All government employees in Samba district of Jammu & Kashmir have been directed to download the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” ringtone on their Jio mobile numbers. The order came from the office of Deputy Commissioner Sheetal Nanda on February 23, who demanded that a compliance report be filed within 24 hours.The government is in talks with Airtel and Vodafone for similar ringtones but the memo mentions only one service provider. According to Ms. Nanda, the decision was taken make sure the campaign message is widespread, and to “put a thrust on having a girl child. In local language“A ringtone was prepared when the campaign was launched. We made a folk singer to sing it in Dogri, a local language. The ringtone was already available on the BSNL members. We got in touch with the Jio company too for the ringtone, which they agreed to,” Ms. Nanda told The Hindu. She had issued fresh directions to all the departments, including school staff, using the Jio numbers to download the ringtone, also used by the Deputy Commissioner herself. “I will ensure 100% compliance,” she said.Responding to the directive, Srinagar-based gynecologist and women rights activist Samina Maqbool said, “Making ringtones mandatory have hardly resulted in change of mindset when it comes to gender justice.”Addressing root causes“The male-female ratio is alarming but at the same time it points at two areas where the government’s intervention is required now. One, high mortality rate among women in Jammu and Kashmir due to poor access to the healthcare and healthy food intake. Two, growing incidences of female foeticide and poor mechanism to stop sex determination in advance,” Dr Maqbool said.While downloading ringtones may help in sensitisation to some extent, “The real solution lies by working on the causes leading to the skewed male-female ratio,” Dr Maqbool said.Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched “Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao” (Save girl child-Educate girl child) campaign in January 2015 to address the declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) in India. As per the 2011 census, the adult sex ratio in India is 940 females for every 1000 males. The child sex ratio (of children between the ages 0 and 6 years) is far worse at 914 females for every 1000 males. Figures for Jammu and Kashmir are well below the national average with only 883 females for every 1000 males.
Former Union Minister M.J. Akbar on Wednesday recorded his statement before a court here in support of his allegations levelled in a criminal defamation complaint against senior journalist Priya Ramani.Recording his statement before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal, Mr. Akbar said that he had suffered “damage due to the scurrilous and false charges levelled by Ms. Ramani”.“Indeed there was an immediate damage because of the scurrilous nature of these concocted and false allegations. I was attacked in my personal capacity about alleged and fabricated non-events allegedly done two decades ago,” he said in his statement.“I chose in that environment to seek justice in my personal capacity without the appurtenance of office. This is why I offered my resignation as Minister of State, Government of India. My reputation has been tarnished in the eyes of general public and those who are near and dear and known to me,” he said. Mr. Akbar had resigned from the Union Council of Ministers on October 17.Later, on conclusion of Mr. Akbar’s statement, the court posted the matter on November 12 for recording statements of other witnesses cited by him in his complaint.Taking cognisance of the complaint on October 18, the Additional CMM had summoned Mr. Akbar for recording his statement.The former editor had sought Ms. Ramani’s prosecution for allegedly defaming him by accusing him of sexual misconduct with journalists who worked with him in different media houses over the years. Mr. Akbar in his complaint cited an open letter by Ms. Ramani published in Vogue magazine last October and her tweets as defamatory.The complaint stated that “the accused herself, while putting forward defamatory statements relating to incidents which allegedly occurred 20 years ago, simultaneously admits that the complainant has not done anything to her”.(With PTI inputs)
“People feel more connected when they talk to strangers, like they are part of something bigger,” says Gillian Sandstrom, a psychologist and senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Essex, in Colchester, England, who studies interactions between strangers. In research studies, Dr. Sandstrom has shown that people’s moods improve after they have a conversation with a Starbucks barista or a volunteer at the Tate Modern art museum in London. She’s also found that people are happier on days when they have more interactions with acquaintances they don’t know well and that students enjoy class more when they interact with their classmates. Sometimes a stranger—not a friend or a loved one—can significantly improve our day. A pleasant encounter with someone we don’t know, even a nonverbal one, can soothe us when no one else is around. It may get us out of our own head—a proven mood booster—and help broaden our perspective. They’re typically wrong. Dr. Sandstrom’s research shows people underestimate how much another person will like them when they talk for the first time. And in a study in which she asked participants to talk to at least one stranger a day for five days, 99% said they found at least one of the conversations pleasantly surprising, 82% said they learned something from one of the strangers, 43% exchanged contact information, and 40% had communicated with one of the strangers again, an indication they might be making friends. Read the whole story: The Wall Street Journal Sue took my hand in both of hers, patted it, and held on tight. We were five minutes into the worst turbulence I’d ever experienced—approaching Boston’s Logan International Airport in a severe winter storm—when I turned to the woman next to me and said: “Hey, would you mind chatting with me for a few minutes? I’m really nervous.” We hadn’t spoken much during the flight, other than the usual pleasantries. But my seatmate seemed friendly. And I suddenly felt desperate for a human connection. “Sure, my name is Sue,” the woman replied, smiling warmly. “What brings you to Boston?” I started to explain that I was on a business trip. Then the plane lurched violently, and I blurted out: “I might need to hold your hand, too.” And yet most people resist talking to strangers, she says. They fret about the mechanics of the conversation—how to start, maintain or stop it. They think they will blather on and disclose too much—or not talk enough. They worry they will bore the other person.