• Shahid Kapoor, Mira Rajput blessed with daughter

    Mumbai, Aug 26 (IANS) Bollywood actor Shahid Kapoor and his wife Mira Rajput on Friday welcomed their first child, a daughter, with utmost joy. "She has arrived and words fall short to express our happiness.Thank you for all your wishes," Shahid tweeted on Friday night. The 35-year-old, son of veteran actor Pankaj Kapur, married Delhi-based Mira, 22, last year.

    IANS India Private Limited
  • My toddler threw up on my shirt — and the airline tried to make me wear it

    Passenger Raj Purohit’s ‘terrible’ flight this summer

    MarketWatch q
  • 30 words Americans can’t pronounce correctly

    Can you guess the word Americans struggle to pronounce most?

    MarketWatch q
  • These Women Sell Traditional Cookware for Health Benefits Derived from Ancient Indian Wisdom

    For those longing for the authentic taste of food cooked in cast iron and earthen cookware over slow fires in traditional kitchens, there is good news. Two Cochin-based corporate consultants have set up a business to market this authentic traditional cookware. The VillageFair started as an unplanned business venture last year when Radhika Menon responded to a post on Facebook. A friend of hers commented that a doctor in the US had come up with a cast iron fish to be put into every dish being cooked at home, to help prevent iron deficiency. Someone else responded with a comment as to how, in the old days, food used to be cooked in cast iron vessels and hence iron deficiency was not really a problem. Radhika immediately posted pictures of the cast iron utensils she had at home and let her friends know that she still used them for cooking. An overwhelming response to this post, with queries about where to buy the pots and pans, led Radhika to think that marketing these products could make good business sense. “With a little effort, my friend Priya was convinced to join hands with me. And before midnight, our Facebook page was ready...The VillageFair had taken birth,” says an excited Radhika.   [caption id="attachment_64396" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Radhika and Priya of The VillageFair fame[/caption] Users of traditional cookware, particularly utensils from Kerala, find the process of seasoning these vessels before use extremely tedious and tiring. Thanks to the advent of steel and non-stick cookware, cooking has become a lot less time consuming because these utensils are light and easy to handle. Even elderly people, who grew up using traditional cookware, have forgotten how to season those vessels and find it easier to cook in teflon and steel. “Radhika’s 65-year-old maid Lalitha knew how to season these pans in the traditional manner. So we roped her in immediately to handle this important step; within a week our first order of six pans for customers from Bangalore was ready. We hand delivered them the first time and this paved the way for our success story,” says Priya Deepak. To season the cookware, the vessels, whether cast iron or earthen ware, are first washed well to remove any sediments stuck to them. Then, for around four days, the cooking surface is soaked in rice gruel. This helps remove all the unwanted metal and other substances on the surface and also helps close all the open pores. A generous amount of oil is then applied onto the surface. Once done, the pan has to be tested on the fire. The pans, especially the cast iron ones, are heated and cooled down a few times, till their surface becomes ‘non-sticky.’ As more and more orders came in, Lalitha got her daughters-in-law and some other women involved in the venture too. [caption id="attachment_64403" align="alignnone" width="1200"] Ladies seasoning the cast iron and earthen ware utensils[/caption] Priya and Radhika found that it was easy to procure earthen ware utensils from Ernakulam market itself. They have zeroed in on two good potters cooperatives to procure these utensils. To get cast iron vessels they decided to visit a manufacturing unit in Shornur. Shornur is famous for the manufacture of cast iron products, where agricultural implements are the main products. Although the two women went there with the idea of buying only a handful of utensils, they ended up purchasing around 500 pots and pans worth Rs. 30,000. They now get a steady supply of cookware from this unit, which they supply to clients all over the country. While orders have gone up by leaps and bounds, they now manage to courier their products anywhere in  the country. They also have tie ups with two e-commerce platforms where their products are displayed. The only physical retail outlet tie up they have is with Cannanore: A Lore from a Loom, in Inorbit mall, Whitefield, Bangalore, though more are on the cards. [caption id="attachment_64405" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Food cooked in traditional cookware is healthy and tasty[/caption] “In this past one year, things have gone real well for us. We were also able to give 5% of every sale we made to the Mehac Foundation for medicines for the mentally ill. Funding a social cause is always comforting and mentally gratifying,” adds Priya. For more information one can visit TheVillageFair Facebook page. Photo Credits: Priya Deepak Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us: contact@thebetterindia.com, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter (@thebetterindia). About the author: Aparna Menon is a freelance writer, writing for various newspapers for the past 10 years. Her main fields of interest are wildlife, heritage and history. A keen traveller, she loves to read and write and does a lot of art work too.

