Sneha Saikia’s dining hall came to life again with laughter, jokes, anecdotes, and a combination of aromas coming out of her kitchen as she reopened her doors for home dine-ins in August last year.It was in March 2020, when the Covid lockdown was first imposed in the country, that Saikia, like everyone else, had to shut down her pop-up. Two years later, as travel resumes and restaurants brim with life, home chefs share stories of food, flavours, and resilience.Buy Now | Our best subscription plan now has a special price“Earlier, people never minded dining with strangers but after Covid they became hesitant to even visit a stranger’s home. When the second Covid wave subsided, people started attending the dine-ins again but they were still not comfortable mingling with strangers and preferred coming in with their friends or family,” says Sneha, who started ‘Table for 6 Luncheon’ in 2018 to put Assamese cuisine on the national capital’s culinary map.People choosing to form their own groups and come over for the intimate food experience with only known people made Sneha’s business suffer. The first group of guests she hosted after the pandemic was three couples who were friends with each other. “The couples made the group on their own so as to avoid dining with strangers,” informs Sneha. “But, slowly people started dining with strangers.”Lucknow-based Sheeba Iqbal has a similar story to share. Iqbal, who recently hosted the team of the upcoming movie Bawaal, starring actors Varun Dhawan and Janhvi Kapoor, at her dine-in Aab-O-Daana, tells how she had to shut her pop-up and stop food delivery following the pandemic-induced lockdown. However, once the restrictions were lifted and there was a movement of groceries and other raw materials, she resumed home deliveries. A post shared by Aab_o_Daana (@aab_o_daana) It was in October 2020, after a gap of six months, that Sheeba hosted two Bengali couples and soon after a group of eight doctors from Punjab. “After hosting the Bengali couple, there was no stopping. I hosted the doctors’ groups and business started bouncing back. I had a good season throughout the winter of 2020,” says Sheeba.In the winter of 2021, Sheeba resumed hosting big groups, and then there was no looking back. “The frequency of diners increases in winters, which is from October to March. I do dine-ins every alternate day to meet the demand,” she adds.Sheeba specialises in Awadhi cuisine, the traditional recipes for which have been passed on to generations in Lucknow homes. She learned cooking from her mother but honed her skills under the guidance of her mother-in-law, who belonged to Bhopal, and brought the taste from the royal kitchens of begum of the capital city of Madhya Pradesh.A Bite of ComfortOne of the reasons behind the popularity of dine-ins is the traditional cuisine the host has to offer, which is not found in many restaurants. From Bohri and Awadhi to Assamese and Himachali — there is nostalgia in every bite. Home pop-ups also offer a new way to socialise as they help in bringing people with common interests together, learn about the rich heritage of various communities while enjoying a good home-cooked meal.Dr Aman Bhosle, a Mumbai-based psychotherapist, who is regular to home dine-ins says that besides the authentic food that he gets to taste at these pop-ups, he loves meeting food enthusiasts and making new friends. Bhosle has travelled far and wide to explore various cuisine especially, Southeast Asian cuisine. Next, he is keen to try authentic Russian and German cuisines.Mahua Jain, a Delhi-based content writer, who first visited a home dine-in 2019, says “authentic food” is what attracts her to these places.Jain, 51, who has been to various restaurant pop-ups says she is now searching for a dine-in that specialises in Kashmiri cuisine.Of Food and LaughterNitika Sood, who runs Pahadi Pattal, too closed her doors for home dine-ins during the pandemic but her loyal diners bombarded her with queries on reopening. Overwhelmed by the response to her Himachali food, Sood decided to venture into home deliveries. “I was getting a lot of inquiries about the pop-ups and my diners wanted to taste my food. So, I started home delivery and within no time I was swamped with orders from Delhi-NCR,” Sood says.She takes only 12-15 orders on Saturdays besides orders for special occasions.Although there is no dearth of online orders, Nitika is still set to open her doors for home dine-ins towards the end of the year. “I miss interacting with people, sharing stories and knowledge about Himachali cuisine, and bonding over the food,” says Sood.Dr Ruchi Mittal, who runs ‘Miles n Meals’, too is keen to resume home dine-ins after Diwali. With the virus still lurking around, she intends to write Covid-related protocols on the invite to make the dining experience for her guests safe. Currently, she runs a food delivery business and organises a small gathering of 4-6 people every month.For Sunetra Vijaykar of ‘Dine With Vijaykars (DWV)’, it has always been about dining experience and not just the unique food that kept her away from venturing into home deliveries and made her put the dine-ins on hold.Already having several confirmations from her regular diners and patrons, she plans to restart dine-ins by the last quarter of this year. Asked about the precautions she is going to take when she resumes the pop-up, Sunetra says, “It may not be large groups but a smaller, socially distanced group and more private dinings will be the way ahead.”DWV specialises in Pathare Prabhu (PP) cuisine, the traditional cuisine of the Pathare Prabhu community in Western Maharashtra. As per her, the community has developed a full cuisine over centuries with several items that are unique and some which are twists to the typical neighbouring Marathi and Gujarati dishes.Speaking about the future of home dine-ins, she says, “The last two years have been difficult for people, but now that things are open, and with travel and experiences coming back in action, there is a lot that can happen in the home-dining space.”“The stage seems set for home-dining experiences to take the next steps, which could be in collaborative models with restaurants in more holistic experiences that cover tourism and cultural aspects along with food, like cultural festivals and food consulting,” she feels.📣 For more lifestyle news, follow us on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook and don’t miss out on the latest updates!
