KNOW ABOUT BHUPINDER MANN WHO RECUSES HIMSELF FROM SC’s FARM PANEL

I WILL ALWAYS STAND WITH MY FARMERS AND PUNJAB, SAYS MANN

Bhupinder Singh Mann, the Bharti Kisan Union national president and All India Kisan Coordination Committee chairman, had recused himself from the four-member committee constituted by the Supreme Court two days ago to resolve the standoff between agitating farmers and the Centre on the three farm laws

“I am recusing myself from the committee and I will always stand with my farmers and Punjab,” Mann said in a statement tweeted by the BKU.

He was one of the four members and the only farmer leader to be appointed by the apex court to resolve the nearly two-month-long farmers’ agitation on Delhi’s borders.

The first president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) in Punjab and former Rajya Sabha member Mann is among the four members of the committee the Supreme Court constituted.

Earlier the BKU tweeted, “Bhupinder Singh Mann, ex-MP and national president of BKU and chairman of the All India Kisan Coordination Committee has recused himself from the four-member committee constituted by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.”

It was followed by a statement attributed to Mann that read: “I am thankful to the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India for nominating me in the four-member committee to start dialogue with kisan unions on the three laws brought in by the central government. As a farmer myself and a union leader, in view of the prevailing sentiments and apprehensions among the farm unions and the public in general, I am ready to sacrifice any position offered or given to me so as to not compromise the interests of Punjab and farmers of the country.”

The other members of the court-appointed committee are economists Ashok Gulati, Dr Pramod Kumar Joshi and farmer leader Anil Ghanwat. The committee has been asked by the Supreme Court to submit its report in two months.

Mann’s son Gurpartap Singh Mann, a Punjab Public Service Commission member, confirmed that his father had written the letter but declined further comment.

The farmers have been protesting at borders of Delhi against the farm legislation enacted by Parliament in September last year. So far, eight rounds of talks have taken place between the government and farmers but have failed to resolve the deadlock

A graduate from Baring Union College, Batala, Mann took part in farmers’ struggle in 1984 when the activists heraoed Punjab Raj Bhawan for a week. “Then our demands were including electricity cost incurred on growing wheat and paddy while calculating the minimum support price (MSP) on the two crops. Subsequently, a committee headed by agriculture economist SS Johl was set up to submit a report,” said Mann. The report’s recommendations, however, were never implemented. 

Mann said he hoped to initiate fruitful talks with the farmer outfits after getting a formal communication. 

As chairman of all India Kisan Coordination Committee, Mann in a communication to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September had raised apprehensions over the MSP regime being done away with. 

KNOW THE STORY OF GRITTY FARM LEADER, WAS TWICE PARDONED IN A LIFE SENTENCE

MANJIT SINGH DHANER IS BKU (EKTA-DAKOUNDA) LEADER FROM BARNALA IS FIGHTING FOR PEOPLE’S CAUSE

·       Farmer body leader Manjit Singh Dhaner was sentenced to life imprisonment in a murder case. These days he is leading farmer protests at Tikri, on the border of Delhi.

·       1956 born Dhaner is senior vice president of Bharti Kisan Union Ekta-Dakaunda, was pardoned twice, in spite of the Supreme Court upholding his sentence.

·       In 1997, a 16-year-old girl from Barnala was kidnapped, gangraped and murdered by four men – Gurpreet Singh, Jagraj Singh Raju, Pratap, and Deshraj. Dhaner a farm activist then, took up the matter.

·       Dhaner at that time formed the Mehal Kalan Action Committee to seek justice for the girl, leading to conviction of the four men, who were imprisoned for life by a sessions court in 2001.

·       Earlier when the case was heard Dhaner used to accompany victim girl’s family to the court for trial.

·       In March 2001, a fight broke out between the protesters and the supporters of the accused. One eighty five years old Dalip Singh, a relative to the accused, was injured, and died 10 days later. Dhaner alongwith two others were booked for Dalip Singh’s death.

·       Due to public outcry the state moved to withdraw the case, but the sessions court refused and, on March 30, 2005, sentenced the three men including Dhaner to life imprisonment.

·       In September 2019, for seven weeks, more than 3,000 people sat outside the Barnala jail, where Dhaner was lodged, during the day, and night, rain and sunshine.

·       42 farmer unions joined the protest naming it Sangharsh Committee for Manjit Dhaner.

·       Dhaner say ongoing protest at SInghu, Tikri and other borders of Delhi reminds of those days, but now the cause was bigger.

·       His imprisonment became a bigger issue in Punjab, joined by farmers, teachers, students, and farm labourers, forcing compelling Punjab government for a Governor’s pardon for Dhaner and three others July 2007.

·       Pardon to Dhaner, Dutt and Kumar was challenged by Dalip Singh’s family before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which set aside the governor’s order in March, 2008. On appeal, the court acquitted Dutt and Kumar but upheld Dhaner’s sentence.

·       As the issue went to the Supreme Court, it upheld the high court’s order. He was given four weeks to surrender.

·       It again led to mammoth protests in Barnala for Dhaner’s release.

·       On November 15, Punjab Governor again gave consent for pardon to Dhaner

·       He becomes the first person in state to be pardoned twice, while fighting for the people’s cause.

KNOW MORE ABOUT FARMERS LEADER BALBIR SINGH RAJEWAL

ENGLISH SPEAKING FARM LEADER HAS EARS TO THE GROUND

Bharatiya kisan union (Rajewal), President Balbir Singh Rajewal is a Samrala based farm leader is a known name in government and political circles. Despite his old age and failing health, he currently is leading farmers protest at Singhu borders on the border of National capital.

He may not have a very mammoth support base in terms of the numbers but he being one of the oldest farmer leaders has acceptability in the state. His strength is clarity of the issues and has the ability to raise these issues vociferously. He is one of the few English speaking farm leaders who is abreast with facts, figures and statistics to support his claims.

Even his opponents are impressed by his style and diction, and agree to what he says. Read to know more about him:

AS HEAD, HE HAS MADE A LOSS MAKING COLLEGE A PROFITABLE VENTURE

·       Born in 1942 in native village Rajewal Rohnu, the same village where Bhagat Puran Singh was born and lived major part of his life

·       Rajewal has his schooling from AS Modern School, Khanna and did  FA from Khalsa College, Khanna

·       Took over his family avocation of farming, alongwith three brothers, however before that he wanted to start a business

·       Joined farmer activism at an early age and started Punjab zimidara union in the late 1960s. Later he joined Bharatiya kisan union and he worked at different levels.

·       Before forming a kisan body he started making agrarian community aware about their rights. He played a key role when farming sector opened up post the green resolution of early 1960s.

·       Tills 100 bighas of land that came into his share after family division. He runs a commission agents shop as a side business.

·       Heads a degree college in Khanna which is managed by Malwa Educational Council. He was elected by way of elections and has taken out the college out of debts and made it a profitable venture

·       Consolidated small patches of land in native village to open Bhagat Puran Singh Higher Secondary School. The school is run by a village level committee.

·       The Village School has one Honesty shop, which has no salesman. Students take things of their daily needs from the shop and puts money in cash box as per the mentioned on the article. This teacxhes students an important lesson of life. 

·       A heart patient Rajewal, during the ongoing protest at Singhu border suffered minor heart attack but he preferred to stay put in a trolley at the protest site.

SOME THOUGHTS SHARED BY RAJEWAL IN THE PAST

PAINFUL THAT FARMERS ARE CONSIDERED BEGGERS “It gives me pain hearing that we are considered beggars and seen as if not contributing to the society. We pay market and purchase fees on our produce, pay GST on purchase of machinery. We are largest chunk in the society as consumers and also pay taxes on what we buy. Why we are projected as burden on the government”.

FARMERS NEVER DEMANDED WAIVER GIVEN BY PUNJAB GOVT “Punjab Govt has filed affidavit in Punjab and Haryana high court that they have waived off Rs. 827 crore debt of farmers. The waiver announcements were made for political benefit, we never demanded. Now calculate the increase power tariff four times, and compare it with the waiver amount of Rs. 827 crore”.

CREDIBILITY OF GOVT IN QUESTION “The credibility of those running the government is under question. People don’t believe in them, farmer feel that gradually government will withdraw all subsidies”.

FARMERS CAN’T PAY POWER BILLS “The scenario has changed now, we used to pay bills in 1980s, but now farmers are in bad shape”.

CHECK SPURIOUS MILK SALE TO SUPPORT FARMERS “You want to make farmers earn money fast than check sale of spurious milk which is selling 40-45% in the state, and it has affected the dairy industry severely. Only government can stop it. Dairy sector has huge scope for employment”.

BURNING OF STUBBLE HAS ENDED “Burning of paddy stubble has ended and on most of the agriculture area in state wheat crop of the rabi season has been sown. I fail to understand how so many cases of paddy stubble fires were recorded this time, despite the fact the area under fire has come down”

MODEL OF AMUL OPERATIONS IS REDUNDANT, NEEDS A NEW LOOK

MILK SECRETARIES HAVE BECOME POWERFUL, ALL MONEY TO FARMERS ROUTED THROUGH THEM

The old Amul pattern is outdated and has become “village society secretary centric” : absolutely redundant and no more suitable to the current environment and rapidly approaching developments. 

Amul, is India’s largest milk cooperative society with headquarters Anand, Gujarat. It was set up in 1946, a brand managed by a cooperative body, the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF), which today is jointly owned by 36 lakh milk producers in Gujarat

Over the last sixty-seventy years, the secretaries have become very powerful because all the money going to farmers was routed through them. 

They earned a lot of money through means which were fair and foul. This also helped them to become politically powerful. 

They now play an active role in the election of Directors and Chairman (read power to manipulate Managing Directors and other employees). 

The criteria for employment in the milk unions is faulty: Whether you are a local candidate and also whether you have support of these secretaries and unions Directors. 

Initially it started at junior level. Over a period of time these employees have become senior managers many times in jobs which they are incompetent to perform. (The Parkinson law of incompetence) 

The corruption has also got entrenched in the system and competence has slowly receded in the background. 

Naturally the adverse effects of in-breeding and corruption have become rampant. 

The principal of self sacrifice and general good of society and nation is no more a guiding spirit. 

The Amul federation and unions having enjoyed all the developmental generous benefits (many times very favourably biased to Gujarat) under the operations floods and other government programs have become too big and selfish. 

