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The Punjab Assembly on Tuesday passed eight important Bills in the Budget session chaired by Speaker Rana K.P. Singh.

Industry and Commerce Minister Sundar Sham Arora presented two Bills including the Indian Partnership (Punjab Amendments) Bill, 2021 and the Punjab Bureau of Investment Promotion (Amendment) Bill 2021 and passed in the Assembly session.

Higher education and languages minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa presented the Amity University, Punjab Bill, 2021 and it was passed after discussion.

Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa presented the two key bills including the Prisons (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2021 and the Punjab Cooperative Societies (Amendment) which were passed in assembly session.

Similarly, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal presented the Punjab Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (Amendment) Bill 2021 and it was also passed.

Education and PWD Minister Vijay Indra Singla presented two significant bills including the Punjab Excise (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and the Punjab Education (Posting of Teachers in Disadvantageout Area) Bill, 2021. These were also passed.

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In conversation with NewsX, singer and music composer Kailash Kher spoke about his latest song dedicated to Jagannath Rath Yatra, his devotion towards Lord Shiva and more.



Kailash Kher recently joined NewsX for a candid chat as a part of NewsX India A-List, wherein he got recognised for excellence as an Indian Entertainment Icon.

Talking about his newly-released song dedicated to Jagannath Rath Yatra, he said, “We, at Kailasa Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, create such a rendition on every Indian festival. In the 15 years of my career, God has made me realise that we should share valuable things from our rich heritage. This is my responsibility. Our heritage remains, even if we don’t. Sambit Patra is my friend and we keep interacting frequently. I told him that we would also make him sing one day. The occasion of Jagannath Rath Yatra was coming. On 4 July, we were talking and that’s when I pitched this idea to him and he graciously accepted it. He came on 7 July, my birthday and we recorded this song the entire day. In just four days, we were ready with this miracle called ‘Shri Jagannath Ashtakam’. Today, this song is out there for the entire world to listen and people are praising it a lot.”

Kher added, “We have urged the devotees of Lord Jagannath to offer their prayers from wherever they are as this time our country is going through a tough phase. We should rather pray for the earth and this challenging phase to pass.”

Expressing his devotion for Lord Shiva and Kanwar Yatra, he said, “Kanwar Shravan Kumar is a symbol of devotion as Shravan Kumar took his parents to the Chaar Dhaam Yatra and offered the holy Ganga Jal in a Lord Shiv temple. In lieu of this tradition, many people now take items of devotion, along with Ganga Jal, which they offer in temples. This happens on a massive scale as India is a huge country but, if Kanwar Yatra is not happening this year, then it is good news (given the Covid-19 situation). We strongly believe in Lord Shiv and have strong devotion towards him. We live by his name. I have a hit song in my Kailasa album, that has become a sort of an anthem for Kanwar and Shravan Kumars. They complete their entire trip while listening to that song.”

Talking about the audience’s response to his show ‘Indian Pro Music League’, Kher said, “This was a very unique show, that’s why people loved and praised it a lot. The reactions that came in were very good, saying that ‘Wow, it’s a beautiful concept’. A show like this, featuring emerging artists with established artists as not just contestants but sitting on the judge’s seat for a day, was amazing and different.”

Sharing his thoughts on how manages to remain positive level even amid such trying times, Kher said, “I strongly believe in the power of God. The law of nature is not within our hands. If you completely surrender and devote yourself then, whatever happens, will happen for good. Everything happens for good, so why not stay cautious a little and not try to take things, that are not in our control. If you can do something, then do truthful work and good work. Help someone genuinely as your instinct is your God.”

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Breastfeeding: Dealing with advice of ‘well-wishing’ aunts and uncles

Dr Emine A Rehman



Aunty 1: The baby looks so thin, baby needs cow’s milk, my dear. 

Me: Cow’s milk is for cow’s baby, my baby needs my milk.

Aunty 2: Oh God! such small breasts you have, how will your milk be enough? 

Me:  My body has the capacity to create however much milk is needed for my baby and you know it is the best food for the baby.

Aunty 3:  Don’t feed your baby for so long, you are pampering him, he will never leave you. 

