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Analysis

Ministry says yoga is not sport, but DU colleges still reserve seats

Colleges have autonomy to choose the sports under which they wish to give admissions. University cannot tell a college to pick a specific sport. It is their discretion. These sports do not come under Sports Ministry, nor are they regulated by it.

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Delhi University

New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) Is yoga a sport? The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) says it is not. Yet, 11 Delhi University (DU) colleges have this year reserved seats for the discipline under their sports quota.

The university and the colleges, meanwhile, have been shifting responsibility back and forth.

After recognising it as a sport in 2015, the MYAS reversed its decision the next year. “After elaborate discussion, it was concluded that yoga has various dimensions/arms in which competitions are not possible. Hence, it was agreed that Yoga cannot be termed a sport. Consequently, it may not be appropriate to recognise any organisation as NSF (national sports federation) for yoga,” the Sports Ministry had said in a letter dated December 21, 2016, to all national sports federations and the Indian Olympic Assocation.

“It was also agreed that the entire matter relating to yoga will continue to be handled by the Ministry of AYUSH,” the letter said.

When IANS contacted the DU Sports Council for a clarification, it said that the colleges had requested the university to conduct yoga trials.

“Yes, Yoga has been under sports quota and it has been there in previous years also. Last year, 19 colleges had applied for trial for Yoga under sports quota. The decision, in which sports admissions are to be made, are taken by the colleges,” Anil Kalkal, Director of the varsity sports council which conducts the centralised trials for sports quota on behalf of colleges, told IANS.

“Colleges have autonomy to choose the sports under which they wish to give admissions. University cannot tell a college to pick a specific sport. It is their discretion. These sports do not come under Sports Ministry, nor are they regulated by it,” he said.

Although colleges are entitled to choose a sport for trials and reserve seats under it, the list of sports from which they are to choose is compiled by the varsity.

Kalkal cited another factor in the form of inter-university competition, held by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) — a non-governmental body listed under the Societies Act — as one of the reasons for considering Yoga as sport.

“If such was the thing (de-recognition) why would AIU conduct the yoga competition? The day AIU will tell us that Yoga is not a sport and stop conducting the competition, we will stop taking admission under it,” he said.

“If colleges are requesting to admit students under yoga, what can the university do? We have to conduct the trials. You should ask the colleges why they requested us to conduct yoga trials,” he said.

An official from one of the colleges which has reserved seats for Yoga this year, when contacted, passed the buck to the university.

“We consider Delhi University and AIU the governing bodies. If an activity is listed as sport by the university, we follow that. If DU tells us that it will not conduct trials in yoga then we will also give it up. Government doesn’t have a role in it,” M.P. Sharma, sports Convener at Hansraj College, told IANS.

Ambiguity on the legal sanction of quota for yoga got further worsened when an AIU official conceded that the association itself didn’t consider yoga as a sport.

“The competition is there because it helps in maintaining your body, mind and spirit. We do not consider it sport. This is not a sport. But we conduct the competition to improve the standard of performance,” said AIU Joint Secretary (Sports) Gurdeep Singh.

Singh also conceded that association’s decisions are not binding on the university.

“We have nothing to do with the DU sports quota. DU follows its own constitution. You talk to DU for this. A collective decision is made by our sports board. Whatever is in the larger interest of students, we do that. It’s not a sport but an activity, which helps strike a balance. The entire world has recognised the value of yoga, I don’t know why only here people have an issue with it,” he said.

However, in spite of what Singh said, the AIU website lists yoga as a sport in its “Calendar of Events” for 2017.

Although it is a thing which has been going on for years, some DU teachers, when apprised of the matter, called the decision (listing of yoga as sport by the university) as “arbitrary”, stating that it was never presented before the Academic or the Executive Council of the university.

“As far as reservation of seats under sports quota is concerned, we have an understanding of reserving them for only those sports which are recognised in Olympics. On what basis can they include yoga in it? asks Rajesh Jha, a DU professor and Executive Council member.

“This will end up undermining the chances of admission of those who are trained in genuine sports. This seems like a completely arbitrary decision,” he added.

Trials for yoga are scheduled to be conducted later this month.

