Wednesday, July 26, 2017

TISS Koshish for Rehabilitation of Mentally ill persons

 We as a developed society are so insensitive to mental illness that , just a streak of mental imbalance and we generally stamp that person as MAD ( Paagal in Hindi ).  Instead of being understanding , sympathetic to the problems faced by the mentally challenged persons and their families we tend to be indifferent. Few of us even stoop to the extent of being cruel to the vulnerable victims of mental illness.

In this Millennial era , in the age of Digital & Information revolution , we have evolved, scientifically , technologically ,  financially and physically . But sadly , there are miles to go for us to develop Socially . Mentally and as Humanitarian. Just preaching and publishing about this sensitive issue of rehabilitation of mentally ill persons is not enough, unless and until proper system , infrastructure , resources and generous funding are provided as solid solutions. 

Tata is the most legendary global conglomerate, which has always been at the forefront with Corporate social responsibility. TISS (Tata Institute of social sciences ) is one of the premier institutes in India in social sciences as well as Human development , public policy and economics. TISS is a part of an elite group of research and higher learning institute with support from Tata Trusts. TISS is ranked in top Indian universities in Social , Demography and Economic Research.  

On this present scenario, The Tata Institute of Social Sciences ( TISS ) and Mumbai Press Club had organised am interactive session on ' Implication of Supreme Court directions regarding rehabilitation of mentally ill persons ', under the knowledge series on 19th July at the Mumbai Press Club. The session was addressed by experts Prof, Parasuraman, Director-TISS and his colleagues Mr. MD. Tarique, Koshish program and Lakshmi Narasimhan-BALM-TISS program on mental health. 

People forced to live in the hospitals for years altogether, even after having recovered and cured is indicator of the larger system that has failed to respond effectively to the issue of mental health care needs in the country. It not just indicates our lapses on developing any effective rehabilitation strategy, it also clearly brings out the absence of preventive mechanism apart from bringing out families limitations, social stigma, unaffordable cost of care giving and lack of strong political drive and intent.

On July 10, SC ordered all States and Union territories to implement the guidelines formulated by the Centre. Challenge, however, is manifold, ranging right from the understanding of the issue to the preparedness of the states for any effective rehabilitation program to the ability of the personnel and the infrastructure available.

There are some very successful intervention models that have been developed by civil society organizations working in the field of mental health like Banyan, Ishwar Sankolp, Koshish, Asha Deep, Anjali etc and those must be studied by the state governments to understand the wide possibility that exists.

TISS Intervention towards rehabilitation of Homeless/ Destitute Persons with Mental Illness Project Background and Approach: In India, Homelessness and Mental Illness are being put under serious probability of getting criminalized in the name of preventing beggary. Law provides for round ups and raids where range of vulnerable groups on the streets, including those with mental illness and abandoned, are arrested and tried for the offence of beggary. Often, such
persons continue to live in government run custodial institutions for years. Unfortunately, the way beggary Law has been defined; it leaves people with mental health issues in a very vulnerable position. Anybody wandering around aimlessly can be picked up by the police on suspicion of Beggary and this one section is repeatedly used to round up people with Mental Health issues.

Koshish was initiated by The Tata Institute of Social Sciences as a response to this criminalization of poverty, especially mental illness and destitution that happens in the form of Beggary Prevention Legislation. Started in Mumbai in 2006, program expanded to Delhi in 2009 and in 2012, it was extended to Bihar. At present, Koshish has direct field intervention in these 3 states and each of these interventions is run in collaboration with the respective state

With the firm belief in 'Systems Approach', project has worked in collaboration with the state through the custodial institutions, with efforts to facilitate rehabilitation of persons processed under the Beggary Law, while bringing over all change in custodial conditions.

