Sunday, August 19, 2007

India Awakes: New Legislation Prohibits Abusive Sex Selection

India takes one more step to protect coming generations from the danger of social imbalance in population. Reporting through various media sources are continuously, blowing whistles that there has been an enormous increase in the cases of killing of girl fetuses across the country. Leaders, social thinkers, and lawmakers have now taken a strong step in the form of a new legislation. “Pre – Natal Diagnostic Techniques Improvisation Act -2002 “was enacted on 14th February, 2002. This act was changed and amended considerably and renamed as “Pre - Conception and Pre - Natal Diagnostic Technique (Ban on Sex-selection) Act. “
National Population Policy (2000) aims at stabilizing the gender balanced population. Not only this, the policy also focuses on certain other key issues simultaneously. These issues include saving child life, mother’s health and contraception (preventing the pregnancy), expansion (dispersion) of education and raising the systems of life standards, cleanliness and hygiene, pure and safe drinking water etc. Objectives of this policy do impress upon woman- empowerment and to generating employment opportunities.
The new Act prohibits sex-selection before or after pregnancy. It however does not limit or prohibit the application of sex determination techniques like Ultra-Sound etc., if they are necessary for diagnosis of any genetic or other sex related disorders. The Act in fact provides the regulations to control the abusive implementation of techniques. It aims to stop those improper sex determination techniques that lead to the development of sexually imbalanced society and to stop the girl foetus killings.
Anyone, who demands, opts and extends any help in sex-determination for any unjustifiable reason, is a criminal under the purview of this act. Such a person is liable for a punishment even for his/her first attempt. The conviction may include a sentence for an imprisonment up to three years and a cash penalty of Rs. 50,000.00.
The Doctor found to be helping any person with his services in any way is equally responsible for his misconduct and abusing his duty and responsibility towards society. The doctor will be suspended of its duties and responsibilities if found guilty. The council may also decide to remove the name of the Doctor from its Membership and Registration register.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tackling Community Issues the REFLECT Way

REFLECT is an acronym for “Regenerated Freirean Literacy through Empowering Community Techniques”. The REFLECT concept is based on the Theory of Conscientization. This approach was conceptualized and pioneered by a Brazilian Educator “Paulo Freire”. It was then further developed by “Action –Aid “in 1993. First application of this innovative approach was in El Salvador (South America), Bangladesh, (Asia) and Uganda.
REFLECT relies on volunteer facilitators chosen from among men and women in the community who can read and write The emphasis is placed on dialogue and action, awareness raising, cooperation and empowerment. It opens new horizons for exploring development challenges and to find ways to overcome them. The empowering process gives an opportunity to freely discuss any issues including sensitive cultural traditions.
REFLECT Circles are actually the best organized groups in the local areas. These could be better used in the annual planning process and to analyze community problems. REFLECT circles become focal points for discussion of community problems such as water, roads, soil fertility, health and HIV/AIDS, agriculture, and the factors causing poverty. Small scale income generating activities may be initiated. These create an opportunity to explore effective collective action.
Gender disparity may be reduced among REFLECT Circles members. Families may learn to share the work load and to plan together in the best interest of the family. Participation of women gets increased in meetings with enhanced confidence and talk in public and to take part in active discussions. It helps women to make sincere efforts to develop the abilities to get their voices heard.
There is increased awareness among people. They get to know that their problems are not “God-Given “.This awareness is not the result of telling them “How Things are “but a process whereby people learnt through experience. This allows them to question their reality independently. It changes their attitudes and the way they look into things. They know that there is a lot they can do for themselves instead of waiting for the government to do everything for them.
REFLECT is now used in over 60 countries to tackle problems in agriculture, HIV/AIDS, conflict resolution and peace building.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Men and women: just friends?

Have you ever been in such kind of relationships? Have you got just a friend of the opposite sex? And even if you haven't had such experience…why?...Let's think about it: "Is it possible for men and women to be just friends without being romantic?"

There have been reviewed dozens of scientific studies and surveyed numbers of people about cross-gender friendships to discover whether these relationships can work or not. Also there have been studies listened in on countless discussions with men and women on the issue. Well…there are both sides of the argument.