Apart from Hansraj, Gargi College, Deshbandhu College, College of Vocational studies, and Kalindi College are few of those which have given their names for yoga trials and have reserved seats under the activity.

(Vishal Narayan can be contacted at [email protected])

— IANS

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Analysis

Hindu migrants from Pakistan living a life of homeless wanderers, courtesy Indian red-tapism

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Hindu migrants from Pakistan,

Jodhpur, Aug 14 : At a time when the world is battling one of its biggest refugee crises, India has its own share of the problem — thousands of Hindu migrants from Pakistan remain stranded at this Rajasthan transit hub. They have been awaiting their citizenship papers for years, despite submitting their passports, documents and hard-earned money too.

Although the world observed International Refugee Day in June, these migrants continue to run from pillar to post to check their status as a callous Indian bureaucracy works at its own inefficient pace unmoved by their plight.

Wandering like a nomad, one of these migrants, Anumaal, told IANS: “Our lives have become deplorable since the time we came to India. The longing to be a part of this country forced me to come here. But since then, from the year 2000 in April, we have been making untiring efforts to get citizenship, but to no avail.”

“My son has completed his 12th, but he couldn’t get admission in any college as the authorities demand domicile certificates and other identity proof. Eventually, he started working as a labourer to ensure we don’t die of hunger. His future has become dark and the same will be the case with my other son who is pursuing his 12th. Eighteen years of running from here to there has failed to bring any result for us,” he lamented.

“In a camp organised in the year 2005, we missed submitting our certificate by a day. The officials asked us to come with a certificate but it being a Saturday, we reached on Monday and since then, our grievances remain unheard,” Anumaal added.

“We surrendered our passports, our forms were duly filled, and they asked us to come along with a certificate. However, when we reached on Monday, we were informed that we can’t be given citizenship as they had received fresh instructions from the government. Since then, we have been meeting district collectors… the home secretary too, but to no avail. We have exhausted all our savings to pay these officials. We have even borrowed money, which has now exhausted. Now we are asked to fill in fresh forms and deposit fresh fees. When asked about the money we had already deposited, the officials said its gone, so forget about it and make a fresh start.

“There are many people like me who are running around in distress. We were doing agriculture in Pakistan but here we are forced to work as labourers. Initially, during partition, we lost our ancestral land which was seized by residents of Pakistan. Most of the Hindus lost their lands at that time. Now this is the second time we are losing a lot. We were initially in Jaisalmer. However, we left the place a long time back because of the water crisis. It is an irony that people consider us as Pakistanis now, which is quite sad to hear,” he added.

Then there is Dr Rajkumar Sharma, who practises medicine and was whose citizenship was confirmed on June 17. He said, “We came to Jodhpur in 2004. Since then, we have been working hard to make a decent living. There are thousands like me who have come here, their passports have been submitted, but they are yet to get their citizenship. The major challenge for them is getting a long-term visa (LTV) which gets stuck in red tapism,” he added.

Sharma said that he, being educated, managed to earn his bread and butter. “But when I think of other people like me who have migrated, I have tears in my eyes. They are really suffering. People refuse to give them a house on rent or a job to earn considering them as Pakistanis. More than 1,000 people are awaiting their long-term visas,” he informed.

“I belonged to Sindh and came here as Muslims were not so kind to Hindus in Pakistan. Radicalism was growing and so was their influence. Although we had land there, we preferred coming here leaving everything as we knew that things might become challenging in the coming days for Hindus,” he said, adding: “Now, when I have got citizenship, I will try to clear the Medical Council of India examination so that I can start my practice here.”

Dr Hindu Singh Soda, an activist for Pakistani minorities living in India, said that the number of Total Registered Migrants (TRMs) at various FROs in Rajasthan is 13,623. Of them, 12,253 are at FRO Jodhpur alone. Of them, 3,408 were granted LTVs in 2017 while rest of the applications are still under process.

On paper, an LTV is supposed to be granted within 120 days of applying; but in almost all cases, these are not granted for many years, he said, adding that 965 migrants were permanently sent back to Pakistan in 2016 and 2017.