A NEW FORM OF COLONISATION

Instead of sincerely helping similar cooperative unions in other states of the country, they have now started expanding to other states and started exploiting their farmers and resources. In fact it has started operating like East India Company – a new form of cooperative colonisation. 

Large amounts of money handled by Amul pattern unions in Gujarat is attracting corrupt leadership and politicians – a few things which we vainly tried to structurally keep out.  

The inbreeding in professional staff at top and absence of new blood in the unions and more particularly the federation, and corruption at many levels have made the federation too weak to hold the unions together. The unions are fighting each other and there is every possibility that federation may break in the very near future. 

Already court battles for administrative control, political leadership and corruption have started in many unions and between unions and the federation.

There are regular reports of huge thefts and corruption and adulteration of products. 

TIME FOR A RETHINK, AS MULTINATIONAL ENTRY CAN’T BE STOPPED

Time has come to rethink the industry because India will not be able to resist the entry of multinationals for long. 

After recent changes in agricultural laws, the international pressure for free trade in dairy industry would increase many folds and India with its current financial situation and Chinese forces on the border, would have no alternatives but to allow entry of multinationals ,  who would have much more financial resources and far better trained and experienced managers then Amul Federation and so called Amul pattern Unions. The position is quite grim and there is a very urgent need for drastic structural corrections. Honesty and self sacrifice have to play a central role. 

The structural changes have to start at every level starting from village level society and not excluding federation and BODs of unions and federation. 

ABOUT THE NEGLECTED TROUBLE OF PH.D ASPIRANTS IN INDIA

DO WE STAND WITH THE MEANING OF PH.D?

Education, which makes no change of betterment in the life of oneself and society, is of no use at all. Education in real sense brings understanding, emotions, empathy and critical thinking and part of education is also the degree of Ph.D. Doctorate (the word came from a Latin word “Docere” means “to teach” and in English it is adopted as doctorate) of philosophy (it is a Greek word “Philosophia” where philo means “Love” and Sophia means “wisdom”)  (Ph.D.) so Ph.D. means to teach love for wisdom. Do we still stand honestly with the meaning of Ph.D? We do not! 

The eligible assistant professors, associate professors and professors in Government institutes, who can serve as guide to the Ph.D aspirants demolish their flying dreams. An aspirant begs such teachers keeping his/her self respect aside so that the teacher agrees to guide him/her for research work but in most of the cases aspirants are given the following replies by the professors.

I do not have any vacant seat, (as there are certain number of specified seats to be allotted) but the reality is the professor lies to the aspirant because the vacant seats are kept reserved for wealthy students.

Submit your resume to me, I will give you a call when suitable (Such calls never come from professors, so, do not waste paper) Recommending other professors and giving their phone number and also states to you to not mention his/her name before the recommended professor ( either the call does not get answered or in case it is picked, they also do not have their precious seat for you) Submit your research proposal and leave. (which is never actually read by them)

Nowadays everyone is running for Ph.D., try some other avenue or start working.

The above mentioned are those professors, who dare not say a direct NO to you, so they make up such excuses and you keep waiting in the hope of ever being called back.

I cannot guide you. (After listening this, you do not stand in their office anymore and do not even manage to ask WHY?)

As a result of above mentioned reason is diversion of Ph.D. aspirants towards Private universities who charge in lakhs. At this age when a youngster should be able to earn, he/she is still dependent on his parents or spouse for Ph.D. fees as in Government institute, scholar in case is JRF (Junior Research Fellowship is eligible for the scholarship but under Private Universities, he/she has to pay). And on the top of it, Ph.D. is going to be made compulsory for being eligible to teach in universities. 

My suggestion (on the behalf of Research scholars and Ph.D aspirants) is to maintain transparency and make those accountable who are eligible to guide 8 scholars and guide 2 scholars and rest 6 scholars run to private universities. This not only make the aspirants doubt their own self but also the quality of research in India is sacrificed. 

Since ages scholars are compelled to forget their individuality before their guide. My question is for what sin are we supposed to do so? With this present condition, Doctorate of Philosophy is losing its charm.

FARM LAWS ARE MADE FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADERS

A TRAP FOR THE FARMERS, A STEP TOWARDS CENTRALISATION AND CONTROL

The three new farm bills passed in the Indian Parliament in September month of 2020 would satisfy international big traders and lessen the international pressure to open agriculture to free trade with India – a move to get International recognition.

Currently facing a widespread  from the farmers the three laws reforms — Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act intends to Help companies like Reliance, Adani, ITC etc to start rural marketing – a step toward economic centralisation and control. 

These companies would open so called Service centres in each village and buy all the crops and provide and sell all the inputs and services, provide good quality seeds and advice on fertilisers, pesticides, give loans/ open banks and even start entertainment centres etc. and the farmers would be tempted to enter into contracts which would be exceptionally favourable to big corporations. This is a sort of trap for the farmers.

Poor farmers would not understand the language of contracts, and not in position to fight the big corporations

The poor farmers would not even understand the language of contracts and would not be in position to fight the big corporations in cases of disputes.

Over a period of time there would be collectivisation of land. The small farms would be aggregated to form big farms to enable use of mechanical machinery. 

The current boundaries would disappear and farmers would not be even able to recognise their small holdings of lands.

The farmers would lose control of land and move to cities and become poor over a period of time.

There would be instability. The assets/ land/ money would move to the rich and the poor would become poorer. The disparities in wealth distribution and incomes would increase. 

NEW LAWS WILL BRING IN FOOD INSECURITY

The land use would change and crops which can bring high returns for corporations would be cultivated and food insecurity would increase. 

The science has developed new technologies which would be used to give increased productivity and incomes to farmers over short period of time but these corporations would start narrowing their profits by increasing the costs of inputs and by lowering prices of their crops and would have power to destroy total crop in cases where the farmers try to change their loyalties. Specific Diseases can be created to destroy total crop.

Currently the poor farmers grow all types of crops, small amount of vegetables, some green fodder etc. and are able to survive even during difficult/adverse situations. 

Once they enter into contracts, this would change and they would not be able to do these activities.

FARMS WILL EXPAND AND PROFITS WILL FALL

Initially the farmer’s income would increase and international media would call the change a great revolution and the government would get acclaim in every media channel but it would not be long that India would become like America, France and Latin American and European countries. Their farms are getting bigger and margins smaller and smaller. All small farmers have been systematically eased out. 

Modi Ji would also get Noble prize/ international food prizes for making revolutionary changes, through the active support of big corporations. 

Removing curb on storage quantities would help exploitation. 

I think all this is happening under pressure from Modi  jee’s financers and international pressure.  India would also boast some of richest men/ women in the world.

I am against current Mandi system and role of middle men but I don’t think the new bills are the solution. I feel it would lead to extensive destruction. 

NEW FARM LAWS CAN’T BE COMPARED WITH AMUL VILLAGE MARKET

Any comparison with Amul village market is not correct. In Amul system Of Dairy Development, the majority of marketing is controlled by farmers. As much as 84 to 86 paisa of every rupee obtained from consumers goes to producers. Even profits go to producers. 

In the changed environments, everything would go to Ambani , Adanis, and other powerful corporations. 

AMUL model is the socialist model: fair distribution of money among the people but the proposed model is a ultimate in Capitalistic model- even the land would be under the control of a few rich people. 

MSP is not the real issue – as in my thinking, the farmers incomes would increase in the short run. The productivity and quality of crop would also improve but over a period of time it would be Ambani’s and Adanis and their ilk who would take control of every thing like Jews and farmers would be consistently forced out of farming.

In Punjab , there are not very rich people or corporations nor very poor people. Though middle men are not liked but situation is not as bad as in Maharashtra etc.

The proposed laws are going to have radical changes in economic of Punjab. It would further weaken Sikhs who are able to survive because of their land holdings and earnings from their children working in foreign countries. It would the end of Punjabi culture and beginning of Bania Raj. 

Of course Gujarati would become strong and have a stranglehold over most of North India and Modi jee would continue to be PM / dictator till he is alive or replaced by another clever Gujarati. 

Incidentally who have been the fraudsters in India – Natwar Lal, Harshad Mehta, Nirav Modi, Mehal Chokshi, or people behind some of the biggest scandals; the Mundra scandal, stock market scandal, Teja loan scandal etc. What were their common traits? 

India is now in the midst of biggest scandal. Also it would be interesting to learn where the bills were drafted and who were the people directly connected with their drafting. It would be interesting to follow their professional career.

MODI GOVT SCRAPPED 1,200 ACTS, WHY HITCH TO REPEAL ANTI-FARMER LAWS

1,200 LAWS ALREADY SCRAPPED; 1,824 MORE IDENTIFIED

Narendra Modi Government has scrapped record 1200 Acts, since 2014 and 1,824 more have already been identified for repeal as per the statement of the Union Law Minister Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad, than where is the difficulty to repeal three anti-farmers laws, enacted recently for the benefit of the big corporate,  against the fundamental interests of the farmers.

Narendra Modi dispensation at the center has removed 2014 bizarre archaic laws from the statutes in the past six years, I wonder as to why the central Government is obstinately sticking to retain anti-farmer laws. The hopelessly ineffective and unproductive protracted dialogue between the farmer’s unions and the central Government’s interlocutors, so far has shown no positive sign, demonstrating   the resolution of the vexed tangle to the satisfaction of the farmers. If the Modi Government is obdurate to destroy the farming and the farmers in India and prepared for all hell to break loose against the farmers then farmer unions should also carefully draw their long term strategy to break the impasse. In view of the inflexible and downbeat attitude of the Government I am not at all optimistic that the proposed meeting on 8th January would yield any positive result.

Mr. Narendra Modi has brought these anti-farmer laws with a firm resolve to hand over the entire Agriculture Sector including the entire food grain trade to the corporate Houses of Adanis and Ambanis . If it’s a long term package and a done deal between him and the corporate, then why engage the agitating farmers in superfluous and hollow talks?

The Government of India is making fools of the farmers of the Country which ultimately would prove counterproductive having far-reaching consequences for the peace and tranquility of the country for which Mr. Modi and the BJP shall be squarely blamed.

The agitating farmers have shown maximum restraint to preserve peace and exemplary discipline, despite odds of facing the horrendous eventualities. To maintain Peace and tranquility is the shared responsibility of all stakeholders including the Government, but if at all the pent up patience of the farmer’s explodes and the peaceful movement goes out of hand of its leaders, then for any negative fallout; the buck would stop at the door of Mr. Narendra Modi and the BJP.