A siren goes off at 7 pm signaling people to switch off their TV sets and gadgets. (Representational)Sangli, Maharashtra: A village in Maharashtra's Sangli district is showing the way out of the clutter of electronic gadgets and social media platforms in modern life by getting its residents to go in for a "digital detox" every evening.The idea was mooted by Vijay Mohite, the sarpanch of Mohityanche Vadgaon village, and residents have been participating in this novel exercise enthusiastically.A siren goes off from a local temple at 7 pm, signalling people to put off their mobile phones and other gadgets and switch off their television sets, etc to indulge in reading books, studying and talking with one another, while the second alarm at 8.30 pm signals the end of the detox period.Talking to PTI, the coronavirus-induced lockdown and the subsequent spell of online classes brought mobile phones into the hands of children for long hours even after school ended for the day, while television viewing hours of parents got extended."When physical classes resumed, teachers realised children had become lazy, did not want to read and write and were mostly engrossed in their mobile phones before and after the school hours. There weren't separate study rooms in the homes of the villagers. So I put forth the idea of a digital detox," he said."I had proposed a one-and-a-half hour period at first. Initially, there was hesitancy as people were wondering if it was possible to keep away from mobile and TV screens. On Independence Day, we convened a gram sabha of women and decided to purchase a siren. Then ASHA workers, anganwadi sevikas, gram panchayat employees, retired teachers went home to home to create awareness about digital detox," he added.Mohityanche Vadgaon has been home to freedom fighters, has won awards for cleanliness from the state and central governments and is known for maintaining social harmony, with the focus always being on development works, he said."At present, between 7 pm and 8.30 pm, people keep their mobile phones aside, switch off television sets and focus on reading, studying, writing and conversations. A ward-wise committee has been set up to monitor if the initiative is being implemented," the sarpanch explained.Emphasising the need for such a move, student Gayatri Nikam said her peers and others were glued to phones and television sets during lockdown, even during power outages, with hardly a glance at course books and other study material.Another person said women in the village's households would be busy watching television serials and there wasn't much parental supervision over children."Now, from 7 pm to 8.30 pm, children study while parents read and write. There is no disturbance as everyone goes about such productive activities," the villager added.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comIncidentally, earlier this month, some members of the Jain community in Raisen in Madhya Pradesh had observed a "digital fast" for 24 hours during the 'paryushan parva' by keeping away from their smartphones and other electronic gadgets.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
Congress leader and former state energy minister Nitin Raut recently told the Bombay High Court that he had used chartered flights to travel to Nagpur during the Covid-19 pandemic only for official or administrative work and not for personal reasons.Raut filed his affidavit in response to a PIL by BJP leader Vishwas Pathak, who sought directions against Raut to reimburse state power companies to the tune of more than Rs 40 lakh, allegedly spent on his “illegal” use of chartered flights in 2020.Citing alleged RTI information obtained from power generation and distribution companies, Pathak said that during the nationwide lockdown, Raut had used chartered flights for numerous trips to Mumbai, Nagpur, Hyderabad and Delhi for “administrative work”, and had made the debt-ridden power companies pay his bills amounting to over Rs 40 lakh. Raut denied the allegations that the companies were pressured into paying for the chartered flights and said, “I deny that the expenditure incurred for the chartered flights was illegal, arbitrary and a gross waste of public funds.”Raut also said Pathak had already filed complaints against him with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and BKC Police station in Mumbai and has availed of alternate remedies for his grievances and since both the authorities are seized of the matter, the High Court should not hear the plea. Raut said Pathak was media head of the state BJP and the petition was filed with political vendetta to settle political scores.He also said that he had travelled by chartered flight only while carrying out his duties as minister and since he had undergone angioplasty, his doctors had advised him not to take up long distance road travel, otherwise he would travel to Nagpur by commercial flight or train. He added that being then guardian minister of Nagpur, he had to travel there regularly for administrative work.“At that time, since commercial flights were not operating and due to the urgency of the situation, I was forced to travel by chartered flight,” Raut claimed.The affidavit read, “On the relevant occasions, I had travelled to Nagpur for administrative work which included overseeing of day to day functions of the power companies and to resolve issues brought about by the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Nisarga cyclone. This was to ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity.” He added that he had travelled for work, and his responsibilities had included deciding utilisation of power plants for producing oxygen, and ensuring the power supply remained undisturbed. Moreover, he had to travel to oversee rehabilitation of power lines that were destroyed during the Nisarga cyclone that impacted Western Maharashtra.He added that during the lockdown, the energy sector had to work as an essential service and he had to travel as the head of the ministry to ensure power companies work smoothly.
MUMBAI: Releasing on bail the liftman of a building where an 11-year-old was molested, the Bombay high court has however barred his entry into the housing society. Justice Bharati Dangre passed the direction on the man's bail plea. He was booked for abetting the accused, a watchman, under IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (Pocso). During the Covid-induced lockdown, the minor played with other children in the basement. In August 2021, the watchman took her mobile number. On August 15, 2021 he called her behind a car, kissed her and touched her inappropriately. After 2-3 days, he repeated his act and threatened her not to tell anyone. A few days later, he again called the girl and exposed himself. She informed her parents. He was arrested on November 5, 2021 after the girl said he told her to go upstairs as the watchman was there. Justice Dangre took note of the minor's other statement that the liftman scolded her when he saw her coming out of the washroom. Both men had argued. She said the prosecution has accused the liftman of not reporting the incident, but his action would attract Section 21. Justice Dangre said Section 16 defines 'abetment' and explained a person has to either instigate another to do an offence or engage in conspiracy or intentionally aid the offence.
MUMBAI: Mumbai records more than one offence against women every two hours (total cases in 2021: 5,543). The consolation is that the city ranks 10th among urban centres for crimes against women (see graphic) if measured per lakh population. And rape constitutes a small percentage of these cases (6.5%). In fact, Mumbai provides a silver lining to the overall picture for the state as numbers are down compared to the pre-Covid times of 2019 when cases of crimes against women was higher at 6,519. On the other hand, Maharashtra recorded more crimes against women in 2021 compared to pre-Covid times, according to National Crime Records Bureau data. Over 39,500 cases were filed in Maharashtra in 2021, an increase of more than 6% since 2019 when the figure was 37,144 cases. Activists said child marriage and instances of violence at home were observed the most. Meanwhile, conviction rate was as low as 14%. A total of 4.28 lakh cases of crimes against women were registered during 2021 in India, showing an increase of 15.3% over 2020 (3.71 lakh cases). Most pertained to cruelty by spouse or relatives (31.8%), molestation (20.8%), abduction (17.6%) and rape (7.4%). The crime rate registered per lakh women population in India is 64.5 in 2021 in comparison with 56.5 in 2020, the report said. "There were restrictions on mobility in the lockdown year of 2020 and during some months of 2021 when a spurt in instances of violence at home were observed. The victims were not only women but also adolescent girls," said Nandita Shah of the non-profit Akshara. As lockdown-like restrictions lifted in 2021 and mobility increased, more cases came to light. "Women that were enduring silently until then and couldnt take it anymore could have finally stepped out to report," said activist Priti Patkar of the non-profit Prerana. Activists added that one reason for low conviction rates in crimes against women is the absence of a victim protection programme "The victim and the family are almost entirely on their own without any support. As cases remain pending in court for years, prosecution fatigue also sets in," Patkar said.
MUMBAI: Seven cases of crime against children were reported in Mumbai per day in 2021. Mumbai recorded a total of 2,762 cases of crime against children in 2021, second only to Delhi, according to the NCRB. The city also recorded the second highest number of POCSO cases (1,048). In every single case of POCSO (cases of sexual abuse of children), the offender was known to the victim, data revealed. "Children living on the streets are immensely vulnerable to crimes and have no safety net. The state must provide night shelters for every street child on priority," said activist Sandhya Gokhale. Activists said that big cities like Mumbai and New Delhi are densely populated and as a result, the number of crimes occurring would be higher. "As far as POCSO is concerned, registration is mandatory. Then in instances of a child under 18 going missing, the Supreme Court has mandated kidnapping offences to be registered. So for both these offences, the numbers are going to be high as law enforcement agencies wouldn't want to take the risk of not registering an offence which they are mandated to record," said activist Priti Patkar of the non-profit Prerana. More than 1,500 kidnapping cases of children were reported in Mumbai last year. Patkar points out that one interpretation of higher numbers could mean an increase in crime, but it could also mean an increase in reporting and recording of crimes. NCRB data also showed that in POCO cases in Mumbai, a majority of the victims were girls aged 16-18 years.
