Salesians create new province for northeast *Activists cautious about scheme to help girls

West Bengal, April 6, 2012: The Regional Councilor for South Asia made the announcement of the new provincials in Guwahati today.

The mother province of northeast India Salesian province Guwahati is further divided and two new provincials appointed. Guwahati province established as the first province in northeast India in 1959 was divided in 1981 and gave birth to Dimapur province.

The Regional Councilor for South Asia Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga made the announcement of the new provincials in Guwahati today, April 5.

Fr. Pascual Chavez, the Rector Major of Salesians of Don Bosco, appointed Fr. George Maliekal as the first Provincial of the new Province of Silchar.

The new province dedicated to Blessed John Paul II comprises the Salesian activities in the Khasi-Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya, the states of Mizoram and Tripura, and the Dima Hasao district of Assam. It has 35 centres with some 250 Salesians.

The province will be officially inaugurated and Fr. Maliekal will assume office May 24.

Meanwhile, Fr. Thomas Vattathara currently the Founder Director of Don Bosco Institute, Kharguli, Guwahati is appointed 11th Provincial of the Province of Mary Help of Christians with Headquarters at Guwahati.

The province mainly comprises of the entire state of Assam.

Fr. Thomas widely acclaimed as an human resource development consultant, expert trainer, passionate youth worker, ardent educationist, a proactive catalyst of social transformation and an institution builder was born in the southern state of Kerala in 1951, but made the northeast, particularly Assam his home from 1962.

For the last 18 years Fr Thomas has been on the Faculty of Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration at Mussoorie training IAS and IPS officers.

– ucan

Activists cautious about scheme to help girls


Madhya Pradesh, April 6, 2012: Female infanticide still a worry for Madhya Pradesh state.

Social activists in Madhya Pradesh are wary about the state government’s decision to provide funds to parents of girls as a way to combat female feticide.

This might help parents believe that girls are “real assets,” said Sheela Santiago, president of the women wing of the Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasang or Christian front.

The government March 30 set up a 30-million rupee (US$ 600,000) fund to help parents with one or more daughters. This initiative was taken to change the mindset of those who consider girls as a burden, said chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan. Parameters for distributing the pension are yet to be announced.

Tribal social activist Hari Singh Maravi said declining sex ratio is a worry and would create social imbalance. The government’s initiative might stop female feticide in the state, he hoped.

The federal government’s Census 2011 says Madhya Pradesh has 912 girls per 1,000 boys, a decline from 932 a decade earlier. Researches say a fall in 20 points in the child sex ratio over a decade is substantial and a matter of serious concern.

Some women activists, however, see the fund as a political gimmick.

Zulaikha Jageen, president of Institute for Minority Women, told that the government needs to implement the scheme properly as earlier schemes for the girl child failed miserably.

The government earlier had a scheme to help parents of girls with money for their education.

Rachana Dhingra of Bhopal Group for Information and Action said such incentives would not bring about drastic changes. The government should first curb atrocities and crimes against women, she said.

Infanticide is illegal in India but traditional society here prefers sons to daughters and is a major reason for abortion, female infanticide and other forms of systematic sex discrimination.

– ucan

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