Evening Edition

Some headlines to start your evening off right:

  • The government of Himachal Pradesh announced at a three-day international conference this weekend that they are drafting a master plan for the development of backpack tourism in the state through strategic public private partnerships (PPPs).  The government ensured that the plan will “optimise the use of natural resources while ensuring ecological safeguards.”
  • In more off-the-beaten track news, West Bengal currently tops the animal cruelty list in India.  In the past three years alone, reports iGovernment, approximately 40,000 animals have faced cruelty in the state of West Bengal. 
  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh convened a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Prices today in order to address the issue of soaring prices.  The import duty on soybean oil is expected to be cut in order to encourage imports.  India is also expected to stop the import of wheat for this year.
  • The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in collaboration with the corporate sector of Tamil Nadu, has launched long-term rehabilitation mechanisms for Tsunami victims in the state.  Services include healthcare centers, medical camps for eyes and dental health, clean water supply. 
  • The Government of India has allocated Rs. 600 crore for green energy research, design, and development (RD&D).   New schemes include awareness campaigns, incentive-based programs, and development of solar cities and renewable energy technologies for the Eleventh Five Year Plan period. 
  • Currently, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) is operational in 330 districts in the country.  As of April 1st, the scheme will expand to 604 districts of the country.  Rural Development minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has also requested that zero balance accounts be created for NREGA workers for the purposes of transparency and efficiency in the deposit process.
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Midday Newsfeed

Weekend headlines for your leisurely perusal:

Sex Education in India Subpar

There are two aspects of sex education — one straightforward the other complex. On one hand we have the biological nature of sexuality and gender, which for the most part, can be effectively explained within schools objectively and without too much controversy. The other issue, the one dealing with the physical impulses and feelings associated with sex pose much greater problems especially in a still sexually restrictive culture. This conflict leads to a state where students become adequately educated to what hormones are and how they work without getting guidance on how to deal with them in everyday life.

A recent study has shown that less than one-tenth of young men and women in Bihar and Jharkhand have ever received any kind of sex education. The rest of the country isn’t far behind, either: only 12 percent of young men and 25 percent of young women in Maharashtra have any knowledge of family life and/or sex.

My India Report attempts unpackages this disconnect briefly

Despite the fact that the youth wants sex education, and wants it from their teachers, states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have banned it from the curriculum. The problem isn’t that sex is considered dirty, it’s that only married people are allowed to get dirty. The study reveals that even people who are supposed to provide sex education prefer to talk to married couples and are uncomfortable dealing with queries from unmarried people. The socio-cultural taboos run deep.