The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 18-03-2023 | 12:45 pm
NEET UG 2023: Since the Russia-Ukraine war, Kyrgyzstan has gained a softer spotlight as a study abroad destination for medical aspirants of India. According to the data provided by the Indian government, there were 14,500 Indian students in Kyrgyzstan in 2022. Out of these, nearly 4621 were medical students — as per the data provided by the NBE suggests — 4621 candidates appeared for Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) in 2022, and 879 candidates cleared the screening test.However, the Ministry of External Affairs does not maintain any information on for which course the students have applied every year.Considering that Kyrgyzstan is an upcoming study abroad destination for Indian medical aspirants, here are some of the key things to know:edu.gov.kg— NEET qualified (50 percentiler)— A score of 50 per cent in Physics, Chemistry and Biology in Class 12 (reserved categories may have different eligibility)— Medical clearance against any contagious diseases— The minimum age requirement is 17 years.The duration of MBBS in Kyrgyzstan is six years, which includes the internship year.There is no entrance exam to get admission to MBBS courses in Kyrgyzstan. Students simply have to visit the official website of the university where they want to pursue the medical course and fill out the application form. Once the eligibility is checked by the varsity, the students will be asked to submit the required documents supporting their eligibility, educational and identity proof.Then, once all the information is cross-checked, the varsity will get in contact with the students through their registered email address for payment and other admission procedures.The tuition fee for MBBS is approximately US $24,500, which does not include the cost of living and other expenses. This amount varies from one university to another, and aspirants are advised to check with the university before applying.All international students are taught in English.Some of the most popular MBBS colleges in Kyrgyzstan, according to the FMGE candidates data provided by the NBE are the International Higher School of Medicine, International School of Medicine International University of Kyrgyzstan, Osh State University Medical Faculty, S. Tentishev Asian Medical Institute, Jalal Abad State University Medical Faculty, International School of Medicine International University of Kyrgyzstan Eastern Medical Campus, I.K. Akhunbaev Kyrgyz State Medical Academy Faculty of General Medicine.
EVEN in West Bengal where political leaders have been jumping sides with rapid frequency to stay on the right side, this was an unusual development. Last week, a leader of the Trinamool Congress from North Bengal, Udayan Guha, came out against his own father Kamal Guha, saying that as a Forward Bloc leader and minister, the latter too “gave many jobs illegally”.Udayan, who joined the TMC before the 2016 Assembly elections, said: “He (his father) also committed corruption for the sake of the party.”The amount may not have been much, Udayan was quick to specify, but it was still corruption. “If you take Rs 5, it is not corruption, but if you take Rs 50,000 or Rs 5 lakh, that is corruption? It can’t be like that… My father also employed many people.”Trapped in a corner over mounting corruption allegations against her government, particularly over the job recruitment scam that hits the people where it hurts, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee appeared to pull this card out of her sleeve.And it’s not the only one. As the clock starts ticking for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Mamata is employing several tactics, from targeted wooing of her Muslim support base to fighting the corruption taint to rolling out more schemes. In 2019, the BJP had stunned the TMC by winning 18 Lok Sabha seats in the state where it was not too long ago a nobody, and the TMC knows it can leave no chinks in its armour.The re-focus on the CPI(M) as the target of its attack is also calculated, as it plays down the significance of the BJP (which has lost many of its leaders to the TMC). Plus, the TMC is still reeling from losing its Muslim-dominated stronghold of Sagardighi in a recent bypoll to a Congress candidate, backed by the CPI(M).Over the weekend, in a little-noticed but worrying sign for the TMC, the Congress and CPI(M) swept all 19 seats in a closely fought battle for the Haldia docks management committee, in Purba Medinipur district. The TMC had won all but 1 seat last time, and had held control of the committee for 13 years.The corruption battleThe 2021 Assembly poll win had been a commendable achievement for the Mamata-led TMC, bringing it to power for the third time in the state against an ascendant and aggressive BJP. However, within a year, the blows started.It began with then Industry Minister and Mamata aide, Partha Chatterjee, being arrested by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) along with his confidante Arpita Mukherjee. The case struck headlines for successive days as more than Rs 50 crore in cash turned up at Mukherjee’s flats.Hardly had this furore died down that another top TMC leader, Anubrata Mondol, along with his bodyguard Saigal Hossain, was arrested in a cattle-smuggling case. Then came the school job scam, in which many officials of the school education department and TMC leaders were arrested.Against this backdrop came Udayan Guha’s charges against the Left regime that preceded the TMC’s – a surprising turn of direction given that it has been more than a decade since the Left Front lost power and the TMC has brought this up now.After naming his father as among those who gave out jobs as quid pro quo, Udayan shared documents which he claimed show how close relatives of CPI(M) leaders got employment in government sectors without proper recruitment examinations. He named the wife of CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty, Mili, who was employed by a government college in 1987 and worked there for 34 years before retirement, and relatives of former CPI(M) minister Sushanta Ghosh as among them.