Read about the New initiative by the West Bengal government for Sex workers, the latest tie up between thales and reliance defence, the suspension of Maria Sharapova as the UN goodwill ambassador and more …..
1) West Bengal government launches acting training project for sex workers
- The West Bengal Government has launched an acting training project called Swabalamban Special. The project a brain child of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is for the sex workers of the state. It was launched today by Dr Sashi Panja, Minister of State, Women Development & Social Welfare, and Child Development.
- Swabalamban Special is targeted at making the sex workers self-sufficient by giving them acting lessons so that they could look for employment in the entertainment industry.
- The project is being run by West Bengal Women Development Undertaking, which promotes entrepreneurship and self-employment among women.
- This would run concurrently with another pet project of the Chief Minister, Muktir Alo (‘Light of Freedom’). This is a project to train female sex workers in vocational skills and provide financial assistance for starting small-scale business ventures.
- During the nine month training programme whoever takes up the coarse also gets free stay and food at state-run welfare homes. Boarding and lodging apart, they are also entitled to a monthly stipend. To promote the sense of entrepreneurship among the candidates who enrol themselves for these programmes, each of them who wish to start a business of their own are provided with a start up capital of Rs 25,000.
2) Chandigarh ranked lowest among 21 Indian cities in terms of governance:
- Chandigarh, which is known as one of the few planned cities in the country has been ranked lowest in a survey which was conducted to evaluate the quality of governance in 21 cities of the country.
- The third edition (2015) of Annual Survey of India’s City Systems (ASICS) carried out by Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, Jana Urban Space Foundation (Jana USP), and IDFC Foundation was released in New Delhi on Monday. In the survey, Chandigarh was ranked lowest while Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram have topped the survey with 4.2 points.
- According to the ASICS report, the average score of Chandigarh is 2 out of 10. The city has received 0.6 points out of 10 for urban planning and design (UPD), 2.3 points for urban capacities and resources (UCR). The report mentions that Chandigarh has achieved 2.5 points for transparency, accountability and participation (TAP), and for empowered and legitimate political representation (ELPR), Chandigarh has scored 2.7 points.
- Anil Nair, senior manager advocacy, Janaagraha said that the rankings were given on the basis of “laws, policies, rules and regulations, institutions and institutional frameworks and accountability mechanisms that drive or give rise to the quality of life that we experience in our daily lives”.
- In the survey, these questions were asked: how successfully has your city implemented its spatial development plan? Does your city have effective mechanisms to deter plan violations? Does your city encourage participatory planning? Is your city truly democratic? How well does your city address citizen complaints?
3) Thales ties up with Reliance Defence to make underwater systems
- French defence company Thales, which has major business plans in the region besides a significant offsets obligation that will kick in after the signing of the Rafale fighter deal, has tied up with Reliance Defence to manufacture a range of underwater systems in India.
- There is also a possibility of a future 51:49 joint venture between Reliance Defence and Thales to bid for potential Indian contracts. The market being targeted includes a Rs 5,000 crore Integrated Anti-Submarine Defence Systems ( IADS) project and a Rs 3,000 crore Hull-Mounted Sonar project.
- Several Indian Navy requirements are coming up in the underwater arena, including Towed Array Sonar and Torpedo Decoy Systems and a dipping sonar for the Naval Utility Helicopter and Multi Role Helicopter Programs that are currently being processed.
- Thales, which is a world leader in underwater systems and a close partner of DCNS, is looking at a range of systems with Reliance Defence, including sonar for surface ships and submarines, mine warfare and mine counter-measure equipment, three persons aware of the matter told ET.
- Reliance Defence, which earlier acquired Pipavav Offshore and Engineering Company (PDOC), has renamed it Reliance Defence and Engineering Ltd (RDEL) to target all maritime programs. Thales is a major partner in two high-value French programmes — the ongoing Scorpene submarine deal, which could have a follow on order for two more boats, and the Rafale fighter, for which it makes most of the avionics.
- Besides the naval market, Thales is looking at India as a potential export hub for military projects and has stated that its intention is to double business to 700 million euros in the next five years. The French company, which provides close to 25% of the Rafale fighter, already has a joint venture in India with Samtel for display systems for the Mirage 2000 fighters that are currently undergoing a $ 2.2 billion upgrade.
4) Pope Francis approves Mother Teresa’s elevation to sainthood:
- Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a nun who dedicated her life to helping the poor, will be made a saint of the Roman Catholic Church at a ceremony on September 4, Pope Francis announced on Tuesday.
- Last December, he cleared the way for sainthood for the Nobel peace laureate, who died in 1997 at the age of 87 and was known as “saint of the gutters”.
- Teresa, who was born Agnese Gonxha Bojaxhiu of Albanian parents in 1910 in what was then part of the Ottoman Empire and is now Macedonia, became an international figure but was also accused of trying to convert people to Christianity.
- Francis, who has made concern for the poor a major plank of his papacy, was keen to make Mother Teresa a saint during the Church’s current Holy Year.
- She founded the Missionaries of Charity with about a dozen nuns in the 1950s to help the poor on the streets of Calcutta, now known as Kolkata. The religious order spread throughout the world. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
- The Church defines saints as those believed to have been holy enough during their lives to now be in Heaven and can intercede with God to perform miracles. She has been credited in the church with two miracles, both involving the healing of sick people.
5) UN suspends Maria Sharapova as goodwill ambassador:
- The UN has suspended Maria Sharapova as a goodwill ambassador following the Russian tennis star’s admission that she tested positive for the banned substance meldonium at the Australian Open in January.
- The UN Development Programme, which works to eradicate poverty and inequality, has discontinued its nine-year relationship with Sharapova pending the outcome of the case. Much of her work with the UNDP had focused on efforts to help survivors of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
- UN goodwill ambassadors are appointed on the basis that they are “persons of integrity” who “possess the personality and dignity required for such high-level representative capacity”.
- However, article 28 of the UN guidelines for the designation of goodwill ambassadors and messengers of peace cautions that the arrangement will be terminated if the ambassador “engages in any activity incompatible with his/her status or with the purposes and principles of the UN, or if the termination is in the interest of the organisation”.
- In 2011, Aisha al-Gaddafi, daughter of the former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, was dropped as goodwill ambassador for the UNDP.