MUMBAI: The pandemic and the lockdown that followed had an "unprecedented impact" on the state's finances, resulting market borrowings rising drastically by 51.6% and tax revenues shrinking by 13% according to the Comptroller and Auditor General's report of March 2021 which was tabled in the Maharashtra assembly on Thursday. It captures the strain in the state's finances in the lockdown year of 2020-21. By the end of the financial year, the state was left with a massive revenue deficit of Rs 41,142 crore because expenditure outstripped income. Revenue expenditure rose 3.4 % from Rs 3 lakh crore to Rs 3.1 lakh crore between 2019-20 and 2020-21. However, revenue receipts fell by 4.8% from Rs 2.8 lakh crore to Rs 2.7 lakh crore during the same period, the CAG report said. The state's fiscal deficit remained within limits because it cut down on expenditure. During the lockdown year, capital outlay shrank by 18.5%. Capital outlay is used for infrastructure creation and projects and spurs economic growth. Since the lockdown drastically reduced the state's income, it "resorted to large cutbacks on both revenue and capital expenditure to compensate for shortfalls in tax collections." Indeed, capital expenditure reduced from Rs 36,416 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 29,687 crore in 2020-21. The CAG report said public debt receipts of the state rose by 57.7% and repayment of public debt rose by 15.5%. The committed expenditure on interest payments, salaries, wages and pensions amounted to 57.5% of total revenue expenditure, the CAG report found. It found that interest payments rose by 10% in 2020-21 compared to the previous year. Salary payments accounted for 32.3% of revenue expenditure while pension payments accounted for 13.3% of revenue expenditure. The CAG report also stated that expenditure under subsidies rose substantially by almost 44% between 2019-20 and 20202-21.
THE COVID-INDUCED lockdowns of 2020 meant that 14-year-old Sheikh Selim, a resident of Ghoramara island in Sunderbans, lost touch with education. His hopes of rejoining school were again crushed in 2021 when the Yaas cyclone wreaked havoc. Both events were financially ruinous for his family and forced Selim and his parents to migrate to Kerala for work. In Thrissur, he would get paid Rs 800 a day for his work. Two years after dropping out, he is back in his village, glad as he can be to be sitting in a make-shift classroom – even though it has no fans – and back to studying.But he is not alone and this is not a regular school. Many boys and girls of the village are now getting back to education in the “Panchayater Pathshala” — panchayat’s school). This school was set up last month by Ghoramara Gram panchayat, months after the West Bengal government ordered schools to be reopened.However, there was one problem: the returning students had a tough time picking up where they left. “We returned early this year. My father got me re-admitted to school. But I felt clueless in the class because I had been away from my studies for so long. Although back in school, I struggled and was irregular. I did not understand what was being taught. Then one day the panchayat used loudspeakers to announce that it was opening a pathshala that will provide free tuition. I joined in and it has been helping me,” said Selim, whose father now works as a bookbinder.The pathshala not only provides free tuition but also raises awareness about issues such as child marriage and child labour.According to Sanjib Sagar, 50, pradhan of Ghoramara, the gram panchayat had seen a spike in school dropouts, migration and child marriages during the lockdown, as also after Yaas cyclone in May 2021.“This island is already a victim of erosion. Migration for work was a common phenomenon here like in the rest of the Sunderbans. After the lockdown and cyclone, the situation turned from bad to worse. The cyclone destroyed most of the betel vines and agricultural land on the island,” Sagarsaid.He said the idea for this initiative came from one of the panchayat officials and it was immediately embraced by everyone.“The local secondary school (Ghoramara Milan Vidyapith) allowed us to use three of their classrooms in the morning before the formal start of school. Initially, the initiative was only for poor students, but now children from all backgrounds are coming to this pathshala,” said Sagar.In one month, the student list has gone from 55 to more than a hundred. The teaching is done by panchayat officials as well as locals, all of whom work for free.“When schools reopened we went to class 10 in the high school and found that out of 53 registered students, only 22 were present in class. The students told us that their classmates had decided to discontinue school; some students even left the island to work elsewhere,” said Shuvrakanti Jana, panchayat sahayak of Ghoramara GP. “Many students complained that they have lost touch with studies. It was then that the idea of the pathshala came to us.”“We realised that only giving free tuition is not enough to stop dropouts. We needed to create a process by which children would again develop an interest in their studies. So we use storytelling and awareness campaigns,” said Jana.But running this initiative is not easy for panchayat officials.“My home is in Nadia district. It is far away. Therefore, like some of my colleagues, I stay in a room of the panchayat office itself. Early morning, we teach and then get started with panchayat’s work from 10 am. It is hectic but we are doing something for the children,” said Debashish Dhali, who works as panchayat secretary.The pathshala currently has 10 teachers. Four of them are panchayat employees and others are locals. The panchayat employees teach during the week, while the locals take over in the weekends.The gram panchayat has 956 families with a population of 4,366. Prashanta Jana, 42, of Ghoramara, who is among those who teach, said: “I have been working as a para-teacher in Ghoramara Milan Vidyapith for the last 16 years. When the panchayat pradhan asked me to join here, I agreed. Even though there is no pay, I like the concept.”
OBSERVING THAT the “situation was critical” during the national lockdown with “prevalence of fear psychosis”, the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) last week set aside the dismissal of an SRPF official who had been dismissed from service for not turning up for duty during the pandemic.Mayur Vadje, a police naik with the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) posted at Goregaon, had gone on a sanctioned leave to his native place Indapur in Pune from March 16, 2020 to March 31, 2020. However, he did not turn up for work on April 1, 2020 and claimed it was on account of “non-availability of government vehicles or public vehicles to go back to Mumbai during the pandemic.”The applicant claimed that even though he sent his application to SRPF seeking concession, his service was terminated on June 5, 2020 on the ground that his was an “emergency service” that he did not join on time. He further alleged that while others who were dismissed by the same order were reinstated, he was not.For its part, the SRPF said that on May 12 that year, the applicant was, on WhatsApp, asked to resume duty either in Mumbai or in the units in Pune closer to his house. His service was terminated after he did not join either of the place, the SRPF added. It was further mentioned that an FIR, too, had been registered against the applicant for not appearing on duty.The Tribunal observed that the applicant had “defaulted” as he did not join his duty despite having the option to report to work at Pune. “However, considering the critical situation and nationwide lockdown moreover fear psychosis and the fact that the applicant had already put in service of more than 10 years and he is 36 years old, we are of the view that this is not a case fit for dismissal,” the order read.It added, “The respondents can however take appropriate steps that are provided in the rules against the applicant for the misconduct.” The Tribunal further clarified to the applicant that it was not inclined to grant his prayer to provide him wages for the period he was not allowed to serve. The Tribunal directed that the applicant be reinstated within a period of three weeks from August 8, when the order was passed.
MUMBAI: Draft charges were submitted on Friday in a case allegedly involving assembly speaker Rahul Narvekar and state minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha for assembling with others at BEST Bhavan to protest against a hike in electricity bill during the Covid lockdown in 2020. The charges against the 20 accused were filed under various sections of the IPC, the Epidemic Diseases Act and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. The court is likely to hear arguments on August 26, and will finally decide which charges, if any, are to be framed against the accused.