NEW AGRICULTURAL LAWS, WTO AND ALLIANCE OF INDIAN-FOREIGN CORPS

A UNIQUE PEASANT MOVEMENT THAT HAS BECOME JANANDLOAN

An enormous peasant movement has sprung up across India against the new agricultural laws, which were recently enacted by the Modi government. The peasant movement that started from Punjab has reached the door steps of New Delhi the main power centre of Indian state and encircled it from all the borders. Hence this peasant movement can rightly be termed as ‘Delhi Kisan Andolan’. The present peasant movement is the largest and most widespread agitation in the history of India.

There have been well-known peasant movements like Telangana, “Pagari Sambhal Jatta” and Pepsu Peasant Movements in India but the present ‘Delhi Peasant Movement’ is unique from the previous movements and has become a ‘janandolàn’ (mass movement)  instead of a peasant movement. This movement has embraced villages, cities, castes, religions, communities, working classes, students, youth, artists, intellectuals, and people from all walks of life. The significance of this movement lies in the fact that people have started taking the ‘Delhi Kisan Andolan’ as a belief (aastha). As the Modi government is deliberately ignoring the genuine demands of the farmers, it is spreading across the country.

NOT A MOVEMENT OF PUNJAB ALONE

First, the Modi government called it the Movement of Punjab farmers. When farmers from Haryana extended their support and whole-heartedly joined hands with their brethren from Punjab, he mutely conceded it as concerning Haryana also. He also tried to limit it to the green revolution areas of Punjab, Haryana, western uttar Pradesh, and Uttrakhand. But as the movements spread to other areas of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Karnataka, then he tried to play it down as handiwork of opposition parties. 

Usually people get tired of long drawn movements, but the Delhi Kisan Adolan is unique in itself. This peasant movement has shaken the BJP government and its allies. As time goes on, support for the peasant movement is growing across the country. A majority of the Delhi population is coming out in support of this peasant movement, instead of feeling harassed.

TIMING OF NEW LAWS RAISE CONCERNS

In fact, in which manner these three new farm laws have been brought by the Modi government all of sudden during a pandemic, it has raised serious concerns in the minds of people. It is seen as a big blow to destroy the rural economy and the masses dependent on it. These new agricultural laws are seen as a death warrant for the rural sector, especially.

These laws are aimed at dismantling Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC) and policy of ensuring minimum support prices for crops. The peasant movement against the new farm laws has garnered huge support at the national and international level. This peasant movement has become the largest movement in Indian history which has pushed the BJP government in a defensive mode. 

In this way, the BJP has been politically exposed in India and international levels and its rank and file in Punjab and Haryana are completely in disarray. The BJP has lost its ground and the farmers’ organizations will not allow the BJP to gain a foothold amongst the masses of Punjab and its adjoining states. The BJP is finding it in a difficult situation to justify the three agriculture laws.

FARMERS MOVEMENT RECEIVES SUPPORT FROM ALL QUARTERS

The farmer movement has won a great moral victory due to support and sympathy it received from all the quarters. That is why the BJP government is forced to make proposals for amendments. But the farmers’ organizations are opposing these laws tooth and nail and never accept any modifications until these are repealed. Instead of getting intimidated, they are gearing up the agitation with enthusiasm, vigour and courage.

They do not want this historical unity of the peasants from all states to go in vain. The present stage of the peasant movement has reached a critical juncture. The peasant leaders are creatively adapting to the ever-changing circumstances and are fighting as strong and united as a rock. And they will not compromise beyond repealing the three agricultural laws. The Modi government seems unyielding to repeal these acts because it is backed by Indian big business, foreign corporations and the World Trade Organization. The 13th Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which was held in Bali, Indonesia in 2017, had directed the Government of India to bring new agricultural laws.

Ironically, It was chaired by Shri Kamal Nath, the then commerce minister in the UPA government headed by Dr. Manmohan Singh. Its main agendas were discontinuation of government procurement of agricultural crops for food security, dismantling policy of minimum support prices and subsidies to crops. The main agenda of the Bali meeting was: the Trade Facilitation Treaty, which meant the abolition of tariffs and non-tariff regimes, development of infrastructure for import and export of goods and services and allow free competition in the world. The agenda was accepted by the then UPA government, led by the Indian National Congress.

Therefore, both the BJP and INC are sailing the same boat of Liberalization, privatization and globalization. But the Manmohan Singh government was under immense pressure from its allies at that time. Therefore it had to demand a permanent solution to the Food Security Act to ensure safe storage of food grains, provide minimum support prices for farmers and subsidies as well as continuation of the public distribution system. In the Bali meeting, the United States and other European imperialist powers succeeded to insert a “peace clause” in the resolutions regarding Indian market, but allowed India to provide MSP, continue subsidies and subsidized food grains to the poor population up to December 2017.

10 PC SUBSIDY CAN BE GIVEN ON VALUE OF AGRICULTURAL GDP, WTO

According to the World Trade Organization, a maximum of 10 per cent subsidy can be given on the value of agricultural GDP. It is also stipulated that subsidies should not exceed 10 per cent of the average prices of agricultural products in the three years of 1986-1988. The World Trade Organization mandated that the difference between the MSP of a country’s crops should not exceed 10 percent over the prevailing prices in the world market. India is providing subsidies around ten per cent of the world market prices. Developed countries had already increased their subsidies in their countries before 1986-1988 as they knew before the formation of the WTO.

When subsequent WTO rules were enacted, the percentage of subsidies could not exceed the subsidies given between 1986 and 1988. But the developed countries give huge subsidies to their agricultural sector as compared to third world countries. Two-thirds of India’s population is still dependent on agriculture. The government aims to bring 67 per cent of the population under the Food Security Act. Therefore, the Government of India has to ensure food stocks to feed its staved population.

As a result of WTO policies, the farmers’ crisis is deepening in India and millions of farmers are forced to commit suicides, failing to repay debt to moneylenders in India. This is a very grave situation and if minimum food security is to be ensured for the vast population of India, then the Indian government has no option other than to provide MSPs and subsidies and maintain a public distribution system. Failure to do so could lead to the greater unrest among the farmers and toiling but half starved people.

With the commencement of the Doha Round of World Trade Dialogue, the imperialist countries are turning a blind eye to the crisis in the Third World agricultural sector and shifting their own burden onto the shoulders of Third World countries. . The imperialist countries are aware of the compulsions of  the Indian state that it has to buy the farm commodities, pay the MSP and subsidize foodstuffs  to alleviate the current crisis. Therefore, after the start of the Doha Round, the imperialist countries resorted to impose the ‘Trade Facilitation Agreement’ on India and dictating it to stop public procurement of crops. They are pushing for the dismantling of government agencies like FCI. They want privatization of trade of food grains, contract farming for private players, and control on agricultural universities, privatization of research and promotion of agribusiness.

EXPERTS’ PROPOSALS INCLUDED IN NEW FARM LAWS

The Government of India has already included proposals made by various committees, under the guidance of Shanta Kumar, Ramesh Chand, SS Johal, SC Gupta etc.  But these commissions and committees, keeping in view the real economic crisis of Indian farmers, could not make recommendations as per the wishes of the regime and the corporate houses of India. After December 31, 2017, India has been under constant pressure from imperialist countries to implement WTO conditions. India needs to make stocks of 55 million tons of food grains for food security, but according to WTO norms, she can store only 10 percent of its total agricultural output. In this way, the agricultural products entering the Indian market will be handed over to local and foreign corporations.

With the exception of Punjab and Haryana paddy and wheat crops, 94 per cent of the country’s crops are already in the hands of private traders. In this way, the farmers of India are suffering the impact of the plunder. The three existing agricultural laws have been brought by the Modi government to serve domestic and foreign corporations as per the instructions of the Imperial countries and World Trade Organization.

Ever since the Indian ruling classes adopted neoliberalism in 1991, the Congress’s UPA and the BJP’s NDA governments have repeatedly tried to pass land acquisition laws to acquire farmers land for contract farming. The imperialist capitalist countries are constantly changing their policies to intensify their plunder. In the past, the imperialist countries plundered the agricultural sector by monopolizing the cost of farming and making super profits. The policy of monopolizing and amending essential commodity laws is being adopted to push the agricultural economy into economic slavery and increase its looting. For this purpose three agriculture laws have been introduced by the Modi government. These three agriculture laws are so injurious for the farmers that they have deprived the farmers of sleep and put them in real danger of losing their land.

States like Punjab and Haryana which have a large network of government markets will be more affected by these laws and they need to struggle to maintain government markets and minimum support prices. In those states where this system of APMC does not exist, they will have to fight for its realisation. In India, a huge platform of coordination committees has been set up to take the struggle against the three farm laws to new heights and this platform needs to be maintained and strengthened. 

FARM LAWS NOT IN FARMERS BENEFIT: PUNJAB AGRICULTURE UNIVERSITY

DIVERGENT VIEWS ABOUT THEIR IMPLICATIONS

There are divergent views about the implications of new farm laws for agriculture sector, especially, Punjab. Some claim that the laws will make markets more efficient, increase competition, strengthen agri-value chains and will benefit the farmers, whereas, others argue that the farmers may ultimately loose by increase in market power of traders and corporates, and through dismantling of MSP and public procurement of food grains. The state may also suffer loss of revenue from market fee and cesses, which may adversely affect agricultural infrastructure and other public expenditure on agriculture and rural development.

The new farm laws: the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 were passed by the Parliament of India in September 2020 claims to create an ecosystem to provide freedom to farmers and traders to trade, and empower the farmers to engage with agri-business firms and other players of agricultural value chains by providing a national framework for mutual agreements and reducing excessive regulatory restrictions on private business operations by removing basic food items from essential commodities list.

The Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana organized a webinar on ‘Farm Sector Laws and their Implications for Punjab Agriculture’ to examine the claims of these laws, their timings, effect on market power, state autonomy, MSP and public procurement, their impact on small farmers and way ahead for the state. Ajay Vir Jakhar, Chairman, Bharat Krishak Samaj (Farmers’ Forum, India) also talked about Union and State relations and the timeliness of the new laws.