Koshish works extensively with these people; towards the treatment and subsequent release from the institution as well as for their reintegration into the family. Rehabilitation Design and Program Components: Some of the key programs and stages that are followed leading to eventual rehabilitation of the person are: 
a.“My Space: Finding Oneself 
b. Calling Home
c. Capacity building through relevant training and life skills
d. Training of institutional staff
e. Emergency Support to families
f. Reintegration with families
g. Institutional placement

National Alliance for Solidarity: TISS has brought together organizations and individuals from different states and built national alliance for facilitating rehabilitation of persons across the states. At present, this Alliance has partners from 14 states. These organizations help each other in tracing the families of the abandoned/ lost clients and facilitate the reintegration into the family. The network organization also plays a key role in developing family’s capacity and
acceptance for the client. 

Reorienting the paradigm of mental health care in India: Promoting social
inclusion The Banyan, The HANS Foundation and Tata Institute of Social Sciences Collaboration Background :
The Banyan, Tata Institute of Social Sciences and HANS Foundation’s unified vision is to reach out to the most marginalized in mental hospitals and attempt to promote inclusive living options through a multi-modal and multi pronged approach. The collaboration aims to systematically strengthen mental health services across Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu through Reintegration , Aftercare and Home Again .

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Double Bonanza : Bajaj Allianz Life Future Wealth Gain

'Live and Let Live' is so old school. In the times of Instagram and Snapchat, the millennials' motto is 'Live Life ... Luxuriously'.  Sure, why not #JiyoBefikar? We work smart, we earn a lot and we end up spending lot more than we earn to enjoy life to the fullest. Just saving the money and depositing it in the bank is no more viable. We know we must #InvestBefikar fruitfully for the future but, How much? Where? When? These are the million dollar questions. All of us wish that we could get one simple solution to achieve our various life goals.

We plan to have new, improved models of so many modern luxuries that our income / savings / funds are insufficient. Our ever growing demands exhaust all our savings and investments. There comes a time, when we seem to have everything but still not satisfied as we strive for better. The good news is, our dreams can be realized with Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance's #FutureWealthGain, a non-participating, individual , unit-linked, regular / limited premium payment endowment insurance plan. 

Bajaj Allianz Life FutureWealthGain offers a choice of two variants, ‘Wealth Plus’ and ‘Wealth Plus Care’, It maximizes our wealth by investing in capital markets to help us achieve our future financial goals. It also provides protection to us and our family. We can #InvestBefikar and fulfill our dreams by investing in Bajaj Allianz Life Future Wealth Gain which is a non-participating ULIP plan with a regular and limited premium payment option.  #FutureWealthGain by #BajajAllianzLifeInsurance enhances Fund Value at maturity, by the addition of Fund Boosters. Bajaj Allianz Life Future Wealth Gain offers Fund Boosters which will be added to the regular premiums on maturity when all premiums have been paid up to date and the policy is in-force. Fund Booster returns are as high as 90% of one year’s premium, if the policy term and premium payment term is more than 15 years.


The Death Benefit under the ‘Wealth Plus’ variant includes:
  • The higher of the Sum Assured, plus top-up Sum Assured, if any, or
  • Fund value, as on the date of receipt of intimation of death,
The Death Benefit, under this variant assures benefit of 105% of premiums paid including top-up premiums paid, if any, till the date of death.
Under the "Wealth Plus Care Variant", in addition to the Death Benefit, the customer is entitled to an Income Benefit, payable on death or first diagnosis of Cancer of the Life Assured during the premium payment term. The Income Benefit is the remaining regular premiums due, under the policy after the date of death or diagnosis of cancer. 

My first dream was to be an author and the next dream is to write the most popular  bestselling book. I am fully aware that the next dream is much more tough and expensive. My only talent of writing a literary gem is not enough. I will need loads of money for advertising and , publicity to convert that literary gem into a dazzling Kohinoor. All the while pursuing my 'Kohinoor', I must safeguard myself and my family members so that we will be able to bask in the glory of bestseller Kohinoor.

My head brimming with all glorious dreams about Kohinoor (My literary gem in the making). How to add the four C's (Carat weight, Cut, Color, Clarity) to my Kohinoor and still remain the backbone of my family. To find out how to #InvestBefikar & #JiyoBefikar, I attended the launch of #BajajAllianzLifeFutureWealthGain, a new product was launched to the market from #Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance (one of India's leading private life insurers ) on 22nd June 2017.

