World Ozone Day

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September 16 is observed as International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. The ozone layer or ozone shield is a region of Earth’s stratosphere that absorbs most of the Sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It contains high concentrations of ozone in relation to other parts of the atmosphere, although still small in relation to other gases in the stratosphere.

This layer in the stratosphere contains relatively high concentration of ozone. The earth’s atmosphere divided into several layers has each layer playing a role. The first region extends to about 10km up from the earth’s surface and is called the troposphere. Ozone depletion occurs when chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons or gases formerly found in aerosol spray cans and refrigerants get released into the atmosphere. CFCs and halons cause chemical reactions breaking down ozone molecules to reduce ozone’s ultraviolet radiation-absorbing capacity.

It is very essential to keep a control on fossil fuels that cause huge amounts of damage to the ozone layer which is depleting quickly. The ozone layer gets depleted by chemicals and air pollution caused by human activities. This is why September 16th is marked out since 1987 after the Montreal Protocol as World Ozone Day. A number of special events such as talks and seminars are held on this day. World Ozone Day is officially been celebrated since 1994 after being established by United Nations General Assembly. The day is mainly intended to spread awareness of the depletion of the Ozone Layer and search for solutions to preserve it.

People from all over the world are made aware of the need to protect the ozone layer. Talks and seminars are held widely by academics and concerned agencies. Celebrated all around the world schools and colleges have educators setting aside the day to instruct students about the Ozone layer. Many educational institutions organize special events and activities to raise awareness on the need to conserve the ozone layer.

September 16 is the designated day as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. This designation had been made on December 19, 1995, in commemoration of the date, in 1987, on which nations signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The closure of the hole in the ozone layer was observed 30 years after the protocol was signed. Due to the nature of the gases responsible for ozone depletion their chemical effects are expected to continue for between 50 to 100 years.

The ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the rays of the sun, thus helping preserve life on the planet. The phase out of controlled uses of ozone depleting substances and the related reductions have not only helped protect the ozone layer for this and future generations, but have also contributed significantly to global efforts to address climate change. Also it has protected human health and ecosystems by limiting the harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the earth.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol. As part of the anniversary celebrations, the Ozone Secretariat has launched a communication campaign ahead of World Ozone Day. The #OzoneHeroes campaign launched on 14 September will seek to celebrate the major accomplishments of the Montreal Protocol in protecting the ozone layer and the climate, to increase public recognition of the success and impact of the Protocol.

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HERD TECSOL – IT Arm of HERD Group of Companies

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Images – Courtesy Google

HERD TECSOL is a private limited IT company attached to the HERD Group of companies. It came into existence in June 2016 that makes it a very young startup, just barely beginning to get noticed. Starting in a small way, it was self-financed and operated by founders Dr Amol Deshmukh and Dr Suchika Gupta. IT Manager Jigar Joshi runs the operations with help of a small team. As yet in its early stages the company is doing it all – developing, testing and marketing its IT services brand.

As we all know pretty well a startup company is an entrepreneurial venture that typically follows an emerging, fast-growing business aiming to connect with the marketplace. Improvising a viable business model around the idea, HERD TECSOL offers IT services through the platform offered by HERD Group of Companies. Small in size it is gradually working its way around to develop and validate its existence.

On a typical day we can see IT Manager Jigar Joshi responding to numerous in-house projects spread across the city as well as catering to out-station assignments every now and then. Just last week took him to Kurha and Titamba villages of Amravati district to install biometric machines in two remote schools located there. Fixing biometric machines, CCTV cameras, or computer peripherals as and where needed, he is also catering to installation of IT communication gadgets in sync with service providers.

It is ongoing research that opens up new markets. Aside from regular in-house jobs that come, HERD TECSOL watches out to offer services in under served areas. For doing this the manager has to stay alert around the local market to grab upcoming opportunities. With increasing number of web-based IT services the potential is definitely out there. Our best route as of now has been through the in-house niche that helps us to reach out to known institutions. We are now ready to offer IT services to the open market as well.

