Scared Nation: Violence Against Women in India

December 21, 2014 at 11:09 AM | Posted in TV Show | Leave a comment

headlines_todayHeadlines Today | Published on 19 Dec. 2014

It’s been 2 years since a young woman was gang raped and left to die in the national capital. The incident shocked the nation, shook up the establishment, and forced a much needed debate on women’s safety. Two years later, we ask – What has changed in this country? Is it safer for women?

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Guests: Shailaja Chandra (Former Chief Secretary, Delhi Govt.) ; Nishtha Gautam (Associate Fellow, ORF); Meera Sood (Lawyer, Supreme court); Maxwell Pereira (former Joint Police Commissioner, Delhi Police) and Anchor: Rajdeep Saradesai, Consulting Editor, TVTN.

Hindi News Bulletin Dec 05, 2014 7 pm

December 6, 2014 at 10:37 AM | Posted in TV Show | Leave a comment
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rjtvPublished on 5 Dec 2014 Rajya Sabha TV | RSTV

पंजाब में नेत्र शिविर 60 patients lose vision after operation at eye camp in Punjab

Guests: Shailaja Chandra (Former Secretary, Ministry of Health, Government of India)

Air date: Published on 5 Dec 2014

News Today At Nine: Ebola scare hits India

November 22, 2014 at 8:18 AM | Posted in TV Show | Leave a comment
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headlines_todayHeadlines Today | Published on 20 Nov 2014

A 26-year old man, who was cured of Ebola in Liberia, has tested positive on arrival in Delhi. After subsequent tests, the man has been quarantined as a precautionary measure. In this episode, we discuss the Ebola scare that has hit India after the incident.

Guests: Shailaja Chandra (Former Secy Health Ministry) ; Dr. S.Bagai (CMD, Nephron Clinics and Health Care) and Anchor: Rajdeep Saradesai, Consulting Editor.

I come in at 3.11 minutes, and again at 7.36 minutes.

Guru evasive but media targetted

November 20, 2014 at 8:34 AM | Posted in TV Show | 1 Comment

headlines_todayHeadlines Today | November 18, 2014

Karan Thapar in conversation with ex-BJP MP Satya Pal Jain, ex-IAS officer Shailaja Chandra, Congress MP P Agrawal and academician Rajeev Gowda to discuss how media was targetted even as Sant Rampal remained evasive in Hisar.

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Medicine or Murder: Time to Scrap the Mass Sterilisation Policy?

November 18, 2014 at 7:24 AM | Posted in TV Show | Leave a comment
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ndtv_logoPublished On: November 16, 2014 | Duration: 47 min, 36 sec

India has more women who rely on sterilisation to prevent pregnancy than any other country. On this episode of We The People, we ask: why should the burden of family planning fall on women alone and whether the policy of providing financial incentives for sterilisation needs to be scrapped.

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Click for play video

Guests: Shailaja Chandra (Former ED, Population Fund) ; Dr. Sambit Patra (BJP), Shobha Ojha (president, All India Women Congress), Sujatha Rao (Former Secretary, Health), Dr. S.K. Sikdar, (Deputy Commissioner, Family Planning) , Poonam Muttreja (Executive Director Population Foundation of India) and Anchor: Barkha Dutt, Executive Editor.

I come in at 6.21 minutes, 9.31.08 minutes, 16.45 minutes, 26.30 minutes, 37.16 minutes, 42.32 minutes and 45.51 minutes.

The Big Picture – Why is the sterilisation programme so women-centric?

November 15, 2014 at 4:48 PM | Posted in TV Show | Leave a comment
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rjtvAir date: November 12, 2014

Guests: Shailaja Chandra (Former Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India) ; Dr. Sutapa Neogi (Additional Professor, Indian Institute of Public Health) ; Jashodhara Dasgupta (Coordinator(CEO), Sahayog) ; Rema Nagarajan (Sr. Assistant Editor, The Times of India)

Anchor: Girish Nikam

I come in at 1:44 Minute, 11:28 Minute, 20:16 Minute & 28.45 Minutes.

Medical Pluralism and the truth about Ayurveda.

November 13, 2014 at 7:19 AM | Posted in News clippings | Leave a comment
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mintNovember 4, 2014

Manik was suffering from a hacking cough triggered by an unidentified allergy. A long list of prescribed drugs had left her heavy-headed and lethargic. It was her good fortune that she found a fine Ayurvedic doctor who gave her talishadi powder. Honeyed over, the paste soothed her hoarseness and she was her normal self soon enough, minus any side-effects.

That India accepts medical pluralism and five drug-based systems-Allopathy, Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy- are all covered by the Drugs & Cosmetics Act (D&C) 1940 is not commonly known. These systems have been in regular use for centuries but were given statutory recognition more than four decades ago. All medicine (unless prepared by an individual Vaidya or Hakim) has to be li censed and follow the pharmacopoeial standards and quality control regulations set out in the D&C Act. But it is also true that barring some twenty renowned Ayurvedic companies, hundreds of concoctions making wild claims and skirting quality control regulations are marketed in all states with shifting degrees of enforcement. This naturally deters a discerning public from using the Indian systems, unsure both about the presence of essential ingredients and the absence of impurities.

