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EDITORIAL

Twice bitten

Militancy affected people from various parts of Jammu region who were forced to leave their homes and come to Jammu city for shelter, have been protesting against discriminatory treatment by the government. They demand treatment at par with Kashmiri "migrants". The government has reacted with lathi charge, arrests and harassment, as if being bitten once by militancy was not enough travail for them and they deserved the second bite. A broader perspective of the issue is desirable. In 1990, Pakistan launched the notorious "Topac" conspiracy aimed at destabilizing the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Youth drawn from PoK, parts of Pakistan and from the Indian part of the State were indoctrinated in religious extremism and given training in terrorist attacks and , ......more

Full spectrum dialogue

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's affable nature has helped him win the goodwill of Pakistani Prime Minister Geelani. In his Pakistan Day celebration message of 23 March ---- the day on which Pakistan resolution was passed in Lahore----Dr. Singh sincerely desired to have peaceful and cooperative relations between the two countries. He says he is committed to resolving all outstanding issues with Pakistan through bilateral dialogue. "I am hopeful that the current dialogue process would lead to peace, progress and prosperity of the entire region," avers Dr. Singh. Reports indicate that full spectrum dialogue between the two countries has been resumed and hopes have risen high that the atmosphere is conducive for result oriented talks. As India and Pakistan prepare for resumption of "full spectrum dialogue" from this month-end, Islamabad ..more

Interceptor Missile Technology in India

By G V Joshi

On Sunday 6th March 2011, the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of the Government of India, destroyed an incoming target missile, a modified Prithvi, also made by DRDO at an altitude of 16 km over the Bay of Bengal.
It was another confirmation of indigenous ballistic missile defence (BMD) capability.
On Sunday Indian scientists and engineers, fired an interceptor missile, which intercepted an incoming 'enemy' ballistic missile at an altitude of 16 km and pulversied it in "a direct kill.". .
...more

Empowering women through SHGs

By Dr. J.S. Manhas and Dr. A. S.Charak

Women constitute about 48 per cent of the country's population and play an equally important role along with men in creating a better family . . ...more

Can tuberculosis be controlled?

By Dr. Sanjeev Narang

Tuberculosis is thought to exist since 15000—20000 years and its references are found even in Vedas. The oldest of them Rigveda calls the disease ‘yaksma’ and Atharvaveda calls it another name ‘balasa’.
In the Morden world, a Prussian physician, Robert Koch discovered mycobacterium tuberculosis on this day i.e. 24th March in the year 1882. Now that even after more than 100 years tuberculosis
..more

EDITORIAL

Twice bitten

Militancy affected people from various parts of Jammu region who were forced to leave their homes and come to Jammu city for shelter, have been protesting against discriminatory treatment by the government. They demand treatment at par with Kashmiri "migrants". The government has reacted with lathi charge, arrests and harassment, as if being bitten once by militancy was not enough travail for them and they deserved the second bite. A broader perspective of the issue is desirable. In 1990, Pakistan launched the notorious "Topac" conspiracy aimed at destabilizing the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Youth drawn from PoK, parts of Pakistan and from the Indian part of the State were indoctrinated in religious extremism and given training in terrorist attacks and subversion. After they infiltrated into the Indian part of the State, they first targeted the Hindu population because they were instructed to create deep communal divide in J&K. Unfortunately owing to incompetence of the then State government and classical wayward attitude of the central government, armed insurgents succeeded in their mission. Hindus from the valley and from the border and vulnerable areas of Jammu region like Mendhar, Poonch, Rajouri, Budhal, Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban and Reasi etc. were hounded out from their homes. These people sought refuge in Jammu city. With the passage of time, even many Muslim families from militancy affected areas, too, migrated to Jammu because they were threatened for their secular and nationalist views and did not succumb to intimidation. Thus we see that the displaced persons whether from the valley or from the parts of Jammu region have been forced to leave their homes for one and the same reason. Jammu, to be precise, is a city of refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants. As long as militancy continues, there seems little chance of these displaced persons returning to their original places. As such, the state government has to give a renewed thought to the prevailing situation of refugees in Jammu. Of course, there is some slight difference between the IDPs from the valley and those from the Jammu province in terms of numbers and logistics, but that should not debar the latter from enjoying equal facilities with the former category. There seems no justification in making discrimination in the matter of providing relief to them. Under Prime Minister's Package for relief and rehabilitation, there is no discriminating of displaced persons from the valley and other parts of the state. The PM has provided relief to all victims of militancy, which, by implication, includes the displaced persons from Jammu region.
The government is bound to extend the benefits of PM's package and other relief measures to all militancy affected families from vulnerable parts of Jammu province. Lathi charging and physical suppression are not the answer to their demands. Police action against peaceful demonstrators is unjust and uncalled for. They have the right to demand adequate facilities because in juridical terms, the government has failed to provide them the security of life and property. A government that is unable to provide the people the fundamental and constitutional right of safety of life has no right to be in power. It is an illegal government if it continues in power. And an illegal government cannot do the illegal act of suppressing the victims of militancy by using brute force against them. Those injured in the police lathi charge should be compensated adequately by the police department, and action should be taken against the law enforcing agency for misuse of power. We will not comment here on the inefficiency of local police in handling mob protests, that is a separate matter for discussion but authorities will have to take action against erring policemen and officers who have grossly mishandled the peaceful protest rally conducted under the banner of Tahreek-e- Insaf party.