As HERD TECSOL prepares itself for offering needed IT services and skills, the team is advised to keep honing their talents to serve and ensure that they are at par with existing trends and requirements. Whenever feasible they attend seminars and conferences sponsored by IT sector to stay up to the mark in an industry that works on current knowledge. Credibility in the IT industry is critical and HERD TECSOL strives at being successful as a reliable IT company.

The founding directors of the company launched it with the knowledge that their networks and skilled operational team will help it get on its feet in the all-pervading robust IT environment. They were not wrong in their assumption. With a planned business approach in line with the HERD Group credentials it has been an experiential process thus far.  The team uses its work experience to identify customers, services, features and IT products that make it known as a hub for information technology. Satisfied customers will be our best bet to lay the foundation for HERD TECSOL.

As of now the prognosis looks good and we have secured good business even as we look beyond the potential of just profits. The small team wearing all kinds of professional hats is working hands-on with all kinds of tasks.  They have undertaken work for reputed companies and venture on in every direction to turn it into a profitable venture. They are confident to take on increasing targets for IT delivery services.

With customers in academia and education the going certainly looks good. Although the information technology industry can be highly competitive HERD Group of companies is confident it can establish HERD TECSOL on its own credentials with a stronger business plan and by offering innovative services. It is the drive and efficiency of the team that will pave the way to future success.

Agony & Ecstasy of Organic Farming

HERD Organic Farms (HOF) has been working on organic farming practices right from day one. Knowing full well about the hazards caused by chemical-based farming, HOF was all prepared to face the distress of diminished production, lengthy transition period and unavailability of ready market. The grim picture did not discourage the team that went on ahead to rally around teething problems of organic farming. Tiding over the hindrances in organic farming the team worked with due diligence and relentless efforts to promote organic farming production.

The team pushed forward even as the fear of less production and unavailability of a premium market loomed large. It was a sense of inner conviction that had HOF promoting its organic produce and it has been a real struggle to survive in the face of the wider non-organic market. Joining hands with other organic growers who banded themselves under a common group, the intention became to make people aware of the positive health benefits of organic produce and to cull out a consumer clientele keen on demanding organic fruits and vegetables.

Approximately 42 acres of farmland spreading around the periphery of buffer areas of the Pench forests is marked out for phased organic cultivation. As of now vegetables are being grown under half-acre covered net structures with complete organic inputs. The team headed by Mr Anil Khare has also created a small open-structured radial vegetable garden that can grow up to 15 kinds of different vegetables within its circular layout. This well-laid out round plot of land includes rows of beds of flowers, fruits and vegetables that are grown with organic fertilizers and pesticides. It is a delightful spot.

HOF organic produce is free from pesticides and insecticides and absolutely safe for healthy eating. It may not be wrong to suggest that you could pluck cucumbers and tomatoes right off the plants and eat them straight away. They are that uncontaminated and this is also because the region is cut off from the main road and still pretty pristine. The monsoons made it clear that the area can also get disconnected a brief way from the road in case of heavy showers, making it challenging to commute to and fro.

HOF has been motivating the surrounding local farmers settled in the nearby Chargaon village to adopt organic farming methods. Majority of the farmers are following suit. The team felt that spreading awareness and creating a hub for organic farming would be an appropriate measure to promote organic farming in this region. Despite having earlier used chemical inputs to increase production several farmers are now joining hands for the more arduous task of following organic farming practices.

Farm manager Anil Khare feels that there is a need of cohesive efforts from all angles for promoting organic farming. Decidedly a disturbed rain cycle has added to the farmers’ woes and therefore better water management becomes the number one priority. Next, it would be fruitful to move away from mono-cultures in which crops are farmed in single-species plots. This is why HOF is now venturing into crop rotations and mixed planting that is a better alternative for conserving soil and enhancing environmental conditions.

HERD Organic Farms is currently following its well chalked-out and unambiguous directives for sustained organic farming practices. Working on both financial and technical provisions for the planned outcomes, the team is well aware that mere regulated inputs will not be enough to garner desired output. The path to organic farming is tough and it is definitely a more demanding occupation than conventional farming, that itself is so grueling.