He also talked about the structural changes in the system of support to farmers being brought through farm sector laws. Dr Sucha Singh Gill, a renowned economist and Senior Professor, Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), talked about the implications of farm laws on Punjab economy and questioned the appropriateness of these laws. Dr PS Birthal, National Professor, National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, New Delhi,took the national view, cited success stories in agricultural value chains in Punjab and highlighted the new opportunities under the changed regime. Mr Avtar Singh Dhindsa, a highly-established floriculturist, talked about the step-wise strategy which can be more effectively followed to move Punjab on a sustainable growth path under new laws. More than 200 participants from various state and national level institutes as well as representatives of press and media attended the event.

LAWS INACTED IN HASTE

The discussion focused on understanding various aspects of laws and their implications for Punjab economy. There was a general agreement that the laws were enacted in haste and there should have been broader consultations with the states, farmers and other stakeholders.

Agricultural policies should be the state prerogative because agriculture is not only the state subject but there alsoisgreat diversity in agro-ecology of India.

MSP, PUBLIC PROCUREMENT BENEFIT JUST 6% FARMERS, A MISNOMER

Some arguments that MSP and public procurement benefit only 6 per cent of the farmers in India and this entails huge financial outlay are also misplaced. The outlay is nothing when compared to the tax and other economic benefits given to the big corporates in India.

Nearly 60% of rural population largely earns about 16% of gross value added in Indian agriculture, which clearly indicates gross inequality in income distribution between agricultural/rural households and others. Hence, our efforts should focus on enhancing income/profit of remaining 94% farmers, while the new developments emphasize on eroding the livelihood of 6% of the farmers, who are receiving MSP backed by public procurement.

The report is a joint effort of Punjab Agricultural University Vice Chancellor Baldev Singh Dhillon and Kamal Vatta head department of economics.

RICH POOR INEQUALITY WIDENING

The widening inequality between the rich and the poor can be gauged from the fact that half of the100 richest Indians increased their wealth by 14%, amounting to US$ 63.5 billion, even during the COVID-19 period, when majority were suffering. One is forced to think why no steps are being taken to redistribute the income from rich to poor and the focus is on so-called rich 6 per cent farmers, who are in fact extremely poor as compared to those in other sectors; what to say of corporate houses.

The assumption of improvement in market efficiency through these laws may be misplaced as in Bihar where the APMC markets were absent and food grains were sold through private traders, there were no economic gains as the farmers were unable to sell at MSP. Recent developments raise strong apprehensions of dismantling of MSP and public procurement in near future which will harm farmers in the food bowl of India, though some are of the view that public procurement is still important to meet the national food security needs. But the farmers are not willing to buy these arguments in the current scenario of mistrust.

NEW LAWS CANT FACILITATE CROP DIVERSIFICATION

There are theoretical expectations that new laws will facilitate crop diversification through the entry of private trade and better prices for crops. If it is so, then why it has not happened in case of crops other paddy and wheat. Taking example of two most important alternative crops, namely maize, the market prices ruled substantially lower at Rs 700-1,000 per quintal than the MSP of Rs 1,850, even when the ordinances were issued/laws have been enacted.

DIVERSIFICATION REQUIRE MSP, ASSURED MARKETING

Crop diversification requires MSP backed by assured marketing for alternative crops or adequate compensation to the farmers for any loss due to crop shifts. This will also require better research in markets, establishing industries, and developing value chains and post-harvest infrastructure. These require large investments and long gestation period.

Kinnow and seed potato (major fruit and vegetable crop of Punjab), and poultry (broiler) are being cited as successful examples, where there is no MSP support. Majority of them are big farmers who are better informed, have better connectivity, financial strength, and can bear market shocks and cannot be compared with small-sized paddy-wheat growers.

Similarly, the success story of milk sector in Punjab cannot be completely attributed to the private sector as Verka (a cooperative undertaking) is a major player in the milk industry and acts as a price leader. Even during the lockdown, when all private traders stopped procuring milk, Verka came to the rescue of milk producers.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Following recommendations emerged in the discussions

In agriculture, the views of states should prevail as agriculture is a state subject. There is an open divergence of views of the Central government and those of some states, which needs to be avoided in the larger national interest.

DIVERSE AGRO-ECOLOGY IN COUNTRY:

There are extremely diverse agro-ecologies in the country (consider cropping system in three adjoining states: Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan). Thus, states are in a better position to design and implement policies tuned to their strengths and weaknesses. Implementation of uniform policy across the nation ignoring the resource endowments and agro-ecologies of the states/region may be counterproductive.

FEARS OF DISMANTLING MSP

There are fears of dismantling of MSP and public procurement under new laws. As repeated verbal and written assurances are being given on its continuation, therefore, there should be no roadblock to legalize it.

It is being argued that MSP has benefited a limited number of farmers belonging to national food bowl. Efforts and programs need to be designed to raise the incomes of farmers of other regions as well, rather than focusing on depleting the livelihood of farmers of this region. The support being given to the farmers in the form of MSP and public procurement is just peanuts as compared to the incentives being given to other sectors, especially, the big corporates.

NARROW DOWN INEQUALITY BETWEEN AGRI AND NON-AGRI SECTORS

There should be a policy to narrow down the inequality between agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, by generating income opportunities and raising income levels of farmers rather than providing a platform and free hand to the larger trade and corporate houses to flourish at the cost of poor farmers.

LOSS OF REVENUE ON ABOLOSHING MARKET FEE

The loss of state revenue on account of abolishing of market charges may adversely affect the infrastructure development in agriculture and rural areas. This is a major source of state revenue as industrial development got a major setback in Punjab due to huge tax rebates and incentives given to the industry in the hilly states. Thus, the state should be allowed to levy taxes on the trade of agricultural produce outside the APMC markets also.

The laws must have adequate safeguards for the farmers and the government should explore quasi-judicial forms of dispute settlement rather than leaving it to the bureaucracy.

NEW LAWS NOT TO ENCOURAGE CROP DIVERSIFICATION

The claim that the laws will encourage crop diversification is also misplaced. The crop diversification requires MSP backed by assured marketing for alternative crops and/or ensuring at least current level of income and livelihood to the farmers. Punjab can develop niches and follow cluster development approach. Organic products, fruits, vegetables and processed products provide a huge potential in the national and international markets. Besides capacity building of the farmers, this will, however, require better research in national as well as foreign markets for alternative crops, establishing processing industries, developing value chains at the national and global level, and comprehensive analysis of the risk and mitigation strategies of these chains.

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated the importance and role of public sector R&D institutions. Therefore, agricultural R&D will require huge financial resources to cater to the needs of the changing times and remain relevant.

Farmers should be compensated for ecosystem services and conservation of natural resources resulting from adoption of sustainable farming practices as these may involve fall in profits.

SPECIAL INCENTIVE FOR PUNJAB

The special economic packages and incentives have been provided to the adjoining hilly states, which have eroded the industrial base of the state. Therefore, Punjab needs special incentives by the Centre to revive and develop industry, particularly, agro-industries. This is an essential input for diversification of paddy-wheat cropping system towards high value crops and value addition.

Punjab is a landlocked state which is far away from the seaports. This acts as a major disadvantage to the state for promoting exports due to high transportation costs. The freight subsidy and opening up of opportunities for exports through western borders will encourage crop diversification and better returns to farmers.

There is a need to create viable farm and non-farm income avenues for the rural poor so that their current level of livelihood/profits are not adversely affected. It must be ensured that their vulnerability is not aggravated.

SHEWANDERS – PUNJAB’S TREKKING COMPANY

CATERS TO WOMEN, FAMILIES

SHEWANDERS is one of the very first trekking companies from Punjab. It was started in the year 2018, with the aim of providing a platform to women and families who want to step into the adventurous world of trekking.

Besides trekking, we offer fun road trips, yoga retreats, carefully curated  experimental cultural trips to the lesser- known destinations as well.

We have group departures for beginners, intermediate and tough treks 

throughout the year and we also customise itineraries for families and 

friends who are looking to do something different.

HOW AND WHY DID THE CONCEPT COME ABOUT 

I consider myself lucky to have been introduced to the world of trekking at a very young age as I studied from the prestigious Yadavindra Public School, Patiala where trekking was compulsory annual feature for its students.

As life takes its course with marriage and kids, life got busy in the mundane! I was a lecturer in English at Doaba College, Jalandhar for four years, and even studied and started my own interior designing firm as I was always inclined to creativity.

Restarting trekking gave me peace and confidence post the birth of my second son and the company was started because I wanted to do something different. I’ve always felt that Punjab for eg. is so close to Himachal, yet there are hardly any people in any of the treks. So, with the hope of having more women in the outdoors with the sole aim of giving them confidence and wings to fly, I started this company.

Eventually we did some treks for some schools in Punjab as well one of them being Vivek High School, Chandigarh and there has been no looking back and now we do trips and treks for mixed groups as well. Our summer camp for parents and kids is an annual hit.

Though I must add here that my main aim is to introduce trekking in every school in Punjab because no matter what we may call the new generation that they are stubborn, techies and non adjusting. Believe you me, I have witnessed the most spoilt teenagers having a splendid time out their camping in the mountains.

THERE ARE LOTS OF TREKKING COMPANIES, HOW ARE WE 

DIFFERENT?

Well to begin with our foremost aim is safety and service! Most of our clients are in the age group of 30 and above and their prime requirement is comfort. Although trekking is all about getting out of your comfort zone, we do our best to provide the best service with equipment, food and well- trained professional ground team who in case of any emergency due to change in  weather are capable of handling the situation to the best of their ability.

Besides we have customised groups for different destinations across Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, North-East, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka etc in India and outside India Bhutan, Nepal, Vietnam, Turkey, Kyrgyztan, Bali to name a few.

Even on road trips we ensure that the clients engage themselves in an outdoor activity in some way or another be it a heritage walk, village walk, paragliding, day hike, jungle trail, yoga etc.

AIM

Our aim is to re-introduce nature to citizens of every age and gender, to connect with nature and go back to basic living for a few days in the mountains. It brings out the best in everyone as it brings out everyone’s potential to the fullest on the trail. Besides, we not only learn so much about our own weaknesses and strengths, we also learn that just like life we have an innate capacity as humans to adapt to every environment and challenge thrown in our way.

Life is just like climbing a mountain, the best view comes after the hardest climb. Post covid-19 we have big plans of going to offbeat international destinations like Vietnam, Turkey, Kyrgyztan etc. 

THE CHALLENGES AND THE RESPONSE 

As a sole proprietor, it’s been extremely challenging for me to run this company single-handedly! I’ve learnt everything along the way from designing the company logo, learning how to edit videos, taking out costing,  taxes, ground team coordination, marketing, handling social media and being there on the ground on every single trip/ trek to ensure quality control.