Me: How can you pamper your baby by nourishing him?

Aunty 4: Look at you with the baby all the time. In our times we used to do all the household work and brought up so many kids as well. 

Me: Bringing up a baby with love, care, and breast milk is our choice as parents and we need all your help and support to successfully do it

Let’s ponder, how many of us have been the aunty or me in the above conversations in our lives? Almost all, right? Being a first-time mother at the age of 33 was not easy for me, to have a baby late was not a choice as well. Being a paediatrician was a privilege and my personal life took a backseat in the pursuit of higher studies. I thought I knew the solutions to all the challenges of breastfeeding but the reality was far from different. As the saying goes, “It takes a village to bring up a baby”, in modern times “it takes an entire family to breastfeed a baby”. Urbanisation, nuclear families, and career goals have made the art of breastfeeding less familiar to many millennial to-be mothers. 

We want the best for our baby and know that breastfeeding is the best path. However, many of us land up being a bundle of nerves when our babies arrive, not sure where to start and how to go about it. Agreed that breastfeeding is natural both for the mother and the baby but we forget to warn the to-be mothers that it is a helluva painful, stressful, and exhilarating ride. 

To top it all, mothers also have to deal with the benevolent, free-advice churning aunties and uncles amid this roller-coaster. Many a times, the well-wisher could be our own father, mother or even husband. Equipped with knowledge and confidence, I could defend and retort to many of them. However, the dream is to equip every Indian mother with enough knowledge to be the ‘me’ in the above situations.

Adequate breastfeeding is a single practice that can prevent lakhs of children from dying worldwide. World Health Organisation and UNICEF recommends that breastfeeding is initiated within the first hour of birth, the baby is given nothing but mother’s milk till 6 months and breastfeeding to be continued till 2 years of age and beyond. The global rates for breastfeeding are 43%, 41%, and 45% at the first hour, 6 months, and 2 years, respectively. So, it is not as universal as it has to be. A survey by POSHAN revealed that the exclusive breastfeeding rate is 54.9% in India. Mothers face many challenges like the feeling of inadequate milk, household chores, expectations from the workplace, and pressure to supplement with formula etc. She needs the support of her near and dear ones as well as the community to overcome these hurdles. Currently, mothers can get guidance from ASHA/ Anganwadi workers and gain knowledge through materials circulated by the Government of India via radio and TV. She can also access various peer groups in social media as well as consult trained lactation counsellors. World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year in the first week of August and this year the theme is “Protect breastfeeding — a shared responsibility”.

Breastfeeding can no longer be left as “ladies’ matter”. Confident and knowledgeable mothers are the foundation of future generations. Hence, let’s come together to support our mothers and become the true “well-wishing” aunties and uncles for our younger ones.

The writer is an Assistant professor, paediatrics department, AIIMS, Hyderabad.

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We should expand social-emotional learning programmes to help build resilience in the growing minds.Capacity building for mental health management is an immediate must to meet a looming calamity.

Suravi Sharma Kumar



Emerging from waves of Covid-19 pandemic, more than ever, we must prioritise the mental health of the growing minds — the children and adolescents. It is our collective responsibility to keep the well-being of young ones at the forefront in the preparation for future Covid-19 waves and recovery plans. Generation Z is quietly perceiving the layers of changes in our lives since the virus encroached on our spaces in early 2020. Now, while the much-awaited return to school is exciting for many, there would be children feeling anxious or even frightened (UNICEF, Aug 2020) to go back to regular school.

This is a time of the year when adolescents would have been spending days at school and college in the company of hundreds of others, preparing for school rituals, sports events, carving out their future plans, but, throughout the last year and a half, they are instead trudging through a difficult new normal. The virus brought in many stressors to the psychological environment, the impact of which is yet to be played out in statistical data charts and graphs to analyse the repercussions on society and the upcoming generation. The pandemic control measures have contributed to new mental health issues or a worsening of existing ones in all but the impact ripples are far and wide or even beyond what we can think now in the teens and adolescent age group.