HOF prepares and uses bio-fertilizers and bio pesticides to enrich the soil. The team is attentive in application of composts/organic manure that is produced right on the farm. Appropriate infrastructure has been set up for organic matter to be duly processed and prepared. These operations are of course quite labour intensive and costly as well. HERD Organic Farm is committed to gain the desired results by working every step of the way to enhance organic cultivation. These initial years will be tough and despite loss in yield and lack of fluid marketing processes the team presses on, on its chosen track.

Nutrition Awareness Camp for Tribal Populations

 

The Tribal Clinic set up by HERD Foundation at Pauni undertakes regular health awareness programmes as part of its mandated activities to create healthier communities settled here. We systematically take on health camps to popularize preventive measures by organizing health awareness programs on issues related to health and hygiene. While last fortnight we undertook educating about diarrhea, this fortnight focused on nutritional awareness. Our team has been working for past three years in the region and the surrounding villages are familiar with the scheduled programmes of which they are informed in advance.

It is largely women patients who get involved as they are well acquainted with the medical team and they become willing participants in these awareness programmes. Such events teach them to take better care of their children and families. The tribal women are appropriate messengers to carry back the lessons to implement them in their daily lives. It leads them to take informed care of children, aging parents, and community members. These health camps are organized at the Tribal Clinic and last week the nutrition awareness camp drew nearly 60 women to the event.

Information about events gets circulated well in advance and the nutritive recipe competition was publicized to bring in more participants to the health awareness camp. The camp was organized for the benefit of the community women to coincide with the medical team’s health examination scheduled visit to the Tribal Clinic. It is when the team goes out for providing medical assistance thrice a week to this location, that they also plan and conduct activities to ensure inclusive reach for need of health awareness programs for the benefit of the people living here.

On September 8, 2017 the camp was organized with the aim to improve the nutritional status of the populations and especially targeted the tribal families. The food-preparation based nutrition approach was undertaken to create nutrition awareness to enhance consumption of nutritionally rich fruits, vegetables and ingredients. The team members made a comprehensive presentation to promote and emphasize on the importance of dietary variety in order to improve the nutritional quality of their diet and to increase knowledge and education on food preparation.

The team successfully created an environment in which the women became engrossed in learning how to add sufficient variety in their eating habits through locally available, affordable fruits, vegetables and ingredients that would add to their nutritional intake. This kind of participatory nutrition education for the women actually helped in inspiring them to learn new ways for consumption of nutritionally rich food.

Knowledge about alternate food preparation was shared prolifically. The nutrition-rich food competition announced earlier had the women bring in dishes they had prepared. Prizes were given after tasting and judging of dishes. This was done to encourage them to prepare innovative nutritious food in their households that will increase consumption of new recipes. The tribal women felt benefitted in being imparted necessary knowledge and skills to prepare and consume nutrition rich foods that they would add to their diet.

It turned out to be a wonderful effort by the medical team to raise awareness as well as to promote strategies for achieving nutrition security and enhance diversified food habits among these tribal families. These communities after all suffer from micronutrient malnutrition and the team assisted in offering solutions to address the problems. It was a wonderful participatory gathering that taught them to understand the need to learn about importance of nutrition and know of recipes using seasonal vegetables, fruits and condiments.

HERD Foundation hopes the nutrition awareness programme at the community level will promote increased consumption of nutrient rich foods. The health camp attracted the rural poor and disadvantaged women living here. The activities and advice provided by the team were to improve their awareness and skills in cooking to benefit their healthy eating habits. We know the team will be successful in bridging this critical knowledge link to educate home makers – mostly women to take better care of themselves, their children and families.

Snuffing Dissent

freedom of speech (media, control, censorship)Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India guarantees to all its citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression. The law states that, “all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression”.

Google-Speak: The following is taken directly from Google in response to queries posted by people there.

“What is the right to freedom of expression?