My biggest strength has been my mother who has immensely supported me in every challenge and difficult situation. Whatever little I’ve achieved today could not have been without her support and love. But I would definitely say that there are few women in this field and as a woman the work is always double compared to a man and so are the challenges.

But the toughest part is leaving my children behind, so although I’m not so much away from them whenever I’m there with my kids I make sure every single minute is for them as in I don’t socialise or go out locally other than for my work reqt. But yes the school work comes in tonnes ..lol.

The response has been great so far, clients who have trekked or toured with us always comes back to us. Covid-19 did hit the busines hard in the year 2020 but we still managed keeping the company afloat somehow and had a good response in Sept and October inspite of being based out of Himachal!

A FEW NAMES OF TREKS UNDERTAKEN SO FAR

Other than customised groups we have undertaken more than 25 fixed group departures in less than 1.5 years including treks for all age groups from beginners, intermediate to difficult levels.

Naming a few here: Kareri lake trek, Lambri peak, Rakhundi top trek, Pin Bhabha pass, Tarsar marsar trek, Kashmir Rani Suitaal trek, Kedarkantha trek, Sar pass trek, Beas kund trek, Bhrigu lake trek, Hampta Pass, Birbilling Rajgundha, Churdhaar trek. Almost all big  andsmall trails in Kasol Shali tibba, Tigers Nest and Paro, Bhutan.

MY FAVOURITE TREK EVER 

Hands down my favourite will be friendship peak expedition (5400 mtrs) Manali! It was my first expedition and a life altering experience hiking up a mountain at 3 a.m. in minus 20 degrees all 

roped up! 

THE FUTURE OF SHEWANDERS AMIDST COVID 

I personally feel that the safest travel one can undertake is a hike up the mountains in these covid stuck times. Ofcourse the market has been hit hard, tourism the most I would say. but we are hoping that the moment the world will be covid free it’s the domestic tourism that will be a big boom. Also, why shouldn’t it be? we may  not have the infrastructure like other foreign countries but our hospitality is unmatched.

Also, more and more people would want to go in for an experience that’s soul enriching and befitting than sight hopping like they normally do! 

Though we do have ongoing group departures to different destinations, we ensure we follow all covid-19 regulations and try and take smaller groups to distant locations to ensure safety of the clients as well as the locals.

KNOW ABOUT THE GOLDEN BLOOD TYPE

THIS BLOOD GROUP CONTAINS NO RH ANTIGEN  

The golden blood type or Rh null blood group contains no Rh antigens (proteins) on the red blood cell (RBC). This is the rarest blood group in the world, with less than 50 individuals having this blood group. It was first seen in Aboriginal Australians.

The worry with the golden blood group is that the donations of Rh null are incredibly scarce and difficult to obtain. An Rh null person has to rely on the cooperation of a small network of regular Rh null donors around the world, if they need the blood. Throughout the world, there are only nine active donors for this blood group.

RAREST BLOOD GROUP

This makes it the world’s most precious blood type, hence the name golden blood. Our red blood cells have proteins called antigens on their surface. Depending on the antigen present, we have either A, B, O, or AB blood type. The ABO system has a further distinction as Rh-positive or Rh-negative depending on the presence or absence of the ‘Rh-D factor on the cells. In the golden blood group, the individual lacks all the Rh antigens whereas a person with Rh-negative blood group lacks only RhD antigen.

WHY SOME PEOPLE HAVE GOLDEN BLOOD TYPE

The golden blood group seems to be a result of genetic mutation (spontaneous change in the gene.) It is commonly seen with mutations in the RHAG gene, which codes the Rh-associated glycoprotein. This protein is required for directing the Rh antigens to the RBC membrane. RHAG mutation is often associated with a disease called hereditary stomatocytosis. These individuals can have long-term, mild, haemolytic anaemia and increased RBC breakdown.

The Rh-null phenotype can also be seen in the case of certain anaemias a person may be born with. The following conditions may put you at a higher risk of golden blood group:

Consanguineous marriage (marriage between cousins, brother-sister, or anybody who is a near or distant relative).

Autosomal genes (abnormal genes, which have disease traits, passed down through families).

Changes or complete deletion of certain genes, which are RHD and RHCE or RHAG.

COMPLICATIONS OF GOLDEN BLOOD TYPE

The people with Rh null or golden blood type usually may have-

Mild to moderate haemolytic anaemia since birth: This leads to faster destruction of RBCs. This may cause low haemoglobin levels causing paleness and weariness. This occurs due to structural defects in RBCs like-

Mouth-like or slit-Like shape; Less elastic structure of red cells; Abnormal red cell covering; Increased fragility due to the lack of Rh antigen and Altered blood cell volume.

BLOOD TRANSFUSION CHALENGES

These people might face challenges during a blood transfusion. If this person’s blood they readily form corresponding autoantibodies and there may be severe transfusion reaction. Therefore, for these types of patients, hospitals need to have special protocols set and quick response management.

Rh incompatibility during pregnancy: If the mother has Rh null and the baby has Rh-positive blood type and if the mother’s blood gets sensitized by the baby’s positive blood. Then mother’s blood may produce protective proteins called antibodies that could target future pregnancies or lead to abortion or miscarriage.

Haemolytic crisis Several studies have found that any infection or sepsis in such individuals has precipitated massive haemolysis, subsequent kidney failure, and other complications.

GOLDEN BLOOD TYPE CAN BE DONATED

Yes. golden blood can be donated, Because of the absence of antigens on RBCs, a person with Rh null blood is considered to be a universal donor, and this blood can be donated to anyone with rare blood types within the Rh systems. This blood is excellent for transfusion because it lacks common antigens, and it can be accepted by anyone who needs a transfusion without the risk of a blood transfusion reaction. However, due to its rarity, it gets extremely difficult to find this type. Conversely, Rh null is usually not so good for the people who have it. If they ever require a blood transfusion, receiving any blood that does have the Rh antigen may inevitably cause a transfusion reaction.

WHY DELAY REPEAL OF FARM LAWS?

BY OFFERING AMENDMENTS CENTRE ACCEPTS FARM LAWS ARE FLAWED

Amendment Proposals by the centre on issues raised by farm unions:

Uniform policy of taxes, fee, and cess:

The farmers unions have objected to creation of private markets along with agriculture produce Market Committees (APMC). It will lead all agriculture businesses towards private markets. The result will be the end of government markets and intermediary (commission agent) systems as well as APMC systems.

After that only big traders and giant companies will operate in the markets and procure farm produce at incidental prices. The government has proposed that there will be uniform policy of taxes, fee, and cess both for government and private markets.  But the governments would deliberately delay procurement as in case of paddy and turn the public markets inefficient and redundant. Indian and foreigner corporate sectors are hell bent to destroy APMC, distribution system and subsidies in India, though the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Peasant organisations are not only apprehensive but fully convinced that the new agricultural acts are brought to dismantle APMC. Therefore, they are demanding that the union government should employ a comprehensive act of MSP for the whole country and for all crops. But the government is dragging its feet to bring legislation on this issue and only talking for a written assurance. The farmers’ organisations have rejected the government proposal of written assurance and insisted on repeal of these anti-farmers acts.

No provision in the new acts to regulate the traders:

There is no provision in the new acts to regulate the traders. These acts give permission to any PAN Cardholder to procure grains from the markets at wishful prices and make hoarding. There is a general phenomenon of cheating and embezzlement in a capitalist country like India. Instead of making provisions of registration to regulate the traders, the central government is trying to pass the buck on the state governments to regulate the traders. Hence it is not ready to take any responsibility on this issue. This is also being proposed under the pressures of farmer organizations.

The farmers organizations are apprehensive of grabbing the farmers land by the large corporations under the contract farming. The Union Government has put a proposal to allay the fears of farmers by saying that there will be no sale, lease, and transfer of land during the period of contracts agreement. But the history of contract farming has many examples of nonpayment by the companies making various excuses.

Contract farming has displaced farmers all over the world:

It has happened in the case of sugarcane where payments were held for many years or cases of non procurement making excuses of poor quality. It has pushed the farmers into a debt trap. In such cases farmers are unable to repay the loans and have no option other than to lose their lands. The contract farming has resulted in displacing and destroying the farmers all over the world. Even in the U S A, where huge subsidies are given for the agriculture sector the farmers are forced to commit suicides.

Intent to discontinue power subsidies to the farmers:

In the proposed power bill-2020 the Modi Government wants to control the power sector by taking it from the jurisdiction of states. It wants to discontinue the subsidies to the farmers. The WTO has given repeated instruction to Indian Government to discontinue the subsidies. Therefore the Modi government wants to bring the power sector under the Central control. The farmers are opposing this move. Under the pressure of farmer organizations, the government is proposing to exclude subsidies from this bill and saying that power subsidy will be transferred to farmers in cash.

The union government thinks that stubble burning of paddy is responsible for pollution in Delhi and enacted legislation of stringent punishments and heavy fines for the alleged violators. Now under the pressure of farmer organizations the government is proposing for amendments but the farmer organizations are determined to continue the united struggle till the repeal of these acts.

KNOW ABOUT BACK PAIN & COMMON SPINE PROBLEMS

THE REASON THAT ONE SITS UPRIGHT IS HEALTHY SPINE

Are you glad you can stand or sit upright? Thank your spine, a stack of little bones called vertebrae along the center of your back, from seat to your neck. It supports your head, shoulders, and upper body. Your spine plays another key role: The vertebrae make a tunnel for your spinal cord. That’s the set of nerves that connect your brain to most of your body.

SLIPPPED DISK

A cushion called a disk sits between each of your vertebrae, so they don’t scrape against each other. As you age, the disks start to dry out. If you put too much stress on back, a disk may tear or break. Doctors call this a herniated disk. You may not notice. But your arms or legs might hurt, or they could feel numb or tingly. Usually, exercise and painkillers help. If not, you may need an operation.

CERVICAL SPONDYLYSIS

It’s the result of the gradual breakdown in your neck as you get older. You could get a slipped disk there, or the vertebrae may sprout extra bone called spurs to try to boost strength. The ligaments that connect the vertebrae can get stiff and tight. Regardless of the cause, your neck may hurt or be harder to move. If disks or vertebrae squeeze nerves and nerve roots a lot, you could have permanent damage.

