The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | 23-11-2022 | 05:45 am
IN APRIL last year, Nagesh Vishwas Unde, a daily-wage labourer in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar, died of Covid-19. With the family’s only earning member gone, Unde’s wife was forced to take up work as a farm labourer to ensure her children stayed on in school and college.“I am in my second year of BCom and my 16-year-old sister is in Class 10. My father couldn’t study, but he wanted us to complete our education. After his death, my mother was forced to find work,” says Unde’s son Rohan.After two years of the pandemic, as the Covid curve flattens across the country, data from the Women and Child Development (WCD) Department in Maharashtra shows that for every child in the state who lost her mother to the novel coronavirus infection, nine lost their fathers.Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, 28,938 children in the state lost either of their parents to the infection — of those who died, 2,919 were mothers and 25,883 fathers. In 136 cases, more than one child from the same family lost either of their parents.Between March 2020 and October 2021, Maharashtra recorded 1,39,007 Covid deaths — 92,212 men (66.3%) and 46,779 women (33.6%). According to the Union Health Ministry, Maharashtra’s Covid death count till date, at 1,48,404, is the highest for any state, followed by Kerala’s 71,477 deaths.“Epidemiological findings reported from across the world indicated higher morbidity and mortality (due to Covid) in men than women. There are various factors that are attributed to this – lifestyle and immunological differences, and compliance of Covid protocols,” said Dr Rahul Pandit, Senior Intensive Care Consultant, Fortis Hospital.This overwhelming gap in mortality by gender suggests that the pandemic may have pushed many of these families – especially those in which the men were the sole breadwinners – into financial instability.The Undes say that after a struggle for six months, the family got the Covid ex-gratia amount of Rs 50,000 which has helped them with their school and college fee. “I don’t know how we will pay our fee next year,” said Rohan.Department officials say what has proved to be a hurdle for many of the Covid widows is that they lack the documents that can establish them as the legal heir to their husbands’ property.An officer from the State Relief and Rehabilitation Department – which is responsible for dispersing the Rs 50,000 that the government announced as ex-gratia to the kin of the Covid victims – said, “We have come across several duplicate applications where both the wife of the deceased and his parents have claimed the ex-gratia,” said the officer.Advocate Vidya Abhiman Kasabe of Aadhar Bahuuddeshiya Vikas Sanstha, a Nashik-based NGO that has been working for women widowed during the pandemic, says that in large parts of the state, especially in rural areas, men don’t mention the names of their wives in legal documents such as property ownerships or banks, making it difficult for the women to claim their property.“We have come across several cases where women are blamed for their husbands’ death and are evicted from their homes… In fact, despite having money in the deceased husband’s bank accounts, the woman can’t claim it as her name isn’t mentioned as nominee,” she said.Since the start of the pandemic, 851 children have lost both their parents to the novel coronavirus. As part of its scheme for Covid orphans, the state provides a fixed deposit of Rs 5 lakh in the names of the children. They also get a monthly allowance of Rs 1,125. Besides, under the PM Cares for Children Scheme, Covid orphans get Rs 10 lakh in their bank accounts by the time the child turns 23.
A bandh call has been given in the industrial city of Pimpri-Chinchwad on Thursday in protest against the controversial remarks of Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and BJP spokesperson Sudanshu Trivedi. The call has been given by the NCP, Shiv Sena (UBT), Congress, VBA and at least 100 social and voluntary organisations.“Essential services, hospitals, ambulances, schools and colleges have been exempted from the bandh. The NCP, Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray, Congress, VBA, AIMIM and at least 100 organisations are supporting the bandh,” Maruti Bhapkar, one of the organisers of the bandh, said.Activist Manav Kamble said the bandh has been called to protest against the “insulting” remarks of Koshyari and Trivedi. “We want the Governor to be shifted out of Maharashtra. The Governor has insulted Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj twice and it seems like there is a BJP conspiracy behind this,” he said.Bhapkar said the bandh will be enforced from 9 am to 5 pm. “All shops, industrial units, eateries and markets will remain closed to support the bandh,” he said.
MUMBAI: A woman from Andheri-Marol locality lost Rs 4.15 lakh of her savings in a gift fraud after an imposter who identified himself as Captain David befriended her on Instagram and lured her with an iPhone worth 20,000 UK pounds (approx Rs 20 lakh). The fraudster, who claimed he had couriered the phone to the woman, convinced her to transfer Rs 4.15 lakh to different bank accounts saying it was for processing fees, payment to the RBI and foreign exchange fees for parcel delivery. The fraud occurred between November 23 and December 3, and the FIR was filed with the Powai police on Monday, after the victim relaised she was conned when the fraudster asked her to pay another Rs55,000. "When I informed one of the imposters who had called that I'm bankrupt and wanted to return the gift and get a refund of Rs 4.15 lakh, the person asked me to pay another Rs55,000 for returning the parcel. I somehow arranged Rs 10,000 and transferred the money, but the fraudster stopped answering my calls," the victim told police in her complaint. "Details have been sought from the bank on the accounts to which the victim transferred money. A probe is on to track the internet protocol address," said a police officer of the Powai police station. Till October 31, the Mumbai police have registered 67 cases of gift fraud cases in the city. Police have managed to solve just two.
