Musahar Family in Gaya Faces Boycott for Converting to Christianity


Sanjay Manjhi, a poor dalit man in his late 40s, and his family, have been facing social boycott for converting to Christianity. Manjhi is a resident of Shahpur village in Gaya district of Bihar and is facing boycott by the Musahar community to which he belongs.

Manjhi said that he and his family members were being targeted after they converted to Christianity. He alleged that the villagers who targeted them were instigated by local Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal activists from the neighbouring villages. “We patiently tolerated their attacks initially. They taunted us, harassed and even abused us for converting to Christianity. However, there were no problems until 10 days ago, as till then we had neither reacted nor protested,” he said.

Manjhi said last week he was forced to approach the police and file a complaint against the collective social boycott by villagers following a diktat from his own community panchayat. “Some people from my Musahar caste had managed to pass an order for our social boycott. Following the order, we were stopped from using the community well and the handpumps for water, and later some youths from the village disrupted our electricity supply. All of these were done on the behalf of some activists of VHP and Bajrang Dal to put pressure on us to re-convert,” he sid.

The Gaya district police was forced to rush to the village after Manjhi lodged a police complaint against over half a dozen villagers for alleged social boycott, harassment and threatening them.

Manjhi, a landless labourer like most Musahars in Shahpur village under Barachatti police station in Gaya ,told Newsclick that he and his family were singled out for converting to a different religion. “We Musahars are dalits who follow social and religious rituals similar to tribals. My family and I voluntarily converted to Christianity. What is the big deal about it, and why are some Hindutva organisations trying to threaten us? We were Hindus only by birth, we had been treated as untouchables all our lives and hardly enjoyed any respect or dignity.”

Backing him, Ranjeev Bhuiya, a local water-rights activist, said Manjhi’s family was barred from using water from the well and handpumps, adding that this was an attempt to put pressure on them at a time when the drought-hit Barachatti block in Gaya was facing its worst water scarcity.

Manjhi and Bhuiya belong to the dalit Musahar community, one of the most marginalised sections of society for centuries. They live with their families in thatched houses, built on gair-majarua (government-unclaimed) land because neither they, nor their fathers or grandfathers, owned any land. For generations, they have been earning their livelihood as landless agriculture labourers.

Manoj Kumar Singh, Station House Officer in charge of Barachatti police station, said Manjhi and his family were targeted after they refused to give donation (chanda) for a Musahar tribal puja, saying they had converted to Christianity. “This angered some villagers, who had ordered social boycott. After intervention from the police, the issue has been solved”.

Singh also denied the accusation of involvement of Bajrang Dal or VHP in the matter. “We have no information about it so far,” he added.

Kamlesh Manjhi, a local villager associated with Bajrang Dal, said the decision to boycott Sanjay Manjhi’s family was taken unanimously by the villagers. After police intervention, villagers have now decided to allow them to use the water sources but would stick to their social boycott.

Sanjay Manjhi said he had informed police officials that Bajrang Dal activists had threatened him and his family to reconvert to Hinduism if they wanted to live in the village.

A local police officer told Newsclick on the condition of anonymity that some members of Bajrang Dal, VHP, and others religious groups have been visiting the village and putting pressure on Musahar villagers to ensure that Sanjay Manjhi’s family reconverts soon. He said, “This village of Musahars has become an important focus for Hindutva outfits in recent days, thanks to Sanjay Manjhi’s conversion to Christianity”.

Gaya Senior Superintendent of Police Rajiv Mishra said he had asked local police station officials to regularly visit the village and reach out to Sanjay Manjhi. “We will not allow anyone to put pressure on him and his family to reconvert,” he added.

Teen’s death sparks tension in Bihar town; family says she was raped, killed


A 16-year-old girl’s death in Bihar’s Bhabua triggered tension in the town on Wednesday after her family alleged she was gang-raped and murdered by three men on Tuesday night.

The victim’s elder sister has accused three men of raping and killing her and filed a complaint at Bhagwanpur police station against two named and one unknown person belonging to a minority community.

Police, however, claimed that the girl has committed suicide and that the postmortem examination of her body has not confirmed rape.

“Prima facie, it seems to be a case of suicide due to a love affair. Police are investigating the case and trying to identify the people who have abetted the girl to end her life,” superintendent of police Dilnawaz Ahmad said.

The postmortem examination was conducted by a medical board at the district hospital in Bhabua and the body was sent to Varanasi for cremation under police protection on Wednesday.