“A HORRIFIC example of deceiving the public!” tweeted Udayan.Chakraborty fired back telling Udayan to submit proof if he had any. “We are ready to face an investigation. If he does not have any proof, the TMC must apologise at an open forum.”The minority voteThe bypoll to Murshidabad’s Sagardighi seat – which had been held by the TMC since 2011 — was necessitated by the death of sitting TMC MLA Subrata Saha. Stunning the ruling party, the Congress’s Bayron Biswas won the bypoll, defeating the TMC’s Debasish Banerjee by 22,986 votes. Apart from the Left Front, Biswas was backed by the ISF, or Islamic Secular Front, a rising Muslim outfit that the TMC sees as a challenger for Muslim votes.In the postmortem done after the result, the TMC is said to have zeroed in on minority votes shifting to the Left-Congress, the corruption taint attached to it, and a decline in Mamata’s popularity as among the reasons.Sagardighi was also bad news coming so close to the panchayat polls, expected to be announced anytime soon in Bengal, given the fluid party loyalties at the grassroots level.While Mamata publicly asserted that “minorities are with us, like before”, a series of steps since indicate that this confidence is shaken.Firstly, the faces in the committee set up by the TMC to introspect on the defeat in Sagardighi. It included ministers Siddiqullah Chowdhury, Sabina Yasmin, Akhrujjaman and Jakir Hossain. Chowdhury was also given the responsibility of Malda, Murshidabad and South Dinajpur districts, along with Yasmin.Chowdhury used to be a leader of the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind, an organisation with a strong base among Bengali-speaking Muslims of West Bengal.Alongside this, Firhad Hakim or Bobby Hakim, identified with the Urdu-speaking Muslim population of the state, saw his wings being clipped. Previously, it was Hakim who looked after the TMC organisation in Murshidabad, along with Howrah and Hoogly.The president of the TMC’s Bengal minority cell, MLA Haroa Haji Nurul, was replaced next, with another young Muslim leader, Mosaraf Hossain, the MLA of Itahar.On Monday, in yet another change, Md Ghulam Rabbani was removed from the state’s Minority Affairs Department, and moved to Horticulture. Mamata herself has taken charge of the Minority Affairs Department for now.Simultaneously, the Mamata government announced the creation of separate development boards for minorities and migrant labour. A senior Cabinet minister said, “Earlier, there was a finance corporation for minorities. Mamata Banerjee has now decided to create a Minority Development Board and a Migrant Labour Development Board.”The new schemes, financial situationAlthough the TMC government has been able to increase revenue collection in 2022-23, the state’s revenue deficit has increased to nearly Rs 7,000 crore. Simultaneously, according to the Budget proposals placed by Minister of State, Finance, Chandrima Bhattacharya in the Assembly Wednesday, the state’s outstanding debt will rise to about Rs 6.5 lakh crore by the end of the 2023-24 fiscal.The Mamata government has several popular welfare measures such as Lakshmi Bhandar, Kanyasree, Rupasree, Sabuj Sathi which require huge outflows. The Lakshmi Bhandar programme alone needs more than Rs 20,000 crore per year.Recently, state government employees held a strike – the first under the TMC tenure – demanding a hike in dearness allowance.Mamata has accused the Centre of not paying Rs 1 lakh crore as its dues, including for wages of MNREGA. On Tuesday, she said it had been a mistake on Bengal’s part to join the GST, given the outstanding money to the state. From Tuesday, she is sitting on dharna at Kolkata Esplanade for two days over the issue.A nervous partyA section of the TMC leaders admit they are not too sure if these measures will achieve their objective. A senior TMC leader said: “Everybody knows that the CPI(M) gave jobs to party workers when in power. Congress leader Ghani Khan Choudhury, our leader Mamata Banerjee, and Mukul Roy also gave jobs when they were Rail Ministers at the Centre… But they did not give jobs taking money from aspirants; that is corruption.”The leader fears that the TMC might face counter-questions such as, if it knew about these corruption allegations against the Left government, why had these not been investigated in the last 10 years. “And lastly, just because they were corrupt, does it mean we have the permission to be corrupt ourselves?”CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said, “This strategy will not work anymore, as the credibility of Mamata Banerjee is finished and she cannot fool the people further.”BJP leader Samik Bhattacharya said, “The TMC is now trying to project the CPI(M) as the Opposition. But, the people already know who the Opposition is.”He added that even the TMC’s bid to regain Muslim confidence won’t work. “We are also reaching out to them, telling them that in Mamata Banerjee’s regime, most people belonging to minority groups have been killed, and the areas inhabited by them have remained undeveloped.”With the TMC projecting the BJP as an “outsider”, Bhattacharya insisted: “Our DNA and heritage are the same, and they (the Muslims) should march with us for the development of the whole Bengal.”