OSTEOARTHRITIS

Your vertebrae have slippery tissue on each end that helps your back flex without friction. If that cartilage gets rough or wears down, the vertebrae start to rub against each other, and it makes your back painful or stiff. Women are more prone than men to get osteoarthritis in their backs, and it tends to get worse over time. Your doctor can’t reverse it. But painkillers, therapy, and exercise help ease the symptoms.

SPINAL STENOSIS

Your spine has spaces in it for your spinal cord and the nerves that branch out from it. When those spaces shrink, bones can press against nerves. You might not even notice it, but any time nerves are messed with, you could have pain, tingling, or numbness, or your muscles might seem weak. Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of spinal stenosis. When it’s severe, a surgeon goes in and makes more room for the nerves.

SCIATICA

If pain shoots down from your lower back, through your bottom, and into your leg, the culprit may be your sciatic nerve. A herniated disk, bone spur, or some other spine problem can put pressure on it. Doctors call this sciatica. It usually affects only one side of your body. Hot packs, cold packs, stretching, and painkillers can help you feel better, but you may need a doctor to fix the cause.

TUMOR

Sometimes, cancer spreads from the spot where it starts to form a new growth in your spine. Lung, breast, prostate, and bone cancers are more likely to go there. A few non-cancer conditions can create a spine tumor, too. Your back might hurt, with the pain spreading through your body. Your arms or legs might be numb or weak. Part of your body could even be paralyzed. Your doctor may recommend surgery, radiation, or chemo.

SCOLIOSIS

Scoliosis is one of the conditions that can twist your spine out of shape. The most common type affects children during their growth spurt before puberty, bending the spine sideways. If your child has scoliosis, their shoulders might be uneven, or one shoulder blade might stick out more than the other. Nobody knows what causes this. Scoliosis can get worse and cause problems, but a brace may help prevent that and the need for surgery to correct it.

KYPHOSIS

This condition bends your spine forward. It usually happens, when your vertebrae crack or mash down. Older women get it most often, but it can also affect children whose spines develop wrong. It can cause pain and other problems, and in severe cases, it bends your whole body out of shape. Depending on how curved your spine is, treatment might include painkillers, exercise, or surgery.

ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS

This type of arthritis typically starts off making your low back and hips stiff and sore, especially in the morning, Over time, it can spread up your spine and to other joints and organs. Vertebrae and bones in your rib cage could fuse, leaving you hunched over. Young men get it more often than women, and it may run in families. Early treatment with exercise and medication helps slow the progress.

SPINAL CORD INJURY

An injury most often comes from an accident (like a fall, car crash, or sports mishap) or from a gunshot. In most cases, the spinal cord gets bruised, or part of its blood supply is cut off. That may keep your brain from controlling part of your body, so it can be very serious. The higher on your spine, the more of your body is affected. Your chance of getting better depends on how bad the injury is.

BROKEN NECK OR BACK

Accidents and injuries can also break bones. When that happens to one of the top seven vertebrae, just below your skull, it’s called a broken neck; farther down is a broken back. Bone loss because of age can make your back weak, too, and you might get a break that happens slowly over time. In that case, a back brace or surgery may help. Broken vertebrae could also hurt your spinal cord.

SPONDYLOLISTHESIS

Vertebrae might slide sideways, so that they don’t line up with the ones above and below them. Spondylolisthesis is a main cause of lower back pain. It happens as your body ages, but it also can affect young people who do sports that stress the lower back, like football, gymnastics, and weightlifting. Rest should help. If the pain keeps up, you may need surgery.

CAUDA EQUINA SYNDROME

The nerves that branch out from your spine in your lower back help your brain control your legs and the organs in your pelvis. A herniated disk, fracture, or other condition could put pressure on this group of nerves, called the cauda equina, causing this rare but dangerous ailment. You need surgery right away to restore any loss of feeling, movement, or control of your bladder and bowels.

SYRINGOMYELIA

In rare cases, a little fluid-filled sac called a cyst can form in your spinal cord. It could happen when brain tissue pushes down from your skull into your spinal cord, or from an injury or tumor. Syringomyelia may not give you any problems. But if the cyst keeps growing, it can injure your spinal cord, and you could end up needing surgery.

WHEN TO CALL A DOCTOR

If you’re lucky, a spine condition doesn’t do anything you notice. But if you do feel something wrong, pay attention. Call right away if your arms or legs feel weak or numb or you suddenly can’t hold your pee or poop. Check with your doctor if you’ve had cancer or if you have pain that doesn’t come from hard work, doesn’t go away, hurts more at night, or gets worse.

FARMERS PROTEST: CHANGING THE FACE OF PUNJABI PARADIGM AROUND THE WORLD

FARM PROTESTS: THE MOST PEACEFUL PROTEST EVER

A lot has been said and written about the farmers protest taking place in India, but still it’s not enough. It never will be because it is deemed to be the biggest protest in the history of humans and also the most peaceful. Yes, you heard it right- the most peaceful too. These are two contradictory things but the farmers have made it possible in their own might and set a popular peasants’ paradigm which will be etched in history and followed around the world.

I’m no one to comment on minimum support price (MSP), neither am I  an authority on economics nor a political commentator but as a human it gives me jitters  and raises my hair when I see the innocent old beating the severe  cold along with the dreadful corona to save their lands and livelihood. As a wife of a farmer and a daughter of the soil I too have a voice and I need to bring forth that we are much more than our flamboyant lifestyles and flashy clothes.

The big question is why cannot the powerful people sitting in Delhi just a few miles away from Singhu border hear their cries? Why cannot they see the sea of people although the new surveillance cameras have been deployed to keep them abreast with the latest? 

Punjabis all around the world have come together in their support. Without even asking for any help they have been flooded with food not the bare minimum to survive but talk about nutrition- ghee, pinnis and almonds. The latest to join the bandwagon are the umpteen number of foot-massage machines along with footwear and woolens.

Do we even have words to acknowledge ‘tractor da langar’?

Where else in history did we hear of that?

Isn’t it time we acknowledge the heroism and the soul of Punjabiyat and not just make jokes about it?

The old and young are altogether in this, uniting everyone , transcending boundaries, sitting on the roads in thousands having left their homes, children and loved ones behind they are there for a common cause not only their own. The forces tearing their eyes with tear gas have been unsuccessful to tear through their perseverance. Nevertheless, they still are serving langar to them with the same spirit of service Guru Nanak had imparted them. . 

They too could have sat in the comfort of their homes but they place service of the society before their self.

So stop classifying as stupid, selfish, terrorists, shirkers, uneducated and mere drug-addicts!

Stop labeling us with all that comes to your mind!!!

The Punjabi people professed as ‘garam khoon’ have shown themselves as the most naram. Today, they have proven to be the most patient portraying commendable class of character as if beating Gandhi at his own game.

As, I drive past the farms on the highway, there are toll plazas that have been set free as the farmers are protesting there since months.  I slow down my car to pass by my brethren, my eyes get glued to those of a lonely old farmer standing amid his farm. I wonder what he is thinking. Is he brooding about his miseries and future or is he thinking about his brothers at the border representing his soul? A slight but confident smile on his furrowed face provides me the answer – ‘Abh Delhi Door Nahin!’

Mr. PM are you listening? 

(A proud daughter of the soil and a farmer’s wife)

A TALE OF A TINY FINCH BIRD AND A MIGHTY BUSINESS

Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, complained of ‘too much democracy’ in India, while speaking at an event ‘The Road to Atmanirbhar Bharat’. Too much democracy, in the form of farm protests has upset the corporate apple cart on the road to farm market deregulation, and ‘too much environment’ is blocking the way of coal magnates to Galilee coal basin( 2,47,000 square km thermal coal basin, five times larger than size of Punjab (Indian) in  Queensland, Australia.

The most controversial project is Carmichael mines, now a property of Adani/Bravus mines, Australia. The day first truck leaves with thermal coal mined from Galilee, more dogs will come after hare and more men will come after dogs. Everyone knows that this project is a clear threat to great barrier reef. The Great barrier reef is the largest coral reef system of world. Hundreds of coal carrying ships shall pass through it once, Carmichael mines starts shipping coal to India through Adani owned Abbot Point port.

Today this port has been renamed as North Queensland Export Terminal, because Adani name had become so unpopular. Now, on November 5, 2020 Adani Mining in Australia changed its name to BRAVUS Mining and Resources. Names change but Adani firmly stays like a circular loop in the entire coal and power operations.

There is Adani Coalmine in Galilee, there is Adani Controlled Bowen Rail Company to bring coal to Adani owned port. From Adani port in Australia, it will reach Adani ports in India. Adani ports and SEZ have 24% share in port capacity of India. From these ports, it will feed Adani power thermal plants like Mundra(Gujarat), Tiroda( Maharashtra ), Udupi( Karnataka),Kawai( Rajasthan) and Bitta( Gujarat). Adani is the largest private  thermal power producer in India  with an installed capacity of 12,450 MW, as claimed by Adani Power website.

The power shall reach state power consumers via Adani transmissions. At the same time, it will reach Punjab farm tubewells in 2021, for irrigating paddy farms. Yes, according to a Financial Express report dated November 24,2020, Adani power has won short term contract for supply of  6100 MW of electricity between June 15,2021 and August 30,2021 to meet its paddy season demand.

Punjab farmers will happily run their tubewells on Adani power while fighting against the entry of big corporate in farm sector. In their historic struggle against farm bills, farmers have proved their opposition to corporate but their commitment to environment is largely absent in present discourse. 

But this is not the case with people of Queensland. They too are protesting against Adani Mines in Queensland. They are fighting for saving the endangered species of a tiny bird. This is black throat finch, a house sparrow like bird, which was voted as Australian bird of year in 2019. Its only habitat falls in the area where Adani is planning to dig coal.

Cutting of trees, clearing of grasses and shortage of water will pose a greater threat to the last surviving habitat of such tiny bird. Queensland government commissioned a panel of experts on endangered species and finch biology.

Adani was forced to give conservation management plan for the bird. Adani, in his plan promised 33,000 hectares of land to provide ‘an alternative housing’ for black throated finch. Art speaks louder than slogans and 1,600 art works on the bird were sent to politicians for saving its habitat. It was first time that bird art became a tool of protest. 

Queensland premier Anastacia Palaszczuk thought that these tiny birds were standing in the way of jobs, Adani mines promised to create in Queensland. She said, “We are fed up”. She gave a deadline to the authorities and environmental approval was granted to Adani plan for black finch conservation on in May 2019. She was acting like Parkash Javadekar after he took over from Jairam Ramesh as environment minister of India. Too much of environmentalism is not good for corporate, too much of democracy is not good for corporate. This seems to be a new sentiment with the policy makers.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MARIJUANA AS A MEDICINE

WHAT IS IT?