Kolhapur: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's (MNS) transport union has threatened to shut down Kini and Tasawade toll booths located on the Pune-Bengaluru highway (NH-48) between Satara and Kagal, if collection is not stopped within a week. The members have claimed that the tenure for toll collection ended on May 2. However, it was was extended by 53 days citing losses incurred due to lockdown and floods. Now, after the extended tenure is ended, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has taken over the road and has continued the collection citing the reason that now the road will be expanded into six-lane.
A look at the statistics of fatal crashes or road accidents in Mumbai over the last few years shows a declining trend with casualties coming further down in the first six months of 2022 as compared to the corresponding period in pre-pandemic year 2019. On the flip side, in Maharashtra, the fatalities continued to rise this year as well.Another trend witnessed this year was sudden decrease, as compared to last year, in enforcement cases in which people had to pay up the increased fines for violations.According to data from the Mumbai Traffic Police, while 447 people were killed in 420 crashes in 2019, 387 people succumbed to their injuries caused in 376 crashes in 2021. 2020 saw 349 road mishap casualties with the dip being attributed to lockdown called during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.A look at data from 2022 shows a further decrease in cases in the first half of the year in Mumbai with 156 people dying in 154 crashes till June. In 2019, 233 people were killed in 215 crashes in the same period. In 2021, 202 people were killed in road accidents during the period.Raj Tilak Roushan, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Mumbai Traffic Police, central & headquarters), said eight strategic measures have been undertaken by the department to decrease fatalities. These included heavy enforcement where cops registered FIRs against motorists driving in wrong direction besides counselling of drivers and pillion riders not wearing helmets.With 22.37 lakh cases, the state capital accounted for over one fourth (29.48 per cent) of 75.88 lakh e-challan cases filed in Maharashtra.Elaborating on the measures undertaken by his department, Roushan said, “The measures taken by us included visiting accident spots for analysis, recommending suitable measures to departments concerned for road engineering changes and taking possible action at traffic department level; having maximum presence of traffic policemen during peak hours and suitably during night at specific spots where accidents occur; continuous monitoring of roads/traffic by our CCTV system; information given to departments concerned for potholes etc. and following up with them; heavy enforcement action along with Lok Adalat for recovery of fines; and extensive awareness drives at school, colleges and on the streets.”While these measures have worked for Mumbai Police, the picture of fatalities remains grim at the state level. The fatalities in Maharashtra, as per Maharashtra Highway Traffic Police, in the first six months of this year increased to 8,068 people being killed when compared to 2019 when 7,069 people were killed in the same period. In 2021, about 6,837 people were killed till June.Further, fatalities in Maharashtra show an increasing trend over the past few years. About 12,788 people were killed in crashes in 2019 while the number rose to 13,528 in 2021. Due to the pandemic-induced lockdown, fatalities had decreased to 11,569 in 2020.Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxMeanwhile, the authorities, who were pinning their hopes on increased fines to bring down the number of crashes and resultant fatalities, seem to be now treading cautiously in the direction. Enforcement cases dropped from 1.12 crore (1,12,01,106) from the first six months of 2021 to over 75 lakh for the corresponding period in 2022. However, as the fine amounts executed by e-challan were increased by the government, the total fine executed in this period rose to Rs 591 crore this year from Rs 417 crore in 2021.Kulwant Kumar Sarangal, additional director general of police (Traffic), Maharashtra, said, “At some point, it is expected that enforcement will make gradual shifts in motorists’ behaviour. We will continue to recover e-challan fines through Lok Adalat. A manifold increase in the fines will naturally lead to better compliance with laws.”
Before he joined the national weightlifting camp in Patiala last year, Sanket Mahadev Sargar regularly helped out at the family-owned tea stall in Sangli, Maharashtra. He also found time to train and attend college.On Saturday afternoon, the 21-year-old weightlifter won India’s first medal of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, a silver in the 55 kg category with a total lift of 248 kilograms; 113 in the snatch and 135 in the clean and jerk. Malaysia’s Mohamad Aniq Bin won gold with a total lift of 249 (107 and 142).Sanket’s proud father Mahadev Sargar took half a day off to celebrate. For the first time in a long time, he wasn’t selling tea. “I can afford to take a one hour break from work,” Mahadev said.The family has been in celebration mode and Sanket’s medal gives more reason for joy.Last month, Sanket’s younger sister Kajol Sargar became the first gold medallist of the 4th Khelo India Youth Games. Mahadev knows where to display Sanket’s medal . “When Kajol returned with the medal, we displayed the medal first at the tea-stall. That’s what has provided all the things for our family till date and Sanket’s medal too will be displayed on the tea-stall first,” Mahadev said.Mahadev played a role in Sanket looking beyond being a street vendor, like his father and grandfather.Sanket made mangode (a type of moong pakoda) and vada pav at the tea stall where paan is also sold. But his father wanted him to move up in life. “I used to tell him that my father used to sell bananas and I sell tea and pakoda. So dream big,” Sargar senior added. “With today’s medal, he has changed his identity as well my identity.”Sanket’s dream of winning a Commonwealth Games medal started when he saw Gururaja Poojary winning the silver medal in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on TV while managing the tea stall and paan joint. “I remember that day. I was at the tea stall and saw Gururaj bhai winning the medal in the Commonwealth Games. I believed I could achieve the same feat too one day,” Sanket told The Indian Express on Friday.His father was a fan of weightlifting coach Nana Sinhasane. The Digvijay Weightlifting Centre, run by Sinhasane, was located near their tea stall. Sanket enrolled at the centre in 2012. It would take Sanket six months to get used to the training schedule as well as manage academics and find time to help his father at the stall.“My father had told me that he wants me to either study or pursue sport. While I started weight-lifting training, I also had to help him at the tea stall. My day would start at 6am at the shop, where I would prepare the items for the day before going for my training. After school, I would manage the paan joint also,” Sanket said.The Sangli youngster would win a gold medal in the Maharashtra Junior Weightlifting Championship with a total lift of 194 Kgs in 49 kg weight category including 86 kg in snatch and 108 kg in clean and jerk in 2017. The youngster followed that by becoming the Maharashtra youth champion in 2018 followed by a bronze medal in the Junior National Youth Championship at Vizag the same year.Coach Mayur Sinhasane, who has been training Sanket since 2017 after his father Nana fell ill, remembers Sanket’s early days in the sport. “My father knew that Sanket’s family cannot afford the money needed at a later stage for a weight-lifter. But as a coach, he saw something in Sanket. Sanket weighed around 35 Kgs at that time but had a good stamina. Initially, my father worked on increasing his stamina. Sanket would always be the first one to reach the academy. The only time he missed training was for a year when he was preparing for his Class 10 exams,” Mayur said.Sanket was crowned Khelo India Youth Games and Khelo India University Games champion in early 2020, creating new records of 231kg and 244kg respectively. He also became the senior national champion in the 55kg category with a total lift of 243kg at Kolkata.The onset of Covid-19 disrupted his training, like it did for so many other athletes around the country. “The Police post is just opposite their home and tea stall. So there was always someone keeping an eye on who was stepping out during the lockdown.So it meant that Sanket could only do light training at home. I sent a barbell and squat set to him. He trained on the first floor. So he had to train with caution. It resulted in a back injury to him,” Mayur remembered.It took Sanket more than two months to recover from injury. The Maharashtra lifter once again became a senior national champion with a total lift of 247Kgs last year at the competition held in Patiala.He had entertained thoughts of quitting the sport during the lockdown when the family’s income was hit and the back injury had put a question mark abou this fitness.“It was a time (lockdown) when I thought about quitting the sport. There was almost no business at my father’s tea-stall and the practice at home meant that I suffered a back injury. But my father kept motivating me by showing old newspaper clips of my medal winning performances,” Sanket said.Last year Sanket made it to the national camp and created a new snatch record in the Commonwealth Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan where he lifted 113kg. Early this year, he defended his senior national title in Orissa before winning the gold medal in Singapore International, where he created a new Commonwealth and National record with a total lift of 256kg, including 113kg in snatch and 143 kg in clean and jerk.“Prior to the inclusion in TOPS and national camp, my coach would spend money on my supplements and training and my father would spend from his savings too. When I joined the national camp, training under chief coach Vijay Sharma sir and seeing Olympic silver medalist Mirabai Chanu train motivated me,” Sanket said.The CWG medal is a stepping stone for Sanket. But in heroes like Mirabai he has chosen the right role models.