The elder sister also alleged that Saish Ali, the son of Munnu Ansari from the adjacent village of Awasan, was dating the girl and often met her. She claimed her sister had revealed the names of two accused before she died. The girl had no reason to commit suicide as she had gone to the bank to withdraw money, the sister said.

The victim had gone to a bank in Bhabua on Tuesday morning. Her elder sister got a phone call in the evening from Ejaz Ansari alias Sonu, a resident of adjacent village Awasan who works as a nurse with a private hospital in Bhabua. Ansari told the sister that the girl was critical and admitted in the hospital he works for.

The elder sister rushed to the hospital but was asked to deposit Rs 4,000 towards the girl’s treatment before being allowed to meet her. She called a relative and arranged for the money. They also arranged for an ambulance to take away the girl to Varanasi but she died on the way around midnight.

“The accused had raped and poisoned my sister to destroy evidence. They admitted her in a private hospital without the knowledge of police and informed me at the eleventh hour when she was collapsing,” she alleged.

Nirmal Yadav, head of the victim’s village, said the girl’s parents work in Gujarat and left behind their two daughters at home.

Bihar seeks to redefine danger levels in its rivers


After a long time, the Bihar government is going to undertake a massive exercise to revise the danger mark level of all major rivers in the state to make flood-fighting work more effective and reduce chances of false alarm of impending floods in case of rivers in spate in flood-prone districts.

The Bihar State Disaster Management Authority has recommended the idea of redefining the danger level of all major as well as small rivers after a study done on the subject over the last one year.

Experts said the primary reason for revising the danger level of rivers in the state is siltation that has caused the river beds to rise, a reason why the current danger level of rivers measured decades back are not so accurate.

“As the river bed of all majority of rivers has risen over the past many decades due to siltation, the danger level indicators are not so accurate. It often leads to false alarm of impending floods when in reality the river is flowing much below the danger mark. So, a reassessment of the danger level of major rivers is imperative,” said Vyasji, vice-chairman of the state’s disaster management authority.

In Bihar, there are 12 major river basins, including Ganga, Mahananda, Kosi, Bagmati, Sone, Karamnasa, Kamla, Chandan and Gandak, besides a large number of small rivers and their tributaries.

Sources said the state’s disaster management authority had already directed the water resources department and written to the Central Water Commission ( CWC) to start the work, which is going to be a time-consuming exercise. Sources said the government had been given the time to complete the exercise in next couple of months so that the new system comes in place before the rivers go in spate in the state.

The gauge readings of rivers is different from one point to another.

Like in Patna district, the Ganga’s gauge reading is different at Hatihdha , Gandhi ghat and Digha, said Vyasji.

To elaborate, the highest flood level( HFL) of Ganga in Patna was 50.27 metres but was revised to 50.52 metres in 2016.

“The gauge readings are different at many points of rivers and it has to be examined based on different parameters. Besides, the siltation of the rivers will be also taken into account in assessing the danger mark,” he said.

Ganga and Kosi are the major rivers in the state facing heavy siltation and efforts have been made to reduce the sedimentation to lower the river bed.

Kosi deluge in 2008 was one of the worst disasters in the state’s flood history in recent decades. Various studies on river management have put emphasis on regular dredging to reduce the siltation and check floods.

Besides, the disaster management authority also believes the revision of danger mark level of all major rivers, including where barrages have come up, would help check instances of false alarm of floods.

Officials said the water resources department, the parent department responsible for flood management, would be able to make proper flood management plan in advance based on accurate data once the revision is done.

“Whenever a river gets swollen either due to heavy rains or heavy discharge from upstream, panic grips people residing nears the rivers and the administration also starts gearing up resources for flood fighting. But in reality, such alarms are false many a time. So a revision of danger mark of rivers is need of the hour,” said Vyasji.

Nalanda University’s crucial board meeting in Delhi on Thursday


Nalanda University (NU) is set to hold its first governing board (GB) meeting since February 2018 at its Delhi office on Thursday.

The 17th GB meeting is crucial as it will pave the way for shifting of academic activities to its upcoming sprawling 455-acre campus to the north of Rajgir hills, besides approving new proposals and reviewing ongoing admissions.

The varsity’s board was re-constituted in November 2016 with all new members. The lone member of the Nalanda Mentor Group (NMG) retaining his position and the Indian government’s representative in the new GB was former Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament N K Singh, presently chairman of the 15th finance commission.

In January 2017, the university also got a new Chancellor in Dr Vijay Bhatkar, following the resignation of George Yeo on November 25 in the wake of dissolution of NMG. In May, Prof Sunaina Singh also took over as the new vice-chancellor.

