Under Section 23 of the PBMA Act, INSPORTS is required to submit to the minister of sport quarterly, half-yearly and annual reports. “INSPORTS’ failure to prepare audited financial statements was the subject of our special audit report (dated November 2011), which recommended that INSPORTS should prepare and submit, without undue delay, to the portfolio minister all outstanding annual reports and audited financial statements for tabling in the Houses of Parliament,” the report notes. “… INSPORTS failure not only breached the law, but is worrying from a fiduciary responsibility position, given that its accounting records showed that for the six-year period 2005-06 to 2010-11, total revenues amounted to $1.4 billion, while expenditure totalled $1.5 billion,” it continued. The PBMA Act also requires that the organisation prepare audited financial statements, which has not been done since the 1991/1992 financial year, bringing into question the accountability of the body, which has been led by embattled administrative director Ian Andrews since 2004. Monroe-Ellis also took issue with the re-engagement of nine retired officers, who were contracted on annual salaries and allowances totalling $14 million between June 2013 and February 2015 without the prior approval of the Ministry of Finance and Public Service. The highest paid officer among this lot took home over $2.1 million between June 2014 and September 2015. Four of those appointments were eventually approved by the Ministry in March 2015. The auditor general also raised concerns over the lack of proper controls and financial management at the agency, as well as a failure to implement standard operational procedures and a weak evaluation and reporting system. The INSPORTS board, which is led by Lloyd Pommells, was also in for criticism, with the auditor general pointing out that irregular board meetings has hampered the operations of the organisation. Special audit report The Institute of Sports’ (INSPORTS) failure to submit an audited report in 23 years was one of several breaches to the Public Bodies Management and Accountability (PBMA) Act committed by the agency, according to the Auditor General Department in its latest report. INSPORTS, which is charged with grassroots development of several core sports, was a focal point of a recent report tabled to Parliament by Auditor General Pamela Monroe-Ellis. The report notes that INSPORTS has not addressed and corrected several issues, ranging from poor corporate governance and improper payment, to procurement breaches, which were raised in a 2011 report by the department. Performance targets The board, according to the audit, has also failed to provide minutes of meetings held and develop specific objectives and performance targets, as required by the PBMA Act. Andrews was recently suspended by the INSPORTS board on allegations of misconduct, with the administrator retorting with accusations of victimisation in the latest of several run-ins with the agency’s leadership.
17 October 2007A skills audit by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism finds that the local tourism industry will require about 80 000 additional workers in the three years ahead of hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup.The audit indicates that over the next three years, the industry will require about 24 100 cooks and chefs, 23 500 waiters and waitresses, 15 000 cleaners, 7 800 cashiers and 8 000 managerial staff.Addressing the Tourism and Hospitality Colloquium in Johannesburg this week, University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) School of Tourism and Hospitality director Daneel van Lill said that a key challenge at present was that demand for staff far outstrips supply.With over 180 high-level local and foreign academics and business leaders in attendance, the conference served as a platform to debate issues such as global tourism and hospitality trends, the impact of tourism development, opportunities for capital investment, leadership and entrepreneurship, manpower requirements within the industry and major sporting events, such as the World Cup.Van Lill said the local hospitality industry was set to undergo a major revamp, with emphasis being placed on quality training, to ensure that the country is sufficiently prepared with qualified people, systems and resources for 2010 and beyond.“These challenges are common knowledge in the hospitality industry, but the Colloquium presented an opportunity for industry leaders to explore ways of overcoming this challenge,” he said.Building linksUJ Faculty of Management executive dean John Liuz added that with all of the hotel schools in South Africa represented at the conference, it was an ideal opportunity for a concerted academic programme of action to promote and enhance the standing and credibility of training institutions.“We are currently broadening our international links and are fortunate to have had representation from three leading international universities, namely Pennsylvania State University, College of the Bahamas and New York University,” Luiz said.An encouraging development for South African hotel schools has been the growing support from industry leaders and significant investment by business.As an example, Luiz pointed out to the UJ’s School of Tourism and Hospitality, which has received significant financial support institutions like Nedbank and businesspeople like Sol Kerzner and Len Wolman of the United States-based Waterford Group.South Africa’s tourism industry currently contributed about 8.2% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), amounting to about R79-billion, with the aim of increasing sector contribution to 12% of GDP by the time the World Cup comes.South African Tourism states that the country deals with approximately 650 000 foreign travellers on a monthly basis, while it expects about 450 000 foreign travellers in the space of six weeks during the World Cup.Source: BuaNews read more
