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Budget Highlights For The Fiscal Year 200405

first_img TAX CHANGES FOR 2004-05 Third consecutive balanced budget 2003-04 surplus of $14.5 million; higher than projected despite floods, blizzards, and Hurricane Juan 2004-05 surplus of $2.1 million, in addition to the province’s first deposit in its debt retirement fund Nominal GDP forecast to grow to 3.4 per cent in 2004 Steady employment numbers projected for 2004 Federal sources grow $6 million, 0.32 per cent Provincial sources grow $267 million, 8.07 per cent Public education funding up $22 million; per student funding continues to increase Funding for special needs and smaller class sizes in primary and Grade one 89 per cent of Nova Scotia students meet or exceed expectations in literacy, and 81 per cent of students met or exceed expectations in writing Nova Scotia Community College receives an additional $3 million in operating funding Families Provincial credit rating improved Debt retirement plan introduced in legislation — first deposit in debt retirement fund in 2004-05 $6 million in the debt retirement fund and $4 million debt retirement contingency Foreign currency exposure 16.9 per cent — well below target Net direct debt to GDP ratio continues in its positive trend Capital budget $250 million, plus $38 million in capital grants for hospitals Investment in highway up $6 million to $112.2 million, including investment in steel truss bridge program New school construction stands at $45.9 million, and additions and alterations $13.4 million Nova Scotia Community College expansion, $25.5 million in 2004-05; part of $123-million expansion announced in 2003-04 $14-million investment in IT projects, including SAP financials in HAS and completion of the HR payroll/system for the province and school boards Education Community Services budget up $27.7 million; community supports for adults budget accounts for $10.3 million Caseloads under Employment Assistance and Income Support Program continue to decline Increased funding in Early Childhood Development and Affordable Housing Program 10 per cent personal income tax reduction remains in place for individuals with taxable earnings of $29,590 or less; applies to 53 per cent of Nova Scotia taxpayers 96 per cent of Nova Scotia taxpayers will pay less personal income tax in 2004 than in 2003 New personal income tax bracket added for high-income earners: taxable earnings $93,000 and above, tax rate 17.5 per cent Large corporations tax increases from 0.25 per cent to 0.3 per cent; applies to 1,400 of Nova Scotia’s largest corporations, effective April 1, 2004 Corporation capital tax on financial institutions increases from 3 per cent to 4 per cent; applies to banks and trust companies, effective April 1, 2004 Small business tax threshold implemented a year early; threshold increased to $300,000, effective Jan. 1, 2005 PAYING DOWN THE DEBT -30- NOTE: For further 2004-05 budget information, see the Departmentof Finance website at www.gov.ns.ca/finance . INVESTING IN PRIORITIES Health ADDRESSING THE INFRASTRUCTURE DEFICIT Health budget increases $230 million; Office of Health Promotion budget increases $3.6 million Total health-care budget at $2.36 billion Seniors living in nursing homes will no longer pay for their medical costs effective Jan. 1, 2005; seniors’ contribution based on income not assets Funding for long-term care beds, Pharmacare, ERs, orthopedics, Provincial Wait Time Project, Pediatric Rehabilitation Program, and Maritime Genetics Program Hospitals receive $78.5 million more; medical payments are up $85.6 million; Long Term Care up $ 24.1 million STEADY ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE … STRONG PROVINCIAL REVENUESlast_img read more

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LakeCity Woodworkers Receives 250000 Grant

first_imgLakeCity Woodworkers is building a better future thanks to a$250,000 grant to support employment programs for people who haveexperienced mental health difficulties, Community ServicesMinister David Morse announced today, March 4. “LakeCity offers its participants an important mix of highquality training and employment opportunities, in a way thatrecognizes their strengths and challenges,” said CommunityServices Minister David Morse. “This funding will help ensureLakeCity can continue to provide these important services –services that contribute to individual development and offer highquality furniture to consumers.” LakeCity Woodworkers started 23 years ago in Dartmouth with asmall variety of shelving manufactured by a handful of mentalhealth consumers supported by a few woodworkers. Today,LakeCity’s retail store offers a range of high quality solid woodproducts manufactured by about 50 mental health consumers, withthe training and guidance of experienced woodworkers and cabinetmakers. “This funding will help us enlarge our facility and furniturebuilding operation, which will allow for more participants andstaff,” said LakeCity executive director Chris Fyles. “Weappreciate this support, and look forward to a strengthenedprogram for mental health consumers.”last_img read more

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Les NéoÉcossais réagissent bien à louragan Earl