Full spectrum dialogue

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's affable nature has helped him win the goodwill of Pakistani Prime Minister Geelani. In his Pakistan Day celebration message of 23 March ---- the day on which Pakistan resolution was passed in Lahore----Dr. Singh sincerely desired to have peaceful and cooperative relations between the two countries. He says he is committed to resolving all outstanding issues with Pakistan through bilateral dialogue. "I am hopeful that the current dialogue process would lead to peace, progress and prosperity of the entire region," avers Dr. Singh. Reports indicate that full spectrum dialogue between the two countries has been resumed and hopes have risen high that the atmosphere is conducive for result oriented talks. As India and Pakistan prepare for resumption of "full spectrum dialogue" from this month-end, Islamabad has decided to send a six-member team under the aegis of the Special Committee of the Parliament on Kashmir to Germany, Belgium and Poland to "win their support on the Kashmir issue". The delegation will highlight Kashmir issue and Pakistan's "principled stance as supported historically by the United Nations Resolution". Evidently, American pressure is working well with both the countries with Pakistan losing nothing and gaining a mile in the game.. New Delhi does not seem to have any urgency to do good home work on Kashmir issue with the members of the European Union while the team interlocutors is about to submit its report to the Home Ministry. A shroud of secrecy and mystery covers the entire process of Indo-Pak dialogue and only casual hints are dropped that Kashmir issue is heading to some workable formula. It strengthens the belief among Kashmir watchers that New Delhi is readying for making big concessions on Kashmir. Increased visits by foreign diplomats to Kashmir in recent months could be an indicator. At the end of the day, Pakistan-sponsored insurgency and terror has paid dividends to the initiators
Nobody is against the solution of the issue if it happens but those who will be adversely affected by an agreed settlement have a right to know what destiny is being chartered for them while the making of second Pakistan is in progress. In particular, the vast chunks of state subjects forced out of their original homes in October 1947, three subsequent, and now the proxy war begun in 1990, cannot be left to the mercy of the arbiters of the destiny of Jammu and Kashmir emerging in various forms like Track II negotiators or Interlocutors etc.