For many people the idea of a man and a woman being friends is charming, but improbable. "It always leads to something else…" they argue, meaning that the relationship eventually becomes romantic. It is very difficult for a man and woman to have a platonic friendship…normally emotions get in the way and friendship can be ruined by one of the parties starting to get either possessive or jealous…Will your libido silence while spending pleasant time and having fun and sharing interests and activities, attitudes and values with just a friend of the opposite SEX?...Perhaps NO…After all, in contrast to the countless love stories we come across in the movies, books or reality, male-female friendship are rarely acclaimed or depicted as an ongoing, freestanding bond. How many stories can you think of that richly portray or endorse the lasting, devoted friendship of a man and a woman as an end in itself? Even the acclaimed film When Harry Met Sally, which got a lot of people talking about cross-gender friendships, ultimately proves to be another tale of romantic love. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan's tumultuous and endearing friendship is only a stage in the development of the more celebrated attachment of falling in love…

And the other problem of course is the partners of the man and woman who are just friends…they may not feel happy with the situation especially if the man and woman who are just friends spend a lot of time together or go out together…What is your partner opinion on the issue?...???...Keep on reading together…probably it changes?...

On the other hand, there are those who are seemingly surprised by the question and argue that of course male-female friendships are possible: why wouldn't they be? These people's persuasiveness almost makes the romantic pull of such relationships seem unusual. They ignore it altogether. "One of my best friends is a woman," the male proponent of this perspective insists. "And it's never crossed my mind to consider her in a romantic way." Well, that takes care of that, I think. "My friendships with men are far less complex than my relationships with women," a female with this position might say. "We can play sports and just have fun."
In the informal survey of people who are "just friends" with someone of the opposite sex, it was heard
, it was heard a number of positive remarks. Over and over, men spoke about how a woman's friendship provided them with a kind of nurture not generally available in their relationships with men. They said things like, "I don't have to play the macho game with women. I can show my weaknesses to a woman friend and she'll still accept me." Women asked about their friendships with men commented their just a friend like "He is a good sounding board for getting the male perspective, the kind I can't get from my women friends."

Interestingly, women do not report the same level of intimacy as men do with their cross-gender friendships. Even women who count men among their close friends feel barriers between them. Women say things like, "I have fun with men who are just friends, and they can even be supportive and helpful about some things, but it's not the same. If I try to talk to my male friends the same way I talk to my female friends, I'm always disappointed." At first glance the payoff for men seems to be bigger than the payoff for women in cross-gender friendships. But that's not necessarily true. Women report great enjoyment from the diversity their friendships with men bring to their lives.

So does all this mean the answer to the question about men and woman being just friends is YES???

Few relationships issues are that plain and simple. The real answer is "it depends." So, you say, let's cut to the chase and get to the bottom line: What do these relationships depend upon? They depend upon how much each person in the relationship is willing to stretch and grow. These friendships, you see, require both men and women to call upon parts of themselves that are usually less accessible when relating to their typical same-sex friends. For a man, a woman who is just a friend allows him to express his more emotional side, to experience his vulnerability, to treat himself and his friend more tenderly than is permissible with male friends. What is typically missing for him in this cross-gender relationship, however, is the kind of rough camaraderie he can have with another man. For a woman, a man who is just a friend helps her express her independent, more reasoned and tougher side - the harder edge that's kept under wraps in relationships with women. The down side for her is the relative absence of emotional reciprocity and intensity she normally shares with a female friend.

So, okay, twist our arms for a NO or YES answer to this question and the answer will be YES. But we will quickly qualify it. Men and women can enjoy friendship together, but not at the same level they do with friends of the same sex.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Angelique Kidjo's post in International Museum Of Women is worth reading....