Aurangabad: Tragedy struck the lives of Akash Mhaske and Aditya Kirtane in mid-2020 amid the COVID-19 induced lockdown. The childhood friends who went on to become engineers had spent the first month of the lockdown watching movies, but continuation of the restrictions led their respective employers to lay them off. Rather than applying for jobs in this Maharashtra city blessed with some industrial activity in the vicinity, they decided to start out on their own. Reading books on successful businesses cemented the decision. But they were not sure of what exactly to do.Also Read - 100 Year Old Nerel-Matheran Toy Train To Resume Services By End of 2022. All You Need To about This Iconic LocomotiveA vocational training course on meat and poultry processing conducted by a local varsity was the serendipity moment. The business idea was to enter the highly unorganised meat market with a credible offering to retail consumers on demand. The idea was seemingly odd and the budding entrepreneurs did not receive full support from their families initially. “Our families initially thought that no one would marry us because of the nature of work we are doing. Later they stood with us,” Aditya Kirtane told PTI. Also Read - Maharashtra BJP ‘Saddened’ By Eknath Shinde Becoming CM, Agreed With Heavy Heart: PatilStarting from a 100 sq ft space in their neighbourhood with a seed investment of Rs 25,000 managed by the friends from their savings, their venture ‘Apetitee’ grew well, and now does a turnover of over Rs 4 lakh a month. While the business continued to gain traction, they also got spotted by Fabi Corporation, another city company. Also Read - Do You Know About The Glowing Forest In Maharashtra? A Surreal Beauty To Experience This Season!Fabi has bought a majority stake in Apetitee for Rs 10 crore recently, and the company’s co-founders Kirtane and Mhaske will continue to be with the brand with minority stakes. The profit margin they work with is 40 per cent. Selling meat is an entirely unorganised segment in Aurangabad, Fabi’s director Fahad Syed said.Syed said after the deal, the brand name Apetitee will continue and they will introduce newer products like pre-marinated products. A slew of investments have also been planned, he added. These will include development of an application for consumers to place orders, revamping 100 shops in the next three years to ensure the brand has a physical presence and creating a fleet of electric vehicles to transport the orders to doorsteps, Syed said.The new management is marketing the venture through the online mediums and relying on the word of mouth as well, Syed said, exuding confidence that the brand will create 2,500 direct and indirect jobs in Aurangabad as the expansion happens. Plans are also afoot to take the venture beyond Aurangabad into other tier-II and tier-III cities of Maharashtra, he said.
Mumbai: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Thursday said that there was no government in Maharashtra. Raut said that having just the chief minister and deputy chief minister is not a government, especially at a time when the state was facing flood fury and water-logging. Raut said that 12 days after swearing in, there are no ministers inducted in the government, which shows that this is an illegal government and was created with cheating. “Nothing is working. There is ‘lockdown’ in Maharashtra again,” Raut said. Chaitanya Marpakwar
THANE: The Kulkarnis from Thane did not give their school-going children their own mobile phones till they reached secondary section. However, the Covid-imposed lockdown and subsequent online school sessions forced the couple to purchase independent connections for their children as they were unable to share their gadgets due to their own work-from-home schedules. The Kulkarnis are among the lakhs of subscribers who unknowingly helped bring about a 22% rise in mobile phone connections in Maharashtra in the pandemic years of 2020-21 and 2021-22 compared to the non-Covid times. A cursory tally of the data released recently by the state government shows that while 1,306.2 lakh connections were operational in 2019-20, the number swelled to 1,265.8 lakh in the first nine months of 2021-22. In 2020-21, there were 1,325.6 lakh more connections with a monthly average of 110 lakh active connections. Interestingly, landline connections, which have been seeing a gradual decline, also saw a turnaround in the number of subscriptions last fiscal. (see graphic) Experts have attributed this brisk business for mobile network providers to the work-from-home and online education trends. "Many employees were asked to work from home and schools and colleges had taken up online tutoring. While the initial year saw many parents accommodating and sharing gadgets with their children, they eventually decided to ensure an independent connection for their child's education needs," said Achintya Mukherjee, a telephone consumer activist. Bhavana J, a businesswoman from Mulund, said her family has dedicated numbers for their two children to ensure their work didn't get affected during the lockdown. "We were initially sceptical of allowing our younger child a mobile phone, but the online education compelled us to do so as we couldn't share our phones due to our work schedules," she said. The increase in subscriptions is apparently the highest witnessed in the last seven years smashing the near 12% rise reported in 2016-17, the records show. The average connection count had stagnated for two years since 2017-18 and also showed a drop in 2019-20, but took a northward turn in the coming years, with the initial numbers of last fiscal reporting one of the best performances for the industry.