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Click for PDF View

Government institutions like Banaras Hindu University, the Gujarat Ayurvedic University and the Tilak Mahavidyalaya, Pune among others conduct the finest Ayurvedic teaching and practice but like most government institutions, unless one knows an insider, inefficiencies abound. Family concerns like AVS Kottakal, AVP Coimbatore and Shree Dhootapapeshwar (some more than 100 years old) manufacture high qualitquality drugs that adhere to the original Ayurvedic classical recipes. Some run excellent hospitals which draw patients from round the world. A score of other corporate ventures have engaged excellent vaidyas, invested in R&D and gained country-wide respect quality of their proprietary products. But finding the physician-bridge continues to present a challenge for the consumer, particularly one who has had no family tradition of using Ayurveda.

Responding to this situation, companies like Himalaya, Dabur and Charak erected a bridge to the consumer by adopting the “ethical marketing” route. Sales representatives educate the modern medicine doctor about the constitution of the drugs, their therapeutic action and indications and contra-indications- exactly as they do for modern drugs. Regular CMEs are organised for special therapeutic segments and publications in quality journals shared with practitioners. Experience has shown that once they see the treatment data, modern medicine doctors add Ayurvedic items to the prescription to alleviate symptoms. All such items are in any case freely available without prescription.

Peoples’ health-seeking behaviour is also changing. Consumers are opting for medication that is natural and free from synthetic substances .Ayurvedic treatment is increasingly being used as adjuvant therapy because it restores good health while often reducing the dosage of strong medicine. Concerned about the side-effects of allopathic drugs it is natural for consumers to repose greater faith in formulations which are ninety percent plant based. But once again a bridge is needed – one which is reliable but also conversant with modern diagnostics and clinical findings.

In response to this,in 2010, Medanta a multispeciality hospital in Gurgaon erected that bridge by establishing a Department of Integrative Medicine. Here Ayurvedic treatment is offered on par with specialised allopathic treatment even as the rooms for panchakarma (a complex protocol for de-toxification) are located alongside other clinics as for dialysis and endoscopy.

At Medanta, the Departments of respiratory and sleep medicine, cardiothoracic surgery, critical care, bone and joint disorders, neurosciences and minimally invasive thoracic surgery have been the most receptive to the concept of integrative medicine. As the Head of Integrative Medicine at Medanta Dr Geethakrishnan puts it, “the first step was to educate the bio medical doctor. Creating databases of authentic clinical outcomes made the process of integration that much easier. The hospital opened that opportunity.”

Contemporary Ayurveda then is a response to public demand for gentler, safer remedies. But building bridges to modern medicine has ruffled many feathers backed less by concern for the consumer but more by commercial pulls. Lobbies are furiously at work to prevent an allopathic doctor from suggesting an Ayurvedic packaged formulation although it is available off –the –shelf to any citizen. As a result the public could be denied access to formulations which physicians in scores of countries prescribe freely for their patients. The patient’s consumer rights are being fettered because of larger commercial interests which are at stake.

This situation would not have arisen had the Ayurvedic graduates stuck to their own system. The extent of modern medicine practiced by Ayurvedic doctors has taken away from the shine of an ancient and time-honoured system. It has confused the public and accounts for much of the distrust that surrounds Ayurveda and other Indian systems of medicine. We need competent and committed practitioners who can satisfy a modern, internet savvy public. That in turn requires published research undertaken by multi-disciplinary teams to tell people not just that Ayurveda is effective but how its therapies and drugs stimulate the nervous system.

If India hopes to be a front-runner in the practice of integrative medicine, resting on a few good examples will not suffice. It will take much more than rhetoric to convince a discerning public that a combination of therapies can in fact heal faster and better.

Nine women die after sterilisation botch-up in Chhattisgarh

November 12, 2014 at 8:26 AM | Posted in TV Show | 1 Comment
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headlines_todayHeadlines Today | November 12, 2014

On November 8, about 83 women underwent surgeries at a sterilisation camp held at Nemichand Jain Cancer and Research Centre at Pendari village of Takhatpur region, nine of them died and 31 others are in a critical condition.


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Guests: Shailaja Chandra (Former ED, Population Fund) ; Dr. Geeta Sodhi, Activist and Anchor: Rajdeep Saradesai, Consulting Editor.

I come in at 4.47 minutes, and again at 7.58 minutes.

न्यूज़ प्वाइंट : ‘न्यूनतम सरकार, अधिकतम शासन’ के नारे का क्या?

