    japanese resist dam:Japan's Osaka High Court (HC) recently ordered construction of a dam on the Echigawa river, to be shelved due to environmental concerns. This is an important win for the residents

  • Free medicines, transport is all they want for battle against HIV

    Chandigarh, February 17 Members of the People living with HIV AIDS, a centre for the AIDS infected people that is being managed by the State AIDS Control Society, Chandigarh, are fighting a lone battle for medical and other facilities that are quite expensive for the families enrolled with the centre.

  • Rs 16,447-cr Budget allocation for NE

    Riding on the back of a populist Budget, Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram today reiterated UPA Government's commitment for economic uplift of the north eastern region (NER), announcing a hike of Rs 2082 crore in Central allocation. The NER will continue to receive special attention and enhanced allocations. "I propose to provide Rs.1,455 crore to the Ministry, Development of the North Eastern Region (DoNER),' said the Union Finance Minister. The total Budget allocation for NER, spread over different Ministries and departments, will increase from Rs 14, 365 crore in 2007-08 to Rs 16, 447 crore in 2008-09, he announced. Although the Finance Minister spoke of special interest for development of NER, his words did not match the allocations. For instance, he announced a special centenary grant of Rs 20 crore to the Tocklai Experimental Station at Jorhat. The demand was for Rs 100 crore grant. The Tocklai Station at Jorhat of the Tea Research Association will celebrate its centenary in 2010. It is in the process of upgrading its facilities and expanding its activities to cover the NER, North Bengal and Darjeeling. A visibly agitated BPPF MP, SK Bwismutiary sought to interrupt Chidambaram on a couple of occasions, protesting meagre allocation for BTAD areas. The Finance Minister has also proposed to set up centres for development as mega clusters in handloom sector. The Government proposes to invest about Rs 70 crore in developing each cluster. An initial amount of Rs 100 crore was earmarked. Incidentally, both the projects are in Union Minister for State for Fertilizer and Chemicals, Bijoy Krishna Hendique's Parliamentary constituency. Meanwhile, the Special Purpose Tea Fund set up last year for re-plantation and rejuvenation has been earmarked Rs 40 crore. The fund popularly called the tea package was envisaged to bail out the sick tea industry. The NER and, especially, Arunachal Pradesh and the border areas face special problems that cannot be tackled in the usual course or through normal schemes. Hence, Government proposes to identify the urgent needs of these areas and address them through a special mechanism, he said, acknowledging the problems faced by the border State. "In order to jumpstart the process, I propose to set apart a sum of Rs.500 crore in a fund dedicated for the purpose,' said the Minister. The ambitious SARDP-NE, a programme envisaging development of road infrastructure, has been set a target of 300 km. Last fiscal, 180 km of road had been constructed. The Finance Minister also declared a special focus on saving the tigers. The number 1,411 should ring the alarm bells. "The tiger is under grave threat. In order to redouble our effort to protect the tiger, I propose to make a one time grant of Rs.50 crore to the National Tiger Conservation Authority. The bulk of the grant will be used to raise, arm and deploy a special Tiger Protection Force,' Chidambaram said. The National Aids Control Programme will be provided Rs.993 crore. Studies have shown that the prevalence rate of HIV and AIDS has come down from 0.9 per cent to 0.36 per cent, which is a matter of some satisfaction, he said. Meanwhile, allocation for flood control projects for the NER and Sikkim has been hiked to Rs 114.20 crore from Rs 58.39 crore. While there was no mention of the Majuli Protection Scheme, Pagladiya Project has been earmarked Rs 2 crore, a rise from Rs 1.29 crore. However, allocation for Indo-Bangladesh border works has gone down to Rs 484.23 crore from Rs 560.97 crore.

  • AIDS spreading in J&K

    In conservative Jammu and Kashmir, the AIDS epidemic is spreading fast with 42 deaths in 2007 and 211 fresh cases detected. "A total of 211 fresh cases were registered in Jammu and Kashmir in 2007, showing a sharp increase in the number of AIDS patients in the state. However, the number of AIDS cases registered in 2006 was just 34,' sources at J&K AIDS Control Society said. Jammu and Kashmir is one of a few states which have registered an increase in the number of AIDS cases. The health officials in Jammu and Kashmir attribute the sudden increase in the number of AIDS cases to the heightened awareness among the people about the disease. Still J&K remains a vulnerable region with regard to drug abuse and spread of H8IV/AIDS. India has over 30 lakh people living with HIV. They face stigma, discrimination and irrational prejudice in their everyday lives. Meanwhile, the total number of HIV infections across the country has shown a decrease. Against the 31,430 cases registered during 2006, the country has reported 20,408 cases this year. The number of deaths due to this epidemic has also shown a slight decrease. In 2006, 1,786 deaths were reported throughout the country while in 2007, the number decreased a little and 1,760 deaths took place due to AIDS.

  • HIV cases may jump in Asia by 2020: UN

    The number of people in Asia infected with HIV could jump by more than 150 per cent, or 8 million, by 2020 unless more is done to combat the spread of the virus that causes AIDS, a report presented to

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