Set up in 2014 to recreate the glory and academic excellence of ancient Nalanda and serve as an intellectual bridge between India and East Asia, the NU witnessed a flurry of activities in 2016-17, which led to a complete change of guard.

There were also reports of faculty attrition in NU, but the V-C played it down, saying it was nothing abnormal.

“Some people have left as their term ended, others left as they got better avenues in locations of their choice, while there were also those who found it tough to continue in the disciplined atmosphere that we are striving to enforce on the campus. We have enough faculty members of quality for our schools and new ones are also coming in,” said V-C Sunaina Singh, who took over in the wake of sexual harassment slur on the NU.

However, the biggest plus for NU is that it is now set to move to its campus. Former President Pranab Mukhejee had laid the foundation stone of the campus on August 27, 2016.

“The work is on schedule and the first phase comprising five main buildings has been completed. The campus, likely to be fully ready by 2020, will go beyond the highest green building features as per government guidelines, i.e. a rating of 5 under GRIHA. We plan to start teaching this year itself from the new campus, as adequate facilities are ready now,” said the VC.

At present, NU has four schools, but a few new centres are in the pipeline, including one on the Bay of Bengal Studies, which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the member states of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) at Katmandu on August 31, 2018.

The Government of India would also cover 30 scholarships to member states (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand) to conduct research on Bay of Bengal region at the NU. Another centre in the offing is on sustainable development.

At present, admissions in NU is on and the first cycle has been completed, while the second cycle is set to begin.

NU also plans to start Ph.D programmes from this year, which was earlier approved by the academic council.

Bihar: A Muslim Youth Was Brutally Beaten Up & Allegedly Forced to Drink Urine; The Police Arrested Him


Katihar, Bihar: It has been almost a month since the incident but 25-year-old Saddam Hussain’s injuries haven’t healed. He shows the marks on his back and says, “Where is justice, sir? Where is it? The Constitution talks about justice but a poor person cannot get justice. 20 days ago, the goons tied me up and thrashed me with hammers and iron rods. When I was thirsty, they forced me to drink urine. And when the police came, what did they do? I was taken to Manihari police station and locked up. I was  writhing in pain and begging them to take me to a hospital.”

Since being released from custody, Saddam spends most of his time on a cot in his house in Naya Tola village in Manihari. The injuries on his back and legs still look fresh.

In the din of election, many stories were lost. Saddam’s story is one of them. On May 10, some local goons abducted Saddam and brutally beat him up, and allegedly even forced him to drink urine. Motive — a land dispute. Both sides filed FIRs against each other and the police arrested one person from each side. Saddam was arrested for allegedly setting fire to his attackers’ house.

His mother, Nargis Fatima, tells us, “Saddam has opened a clinic nearby. On that morning, he had come home to fetch a syringe. He was returning to the clinic when those men kidnapped him. They took him to their house and thrashed him brutally.”

She shows a torn, blood stained pair of jeans. “I’ve kept a roza, I can’t lie. The son of Feku Karmakar (the second party to the land dispute) hit me with a lathi twice. He hit me on such a place on my body that I couldn’t even show it to anybody. I was screaming but the police didn’t let me see my son.”

Saddam says that after he was assaulted, he was picked up by the police and detained at the Manihari police station. When his condition started deteriorating, he was taken to the sub divisional hospital which referred him to the Sadar Hospital, Katihar.

Saddam’s cousin, Mohammad Wasim (25), shows pictures on his mobile phone and says, “Saddam was in the hospital for four days. He was handcuffed by the police for all of those days. When he recovered, he was arrested and locked up again. What is justice when the victim is arrested and the criminals roam freely?”

Wasim, who works as a labourer in Delhi’s Palam area, adds, “This land dispute dates 12 years. For the last three years, during the month of Ramzan, these people beat up someone in our family. This time, Saddam was targeted. When I was barely 14 years old, they lodged a malicious FIR and I was jailed. I’ve been witnessing this dispute since then. The administration appears to discriminate on religious basis each time. A false case is registered against us even before we can go file a complaint at the police station. Where do we go?”

