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The ongoing agitation against the privatisation of the Visakhapatnam steel plant has presented the government with the complex task of managing a loss-making PSU while being sensitive to a matter of regional pride. The government must take into account these public sentiments while explaining to people that disinvestment might actually keep the steel factory alive, not take it away from them.

Dinakar Lanka



The primary aim of a democratically elected government is to provide good governance without an authoritarian approach to the administration of the people. Generally, the government concentrates on matters pertaining to financial and economic policies along with other functions like internal and external security and foreign affairs. Apart from this, it gives the utmost priority to public health, value addition for human resources, infrastructure for the ease of living and industrial setups, remunerative prices for agriculture and farm infrastructure, trade, industries and commerce for the furtherance of the nation with social responsibility.

The implementation of the post-1990s reforms became mandatory for the country irrespective of the ruling party, especially for executing their tasks in all the sectors connected to finance and the economy. The primary goal of any popularly elected government was to discharge its responsibilities for serving basic amenities to the people, along with the vital tasks of internal and external security, and minimize their role in other unimportant functions since the government had a limited role in those areas in the post-Reforms era. The then Union Government had established Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) after 1947, since India was formed as a structured democratic country with new aspirations after the freedom struggle. Thereafter, there was a requirement to provide employment opportunities and boost economic activity for our new country as there was a huge investment crisis domestically at that point in the private sector, due to limited resources and other constraints. These PSUs have served the nation all these years without any doubt, but simultaneously, there have been a lot of changes in the global economic scenario in the last 30 years. These have impacted India, and given the competitive environment today, the output of our economic activity has become important because it affects our presence in the global market.

In the year 1990, the then Union Government had taken a policy decision to remove the License Raj and facilitate Foreign Direct Investment. It had recommended disinvestment from PSUs in a phased manner as taxpayer money was being utilized to provide assistance for the losses. Such assistance is seen as unproductive expenditure and such approaches caused a shortage of funds which were needed for productive developmental expenditure. But, instead of shutting down the PSUs causing losses, the Union Government is accepting offers for private participation by means of divestment of shares, in part or whole, in the loss-making non-strategic PSUs. The objective of disinvestment is to either operate the loss-making PSUs by provisioning to perform capacity utilisation efficiently to achieve productivity with the available sources and alternatives or to accept private participation by the disinvestment of government shares for achieving the targets of production, productivity and cost effectiveness by optimum utilization of existing capacities or the expansion of the capacities of the entities with automation and the use of modern technology. Both options are a positive approach to turn around sick and potentially sick PSUs.

Another option is that PSUs can have a synergy by the disinvestment of government shares to prestigious and internationally renowned firms with a good brand image and output quality. A success story in this case is that of Maruti Suzuki. The car brand reveals how synergy could be created through timely strategic decisions. The success of the joint venture of Maruti Suzuki led Suzuki to increase its equity from 26% to 40% in 1987, then 50% in 1992, and further to 56.21% in 2013. Simultaneously, Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL) showed remarkable performance. MUL sold about 1.20 lakh cars in FY 1993, which increased to 18 lakh cars in 2018-19, with present cash reserves around Rs 40,000 crores. Their healthy financial condition also served direct and indirect taxes of around Rs 1.80 lakh crores, created millions of jobs and supplied exports to numerous countries across the globe.

The CAG reported that 80% of 189 underperforming PSUs have eroded their capital and now account for accumulated losses of around Rs 1.50 lakh crores, which are a huge burden on the Union Government exchequer. The Union Government has tried to revive some of these entities by providing financial assistance through various measures, but most of them are still rated as underperforming. One important case study here is Air India. Although the Union Government provided it a bailout package of Rs 30,000 crores in 2012, the turnaround plan was a total failure and Air India has not shown the desired results. It continues with its operational losses with more than Rs 50,000 crores in debt.