A poet friend of mine, Lalsangliani Ralte, writes: “Every word in the national anthem is a challenge to my tribal tongue/that is more used to a slightly altered version of the English alphabet/than it is to the Devanagari script…./So when you get confused about my identity/and where I am from, the God I worship/the way I dress, the way I look and behave, Remember that I am just as confused/for I am alleging my loyalty to a country through an anthem/that has to be explained to me/for me to understand what it means.”This is not just the voice of one Mizo girl but of many, a shared experience of tribal communities from the northeast region of India. I still remember singing the national anthem under the scorching heat of the morning sun in our school assembly. My pronunciation of every word was slightly different from my classmates, and I did not know what the words meant. But I knew I shared the same solemnity and pride that they sang the anthem with.Through the course of 75 years since its independence, India has achieved glorious milestones in many fields while trying to uphold values of democracy, liberty, national unity and integrity as expressed in the Preamble to the Constitution. We have come a long way. But can the same be said for tribal communities in the Northeast?Thousands of young people from the Northeast flock to mainland metro cities every year, seeking jobs and higher education. With packed suitcases, a head full of dreams, and sweaty palms — we are just thinking about how to fit in. It’s always a challenging, inspiring and intimidating journey. I know this because I have been one of those hopeful dreamers and I cannot count the number of times I have been asked for my passport, or to explain the location of Mizoram on India’s map. Since middle school, one of the first things we learnt about our country is the cultural diversity and the hundreds of ethnicities that contribute to the greatness of this nation. But the ground reality has always been different from the words in our textbooks. Since Independence, the experience of people from the Northeast has been marked by racial discrimination, rape and murder, instances of public humiliation, and social ostracism.Progress is slow but not entirely absent. With the growing encounter between the Northeast and the mainland, developments have been made in certain areas. For instance, I no longer get called “chinky” while strolling through the streets of big cities. It’s only on rare occasions that I have to explain that Mizoram is not a country but a state of India. I don’t have to explain that we don’t all eat dog meat or hunt heads. Last year, I attended a literary fest in Mumbai and I was thrilled when I met many literary artists who said, “Lovely place”, “I came for a visit some years ago” and “I’d love to come again” — when I told them where I am from. For many, these small steps of progress might not be as significant as technological innovations, industrial growth and infrastructural developments. But for victims of decades of racial profiling and discrimination, gestures of acknowledgement and social acceptance are achievements that India has accomplished through the years.The region has also progressed along with the country during this time. An area that was merely written about and studied, is now writing its own stories and reflections. But as old stereotypes slowly recede, new challenges are cropping up. In one of the literary festivals I attended last year, I was asked why I didn’t write myths and folktales because that was the expectation of writers from tribal communities. I replied saying that a writer from the Northeast can also choose not to write about myths and folktales.More than 50 years have passed since Mizoram demanded independence from India because the people felt neglected and abandoned. It was 57 years ago when Aizawl was ruthlessly bombed by the Indian government. But agreements were made, and the peace accord was signed. Today, we still proudly sing the national anthem and cheer with great pride when our brothers and sisters bear the Indian flag on international platforms. Acceptance and acknowledgement can do so much for national unity. Hopefully, one day we will accept that not every Indian has well-defined round eyes and we understand what it means to call India a land of diverse ethnicities — only to be amazed at just how far the word “diverse” can stretch.Lalhlanpuii is a writer from Mizoram and Assistant Professor, English at Mizoram Christian College. This article is part of an ongoing series, which began on August 15, by women who have made a mark, across sectors