Here's what I learned from the esteemed panel:
We can protect ourselves and our family with Bajaj Allianz Life Future Wealth Gain. As Maturity Benefit, we will receive the Fund Value plus top up premium fund value, if any as on maturity date, including Guaranteed Loyalty Additions. The Guaranteed Loyalty Additions helps us get higher returns, as it provides 30% of one year’s premium for a policy term of 25 years, payable at the end of every five years, starting from the 10th  policy year.

The minimum premium for Bajaj Allianz Life FutureWealthGain is capped at Rs.50,000 annually. The maximum policy term is 25 years and the minimum premium payment term is 5 years. With this productthe Company has also introduced a New Fund - Pure Stock Fund II, apart from seven other fund choices previously available with the Investor Selectable Portfolio strategy. The Wheel of Life Portfolio strategy is also available to the investors, the regular premium fund value and top up premium fund value, if any, will be reallocated among various funds in a pre-defined ratio based on years to maturity. The plan comes with the option to take maturity benefit in installments (Settlement Option) over a maximum period of 5 years. This will enable one to protect his or her fund value from any unforeseen slowdown.

The key advantages of Bajaj Allianz Life Future Wealth Gain:
  • High Life Insurance Cover
  • Benefit of Accelerated Cancer Cover combined with Income Benefit (applicable only under "Wealth Plus Care" variant)
  • Choice of 2 investment portfolio strategies
  • Loyalty Additions at each interval of 5 years from 10th policy year onward
  • Fund Booster to enhance Fund Value at maturity
  • Option to take maturity benefit in installments (Settlement Option)
  • Option to choose from multiple policy terms

                                     #InvestBefikar with #FutureWealthGain 
                                #JiyoBefikar with #BajajAllianzLifeInsurance

Monday, July 24, 2017

Kerala : God's Own country welcomes you

Experience the Best with God’s Own Country!

Kerala popularly known as God’s Own Country is the perfect holiday destination of India; from picturesque landscapes, exciting getaways to rich culture and heritage the state has a lot to showcase. As a ritual, the state brings you a 360 degree preview of India’s favorite destination; the essence of the state being captured in one single event. The idea is to witness the rich culture, extravagant heritage, magnificent landscapes, cuisine, music and art all in one show.

Kerala Tourism attracts more tourists with new initiatives!
In 2015, the number of foreign tourists that visited Kerala was 7,75,390 (From Jan-October)
> Foreign tourists’ arrival from Jan-October, 2015 up by 6.60%
> Number of domestic tourists in Kerala this year was 76,71,277 (From Jan –August)
> Domestic tourists’ arrival from Jan –August, 2015 up by 7.40%  

Kerala as the most preferred destination for both Domestic and Internationals Tourists…
Foreign Tourist arrival to Kerala during the year 2014 is 9, 23,366; it shows an increase of 7.60% over the previous year’s figure of 8, 58,143. Domestic Tourist arrival to Kerala during the year 2014 is 116, 95,411. It shows an increase of 7.71 % over the previous year’s figure 108, 57,811.
Foreign exchange earnings for the year 2014 are Rs: 6398.93 Crores which recorded an increase of 15.07 % over the previous year.

Total Revenue (including direct & indirect) from Tourism during 2014 is Rs: 24885.44 Crores, showing an increase of 12.11% over the last year’s figure.

Visit Kerala – the Season of Surprises
Kerala Tourism has declared the period from April 2015 to April 2016 as"Visit Kerala Year" and an array of activities are planned as part of it. In the wake of the fresh initiative, Kerala Tourism will explore more new markets like China, Sri Lanka etc.  Aggressive campaigns that target potential travelers in big traditional markets for Kerala will be conducted in the United Kingdom, France and Germany through trade fairs and roadshows.  Leveraging the increased air connectivity, a focused Ayurveda and monsoon campaign will be conducted in the Middle East where 90% of the Diasporas are from Kerala.