The Union Government has kept its eye on underperforming PSUs in order to take appropriate remedial measures as per expert opinion with the consultation of the NITI Aayog. But the Vizag steel plant has now become a significant case study in the divestment in PSUs as it has taken the form of an emotional issue. Besides being an economic concern, it has established itself as a matter of Andhra pride, because it was built with the sacrifice of 32 lives in 1982. The steel factory had been established under the name Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, with the support of the USSR, in the pre-reforms era. It began with a 3.5 metric ton capacity per annum. At that point, there was a lack of private investment opportunities for the corporate sector and it had been incorporated by the Union Government as a PSU. This company has been registering operating losses (profit before taxes) continuously: in the years 2015-16 it was Rs 1,702 crores, in 2016-17, Rs 1,690 crores, in 2017-18, Rs 307 crores, and in 2018-19, Rs 1,369 crores. The exact amount of losses during 2019-20 will be known after audited financial statements are available. Moreover, during the Covid-19 lockdowns, the capacity utilization of the plant reduced 13,000 tons to 14,000 tons of metal per day as against the previous capacity of 20,000 tons.

Critics are saying that the operating losses are only due to the higher side of the raw material input cost since no mines of its own are available to RINL. Hence, intellectuals are requesting the Union Government and State Government to allocate mines for its captive consumption to make the unit profitable or merge RINL with SAIL for its sustainability, keeping in view the emotions of the people of Andhra Pradesh, especially as “Vishaka ukku, Andhrula hakku” (the Visakha steel unit is the right of Andhra).

But there is a point of contention here. On 20 May 2006, the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, had appealed to the Prime Minister not to merge the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant with SAIL. The Prime Minister had shown his concern for the state by allocating Rs. 8,600 crores for the expansion of the steel plant with an intention to merge it with SAIL. But it had been stopped due to the CM’s appeal. If RINL had been merged with SAIL then, the Visakha steel factory unit of RINL might have continued as part of SAIL today, without the problem of not having its own mines.

Prior to this, the Union government under the leadership of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had provided assistance by restructuring capital two times. The first time, in 1993-94, the Government of India had converted a loan of Rs. 1,184 crores to equity capital and Rs 1,604 crores as 7% non-cumulative redeemable preference shares. Further, the Union Government had assisted with a Rs 149.40 crore loan interest waiver and converted a payable interest of Rs 791 crore into an interest-free loan. This had been facilitated to save about Rs 582 crore in interest per annum. The second time, in the year 1998, GoI had converted a Rs 1,333.47 crore loan into 7% non-cumulative redeemable preference shares to save about Rs 325 crore as interest per annum. Hence, the Union Government provided assistance as and when it was required, but the unit failed to turn around in its operating profits.

The privatization of the steel plant has caused an emotional outburst in Andhra Pradesh. However, the Union Government is concerned about the continuous losses, which will lead to the shutdown of the unit. The sacrifices of the 32 people will amount to nothing if the plant cannot be saved. The unit needs to be revived with the world-class, efficient management of South Korean steel giant POSCO. It is required to safeguard existing employees and others who are dependent on RINL. There is a lot of speculation about this proposal since the assets of RINL hold more than 24,000 acres of highly valuable lands, which may be alienated at a cheaper cost and incur huge losses for the Union Government. Meanwhile, POSCO has been approached by both the Union Government and State Government of Andhra Pradesh to express their interest in setting up the Greenfield Integrated Steel Plant in Visakhapatnam and it entered into an MoU with RINL. RINL Visakhapatnam has a 7.30 million tonne capacity plant and is a sea shore-based integrated steel plant. It holds over 24,000 acres of land with access to the Gangavaram Port, where raw materials arrive.

Earlier, POSCO had proposed a 12 metric tonne per annum capacity plant at Jagatsinghpur, Odisha at the projected cost of more than Rs 50,000 crores on 4000 acres for the Greenfield plant, with 1000 acres for developing a residential and commercial township. An MoU had been signed between POSCO and the Government of Odisha in 2005, but it did not materialise due to protests by locals. However, less than 5000 acres of land was more than sufficient for POSCO’s setup. In a nutshell, the assessment of land requirements shall be evaluated carefully and land shall be developed by the Union Government on its own for the better utilisation of resources in that local area by establishing a SEZ for auxiliary units for the proposed new steel plant with buyback tie-up and other possible future industrial development projects can be taken up. Otherwise, the decision of the disinvestment process of RINL will be black spotted and opposition parties will use it as a political opportunity against the BJP as both regional parties have already started agitations to oppose the disinvestment process in RINL by wooing people with provocative speeches. All this is just to grab the attention of the public, rather than solving the problem.