MUMBAI: The state home department has asked the excise commissioner to direct all stakeholders in the liquor industry to stop home delivery of liquor, a service which was encouraged during the lockdown to ensure social distancing. The home department's letter to the commissioner suggests restoration of pre-pandemic practices of sale, thus indirectly putting an end to home delivery of liquor. "Owing to the withdrawal of protocols for Covid-related restrictions, the decision to allow home delivery stands automatically withdrawn as it was meant for meeting social distancing norms during the lockdown period only... all stakeholders should be intimated about this and related actions be taken," said the letter. However, the excise department has said the "government will take a call...after considering all legal and social factors" indicating that a rethink on discontinuing the practice is likely. Retailers continue to keep home delivery on and will seek the excise commissioner's directives before implementing a decision. Though consolidated data on home deliveries is not available, lakhs of consumers have taken to ordering liquor at home since the pandemic began. Bhavesh Patel, owner of the World of Wines chain, said he has a home delivery database of 9,500 customers at one store alone in Nariman Point. "Thousands of delivery and IT personnel will lose their jobs if home delivery of liquor stops. Our shop, for instance, makes an average 150 daily despatches from Colaba to Andheri. Today's generation is tech savvy and they prefer to buy online rather than stand in queue at the shop. Online, one can select from a range of options around the clock." Patel pointed out that Alcobev (alcohol beverage) retail home delivery was the first non-essential business to be opened up during the pandemic owing to public demand and the need for revenue. Principal secretary for excise Valsa Nair Singh said home delivery was approved only during the lockdown to ensure social distancing. "However, the government will shortly take a call on the future need to have a policy for home delivery or not after considering all legal and social factors surrounding it," she said, while speaking to TOI. Meanwhile, excise commissioner Kantilal Umap said the prior position before the first lockdown will be maintained till the time the government takes its final call. Sumit Chawla of Association of Progressive Liquor Vendors said as of now the home department's letter is to the excise commissioner to stop home delivery. "We will seek commissioner's guidance on Thursday before taking any decision," he added.
MUMBAI: The state home department has asked the excise commissioner to direct all stakeholders in the liquor industry to stop home delivery of liquor it had permitted during Covid lockdown. However, the excise department officials said that the 'government will take a call on its future after considering all legal and social factors'. Meanwhile, retailers said their home delivery was on as they will seek commissioner's directives on Thursday over the development. The fact is that lakhs of consumers are now used to ordering liquor at home instead of queuing up at the shops which was actually the reason behind starting home delivery during the pandemic period. Excise officials said except for initial days they had no count of day-to-day home deliveries in Mumbai or Maharashtra so far. The home department letter suggests restoration of pre-pandemic liquor sale practices thus indirectly putting an end to the home delivery liquor. Owing to the withdrawal of state protocol for covid lockdown, the decision to allow home delivery stands automatically withdrawn as it was meant for meeting social distancing norms during lockdown period only, stated the home department letter to the commissioner. However, the excise department officials' version saying that the government will take a call over future need of home delivery only after considering legal and social factors around it, has indicated that the government might soon rethink on its total withdrawal. Principal secretary for excise Valsa Nair Singh said home delivery was approved only during the lockdown to ensure social distancing. "However, the government will shortly take a call on the future need to have a policy for home delivery or not after considering all legal and social factors surrounding it," she said while talking to TOI. Meanwhile, excise commissioner Kantilal Umap said the prior position before the first lockdown will be maintained till the time the government takes its final call. Sumit Chawla of the Association of progressive liquor vendors (APLV) said as of now it is the home department's letter to the excise commissioner to end the home delivery as per its original mandate. However, we will seek commissioner's guidance on Thursday before taking any decision on closure of home delivery, he added. Bhavesh Patel, owner of World of Wines chain of wine shops, has a home delivery database of 9,500 customers in just one store in Nariman Point. "Thousands of delivery and IT personnel will lose their jobs if home delivery of liquor stops. Our shop for instance makes an average 150 daily despatches from Colaba to Andheri. Today's generation is tech savvy and they prefer to buy online rather than stand in queue at the shop. Online, one can select from a range of options around the clock. On the one hand, wines are now allowed to be sold in supermarkets, and on the other, liquor stores cannot even cater to consumers by delivering at home for their ease and comfort." Parmar points out that Alcobev (alcohol) retail home delivery was the first non-essential business to be allowed to be opened to people during the pandemic owing to public demand and the state government's need for revenue. (With inputs from Bella Jaisinghani)
Pune: The Swargate police are investigating a complaint of Prashant Barawkar (48), the deputy general manager of the Maharashtra State Warehousing Corporation in Gultekdi, accusing a worker on contract of tampering with the organisation’s muster roll and inserting his name as a government employee in a bid to become its permanent staffer.Barawkar told TOI, “The worker was hired as an attendant in the corporation’s office. He took advantage of the Covid-induced lockdown to tamper with the muster roll of permanent employees of the corporation. He simultaneously signed on both the muster rolls – one for the permanent employees and the other for those on contract. But he received the salary of an employee on contract. No extra payment has been made to him.”The police said the worker was accused of tampering with the muster roll since March 2020. Senior inspector Ashok Indalkar of the Swargate police said, “A case of cheating and forgery has been registered in this regard. Further probe is on.”The Maharashtra State Warehousing Corporation (MSWC), a state government undertaking headquartered in Pune with 200 warehouses across Maharashtra, is tasked with scientific storage of food grains, fertilisers, industrial goods, cotton bales and cement, and facilitates pledging of warehouse receipts for availing credits from banks. It primarily provides economical services to farmers using its storage facilities.The FIR states, “MSWC hired the employee on contract through a private manpower supply company for housekeeping and other tasks. He was deputed to the corporation from February 2012 and working as an attendant. As he had been working with the corporation on contract for many years, he moved around the office freely. In 2020, lockdown was announce. Thus, the corporation issued a temporary identity card to him to attend the office.” The FIR states, he submitted the copies in the industrial court for personal gains. The court is still hearing the case.”
NAGPUR: Joseph George (49), who led several humanitarian aid campaigns during the cross-country migration amid lockdown two years ago, passed away due to cardiac arrest at a city hospital on Saturday. George played a crucial role in coordinating with 130 NGOs, distributing ration kits at Panjara Toll Plaza to passing migrants and taking care of stranded ones at shelter homes in the summer of 2020. A year later, he followed up with arrangements of oxygen cylinders, life-saving medicines and hospital beds during the deadly second Covid wave. He joined green activists in the fight against the proposed IMS at Ajni. George also extended support to animal lovers who led a march recently against the brutal killing of two puppies. “He didn’t know most of us but ended up as the coordinator in relief work on behalf of the Nagpur police during the lockdown,” said fellow activist Anasuya Kale Chhabrani. George, a resident of Kailash Nagar, is survived by father VJ George, wife Achamma, son Evan Joseph and sisters Janet Mary and Victoria Roy. “He had multiple cardiac arrests since yesterday. He had some co-morbidities which doctors feel worsened his condition,” said Evan. George proved to be a go-to man for the local administration in Covid management, once his efforts during the pandemic were recognised by citizens and officials. “Since childhood, I have seen him helping the poor and needy. He started feeding the hungry and also moved towards environmental issues,” his son added. Then additional police comissioner Nilesh Bharne, who was monitoring the NGOs, hailed George as a selfless man who was always ready to help others. “I don’t know if there is anyone who worked more than Joesph during the pandemic. He would start at 5am and go on till 2am,” said Bharne, who is now posted as deputy inspector general of police, Kumaon range. The 130 NGOs came under the banner of TogetherWeCan and George was named its president, said Kunal Maurya, who too works with many of these NGOs. Municipal commissioner Radhakrishnan B said his contribution during the Covid fight — managing call centres and tackling patients — was immense. “I remember those days; I was new to this place then and Joseph and other activists were highlighting issues relevant to the public. He was a dedicated person and passionate about many issues. It is a big loss to the city and his family,” the civic chief said.