It is the right to express one’s ideas and opinions freely through speech, writing, and other forms of communication but without deliberately causing harm to others’ character and/or reputation by false or misleading statements. Freedom of press is part of freedom of expression.

What does free expression mean?

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, freedom of expression is the right of every individual to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

What is freedom of thought and expression?

Freedom of thought (also called freedom of conscience or ideas) is the freedom of an individual to hold or consider a fact, viewpoint, or thought, independent of others’ viewpoints. It is different from and not to be confused with the concept of freedom of speech or expression.

Why is it important to have freedom of speech?

Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right. It reinforces all other human rights, allowing society to develop and progress. The ability to express our opinion and speak freely is essential to bring about change in society. Free speech is important for many other reasons.

Is the freedom of speech absolute?

That fallacy is the notion that free speech is absolute. It is the belief that freedom of expression does not mean freedom to speak your mind without government interference, but freedom to speak your mind without any interference at all.

Why is the freedom of the press important in a democracy?

Freedom of expression is important for democracy, because it enables the public to participate in making decisions based on the free flow of information and ideas. Without it, people would be unable to make informed decisions.

Why is it important to have a free press in a democracy?

Freedom of expression is crucial for a successful democracy because it lets the public participate in making decisions based on the free flow of information and ideas. Without it, people would be unable to make informed decisions.

What does it mean to have a free press?

A body of book publishers, news media, etc., not controlled or restricted by government censorship in political or ideological matters.

What is the role of the media in a democratic society?

A democracy is a system of government in which all the people of a country can vote to elect their representatives. Media came into existence around the 1780s with the introduction of newspapers, and since then it has matured by leaps and bounds. It is the backbone of a democracy.

What is democracy in the media?

A media democracy focuses on using information technologies to both empower individual citizens and promote democratic ideals through the spread of information. Additionally, the media system itself should be democratic in its own construction shying away from private ownership or intense regulation.

What is the role of the media?

Media of today is playing an outstanding role in creating and shaping of public opinion and strengthening of society. Media is the sword arm of democracy. Media acts as watchdog to protect public interest against malpractice and create public awareness.”

Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) or Reporters Without Borders (RWB) is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization promoting and defending freedom of information and freedom of the press. The organization based in Paris, France, has consultant status at the United Nations. RSF has ranked India 136th of 180 countries in world press freedom ratings.

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Journalists pay tributes to recently slain journalist Gauri Lankesh shot dead in Bangalore

 

Beware: Swine Flu Spreads In Nagpur

 

Flu-Prevention-Tips

It is time Nagpur city got better prepared for prevalent swine flu that appears to be spreading all over. It would be good for medical pharmacies to stock up on antiviral medicines and antibiotics that will be needed to treat anyone who becomes ill during the current spike in swine flu cases. It is also the time to follow up on the new vaccine against the virus that is being currently developed. In the meantime the general public is advised to make use of masks when they move outdoors.

The city witnessed a gradual increase in the cases of swine flu cases and deaths have been reported from all quarters.  Health authorities and citizens are facing the dreaded disease that has since January 2017 seen over 300 people testing positive for the H1N1 virus.  Critical patients are quickly hospitalized and those having the symptoms of flu like conditions are being advised to stay isolated at home.

It is true that when people around you start suffering is when the enormity of the situation dawns. As part of its social responsibility, HERD Pharmacy has started advising people to take better care and stay out of harm’s way. Managers and front line staff is proactively talking to the customers to protect their families by observing essential do’s and don’ts. It may not be possible to monitor everybody but precautionary measures are being spelled out.

Just like in the case of regular flu, people who are getting infected by swine flu need to take lots of rest. They can use specific prescribed medications that will reduce their temperature and help bring down their symptoms. Antiviral medications for swine flu are available across all HERD Pharmacy counters and people affected by the virus will get treated by them. It would be essential to take complete rest that will relieve symptoms and reduce potential complications.

Most city doctors are prescribing specified antivirals or antibiotics to people being diagnosed for flu or swine-flu. Seriously ill patients are immediately being hospitalized. It is a good idea to read up as much with regard to flu-like symptoms if anyone is having concerns about suspicion of flu like symptoms. In all events you must rush to see a doctor immediately to confirm the case.