    The Better India
  • Modi goaded Pakistan in deliberate yet risky move

    By Rupam Jain and Tommy Wilkes NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - When Prime Minister Narendra Modi met top aides to prepare last week's annual Independence Day address, some senior bureaucrats warned him against mentioning Baluchistan, arch-rival Pakistan's restive southwestern province. Referring to Baluchistan in such a prominent speech would be a highly unusual move bound to ratchet up tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours more used to trading barbs over Kashmir, the cause of two of their three wars. According to a senior official at the meeting in early August, the more hawkish politicians in the room, angered by what they saw as Pakistan's recent trouble-making in Kashmir, thought differently, and so did Modi.

    Reuters
  • India, West Indies to play two T20 Internationals in United States

    Saturday and Sunday's back-to-back fixtures come at a crucial time for the West Indies. West Indies faces India in two Twenty20 internationals in Florida at the weekend in a litmus test for both cricket's future in the US and Carlos Brathwaite's credentials as Caribbean skipper. After India cruised to victory in the Test series and in the aftermath of the Caribbean squad’s latest round of blood-letting, the sides head for the sport's newest outpost, the Central Broward Regional Park, the only purpose-built cricket stadium in the U.S. Six matches in the recent franchise-based Caribbean Premier League were played at the $10 million arena while the first full international matches, two Twenty20

    The Hindu q
  • 'What if Sheena Bora's vanished, why fuss,' Peter Mukerjea told Rahul

    MUMBAI: A year after Indrani Mukerjea's arrest in the Sheena Bora murder case, phone conversations between Rahul and his father Peter Mukerjea, also an accused, and his stepmother, Indrani, appears to place Mukerjea in a corner. The CBI had relied on seven out of 20 transcripts in the chargesheet. Now it has given the remaining 13 to the accused. In one of the conversations, Peter tells Rahul: "What if she (Sheena) has disappeared, why are you making all this fuss". This is a considerably damning conversation. The conversations were recorded by Rahul. TOI had reported significant sections of the transcripts that was earlier submitted by the CBI in its chargesheet. The tapes show how Peter is

    The Economic Times q
  • John Abraham Steps Into Ranbir Kapoor’s Shoes!

    One actor's loss is another's gain

    Spotboye
  • My father wants to leave me everything — and cut my sisters off

    Her two sisters changed their last name 25 years ago.

    MarketWatch q
  • Meet Pratyaya Amrit, the Inspiring IAS Officer Who Has Placed Bihar Firmly on the Road to Success