Chandigarh: The Punjab government on Monday ordered immediate release of Rs 50 lakh compensation to the family of a bus driver, who had died of a heart attack on his way to bring back devotees from Hazur Sahib in Maharashtra in 2020.In April 2020, the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) had sent a fleet of 32 buses to bring back pilgrims stranded at Hazur Sahib because of the lockdown imposed in wake of Covid-19. A frontline corona warrior, Manjit Singh (38) was one of the drivers and died of a heart attack on the way near Indore. He hailed from Badbar village of Barnala district. The previous Congress government had given Rs 10 lakh to the family of the victim, prompting the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to launch a state-wide protest to demand higher compensation. Led by Bhagwant Mann, AAP had accused the then Congress government of apathy towards the Covid warriors.
MUMBAI: Maharashtra’s GST revenue which has seen steady recovery in financial year 2021-22, has ended up almost 32% higher than 2020-21 when the country underwent a severe lockdown. This data also reflects economic recovery after the spread of the delta variant of Covid-19 during a second wave of infections resulted in lockdown-style restrictions. The data shows that GST collections for the 2021-22 financial year was Rs 2.2 lakh crore. In 2020-21, it was Rs 1.6 lakh crore. GST is a consumption-based tax and is an indicator of economic activity. Maharashtra’s GST collections are the highest in the country and it is the main revenue earner for the state government. The GST revenue earned in March 2022 was month-wise the third highest in the financial year. The highest earning was in April 2021 which was Rs 22,012 crore and then in January 2022 (Rs 20,704 crore). GST revenue reflects collections made in the previous month. As a result, the January revenue reflected collections before the worst of the Omicron wave. April revenues are typically high because they reflect collections in March which is the final month of the financial year. The March 2022 revenue of Rs 20,305 crore was 19% higher than the March 2021 revenue which was 17,038 crore.
MUMBAI: In a major relief to the liquor serving hotels and restaurants in the state, the Supreme Court (SC) has retained the Bombay High Court’s (HC) earlier interim order allowing excise licence holders to pay upto 50 per cent excise fees for covid fiscal 2021-22, pending the petition. The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI), Indian Hotels and Restaurants Association (AHAR) and seven other associations had approached the SC after the Bombay HC recently (on March 29, 2022) dismissed the petition and instead imposed Rs 9 lakh as cost on the associations. The SC has also granted a stay to the cost. However, in a notice SC has directed state excise to appear and file reply to the special leave petition by the hotel associations. The main prayer of the hoteliers' April 2021 petition was to offer them 50% waiver or proportionate reduction in the fees due to closures and restrictions imposed during second wave of covid. While stating that SC directive had given much hope and relief to the industry, HRAWI president Sherry Bhatia said “Back in May 2021, the Hon’ble Bombay HC in view of the pandemic and the State imposed lockdowns, had agreed to provide relief in the excise licence fee to the industry. It had allowed licence holders to pay 50 per cent of the fees pending the petition. However, we were surprised that when the matter was finally heard a couple of days ago, another Bench of the HC felt that the petition was worthless and instead imposed a cost on the Associations. So, we immediately approached the Hon’ble SC on which the hearing took place recently and we are extremely pleased to inform that the SC has issued a notice to the State to continue the previous interim order which was passed in favour of the industry." “We are conducting lawful business under the licences issued by the State Government. However, when the Government issues licences to hotels, restaurants and bars, to sell or serve alcohol then we are entitled to all legal rights. There continues to be prejudice against liquor business. However, liquor is only incidental to a hotel and restaurant business which is primarily about offering accommodation and serving food to guests,” Bhatia added. Maharashtra has around 10,500 hotels and 210,000 restaurants and over the last 24 months around 3,000 hotels and 60,000 restaurants have permanently shut down. Around 50 lakh employees, roughly 40 per cent directly engaged in the industry in the State lost their jobs. “Our Association has led from the front in matters of policy advocacy and liaising with policy makers. We were pained to have been saddled with the cost for having approached the Court, which we did in the interest of members who’ve been completely battered in the two successive waves of the pandemic. It is a matter of fact, that even the Central and the State Governments have acknowledged that hospitality is the most severely affected industry due to the pandemic induced lockdowns and restrictions. In the first wave, restaurants were under a complete lockdown for seven and a half months and thereafter, were operating under severe restrictions. Similarly, during the second wave, restaurants were fully shut for two months and twenty days and for the remaining days, were allowed to operate gradually up to 4 pm, 8 pm and 10 pm and so on with 50 per cent capacity limitation. It is unfair to make us pay licence fees for the period when we were made to shut down or restrict business operations,” said Pradeep Shetty, Sr. VP, HRAWI. During the lockdown period, Maharashtra’s hospitality industry has suffered a revenue loss of approximately Rs.5,000 Cr monthly. “Fifty per cent of the industry had already shut down and owners had no earnings for the last two years. Additionally, no financial institutions were and most still aren’t willing to lend to the industry. Owners of hotels, restaurants and bars are facing severe difficulties in raising capital. We feel, being in the legitimate business of serving alcohol along with food, we are also entitled to all rights including rights under Article 14 especially, when industry and licence holders are not treated fairly. For now, the SC interim order states that the Excise Licence fee of FY 2021-22 for members who have paid 50 per cent fees will be protected and won’t have to pay the additional 50 per cent demanded by the State Excise Department. We shall continue to exhaust our right to legal remedy before the SC to uphold the right of the Associations to advocate the interests of members in the larger interest of the industry,” stated Shetty.