Capturing great audio begins before hitting ‘record’.Having low quality audio in your film or video is a quick way to lose credibility in the eyes of your audience. Instead of simply taking audio into consideration once you get on-set, you should be preparing to make your audio amazing before production begins. In the following post we will take a look at 5 ways you can plan out your audio approach during pre-production.1. Go Scouting Parking garages are notorious for being acoustic nightmares. Location scouting is one of the most important aspects of the pre-production process. As a filmmaker you probably have already developed an eye for finding good locations, but it is equally important to develop an ear. Keep the acoustics of your location in mind. Does your voice echo loudly in the room? Is it in a highly-populated area? Along with the room acoustics you need to be able to control other audio related factors like the air-conditioner or a humming refrigerator. What ambient noises can you anticipate? If you’re shooting in a large building you might not be able to turn off the air conditioner using a thermostat on a wall, so for this reason it is important to have a location contact that can help answer your location related questions. You should also be mindful of things like proximity to airports, fire stations and bus routes, as these things might not be heard during location scouting but can definitely be picked up by your microphones. It’s also important to look around and see if there are any construction projects going on, a setback that can be disastrous for location sound. You don’t want to be surprised by ambient noises once you get on set.2. What Does the Shot Demand?Top-notch wardrobe has the ability to add a greater since of believability to your film, but when picking your character’s clothing it’s important to consider audio. For example, silk clothing is notorious for being difficult to mic, so instead you might consider using a boom instead of a lavalier mic. You may even want to change the wardrobe to accommodate. That chase scene may be cool, but how are you going to mic it? It’s also important to think about the action in your scene before you arrive on set. Will the actors be walking and talking? If so, will their backs be to the camera while they are talking? How much are they going to move? Asking these questions before shooting may also speed up your production time. Instead of showing up on-set and deciding what mics to use, make an educated decision before you arrive. In order to do this you will need to have your audio person involved in the pre-production process. This admittedly adds another layer of complexity to the whole process but it definitely pays off in the end.3. InvestIndie productions are notorious for having incredibly bad audio. It doesn’t matter if your image is immaculate…if the audio is bad your audience isn’t buying it. If you’re serious about your project it’s important to invest in quality audio equipment. Online rental houses like BorrowLenses, LensRentals.com and LensProtoGo all offer microphone and audio gear at affordable prices. If you’re needing the equipment for an extended period of time, inquire about a discount off of the normal pricing. Good audio investments don’t end once the shoot is wrapped. It is equally important to invest in your audio during post-production. Instead of using low quality music, spending a fortune for original composition, or using copyrightted commercial tracks (which could put you in legal hot water), consider high quality production music. PremiumBeat has thousands of handpicked tracks from professional composers at affordable pricing.4. Hire a Professional Boom Operator/Sound Mixer Image from PRA Sites like Mandy.com and ProductionHub are great resources for locating audio specialists in your area. This is a key crew member, so don’t fall for letting a friend or family member be your on-set audio person. Oftentimes filmmakers and video pros get caught up in the visuals of the production and the audio takes a back seat. Capturing audio on-set is more than just holding a boom pole. Professional sound recordists will have experience using field mixers, know the proper ways to mic talent, and can work in tandem with the director of photography.5. Make a Plan Making a detailed plan is imperative for streamlining the production process. If you are creating storyboards before you shoot (you should be!) take the audio into consideration during this process. The audio