Dengue, Tuberculosis Cases On A Rise In Mumbai: Study

Milind Mhaske, project director of Praja Foundation, said, “Nearly 18 people are estimated to have died each day from TB in 2016-17.”

Mumbai: Praja Foundation, an NGO and a watchdog of civic affairs today said dengue cases have seen a massive rise of 265 per cent in Mumbai in the last five years.

Dengue cases have spiralled from 4,867 in 2012-13 to 17,771 in 2016-17, the NGO said.

Issuing a white paper on health, today, the NGO said, “As per the RTI data, dengue cases in government hospitals, dispensaries have increased from 4,867 in 2012-13 to 17,771 in 2016-17. Besides, tuberculosis (TB) cases have also seen a rise from 36,417 in 2012-13 to 50,001 in 2016-17.”

Milind Mhaske, project director of Praja Foundation, said, “Nearly 18 people are estimated to have died each day from TB in 2016-17.”

“However, DOTS, the flagship government programme to tackle TB, saw a dramatic drop in enrolment, decreasing from 30,828 patients in 2012 to 15,767 patients in 2016,” he said.

“Astonishingly, municipal councillors asked only 45 questions in the past five years on TB, compared to 68 questions on naming, renaming of hospitals, cemeteries in the same period,” he said.

Commenting on the findings, Mr Mhaske added, “The continuing increase in cases of major diseases such as these indicates that various authorities in Mumbai have much to worry about. We have a long way to go towards achieving goals of sustainable development.”

Every year, Praja commissions a household survey to Hansa Research to incorporate health related perspectives of citizens. This year, the survey was conducted with over 20,000 households.

“The BMC needs to step out of denial mode and tackle the ongoing health crisis head on. The same goes for other governmental authorities, who must step up to the challenge and ensure a healthier city,” Shivali Bagayatkar, project officer at Praja Foundation, said.

Pune NGO helped students pursue higher studies

Currently, TPO funds undergraduate courses, such as Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science, among others, which require comparatively lesser fees than professional courses, like engineering.
As students prepare to join colleges soon, dreams of many remain unfulfilled due to financial constraints. Pune based The Power of One (TPO) — a non-profit educational trust — aims to reach out to such students. Prasad Narayan , president and managing trustee of TPO, said, “TPO was started in October 2016, where people were requested to keep aside one rupee a day. The aim was to enable people to have 365 rupees each by the end of the year, This money can then by donated to children who have done well in Class XII but do have the financial support for further studies. Initially, it was only family members, friends and well wishers who supported the initiative, but gradually the network grew.”
As many as 10 students will be financially supported this academic year. Among them, three are from night colleges — Amar Shinde (scored 80 per cent); Vitthal Deshmukh (scored 79 per cent) and Santosh Padnekar (scored 78 per cent). The trust has paid their fees for the first year of college and will also be sponsoring their education for the remaining two years. Currently, TPO funds undergraduate courses, such as Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science, among others, which require comparatively lesser fees than professional courses, like engineering.
“TPO aims at educating more people and helping them gain a degree, so they don’t drop out of school after finishing Class XII,” said Narayan.
Narayan had worked in the IT sector for 20 years. He is now a visiting faculty with educational institutes, such as Tata Institute of Social Science, Sri Balaji Society, Maharashtra Institute of Technology and Academy of Engineering.
Unlike other non-governmental organisations, TPO has no minimum donation value, he said.
He added: though initially, the plan was to fund only Class XII passouts, when I read about a child who had passed his SSC with good scores after studying under the streetlights, the trust decided to fund for his education too.


NGO opposed and questioned for taking wrong fees by colleges

Pune. While Class XI admissions at aided junior colleges for in-house and management quota are already over, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) has questioned the basis on which the admissions have taken place, especially when the government has not yet declared the fee structure for this year.

The government decides the fee to be charged in aided divisions of a college without which admissions cannot be confirmed to students. Education department officials have said that the colleges have been told to maintain last year’s fees until the committee formed to regulate the junior college fees decides on a completely new fee structure.

“The fee for all aided colleges is decided by the state government which is around Rs 330 for a year. But the colleges don’t follow this and charge Rs 6,000-7,000 per student under various categories such as development fee, extra-curricular activities fee, among others. We had protested against this practice last year too.

The government had then instituted a committee under the commissioner of education, which was supposed to declare the fee for this year,” said Vaishali Bafna, member of SYSCOM, the NGO that has lodged a protest.

The fee of about Rs 330 per year was decided about four decades ago and the same was even printed in the information booklet till last year but if the colleges needed to revise it, they should have gone to the government rather than increasing it on their own, the NGO added.

Bafna further said that while the first round of admission is yet to take place, the in-house quota admissions are already over, despite there being no declaration of fee from the government.

“On what basis have the admissions taken place? To confirm your admission, full fee has to be taken from the students. In their race to get into a good college, students don’t bother about fees and renowned institutions have been taking advantage of them by increasing the fees,” said Bafna.

A total of 10,231 seats have been filled in the quota round and the remaining seats will not be merged into the general rounds. The students who have confirmed their admissions in quota rounds will not be allowed to take part in any of the general rounds. The Deputy director of education for Pune division Dinkar Temkar said, “The new fee has not been declared and hence we have asked all colleges to go by the old fee. The colleges cannot increase the fee and if they do, strict action will be taken against them.” Temkar added, “The new committee will take some time to formulate the new fee which may be same for all colleges. Till now, all aided colleges have been charging fees as per the facilities provided by them.”


NGO adopted 208 farmers in Ahmednagar

An NGO Padma Bhushan Dr Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil Foundation led by Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district is all set to adopt 208 farmer families, whose sole bread winners have committed suicide owing to agrarian crisis in the region.

The Foundation in the name of Balasaheb Vikhe Patil, who was engaged in several social works. His son Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil is presently Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly. He was the Agriculture minister in the previous Congress-NCP regime and a former union minister.

The Foundation will provide aide to the wife, parents and children of 208 farmer families in Ahmednagar district. It will take care of education, marriage and health care needs of these families. It will also try to provide a source of income by supporting the family to start a business or secure a job.

These are families that are already covered under some government scheme. Foundation conducted a survey in the last two months across the district and realised that the state government’s aid was insufficient. Hence Foundation decided to chip in and fill the gap.

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