MUMBAI: The number of students dropping out of civic schools in Mumbai has reduced to a great extent in recent years. In fact, the academic year 2021-22 recorded the lowest number of dropouts in the past 10 years. Compared to more than 40,000 students who dropped out from BMC schools in 2012-13, the numbers have come down to 3,977 in 2021-22. The numbers have come down by over 60% when compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019-20. In that year, 10,517 students had dropped out of BMC schools. BMC officials claimed that the door-to-door campaigns undertaken in the past few years have helped them to improve enrolments and to control the rate of dropouts. Praja Foundation, which collated and analysed the data, claimed the reasons for the fall in the BMC school dropout cases could vary from shutting down of other unrecognised schools to possible anomalies in numbers. For instance, M East ward, which includes Govandi and parts of Chembur, and is notoriously known for having higher dropout numbers over the last nine years, was not among the five worst wards in terms of dropouts in 2021-22. The ward also has the highest enrolment of students, almost close to 38,000. In 2012-13, most dropouts were from Kurla, Sakinaka region, Govandi, parts of Chembur and Malad-Malwani regions. In 2021-22, Matunga, Andheri West and Dadar also figure among the five wards to have higher dropouts, compared to the M East ward. Rajesh Kankal, education officer with the BMC, said that as part of the BMC's Mission Admission campaign, they have brought in several changes in BMC schools. "We even carried out door-to-door campaigns, traced out-of-school children, conducted bridge courses for them," said Kankal, adding that the initiatives helped them to improve the numbers to a great extent, especially in pre-primary level. The BMC managed to enrol 1.02 lakh students this year. Milind Mhaske, CEO of Praja Foundation, said M-East and P-North wards, which include Govandi, parts of Chembur, Malad and Malwani region, also saw closure of some unrecognised schools. "These could have probably forced parents to continue with the BMC schools in the region. But these are our assumptions," said Mhaske. Praja's report on 'Status of Municipal Education in Mumbai' Praja's report also shows that maximum dropouts were reported in Hindi medium schools, followed by Urdu and Marathi medium civic schools.
MUMBAI: The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) has announced the dates of its 2023 exams for class 10 and 12.The Indian Certificate of School Education (ICSE) or class 10 exams will be held from February 27 to March 29, 2023. The Indian School Certificate (ISC) or class 12 exams will be held from February 13 to March 31, 2023. The time tables are available on www.cisce.org.in. Students will get 15 minutes to read their question papers. Except in exceptional cases, a delay of not more than 30 minutes will be allowed for appearing for the exams. Candidates arriving late for the exams should have a satisfactory explanation for the delay. Exam centres have been advised to adhere to Covid-19 protocols during the exams. The Maharashtra state board was the first to announce the SSC and HSC 2023 theory exam dates in September. SSC exams will be held from March 2 to 25 and HSC exams are slated from February 21 to March 20. The state board is still to announce dates of the oral/practical exams. Meanwhile, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is yet to announce the exams dates of their class 10 and 12 students.
MUMBAI: Stressing that children should not be denied education for non-payment of fees, the state education department has directed all schools, including private ones and those from non-state boards, to admit students moving schools without insisting on the mandatory transfer certificate (TC), reports Sandhya Nair. During the pandemic, financial constraints and non-payment of fees had led to an exodus from private to aided and government schools. A circular issued Tuesday says schools should rely on birth certificates for age verification of students in classes 1-8. For students in classes 9-10, schools should try and get details from the previous school (uploaded on the portal 'Saral'). Schools from which information has been sought will have to provide details within seven days. School education minister Deepak Kesarkar hints at action if schools insist on transfer certificateSchool education minister Deepak Kesarkar on Tuesday hinted at taking action against schools that insist on transfer certificate. In a move that has surprised educational institutions, all schools have been directed to admit students moving schools without insisting on the mandatory TC. A government resolution to the effect was issued on Tuesday. Kesarkar said despite the drop in Covid cases, financial constraints continue to trouble parents who may not be able to pay fees. The state had issued a GR in June last year, directing government and aided schools not to insist on TC. Tuesday's GR covers non-state boards such as IB, Cambridge, CBSE, ICSE. The GR has come as a surprise as the academic year is nearing an end and students do not move schools now. School trustees said despite giving 25% to 30% concessions during the two years of the pandemic, parents still have to clear fee dues. "There is no question of admitting a student without a TC as parents will keep moving their children from one school to another without paying fees," said one. A school principal said the state has set up a committee to look into fee-related grievances. "Parents are approaching the committee with their grievances. Now they will simply move their children from one school to another," the principal said. While government and aided schools admitted students last year with the mandatory TC, this year schools refused to admit students without TCs. Parents said in some cases, schools hold back TCs even after fees are paid. "I wanted to change my daughter's school as I did not find the teaching up to the mark. I cleared all the dues yet the school delayed the TC," said a parent who wanted to move from a school in Goregaon. Students have the right to move from one school to another under the Right To Education (RTE) Act. The Bombay high court in March last year directed private unaided schools to not debar students from online or physical classes for non-payment of the increased component of fees for the academic year 2020-21. The state had in May last year barred private unaided schools from hiking fees.