recorder and video editor will be appreciative when you hand them a detailed storyboard with audio notes. Always schedule time to record natural sound while you are on-location. Picking up several minutes of nat sound from every location is important for preventing choppy audio in post. Be sure to record additional nat sound every time the audio environment changes (for instance, if an A/C unit kicks on). This is really important for preventing choppy audio in post. Will you use a boom or a lav? Which shots will you ADR (if any)? What sound effects will you need to enhance the action? Will you need an external recorder, will audio be recorded into camera, or both? These are all important questions to answer before the camera rolls. Good luck! Have any other tips for good audio pre-production? Share in the comments below. read more
At 34, Sangeeta Kale from Maharashtra’s Beed district is a mother of two college-going sons, aged 19 and 17. Married off to a sugar-cane cutter at the age of 13 even before she had hit puberty, Kale had little inkling of the hard life ahead. Kale, who had her first child when she was just 16, worked through her pregnancy with husband Sadashiv in the fields of western Maharashtra, sometimes spending up to 16 hours cutting and loading the cane crop into trucks during the harvesting months — October to March. Her life remained the same after her first and second deliveries and subsequent years.However, she found the routine backbreaking work daunting on days her menstrual cycle set in, as the fields had no toilets. She couldn’t take leave for fear of being heavily penalised. Finally, fed up with these troubles and other recurrent gynaecological issues ranging from white discharge to pain, Kale underwent hysterectomy — uterus-removal surgery — last July.Just like Kale, many women, some of whom are just in their 20s, in Beed have undergone this life-altering procedure, which is otherwise prescribed only for a handful of medical conditions and often performed as a last resort.What is even more shocking is that Kale was the seventh woman in her extended family, living in Beed’s Umrad Jahagir village, to have undergone the operation. “Frustrated with period pain, white discharges and foul smell, when I approached a doctor, I was told my uterus was damaged and hysterectomy was the way out,” says Kale.The drought-stricken Beed district in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region came under the scanner this May after reports came to light about the unusually high rate of hysterectomies among its women, especially among those who migrate to neighbouring districts to work as sugar-cane cutters.State figures say that in three years (2016-2019), as many as 4,605 women have had their uterus removed in Maharashtra. Civil rights organisations allege that the hysterectomy rate in Beed is 14 times more than that for the State or the country. In Umrad Jahagir village where the Kales reside, the number of ‘womb-less women’ now stands at 50.Pushed into debtSitting on the floor of her tin-roofed shanty, Kale, slightly under five-feet tall, points towards her back and knees. “The uterus-removal surgery has no doubt relieved me from the menstrual cramps and vaginal discharge, but it has brought along back and joint pain. On many days, the pain is unbearable. It’s like I have aged at a greater speed,” she says.“The doctor assured me that removing the uterus was the best option. Though I was taking medication, my infections were recurring. I had already undergone a sterilisation surgery, so there was anyway no scope of having more children. Hysterectomy seemed like the right thing to do. But later, the after-effects started,” rues Kale, who missed out on the last sugar-cane cutting season as she was bedridden for three months after the procedure. Her decision to undergo the procedure has brought not just health issues but severe economic distress to the already impoverished household.Her husband holds her responsible for the debt of ₹2 lakh that has piled on them. At first, he blamed her one-off leaves from work. Then, he pointed fingers at her for the ₹30,000 that they had to borrow for the hysterectomy. The taunts have gotten worse since they missed out on the last season of sugar-cane cutting. Ashok Anand, head of gynaecology at the state-run J.J. Hospital in Mumbai, is amused at the reasons cited. “Neither a bulky cervix nor persistent demands by a patient warrant a hysterectomy. Her symptoms were more likely due to cervicitis, which could be treated through conservative medication,” says Anand.Since news on the hysterectomies in Beed came to light, questions have been raised on the possible role of the medical fraternity in making women undergo the procedure. State data showed that 99 private hospitals in Beed district have carried out 4,605 hysterectomies since April 2016. Eleven of these hospitals have carried out more than 100 hysterectomies in the three-year period.