Some children or youth may be grieving the loss of a parent or a loved one, others may be living in fear of the disease or fear of losing a bread earner in the family or a job. Millions in our country have been dropped out of school despite their and parents’ best efforts to educate them due to their inability to get a device or internet connectivity.

Adolescents across all socio-economic groups have been struggling to adjust to a life without the structure that a traditional school day provides. Social isolation, lack of peer support and the need for personal/ real-world connection seems to be growing. The lost sense of school life’s demands and timely examinations to keep the learning minds occupied have been creating tension in the psychological environment of every child. Out of all, children of essential workers and homeless children are at increased risk for having to live within the confines of homes on their own without adult supervision and the other without the basic amenities of life now made worse under the pandemic.

Across socio-economic conditions, there are children trapped in dysfunctional families with physical, verbal and even sexual abuse, and there’re those living with stressed adults who have been resorting to substance abuse within the confines of homes. To add to the list, flaring up of cyber dependency has been alarmingly on the rise as screen time for children are now the highest in our recent history.

With increasing stress comes an increased risk for mental health symptoms or reemergence of dormant disease, at a time when there are fewer options for getting the support that can help lower stress levels. These are various factors identified as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and we know from research studies that when young people have these early experiences, they face an increased risk of lifelong morbidity or mortality.

When schools begin to reopen, we will need to implement more formal structures for mental health screening in the institutes and community settings. We must take precautionary measures against stigma and superstitions affecting caregiving, and there should be social laws in place to minimise the stigma around mental health conditions.

We all know law affects the operation of stigma in society and is the most efficient tool for blunting the effects of prejudice and stigma by protecting the diseased person against harmful conduct from miscreants/ ignorant lot in the society. The authorities must propagate strong messages in the society to create an inclusive environment for the people needing psychiatric help. India’s mental healthcare system needs strengthening. The authorities should now proactively implement the Mental Healthcare Act 2017. And this is a time when there is a dire need for integrated mental healthcare policy in the country covering all aspects of a sick mind.

We also need to enhance mental health awareness and stigma-busting programs in the local dialect or language through government and private sector initiatives. We should expand social-emotional learning programs to help build resilience in the growing minds. Capacity building for mental health management is an immediate must to meet a looming calamity, and suicide prevention programs should be revamped. There is a serious shortage of mental healthcare workers in India, the numbers of which according to WHO are: psychiatrists (0.3), nurses (0.12), psychologists (0.07) and social workers (0.07) for a population of 100,000.

Tele-psychiatry may be an immediate possible solution with such deficient conditions and it has proven to be a promising tool with children and adolescents, more so in emergencies.

Authorities must support schools and behavioural health care agencies in working together to ensure that when schools reopen, students will have the mental health services they need on campuses and in their communities to provide screenings, interventions, and referrals.

Our young people are the future of our country. We must remember that the period from age 10 to 25 remains a critical time of brain development and maturation. Both the experiences our young people face now and the support they receive from us in coping with and navigating these challenges will have profound impacts on their abilities to be successful adults, parents, and citizens for years to come.

The writer is a medical doctor (pathologist) and holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of London. The views expressed are personal.

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It has been 10 years so far, yet the Chandigarh Administration hasn’t been able to nab the smugglers of Chandigarh heritage Furniture items, the illicit process is rampant and is not stopping. These items of antique value have been selling in France and other parts of several countries at heavy prices. And surprisingly, all possible departments of the Central government got apprised with the matter before the bids took place yet the latter failed to stop the smuggling and bidding. On 22 July, the Archaeological Survey of India (Antiquity) department wrote Commissioner of Customs to stop the smuggling of Chandigarh Heritage Furniture items.

12 auctions that have been held in Luxemburg of Europe, USA, Milan of Italy, Paris by different groups. Heritage items namely, PIERRE JEANNERET (1896-1967) Take Down chairs, PIERRE JEANNERET (1896-1967) Easy chairs, Rare “Office Cane Chair” of an officer by Pierre JEANNERET (1896-1967) In teak, etc. have been sold for Euro 20,000 to USD 6250.