The world is now a global village and creating an environment conducive to the ease of doing business is a vital part of trade, commerce and industry. Hence, governments of all the countries need to review their priorities and align them towards inclusive growth and better living standards for all people, along with the growth of the economy. The aspirations of people have also changed over the last 70 years. Emotions are important, but in economics, the end result prevails over emotions since inclusive growth and prosperity are a priority. If disinvestment in PSUs is not done at the appropriate time, it may lead to disaster. However, the government must keep in mind public sentiments and ensure that all reasonable options are exercised before it begins the process of disinvestment.

The writer holds a degree in commerce and works as an FCA.

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People commenting on Internet need to be kinder: Suhaani Shah



Suhaani Shah is disrupting and redefining the magic space in India with an ability to read minds with remarkable accuracy. The magician recently joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX Influencer A-List and shared art of mentalism, how she learnt, experience of being a woman magician and much more.

Speaking about the concept of mentalism and who is a mentalist, she said, “In India, mentalist profession is not too popular. To explain in layman’s language, magic is the parent category under which there are different genres such as illusionism, escapology, street magic, parlour magic and mentalism. So, it is sub genres of magic. You can also call me a magician and as a magician, I expertise more as a mentalist. In mentalism, there are no props. It’s just mentalist and people and their minds become prop. Mentalist is a magician who does magic without props, just by trying to read or giving an illusion of reading people’s minds, influencing and getting information out from them.”

Talking about how she learnt mentalism, she shared, “I haven’t learnt it from anywhere but I started performing magic in general when I was 7 years old. In the process of doing stage shows, it was mixed of all magic genres. I used to do proper stage shows by traveling city to city. Few years back, I realised that was too much. If I wanted to get into corporate sector and level up my game, I need to do something because stand-up comedy had taken over the country. I realised it’s important to capitalize on that as well. So, what I did was, from an illusionist I started to adapt into mentalism. I did an entire show of mentalism and the videos went viral. I never took formal training for anything in terms of magic. My transformation was slow, but then, 2017 was the time when I turned into mentalist and decided to continue as I loved it the most.”

Sharing the advantages and disadvantages of being a women digital content creator in a digital space, she said, “There have been lots of disadvantages. Even before starting YouTube live streaming and taking up digital space, I was really worried of being trolled. But when I started, there was lot of love. I think I was overthinking negativity a lot. A lot of times, its projection of what you are doing. It was not that I never got negativity. What I realised, which I still do even after a year and having million subscribers on YouTube, is that I am not allowed to make mistakes as a woman. I have seen my co-streamers from the other gender making mistakes, which is taken in a fun. Although I am learning to be thick skin to negative comments but it still affects at sometimes. I have known my co-female creators getting threats just for being opinionated and putting out their views. I feel it’s just reflection of our culture, the more the women come out, face these things and be vocal about it, the safer space they’ll be creating for themselves. There are more men than women on internet, that needs to change. It will happen in its own time.”

When asked about what does it feels like to be a women magician, she responded, “The moment you say magician, nobody ever think of a woman and I don’t know why. It’s like an identity threat to me. To be honest, I didn’t think of this till a few years back when another journalist had asked me this question. I am not massively involved in Indian magic communities, so I didn’t know what’s scene there. I didn’t really think of pros and cons. I have to keep my guards up and keep myself safe. I just focus on my craft and work.”

She concluded by sharing her content creators community’s present needs and said, “What I think is needed is to create safe space on internet. I am speaking as a person on digital space. People commenting on internet needs to be kinder, people creating content needs to be more careful. It’s very important to be wise and thoughtful of what we are putting on internet.

