CUTS IN MEDIA-March 2008
Telecom move to phase out ADC hailed
ADC Phase-out Will Benefit Telecom Consumers : CUTS
FTA with India needs more study
New technique used to assess NREGS
CUTS backs TRAI on penalties for unwanted calls
Unwanted calls: TRAI move hailed
International group supports Trai on penalties for
CUTS backs TRAI on spam calls penalties
A generation living on junk food is here
Kids prefer junk food in lunch box
Independent, 26 March 2008, Bangladesh
Commerce Adviser Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman Monday said Bangladesh would study the outcomes of Sri Lanka and Nepal’s bilateral trade deals with India signed undercover of free trade agreements (FTA), reports UNB.
“We believe, we’re not each other’s competitors in regional trade, but we need more discussions and study...We should see first how the Nepal and Sri Lanka’s agreements with India work and benefit them,” he told a regional seminar on regional trade at Brac INN auditorium in the city.
South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) and CUTS International India and Commonwealth Secretariat, London jointly organised the discussion. Presided over by SANEM executive director Dr. Selim Raihan, the function was moderated by CPD chairman Prof Rehman Sobahan.
Zillur said the South Asian region is far way from establishing a regional trade bloc although many regions have shown good success in this regard. Expressing his opinion on developing local industries, he said there should be emphasis not only on getting access to regional and international markets, but also on the enhancement of local productivity, quality and diversification.
“If we don’t improve our productivity, quality and diversity, we won’ t be able to derive benefits from the market access,” he said adding that the focus should be on the future exporters alongside the present ones.
The Commerce Adviser said the matter of regional trade should be considered from a holistic point of view so that it could address all the issues.
Former SAARC secretary general QMA Rahim said the move to introduce regional trade under SAFTA among the south Asian nations has failed because of non-tariff barriers (NTBs). “Unless the NTBs are removed, no bilateral trade agreement will work,” he observed.
CPD executive director Prof Mustafizur Rahman said Indian investment in Bangladesh would come when their investors find that their exports to the Indian market have a zero tariff access. He cited Tata Group’s investment proposal and said the Indian giant was very cautiously looking into the zero tariff product list when they planned to invest.
FBCCI Adviser Manzur Ahmed said India, as the largest economy of the region, should come forward to remove obstacles to the regional trade to help its small neighbours by ensuring market access. Prof Indra Nath Mukharjee and Bipul Chatterjee of India, Newaj Rajabdeen of Sri Lanka, and Navin Dahal of Nepal also spoke at the seminar
The Hindu, March 24, 2008
JAIPUR: Community Score Card (CSC), a new technique among the available social accountability tools, was used in Rajasthan recently to assess the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in Sirohi district.
The CSC was put to use for the first time in the State by CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research and Training (CUTS CART) under a social accountability project to assess NREGS in Sirohi in a four-day orientation cum field exercise in Rohida Gram Panchayat of Pindwara block from March 12 to15.
The CSC process is a community-based monitoring tool that is a hybrid of the techniques of social audit and citizen report cards. Like the citizen report card, the CSC process is an instrument to extract social and public accountability and responsiveness from service providers. By linking service providers to the community, citizens are empowered to provide immediate feedback to service providers.
The CSC process uses the “community” as its unit of analysis, and is focused on monitoring at the local/grassroots levels.
The CSC solicits user perceptions on quality, efficiency and transparency. This includes tracking inputs or expenditures, monitoring the quality of services/projects, generating benchmark performance criteria that can be used in resource allocation and budget decisions, comparing performance across districts, generating direct feedback mechanisms between providers and users, building local capacity, and strengthening citizen voice and community empowerment.
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The Hindu, March 16, 2008
Preferring pizzas, followed by noodles, aerated drinks and ice cream
JAIPUR: Believe it or not, children of even traditional cities and towns are increasingly getting hooked to junk food these days. Among the school-going children in the age group of 9-14 years here in the Pink City, as many as 65 per cent have been found to be interested in having junk food in the lunch box while 43 per cent prefer aerated and canned drinks to “doodh” (milk) even when the Chief Minister herself promotes the habit of drinking milk through her advertisement campaigns.
A new survey titled “Lunch box challenge”, conducted among the school children of Jaipur city on the eve of World Consumer Rights Day by the CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS CART) found the pizza the most preferred junk food followed by noodles. Among the unhealthy drinks and desserts, aerated drinks were the first choice while ice creams came next. Though the main reasons for the liking, as mentioned by children, were taste and look, in that order, the third reason given was the TV advertisements which played a major role in influencing their choices. “Every year the World Consumer Rights Day is observed on March 15. This year’s theme, ‘Junk Food Generation’, is to attract the attention of the international community to the campaign against the marketing of unhealthy food to children,” said George Cheriyan of CUTS CART.
The CUTS CART survey was conducted among the students of classes IV to IX. Out of all the students who took part in the survey, 58 per cent were boys and the remaining, girls. The most preferred item among the healthy dishes was the traditional roti and sabji/dal. Pav Bhaji was second and poha the next. Among the healthy drinks, 26 per cent children liked fresh fruit juice, compared to only 11 per cent opting for milk, the most abundantly available nutrition in Rajasthan.
Unhealthy dietary habits are a cause of major concern the world over. The World Health Organisation has identified being overweight as a global problem, pointing out that more than 300 million people are obese. About 22 million children around the world under the age of five are overweight and there is a need prevent the spread of the childhood obesity. “The survey finding clearly shows the need for advocacy and campaign for an international code on the marketing of junk food to kids,” observed Mr. Cheriyan.
Hindustan Times, March 13, 2008
SIXTY FIVE percent of the city’s school-going children like junk food as preferred item in the lunch box, a study claimed. According to the study by a non-governmental organization, 43 per cent of them favoured aerated and canned drinks as well.
Survey titled “Lunch box challenge”, conducted by CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research and Training (CUTS CART), revealed these facts about children studying in classes 4 to 9 in the age group 9-14 years.
On the eve of the World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) on March 15, the survey was done to call attention of world community towards campaign against marketing of unhealthy food to children. This year’s theme of the WCRD is ‘Junk food generation’.
Out of the total 269 students (155 boys and 114 girls) who participated in the survey, 42 per cent were girls. In all nine institutions, including both government and private schools, were covered.
As per the survey, among junk or fast food items, the most preferred was pizza. Second preference of the children was noodles. Among the unhealthy desserts, aerated drinks were in the first positions and ice cream was the second.
Among healthy food, the most preferred item was traditional roti and sabji of dal. Pav bhaji was also liked by children followed by poha. Among healthy drinks, 26 per cent children preferred fresh fruit juice, compared to only 11 per cent opting for milk.
Surveyed kids mentioned that though the main reason for love of junk food was taste and look, they also remained mesmerized by TV advertisements, while choosing their food items.
“Survey findings showed that there was a need for advocacy and campaign for an international code on marketing of junk food to kids, George Cheriyan of the NGO CUTS said. The QHO had identified obesity as a global problem, pointing out that unhealthy diets were a cause for several diseases, he said.
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