    The walls were dank, the chairs broken and the curtains tattered. By no stretch of imagination did the place look like it was the office of a major state corporation about to embark on the onerous responsibility of creating a bridge infrastructure in one of the poorest states in the country. “It did not look like an office at all. I did not know where to begin,’’ Pratyaya  Amrit recalls. When the reticent IAS officer took over as Managing Director (MD) in 2006, the turnover of the Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman  Nigam ( BRPNN) stood at a measly Rs. 47 crore, with the state government having made up its mind to close it down. Within two years, the turnaround took everyone, including the government, by surprise. The defunct organisation was in a position to donate Rs 20 crore to the Chief Minister's relief fund during the Kosi floods. Not only had IAS Officer Pratyaya Amrit single-handedly saved a government organisation from the brink of bankruptcy, he had taken it to the forefront of the construction business. Photo Source As the MD of Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam (BRPNN), he had overseen the completion of around 300 major bridge projects in three years. This was akin to moving mountains in a state where even a stone does not budge easily! Amrit, a 1991 batch IAS officer, was on central deputation in New Delhi when he received a call from a bureaucrat from the Bihar government, asking: "Would you mind returning to your home state? There's plenty to be done here." The state government wanted to entrust him with the responsibility of reviving a dying institution. When Amrit returned to Bihar, cutting short his scheduled deputation by six months, he became the first IAS officer to head the BRPNN. The huge losses that BRPNN had been incurring for almost a decade had pushed it to the brink of liquidation. The first thing Amrit targeted was the completion of pending projects, some of which had been pending for almost 17 years, to revive the Corporation. But this was easier said than done. The system in place lacked basic amenities and the morale of the employees was low. An able administrator and HR expert, Amrit ensured that the staff got a congenial environment to work in and the basic facilities to carry out their jobs. Photo Source For instance, he provided them with GPS-enabled phones, making it easier for them to monitor the progress of work. Opting for out-of-the-box solutions to encourage his engineers, Amrit got professional motivators to give encouraging talks to his dispirited engineers, while rewarding the best performers with ample administrative freedom. The engineers responded to this show of confidence by rising to the occasion. BRPNN, which had completed 314 bridges during the first 30 years of its inception, successfully executed 336 bridge projects in just three years. Photo Source A lot of importance was given to quality, monitoring and field visits and Amrit himself travelled more than 40,000 km in three-and-a-half years. He also got a state-of-the-art engineering lab for the organisation and computerised everything. Thanks to his initiatives, by July 2009, BRPNN was an ISO 9001, 2000 and 1410:2004 certified company and its turnover had surged to Rs 768 crore. Prior to appointment as the MD of BRPNN, Pratyaya Amrit's work and ability to get things done as a District Magistrate ( DM) had also earned appreciation from the public. As the  DM of Katihar, he implemented, for the first time, a public-private-partnership for the district hospital where he asked local NGOs to take responsibility for a ward each. This changed the condition of the hospital – it went from being in deficit to having surplus funds. As the  DM of Chapra, he put an end to sleaze shows at the famous Sonpur fair (Asia’s largest cattle fair) by making it compulsory for CCTVs to be installed in theatres. In February 2011, Pratyaya Amrit, as MD of Bihar State Road Development Corporation (BSRDC), stepped in to help destitute girls in Patna find better futures for themselves. Photo Source He  made the organisation literally adopt the destitute girls, instead of just providing them monetary assistance. The BSRDC would not only bear the entire education costs of these girls till college, but would also provide them with job-oriented training to help them start working. Now, besides the monthly stipend that BSRDC deposits in the bank accounts of these girls, the organisation has also parked Rs 50,000 each as fixed deposits in favour of the girls. The money, taken from Corporation profits, will be available to the girls after they turn 18. So effective was Amrit's management style in improving Bihar’s roads that it earned him praise from other countries and the World Bank too. Photo Source The Asian Development Bank (ADB) rated the road work in Bihar as one of the best. Amrit was invited to attend the Urban Planning and Economic Development Programme in the US in 2011. He was also awarded the Prime Minister's Excellence in Public Administration award in 2011 – the only IAS officer to get it that year. His facilitation certificate reads: "Bridging the gap: For turning around a dying Bihar State Bridge Construction Corporation into a profit-making unit." In 2014, Amrit was given charge of Bihar's rural electrification programme. His first target was to cover partially electrified villages. To ensure this work would happen seamlessly, he held meetings with engineers and power companies every fortnight. He coupled these meetings with intensive field visits, travelling across the state for more than 15 months at a stretch. Amrit was also instrumental in accomplishing the crucial task of getting politicians like MLAs on board and giving them lists of all the villages in their constituencies where electrification was taking place, including the names and numbers of contractors. He also had a web-based app made so that MLAs could access updates on the state of electricity in their area. In addition, spot billing centres (to increase convenience) and meters in every household (to minimise power theft) were installed. You May Also Like: How a Doctor Turned IAS Officer Organized India’s First Green Swearing-In Ceremony in Kerala The difference this effort made was visible in less than a year. More than 20,000 burnt transformers were replaced in two months and transmission jumped from 2282 MW to 3500 MW. A strong back-end support system was also created, which helped resolve breakdowns when they happened within 30 minutes. Amrit's next goal is to electrify all villages by October 2016 and set up a separate agriculture feeder that will increase the availability of power to agriculture from 4% to 18%. On the personal front, Amrit keeps his feet firmly on terra firma. A simple, unassuming man, he enjoys playing cricket, is an ardent Steve Jobs fan, and likes reading. His favourite book is Who says Elephants Can't Dance? (a fascinating story of IBM's turnaround scripted by Louis Gerstner Jr., the Chairman and CEO of IBM). Known for his ‘get it done and now’ attitude and his attention to detail, Pratyaya Amrit can be called one of the main architects of Bihar’s turnaround story. His parents, both college lecturers, had always told him to do what he felt good about; Amrit made his never-say-die attitude and dedication to the nation his biggest strength. It is due to innovative and pro-active officers like him that a positive change in Indian governance is finally rolling in. Also Read: How a Young IAS Officer Used Education to Transform the Naxal-Affected District of Dantewada Like this story? Have something to share? Email: contact@thebetterindia.com, or join us on Facebook and Twitter (@thebetterindia). To get positive news on WhatsApp, just send 'Start' to 090 2900 3600 via WhatsApp.