Interceptor Missile Technology in India

By G V Joshi

On Sunday 6th March 2011, the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of the Government of India, destroyed an incoming target missile, a modified Prithvi, also made by DRDO at an altitude of 16 km over the Bay of Bengal.
It was another confirmation of indigenous ballistic missile defence (BMD) capability.
On Sunday Indian scientists and engineers, fired an interceptor missile, which intercepted an incoming 'enemy' ballistic missile at an altitude of 16 km and pulversied it in "a direct kill."
While the 'hostile' missile took off at 9.32 a.m. from a launch complex at the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, Orissa, the interceptor missile blasted off at 9.37 a.m. from the Wheeler Island, off the Orissa coast.
The interceptor had a specially designed directional warhead, "which will go towards the target, look at it and cause the maximum damage." The attacker ended up in a shower of fragments over the Bay of Bengal, "confirming a very good kill." Both the missiles were made by the DRDO Government of India.
How does the system work?
The incoming missile from the enemy country travels at a speed of 1200 meters per second, very high above the ground. The ground based -telemetry systems are continuously transmitting performance information about the missile through the use of radars, which work by bouncing off radio waves and sensing the echo to find out the position and speed of the incoming missile to the control room.
These radars are very powerful and can detect precisely a small object hundreds of kilometers away.
Having detected a fast moving target the system determines whether the missile is aimed at us. To find this out us they make use of extremely powerful fast computers on the ground carrying out millions of calculations per second.
Based on the result of these calculations, if they conclude that the object is indeed a missile coming towards us, they then take immediate action to intercept the target missile and destroy it.
They first find out where is the missile launched from? Where is it going to impact and then to see which of our own missiles based at different locations in India can intercept this incoming missile.
The next step is to launch our own missile at the correct time from the designated launch pad and guide it towards the enemy missile. This is done by guiding our own missile through a radio link to track the enemy missile, where it is right then. As our missile approaches the target, it opens its own small radar called a seeker to accurately locate the target and then to home on to it, and destroy it.
All this is achieved in a matter of few minutes.
In the words of Dr V K Saraswat, Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, "it was "a fabulous launch" and "it had a copybook finish, taking the interceptor very close to the incoming ballistic missile."
The attacker simulated the 600-km range of a ballistic missile and the interceptor sped up at 4.5 Mach. (Mach 1 is speed of sound in air).
With this launch, Indian scientists have perfected the interception below an altitude of 50 km.
"India's BMD programme has matured, and it is really ready now for integration into the air defence assets of the country." He further added.
India is next only to the US, Russia, France and Israel, which have the BMD capability.
According to Dr Avinash Chander, Director, Advanced Systems Laboratory, DRDO, Hyderabad, "It was a fantastic mission, with a perfect hit and a 100 per cent confirmation of a direct kill."
According to Dr Saraswat, Russia, Israel and France provided assistance in areas where DRDO needed help "bridging technology gap and accelerating technology development." Russia helped India develop the new Radio Frequency Seeker for the interceptor; Israel provided help in developing the 'Swordfish' long-range tracking radar (LRTR) and the French helped with the Fire Control System for the BMD.
A ballistic missile is used to deliver nuclear, chemical, biological or conventional warheads in a ballistic fight trajectory. A ballistic missile is one that has a brief period of powered fight, continues on a ballistic trajectory outside the atmosphere, and then curves back to an impact point on earth.
A missile designed to counter ballistic missiles is called an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) or an interceptor missile. The term "anti-ballistic missile" describes an anti-missile system designed to counter ballistic missiles. India has an active ABM development effort using locally developed and integrated radars, and local missiles.
Development of the anti-ballistic missile system began in 1999. Around 40 public and private companies were involved in the development of the systems.
The idea of destroying missiles carrying bombs before they can hit their target dates from the first use of German V-I and V-2 program of World War II. Pilots in British Air Force aircraft tried destroy V-I "buzz bombs" in flight prior to impact, with some success. It was not possible to destroy V-2, the first true ballistic missile, using either aircraft or artillery.
The American army began experimenting with anti-missile missiles soon after World War II.
India was interested in acquiring the Arrow-II Missile System, which had been jointly developed by US and Israel. However, the deal fell through due to US refusal to approve the sale of the missile and the control system.
India has Israel jointly developed the LRTR, which is the target acquisition and fire control radar for Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) Missile System.
The LRTR radar has the capability to detect multiple targets. It was reported in December 2009 that the latest upgraded version of LRTRs, already developed by DRDO in collaboration with Israel are capable of detecting very small targets in the 600 km - 800 km range and can spot objects as small as a cricket ball. The DRDO plans to upgrade the capacity of Swordfish to 1,500 km by 2011.
Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) developed the mission control software for the AAD missile.
Research Centre, Imarat (RCI) developed navigation, electromechanical actuation system and the active radar seeker. Advanced System Laboratory (ASL) provided the motors, jet vanes and structures for the AAD and PAD. High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) supplied the propellants for the missile.
The two-tiered BMD System consists of the PAD, which will intercept missile at exo-atmospheric altitudes of 50-80 km and the AAD missile for interception at endo-atmospheric altitudes of upto 30 km.
The deployed system would consist of many launch vehicles, radars, Launch Control Centers (LCC) and the Mission Control Center (MCC). All these are geographically distributed and connected by a secure communication network.
While the first phase seeks to project vital assets against enemy ballistic missiles of upto 2,000 km range, the second phase intended to defend against missiles of up to 5,000 km range. (PTI)