In the wake of the fuel price rise and problems in maintaining a motorcycle due to the Covid-19 pandemic-induced restrictions, a man working as a lab assistant at a pharmacy college here in Maharashtra commutes on a horse to his workplace every day.The diesel price in Aurangabad is just a few paise short of Rs 100 per litre, while the petrol rate has crossed Rs 115 per litre.The petrol price on Sunday was hiked by 50 paise a litre and diesel by 55 paise, taking the total increase in rates since the resumption of daily price revision less than a week back to Rs 3.70-3.75 per litre. The rates have been increased across the country and vary from state to state depending upon the incidence of local taxation.Also Read | Petrol, diesel prices hiked again, fifth time in six days: Check rates in your cityTo tide over the situation, Shaikh Yusuf has put away his motorcycle and goes to his workplace, located 15 km from his home, riding a horse. He started the practice during the Covid-19-induced lockdown earlier."Following the lockdown, garages were shut for a long time and the service and maintenance of motorcycle was a problem, even the fuel prices have been going up. So, I decided to put away my vehicle and bought a Kathiawadi horse," Yusuf told reporters.The man said he now travels about 30 km every day (to and from work) on the horse, and even goes to buy groceries and family functions riding on the animal's back.Also Read | Give account of Rs 26 lakh crore excise duty earned on petrol, diesel: Congress to govt"Travelling on a horse is certainly cheaper than moving around on a motorcycle. Also, while commuting on the bike, we sometimes just roam around as it only requires a kick to start it. But, while using the horse for commuting, we think of its health and our health condition too," he said."Sometimes, children travelling in expensive cars wave at me when I am out on my horse, and I feel happy," Yusuf said.He also said the growing prices of various commodities can be controlled only when the fuel prices come down.Check out the latest videos from DH:
Mumbai: While the popular perception is that the public healthcare system received the bulk of Covid-related expenditure, a survey by the state itself has shown that almost 80% of Covid patients paid out of their pockets for at least some medicines.The special survey was done to study the pandemic’s impact on social and economic issues, and covered 800 sample units of 20 households each. In all, 66,748 people -- 26,867 from rural and 39,881 from urban areas - were studied in August-September 2021.The survey, released along with the economic survey on Thursday, said about 21.7% respondents in rural areas and 16.5% from urban areas received free treatment for Covid-19. A sizeable number -- 12.8% in rural areas and 15.9% in urban areas – spent over Rs 50,000 each on Covid treatment.“The point to note is that people were still spending on food and medicines,” said health economist Dr Ravi Duggal. “Apart from the out-of-pocket burden on Covid treatment, people had to spend more on food,” he said. Quoting the survey, he said 78% of the urban respondents said expenditure on eatables and beverages increased during the lockdown.The survey also found that majority of the respondents in rural areas got Covid after coming in contact with an infected person in a crowded place. In urban areas, work place infection accounted for 30% of the cases.Home quarantine was higher in urban (43%) areas than rural (38%). Only a quarter of the patients in both urban and rural areas sought out private healthcare, while the remaining chose government healthcare.Incidentally, majority of patients -- 45.5% households from rural areas and 37.8 % households from urban areas -- had physical consultations with their doctors.The survey also captured the pandemic’s social impact: About 85 % of students over five years and above attended online education during the lockdown. “About 54% students reported frequent discontinuity of the internet as the major difficulty during online classes,’’ said the survey. About 47.1% people from rural areas and 19.8 % from urban areas didn’t receive wages as work was temporarily closed during the lockdown.
MUMBAI: Maharashtra's economic survey released on Thursday has suggested that the cases involving cruelty by husbands and relatives against women have gone up in 2021 after a dip in the same in 2020. In 2020, the first lockdown year, 6,729 such cases involving cruelty against women by husbands and relatives were registered across the state as against 8430 in 2019. However in 2021, the second lockdown year, again around 8,024 cases were registered, equal to almost pre-covid level. The Maharashtra State Commission for women, a statutory body that regularly holds hearings / public hearings on complaints filed by women victims, has provided free legal aid and counselling services to the victims. An innovative initiative called ‘Women Commission at your doorstep’ was implemented extensively by organising division wise and district wise public hearings, with the primary objective to give victim women a platform to resolve their issues and interact unhesitantly, the report said.. The Commission also organised workshops, training programmes and seminars on women related issues viz. self defence programmes, awareness about gender equality, legal literacy, cybercrime, implementation of Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, 2005, Sexual harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, prohibition & redressal) Act, 2013, rehabilitation of acid attack victims, preparation of guidelines for crèche, etc. During 2020-21, expenditure of Rs 3.63 crore was incurred on these activities and during 2021-22 upto January, expenditure of Rs 3.92 crore was incurred on similar programmes, revealed the survey.
Mumbai: The state legislature joint select committee has recommended setting up of special police teams for every district or at commissionerates to investigate crimes against women as specified under Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law (Maharashtra Amendment) Bill, 2020, also known as Shakti law. The team will be headed by an officer of the rank of deputy superintendent of police and will comprise at least one woman constable and women personnel shall be included, states the report submitted to the assembly on Monday by state home minister Dilip Walse-Patil.The bill was introduced in the assembly in December 2020 and referred to the committee both Houses for consideration. The committee held four meetings and finalised the report on March 3. It provides for capital punishment, life sentence, hefty fines and speedy trial for perpetrators of crime against women and children. It specifies a deadline of 30 days for completion of the probe from the day a complaint is lodged and puts the onus on social media platforms and Internet provider companies to share data for police investigations.The report states the investigation will be handed over to the special team by the police commissioner/superintendent of police after ascertaining the seriousness and sensitivity of the offence. The committee recommended that a single prosecutor handle all cases in a district was not feasible and hence has suggested that the bill allow for one or more special public prosecutors. tnn
MUMBAI: For the first time since the March 2020 lockdown, the BMC has permitted all educational institutions from pre-primary to Class 12 to go fully offline from March 2. Only students with comorbidities and chronic diseases will need parental consent to attend physical schools and colleges. The decision came after cabinet minister Aaditya Thackeray met state and civic officers on Friday to decide on making educational institutions go 100% offline. Currently, schools function in the hybrid mode. A decision on schools across the state is awaited, as is a decision on 100% offline mode for colleges and universities. Thackeray tweeted: “Schools in Mumbai can resume in March with pre-Covid timings, attendance, extra-curricular activities, school buses, apart from certain essential Covid appropriate norms as cases steadily decline in Mumbai.” According to BMC’s fresh SOP, masks will be mandatory in the class, but not on playgrounds or during school activities. Masks are must in class, but not on playgroundsThe BMC on Friday issued a fresh standard operating procedure (SOP) for students, including resumption of school playgrounds and extra-curricular activities. Masks will be mandatory in the class but not on playgrounds or during school activities, the SOP stated. Students will continue to be checked for temperature. Recess and lunch breaks have been allowed. Schools for disabled children too have been allowed 100% offline attendance. Ajit Kumbhar, deputy municipal commissioner (education), confirmed city schools have been allowed to go fully offline. This is the first time since the March 2020 lockdown that schools will function 100% in the physical mode. From October, schools were functioning both offline and online. In January, schools had to resume 100% online education due to the rise in Omicron cases. Schools were once again back to the hybrid mode from January 24. With infections falling, schools had been demanding 100% offline attendance. With SSC exams beginning on March 15, though, schools will not be able to function full time. This year, all schools are doubling up as exam centres. “Secondary students will get only a few hours in school as they have to leave before SSC students arrive by 9.30am-10am. Primary students may have to continue online on days when there are papers from 3pm-6.30pm,” said the principal of a Kurla school. The paediatric Covid task force had on Wednesday communicated to the state and the BMC that it is safe to resume full-time physical schools. Sources said across the state, district and civic officials will have to take a decision on going fully offline depending on the Covid situation. Some schools have already done away with the hybrid mode. “All students have been attending physical classes since the past few weeks. We have given them recess too and students are careful with masks and social distancing,” said the principal of a Powai school. The hybrid mode did not work for students logging into virtual classrooms. “We have been holding only online and offline classes twice a week. This way all students are benefiting,” said a teacher of a Worli school. Lack of transport facilities has been a prime reason for parents not sending children to school. School bus operators have hiked fares by around 30% and have not been receiving a good response from parents. Parents of younger children want to go offline only in the next academic year. “Offline should start next year as only a few days of schooling are left,” said the parent of a Class 3 student. Thackeray tweeted that schools will be encouraged to organise vaccination camps for students aged 15 plus.