first_img Salubrité des aliments : 902-424-1173 Municipalité régionale d’Halifax : 902-490-4000 Aliant (pour signaler une panne de téléphone) : 611 Croix-Rouge : 1-800-222-9597 Nova Scotia Power Inc., : 902-428-6004 Les Néo-Écossais doivent faire preuve de prudence à la plage, puisque des grands vents et une forte houle sont encore possibles. Toutes les plages provinciales, de même que les campings et les parcs d’utilisation diurne resteront fermés au public jusqu’à ce que nous ayons fini d’évaluer les dommages causés par la tempête. Le Parc faunique provincial Shubenacadie a rouvert ses portes à 9 heures ce matin. Un avis public concernant la réouverture d’autres installations sera affiché à l’adresse www.novascotiaparks.ca. Voici quelques numéros de téléphone d’organismes chargés des opérations de nettoyage et de suivi : Si vous êtes toujours sans électricité, les aliments périssables dans le frigo depuis le début de la panne, tels que les viandes, le poisson, la volaille, les produits laitiers, les légumes cuits, les pâtes alimentaires cuites, le riz cuit ou les aliments à base de protéines comme les oeufs ou le tofu, ne devraient probablement pas être consommés. Il est préférable de les jeter. Dans le cas des congélateurs, où la nourriture pourrait commencer à décongeler, vérifiez pour voir si les aliments doivent être placés dans un congélateur en état de marche ou consommés avant qu’ils ne soient complètement dégelés et qu’ils n’atteignent une température d’environ 4 C (40 F). Les fruits et les baies peuvent être recongelés. Les aliments partiellement décongelés peuvent être recongelés. Les viandes crues décongelées qui sont encore à 4 C (40 F) ou moins peuvent être cuites et consommées, ou recongelées si l’électricité a été rétablie chez vous. Si des aliments périssables restent à une température de 4 C (40 F) ou plus pendant plus de deux heures, il est préférable de les jeter.center_img Les efforts de nettoyage et de rétablissement des services à la suite de l’ouragan Earl avancent rapidement partout dans la province. Tous les services essentiels, comme les hôpitaux, les usines de traitement des eaux et autres services publics, ont maintenant de l’électricité. La plupart des débris ont été retirés des chemins et ces derniers sont ouverts à la circulation. Les gens devraient quand même continuer à conduire avec prudence et à faire preuve de vigilance près des arbres et des lignes électriques tombés au sol. « Je tiens à remercier tous nos partenaires qui ont uni leurs efforts et réagi si rapidement et si efficacement à l’ouragan Earl, de dire Ramona Jennex, ministre de la Gestion des urgences. Je suis également très reconnaissante envers les Néo-Écossais pour s’être si bien préparés. Il est bon de voir les voisins qui s’entraident afin que tous se relèvent de la tempête. » Nova Scotia Power indique que le service a été rétabli pour plus de 75 p. 100 des clients sans électricité dans la région du centre de la Nouvelle-Écosse, y compris la Municipalité régionale d’Halifax, et l’entreprise prévoit que l’essentiel du service sera rétabli partout dans la province aujourd’hui. Les gens qui vivent dans des régions éloignées ou qui ont subi des dommages plus importants devraient voir leur service rétabli d’ici demain. Les gens peuvent consulter l’état des pannes à l’adresse nspower.ca (nspower.ca/m pour les appareils mobiles), ou signaler des pannes en appelant Nova Scotia Power au 1-877-428-6004. La salubrité des aliments demeure une préoccupation lors d’une panne de courant qui dure plusieurs heures. Le ministère de l’Agriculture conseille aux gens d’être prudents avec la nourriture qui se trouve dans leurs réfrigérateurs ou leurs congélateurs. Les aliments se conservent généralement pendant plusieurs heures dans un réfrigérateur, sans électricité, particulièrement si la porte reste fermée. Les aliments dans un gros congélateur bien rempli peuvent se conserver sans problème de deux à trois jours. Pour des questions concernant la salubrité des aliments durant la fin de semaine, appelez le 902-424-1173. Voici des renseignements importants sur la salubrité des aliments :last_img read more

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Sydney Alcohol Gaming Office Closed

first_img —————————————————————The Sydney Alcohol and Gaming Office in the Nova Scotia Power Building, 235 Townsend St., is closed for the rest of today, Oct. 11, by flooding. SERVICE N.S./MUNICIPAL RELATIONS–Sydney Alcohol, Gaming Office Closed For inquiries, call 1-877-565-0556, or access available online services at www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr. -30-last_img

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Blood Pressure Come on Nova Scotia Check it Oped

first_imgOnly half of adults with high blood pressure know they have it. Whether people have normal or high blood pressure, it is important they know the higher their numbers, the higher the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. If high blood pressure is detected early, and treated, it can decrease risks. The first step is simple; blood pressure should be checked regularly. People should keep a record of their numbers, and remember them as they do their height and weight. They should ask their health-care provider what their pressure number should be. In other words, they should know their blood pressure and encourage family and friends to do the same. World Hypertension Day was May 17, but maintaining a healthy blood pressure is important year-round. Countries around the world have been challenged to support blood pressure screening clinics and track the number of people that have their blood pressure checked. In Nova Scotia, each May employers are encouraged to provide blood pressure screening events as part of the Come on Nova Scotia … Check it! challenge. These events encourage employees to have their blood pressure checked and learn more about blood pressure through the provincial My Blood Pressure wallet card, pamphlet and posters. Challenge kits provide instructions on how to hold a workplace challenge and include tools and educational materials. More than 3,000 people had their blood pressures checked during last May’s challenge. The goal is to increase that total this year. To learn more about blood pressure, and how to use the My Blood Pressure card tools, visit www.gov.ns.ca/bloodpressure . -30-last_img read more