He has been on the death row for about 25 years, after being arrested for murder and sent to Pune’s Yerawada jail. During all those years behind bars, this primary school dropout taught himself Marathi and English, and obtained an MA in Sociology. But for the Supreme Court, what really mattered when setting Niranaram Chaudhary free on Monday was a date from the admissions register of a school in Rajasthan’s Bikaner.The register, from Rajkiya Adarsh Uch Madhyamik Vidyalaya in Jalabsar, showed that Chaudhary had dropped out of Class 3 on May 15, 1989.And so, the apex court ruled that he was a juvenile while being sentenced to death in 1998 with two others for the murder of five members of a family, including a pregnant woman and two children, in a “rarest of the rare” case.On Monday, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice K M Joseph, directed that Chaudhary “be set free forthwith from the correctional home in which he remains imprisoned, as he has suffered imprisonment for more than 28 years” after his arrest in 1994.Chaudhary’s death sentence had earlier been confirmed by the Bombay High Court and twice by the Supreme Court in 2000. However, abandoned by his family at the time of conviction, Chaudhary’s name and age were incorrectly recorded by the Pune court that awarded him the death penalty. In 2018, with the intervention of Project 39A, a criminal reforms advocacy group based in National Law University, Delhi, Chaudhary moved the Supreme Court again.He also argued that his actual name was Niranaram, which was wrongly recorded by the court as “Narayan”.In January 2019, the Supreme Court had referred the case to the Principal District and Sessions Judge in Pune to decide on Chaudhary’s status as a juvenile at the time of conviction. The inquiry led to the school admissions register in Jalabsar.“Apart from the documents of the school, there is a family card, to which we have referred to earlier. The date of issue of Family Card is 1989 and, in this card, issued by the State Government, Nirana’s age is shown to be 12 years,” the Supreme Court said in its final verdict.“Going by that certificate, his age at the time of commission of offence was 12 years and 6 months. Thus, he was a child/ juvenile on the date of commission of offence for which he has been convicted, in terms of the provisions of the 2015 Act. This shall be deemed to be the true age of Niranaram, who was tried and convicted as Narayan,” the Supreme Court said.Anup Surendranath, director of Project 39A, told The Indian Express that Chaudhary is currently in a jail in Nagpur. “Once the Pune Sessions Court orders his release, the Nagpur prison will set him free,” he said.
You may have often been alerted about the stimulant properties of coffee (or equivalent sources of caffeine) in elevating your blood pressure (BP) levels but so far, no clinical study has been able to prove that coffee-drinking is bad for hypertension. Of course, as with all foods and beverages, doctors advise coffee consumption in moderation simply because it does spike blood pressure temporarily before settling down and is, therefore, considered a stressor for those already hypertensive.Explains Dr Balbir Singh, Chairman, Cardiac Sciences, Cardiology, Cardiac, Electrophysiology-Pacemaker, Max Hospitals, “The BP spike is very temporary and then goes down, so one cannot say that coffee-drinking has a significant long-term effect on BP. This is the reason why we advise people to measure their BP for trustworthy readings 30 to 45 minutes after they have had their cup of coffee. It is for the same reason that we advise people not to have coffee before they undertake any intense physical exercise or strenuous activity which can raise your BP. Even then the BP response varies from person to person. Some studies have shown that in habitual coffee drinkers, the spiral effect reduces over time as they develop tolerance to the brew, compared to non-regular drinkers. Why this happens is yet to be pin-pointed. Some researchers believe that caffeine blocks a hormone that widens our arteries. Others attribute the BP spike to coffee spurring the release of extra adrenaline. At the same time, latest research on caffeine, particularly over the last year or so, has focussed on the encouraging effects of antioxidants and flavonoids present in coffee in reducing overall inflammatory markers in the body.”What worries Dr Singh is that all available research on coffee in the West is done with the way the brew is had there, which is black. “So even if research finds no convincing correlation between drinking coffee and hypertension, it would not apply to the coffee-drinking culture in India. We have our coffee with a lot of milk and sugar and that’s harmful for the body at many levels. Latest research says sweeteners too raise the risk of blood clotting, which is worrisome for heart health. But one to two cups of black coffee are not as worrisome. I have black coffee myself,” says he.Given that coffee is a stimulant, a cup increases your BP by five to ten points for a short period of time. Says Dr Udgeath Dhir, Director and Head of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery (CTVS), Fortis Memorial Research Institute, “This is a rise similar to when we exercise. In a two-year study of 45,589 men, between the ages of 40 and 75, which was released last year, researchers of the Harvard Medical School found no