NEW DELHI, July 22 (Reuters) – As India’s capital baked in a
heat wave, banker Gaurav Gupta sat down for lunch at a new
air-conditioned restaurant, to be greeted by a smiling waiter
who took his order for a traditional “thali” meal of flatbread,
lentils, vegetables and rice.
Nothing unusual, except that the employee, like most of his
colleagues, is a convicted murderer serving time in South Asia’s
largest prison complex.
As India’s capital baked under a heat wave this month, banker Gaurav Gupta sat down for lunch at a new air-conditioned restaurant, and was greeted by a smiling waiter who offered him chilled water and took his order — a traditional “thali” meal of flatbread, lentils, vegetables, rice and pickle.
Nothing unusual, except that the employee, like most of his co-workers, is a convicted murderer serving time in South Asia’s largest prison complex.
India has the third-highest number of people living with HIV in the world, with 2.1 million Indians accounting for four of every 10 people infected in Asia, the United Nations said in a report on Wednesday.
The epidemic has killed about 39 million of the 78 million people it has affected worldwide since it began in the 1980s, the U.N. AIDS programme said, adding that the number of people infected with HIV was stabilising around 35 million.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has its work cut out if it wants to transform the country’s health system and provide a universal health insurance programme.
India has just 0.7 doctors per 1,000 people, and 80 percent of this workforce is in urban areas serving 30 percent of the population, according to industry lobby group NATHEALTH.
Between surgeries and hospital rounds one recent day, Dr. Rajiv Parakh made a dash into his Gurgaon office for an appointment he couldn’t miss: a consultation with a patient who lives hundreds of kilometres away.
Seated before his laptop in this city on the outskirts of India’s capital, the surgeon listened as a patient in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka described his swollen legs. For the next 20 minutes, Parakh examined the patient via Web camera, made a diagnosis and prescribed treatment.
The two-decade-long Mizo rebellion from 1966 to 1986 remains the only conflict in which the Indian government used war planes against its citizens. Few written records exist on the conflict in which the Mizo National Front (MNF) revolted against the government, trying to establish an independent country.
A new book by a former militant in the Mizo National Army (MNA), the armed wing of the MNF, recounts the air bombings and the government’s “grouping” policy, under which villages in what is now Mizoram state were burned and civilians relocated to guarded centres called Protected and Progressive Villages.
Women in India who are more educated than their husbands, earn more or are the sole earners in their families face a higher risk of domestic violence than women who are more dependent on their partners, according to a new study.
Much of India is still deeply patriarchal and there are wide gaps in the status of men and women. And this form of violence could be a way for men to reassert their power or maintain social control over their wives to preserve the “status quo” in the relationship, said the study’s author Abigail Weitzman.
When Krishnan Ganesh’s father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer two years ago, Ganesh had to “run from pillar to post” to get quality medical care at home, a concept that is not prevalent in India. That’s when he hit upon the idea of a home healthcare service.
India has been “fairly successful” in fighting AIDS by targeting key affected populations such as intravenous drug users, transgendered people, sex workers and homosexuals, but its focus must broaden to high-risk mobile communities to keep the disease under control, the United Nations said.
Policies focused on prevention and a huge social mobilisation have allowed India to reduce new infections of HIV, the virus which causes AIDS, by as much as 57 percent in 10 years; and more than 650,000 people living with HIV are receiving antiretroviral therapy, the second-largest number in the world by country, according to UNAIDS.
Rumours of an impending salt shortage led to panic-buying in India’s north-eastern states and parts of West Bengal state on Friday, officials and media reports said, with a kilo of salt being sold for as much as 200 rupees ($3) compared to average retail selling prices of about 20 rupees (around 35 cents).
Witnesses reported people queuing up at grocery stores to stockpile salt packets, with several shops running out of the usually cheap and plentiful product a day after similar rumours surfaced in Bihar state.