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More Steps Taken to Improve Workplace Safety

first_imgGovernment continues to work with Nova Scotians to improve workplace safety. After months of consultation with workers and employers, the new administrative penalties regulations took effect, Oct. 1. Administrative penalties, or fines, are used to improve compliance with workplace safety laws, helping to keep workplaces safe and workers protected. Hundreds of employers, workers and safety partners took part in a review of the regulations to help identify areas for improvement. The result includes a process for targeting repeat offenders. The new regulations also include a graduated system of enforcement, a greater focus on education and relationship building, and revenue from administrative penalties going towards workplace safety initiatives. “I commend government for engaging in extensive consultation,” said Jim Cormier, Atlantic director of the Retail Council of Canada. “We stressed the need for on-site inspectors to have more discretion around enforcement as well as the need to focus more efforts on education and the inspection of high-risk sites. I was pleased to see the feedback reflected in the changes.” Government is also reaching out to employers and workers to improve additional Workplace Health and Safety regulations. Proposed changes have been drafted based on input from safety partners. Before the changes are finalized, the department wants to hear from the employers and workers who are directly affected. “We’re seeing a lot of positive changes in workplace safety,” said Kelly Regan, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. “Change is often born of need, and we know employers and workers are the best people to tell us what that need is. I’m encouraged by their level of engagement, and I’d like to invite everyone to have their say in this consultation.” Proposed changes include improved safety training in workplaces, and enhanced hearing protection. Feedback on the draft regulations will be accepted until Dec. 19. For more details on the proposed changes and how to submit comments, visit novascotia.ca/lae/policy/WHSRsConsultation.asp. Occupational Health and Safety inspectors also recently conducted a province-wide blitz. Inspectors visited 66 high-risk sites where they noted an increase in compliance related to fall protection regulations. These unscheduled safety inspections are part of the work underway to increase targeted inspections by 200 per cent, and educate employers and workers on their responsibilities under the Workplace Health and Safety Regulations.last_img read more

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Nova Scotia Painting to Hang in Canadas High Commission in London

first_imgNova Scotians visiting the Canadian High Commission in London might get a glimpse of home and a piece of their art collection after a recent loan from the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Arthur Lismer’s Docks on Bay of Fundy was painted in 1943, when he was likely on one of many visits made after his tenure as principal of the then-Victoria School of Art and Design, now NSCAD University. “As a Nova Scotian, I am proud that this wonderful painting is being loaned to Canada House,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “Mr. Lismer’s depiction of a dock on the Bay of Fundy is a scene out of my childhood and that of many Nova Scotians. I look forward to it being shared with visitors to Canada House.” The painting is being loaned to Canada House as it re-opens after renovations. For the first time in more than 50 years, the revitalized Canada House on Trafalgar Square brings together all Canadian High Commission activities under one roof in the heart of London. The building includes meeting rooms named after every province and territory. These rooms include art and design pieces from their namesake. The new Canada House will be officially opened in late February. “On behalf of everyone involved with this ambitious revitalization of Canada House, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the people of Nova Scotia and Premier Stephen McNeil for their generosity in loaning us this key piece of art with such strong ties to both Nova Scotia and the United Kingdom,” said Gordon Campbell, High Commissioner of Canada. “A man born in England, who became a war artist for Canada and a founding member of the Group of Seven, it is a truly special painting that bridges the Atlantic. We are proud to display such a beautiful piece of our shared history.” A native of Sheffield, England, Mr. Lismer achieved fame as a charter member of The Group of Seven, the artistic cohort who did more than any other group of artists, to define a distinctly Canadian sensibility in modern art. In 1916, Mr. Lismer, who had been living in Toronto since 1911, accepted the job as principal of the Victoria School of Art and Design in Halifax and curator of the Nova Scotia Museum of Fine Arts (now the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia). He was an official war artist during the First World War and documented the war effort as seen from Halifax, one of the busiest ports on the Atlantic. He was in Halifax for the Halifax Explosion, and documented its after-effects. He left Halifax in 1919 to become the vice-principal of the Ontario College of Art (now OCAD University) in Toronto. While Mr. Lismer never lived in Nova Scotia again, he often visited, making paintings of the seashore and other scenes right through to the ’60s. Docks on Bay of Fundy depicts the high wharves used along the Bay of Fundy, and would likely have been painted on a sketching trip. It was purchased with funds donated by Sheldon and Marjorie Fountain, whose family roots are in the Bay of Fundy region of Nova Scotia. The painting will hang in Canada’s High Commission for about three years, when it will be returned to Halifax. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is the largest art museum in Atlantic Canada. With locations in downtown Halifax and downtown Yarmouth, the gallery houses the province’s art collection and offers a range of exhibitions and programming. For information, visit www.artgalleryofnovascotia.ca .last_img read more

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Grant Supports Seniors in Eastern Passage

first_imgFunding was announced today, Aug. 3, for an organization in Eastern Passage that creates opportunities for older Nova Scotians to be more engaged and included in their communities. Premier Stephen McNeil announced $10,000 in funding from the Age-Friendly Community Grant program for Ocean View Serving Seniors’ Neighbourhood Program. “Our seniors contribute greatly to our communities and they deserve a tremendous amount of respect and support,” said Premier McNeil. “The Neighbourhood Program offers great learning experiences that support the health, wellness and quality of life for local seniors, and I’m certain this project will have a positive impact in the area.” Ocean View Serving Seniors offers a variety of programs, services and activities to older adults. The Neighbourhood Program provides supports to seniors living in the community to help them stay safely in their homes for as long as possible, with the intention of delaying or preventing the need for formalized care. “With this grant we have been able to provide subsidized memberships to community members on fixed incomes and support members’ health and wellness,” said Patti White, innovation and accountability leader at Ocean View. “In addition, we can offer information sessions throughout the HRM on the benefits of our Neighbourhood Program”. This is one of two Age-Friendly Community grants awarded to the Eastern Passage area. The province is also awarding $1,700 to the Eastern Passage Community Safety Office Society. Support from government helps inclusive programs, like this, to improve accessibility for older Nova Scotians and enables them to participate more fully in their communities.last_img read more