November 11, 2014 at 8:29 AM | Posted in TV Show, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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ndtv_logoPublished On: November 10, 2014 | Duration: 35 min, 51 sec

प्रधानमंत्री ने अपने मंत्रिमंडल का विस्तार किया तो उनके मंत्रिपरिषद में सदस्यों की संख्या 44 से बढ़कर 66 हो गई। यूपीए के वक्त यह संख्या 72 तक पहुंच गई थी। तो ऐसे में सवाल यह कि मोदी सरकार के नारे ‘न्यूनतम सरकार, अधिकतम शासन’ का क्या हुआ? न्यूज़ प्वाइंट में इसी मुद्दे पर एक चर्चा…

ndtv_egovernancePlay Video

Capital control

November 5, 2014 at 8:45 AM | Posted in Bureaucracy, Governance and Sarkar | Leave a comment

logo_new Posted: November 4, 2014

The ministry of urban development has reportedly asked the ministry of home affairs to transfer the powers it has over Delhi’s municipal bodies, currently under MHA control. If this is followed through, the civic affairs of the capital might finally get some traction. For more than six decades, the MHA has been the first port of call for Delhi affairs. This is a ministry whose top priorities include the control of terrorism, maintaining internal security, Centre-state relations, paramilitary forces and much more. The sooner responsibility for Delhi’s municipal matters changes hands, the better. Here is why.

Delhi is the second most populated city in the world, beaten only by Tokyo. Delhi is the second most populated city in the world, beaten only by Tokyo. (AP Photo)

Delhi is the second most populated city in the world, beaten only by Tokyo. Delhi is the second most populated city in the world, beaten only by Tokyo. (AP Photo)

Delhi is the second most populated city in the world, beaten only by Tokyo. But the similarity between the two cities ends there. Delhi fails on almost every parameter by which a city’s quality of life is judged. Since the Yamuna is highly polluted, Delhi depends entirely on water released by neighbouring states — resulting in shortages that reach alarming proportions each summer. Its water table remains among the most deficient in the country, even though it does not have to meet irrigation demands. A sewage system built nearly 80 years ago is now on its last legs, even as open defecation along the river continues. Delhi’s roads carry the highest number of vehicles among cities in India — three times more than even Mumbai, the country’s financial capital. Nine different modes of transport jostle for space, burning innumerable man hours and earning Delhi WHO ratings as the most polluted city in the world.

Most visitors are impressed by the relatively pristine New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) area, but this accounts for just 2 per cent of the city sprawl. The NDMC is a rich body with surpluses that can maintain the greenery and the relative cleanliness that is so striking. But beyond that pampered enclave, Delhi houses a dozen different cities in its fold. Urban villages, rural villages, six different echelons of organised colonies as well as the walled city around Chandni Chowk and Jama Masjid are bordered or interspersed with hundreds of unauthorised colonies, slums and resettlement colonies, the designated abode of former slum dwellers. Three municipal corporations are clearly unequal to the task of meeting such colossal challenges, which expand with each passing year.

Perpetually beset by the lack of resources, the local bodies are now stretched to breaking point. Only a fraction of the city’s filth gets processed and it is said that entreaties to the Delhi Development Authority for a dozen more processing sites have not been met with a response.

Elected municipal councillors, no matter which party they belong to, have always privileged political expediency over urban reform. Concepts like segregation and recycling of waste, solar photovoltaics on rooftops and the use of technology-based solutions are not part of their vocabulary. Of greater importance to the 272 elected councillors, 70 MLAs (when they are actually functioning as members of the assembly, that is) and MPs is the chance to woo the six lakh new migrants who settle in Delhi each year. Regularising unauthorised colonies also remains a priority for every city government, always at the cost of bona fide taxpayers as well as land- and house-owners.

Although every conceivable civic nuisance has been described in vivid detail in the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, fines are never imposed, on the grounds that they are too paltry to make any difference. Municipal magistrates are neither seen nor heard. The draconian penalties that made Singapore the world’s shining example of civic rectitude are extolled. But Delhi’s corporations have continued for decades with a maximum fine of Rs 50 for piling building debris on colony streets, to name just one of the terrible public nuisances.

But all this could change. Unknown to most, a Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2014, has finally been prepared. It seeks to introduce an omnibus provision raising the existing paltry fines to Rs 10,000 per transgression. But the bill, which makes eminent sense, has a long way to go. First, it has to be passed by the Delhi assembly, whenever its state of suspension is revoked or a new state legislature is elected. Even if the new chief minister has the conviction and the numbers to push it through, it would need presidential assent, since a Central act is sought to be modified.

Even if the existing or new MLAs are persuaded to bat for the bill, it remains to be seen whether the MHA finds it expedient to take it forward to Rashtrapati Bhavan. Raising fines for creating a public nuisance is hardly germane to the MHA’s concerns. Its control over Delhi affairs has its roots in a system that became obsolete more than half a century ago. Back then, Delhi was administered by a chief commissioner reporting directly to the MHA. Although the city has grown into a megapolis, the MHA’s mindset is based on command and control. A single officer in charge of the Union Territories, who does not necessarily have institutional conversance with city planning, is the conduit through which the legislative matters of Delhi are processed.

Given this irrational situation, it is of utmost importance that the municipal bodies are placed under the supervisory umbrella of the ministry of urban development, which at least has domain knowledge of civic matters. If swachhata is to become visible, the capital must show the way by following examples of progressive city management. One can only hope that if a Union minister for urban development has been convinced of the need to effect change, the MHA will concede to his sensible and justified request.

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