It's not just a matter of money. It's a matter of humanity.
Posted by Angélique Kidjo on Thu, Jun 29, 2006, 10:04 am PDT
People say we are tired of giving money to Africa. What we in rich countries have to do is to put faces and names to the women and children who are victims of HIV and AIDS in Africa. Then it takes another dimension. The media in the western world has been doing such a poor job of reporting on this crisis. They always show the dead people, they never show the African people surviving even though they have nothing.
I have met wonderful people in clinics, in slums, in little organizations, in groups that have gathered grandmothers together and built a community that give meals to grandchildren – they are just wonderful. They have no money but their human solidarity is absolutely amazing. They have nothing, but they are smiling. They have the spirit. They are dying, but they still reach out to touch our humanity, they still try to make a difference for others. Take Lydia Rwechungura for example, who despite being rejected by her husband, stigmatized and degraded, is now counseling others with HIV rather than giving up hope. Or how about Asunta Wagura who was told she had six month’s to live in 1988, went on to co-found the Kenya Network of Women With AIDs in 1993 and is still active today. Why can’t we do that in the rich countries? Are we so rich that we forgot that we are human beings? That we can die also?
I think that for any woman around the world, once they hold a child sick in their lap, they cannot be indifferent. If you are a mother you know every child is born the same way. And when a child is born it calls on us. We need women in rich countries to reach out to organizations that are there in site in Africa. One way is to give money. I say don’t stop giving, just give it more efficiently. Give it to organizations that use the money effectively on the field like UNICEF does or like the World Food Program’s does with their mobile clinics and mobile schools that help out while respecting that these are nomadic peoples. There’s also the wonderful organization Alicia Key’s has established, Keep a Child Alive and Prudence Nobantu Mabele’s organization Positive Women’s Network in South Africa. There are so many options.
One of things I am campaigning for, and that needs support, is for the drug companies to the HIV and AIDs medication in pediatric form. This way the babies will be able to drink it. You can’t give adult drugs to kids. Maybe they could even put them in sweet forms for them. I have also realized that HIV and AIDS have different faces; the viruses vary by region so the drug companies must take this into account. Furthermore, they need to make these drugs available for people for little money.
I have realized that this is not only a matter for money. It is a matter of humanity. It’s a commitment to other human beings. And that is what we are having most trouble with. No one wants to face those emotions – the guilt – by seeing the reality of what is going on. Giving money is a very good thing, but donating your talents and your time is amazing. I met a midwife in New Orleans at the Jazz festival that said, “I can devote three months of my time to that hospital in Malawi that you were talking about.” And that is what we need more of.
We need people to devote the time, to teach mothers in Africa little things like that boiling water before putting it into the food is important. We need people in the fields to teach women to use the resources around them to make their lives better. We need people to hear their stories, to help the women wipe the tears of the children and to give them hope. They need us to let them know that while on the other end of the world, they are not alone, that anytime they need to reach out to us, we are reachable. That will make a huge difference.
Above all, when you hear about HIV and Aids or any other problem related to women and children in Africa make the time and have courage to go out of your routine and find out how you can off your individual help.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Woman's Worth

The Article published in “The Times Of India

 ( May 08 , 2006 ) is worth reading……….Mom

Marriage is a big deal — for men, that is. Women partners — whether they stay at home or go to work in an office — end up doing most household chores.

Multitasking 24x7 is a way of life for them, as they juggle jobs like house-keeping, cooking, nursing, accounting, gardening, counsel-ling, tutoring, ministering, laundering, baby-sitting, driving, and now computing as well., a website that tracks salaries for a variety of jobs, has come up with a "Mom Salary Wizard" that helps you calculate the real worth of your job as a "housewife". The average stay-at-home mother, the website concludes, is worth $134,000 a year.

Urban Indian women might be doing as much as their
US counterparts. As for the rural woman, her lot is bearing the brunt of running a household and playing caregiver in a large family, often making do with scant resources.

Unsurprisingly, women from economically backward rural and urban families routinely practise austere self-denial in order to keep the home fire burning. With gender prejudices still rampant, a woman's worth is grossly underestimated and undervalued.

Women from the other end of the socio-economic spectrum too are often undervalued, albeit in ways different from their less fortunate sisters.

However, the computation offered by does not factor in overtime — including which would hike the economic worth of a stay-at-home mother probably beyond that of a corporate executive.

Should the economic value of housework be included in the computation of a country's gross domestic product? Notional though it might be, it could be argued that doing so would reflect a country's productivity more accurately.