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La Fête nationale des Acadiens est le 15 août

first_img Du plaisir pour toute la famille au Musée des Acadiens des Pubnicos, Pubnico-Ouest, comté de Yarmouth, de 11 h à 15 h. Une messe sera célébrée en français au lieu historique national de Grand-Pré, comté de Kings, à compter de 11 h. Le tintamarre du Festival acadien de Clare commence à 18 h à Saint-Bernard et à Rivière-aux-Saumons, comté de Digby. Une plaque sera dévoilée aux Trois Pignons à Chéticamp, comté d’Inverness, pour rendre hommage à Jeanne Dugas, nommée personnage historique national. Le Festival acadien de Petit-de-Grat, Isle Madame, comté de Richmond, du 10 au 15 août. Un barbecue communautaire à l’École du Sommet, 500, boul. Larry Uteck, Halifax, de 16 h à 18 h. Les Acadiens de toute la province mettront leur patrimoine à l’honneur à l’occasion de la Fête nationale des Acadiens le lundi 15 août. « La Fête nationale des Acadiens est le moment de mettre à l’honneur le patrimoine de nos collectivités acadiennes et francophones et de souligner l’influence passée et présente de cette culture sur notre province, de dire Michel Samson, ministre des Affaires acadiennes. J’encourage tous les Acadiens à faire flotter leur drapeau acadien avec fierté. » Voici quelques-unes des activités qui se dérouleront dans la province : Le drapeau acadien sera hissé pour la journée à Province House, rue Hollis, à Halifax. À titre de division du ministère des Communautés, de la Culture et du Patrimoine, les Affaires acadiennes contribuent à la préservation et à l’essor des collectivités acadiennes et francophones en conseillant le gouvernement et en soutenant ses efforts pour offrir des services en français. Les Néo-Écossais peuvent « aimer » les Affaires acadiennes sur Facebook.com/Affairesacadiennes ou suivre la Province en français sur Twitter à l’adresse @GouvNE.last_img read more

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Weekly Traffic Advisories

first_img QUEENS COUNTY: Highway 103, Herring Cove Brook Bridge Herring Cove Brook Bridge, between Exits 18 and 19, Highway 103, has alternating lane closures for bridge repairs until Tuesday, July 31. Temporary traffic lights are set up for 24 hours per day. PICTOU COUNTY: Route 348, Pictou Landing Route 348, in Pictou Landing, is reduced to one lane from 500 metres east of Well Hill Road to Lewis Road for paving until Friday, Aug. 31. Work takes place from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Traffic control personnel are on site. Motorists are advised to use extreme caution when travelling through a construction zone. COLCHESTER COUNTY: North River Route 311 from Stewart’s Bridge, in North River, for six kilometres north to Upper North River is reduced to one lane for patching and paving until Friday, Aug. 31. Work takes place from daylight to dusk. COLCHESTER COUNTY: Highway 104 Highway 104, westbound from East Mountain for about seven kilometres will have a right lane closure for roadwork until Friday, Aug. 31 Work takes place from dawn to dusk. PICTOU COUNTY: Sutherlands River Bridge Trunk 4 is closed in Sutherlands River, east of Church Road and west of the intersection of Route 245 and Thorburn Road, for the replacement of the Sutherlands River Bridge. Work is expected to continue until Sunday, Sept. 30. A detour route and signs are in place. Motorists are advised to use extreme caution when travelling through a construction zone. COLCHESTER COUNTY: Highway 102 Highway 102, from Brookfield to Truro, the northbound right lane, will be closed for roadwork until Friday, Aug. 31. Work takes place from dawn to dusk. PICTOU COUNTY: Route 348, East River Road Route 348, East River Road, is reduced to one lane in various sections from the Stellarton town line to the New Glasgow town line for repairs and repaving until Friday, Aug. 31. Work takes place from sunrise to sunset. COLCHESTER COUNTY: Princeport Riverside Road, Princeport, from Trunk 2 westerly, for about five kilometres, is reduced to one lane for patching and paving until Friday, Aug. 31. Work takes place form daylight to dusk. COLCHESTER COUNTY: Bible Hill Vimy Road, Bible Hill, from College Road to Brookside Road, for about two kilometres is reduced to one lane for patching and paving until Friday, Aug.31. Work takes place from daylight to dusk. CUMBERLAND COUNTY: Nappan Marsh (Rainbow) Bridge, Trunk 2 Nappan Marsh (Rainbow) Bridge over the Nappan River on Trunk 2, outside Amherst, is closed until further notice. A detour is available on Route 302, Southampton Road and Smith Road. Traffic approaching Amherst is being rerouted a short distance on the Nappan and Lower Porter Roads, while traffic leaving Amherst is required to detour on Smith Road. QUEENS COUNTY: Highway 103 Highway 103 near Liverpool between Exit 18 and Exit 19 has alternating lane closures for paving until Friday, Aug. 31. Traffic control will consist of stop and go traffic. Work takes place from sunrise to sunset. DIGBY COUNTY: Trunk 1, Meteghan River Bridge Trunk 1, Meteghan River Bridge, Meteghan, to Highway 101 Connector, for about six kilometres has alternating lane closures for paving and patching until Friday, Aug. 31. Personnel and signs will be on site. Work takes place from sunrise to sunset. DIGBY COUNTY: Cape St. Marys Bridge Cape St. Marys Bridge, located on John Doucette Road, Cape St. Marys, is closed for bridge replacement until Thursday, Nov. 15. Detour signs in place. COLCHESTER COUNTY: Brookside Farnham Mill Road, Brookside, from Route 311 to Brookside Road, is reduced to one lane for more than one kilometre for patching and paving until Friday, Aug. 31. Work takes place from daylight to dusk. RICHMOND COUNTY: Port Royal Bridge Port Royal Bridge on Port Royal Road on Isle Madame, is closed until further notice. Traffic can detour on MacEachern Road. CONTINUING WORK YARMOUTH COUNTY: Route 3, Pubnico Route 3, Pubnico, from Ye Old Argyle Road to Route 335 has alternating lane closures for patching and repaving until Friday, Aug. 31. Traffic control signs and personnel are in place. Work takes place from sunrise to sunset. -30- PICTOU COUNTY: Highway 104 Highway 104, westbound from about one kilometre east of Exit 24, Stellarton to Exit 21, Westville, about seven kilometres is reduced to one lane for road work until Friday, Aug. 31. Traffic control on site. Work takes place from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. LUNENBURG COUNTY: Parks Creek Bridge Parks Creek Bridge on Route 332 is closed for bridge replacement until Wednesday, Oct. 31. Motorists are required to detour via Route 332 to Indian Path Road and back to Route 332. LUNENBURG COUNTY: Highway 103, Camperdown Highway 103, from Camperdown School Road to Camperdown Road, Camperdown, have alternating lane closures for paving until Friday, Aug. 31. Traffic control will consist of stop and go traffic. Work takes place from sunrise to sunset. KINGS COUNTY: Trunk 1 Trunk 1 from the Kentville Town Line to the Wolfville Town Line is reduced to one lane at night for paving. Work will take place between the hours of 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. until Friday, July 20. Residents in the area are advised that there may be an increased level of noise at night, during the construction hours. COLCHESTER COUNTY: Highway 104 Highway 104, eastbound from Onslow for about five kilometres will have a right lane closure for roadwork until Friday, Aug. 31 Work takes place from dawn to dusk. INVERNESS COUNTY: Judique Trunk 19, from about one kilometre north of Joe Effie Road, northerly for about seven kilometres, is reduced to one lane for drainage improvements and repaving until Sunday, Sept. 30. Traffic control people and pilot vehicle are on site. Work takes place from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.last_img read more