‘Gross exploitation’The top five in the list are: Pratibha Nursing Home (277); Tidke Hospital (196); Shree Bhagwan Hospital (193); Gholve Hospital (186); and Veer Hospital (179). In comparison, 2,000-odd hysterectomies have been performed in the public sector in the same period in Beed. “Instead of getting rational treatment in public health-care facilities, the women are pushed towards irrational treatments in the private sector,” says Abhay Shukla, national co-convenor of the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan. “It’s nothing but gross exploitation of vulnerabilities of women and a failure of the state,” he says. Activists also rue that the official count could be under-reported as the state banks on these same hospitals to furnish the figures.Local doctors, however, feel the criticism is uncalled for and insist that for most of the women who underwent the surgery, their health warranted it. Gynaecologist Madhav Sanap, who has run the Shree Bhagwan Hospital since 1998, is prompt to assert that there may be doctors who conduct unindicated procedures, but he is not one of them. “Of the 193 surgeries that I have carried out, only four were of women under 35. I can provide history for each and every case,” he says, while arguing that the hype around hysterectomies in Beed requires an in-depth analysis. “It will prove that the district has rates comparable to other parts of the State,” he says.Poor hygieneSanjay Veer, a gynaecologist and owner of Veer Hospital, says no one goes under the knife unless there is real suffering. “These women live in conditions of extremely poor hygiene. They don’t have access to toilets. They can’t afford sanitary pads. Open defecation is rampant in their villages as near the sugar-cane farms where they work,” he says.“The core issues are poverty, illiteracy, lack of sanitation and access to water. Doctors are being made scapegoats in this issue, which is largely a socio-economic one and requires a larger solution,” he adds.The National Family Health Survey data show that the rate of hysterectomies in Maharashtra is 2.6%, while the national average is 3.2%. But when it comes to Beed, a 2018 survey of 200 women by Maharashtra State Commission for Women revealed the extent of the problem as around 36% were found to have had undergone hysterectomies.According to Beed’s civil surgeon Ashok Thorat, there is an absence of enough data to carry out comparisons with other districts in Maharashtra. “Our primary investigations have shown that the prevalence of hysterectomies is 17 per 1,000 women in Beed. In some parts of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and other States, the prevalence is about 50 to 60 per 1,000 women,” says Thorat, adding that a detailed survey is under way to get to the root cause.In fact, a circular dated April 16, has made it compulsory for private gynaecologists in Beed to seek permission from a civil surgeon for every hysterectomy procedure barring emergency procedures, which have to be reported within a span of 24 hours. The circular warns doctors against portraying all kinds of tumours, growths and swelling on uterus as cancers.“The number of hysterectomies has gone down by 50% since we implemented the SOP [Standard Operating Procedure],” Beed’s collector Astik Kumar Pandey tells The Hindu. “Right now, all the hospitals are under our scanner. All hysterectomies in the past, especially of women who are under 35, are being scrutinised,” he says.Activists say that the menace of unwarranted hysterectomies affects not just sugar-cane cutters but women in general. “Early marriages and child birth, fear of cancer and the loss of wages during menstruation have all culminated in the high rate of hysterectomies. The government has no clue about the ground reality as it has never maintained any data,” says health activist Abhijit More who terms Beed’s situation as a blatant violation of rights of women living in the district, who are uneducated and therefore ill-equipped to make the right health choices. Six out of the seven women from the extended Kale family in Umrad have undergone hysterectomies. | Photo Credit: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury Kale relied on the testimonies of her four sisters-in-law and two of their mothers-in law, who had all been through the procedure, when she got admitted to the Veer Hospital located on the Beed-Jalna road for the surgery. “None of us has ever been to school. But the doctor is educated. His word was assuring for us,” she says.Kale’s sister-in-law Vaishali, 33, was also advised a hysterectomy when she sought medical help after grappling with vaginal discharge and recurrent infections for years. “I was told my uterus was damaged and getting it removed was best. I had two sons, so we thought the most important job of the womb was done,” says Vaishali.Scores of women in Beed offer a similar narrative. Shockingly, most don’t have medical reports or any papers to show the history of their treatment.Their individual stories all follow a pattern. Women would commonly consult their doctors for health issues lasting up to a year, but then complain of recurrent infections. Sooner or later, hysterectomy would be recommended to them as a permanent solution.However, they were never told how the surgery could lead to hormonal imbalance, calcium deficiency and constant body ache, among other things.In Beed, open defecation remains a ground reality. Many households do have built toilet blocks built under the government’s Swachh Bharat