Archaeological Survey of India (Antiquity) wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Customs while mentioning 22 February released orders of MHA, stated, “It is to note that; in this regard, MHA had issued “Order” on 22 February 201I for prevention of Architectural Heritage of Chandigarh. It is further learned from the letter of principal Secretary, Home Chandigarh that the Chandigarh Police had filed an FIR in alleged smuggling of the heritage furniture and acquired certain items from Delhi Custom Office. It is further to mention that till these architectural items are declared as ‘Art Treasures’; ASI cannot take any action as these heritage items don’t come under the category of ‘Antiquity’ & ‘Art Treasure’. It is, therefore, requested to please prevent the export of heritage furniture of Chandigarh; given the “Order” issued by MHA. This information may kindly be circulated to all custom exit channels (Air/Sea).”

Ajay Jagga, Member, Heritage Protection cell of Chandigarh says, “I am extremely thankful to the ASI, for the order, dated 22-July, 2021, which has been passed on my representation dated 31-05-2021, in the interest of national heritage (UT heritage) and to prevent the illicit trafficking of Chandigarh heritage items so that none can take the heritage items of Chandigarh beyond the boundaries of India. The order issued, a copy of which has been sent to me, in this regard will be of great help, as presumably, no heritage item of Chandigarh can go outside the country. With this order, atleast, the illicit export of these items will come to an end, as all the ports whether AirPort or Sea Port customs departments have been instructed to restrict the exports, in terms of the earlier MHA order of 22 February 2011.”

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Haryana Board of School Education declares Class 12 examination result



Haryana Board of School Education has declared the 12th class annual examination result on Monday. This time the examination could not be held due to the pandemic, so preparing the result was a big challenge before the board, Secretary of the board, Rajiv Prasad said.

The results were declared after a long consultation with the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. The result was prepared by adding 30 percent of the total marks of class X, 10 percent of 11th and 60 percent of the internal assessment given by the school of class XII.

The result of the exam is 100 percent. The special thing about this result is that no candidate has failed. Out of total 2,27,585 candidates of Senior Secondary (Regular) examination, the result of 2,21,263 candidates has been declared. The results of a total of 5,605 candidates of Swayampati examination have also been declared, which includes 3,893 boys and 1,782 girls.

The secretary said that the special thing was that not a single student from any school was given 100 percent marks in class 11th. This was the reason that not a single student could get 100 percent marks in this result. But still the board is happy that the percentage of those who have scored 95 to 99 percentile is 13503. Of these, 1350 got 99 percent marks. For the first time in the history of the board, no student has failed.

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CHANDIGARH: Taking cognizance against complaints received on ‘CM window’ set up in December 2014, the Haryana government has taken stern action against the 937 irresponsible and corrupt officials and employees during a period of 6.2 years, setting up an example for others. It is pertinent to mention that the CM window is an online grievances system that was launched to address and sort out the issues of commoners across the state. These government employees hailed from 23 different departments. The Gram Panchayat and Rural development wing emerged on top with 228 candidates which is very shocking. Following the inquiry, the government took action against 208 employees of the cooperation department along with 138 employees of the health wing, which indicates their carelessness and casual approach towards the problems and issues of the common people. Besides, the transport department has been in fourth place with 72 employees followed by education, urban local bodies and agriculture departments with 59, 51 and 29, employees respectively.

What is of more concern is that among these all, a lot of them were found taking or asking for bribes or involved in corruption. It is worth mentioning that as many as 812995 complaints were received against government officials as well employees and a maximum 154502 and 154520 complaints were received on the window in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Out of the mentioned above, 35941 were of high priority in nature requiring urgent action or attention. Thus, the data revealed that on anaverage 565 complaints of this category were received a month till the month of February 2021 since the system’s inception. After having a glance at statistics, the districts including Hisar, Faridabad, Jind, Sirsa, and Bhiwani emerged on top with respect to such complaints. It is also stated on the part of the government that those who are not taking timely action against the culprit officials also would be subject to the same fate.

Out of the whole complaints, the Police department remained on top as maximum complaints are associated with the department. Few of the complaints were filed against the officials and officials of the department and the inquiry resulted in action against them. Most of the culprits belong to the department with maximum public dealing. 

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