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Santanu Basu takes charge as WBSEDCL CMD

first_imgKolkata: Santanu Basu, a senior and dynamic IAS officer of Bengal cadre, has taken over as the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL), replacing Rajesh Pandey.Earlier, Basu had been the Chairman and Managing Director of the West Bengal Power Development Corporation Limited (WBPDCL). The WBSEDCL has increased its consumer base up to 1.88 crore from 70 lakh, which was the figure when the Mamata Banerjee government came to power in 2011. An economic review for 2018-19 presented by the state government says around 5 lakh new consumers have been added during the last financial year. As many as 5,390 new industrial connections having a capacity of 266 MVA, 1,52,956 new commercial connections and 26,188 new agriculture connections have been provided by the state Power department. It may be mentioned here that the department has almost completed rural electrification drive across the state. The economic review also says rural electrification of households has increased from 55 percent in 2011 to 99.81 percent in March 2018. When the Mamata Banerjee government came to power, there was no electricity coverage in 45 percent of the entire area of the state but in the past few years, almost all the villages have been brought under the coverage of electricity. The state has taken steps to collect the dues which were lying with various government and non-government organisations throughout the state. It has been learnt that a total Rs 1,200 crore remained outstanding, with Rs 600 crore lying with various state agencies. Even after the completion of rural electrification project covering all the villages in the state, there have been some incidents of load-shedding caused due to unknown demands in some pockets. It occurs mainly because of incidents of power theft. It will be a challenge for Basu, the new CMD of WBSDECL, to chalk out plans to address the lapses. The WBSEDCL has been cracking down on the illegal tapping of power. In some places there have been repeated incidents of low voltage. The economic review also says that the government has ensured 24×7 power supply to all the consumers, with uninterrupted power supply for 24 hours a day in the urban areas. In case of rural areas, supply of power for more than 23 hours a day has been achieved. Presently, the staff strength of the WBSEDCL is around 18,000. Among the other achievements, the WBSEDCL has also been exporting power to Bangladesh continuously since December 2013. In a major infrastructural development, the WBSEDCL has set up 25 new 33/11 KV sub-stations (having transformation capacity of 356 MVA) during the last financial year, taking the total number of 33/11 KV sub-stations to 616, with transformation capacity of 10,455.45 MVA.last_img read more

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Twix progress and pursuit of happiness