A comprehensive festivals and events calendar will be prepared and promoted through multiple channels, including India Tourism Offices and Indian embassies abroad. Kerala will be promoted as a major “Wedding and MICE destination” through online campaigns. 

Kerala Tourism will also launch a new theme campaign to showcase Kerala and its unique attractions, to strengthen Kerala’s position as ‘God’s Own Country’ and to create a destination pull. Food festivals conducted in cities such as Ahmedabad and Mumbai to market Kerala’s authentic cuisine, one of the tourist attractions of the State. Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) will come up with special discounted packages during the period.

Initiatives in God’s Own Country…
Government of Kerala has rolled out a lot of initiatives till date, ‘Seaplane Project’ and ‘Project Muziris’; being the latest projects which were rolled out last yearin order to enhance the travel experience and add to its array of attractions. Where the former project is aimed towards improving last mile connectivity by air to its destinations across the state, the latter is directed to reinstate the historical and cultural significance of the legendary port of Muziris, which makes a part of Central Kerala.

For the Seaplane Project, the immediate plan is to provide service initially in the priority circuit, consisting of the three airports of Trivandrum, Cochin & Calicut and the prime destinations viz. Astamudi, Punnamada, Kumarakom, Bolgatty and Bekal in the state.

The Marketing Initiatives for the year 2015-16are aimed at Value of Money off season packages targeting some important cities of the country namely; Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Surat, Vishakhapatnam, Patna, Guwahati, Pune, Goa, Udaipur, Mysore, Coimbatore etc.

The state aims at being part of all International and Domestic Trade Fairs and Road Shows like MITT Moscow, TUR Gottenburg, ITB Berlin,  Dusseldorf Germany, Berlin Germany, Milan Italy, London UK.

Hop On Hop Off Boats..
The Hop on Hop off Boats service was started as a part of Kerala Tourism’s many other initiatives in the year 2014. As part of its innovative water-based tourism facilities, the Kerala Tourism Infrastructure Ltd., under the state's Department of Tourism, launched the Hop-on Hop-off boat service and Water Taxis, for the first time in India, in the backwaters of Kochi and in the Spice Route project of Muziris. 

Keeping up with the Virtual World…
In a short span of time, Kerala Tourism has made a mark in the Digital world. Kerala Tourism has 1.1 million plus Facebook fans, 44,400 plus Twitter followers, 6000 plus Instagram followers,500 plus Pinterest followers, 700 plus foursquare followers, the Kerala Tourism YouTube channel has 7,189 subscribers and 8,578,373 views. We also have More than 250+ articles on Kerala, Backwaters and Ayurveda published in guest blogs.
The new website has been launched recently with a fresh look and increased accessibility with more information, 1500 pictures and 3000 videos.

Kerala Tourism’s website, which attracts the maximum number of visitors, has been translated into various Indian languages like Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu, as well as foreign languages including Dutch, Italian, Portuguese and Swedish.

Kerala has emerged as the No. 1 travel destination of the country in Google search trends, edging out TajMahal. This is a testimony to the international recognition of brand Kerala. 

Cultural Events showcasing in Kerala… 
Nishagandhi Festival: January
The annual festival will be held from January 20th - 27th, 2016. Artist and connoisseurs of dance from all over India come to enjoy this cultural treat. This year’s Nishagandhi festival will kick off with classical sitar concert by Anoushka Shankar, followed by performances of tabla exponent Zakir Hussain, actress-dancer Hema Malini, among other internationally acclaimed artists. The festival is organised by the Kerala Tourism.

On the trail of the Spice Route…
Another amazing initiative in the offering is the Spice Route Revival Project. Kerala's initiative to revive and promote the two millennia-old spice route, that links the south western coast of India up to Europe, through tourism has received a boost, with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) pledging support to the venture.

Other Noteworthy Projects…
Kerala Tourism has come out with a unique nature based soft adventure holidays program NATVENTURE. The idea behind this is to use the key tourism products - Wildlife, Hill Stations, Beaches, Backwaters, etc. and engage the possibilities of adventure activities they offer. Kerala Natventure activities include Trekking, Camping, Rock Climbing, Jungle, Wildlife Safaris, Bird Watching, Cycling, Kayaking, Canoeing and Paragliding.

