Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to the crowd as he arrives in Medininagar on 5 January 2019, during a campaign sweep through Jharkhand state to inaugurate development projects. Photo: AFPIndia prime minister Narendra Modi’s government announced plans Monday to set aside a quota of government jobs for poorer members of India’s upper caste, months before what looks set to be a challenging re-election bid.India already “reserves” jobs for impoverished and disadvantaged lower castes for civil service jobs and college places, but this has caused resentment among other communities, who say it is unfair and freezes them out.Modi’s plans would help households with an annual income of less than $11,000, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. The change would require a change to the constitution, which caps the number of reserved jobs and college places at 50 per cent.The plans were approved by Modi’s cabinet on Monday. They require approval from both houses of parliament.Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept to power in 2014, but late last year it suffered painful defeats in three key state elections to the opposition Congress party led by Rahul Gandhi, scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.Abhishek Singhvi, a Congress spokesman, said on Twitter that the latest move was an “election gimmick” and “proof positive” of Modi’s “fear” of losing power in the vote, which is due to take place by May.Caste-based quotas are meant to provide equal opportunities for India’s poorest and most marginalised groups. Nearly one in four Indians still lives on less than $1.25 a day.Demands for quotas for highly sought-after government jobs and university places have escalated in recent years as unemployment has risen and conditions in rural areas have worsened.In 2016 at least 10 people were killed when thousands of Patidars, a relatively well-off caste of farmers and traders, took to the streets in the western state of Gujarat to demand they be included in those quotas.Similar protests by upper caste groups have been witnessed in other states including Maharashtra and Haryana.
Kolkata: The state government has chalked out a detailed plan to set up trauma care centres at various hospitals in the state, to ensure quick treatment to accident victims. The government will bear a cost of around Rs 45 crore for the construction of the trauma care centres and for buying equipments.According to initial plans, eight trauma care centres would be constructed in the first phase. The locations would be on or near national and state highways and other important roads. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsIt has been learnt that three trauma care centres would be located at SSKM Hospital, Bardhaman Medical College and Hospital (BMCH) and North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH), while three others would be constructed at Kharagpur, Asansol and Islampur. The remaining two will be set up at Singur and Amtala.The critical patients would be admitted in the trauma care centres on an emergency basis. Accident victims or any trauma patient will be kept in the centres, where the patients would be given special care. These trauma care centres will have all the modern facilities to handle such patients. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe victims of fire incidents or those seriously injured in accidents, would be taken to the trauma care unit of the hospitals, where they would be given immediate attention. It is important to transfer these patients to a hospital equipped with trauma care facilities. This could save lives of many accident victims in the state, the senior officials of the state Health department said.The construction of the trauma care centre at BMCH has already been done. There will be 25 beds – 10 general, 10 critical care and five step down or high-dependency units (HDU). Accidents victims in the area are often brought to the city’s hospital and it takes a long time to shift a critical patient to the city. Had there been a trauma care unit at BMCH, people meeting with road accidents in the area can be provided treatment faster. The trauma care centre at NBMCH will be made operational soon.According to the Health department sources, the largest trauma care centre is coming up at the SSKM Hospital. It is expected that it can be made operational within September this year. Those coming up at BMCH, NBMCH and Singur will be of level 2 category, while the ones at Kharagpur and Islampur will be of level 3 category. A trauma care centre was inaugurated at RG Kar Medical College and Hospital, a few months ago. It may be mentioned that RG Kar Medical College and Hospital is the first medical college hospital in the state to have a separate dedicated building for trauma care. The eight-storeyed building of the trauma care unit has departments like medicine, neuro-medicine, neuro-surgery, orthopedic and anesthesiology. Patients are availing specialised health care facilities under the same roof. The new building has 150 beds.
Kolkata: The stalemate in the shooting of television serials in Tollywood continues as the artistes and technicians are yet to arrive at a negotiation with the producers.The ceasework is the result of a demand by the Artistes’ Forum to regularise pay. The talks between it and the Welfare Association of Television Producers (WATP) are yet to yield results.In a Press release issued on Tuesday by the Federation of Cine Technicians and Workers of Eastern India, signed by senior artistes like Soumitra Chatterjee, its president, Prosenjit Chatterjee, its working president and Arindam Ganguly, general secretary, the artistes have agreed to join work the moment WATP agrees to implement the MoU signed between the producers and the artistes. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe future of nearly 10,000 artistes and technicians has become uncertain because of the stalemate. The artistes have also agreed to sit with the producers.Actor Prosenjit Chatterjee told newsmen that the Artistes’ Forum did not wish to disrupt shooting schedules of TV serials, but the July 8 agreement between the Television Producers’ body should be respected and artistes should be paid regularly.While the agreement between producers and the forum had stipulated that the artistes should get their salaries within the 15th day of the next month, many producers did not honour it and did not arrange the payment overdue to the artistes, Chatterjee maintained. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedHe said in the given situation, it is not possible to resume work unless the producers pay the arrears. Chatterjee made it clear though that he was only referring to a section of producers and not all. The ceasework has been disrupting the overall shooting schedules.Forum general secretary and actor Arindam Ganguly said the July 8 agreement had also specified that any artiste working for more than 10 hours should be paid on an hourly basis after the expiry of the scheduled time. That too had not been honoured by a section of producers.He said the state government is aware of the situation. “Minister Aroop Biswas has been updated of the developments at the meeting and he is trying to arrive at a solution,” he added. Meanwhile, there was no shooting during the day in all the eight studios located across different areas of South Kolkata, due to the ceasework.