Empowering women through SHGs

By Dr. J.S. Manhas and Dr. A. S.Charak

Women constitute about 48 per cent of the country's population and play an equally important role along with men in creating a better family life. The presence of Indian women in agriculture is ancient and inexorable.
Despite multiple roles of women in agricultural operations and household chores, their work is generally underestimated and undervalued. The status of women in general is much lower than that of their male counterparts, largely because of customary male dominance in society, inherent shyness of farm women and lack of opportunities for education and training. Instead of all efforts, there is continued inequality and vulnerability of women in all sectors viz. economic, social, political, education, health care, nutrition and legal. As women are oppressed in all walks of life, they need to be empowered. There is need to enhance the participation and leadership role of women in different walks of life and in the development process.
Empowerment of women could be in any sphere of life; legal, social, political and economic. The contribution of women in rural areas is multifold; therefore economic empowerment directly affects all other areas of empowerment.
As women play an active role in the economy of their families, they are wise enough to invest money and lead better life. There is a linkage between woman's access to independent income and position in the family. It is believed that when women are provided credit and they take up income generating activities, their income is expected to increase. When they earn money, their role in decision making in the house improves.
The present Self Help Group schemes are an alternative to achieve the objectives of rural development and to get community participation in all rural development programmes. Self Help Group is a viable organized set up to disburse micro credit to the rural women for the purpose of making them enterprising women and encouraging them to enter into entrepreneurial activities. Credit needs of the rural women can be fulfilled totally through the Self Help Group. The women led self help group have successfully demonstrated how to mobilize and manage thrift, appraise credit needs, maintain linkages with the banks and enforce financial self discipline.
To give rural women visibility, they must get organized into Self Help Groups. Group approach is a visible set up to empower women economically, socially and technologically for improvement of life. Role of Self Help Groups is emerging as promising tool in this context.
Formation of Self Help Groups:
The concept of self help groups needs to be understood prior to any intervention. The members are linked by a common bond like caste, sub-caste, blood, community and place of origin or activity in their natural group or affinity groups. Forming self help group involves the coming together of people, who jointly decide the mission and values of the group, its goals and objectives and its rules and norms. For the members to formulate all of this and learn to function by these principles takes time. The SHG's usually come together with a primary activity such as savings and credit. This is the activity that is used to organize the group for mutual financial benefits when it first begins.
Self help group is a voluntary and self managed group of women who come together to promote savings among themselves as well as pool savings for activities benefiting either individuals or communities economically. Members support each other and are accountable to one another through the sharing of information and resources and assist in decision making in individual, family and community matters. Formation, promotion and nurturing of self help groups are time intensive processes, for which number of steps are to be followed.
* Mobilization of farm women through informal meetings and mass communication.
* A group of 10-20 farm women who are basically homogeneous in nature is the pre requisite of forming a Self Help Group.
* Members are encouraged to save on a regular basis. The amount if saving is within the range of Rs. 20 to Rs. 100. They rotate this common pooled resource within the members with a very small rate of interest.
* Each group has a leader who is called as the President and an executive committee. They usually maintain records of transaction on daily basis in written format and take initiative for developmental activities.
* Members are encouraged to shoulder responsibility equally right from the beginning. Most of the operating rules and norms are established in the initial stage by common consensus. The members of group should have sense of realism, strong ownership, cohesiveness and intensive mutual interaction.
* The external intervener should be guide and facilitator without interfering in the autonomy of the group.
* The function of self help group should be to pool small savings and lend as per need and open account in a bank.
* The groups are encouraged to have regular meetings once in 15 days or monthly on day and time suitable to all the members. Decisions and actions regarding financial transactions are taken in these meetings. These meetings play a very crucial role in developing strong ties among members and sharing of problems and their solutions.
* Programmes for farm women have to be tailored to their needs and their variable time schedules must be kept in mind. Vocational training and education for rural women should seek to enhance their natural skills and aptitude so that it is meaningful and relevant to their life situations.
Role of Self Help Groups in empowering farm women:
* The self help groups empower women and train them to take active part in the socio economic progress of the nation and make them sensitized, self made and self disciplined.
* The SHGs bring out the capacity of women in molding the community in right perspective and explore the initiative of women in taking the entrepreneurial ventures.
* SHGs also organize women to cope with immediate purposes depending on the situation and need.
* Participation of women in SHGs makes a significant impact on the empowerment in social aspect also. Participation helps women come out in open and discuss their problem. It also helps to bring about awareness among rural women about savings, education, health, environment, cleanliness, family welfare, social forestry etc.
* Empowerment should be externally induced so that women can exercise a level of autonomy. There should also be 'self empowerment' so that women can look at their own lives. The process of 'learning by doing and earning' would certainly empower rural women. More and more rural women need to be involved in self employment. Self employment in agriculture, village and small industries and retail trade and services should be expanded. Self employment is also conducive to the development of individual initiative and entrepreneurial talent and offers greater personal freedom. The added advantage is that the institution of family remains undisturbed. The emergence of self help groups in this context is a welcome development. The groups would provide a permanent forum for articulating their needs and contributing their perspectives to development. Self help groups should be developed as an institution for financial intermediation as well as people's network rather than a vehicle for credit disbursal only.