Medical marijuana is made of dried parts of the Cannabis sativa plant. Humans have turned to it as an herbal remedy for centuries, and today people use it to relieve symptoms or treat various diseases. The federal government still considers it illegal, but some states allow it to treat specific health problems. The FDA, the U.S. agency that regulates medicines, hasn’t approved the plant as a treatment for any conditions.

KEY INGREDIENTS

Marijuana has chemicals called cannabinoids. Medical researchers usually focus on the health effects of two in particular: delta-9 tetra hydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the substance that makes you high; CBD doesn’t have mind-altering effects.

Forms of Medical Marijuana: There are a variety of ways to take the drug. You can inhale a vaporized spray, smoke the leaves, take a pill or liquid, or bake it into foods. All of the types differ in terms of how often you should use them, how they’ll affect your symptoms, and side effects you may feel.

HOW IT WORKS IN YOUR BODY

The chemicals in marijuana affect you when they connect with specific parts of cells called receptors. Scientists know that you have cells with cannabinoid receptors in your brain and in your immune system. But the exact process of how the drug affects them isn’t clear yet.

WHAT DOES IT TREAT

State laws differ on the conditions that you can legally treat with medical marijuana. But you might be allowed to use it if you have Alzheimer’s, ALS, Cancer, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, seizures, hepatitis C, AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, posttraumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, or severe nausea. But scientists aren’t sure that it helps all of these conditions. The research is most clear that it works as a painkiller, to stop vomiting during chemo therapy, to relieve some MS symptoms, and to treat a few rare forms of epilepsy.

ARE THERE RISKS?

If you smoke it, you could have breathing problems such as chronic cough and bronchitis. Research has linked cannabis use and car accidents. If you use it while pregnant, you may affect your baby’s health and development. Studies also show a tie between pot and psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

FDA-APPROVED VERSIONS

Although the federal government hasn’t given its OK to marijuana for medicinal use, it has signed off on three related compounds as specific treatments. If you have nausea caused by chemotherapy, you might take a synthetic cannabinoid, either dronabinol or nabilone. Dronabinol also can help boost appetite for people with AIDS. The FDA approved cannabidiol (Epidolex) as a treatment for two rare kinds of epilepsy.

LAWS OF CONFLICT

California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana, in 1996. Since then, more than half the states in the U.S. have done so. (Recreational weed is also legal in some places.) But the federal government still considers it an illegal drug, which can create confusion. For instance, even if you have a prescription, the Transportation Security Administration doesn’t allow cannabis in your luggage.

HOW DO YOU GET IT

The rules vary, depending on where you live. Generally, you’ll need to consult with a doctor and have a condition that your state has approved for treatment with cannabis. You might get an ID card. In some areas, you buy products at a specific store called a dispensary.

DO PEOPLE BEOCME ADDICTED?

Doctors don’t know much about the addiction risk for people who use the drug for medical reasons, and it needs more study. But people who use marijuana to get high can go on to have substance misuse issues. The most common problem is dependence. If you’re dependent, you’ll feel withdrawal symptoms if you stop using. If you’re addicted– a more severe problem–you’re unable to go without the drug.

WHY DON’T WE KNOW MORE

Extracting THC from Marijuana although cannabis has been an herbal remedy for centuries, the evidence for how well it works is lacking in many cases. Scientists prefer large studies with certain types of controls before they draw conclusions, and much of the research thus far hasn’t met those standards. Products vary in strength and it’s hard to measure doses, which has made judging the benefits of marijuana even more complicated.

AN OPIOD ALTERNATIVE

Could cannabis help solve issues involving these powerful pain killers? In some states, prescriptions for this pain medicine fell and researchers found a link to fewer overdose deaths. But another study found a link between pot use and abuse of these narcotic drugs. Scientists need more evidence before they can say for sure

KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT DOPING IN THE SPORTS FIELD

IT’S A USE OF PROHIBITED MEDICATIONS, DRUGS

The term “doping” refers to the use of prohibited medications, drugs, or treatments by athletes with the intention of improving athletic performance. The practice of doping by athletes dates back centuries.

However it has recently received increased attention due to a wide variety of potential performance enhancing drugs that are now available, and also due to prominent cases of doping by elite athletes that have been reported in the media.

The idea of performance enhancement through drug therapies and diet can be traced back centuries to the time of the invention of sports.

Individuals chosen to be athletes were fed specific diets and certain herbs and plants thought to improve physical power and performance. In 1904, doping was first noted at the Olympic Games in a runner who was injected with strychnine to assist with speed, and purportedly giving him the strength to finish the race.

REGULATIONS

Despite the visible improvement in performance noted in countless athletes throughout several centuries, it was also noted that the athletes would often suffer adverse health effects and even premature death that seemed to be associated with the doping practices.

These adverse outcomes and deaths lead to the first ban on doping by the International Association of Athletics Federation in 1928. This ban proved to be inadequate however, as the ability to test for banned substances was quite limited at that time. In 1967 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned doping, and in 1999 the IOC led the initiative to form the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Today WADA forms the backbone of anti-doping laws and testing worldwide, and assists in setting the standard for other agencies and sports. WADA’s main activities include education of the health risks of doping, scientific research of doping practices, development of anti-doping capabilities, and development of testing methods for doping detection.

According to the World Anti-Doping Code, which was established by WADA in 2008, a substance or treatment constitutes doping if it meets two of the three following criteria:

• It enhances performance

• It presents a risk to the athlete’s health

• It is contrary to the spirit of the sport

This code consists of a yearly-published list of prohibited substances and treatment methods that athletes are not allowed to use. Various penalties can be enforced upon athletes found to be in violation of the Anti-Doping Code.

Many athletes found in violation of the code have previously suffered punishments ranging from being stripped of Olympic medals or sports titles to lifetime bans from future competition in sport.

METHODS AND GOALS OF DOPING

The goals of doping practices typically fall into four broad categories. These are substances that increase muscle mass, substances that decrease recovery time, substances that increase energy and/or endurance, and substances that mask the presence of other drugs. A few examples of substances and methods used in doping are noted below.

ANABOLIC DRUGS (ANABOLIC STEROIDS)

Anabolic steroids have been prevalent in professional sports since they were first used in the 1950s in weight lifters. They have been used extensively in strength-based sports such as weight lifting, football, baseball and many other sports. Anabolic steroids are typically synthetic derivatives of testosterone.

The goal of their use in doping is to increase muscle mass and lean body weight. These medications can be taken either orally or by injection, and many different forms are often taken simultaneously to maximize their desired effects. Users often take these drugs for their desired effects such as increased muscle strength and size, however many major and minor adverse health effects are related to their use.

Relatively minor health effects such as skin infections, acne, irreversible gynecomastia (male development of breast tissue), and testicular shrinkage are well described with anabolic steroid use.

Additionally severe and potentially life-threatening effects such as psychosis, bleeding around the liver, increased risk of heart attack, and sudden death has been associated with anabolic steroid use. Due to the many adverse health effects associated with anabolic steroid use, they are listed as controlled substances in the United States, are permanently listed on the World Anti-Doping Code, and are routinely tested for in elite athletes.

STIMULANTS

Stimulant drugs are composed of a large and diverse group of drugs, which when used for doping purposes have the intent to increase an athlete’s stamina, decrease their sensation of fatigue and pain, and improve their mental function and behavior. There are many well-known agents in this class including cocaine, amphetamines, and ephedrine.

Amphetamines were initially desirable in athletes as they decreased the sensation of pain and fatigue. Amphetamines have been documented to have been used in many sports such as cycling, soccer and track and field, and were first noted in the Olympics of 1936. 

However, despite their widespread use, amphetamines were quickly found to be associated with many undesirable and sometimes life-threatening effects. Amphetamines have been linked with increased risk of seizures, heart attacks and sudden death along with many other effects, and therefore have been banned for use both in sport and also are illegal for personal use as well. Stimulant drugs are the second largest class of banned drugs on the WADA Anti-Doping Code, and are also routinely tested for in elite athletes

HORMONES

The endocrine system is the system in the human body that produces and regulates hormones. Hormones are responsible for almost every bodily function including muscle development and growth. Several hormones have been discovered which function to increase protein production and therefore are involved in increasing muscle mass. Hormones such as insulin and human growth hormone (hGH) have been used by athletes in an attempt to increase muscle mass and definition. While some of these therapies have been successful previously, they are also associated with severe health effects such as low blood sugar, fluid overload and limb swelling, overgrowth of bone and heart attacks. Due to these and many other dangerous health effects, these substances are also listed on the Anti-Doping Code.

OXYGEN TRANSPORT (BLOOD DOPING)

Lastly, athletes may try to improve their performance in sport by increasing the amount of oxygen in their bloodstream. As oxygen one of the basic nutrients for all cells, increased oxygen delivery to tissues can improve endurance and athletic performance. Athletes have attempted to achieve this goal in many ways. Some athletes will have their own blood drawn months in advance of a competition, only to be re-transfused into the same athlete just prior to the competition to increase their blood volume and the amount of oxygen in that blood during the competition.

Other athletes have used certain medications such as erythropoietin, that work to increase the body’s production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the cells. Overall, increased red blood cell volume ensures increased oxygen delivery to cells, and likely improved endurance. However, the body is quite sensitive to such changes, and as the volume of blood increases, the blood thickens, increasing the risk of high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, and sudden death.

SUMMARY

Hundreds of drugs and methods have been used in doping for the purpose of sports performance enhancement. While this practice has been around for centuries, it is still prevalent in sports competitions at all levels.

While many methods are associated with increased performance, almost all methods are deleterious to the athlete’s health in some manner. Regulations and testing by many agencies, including WADA and the IOC aim to decrease the incidence of doping and eliminate its use in sport.

However, given the importance placed on athletic achievement, the fame awarded to elite athletes in today’s culture, and the rapid development of new performance enhancing therapies, it is likely that doping will be a problem that will continue for many years to come.

SCARY STEROIDS IN SPORTS: ITS PROS AND CONS

STEROID ABUSE ON RISE

Steroid abuse is still on the rise, and not just among professional athletes and body builders. Despite numerous educational efforts by healthcare officials, many amateur athletes looking for that elusive edge still believe they can get it from a syringe or a bottle of pills. What they don’t realize is that steroids will give them a lot more than they bargained for.