And boost women's self-esteem. More importantly, it is only because there is this invisible, almost unlimited — but unpaid — domestic labour input from stay-at-home mothers or women who do double shifts at work and home that a country's GDP is what it is.

For without this silent input, the GDP would fall by more than half. The computation of two sets of GDP figures — with and without the invisible component — would clearly establish gender budgeting as an integral aspect of the budget-making exercise.

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Quick justice only for raped foreigners?

The Article published in the Newspaper "Times Of India" today is worth reading .....

A rape conviction in 22 days is not the norm in India but a rare exception. Until now, this exception has only been made in Rajasthan for foreigners who come from countries that are important for the Indian tourism sector.

These convictions show the potential capacity of the police and judiciary for dispensation of quick justice but they also point to the fact that many Indian rape victims are discriminated against and ignored by the same system.

A victim has only a small chance of getting (quick) justice if there are no financial interests at stake, if she is not in an influential position and if there is not much media attention.

The fact that in many cases victims have to wait for a trial for several years and that the majority of rape accused are acquitted demonstrates that state governments and judiciaries fail to handle cases of violence against women with due diligence.

Amnesty International has elaborated in several reports that governments, under these conditions, are responsible for human rights violations against women even if the acts are committed by private individuals.

If a state fails to ensure law enforcement, if the behaviour of police and judiciary officials leads to a widespread impunity in cases of sexual violence, this has to be judged as the tolerance and acceptance of violence against women by the state.

This state failure is not only a human rights violation against women who already have become victims of sexual violence, it concerns all women in India.

The prevalent impunity in rape cases creates an atmosphere within society which encourages men to use violence against women. The danger comes not only and not mainly from perpetrators who are unknown to the victims but often from colleagues, friends, husbands and other relatives.

It makes things even worse that crimes committed by persons who are well-known to the victim are mostly not taken seriously. A widespread prejudice about so called date rapes is that it was a consensual act.

But can anyone really imagine that a woman would choose to go through many humiliating judicial procedures, especially in a society where rape victims are strongly stigmatised and where it is highly probable that the offender will be acquitted, if her claims were not true?

In fact, most women who experience sexual violence don't report it because they are afraid of the police, afraid of the stigma and afraid of the offender and his family.

It is a shame if people allege in so-called date rape cases that the victim agreed or that she is somehow responsible or guilty for what has happened.

Is a victim guilty only for trusting a friend or colleague and being friendly to him or, in other words, for having a drink and dinner with him? Is it asking too much if a woman expects respectful behaviour from a friend?

Fair, fast rape trial a must

It seems to be a widespread misconception among men that they can do anything with a woman if she is friendly and shows a bit of trust. If a woman says no they don't care, maybe some don't realise that a 'no' expressed by a woman really means NO, regardless of the relationship or situation.

This mindset of men who rape their friends, colleagues, neighbours or relatives is not an individual problem, it is a reflection of a society in which women are still discriminated against and disrespected.

The state has responsibilities to prevent violence against women. It has to make more effort to build a society in which women get equal rights and where they can live a more independent life.

Most important, it has to ensure that every rape victim gets a fair and quick trial, regardless of her nationality or position in society and regardless of the circumstances of the offence—be it a date rape, marital rape or rape by an unknown offender. Convictions should become the norm.

(The writer's initials appear with her consent.)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Gender Issues : Ways And Means To Address Communication Breakdowns - Part -V

Similarly people may find themselves unable to act upon the messages. This inability is mainly attributed by various intrinsic and extrinsic factors which controls and draw boundaries of limitations. Because of these factors it is very much obvious that people will not act upon the message in the way they were supposed to.
These factors control or limit the orientation of the message to such an extent that for people it is irrelevant if they have received the message and understood it in true spirits. These factors are completely out of the control of people. For instance “Poverty” is one of those limitations which always puts barricades in the way of implementation of the communication plan. People may find themselves helpless in such a situation.
Another instance is the unavailability and /or non existence of basic services. Many a times the basic infrastructure is not available and it is also possible that many a times the infrastructures are owfully managed and a complete lack of proper service administration .
In cases where a “Demand and Supply Technique” is applied as an implementation strategy with a message and a mass media campaign is designed by the communicators, the service delivery depends a lot on the degree of expensiveness and the extent of availabilty of the articles. The designers must be very carefull about these factors and ensure that the products which are a part of the mass media campaigns never get in scarcity and must be available with the best ease possible. These products must not be expensive and the money spending capacity of the targetted community is taken well care of. During the mass media campaigns and Drives it is a possibility that the demand of certain product is increase many fold. At this punctum the communicators and the designers must be well aware of the future prospective need based planning strategy involved with the original implementation plan so that the product is always available in the shortest possible notice. Any failure in this implementation strategy will cause huge wastage of seed money and time. Communicators taking care of such factors will be successfully implementing the plans.
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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Sunday, April 09, 2006

