Crackdown planned on ultrasound centres
After a sting operation by a news channel showed several ultrasound centres in Patna are willing to conduct sex-determination tests, the district administration plan to crack down on such units. Probe committees have been formed to carry out raids at the block-, sub-division- and district-levels. Patna district magistrate Kumar Ravi held a meeting with the civil surgeon and members of the state chapter of Indian Medical Association before issuing the orders. The administration’s plans to conduct raids have spread fear among private health centres because, sources said, many of them are operating without valid licences.
Call centre to get tip-offs on booze parties
Despite prohibition being in force for two years in Bihar, there has been a rise in alcohol being consumed by the people. Facing constant criticism from the Opposition over “home delivery” of liquor, the government has now come up with a call centre to receive tip-offs about liquor smuggling. The state-of-the-art call centre in Patna, inaugurated by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, will receive calls from across Bihar. An encryption technology used at the call centre will prevent the receiver to know the phone number or location of the informers. Currently operational for 10 hours daily, the call centre will working for 24 hours from April 15.
Currency shortage hits small businesses
Bank branches in various parts of Bihar have been dealing with the crisis of currency shortage for the past few days. With many ATMs of different banks in Bhagalpur, Magadh, Darbhanga and Patna divisions lying defunct, the functioning ones were found unable to deliver cash. This has badly affected the common people and small businesses in these divisions. Even as the government has been encouraging cashless transactions, most people still depend on cash. Financial experts say it is largely an artificial crisis. “While transactions through netbanking and RTGS are operational as usual, a majority of people are still unable to carry out those transactions,” said Bhagalpur-based chartered accountant Sanjit Kumar.
Just 1% interest on education loans for some
Seeking to give opportunities for higher education to all sections of society, the Bihar government has lowered the interest rate on education loans for girls, transgenders and differently-abled students. Having earlier launched the Students Credit Card scheme, the government has set up the Bihar State Education Finance Corporation as an alternative to commercial banks to extend education loans to students who have passed Class 12. While commercial banks show a preference for students pursuing technical education, the SCC scheme offers education loans even for those willing to pursue general education after Class 12. While the banks have so far approved loan applications of 18,242 students under SCC, loans were sanctioned to 12,050. A 4 per cent interest is charged for these loans.