first_img‘Good Morning Mumbai’ chants RJ Jahnvi (Bollywood actress Vidya Balan) in her unique style to her radio audience in the iconic Raju Hirani film ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’. After the chant comes a long poetic message essentially themed on the perils of a hyper-urban life, that has taken away the charm of yesteryears. Here are a couple of sentences that will resonate with many of us, “Serial ke kirdaro ka sara haal ha maloom, par maa ka haal poochne ki fursat kaha ha; mobile, landline sab ki bharmaar ha, magar jigri dost tak pohoche aise taar kaha ha” (One is updated with all characters in their favourite television series, but is too busy to have a relaxed conversation with their mother; One is flooded with internet and telecommunication technology but is still distant from the closest friends). In his own way, Raju Hirani does capture the essence of the side effects of so-called ‘economic growth and technological progress’. Don’t get me wrong, I am no Luddite who is dismissing the gains of all technological and economic progress that has done so much good to humankind. I am only trying to analyse the un-quantifiable side effects of the new normal and share some insights from this evolution. Also Read – A special kind of bond Progress and utility maximisation If we take a step back and analyse the scale and speed of economic and technological progress we have made, it is breathtaking. From using a human messenger to facebook messenger, and from horsebacks to hatchbacks, we have come a long way. At the click of a button, one can connect with anyone and order almost anything. With enhanced economic resources, luxuries of yesterday have become necessities of today – think telephones, air travel, internet, etc. When I talk progress, I am not restricting myself to the 21st century but willing to go way back in time. However, I am confining myself to individual desires and not social needs. The individual desire to accumulate monetary and non-monetary resources to maximise one’s utility lies at the heart of my analysis. Also Read – Insider threat managementWhat is maximising utility? Let me explain. All individuals work towards gathering resources to maximise their individual utilities. For instance, one strives to earn more money to enjoy a better lifestyle and quality of life. Those with scooters aim for cars, those with smaller houses aim for bigger ones, and so on. As this process has evolved over the centuries, it has done a lot of good, both for individuals and society – in the short and long term. For instance, it has helped advance medical sciences and improved lifetimes. It has made people more aware so that they can take more informed decisions. Although, one change that seems to be visible is that individual preferences and priorities have evolved. The composition of utility has changed for most people – it has expanded its scope and is expanding as we speak. In an era of slow technological and economic progress, the number of items that were enough for utility maximisation was much less. A good house with a car was more or less sufficient for one to feel that life is good. Now, a lot more is needed. A good house, a car, an annual vacation, expensive phone, and the list goes on. The examples I have given are relevant for the middle-class but change the objects and their sizes, and it applies to all classes. In play: Maslow’s Hierarchy and Prisoner’s Dilemma Abraham Maslow articulated the idea of a hierarchy of needs. From Wikipedia: “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is used to study how humans intrinsically partake in behavioural motivation. Maslow used the terms “physiological”, “safety”, “belonging and love”, “social needs” or “esteem”, and “self-actualisation” to describe the pattern through which human motivations generally move [from former to latter]. This means that for motivation to occur at the next level, each level must be satisfied within the individual themselves. Each of these individual levels contains a certain amount of internal sensation that must be met for an individual to complete their hierarchy.” Now I think that Maslow’s theory is still relevant, however, the movement from one level to the other has slowed as economic and technological progress has speeded up. This means that the journey towards ‘self-actualisation’ has become much longer. With this inference, I have a prediction to make that as humans continue to scale new heights of technology and accumulate economic wealth like never before, the journey towards ‘self-actualisation’ or ‘fulfilment’ or more simply ‘happiness’ will become longer and many more people (in comparison to the past) will be unable to complete it. Why do I say so? Because I see a clear case of prisoner’s dilemma in action. For those who aren’t well versed with the term, here’s a quick snapshot from Investopedia – “The prisoner’s dilemma is a paradox in decision analysis in which two individuals acting in their own self-interests do not produce the optimal outcome. The typical prisoner’s dilemma is set up in such a way that both parties choose to protect themselves at the expense of the other participant. As a result, both participants find themselves in a worse state than if they had cooperated with each other in the decision-making process.” Now let’s think about economic and material progress in a prisoner’s dilemma context. The dominant strategy for any individual in the society is to work hard and gather material gains. An individual with a house wants a bigger one, with one car wants two cars, and so on. This is irrespective of what society does. No one will stop as material gains offer clear tangible benefits – not just in terms of luxuries, but also the affordability of basic needs such as healthcare and education. Now, as we discussed earlier that due to economic and technological progress, the scope of things required for an individual to get satisfaction has expanded, hence, an individual will keep working towards them. When all individuals do so, the outcome is sub-optimal i.e., overall happiness levels in the society are much lower. Hence, economic and technological progress has started a self-propelling cycle, while inadvertently elongating the journey towards happiness and fulfilment. Other side effects of progress and what lies ahead The other side effect of this phenomenon is that people have become busier for their own selves. This is a natural by-product because there are so many more ‘things to do’ to satisfy one’s individual needs before someone gets happiness and moves on to satisfy one’s social needs. Thus, utility from taking exams and attending office meetings have taken over family get-togethers and community relationships. Moreover, accomplishments that were supposed to end in themselves have been transformed into tools that support the cause of further accumulating material gains. Take, for example, the purchase of a car. A car at one time was a luxury reserved for the rich and aspiration to buy it was in itself enough to drive people to work towards it. Buying a car meant buying happiness. People did work and many ended up buying a car but now it is a necessity for many, and no longer serves as a source of happiness. So, a car now becomes a tool to let’s say buy a fancier car, and the cycle goes on for almost all material items. While there are multiple ways that can help break the prisoner’s dilemma aka the inverse relationship between progress and the journey for happiness, given the complexities in our world, I doubt if there’s any silver bullet. A future with even faster economic growth and technological progress lies ahead of us. Yes, it will solve many problems and make lives better on so many noble and quantifiable parameters but it will also increase the distance for individuals to reach the ultimate goal of happiness and fulfilment. (The author is Young Professional, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, New Delhi. Views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