Saddam Hussain’s father Abdul Sattar (52) has four brothers — Abdul Razzak (55) is the eldest and Abdul Rauf (50) and Abdul Sobhan (40). 50 years ago, their father Izabul Haq had purchased 66 dismil land in Naya Tola Bahadurpur from Nandkishore Dubey and Sudama Dubey. Since then, they have been paying land tax and getting receipts for the same

Abdul Rauf explians, “The Dubey family left after selling the land. Then, during a survey, it was found that the land was 99 dismil and not 66. We thought that 66 dismil is ours, the remaining 33 should be left vacant for the Dubey family for when they return. Why should we be dishonest. For the remaining land, we even got the receipts issued once so that their land is safe. But in 2007, matters got complicated. When we go to get another receipt issued in Nandkishore Dubey’s name, the official told us that the land has been reduced by 14 dismil. When I asked why, he said that a Basgit parcha ( which is issued by the Collector to a landless person as per the rules laid down in the Bihar Privileged Persons Homestead Tenancy Act 1948) had been issued on this.”

He adds, “We asked in whose name the Basgit parcha has been issued. He said Feku Karmkar, Baijnath Karmkar, Dilip Karmkar and a temple. When we inquired about this at the block level, there was no record of this Basgit parcha. They’ve managed to get a fake parcha issued but it does not mention the boundary. It only mentions the boundary for two sides, there is nothing written for the boundary on the remaining sides.”

Abdul Razzak says, “To avoid any trouble, we filed a title suit in 2007 itself. We had all the evidence then. We even recorded our statements in the court. We asked the Karmakar family to present their evidence in the court but in 12 years, they haven’t managed to submit any receipts. Now, they are forcibly constructing houses on even our land. How can we let this happen?”

Multiple cases related to this dispute have been registered at the Manihari and Amdabad police stations against Saddam’s family. Local administration has been unable to resolve the matter.

Rauf further says, “We don’t want to go to the police station to file a complaint because whenever we go, they lodge an FIR against us only,” adding, “You can see the pattern in the serial number of the FIRs. If the FIR filed by me is serial no. 65, then their FIR would say serial no.66…If mine is 151, theirs will be 152. Meaning — a counter case for each case we file. Sometimes, when we reach the police station to file a complain, we find that an FIR has already been lodged against us and the police arrests us immediately. Hence, now we will file a court case only. We no longer have any faith in the administration.”

However, the Karmakar family puts the blame on the Saddam’s family. Baijnath Karmakar says, “The claim of making him drink urine is completely false. At 8-9 am in the morning, how can one be thirsty? These people have been troubling us since 2007. They even hurl stones at our house.”

When we asked him about submitting evidence in court, he said, “What evidence can we give for a Basigat parcha. The government says that we give the land for you to live on it, not for fighting legal battles. We are only following up on the title suit that they (Saddam’s family) have filed.”

NewsCentral24x7 contacted Manihari police station. Officials there said that the matter is entirely that of a land dispute. There is no mention of the urine incident. The FIR has been lodged on the basis of the victim’s statement only. We even arrested one person from each side. The matter has been hyped up.

However, Saddam disagrees. He says that his statement was not recorded when he was in the hospital. The police had already prepared an FIR and he was made to only sign it. “I am asserting repeatedly that injustice has been done to me. But when the police arrests the victim, what is left to say? What justice should I expect now. This is not justice, sir. This is is not justice.”

Bihar’s 1.48 crore power consumers to get smart prepaid meters by 2020


PATNA: Come August 2020 and Bihar’s 1.48 crore power consumers will get smart prepaid electricity bill measuring meters installed in their houses. 

After successful completion of the target, Bihar would become the first state in the country with all its power consumers availing facility of prepaid electricity meters.

Buoyed by recent Lok Sabha victory, the Nitish Kumar government has directed officials of Bihar State Power Holding Company Limited (BSPHCL) to achieve the target of complete installation of smart prepaid electricity bill measuring metres by August 2020, ahead of the state assembly elections in 2020.

CM Nitish Kumar has assigned the task of completing the installation to chairman-cum-chief managing director(CMD) of BSPHCL Pratay Amrit, who has played an effective role in ensuring the complete electrification of villages in record time in the state. 

In the last five years, Bihar has spent a whopping Rs 55,000 crore on electrification works and ensuring availability of power.
The CM while lauding the performances of electricity department at a function organised to inaugurate and kick-start various schemes worth Rs 697 crores on Tuesday, said that department should also achieve the target of installing the prepaid meters on top priority.

“Once the prepaid meters are installed, consumers will face not problems like inflated bills of which is major complaint by consumers”, Kumar said.
He also asked the power officials to replace all the old wires within the stipulated time frame and ensure separate power connection under the agriculture incentive plan to the farmers.

Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, also present at the function, said that the number of power consumers in the state has increased from 37 lakh in 2012 to 1.48 crores in 2019.

“Thanks to the ample availability of power in even remotest parts, state government got a huge revenue of Rs 9,072 crores. The ample power availability has reduced the sales of inverters and gensets in the state to a great extent”, Modi said.

Pratay Amrit said that installation works of smart prepaid meters will start in July from Arwal and Sheohar districts of the state. He informed the government in his welcome speech that old wires in 28874 circuit km were replaced. “The number of power sub-stations has increased also from 95 to129 with a registered demand of power around 5389 megawatts in the state”, he said.

Bodh Gaya’s Mahabodhi Temple to Receive New Hi-tech Illumination System


The Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, India, one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the world, will soon by illuminated by a state-of-the art LED lighting system by the end of this year, with funding for the extraordinary initiative offered by Siddhartha’s Intent India with support from Khyentse Foundation and Vana Foundation. The new lighting system is designed to illuminate every part of the temple in accordance with the highest safety and quality standards to ensure a long-lasting and sustainable solution.

The project, called “Lighting the Mahabodhi,” is one of the largest and most ambitious light-offering initiatives in Buddhist history. According to the Bhutanese newspaper Kuensel, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, founder of Khyentse Foundation, who initiated the lighting project, came up with the idea in 2015, and in 2017 the proposal was approved by the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee and the Gaya District Magistrate. The total cost of project is around US$1.4 million, with more than 30 per cent of the budget allocated since the project was launched.

“If there is one thing in the world that resembles our minds, it is light,” said Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. “As Buddhists in the Rime tradition, our aim is to illuminate our minds free from judgment, prejudice, or pride. And so, it is to symbolize that realization and to appreciate the Buddha’s infinite compassion and skillful means in guiding us toward it, that we are now offering light at the very place of the Buddha’s enlightenment.” (Kuensel)

The Mahabodhi Temple, one of the most spiritual destinations for Buddhists pilgrims, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site marking the place where the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment. Beside the temple, there are seven other sacred sites in Bodh Gaya, including the descendent of the original Bodhi tree.

“The atmosphere created by the Mahabodhi Temple is so potent it’s as if you fall into a trance,” explained Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. “Here you’ll find the vajra seat (vajra asana, also known as the Diamond Seat) where, after many years of searching for the truth and six excruciating years of penance by the banks of the Niranjana River, Siddhartha finally discovered the Middle Path and achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. (Khyentse Foundation)

“Centuries have passed since the Buddha attained enlightenment at this spot, and the temple has weathered many eras of both resplendence and shocking neglect. In this present era, the temple has been upgraded, is well tended to, and in comparatively excellent shape,” said the president of Siddhartha’s Intent India, Prashant Varma, in a press release on 31 May. “Lighting the Mahabodhi is building upon this support to update the lighting in a way that will last for generations to come. (Khyentse Foundation)

B-Lit, a lighting design company from Bangkok, Thailand, is providing the design offering free of charge as an offering of devotion. The overall lighting system will include high-end LED technology, as well as software to control and automate the myriad of high-efficiency, low-heat LED bulbs and fixtures.

According to the Khyentse Foundation, the lighting project will incorporate: 

Automated lights that are durable, energy efficient, and ecologically friendly, with minimal light pollution.
• Top technical quality lighting with systematised controls.
 Synchronized with the lunar cycles, and adaptable to the many special rituals and needs of the Mahabodhi Temple.
 Light fittings and fixtures able to withstand changing seasonal and weather conditions.
 Safe and easy operation and maintenance.

“We hope to have part of phase one—the core of the temple lighting—ready by the end of this year,” noted Varma. “We shall then steadily work toward completing all other areas of the temple complex, other than the Sarovar Lake and the new Meditation Park, by the end of 2020.” (Kuensel)

Jharkhand govt committed to development of 3.25 cr people: Raghubar Das tells NITI Aayog


Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das said the state government is working to provide better health facility, education and infrastructure.

The state government is committed to the development of 3.25 crore people, he said at a meeting here with NITI Aayog officials.

Jharkhand has made significant progress in education and the state is continuously developing its health sector as well, an official release quoting Das said.

“Our goal is to take the state at the forefront in these sectors,” the chief minister said.

Das said that the state government and the NITI Aayog are doing good work together and the partnership would continue.

The NITI Aayog understands our expectations and cooperating in reforming our shortcomings, he said.