India News: Women Empowerment In Bihar

women EmpowermentSaumya Kerbart Shivakumar writes an eye-opening  Article in The Times Of India on Women Empowerment in Bihar
With panchayat elections in
Bihar around the corner, a dramatic turnaround has occurred. A brand new Bihar Panchayat Raj Ordinance 2006 has just been passed in the Bihar assembly.....

It is imperative at this juncture to go beyond political manoeuvres and legal battles to revisit basic tenets under-pinning gender reservation....

 Here are some indisputable facts in the context of Bihar and let them speak for themselves......

The research was carried out by the writer between February and December 2005 on behalf of an NGO working for women empowerment at the grass roots.

Thus, these findings unequivocally highlight the improbability of ordinary women winning elections in the absence of reservation. Finally, the cliche of the 'proxy' or 'puppet' may have been borne out in a few cases, but the average level of awareness displayed defied this widely portrayed image........

A clincher: Nearly all the women interviewed stated they supported women's reservation for chairpersons' posts, although they themselves had come to power on an unreserved basis.......

Reservation to them was an antidote to unequal participation of women in society, caused by years of suppression. When the court sits for hearing, they might want to remember these realities, reflecting the voices of women in

I recommend this Article to be read in toto......

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Gender Issues: Ways And Means To Address Communication Breakdowns- Part-IV

People all around the world belong to different kinds of societal set ups. Their lives are woven around different attitudes and beliefs. The communicator and the people who design the message need to understand this aspect with utmost care. Just by receiving the message in proper way and to understand it completely does not complete the process in itself. Infact it is only the half way up. The whole excercise will go waste if the message communicated with utmost care is not acted upon in the way it was desired. The communicators and designers must understand that the attitudinal and belif backgrounds of the targeted mass plays the vital role in action. People may not act upon the message if it is in conflict with their attitudes and beliefs.Traditional practices, religeous beliefs ,other social ,cultural and anthropological concepts always tend to override the communication even if it is hiighly scientific and people's benefit oriented.
Many a times myths also affect the reach of communication in anticipated manner.Therefore the communicator and the message designers should prepare the messages in such a way that it dispel all these negative attributes, conceptions, beliefs, myths, traditions etc.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Connecting To Old References......