Another forward initiative is the launch of the new 'Great Backwaters' campaign.The campaign aims at unveiling the state's majestic backwaters as a single unique destination.
A new campaign, ‘Home of Ayurveda’ was also launched to promote Ayurveda through all media. ‘Bakel’ has been introduced as a new destination in North Kerala.

From a seasonal tourist place, Kerala was elevated to an all season destination through a successful Dream Season campaign launched during the off-season.

 Awards and Accolades…
Kerala Tourism was conferred the inaugural Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) CEO Challenge 2015 award for the top emerging destination in the world. The award was in recognition of the pioneering Responsible Tourism undertaken in Thekkady by Kerala Tourism.

Kerala Tourism was also bestowed the top Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Award for heritage conservation, in an honour that highlights the state's trendsetting efforts in reinventing the millennia-old Spice Route heritage.
In addition to these, Kerala Tourism also bagged the National Tourism Award for the Best Rural Tourism Project in Kumarakom, ITB Berlin – Golden City Gate Award (Print Campaign), Best Family & Best Value for Money Destination and many more.

So what are you waiting for? The real award is for the people who visit the state and take back amazing memories from God’s Own Country. See you in Kerala!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

RJ Malishka Tuza Mumbai var bharosa nay ka ?

MCGM aka BMC : The Life Line of Mumbai

Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, better known as BMC is life line of Mumbai. Mumbaikars love to hate MCGM. Overpopulated Mumbai is bursting at seams still she is alive and thriving with able administration of MCGM.

Let’s not argue and take a snap at the typical Mumbai-day. We get up in the morning, hurry into the bathroom, turn the tap and voila! The water is always running, though the whole Maharashtra is facing serious water shortage. The engineers, sluice men of MCGM’s water department work skillfully to keep meticulous quantity of water flowing throughout the slums and skyscrapers of Mumbai.

Next we dump our leftover food and scrap into the bins. We never separate our wet and dry garbage. The solid waste management department of MCGM takes care of it.

While passing by the garbage trucks we cover our precious noses with eau-de-cologned hankies. The sewerage workers toil in those stinking trucks to keep our city spic and span, whether it’s scorching or pouring.

We always get adequate and fresh supply of vegetables, fruits, fish, and meat at reasonable prices from MCGM’s 21 markets spread throughout city and suburbs.

The most important of MCGM’s duty and where it spends its major chunk of the revenue is Public Health Department. There are 229 Health posts from where free vaccination, immunization, vitamins, family planning methods and general medicines are administered for whole Mumbai.

MCGM runs 30 maternity homes plus 16 hospitals assist in child delivery and maternal care. The best medical treatment is available at affordable rates at Cooper, Bhagwati, Lokmanya Tilak, Rajawadi, V.N. Desai, Nair, Centenary ( Shatabdi ), Kasturaba etc. MCGM’s mobile medicine vans routinely provide general medicine in various slum pockets of Mumbai. The airborne diseases are kept in check by the Pest Control Department.

MCGM gives free school education to 5, 19160 students of Mumbai.
Its Storm Water drain Department carries away pouring rain water to keep Mumbai active.MCGM administers 23 Fire brigade stations.

In other states, separate boards are formed for Water ,Sewerage, Education, but only in Maharashtra it’s MCGM which does the thankless extra job of providing the essential services.

Why do people whine so much about Mumbai-rains?. If The Train's schedule is disrupted due to monsoon, the Railway Board is responsible for that. Most of the potholes , the traffic jams on highways are due to Metro-work , where MMRDA is equally responsible. Just cursing and abusing BMC ( MCGM ) for everything under the SUN and above the SEA is absolutely foolish. If they really find it so much bothersome as to want to shift to Mars or Zumaritalayya, who has stopped them?. Nobody has invited or forced people to stay in Mumbai. It's equivalent to cursing our own mother and father for big family and resultant poverty. Finally If Mumbai is so problematic, why more and more people from inside as well as outside India rushing to Mumbai, dreaming to settle in Mumbai ?