According to the release, the Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, Rajiv Kumar, said that reviews were carried out on important issues during the meeting with the state government on Wednesday.Kumar praised the state for progress in education, for eradicating child marriage and doing away with malnutrition, the release said, adding, Kumar also lauded the state government’s effort to train 10 lakh women in various fields.

Bangalore Law varsity to survey intellectual property in Jharkhand


The State Cabinet on Tuesday approved a research survey for guidance in establishing intellectual property rights and geographical indication of Jharkhand for the same. The Cabinet decided to outsource this work to the National Law School of India in Bangalore for Rs 33.55 Lakh.

The survey will be focused on Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), said State Urban Development Secretary Ajoy Kumar Singh, adding that the research will help small enterprises get intellectual property rights over their products. The MSME centre in Ranchi will function as the nodal office for this survey. “Deoghar’s peda (an Indian sweet), Sohrai art of Hazaribag and many other products and art forms of Jharkhand may come under this survey,” said Singh.

The Cabinet on Tuesday approved a total of 20 proposals, including a pilot project for introduction of artificial intelligence in the functioning of the Jharkhand High Court. A private company, Mancorp Innovation Labs Private Ltd has been outsourced the work of ensuring design, development, implementation and support of artificial intelligence in the court in a bid to make Jharkhand High Court a Comprehensive Decision Support Smart Court (CDSSC). “The software will rely on artificial intelligence for collecting data and finding order copies in the court,” said Singh.

In another move towards digitalization, the Cabinet approved Rs.66,33,000 for digitalization of the Principal Accountant General’s office in Ranchi.

The Cabinet on Tuesday also came up with good news for State government employees. It approved an increase in dearness allowance from 9 per cent to 12 per cent with effect from January 1, 2019 for all the state employees and pensioners. This will cost the state exchequer a sum of Rs.364 crore for working employees and Rs.161 crore for pensioners. This increase in dearness allowance was earlier approved by the centre and replicated by the cabinet on Wednesday.

Following an order of the Supreme Court, the Cabinet on Wednesday approved the formation of a tribunal to look into the claims made by survivors or family of deceased in cases of road accidents. Besides, the Cabinet approved creation of 279 vacancies for teachers in eight polytechnic colleges and surrender of 145 such posts. For the creation of the 134 new posts, the state will bear a cost of Rs.5 crore 53 lakh annually. The new positions will be created in Simdega, Sahebganj, Jagganathpur and Dumka, while positions will be surrendered in Chandil, Bahragora and Maheshpur.

The Cabinet proposed to give Jharkhand Combined Entrance Competitive Examination (JCEC) the authority to hold B.Ed exams and all other examinations on Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) sheets. This proposal will go to the State Assembly for approval. The JCEC holds entrance examinations for medical and engineering in Jharkhand. Besides, the Cabinet decided to forward an annual report of Jharkhand Public Service Commission for year 2016-2017 to the State Assembly.

Bihar working towards gender equality through empowerment of women: Health minister Mangal Panday


PATNA: Bihar health minister Mangal Panday addressing a conference in Canada’s Vancouver said the state is working towards gender equality through educational and economical empowerment of women.

Panday, who is currently attending a 4-day conference on gender equality and health of women and girls called ‘Women Deliver-2019′ at Vancouver in Canada, said the total fertility rate in a state of India like Bihar has been a matter of serious concern. “But Bihar is working with strong will power to check it down to a great extent through educational and economical empowerments to women and girls”, Panday said, addressing the Planery Session of the conference on Tuesday.

‘Women Deliver-2019’ began on Monday in Canada with PM Justin Trudeau’s inaugural speech in which he said: “Gender equality is under attack globally”. 

The conference is being attended by over 7000 world-leaders, innovators, influencers, change-makers and other personalities involved in social work and gender equality focussed on women and girl child rights from 165 countries.

The conference focuses on three key issues – gender-responsive health systems and services, gender-based violence and women’s economic empowerment and equal opportunity,  facilitating cross-issue dialogues, understanding and collaborations.

Panday speaking at the parliamentary forum of the conference, quoted various initiatives by the Bihar government to decrease the total fertility rate (TFR) and dwelt upon the success of Swasthay mela (Health fairs), which are organised at primary health centres in state regularly.

He also said : “A free of cost inject bale contraceptive called-Antra, has been made available at health centres in 36 districts of state to curb population growth by checking TFR besides a slew of initiatives including the regular health fairs”.

Panday said that Bihar has witnessed decrease in TFR from 4.3 earlier to 3.3 till 2018. “But state health wing is determined to decrease it even drastically through people’s participation and awareness”, he said.