Can tuberculosis be controlled?

By Dr. Sanjeev Narang

Tuberculosis is thought to exist since 15000—20000 years and its references are found even in Vedas. The oldest of them Rigveda calls the disease ‘yaksma’ and Atharvaveda calls it another name ‘balasa’.
In the Morden world, a Prussian physician, Robert Koch discovered mycobacterium tuberculosis on this day i.e. 24th March in the year 1882. Now that even after more than 100 years tuberculosis germ has been identified, it still remains to be a formidable enemy. Why? It’s important to understand that diagnosis and treatment of TB is difficult and little bit different in comparison to other bacterial infections. TB germ is very ‘sturdy’ and very few medicines are available today that are actually effective against it.
Moreover, since 40 years no new anti-TB medicine has been licensed. Unlike other antibiotic course which has to be taken for 1 or 2 weeks, anti-TB medicines have to be taken for not less than 6 months. Clinical benefit of TB medicines starts appearing only after 2-3 weeks of initiating the course and symptoms may take 1 or 2 months to subside. After that, patient has to tolerate the cost & side effects of TB medicine for another 4 months in order to achieve complete cure and it has been seen that nearly 30% of patients will not adhere to 6 months course. Irregular intake of anti-TB can lead to a potentially fatal complication called MDR-TB or Multi Drug Resistant TB where the available medicines actually become ineffective.
Although, medical science has gifted us vaccines against many deadly diseases but this does not hold true for tuberculosis as the available BCG vaccine has been shown to be ineffective for adult TB. Even the diagnosis of tuberculosis can be tricky as chest X-ray can be highly non specific and patient diagnosed on the basis of X-ray at times may not be actually having the disease. Hence sputum test remains to be the only gold standard for diagnosing
There are more than 5 million people in India are living with HIV/AIDS and they have 60% risk in their life time to develop TB. Another cause for concern is increase in the number of Multi Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB) cases and even more deadly Extensively Drug Resistant TB (XDR-TB). So, the combination of strong enemy and a week armamentarium makes the treatment arduous.
Can we control TB? To control tuberculosis we must utilize whatever is available with us judiciously and in the best manner. Earlier National TB Control Program failed to achieve control, so in 1997 Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program [RNTCP] based on Directly Observed Treatment [DOTS] was launched as national program and by March 24th 2006 whole country was covered under it. Till now the program is running successfully. The RNTCP has been able to standardize the treatment regimens, prevent misuse of medicines and avoid drug resistance to TB. Every effort should be done to strengthen this RNTCP. Even after one decade of its implementation, still there is lack of awareness among the patients about the availability and quality of free diagnosis and treatment facilities locally available under RNTCP. More than half of the total TB patients don’t avail RNTCP as they are treated by private practitioners, hospital and medical colleges. Of the 8 million doctors in India, about 6 million are engaged in private practise and only 19000 private practitioners are implementing RNTCP. Therefore, there is an urgent need of more and more involvement of private sector for case detection and treatment of tuberculosis. There is also an urgent need of establishing laboratories under RNTCP where diagnosis of drug resistant TB could be made. Probably, it’s our last chance to control TB and Govt will have to take private sector into more confidence, only then we have a chance to curb the evil called TB.
(The author is a consultant chest diseases specialist in ASCOMS & Hospital, Sidhra, Jammu)

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