It’s a fact that Mumbai is an Island, eclipsed by appx. 65% unauthorized slum population. The unauthorized constructions have blocked Mithi river, Sanjay Gandhi National Park ( aka Borivli national park ), drainage, beaches and footpaths. Many more rush to Mumbai, every hour of 365 days a year. How and where can MCGM accommodate and manage such mammoth population?.

Let me know about any island on Earth which is as much densely populated as Mumbai and still efficiently administered by local Municipal body.

Our Mumbai is clean, healthy and going strong with the efforts of MCGM’s work force. MCGM is truly the lifeline of Mumbai. But do we citizens care for the proper functioning of our lifeline which is clogged with slums and unauthorized constructions. Until and unless we remove these hurdles how could we expect the proper flow of services from MCGM?

We tend to take MCGM for granted, neglecting our own duties. Is it fair?

Pictorial : Youth friendly Bru World Cafe , Juhu

I love to sip coffee, when it's pouring heavily and I am nestled up at home.

I love the romantic aroma of coffee more than the actual drink.

I love to enjoy coffee with boisterous set of friends in a trendy ,cool cafe.

I love both. steaming hot and icy cool coffee , any time , any how.

If any of these strike a chord with your coffee-love , then have a look at these pics :


Friday, July 21, 2017

Irolic parade, Novotel

DARE : Defense Against Rape and Eve-teasing

"Girls...your safety is not an option, it’s your right," says 18-year-old Vaamaa Baldota. Unlike other teens who are occupied with college, career, etc... she has a broader mission. She is keen on training young girls on self-defence. "You will be as safe as you choose to be. Because your safety does not have to depend on chance or luck, but on how alert and prepared you are - at any and every moment," she explains.

While informing further on what made her develop a two-hour programme to make girls aware on eve teasing and rape, she explains the news related rape and sexual assaults in our country left her with several questions.
It was after returning from UK to her hometown Hospet in Karnataka during her vacation she was left more disturbed hearing the news of her maid’s daughter being molested.

Vaamma embarked on a serious task of doing something more than just talking about the issue. She took up an intense 25 hours a week, four-week commando training course. After which she formed DARE (Defense Against Rape and Eve-teasing) with the help of five volunteers in Hospet and started approaching schools and colleges in her hometown to conduct the self-defense programme.

The programme designed to motivate girls to act smartly in difficult situation concerning her safety was formulated by talking with several experts including rape psychologist and lawyers.
"The DARE training programme does not make use of speed, power or strength as the means to fight the offender. We stress on verbal confrontation skills, avoidance, response. Survival and escape tactics and more importantly self-defence techniques,” she explains. The tactics and the guidelines provided in the programme are simple to follow.

Following are some tips given by Vaamaa for young girls
1. On being stared or whistled at give a stern run down look, don't ignore or over react.
2. Not to hurt the man's ego.
3. On being pulled instead of pulling back one should push in the pulling direction and on being pushed one should pull in the direction towards them.
4. Being aware of one's surroundings is the most important tool for safety.
5. On being eve-teased, molested or assaulted it is very important to speak up about it. 
Vaamaa says she feels confident that schools and colleges can expect that their girls who undergo the programme will be equipped with knowledge and skills to deal with various forms of Eve teasing, will be able to protect themselves from rape and during rape.
“It is important that the girls understand psychological traits of eve teasers and rapists. But the most vital aspect is that the need of communication between the girl and her parents,” stresses Vaams. “We encourage them to speak up and try to make will be aware of the laws in India related to rape and Eve teasing,” she says.
Vaamaa feels the need for each girl to be physically and mentally fit and hence she says, “the techniques in this session are specially designed for girls and are not based on strength or power but on speed and leverage.” 
The group has conducted the programme in Karnataka, cities including Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune and will move next to Delhi. Vaamaa will be getting back to her studies. So to make the programme sustainable, she has trained many volunteers in different parts of the country to carry on the workshops.