Steroids are classified as anabolic (or anabolic-androgenic) and corticosteroids. Corticosteroids, such as cortisone, are drugs that doctors typically prescribe to help control inflammation in the body. They’re often used to help control conditions like asthma and arthritis. Anabolic steroids are synthetic hormones than can boost the body’s ability to produce muscle and prevent muscle breakdown.

Some athletes take these in the hope that they will improve their ability to run faster, hit farther, lift heavier weights, jump higher or have more endurance. Anabolic steroids are drugs that resemble the chemical structure of the body’s natural sex hormone testosterone, which is made naturally by the body. Testosterone directs the body to produce or enhance male characteristics such as increased muscle mass, facial hair growth and deepening of the voice and is an important part of male development during puberty.

ANABOLIC STEROIDS HAVE HARMFUL IMPACT

When anabolic steroids increase the levels of testosterone in the blood, they stimulate muscle tissue in the body to grow larger and stronger. However, the effects of too much testosterone circulating in the body can be harmful over time. Acne, liver damage, increased risk of heart disease. These are just a few of the side effects associated with anabolic steroid abuse. The side effects are severe.

Men who use steroids also may develop gynecomastia (the development of breast) and edema from sodium and water retention. They also will be more prone to cardiovascular problems since steroids decrease high density lipoprotein levels (HDL) or good cholesterol and increase low density lipoprotein levels (LDL) or bad cholesterol. Steroids users are also at an increased risk for heart attack. An additional concern is alterations in psyche and behavior. Some users become aggressive or combative, developing “road rage” – extreme, uncontrolled bouts of anger caused by long term steroid use. Decreased immune functions are also a source of worry. 

Changes in the reproductive system, such as a reduction in testicle size, sperm count and mobility and a decrease in the levels of endogenous testosterone and other sex hormones are common. Unlike men, shoes side effects may be reversible once the abuse has stopped women experience irreversible changes, such as deepened voice, increased facial and body hair growth, enlarged clitoris and coarser skin. In addition, irregularities in or cessation of menstrual cycle, increased libido, aggressiveness, acne and decreased immune function may occur. Women are also prone to cardiovascular risks and change in the psyche and behavior that men experience. There is an even scarier risk of steroid abuse: Death. Steroid users who share needles are putting themselves at the risk of developing infections such as HIV, hepatitis or other viral diseases. The terminal risks of steroid abuse are not fully known, but some published cases of tumors and other cancers related to it have been reported.

Even now, researchers do not know all repercussions of steroid abuse on one body and future health. Controlled research is unethical and only information from abusers is usable: yet this data may be inaccurate, since most users are not forthcoming about the full extent of their steroid use. What most steroid users don’t realize is that they are placing themselves at risk for something they could achieve on their own. The best way to improve performance and increase muscle mass is to follow a well-designed program that challenges both your body and your mind. No drug can ever do that.

A TRIBUTE TO FATHER OF FIBRE OPTICS – NS KAPANY

RESPONSIBLE FOR HIGH SPEED INTERNET

For any lesser mortal, an achievement of this magnitude and at that tender age would have him marked for more than a lifetime. The man responsible for bringing high-speed internet into our homes by inventing Fibre Optics Technology, Dr. Narinder Singh Kapany took it only as a first rung on ladder to innumerable achievements of gigantic significance to community development is no more amongst us.

S. Kapany was just 28 when his curious scientific instincts revolted to believe his matriculation professor’s seemingly innocuous assertion that light travels straight. He went on to prove otherwise on way to his world famous discovery of Fibre Optics in 1954, merely two years after he had touched down on UK shores in search of higher educational pursuits. Also, Dr. Charles K. Kao was awarded Nobel Prize in 2009 for his discovery of how light can be transmitted through fibre-optic cables.

MORE THAN 120 PATENTS UNDER HIS BELT

More than 120 patents were under his belt, the Father of the Fibre had taken birth in Moga town of Punjab in October of 1926 and after completing Bachelor of Science Degree from University of Agra started working as an Indian Ordinance Factories Service Officer. His pioneer work has introduced path-breaking initiatives in the field of biomedical, laser, solar energy and pollution monitoring sectors.    

S. Kapany planned to return to India to commence his own business after finishing course at London Imperial College but as the destiny would have it, a fellowship from Royal Society of Engineering in 1954 fired up his precocious scientific temper further incentivizing him to stay in the foreign land and history beckoned. During his research, he presented various insightful articles demonstrating transmission of light and images through glass fibres. Avowed with his unmatched passion and talent, Professor Harold Hopkins nudged and almost convinced Kapany to research further and even persuaded University of London’s Senate to approve latter’s name for Ph.D.  program. S. Kapany’s research pursuits trooped him to USA where he finally ‘settled’ in California before joining Illinois Institute of Technology where he taught for some time.

A BORN SCIENTIST

S. Kapany, a born scientist but a self professed entrepreneur had other plans and his burning desire to lead his own venture into the field of independent corporate  research finally started to take shape in 1960. Being Chairman, President and Director of Research at newly founded Optics Technology, S. Kapany lent his heart into the project leading the company towards numerous corporate acquisitions and joint ventures in USA and other countries. In 1973, he founded Kaptron, a venture he presided over till 1990 before selling the stakes to Accelerated Memory Production (AMP) and heading its Entrepreneur & Technical Expert Program for the next nine years as an AMP fellow besides serving as the Chief Technologist for Global Communications Business. S. Kapany who also served on the boards of many companies including the Young Presidents Organisation and the World Presidents Organisation, had recently also set up his new firm K2 Optronics.

The publisher of over 100 scientific papers and four acclaimed books on optoelectronics, he wears many feathers in his already crowded cap. Besides being a world reputed scientist, successful entrepreneur and lecturer S. Kapany’s heart beats loudest for the welfare of his community and humanity at large. Endowed with a deep sense of gratitude towards his religion and its followers, he has been instrumental in inspiring, educating and engaging the world and disseminating knowledge about the principles of Sikh Religion. S. Kapany and his late wife Sdn. Satinder Kaur cherished their love for the motherland and collectively did their best to pay back in whatever way they could. The couple has a son and a daughter who are both settled abroad. Government of India (GOI) felicitated S.Kapany with the Parvasi Bhartiya Samman in 2004 in recognition of his stupendous contributions He was also conferred Excellence Award by USA Pan-Asian American Chamber of Commerce in year 2000.

KEEN INTEREST IN ART AND CULTURE

In addition to heading Chair of Sikh Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, S. Kapany himself an efficient painter donated US$5,00,000 to Asian Art Museum of San Francisco to establish a gallery displaying his works from Sikh art he had donated. His works adorn the walls of San Francisco, Chicago, Monterey, Palo Alto, and Stanford. In addition to his service in science where he should have been granted Nobel Laureate, his work for the Sikh Community will always be remembered.  

INDIAN RAILWAYS SHOULD TRANSPORT ELECTRICITY, NOT COAL

TRANSPORTING COAL TO GENERATORS IS LESS EFFICIENT, LESS COMPETITIVE THAN MOVING ELECTRICITY VIA CABLES

Indian Railways should explore the use of sections of its extensive network for electricity transmission infrastructure. 

This is a key recommendation in a new report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) that outlines the opportunity for Indian Railways to participate in the nation’s energy transition beyond its solar power generation plans. 

The report, Indian Railways at the Junction, urges the national transporter to consider the feasibility of locating High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) lines underground on suitable sections of its right of way.

With its in house solar project plans, Indian Railways is on track to becoming a major renewable energy generator. And it could further support India’s energy transition by evaluating options for HVDC transmission, which could reduce encroachment on forests and farmland, as well as planning delays.

Moving latent electricity in the form of coal is less efficient, less flexible, and increasingly less competitive compared to moving actual electricity on transmission lines.

The abrupt changes to railway operations caused by the COVID-19 lockdown and the fall in energy demand growth have highlighted critical choices and opportunities for Indian Railways – starting with the priorities to deal with a highly congested network.

Prior to COVID-19, 40% of lines and all of the important freight routes were operating at above 100% of line capacity due to severe congestion on the network, but the suspension of passenger services during the pandemic has seen the movement of more freight and a greater diversity of cargoes, at twice the speed, bringing in new revenue and improved service.

The ability to deliver a broader range of freight ranging from vehicles to manufactured goods and perishable agricultural produce much more rapidly is in tune with the needs of India’s changing economy but it was an accidental outcome of the pandemic.

To maintain these new freight services and speeds when passenger traffic resumes will require Indian Railways to make some hard choices about what kinds of freight have priority. Congestion won’t be fixed by new rail projects alone. 

These choices should include rethinking plans to expand the movement of coal – which already makes up nearly half of India’s bulk rail freight, according to the report. Lower energy demand growth combined with dramatic cost reductions for solar have increased the logistical costs and financial risks of increasing coal freight.

Revised electricity demand forecasts mean that much less thermal coal will require transport than Indian Railways has been planning for, and there are real risks of over-building coal evacuation infrastructure at a time when thermal coal demand is plateauing. 

And with Railways Minister Piyush Goyal calling for transformation and electrification, the recently restructured Railways Board in the process of adopting a National Rail Plan and the new economic conditions, now is the moment for Indian Railways to embrace innovation, re-prioritise freight services, and explore a new role in transmission of electricity.

Whether publicly owned or operated by Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) or leased to private transmission companies, transmission could become a valuable new revenue stream for Indian Railways. 

Though underground cables are generally much more costly to build than overhead cables, the use of existing rail right-of-way in India at scale could bring down these additional costs.

In the U.S. one HVDC project using rail right-of-way is planned to evacuate renewable energy from Iowa to Chicago, and another will bring energy from the Canadian border to New York City making use of HVDC buried beside railway lines, as well as roads and beneath the Hudson River.

U.S. president-elect Joe Biden has advocated the use of road and rail corridors for transmission infrastructure, in part to reduce delays in obtaining permissions required from private landholders and public authorities, a problem in both the U.S. and India.

Along with the renewable energy projects already completed and those expected in coming years, the ubiquity of potential routes in almost all renewable energy regions and load centres should make cooperation between PGCIL and Indian Railways on one or more demonstration projects a high priority.

Post-COVID, re-thinking on how Indian Railways best supports, not just economic recovery, but economic transformation together with energy transition is paramount.