scheme but their members still defecate in the open due to lack of water. For the women in the district, it is a vicious cycle as they have no sanitary facilities either at their workplace or at their homes. And the nature of work in a sugar-cane field has only worsened their situation.An estimated 5-6 lakh people, including pregnant and lactating women, migrate from Beed to other parts of Maharashtra, and border areas of Karnataka, to work as sugar-cane cutters. Hailing from a region that is perennially under a spell of drought and not having many avenues of employment, Beed residents continue to live in abject poverty and have to rely on sugar-cane cutting to make a living. Traditionally, a couple is hired by a mukadam (contractor) as a single ‘unit’, known as ek koyta (one sickle). The contractor pays them uchal (a lump sum) in advance, ranging from ₹80,000 to ₹1.2 lakh, for a period of four to six months. The pairs migrate after Deepavali every year.While a typical workday starts at around 6 a.m. for the couple, the woman gets up earlier, at 4 a.m., and cooks food for the entire family before she sets out. Children are left behind in temporary shanties near the sugar-cane farms as their parents toil under the sun.Two-and-a-half tonnes a dayLaxmi Chauhan, 44, from Beed’s Vanjarwadi village and her husband Nanabhau, 45, have been migrating for sugar-cane cutting for the past 25 years. “We manage to cut about two-and-a-half tonnes of sugar-cane in a day. A tonne of sugar-cane earns us anywhere between ₹350 to ₹400 depending on the seasonal rate,” says Nanabhau, a father of two sons, both in their twenties.Soon after the birth of their children, Chauhan began experiencing pain in the abdomen, which resulted in her frequent absences from work and low productivity. “Working during the menstrual cycle was anyway difficult,” says Chauhan, adding that she had to make multiple strikes with the sickle to cut a single cane, a process which made her feel further weak and unwell. It also meant lower earnings for the couple.“We earned less than the uchal and had to repay the remaining amount to the mukadam. Also, when one failed to report to work, the mukadam demanded a fine of ₹500, which had to be paid in cash and was distributed among other workers who took the extra workload,” says Chauhan.Troubled by her own dwindling productivity and the couple’s mounting debt, Chauhan finally decided to see a doctor at the Veer Hospital in 2014. Following a sonography, she was told that her uterus had got swollen and this could lead to cancer. Within the next few days, the couple hurriedly collected ₹25,000 and Chauhan got her uterus removed, as advised by the doctor. She was hospitalised for seven days.“Since then, my body has begun swelling and I am in pain every day. But I feel better than before,” she says. Weight gain, which Chauhan has experienced, is another inevitable side effect of hysterectomy. When asked if the uterus removal was at the suggestion of a mukadam, the couple deny it. “We trusted the doctor’s word,” says Nanabhau, adding that they had sought help with the intention of getting medical treatment and not surgery. “When the doctor told us about the risk of cancer, we did not want to take any chances,” he says.Coaxed by contractors?Following reports on the high number of hysterectomies performed in Beed, the Maharashtra administration launched an investigation on June 18. Among the many aspects that the authorities are probing, one is whether the mukadams push women to undergo the procedure to ensure better returns. “There could be a nexus between profit-driven doctors and the mukadams. This definitely needs to be investigated, among other things,” says Neelam Gorhe, who is heading the seven-member investigation committee that will submit its report to the Chief Minister and Health Minister this month.A mukadam is a well-connected villager who reaches out to prospective labourers from the nearby areas. With frequent droughts and failing crops, many couples prefer to migrate for income generation, even if they have acres of farmland back home.“The poverty is so ingrained that the advance taken by couples is exhausted very quickly. When they fail to cut sugar-cane worth the advance paid to them, we are left with no choice but to pursue them to return the remaining money,” says Bappa Kotwade, 42, a mukadam from Beed’s Irla Dubba village. Having been a mukadam for the past 15 years, he supplies up to 200 koyatas (couples) to sugar-cane factories every season.While some labourers are gadiwale (couples with a pair of bullocks and a rented cart), some work as toliwale (groups that transport harvested sugar cane in trucks or tractors).