    The Better India
  • Back to grind immediately: Alia on 'Badrinath Ki Dulhania'

    New Delhi [India], Aug. 26 (ANI): Looks like Alia Bhatt has proved her recent statement, "I am too ambitious."

    ANI
  • The Mighty Jupiter Enters Earthy Virgo – What Sort Of Effects Will It Have On Your Life?

    Jupiter – the planet of wisdom and expansion, will be entering the Virgo Sign on 11th August, 2016. Find out the likely effects on different areas of life.

    GaneshaSpeaks.com
  • Gold pares gains as Fed stirs doubt over rate hike timing

    NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - Gold pared gains on Friday, while the dollar turned up and U.S. stocks fell, as investors struggled to decipher the timing of a U.S. interest rate increase following comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and other officials. In her much-awaited speech, Yellen said the case for raising U.S. interest rates has strengthened, although increases should be gradual. Spot gold rallied 1.5 percent to $1,341.60 an ounce and the U.S. dollar index fell 0.6 percent after Yellen spoke, but bullion later gave back all its gains and the greenback rallied 0.7 percent after Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer suggested that rate hikes were on track for this year.

    Reuters
  • Carol Gracias makes comeback on ramp post baby's birth

    Mumbai, Aug 26 (IANS) She left a lasting impact when she walked the Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) Summer-Resort 2016 ramp flaunting her baby bump in a sari by Gaurang Shah. Glowing in a handloom sari draped beautifully with a bindi shining on her forehead, Carol told IANS: "It's exciting to come back. This is my walk post baby birth and it's just been a month and a week (since the delivery)." She was blessed with a son.

    IANS India Private Limited
  • No AC? No problem. How to keep cool this summer without a big electric bill

    These people live like Americans before the invention of air conditioning.

    MarketWatch q
  • India's deadly floods raise risk of women, children being sold into slavery

    By Nita Bhalla NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Women and children in India's flood-hit eastern region are at risk of being preyed upon by human traffickers and sold into slavery in middle class homes, restaurants and shops, and even brothels, aid workers warned on Friday. Charities working in the worst affected regions of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh said trafficking was widespread in the aftermath of previous disasters in the region, such as last year's earthquake in neighbouring Nepal and floods in Bihar in 2008.

    Reuters
  • The surprising thing millions of men do that can wreck their health

    A new study shows how young men may be putting their well-being at risk

    MarketWatch q
  • Jio does Apple, people throng Reliance Stores for free 4G test SIM

    New Delhi, Aug 25 (IANS) If you are in awe of those early morning queues outside Apple Stores globally, hang on. From Bhubaneswar to Ahmedabad and from Lucknow to Mohali, people on Thursday made a beeline -- some even as early as 2 a.m. -- for Reliance Digital Stores and Digital Xpress Mini Stores to get a free Jio test 4G SIM.

    IANS India Private Limited
  • IIT-B names, shames start-ups reneging on job offers

    Mumbai, Aug 25 (IANS) In an unprecedented move, the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) on Thursday released the names of nine companies it had blacklisted for allegedly going back on plum job placements they offered to its students. The erring companies are LeGarde Burnett Group, which had revoked its job offers and was later found to be fake. The others who are said to have revoked job offers are GPSK, Johnson Electric of China, Portea Medical, Peppertap and Cashcare Technologies.

    IANS India Private Limited
  • Lemon, ideal ingredient for your glowing skin, good health

    New Delhi, Aug. 25 (ANI): Did you ever think, a small lemon can be of multi-use, other than adding tang to a flavour? It has been found that taking lemon regularly can help to relieve headaches, soothe digestive problems and even help people suffering from anxiety. What we have to remember is that the lemon is best taken diluted, adding it to water.

    ANI