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Unpaid Crop Insurance Claims, Lowered Carbon Emissions, and India’s Mental Health Helpline

This week, we look at unpaid crop insurances, lowered carbon emissions, India’s mental health helpline, doctors in the grip of COVID-19, and other stories.

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80% of farmer crop insurance remains unpaid past deadline

While announcing the third tranche of the “Rs 20 lakh crore” economic package, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the 6,400 crores of crop insurance claims have been paid in the last two months.

However, according to a new RTI obtained by The Wire, farmers have only been paid 20% of their crop insurance claims for the rabi season in 2019-20.

According to information provided by the ministry of agriculture and farmers in the RTI, only Rs 775 crore out of the total Rs 3,750 crore have been paid. The insurance claims are a part of India’s two central insurance claim schemes — Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and the Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS).

Read more on the delay in this report by Dhiraj Mishra and Kabir Agarwal for The Wire.

Aadhar-induced PDS is making people go hungry in Odisha

It is estimated that 1.9 million people are excluded from Odisha’s PDS schemes, as Aadhar has to be mandatorily linked with ration cards. This happens even though the state government has promised ration to all amid the pandemic. 

As per a national survey conducted by Gaon Connection, around 50 percent of people found ‘a lot of’ to ‘extreme’ difficulties while receiving grains from the government during the lockdown. 

Read more on the perils of PDS in this report by Sweta Dash for Gaon Connection.

Journalist shot dead in UP

A journalist named Ratan Singh, who worked for Sahara Samay television news, was shot dead in Uttar Pradesh on Aug. 24. While the preliminary investigations reveal that the killing was completed land dispute, the victim’s father has denied the claims. He has accused the police of filing a false report in the matter.

Read more on the murder and the ongoing investigation.

For more on the killing of journalists, explore the visual data by Committee to Protect Journalists.

Rape and murder in UP, Kochi

The mutilated body of a 17-year-old girl was found near a dry pond in a village under the UP’s Neemgaon police station. The girl was said to have left home to fill out a form for scholarship and never report. The autopsy report later confirmed the rate.

Officials have directed the accused to be put to trial under NSA. Earlier on Aug. 14, a 13-year-old girl was allegedly raped and strangled in Lakhimpur Kheri.

In Kochi, it was revealed earlier this week that six migrant workers from UP allegedly gang-raped a 14-year-old girl in Kochi. The accused have been arrested. 

According to government data released in January, one woman reported a rape every 15 minutes in India.

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Carbon emissions in India 2020 said to be down by 8 percent

The COVID-19 imposed lockdown saw carbon emissions down in India by 8 percent, said a senior environment ministry official.

India has pledged to cut the carbon emissions by 30-35 percent by 2030

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Environmentalists ask PM to halt Char Dham project

A group of 40 scientists, environmentalists, and ecologists have written to the PM asking for Chardham road construction work’s halt.

The project attempts to wind nearly 900km of the road on the hill to improve pilgrimage routes in Uttarakhand.

Read more on this by Jacob Kosy for The Hindu.

Jal Shakti ministry pushes to conserve Ganges dolphin

The Union Jal Shakti Ministry, which also takes care of the National Mission for Clean Ganga, has synergised efforts to implement the proposed ‘Dolphin Project’ of the Ministry of Forest and Environment. The project was conceptualised in December last year and looks at protecting dolphins to boost diversity in the Ganga and Brahmaputra river ecosystems.

Read more on this by Ravi S Singh for The Tribune.

Large scale solar projects create more problems than they solve

India has managed to install 35.1 gigawatts of solar power as of June 2020 — scaling its capacity by 3000 times. However, large-scale projects that add to these numbers can do more bad than good as they are exempted from environmental clearance processes and public hearings for all the good they bring to energy conservation and consumption trends.

Read more on this by Karthikeyan Hemalatha for IndiaSpend.

Economic slowdown makes it challenging to comply with air pollution norms

The centre is considering extending the deadline for thermal power plants to comply with air pollution norms by two years, saying that the economic slowdown and difficulties due to the curbed imports from China prevent the sourcing of systems that aid in cutting down on the toxic SO2 emissions.

Besides, India’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan (self-reliant India campaign) is also said to be the reason behind such a move.


India’s mental health rehabilitation helpline

The Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry has cited the prevalence of mental health issues and has launched a toll-free helpline to enable access to mental health resources.

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The project name Kiran (ray of light) will provide callers support with early screening, first aad, psychological support, distress management, preventing deviant behaviors, and more.

The helpline number 1800-599-0019, will offer support in 13 languages. It will be run from 25 centres with 600 volunteer psychologists and 668 volunteer psychiatrists and can handle 300 callers per hour. 

More than 87k health workers in grip of COVID-19, 573 dead

More than 87k health workers are under the grip of the novel coronavirus. 74 percent of these cases are from six states — Maharashtra Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Delhi, West Bengal, and Gujarat.

Read more on this and the reasons behind it in the TOI report by Sushmi Dey.

North East’s first transgender doctor brings hope

Beoncy Laishram is northeast India’s first transgender doctor. The 27-year-old practices in Imphal and has started her practice to fight the pandemic, to begin with. 

Read more on this by Amava Bhattacharya for TOI.

Most cabbies have no health insurance: Study

A new study conducted by the Indian Federation of App-based Transport Workers in collaboration with the International Transport Workers Federation has revealed that 73.5 percent of the 2000 responders did not have health insurance.

The survey was conducted in six cities — Hyderabad, Chennai, Jaipur, Delhi NCR, and Lucknow.

The date further revealed that many of the respondents suffered from issues such as backache, liver issues, constipation, neck pain, and more.

Read more on this TOI report Moulika KV.


A list of what we have been reading this week:

Caste, Class and Colour : How the Intersections Influence the Individual From Their Home to the Realm of Politics by Kushal Choudhary for The Standpoint.

Handloom Day announcements look like a mix of the good and the bad, but are mostly foggy by Jaya Jaitly for The Indian Express.

‘Think about us’: India’s underpaid women health workers to gov’t

Can a digital ID aid India’s primary health ecosystem? By G. Ananthakrishnan for The Hindu.

Explainer: The Why and How of Disposing Electronic Waste by Sajal Mehta for Science Wire.

That’s all for this week. Stay safe and see you soon.

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