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Centre to release Rs 1000 cr annually for elected local bodies

Kashmir News Service

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Jammu, Sep 23: The conduct of urban local bodies and panchayat elections would facilitate flow of Rs 1000 crore Central funds annually for developmental activities in the state.
According to Finance Department officials, the funds could be higher with each panchayat and urban local body receiving additional performance grants apart from the basic grants when the corporators and Sarpanchs are elected.
Under the 14th Finance Commission (2015-2020), the Centre had allocated Rs 4161 crore but the money remained blocked due to the rider by the Union Finance Ministry that only the elected urban local bodies and rural local bodies (Panchayati Raj institutions) will get the grant to strengthen the grassroots democratic institutions.
The 14th Finance Commission had proposed Rs 3,117.36 crore for the rural local bodies (Panchayats) and Rs 1,044.51 crore for the urban local bodies.
The official said that the ULBs were entitled for Rs 350 Cr during 2016-2017. These funds were not provided to the state in absence of elected municipalities.
Similarly, the state lost Rs over 250 Cr during 2017-2018. The central finance commission devolves funds to local bodies across the country every year.
These funds are to be spent on water, electricity, road infrastructure, and other civic amenities.
The ULB polls were held in J&K after a span of 23-years in January 2005.
Similarly, the state has lost huge Centre funding due to non-holding of panchayat polls.
“J&K will lose over Rs 4000 Cr between 2015-2020, if panchayat polls do not take place,” said an official of the Rural Development Department.


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State

Growing misuse of mobile phone kills creativity among children: PSAJK

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Srinagar, March 18: Private Schools’ Association of Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJK) on Monday expressed its concern over the growing misuse of mobile phones by children in homes and schools alike, as the trend is not only killing the creativity among children and teens but also pushing them towards moral degradation and other ills.

The spokesman said that association after deliberations with several schools and experts have decided to take several steps including the imposition of fines, confiscation of mobile phones and counselling, to confront the menace. “With every passing day, the growing use of mobile phones, e-games and other such applications by our students are having a disastrous impact on them. Be it mobile games or video creating applications, uncontrolled use has become a huge problem. It not only distracts students from academics but affects his health and leads to many social ills,” said G N Var chairman PSAJK. “We are taking remedial measures and for its to be successful we need cooperation from parents too.”

The Association has decided to ban the mobile phones and other such electronic gadgets in school premises. “Anybody found using these mobile phones will be subjected to fine besides confiscation of mobile phones, by the respective school authorities. The fine will increase proportionately for repeat offenders. For repeat offenders the parents will be summoned to schools too,” said Var. “At homes too, the screen time of students has to be restricted and here parents need to do their effort. There is a need for the strict parental watch on the use of mobiles by their wards.”

 

The Association said that modern technology has brought a lot of benefits but at the same time it has its disadvantages if used without care. “The excess screen time is killing creativity among students and this will become worse with every passing day. Such is the bad effects of these gadgets that tech giants like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs used to keep their children away from these phones,” said Var. “

The Associations said that besides having a negative effect on health, the mobile phones are also leading to moral degradation and loss of social values among students particularly teenagers. “Teenagers are attracted to such devices but without parental watch they particularly girls can land themselves in severe troubles,” said Var. “There have already been some incidents involving mobile phones and steps need to be taken before it goes out of hand.”

Citing global studies, the Association said that early introduction to electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablets, is linked to speech delays in toddlers, reduced sleep and delayed sleep onset. Older children, including teenagers, are also feeling the negative effects of screen time, with poor sleep quality and higher incidences depression (related to social media use in teens).

The Association is also in talks with subject specialists and course is being prepared for counselling the students against ill-effects of mobile phones. “We have also appealed the schools to prepare the best material available on the internet to tackle the growing use of mobiles even by toddlers and make students understand about its impact,” said Var. “For our efforts to succeed we also need cooperation from parents. They too need to control their screen time and keep a watch on their wards when it comes to using the internet.”

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State

Bachelor degree students demand reduction in syllabus

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, March 18: The 5th semester students of three year bachelor’s degree on Monday sought reduction in their 5th and 6th semester syllabus by 50 percent.    .

Staging protest at Press Enclave, the students explained that they have very little time to complete their syllabus therefore, it is important that the syllabus is reduced by half.

“Kashmir University (KU) has asked us to appear in the 5th and 6th semester examination simultaneously. It is really hectic to prepare for both the semesters simultaneously,” said a Javeed Ahmad of IITM, Hyderpora.

 

Another student, Irshad Ahmad said that they were yet to complete the syllabus of 5th semester.

“In August, the KU has asked to appear in the examination. How can we complete the syllabus in a short span of time? The authorities should rethink over their decision, ”Irshad said.

“At least, the syllabus should be reduced by 50%. If KU authorities will not reduce the syllabus, many of us won’t be able to qualify the examination. Our future is at stake,” he added.

The student also lashed out at the KU authorities for failing to declare the result of 2nd, 3rd and 4th semester in time.

“The result of backlog students is still awaited. We fail to understand, why the result has not been declared. We urge the authorities to announce the result at an earliest,” they added.

The students threatened to hit the streets in case the syllabus was not reduced.

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State

KU celebrates Int’l Women’s Day

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Srinagar|Mar 18: One day seminar ‘Balance For Better’, celebrating International Women’s Day 2019 was held here at Gandhi Bhawan University of Kashmir on Monday.

The event was organized by Centre For Women’s Studies and Research University of Kashmir.

Vice Chancellor, University of Kashmir, Professor Talat Ahmad while presiding over the seminar appreciated the working of Women’s Studies and Research Centre KU.

 

He said that having courses related to women is very important for any educational institute as benefitting women in any way would ultimately benefit the society.

Praising the role of the University in empowering women Prof Talat said that the varsity has created many opportunities for women. “We have out-reach programs for women who are not able to reach to university.”

Prof Talat assured that he would facilitate all the recommendations given by the centre to make better the working of the Women’s Studies and Research Centre.

Ex -State Vigilance Commissioner and Retired Principal District Session Judge Gous-ul-Nissa Jeelani who was the guest of honour, in her key note address said that women everywhere face many challenges and that gender discrimination is ingrained into the sub-consciousness of our society.

“There is a conventional mindset operating in the society working on the pattern of men being earners and women being care-takers, while the most important empowering tool for women is financial independence, so there is a lot that needs to be done to modify the mindset of our society,” she said.

Jeelani also added that there are meaningful differences that exist between men and women, they however should not amount to inequality.

“Gender equity is the key concept in addressing the issues relating to inequalities instead of gender equality.”

Dean College Development Council KU Prof Neelofar Khan who was the special guest on the occasion said that ever since the inception of Women Studies Centre at the University there has been immense support from the Vice Chancellor.

She said that the department has been working with a lot of zest to uplift women. “Advocacy and capacity building are among other the mandate of the centre,” Prof Khan added.

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