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I play around with illusions: David Nobo



David Nobo is a modern-day magician, illusionist, artist and content creator. His tricks leave people spell bound. David Nobo recently joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX India A-List. In this exclusive conversation, he talked about his work as magician, kind of illusions he does, his experiences of virtual performances and much more.

Speaking about his work as magician, he said, “I am what they used to call a magician 15 years ago. But then I thank people for making magic clichéd. As soon as we decided to enter into corporate market, we decided to call ourselves ‘illusionist’, just to make magic great again.”

Talking about kind of illusions he does, he shared, “You could expect a lot of interactions, mind-reading, surprises, things appearing, disappearing, people coming up on stage and strange things happening to them, sometimes losing their memories. I play around with illusions that are both optical as visuals as well as psychological. I try to blend both to create a slightly different kind/brand of magic.”

When asked about what difference it makes to be physically out there on a stage vs. performing magic on a virtual platform,  he responded, “I look up to a magician from Las Vegas, who says that ‘all the world is stage’ like Shakespeare. You don’t really need a stage or platform to do magic. 20 years ago, I first started learning magic. After coming from school, I rushed into my room where I had a shoebox with tricks and apparatus in it. I would practice pretending to be on a stage and listening to imaginary applause. 20 years later, I am back in this room with my little box of trick, pretending to be on stage and listening to imaginary applause virtually.  I have given performing in the bedroom a whole new meaning.”

Telling about viability and feasibility of magic as a career option, he expressed, “It is a feasible career option because that’s what I have been doing for the last 15 years. I wouldn’t lie by saying that I have been sailing through Covid. No, it has been difficult. I had to re-adjust a lot of things. Magic doesn’t draw many people because the secret, which people think is the most important part of effect (which is not), is often uninteresting and it involves a lot of practice too. If you want anything enough, you are going to make it. You’ll take up decision and make that decision the right decision.”

Speaking about if going digital is the way forward as far as illusionist is concerned, he expressed, “Digital is part of way forward. No matter how much Covid or any other pandemic happens, nothing beats the human connection of a live show. But right now, going digital has been a blessing.”

Concluding the conversation by expressing the requirements of his and other Indian illusionists, he shared “We are craving for gigs and audience. Best thing about being able to do magic virtually is it is interactive. A lot of magicians need to up their game, understand their audiences and connect to them. Moving with time or being a little ahead of your time rather than behind is always better.”

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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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NCPCR going to check beggars’ kids for substance abuse in Chandigarh



The National Commission For Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is going to check beggars’ kids for substance abuse. On 26 July 2021, NCPCR is going to instruct Chandigarh Administration to utilise all mediums to check beggars’ kids for substance abuse using medical tests in case required. This whole program would be managed under the recently launched Joint Action Plan (JAP), in which the Narcotics Control Bureau, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Education are actively involved as stakeholders. NCPCR is going to start such initiatives under JAP across India.

NCPCR has identified 272 such vulnerable districts across the nation where State stakeholders would extensively work on Children who are substance abused and would wean away drugs from their lives while adopting various mediums. A recent study by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment identified 4.6 lakh children in the country who are addicted to inhalants, the only category of substance in which the prevalence was higher among children than among adults. The five states with the highest prevalence of inhalant abuse among children were Uttar Pradesh (94,000 children), Madhya Pradesh (50,000 children), Maharashtra (40,000 children), Delhi (38,000 children), and Haryana (35,000 children).

Priyank Kanoongo, Chairperson of NCPCR told The Daily Guardian, “We introduced to have exclusive De-addiction and Rehabilitation Facilities for Children in 272 Vulnerable Districts. The MoSJE shall expedite the process to establish exclusive de-addiction facilities meant for children. However, if there are any constraints or lack of space, a separate portion in the existing facility has to be identified and partitioned for the children. Also, there has to be a provision of separate toilets; and safety and security of children have to be ensured.”

“The action plan mandates that ‘Prahari Clubs’’ be set up in schools in collaboration with Gandhi Smriti Darshan Samiti, in which children will discuss issues related to drug abuse and become monitors of the abuse,” he added.

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