Antibiotics are mostly used to treat swine flu patients who may develop complications. They help combat bacterial infections. A vaccine to protect against swine flu is being developed, but it is not available as yet. It is especially important to safeguard high-risk groups susceptible to the disease and these include – people with chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, chronic neurological disease, immunosuppression and diabetes mellitus, patients who have had drug treatment for asthma within the past three years, pregnant women, people aged 65 years and older, and young children under five years old.

Be wary of swine flu symptoms like cold, cough, sore throat, headache and fever or difficulty in breathing. If tested positive one should start taking precautions and treatment immediately. Swine flu (H1N1) is a disease caused by virus infection. The infection can spread from one person to another through the infected person’s sneeze, cough, and so on. One should not neglect any symptom and immediately visit a doctor.

 

“Teacher’s Day”

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Teacher’s day in India embodies the very spirit of our traditional guru-shishya (teacher-student) bond. In present times with education fast turning into a mechanized process – computer smart boards, internet connectivity and global learning, this customary relationship gets a shot in the arm when students pay homage to their teachers on this special day.

It was on September 5, 1965 that a group of illustrious students of Late Dr S. Radhakrishnan decided to pay their respects on his birthday by organizing an event. Dr Radhakrishnan, the renowned teacher who by then had gained widespread regard, expressed his wish that instead of celebrating his birthday he would appreciate it better if the day was commemorated as ‘Teachers’ Day’.

Since then 5th September has been celebrated as Teachers’ Day and the trend continues till date. It was a rare, thoughtful gesture that stands us in good stead. The day denotes the cherished relationships students enjoy with their teachers. Traditional Indian culture as well as different religions of our country – Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism – all believe in the subliminal spiritual relationship and mentoring accorded by gurus or teachers.

Be it any genre of knowledge – academic, spiritual, musical, scholarly, professional – we all need a dedicated guru or teacher to guide and instruct us. It is while such knowledge is being imparted that students develop respectful relationships for their mentors. It is the teacher’s capacities to teach, drill, educate, instruct, inculcate, enlighten, and inspire that makes them so venerable. It is teachers who eventually mold the student’s minds to make them master their chosen field of education.

This day is therefore marked out as a tribute to the unfailing contributions made by teachers in all spheres of our lives. The birth anniversary of a great teacher transforms into a day for upholding the guru-shishya tradition in all its dignity and reverence. How better can it get. We all certainly do have our own memories of the way we celebrated in school. The one common thing done by seniors was to role play teachers to demonstrate appreciation.

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan born on September 5, 1888, came from the pilgrim town of Tirutani. It was his brilliance that took him to Tirupati and later Vellore for further education. Subsequently he attended Christian College in Madras to study philosophy. His concentration and sense of conviction brought him recognition as a noted philosopher.

An evocative teacher he was quite popular with students. He became a professor at Calcutta University and then served as Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University from 1931 to 1936. In 1939 he was appointed Vice Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University. Two years later, he took over the Sir Sayaji Rao Chair of Indian Culture and Civilization in Banaras. In 1952, Dr. Radhakrishnan was chosen to be the Vice President of the Republic of India.

September 5th therefore becomes the day to remember this great statesman whose humble submission to turn his birthday into Teacher’s Day speaks volumes of his humility and regard for teachers.  Today is an occasion for us to remember our teachers and their role in contributing to our learning and development. It is our teachers from school and college who made it possible for us to be what we are today. It is day to appreciate their patience, industry and perseverance in shaping our minds and thought processes. It is a day to value their role in our lives.

गुरु ब्रम्हा गुरु विष्णू

गुरुः देवो महेश्वरा

गुरु शाक्षात परब्रम्हा

तस्मै श्री गुरुवे नमः

Gurur Brahmaa Gurur Vishnu

Gurur Devo Maheshwarah

Guru Saakshaata Parabrahma

Tasmai Shri Guruve Namah