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Delhi BJP files plaint with Lokayukta against Dy CM PWD minister

first_imgNEW DELHI: The Delhi BJP, which alleged that there was a “scam” in the construction of classrooms in government schools Thursday filed a complaint with the Delhi Lokayukta against Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and PWD minister Satyendar Jain. The complaint by Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari accused the ministers in the Kejriwal government of “abuse of position” and “corruption” in the construction of over 12,000 classrooms in government schools. Tiwari’s complaint was filed on his behalf by party leaders. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsSisodia on Wednesday had sent a legal defamation notice to Tiwari, LoP Vijender Gupta and BJP MP Parvesh Verma, demanding their “unqualified” apology for their “cooked up” allegations against him. Citing an RTI reply, Tiwari and other BJP leaders had Monday alleged that there was a “scam” of Rs 2,000 crore in construction of 12,748 classrooms in Delhi government schools.. “Construction of around 12,748 school rooms at very high and inflated cost is being carried out by Delhi government through various agencies,” Tiwari said in the complaint. He also demanded an enquiry against the public functionaries involved in it. The politics over this issue has picked up pace with Delhi BJP leaders filing of a police complaint and demanding a probe while the AAP has retaliated by sending a defamation notice to Tiwari and other party leaders. Reacting to the charge, CM Kejriwal and Sisodia have dared Tiwari to get them arrested and challenged him to come out with a list of 10 schools in BJP ruled states which could be compared with quality of those run by Delhi government. Slapped with criminal defamation notice, Tiwari hit back saying, BJP leaders will not bow down under pressure tactics. “We refuse to bow down to your pressure tactics @msisodia. We will prove your corruption …@BJP4Delhi stands by the people Of Delhi and will recover this enormous sum of taxpayers money. We will go to Lokayukt and the Courts,” he had tweeted on Wednesday.last_img read more

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India slams UN rights report on Kashmir as false and motivated narrative

first_imgNew Delhi: After a UN human rights report on Jammu and Kashmir said the number of civilian casualties in the state since May 2018 could be the highest in over a decade, the Indian government on Monday trashed it as “a continuation of the earlier false and motivated narrative” on Kashmir. Responding to the Update of the Report by the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Jammu and Kashmir, which was released on Monday, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar in a statement said: “The assertions by the UN body are in violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and ignore the core issue of cross-border terrorism.” Also Read – IAF Day: Tributes paid to soldiers killed in line of duty in Jammu He said in the report, the OHCHR “analysed” a situation created by years of cross-border terrorist attacks emanating from Pakistan without any reference to its causality. The MEA termed the Update a “contrived effort to create an artificial parity between the world’s largest and most vibrant democracy and a country that openly practices state-sponsored terrorism”. The Ministry spokesperson also voiced “deep concern” that the report “seems to accord a legitimacy to terrorism that is in complete variance with UN Security Council positions”. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps, 20 launch pads along LoC He said that the UN Security Council had in February 2019, strongly condemned the dastardly Pulwama terror attack and subsequently proscribed Masood Azhar, the self styled leader of terrorist entity Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). “However, in the Update, terrorist leaders and organisations sanctioned by the UN are deliberately underplayed as ‘armed groups’,” he added. He slammed the OHCHR for “distorting India’s policies, practices and values”, which undermined the credibility of the UN body. “Its failure to recognise an independent judiciary, human rights institutions and other mechanisms in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir that safeguard, protect and promote constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights to all citizens of India is unpardonable,” the spokesperson said. “Even more so, as it belittles constitutional provisions, statutory procedures and established practices in an established functioning democracy. “The legitimisation of terrorism has been further compounded by an unacceptable advocacy of the dismemberment of a UN member State,” he said and added that the entire state of Kashmir was an integral part of India. “Pakistan is in illegal and forcible occupation of a part of the Indian state, including the so-called ‘Azad Jammu and Kashmir’ and ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’, through aggression. We have repeatedly called on Pakistan to vacate these occupied territories,” he said. According to the UN OHCHR report, tensions in Kashmir, which rose sharply after the Pulwama suicide bombing in February, “continue to have a severe impact on the human rights of civilians, including the right to life”. Quoting data gathered by the local civil society, the Update said that “around 160 civilians were killed in 2018, which is believed to be the highest number in over a decade”. It alleged that the Union Ministry for Home Affairs published “lower casualty figures, citing 37 civilians, 238 terrorists and 86 security forces personnel killed in the 11 months up to 2 December 2018”. “Of the 160 civilian deaths reported by local organisations, 71 were allegedly killed by Indian security forces, 43 by alleged members of armed groups or by unidentified gunmen, and 29 were reportedly killed due to shelling and firing by Pakistani troops in areas along the Line of Control. According to the Government of Pakistan, a further 35 civilians were killed and 135 injured on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control due to shelling and firing by Indian forces during 2018,” it said. Raveesh Kumar said: “India has registered strong protest regarding the Update with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.” “The release of such an Update has not only called into question the seriousness of OHCHR but also its alignment with the larger approach of the United Nations,” he added. “The Government of India follows the policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism and will take all measures to protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty against cross-border terrorism. Motivated attempts to weaken our national resolve will never succeed.”last_img read more

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Rahul Gandhi should form panel for suggesting name of new Cong chief

first_imgNew Delhi: Veteran Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi on Tuesday suggested that Rahul Gandhi should form a committee for suggesting the name of the new Congress president. Dwivedi, an ex-AICC general secretary organisation, also said the credibility of the panel holding informal discussions on selecting the new Congress chief would have been more if it was formally set up. He said once Gandhi forms the panel, it should hold discussions with workers and leaders before arriving at the name of the next Congress president. Dwivedi said that technically Gandhi is still Congress chief. Lauding Gandhi for resigning as party president after the Lok Sabha poll results, Dwivedi said it is an ideal for other Congress leaders to follow.last_img read more