I found my Diary today and recovered some old references and collections. These may be a bit old but are really important and might have some meaning to somebody........
Where the Girls Aren'tOne camp says that girls see computers as a communications tool, and the best way to engage them is to exploit that and offer classes that stress using programs -- say, designing Web sites or online magazines -- over creating them. The other side says that such preferences exist only because no one has tried to expand girls' technological horizons.
Gettin’ Jiggly Wit ItBut this is more than tits and giggles — it’s serious business. Digital breasts that move like real ones were previously impossible to achieve. An enormous amount of modeling, programming, math, and physics underlie these new, um, developments. “I never imagined that I’d be using my expertise in this manner and consider myself very, very lucky,” says XXX programmer Nick Torkos. “Hopefully this will convince others to study math.”
Strategies of INclusion: Gender and the Information SocietyA European research project studing the change patterns of women use, access and creation of ICTs, focusing on public and private effort to educate, create products, and develop service relevent to women
Researchers address gender gap in computingMargolis and Allan Fisher, co-authors of a new book titled Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing,'' will speak in Palo Alto tonight about their research on why women are sometimes reluctant to pursue computing careers, and what can be done to change this.`The men were motivated primarily by their interest in and enjoyment of technology; the women tended to be motivated by what it was good for, how it could be used to help people.''
Gadget makers target womenCompanies like Panasonic have found that style is the number one priority for women, whereas men are more concerned with brand and what the thing does. "A lot of women want permission to buy the cute version of something," said Ms France. "It is something we have seen a lot in the teen market. If something is cool and it's a great colour, you're going to get it."
IT: The Industry Without WomenMore than 90 percent of the engineers who make Internet systems work are men. In the next four years, women will continue to be massively underrepresented in the networking field, despite a major shortage of skilled engineers in Europe that threatens to hamper the industry.
Boy, You Fight Like a GirlOnline gamers seek escape in personas of the opposite sex but often encounter stereotypes.
He-Mails, She-Mails: Where Sender Meets GenderCommunication researchers who study the e-mail behavior of men and women say they are finding real differences. In general, they say, women tend to use the electronic medium as an extension of the way they talk — lavishly and intimately, to connect with people and build rapport. Men, in both speech and text, incline toward a briefer, more utilitarian style, the researchers say — a style they variously term instrumental, functional or transactional.
Can the media help turn geek into chic?To join the two ideas in the public's mind, all-out media blitzes have begun in at least four countries, using Hollywood-style recruitment tactics to attract women in particular toward careers in technology. By revamping technology stereotypes, these groups hope to curb labor shortages that are in danger of crimping their countries' future business success.
NOW Provides Shelter From ScornThe National Organization for Women will offer Internet service provider accounts through its website. The site will only be accessible to people who sign up through the ISP. NOW is moving its message boards and chat rooms to the protected NOWworld site. (The ISP) came out of a desire to create a new space that was safe and welcoming, but also informative and inspiring.
Game-Player's Life As a WomanStill, I'd noticed people just plain react differently to female characters, even if they don't know who's on the other end.
Women such as Lara Croft in videogamesBombshells worthy of "Playboy" have been multiplying in videogames ever since the birth of the buxom Lara Croft. As Enes Memic reports, it's highly unlikely game makers will reverse this trend anytime soon
See the Banned Fear Effect 2 AdFear Effect 2: Retro Helix for the PlayStation is all set to ruffle a few feathers, disturb a couple senators and send concerned parents into conniptions. One of the game's central themes is the, uh, relationship between the two main female protagonists, Rain and Hana, who like to romp around in skintight outfits with cleavage hanging out, change clothes at a prodigious pace, shoot stuff and occasionally find themselves in not-so-compromising positions.
Who are you calling "sister"?To break through the glass ceiling, women's online communities -- like Webgrrls and Digital Eve -- need to work together.
History of Purple Moon, a company devoted to making interactive media for little girls
Research on Women and Men GamersSysters - oldest electronic network for women

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Whistle Blower !!!!!!


They don't want daughters, but they do want wives. It's a supply crunch alright for males in Haryana. Not far from the glitzy malls of Gurgaon lie the thriving mandis of flesh- where the price of a 'bride' is often less than that of a cow.

Neelam Raaj reports

This Special Report published in Today's Newspaper "The Times Of India" is an eye opener and whistle blower.  ( Read The complete Report )

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

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Part -III

worldRevision Of The Communication” is the best technique in order to avoid misunderstanding the message. This is one of the least practiced technique. There is always a difference of frames of reference between the communicator and the reciever.No matter how carefully and how meticulously the message is being communicated by the communicator, there is always an ample chance to misunderstand the message. People very often receive the message well and in true spirits.They know it is important for them but it is only a part of the process of communication. At the next stage they often misunderstand it. People become concious about Do's and Don'ts upto such an extent that they begin to misunderstand the message and this results in incorrect application of the message. This misundersatnding may be of various kinds, e.g. Process, further communication,technique, skills,or methods etc.

This problem is very much prevalent in cases where an application part is included in the message. Messages related to health,children,society,crimes, personal safety,marriages, offices,etc. bear a great risk of incorrect application.

The messages designed for such communication must include a system of concurrent follow ups and feedbacks. Adequate concurrent training should be an essential element of the message.There should be system of periodic follow up to identify the problems and correcting it along with the providing additional support and ofcourse revising the message as and when required.          (Contd. .......)