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In light of drought-like conditions in many districts of western Odisha and distress migration of labourers appearing imminent, the government is trying to improve the average number of days of employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) — from 38 to 65 days. The government has decided to mobilise all active job-card holders to form informal groups, which will be called ‘Shramik Sangh’. There will be one such group for every 50 beneficiaries in each revenue village.The move is aimed at ensuring job for each active card holder through close coordination with government officials at the block level. One member in each group will be assigned as a ‘mate’ and will be responsible for providing jobs to others in the sangh.“With a mandate to arrest migration and ensure effective convergence for sustainable livelihood development… we must relook at strategy for implementation [of MGNREGS]. We need to focus on active job-card holders and provide them at minimum average 70 days of wage employment,” wrote Panchayati Raj secretary D.K. Singh in a letter to all collectors.Mr. Singh said that work participation needs to be raised from 33% to 65%, and average number of days of employment from 38 days to 65 days. All collectors have been asked to ensure formation of Shramik Sangh, selection of mates, their training and meeting with government officials between August 20 and 25.Welfare schemesThe government has also announced that it will include card holders in welfare schemes and skill upgradation schemes; and extend insurance coverage and other economic benefits to them.In the past few years, the government has floated several strategies to arrest distress migration from Odisha’s poverty-stricken districts. A few years ago, entitlement of employment was increased from 100 days to 150 in migration-prone blocks. “While the entitlement of employment is 100-150 days, the government is now focusing only on 70 days. The scheme says whoever demands unskilled work will be provided. There cannot be a selective target. There is also no strategy to end late payment of wages. Delay in payment is one of the key factors in people distancing themselves from MGNREGS,” said Umi Daniel, an expert on migration issues.“To arrest seasonal migration, there should be seasonal targets for providing employment during lean period such as drought, which is looming over Odisha,” he said, adding that even 10 years after MGNREGS, Odisha was struggling to provide average 38 days of employment.
On Tuesday at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium, patriotic fervour reached a crescendo with Chak De India ! blaring from the speakers and the Tricolour to be seen virtually in all corners.Had it not been for police restrictions, you could have even expected bhangra inside the venue as fans got rewarded for the long wait to enter the venue.Yet if one song could actually have described the evening’s thrilling action where India fought like wounded lions after being down 1- 3 for most part, it should have been Singh is King .For those who have been in touch with Indian hockey despite the highs and lows in the past four years, Sardara Singh is a well- known name. Consistent and calm, he typifies excellence on the field. But it was two other Singhs – Sarvanjit and Dharamvir – who turned this into a memorable evening.Agreed hockey is a team sport and individual brilliance on a synthetic pitch doesn’t really count.It is well known that in a match such as this, where the crowd support is raucous, even tiring legs find the energy to keep running the perimeters of the field.And that is what India did today against an English side which started clicking just when the half- time whistle was to blow. For most part in the second half, England looked marauding and it seemed all over.But the way India regrouped and struck was fascinating. The three Singhs named above, a tight defence and goalkeeper Bharat Chetri defined the Indian resilience.advertisementIt was as if they were responding to the crowd’s roars of wanting solid action – thick and fast.Time and again, the Indians have choked in tight matches.History was against India, having never made it to a Commonwealth Games final ever before.In a pressure cooker situation, the ability to still keep playing and maintain the flow on the field came as a whiff of fresh air despite the humidity.In the stands, former hockey greats were applauding each effort, from Balbir Singh to Harcharan Singh, not to forget Zafar Iqbal and Ajitpal Singh.Among the VIPs, sports minister MS Gill was happy, even as BJP’s Kirti Azad and Vijay Kumar Malhotra soaked in the atmosphere.A 3- 3 draw at full time and with extra time not resulting in a goal, the penalty shootout was all about nerves.On Tuesday we saw a new Indian team, one which surpassed itself against an English side which couldn’t handle the pressure.Chak De, Chak De India . No, this was a Singh is King affair.
zoom The world’s largest containership MOL Triumph, freshly delivered to Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) earlier this week, is gearing up for its debut in THE Alliance’s Asia-Europe trade in April.The giant boxship was delivered from South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) on March 27.On the occasion of the ship’s delivery, Junichiro Ikeda, President and CEO of MOL, commented: “The MOL Group is honored to unveil this new vessel, which is the largest containership in the world. The vessel is equipped with various new sustainable technologies to provide more efficient fuel consumption and improved environmental performance.”To be deployed in THE Alliance’s FE2 service, MOL Triumph will start its maiden voyage from Xingang and sail to Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Hong Kong, Yantian and Singapore. The ship will then transit through the Suez Canal and visit Tangier, Southampton, Hamburg, Rotterdam and Le Havre, before calling at Tangier and Jebel Ali on the way back to Asia.The 20,150 TEU MOL Triumph, which is 400 meters long and 58.8 meters wide, was named at SHI shipyard in Geoje on March 15.The newbuilding is the first of four 20,150 TEU containerships ordered by MOL in February 2015. The four ultra large container vessels (ULCVs) were ordered as part of a deal for construction of six 20,000 TEU containerships.The second ship from the batch is expected to be delivered to MOL in May. The remaining boxships will also be deployed on the Asia-North Europe route.THE Alliance, which comprises Hapag-Lloyd, K Line, MOL, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line) and Yang Ming, plans to deploy more than 240 ships in 32 services connecting over 75 major ports throughout Asia, North Europe, the Mediterranean, North America, Canada, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Indian Subcontinent and the Middle East.
CLINTON, B.C. — Experts say a rock slide that created a five-metre waterfall on the Fraser River is a significant problem that could spell disaster for British Columbia’s threatened salmon populations.The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says the waterfall is blocking most chinook salmon in the river from migrating upstream to spawn, and a number of other populations are expected later in the summer.Aaron Hill, executive director of Watershed Watch Salmon Society, says several of the populations that use the river are already in peril and their numbers would severely decline if they are unable to spawn.He notes the obstruction near Big Bar, northwest of Kamloops near Clinton in the Interior, is fairly low down on the long and winding river so it’s affecting a large part of the Fraser watershed and major tributaries.Vincent Bryan, an innovator behind a possible solution known as the ‘salmon cannon,’ says the problem is urgent because fish will start arriving en masse in August and by the middle of that month there will be a million or more sockeye backed up.Bryan’s company, Whooshh Innovations, has created a flexible, pressurized tube that moves fish over obstructions and he’s been at the rock slide site assessing how the system could work there.The Canadian Press