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State government to help slum dwellers fulfill dream of living in flats

first_imgKolkata: State Municipal Affairs minister Firhad Hakim said on Tuesday that slum dwellers residing in vacant government plots can now have their own dwellings in that place.”We have instructed the Block Land Revenue Officer (BLRO) that in places where slums have come up, government land that has been lying unutilised will be leased out and dwellings can come up under the government sponsored ‘Nijo Bhumi Nijo Griho’ scheme. Houses can also be constructed under the ‘Banglar Bari’ scheme,” Hakim said, while tabling the West Bengal Thika Tenancy (Acquisition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2019, in the state Assembly. He stated that the decision has already received the approval of the state Cabinet. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersIt may be mentioned that over the years, most of the thika properties have either become dilapidated for various reasons or have gone under litigation, leaving no scope for development and reconstruction for improving the living conditions of the people, their safety and security. “The Bill empowers the tenant to build his own house by taking bank loans, or through the government’s ‘Banglar Bari’ Scheme,” Hakim said. He added that the dream of slum dwellers to live in flats can be fulfilled and in this context, the Bill can be regarded as historic. He asserted that sanction would also be given for G+4 buildings. He further stressed upon taking necessary measures to avoid “promoter raj” during enactment of the Act. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja”The tenants’ right of the thika land will be upheld through this Act. We don’t want housing scams like the Dharavi Policy in Mumbai or similar scams in Gujarat,” he said. Hakim said that the Kolkata Municipal Corporation has conducted a survey with the thika controller and enlisted the amount of land under thika tenancy. According to sources, the move would benefit the inhabitants and tenants of the slum areas of Burrabazar, Ahritola, Jadavpur, Chetla and Topsia, wherein they would be able to build residential buildings on their own.last_img read more

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Butterfly garden a hit at Eco Park

first_imgKolkata: The butterfly garden inside the Eco Park has become enormously popular people particularly among the research scholars and students working in the field of biodiversity.The three-acre butterfly zone now has 300 to 400 butterflies belonging to 20 variety. The zone is closed at 5pm to allow the butterflies to sleep. The zone has become immensely popular among the research scholars, students and professional photographers who spent several hours to have a glimpse of the butterflies that often stay behind the leaves. The attractive colour of the butterflies is a spectacle to observe. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellers”We are really indebted to Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation ( HIDCO) for creating such a beautiful area where one can study biodiversity and spend the whole day. Many young people are pursing photography and several photography clubs have come up in and around Kolkata. The youngsters like to go for nature photography and the zone provides them with enormous opportunity,” said Anik Bose, a nature photographer. Jolly Banerjee, who teaches in a well known school in Kolkata, said students should be taken to the butterfly garden to develop their love for the plants and bio diversity. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja”It is a pleasure to see the colourful butterflies and nature is the best teacher,” she said. The transformation of caterpillars to butterfly can be observed in a laboratory set up at the butterfly park. The visitors have been asked not to touch the leaves or destroy the plants or hit the butterfly with sticks. Eco Park has come up as the biggest urban park in Eastern India with over 400 acres of land surrounded by 112 acres of water body. There is rose garden, Japanese garden and zones where people can enjoy cycling and a joggers’ ally. The miniature seven wonders have attracted people from all over India. The USP of ECO Park is cleanliness and on special days like Christmas Day, New Year’s Day special arrangements are made to help the visitors many of whom come from far off places.last_img read more

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Evening dedicated to dance

first_imgIndia International Centre (IIC) hosted a dance evening in the Capital on July 11. Arunima Sengupta Basu, a disciple of Luna Poddar and Pandit Rajendra Gangani gave a graceful Kathak performance, followed by a Bharatanatyam duet by twin sisters Archana and Chetana – disciples of Guru B Bhanumati and Guru Sheela Chandrasekharlast_img

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Sabyasachi moves HC against noconfidence motion

first_imgKolkata: Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation (BMC) Mayor Sabyasachi Dutta has filed a case in the High Court, challenging the no-confidence motion brought against him. The matter will come up for hearing on Monday.35 councillors of BMC have brought a no-confidence motion against Dutta for his anti-party activities. The councillors have written a letter in this regard to Krishna Chakraborty, chairman of the civic body, who sent the letter to the joint municipal commissioner. State Urban Development minister Firhad Hakim said: “Anyone can go to the court. But had I been in Sabyasachi Dutta’s position, I would have resigned as 35 councillors have signed the no-confidence motion against him.”last_img read more

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OYO founder to buy back shares from early investors for 2 bn

first_imgNew Delhi: Hospitality firm OYO Friday said its founder Ritesh Agarwal has signed a deal to buy back shares worth $2 billion (nearly Rs 13,770 crore) from early investors through his Cayman islands-registered entity, RA Hospitality Holdings, to almost triple his stake in the company. Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sequoia India, OYO’s early supporters, are selling part of their holdings in order to help the founder increase his stake while remaining invested significantly in the company’s long-term mission, OYO said. “Company’s founder and CEO Ritesh Agarwal, through RA Hospitality Holdings (Cayman), has signed $2 billion primary and secondary management investment round, supported by global institutional banks and his financial partners,” it added. As per sources in know of the matter, after the entire process is completed, Agarwal’s stake in the company will rise from the current 9-10 per cent to around 30 per cent. This would take the valuation of the company to around $10 billion. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to Customs”As an entrepreneur and on behalf of the company’s management, I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to rededicate ourselves to the company’s mission of building the world’s most loved hospitality brand that is focused on bringing a better lifestyle for the common man,” Agarwal said. The company has attracted some of the world’s leading investors, including Airbnb, SoftBank Vision Fund, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Greenoaks Capital, Sequoia India and Hero Enterprise, the statement said.last_img read more

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