link between coffee consumption and the risk of coronary artery disease even in heavy drinkers. While regular coffee was found to be safe, they found a decaf version to be associated with a slightly increased risk of heart disease, though it claimed the link was weak. Studies have found that coffee does not seem to disrupt the heart’s rhythm, even in recent heart attack patients.”The Harvard Medical School last year even published the findings of a study by US and Swiss scientists on 15 volunteers, who didn’t have a high blood pressure and six of whom were just habitual coffee drinkers. According to the study, “The researchers monitored each volunteer’s blood pressure, heart rate and sympathetic nervous system under four conditions: before and after drinking a triple espresso, before and after drinking a decaffeinated triple espresso, before and after receiving 250 mg of caffeine by intravenous injection, and before and after an intravenous placebo (salt solution). A triple espresso caused quite a jolt, and it did jolt blood pressure readings. But although blood caffeine levels rose to a similar degree in all the subjects, not all experienced a rise in blood pressure. In fact, espresso did not boost the pressures of habitual coffee drinkers, though it raised systolic pressure readings on average by 13 mm Hg and diastolic pressures by 7 mm Hg in subjects who were not coffee drinkers. Espresso is strong stuff, but an intravenous slug of caffeine should be even more potent. Indeed, blood caffeine levels rose to the same degree after the caffeine injections and the espresso. But the straight-up caffeine had a much smaller effect on blood pressure than the espresso, boosting systolic blood pressure by an average of just 6 mm Hg. Moreover, the coffee drinkers and the non-drinkers responded similarly to intravenous caffeine.” A review of 34 studies showed that two cups resulted in an average increase of 8 mm Hg and 6 mm Hg in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively.Dr Dhir’s advisory is avoiding coffee before sleep as it could interfere with the restorative process of cell repair. “Coffee is a sleep disruptor. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says 400 milligrams a day of caffeine is generally safe for most people. However, if you are already hypertensive and worry about its spiking effects, no matter how temporary, limit yourself to two cups a day,” he says.Far more important is the way we control blood pressure through moderate physical activity for anything between 30 and 45 minutes five times a week. “A cup or two of coffee won’t harm us but ignoring high blood pressure levels or avoiding lifestyle correction means that the resultant condition could impact your vascular system, damage arteries, affect the aorta and end organs,” warns Dr Dhir.
The district court in Odisha’s Nayagarh Monday (March 27) acquitted former Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda in connection with an attack on the district reserve police in 2008.Panda, 55, who was arrested by Odisha Police in July 2014 from Berhampur town in Ganjam district, has been in judicial custody since then. Around 800 gm of gold ornaments, a revolver, multiple mobile phones with sim cards, a laptop and Maoist literature were seized from his possession on the day of his arrest.Panda was once marked as one of the most-wanted Maoist leaders in Odisha and allegedly involved in some of the high-profile crimes, including the killing of Hindu seer Laxamananda Saraswati and four of his disciples in Kandhamal district in 2008 that triggered communal violence in the region.In 2012, he was involved in the abduction of two Italian tourists in the Kandhamal district. While one of them, Claudio Colangelo, was set free, the other, Paolo Bosusco, was released after 29 days in captivity.Police sources said 134 cases were pending against Panda in different police stations in Ganjam, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Rayagada and Nayagarh districts. Panda has been acquitted in 57 cases.According to a lawyer, panda and two of his aides have been acquitted in the case from 2008 because of lack of evidence.Over 100 Maoists, including women cadres with firearms, attacked the police training school, the district armoury and a police station in Daspalla in Nayagarh district on February 15, 2008. As many as 14 people — 13 security personnel and a civilian — were killed in the incident and ten others sustained injuries.The Maoists also took away a huge cache of arms and ammunition in two vehicles. Panda was alleged to be the mastermind of the attack as the case was assigned to the crime branch for investigation.In May 2019, the additional sessions judge in Berhampur in Ganjam convicted and sentenced Panda, who was the founder-leader of Odisha Maobadi Party, to life imprisonment under Section 121 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) for waging war against the government or abetting the waging of such war. He has been lodged in the Berhampur jail.