Soda said red-tapism is to be blamed for this situation. Also, the processing of LTVs needs to be hastened to ensure the migrants get justice in India — a land for which they have left everything in Pakistan, he added.

(Archana Sharma can be contacted at [email protected])

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Analysis

Kerala floods: Here’s how Twitter can save you from fake news

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iduki

New Delhi, Aug 11 (IANS) If you are in Kerala and are affected by the devastating floods, using Twitter may help you steer clear of fake news.

When communication services are limited and internet connectivity is poor, using the data-friendly “Twitter Lite” can help you connect easily with government agencies, relief organisations, media and volunteers.

One just needs to use hashtags such as #KeralaFloods, #KeralaFloods2018 to find information regarding relief operations, such as locations of relief centres.

Other hashtags such as #OpMadad can help with aid or rescue and #KeralaFloodRelief for raising funds for Kerala flood survivors.

To keep abreast with latest information, you can track Twitter “Moments” which is available in over 40 languages and can also be accessed offline.

“Moments” are curated stories showcasing the most relevant tweets for what’s happening on the micro-blogging site.

One can also create a chronological account of the situation and curate relevant tweets, which can serve as a point of reference later on.

Further, tracking government agencies like the National Disaster Response Force (@NDRFHQ) Indian Navy (@indiannavy), Press Information Bureau (@PIBIndia), the Chief Minister of Kerala (@CMOKerala), and the Indian Coast Guard (@IndiaCoastGuard) can help get the latest news from trusted sources, as and when it happens.

Avoid sharing information that you are not able to verify and after receiving the help you need, make sure you update your tweet to save time and avoid duplication of effort.

The northern and central parts of the state have been battered by heavy rains since August 8, causing one of the worst floods in its history and have until now claimed 29 lives and left 54,000 homeless.

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Analysis

CAG blasts defence PSUs for delays and defective items

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CAG

NEW DELHI: From failing to meet the Army’s UAVs requirements to defective and life threatening parachutes and critical quality problems in the Pinaka rocket systems, the Comptroller and Auditor General has come down heavily on India’s state-run defence research and production sector.

In a report tabled this week in Parliament, the CAG states that two types of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) could not be inducted into the Army due to severe delay in their development by the DRDO. Among issues listed are problems with the airframe, engine and payload that have impacted the Army’s aerial surveillance capability. In a particular model’s case, all four trial unmanned planes were lost to crashes.

The auditor has said that Ordnance Parachute Factory Kanpur met production targets for parachutes only in five instances out of 49 analysed and faced complaints from the forces. This led to a critical shortage that adversely affected the operational preparedness of the two forces such as grounding of aircraft and efficiency of paratroopers.

The CAG also highlighted quality problems in Pinaka rockets for the Army such as excessive short ranging, bursting of rockets and burning chunks of propellants. But two Failure Analysis Boards could not pinpoint the exact problem in the manufacture of the rockets. With this, the CAG stated that the production of the rockets has not fully stabilised.

Detailing problems with the ‘Nishant’ UAVs, the CAG pointed out that they failed to meet any requirements of the Army and all four given for trials crashed within three years of receipt. “Army found it unsuitable due to its inadequacy in meeting the surveillance requirement of the Strike Corps, because of its poor mission reliability, long preparation time and defect prone quality. All the four UAVs crashed within three years of their receipt. Only one UAV ordered was replaced by the DRDO, which also crashed in November 2015 due to failure of parachute recovery system,” reads a CAG report.

In regard to parachutes, the CAG found that as the ordnance factory did not meet production targets, there were significant shortfalls in Pilot Parachute for Mirage 2000 aircraft, Pilot Parachute Chest Type, Paratrooper Tactical Assault (Main) and Brake Parachute for Sukhoi-30 aircraft.

The CAG also said that 730 parachutes valued at `10.80 crore did not achieve specified quality parameters but were passed by state run units with deviations.

“Though the users (army and air force) expressed serious concern on the nature of the defects having flight safety implication and high risk in man dropping activity, undue delays in rectification or replacement of defective items by the ordnance factory led to critical deficiencies at the user’s depot and field units,” said the reports.

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