Dehradun diary: Aid to Covid orphans, loss of cultivable land and more

Express News Service

Two IIT students contribute to international project 

Students from the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee has contributed to the milestone achievement of the Indian Pulsar Timing Array (InPTA) team of astronomers—detecting unprecedented changes in a radio pulsar with the help of a highly versatile, sensitive and upgraded Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (uGMRT). The InPTA is a collaboration of Indian and Japanese astronomers from several institutes, including IIT-Roorkee. Earlier this year, the InPTA became a part of the International Pulsar Timing Array (IPTA) consortium. The result of this project was recently published as letters in monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Two students from the institution– Jaikhomba Singha, a PhD student and Piyush Marmat (Int. MSc student) of the department of Physics—contributed to the paper.

State govt starts providing aid to Covid orphans

The state government has started providing financial and other kinds of assistance to 1,706 children who lost their parents due to Covid-19. “The assistance is being provided under the ‘Mukhyamantri Vatsalya Yojana’ that aims to support those in the age group of 0-21 years, who have lost their parents due to the ongoing pandemic,” S K Singh, deputy director of the Women and Child Welfare Department of the state government said. The scheme was launched last month by CM Pushkar Singh Dhami. According to the official data, the Dehradun district has 561 children who can be covered under the scheme—the highest of all districts in the state. Under the initiative, the government will provide assistance of `3,000 per month to each child till it attains the age of 21.

Close ot 30,000 hectares of cultivable lands lost

Since the formation of Uttarakhand in 2000, hilly areas of the state have lost 29,970 hectares cultivable land. At present, Uttarakhand has 6.48 lakh hectares of cultivable land, out of which, 3.5 lakh hectares are in the hill areas while 2.48 lakh hectares are in plain areas. “In the year 2000-01, total farm land available in the hill areas stood at 5,17,628 hectares, which has reduced to 4,87,658 hectares in the present times,” Subodh Uniyal, agriculture minister of Uttarakhand said. More than 8.81 lakh families in the state depend on farming for their survival. 

84% decline in state govt subsides: CAG report

Subsidies provided by the Uttarakhand state government has declined  84% in the five years since 2015-16 financial year, according to a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General. The report also noted that expenses on salaries and wages have increased from 36.96% to 38.13% of the entire budget during the same period. “The state may increase its capital expenditure, particularly in social and economic sectors since it adds to the asset base, which in turn would contribute to growth,” the report titled ‘State Finances and Audit Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India’.