“Some men are alcoholics and recovering money from them becomes a task. Some couples disappear midway. There are some who never pay back. We have to be taskmasters to deal with this,” says Kotwade, adding that they forge long-standing relationships with the labourers and keep paying them small amounts for food and health expenses to ensure that they come back every season.But it is not always hunky-dory for the labourers, some of whom have been beaten up and even illegally detained in factories when they failed to cough up the money. “There have been murders too,” says Kotwade, citing a story of a mukadam who had a scuffle with a labourer while demanding the money. “The labourer died due to serious injuries and the mukadam landed in jail.”Kotwade, however, rubbishes the allegation that mukadams suggest hysterectomies to women. “It is a vicious cycle of hard manual labour, grinding poverty and bad living conditions. Uterus or no uterus, they have to work to earn. Why should we tell them anything?” he says, adding that women have been undergoing hysterectomies for years in Beed.Let down by doctors?A muddy pathway through a farm in Vanjarwadi leads to the house of Sarika Chandrasen Kurlekar, a frail 32-year-old. In the village, where 56 women have undergone uterus removal procedures, Kurlekar is the youngest to have been operated. She has never migrated for cane cutting but, like all other women, had been complaining of continuous white discharge that caused fatigue. Her medical record from Matoshri Hospital cites “bulky cervix and persistent demand by patient” as the reason for the hysterectomy. read more
TweetPinShare0 Shares BELEK, Turkey – Blame it on Rio. That might as well have been the official slogan of this week’s Olympic gathering here.This turned out to be the occasion when the long-simmering angst over Rio de Janeiro’s troubled preparations for the 2016 Olympics blew up into full crisis mode.On the sidelines of the SportAccord convention in the Mediterranean resort of Belek, the International Olympic Committee executive board and summer sports federations raised the stakes over the critical delays threatening the first games in South America.Here’s five things we learned about the turmoil in Rio:ALARM BELLS RINGINGEveryone has known for some time that Brazil was lagging behind schedule. Until now, however, the IOC had kept relatively restrained with its no-time-to-lose warnings. But Turkey marked a tipping point when the IOC and sports leaders made their complaints loud and clear and exposed just how deep the crisis is, even deeper than it was for the 2004 Athens Games, previously considered the benchmark for organizational disorder. Venue construction delays are not the only concern. Worries are also mounting over accommodations, transport and water pollution. Some officials openly wondered about “Plan B” contingencies. The IOC even refused to rule out moving the games — considered highly improbable at such a late stage. The message: With two years to go, the games need salvaging.FELLI TO THE RESCUEThe man with the task of whipping Rio into shape is Gilbert Felli, the veteran IOC executive director of the Olympic Games. Already having been assigned to work on Rio once he steps down from his IOC role in August, the Swiss administrator is being dispatched to Rio next week to kick-start the process. No one knows the ins and outs of the management operations and deadlines for an Olympics better than Felli. But he’ll have his hands full. Three task forces are also being created and a local construction manager hired. Another key figure working behind the scenes with Felli will be American Olympic operations expert Doug Arnot.PLEASE MR. MAYORThe IOC went out of its way to single out Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes as a crucial player in the efforts to get the games on track. There has been deep frustration over the lack of cooperation on the Olympic project among the three level of government in Brazil. Local Olympic organizing chief Carlos Nuzman, the man credited with winning the games for Brazil, lacks the skills and political leverage that Sebastian Coe had in London. IOC President Thomas Bach and Felli both talked about the importance of Paes in facilitating funding for some of the construction, particularly for Deodoro, a complex for eight sports venues where work has yet to begin. “The mayor is the one really acting to solve the problem,” Felli said. “Be careful not to shoot at him.”NO GRASS FOR GOLFPerhaps the single sport most at risk is golf, due to return to the Olympic program for the first time in more than a century. Trouble is, the course at Venue Reserva de Marapendi, designed by American architect Gil Hanse, doesn’t even have any grass yet. Organizers say the grass installation will begin later this month, but can a world-class golf course be fully tested and ready within two years? Golf needs conditions that will attract the game’s top players. Officials may begin looking for an existing course — inside or outside Brazil — if progress isn’t made in a hurry.BLAME GAMEBach and Felli said they wouldn’t point fingers or blame anyone for the mess in Brazil. Critics could also take aim at the IOC for two things — giving the games to Rio in the first place, and waiting until now to raise the emergency alarm. (Juan Antonio Samaranch issued his famous “yellow light” warning to Athens organizers four years before the games). Was it prudent to give Brazil the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics back-to-back? It’s hard enough for rich, developed nations to host both mega events. Five years ago, the IOC embraced the emotional and sentimental factors of taking the Olympics to a new continent. Today, the prevailing feelings are ones of dismay and anxiety. read more