8 crore certified literates between 2010-16: Javadekar

Nearly eight crore learners have cleared the basic literacy assessment tests held between 2010 and 2016 for being certified as literates

New Delhi Nearly eight crore learners have cleared the basic literacy assessment tests held between 2010 and 2016 for being certified as literates, the Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.

HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said in the House that under the Saakshar Bharat programme, around 7.92 crore learners appeared under basic literacy assessment test held between August, 2010 and August, 2016.

Out of the total candidates, 5.88 crore learners successfully passed the assessment and were certified as “literate”.

Responding to supplementaries, minister of state for HRD Upendra Kushwaha said the states were free to run model schools.

SP member Dharmendra Yadav, however, alleged that model schools were shut down by the Centre. This led to a brief war of words between him and some BJP members.

Worried about food-related hygiene this monsoon? Follow these 8 dos and don’ts

Cut fruits and vegetables shouldn’t be kept out in the open during the rainy season.

Monsoon brings with it an end to the scorching summer heat and a sigh of relief for everyone. It is also a time to be extra careful about infections, in particular, gastrointestinal infections. During this season, immunity tends to be weakened, making people more susceptible to infections.

Coupled with this, the digestive enzymes have lower activity, and the digestive system as a whole becomes more sensitive and vulnerable to infections. Therefore, we should be extra careful about what we eat. During the rainy season, the moisture in the air increases to very high levels, and along with it, various microbes tend to multiply. In particular, fungi tend to grow and multiply profusely in this increased moisture conditions.

Hence Dr Saurabh Arora, founder of Food Safety Helpline.com have put forward some tips to store food hygienically.

1) Bread and other bakery products are susceptible to spoilage by molds. Therefore, we must take care not to keep these food items exposed to the moist air for long periods. We should consume these items as soon as they are taken out of their air-tight packets.

Consume bakery items as soon as they are taken out of their air-tight packets. (HT file photo )

2) Care should also be exercised with milk and milk products, as these are susceptible to contamination and spoilage by microorganisms, particularly in the humid weather, which is common in the monsoon season. Care should be taken not only for food items, but also for the various ingredients and additives that go into preparation of the dishes. These should be kept in hermetically sealed containers, so that they are not exposed to moisture.

Care should also be exercised with milk and milk products, as these are susceptible to contamination. (Shuterstock )

3) Cut fruits also shouldn’t be kept out in the open during the rainy season. These should ideally be consumed as soon as they are cut, to avoid any contamination with microbes. Likewise, fruit juices should also be consumed fresh and not stored for later consumption.

Cut fruits also shouldn’t be kept out in the open during the rainy season. (Shutterstock )

4) The storage of cooked food is very important. Prepared food should ideally be consumed hot, soon after cooking. In case of consumption at a later time, it should be quickly cooled, carefully covered and stored refrigerated in order to avoid microbial contamination. It is to be noted that while storing food in the refrigerator, the cooked food should be stored in the upper shelves, while the raw food in the lower shelves.

Prepared food should ideally be consumed hot, soon after cooking. (Shutterstock )

5) Store the raw resources away from moisture It would be a good idea to avoid buying in bulk during the monsoon season, in order to avoid problems with storage.

6) Be careful while consuming certain types of food during the monsoon time. One of the most common snacks in this category are samosas. Other oily snacks include paneer pakoras, which might cause gastric problems if the ingredients are not fresh. Fermented food items like chole bhature can be spoiled by fungi that flourish in the humid conditions prevailing during the rainy season. As a general rule of thumb, all types of spicy and oily food should be consumed in moderation.

Oily snacks might cause gastric problems if the ingredients are not fresh. (Shutterstock )

7) Avoid street food. Most types of street foods are generally prepared in the open. There is a chance of contamination of the food with rain water. The stalls are sometimes located near open drains, where there is chance of contamination with coliform bacteria, which can cause serious diarrheal disease. Moreover, the water used for preparing street food favorites like golgappas is likely to be contaminated, and there is a chance of contracting water-borne diseases like cholera and typhoid in this way.

Most types of street foods are generally prepared in the open. (HT file photo )

8) Special precautions for drinking water. It is very important to keep the body well hydrated during the monsoon months. Therefore, it is essential to drink plenty of water. Drinking water must be very safe for consumption, since during the rainy season, chances of contamination increases manifold. It should be noted that besides microbes, ground water can be heavily contaminated with chemicals, as these leach easily into the underground water deposits. The best way to ensure safe drinking water is to filter the water, followed by boiling, before drinking.

It is very important to keep the body well hydrated during the monsoon months. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

If these simple precautions and hygienic practices are followed, this will enable you and your family to enjoy and appreciate the true beauty of the monsoon season.

Bill to start exams in Classes 5 and 8 on anvil: Javadekar

The government is likely to bring a bill in Parliament to start examinations in Classes 5 and 8 following the recommendation of 24 states at a meeting of CABE to hold such tests.

The government is likely to bring a bill in Parliament to start examinations in Classes 5 and 8 following the recommendation of 24 states at a meeting of CABE to hold such tests.

“We are bringing a bill to have examinations for classes 5 and 8 and I hope you will give your support to this bill,” HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar told members in the Rajya Sabha during Question Hour.

He said the proposed bill will have scope for giving a repeat chance to all students who fail in March. They will be allowed to take the test again in May.

The Minister, however, clarified that the central law, once brought, will not be made compulsory on the states and it will be left to the states whether they wanted to hold such examination for students of class 5 and 8, even though 24 states already want the test.

In reply to a question, he admitted that the dropout rate in government schools was almost double than that in the private schools.

“Yes, the truth is that there is a fall in the levels of government schools and the people have started getting attracted towards private schools,” he said.

In his written reply to the question, he said, “the dropout rate of students is higher in government than in private schools. The dropout rate is nearly half in private schools in comparison to the government schools.”

Javadekar also said that there was no separate study to find out the reason for higher dropout rate in government schools as compared to private schools.

He said the real problem was in Class 9 as currently, no examination is held in classes 1 to 8 and no child fails.

He said three to four years ago, the enrolment in government schools was declining by 4% while that of private schools was rising by 8%.

“Both issues are a matter of concern and it is important to improve the standard of education in government schools and a number of steps are being taken in this regard,” he said.

Javadekar cited many states like Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh where efforts have been made to help check dropouts by making education informative and entertaining.

Asked whether there was a proposal to hand over government schools to the private sector to help improve their standards in education, the Minister replied in the negative.

“There is no proposal of handing over government schools to private players,” he said.

8 Amazing Beauty Remedies for Split Ends, Without Getting a Haircut!

It is a dreaded sight to see our hair with split ends. How much do we hate to see our hair tearing apart making it look extremely brittle and weak! Because we don’t have a lot of options, so we head to the salon to give those beautiful tresses a haircut. Heart-breaking isn’t it? Our hair has to combat with so many problems every single day including sun damage, heat, dust, pollution, chemicals and what not. Split ends are one of the most common problems that we face. They are the result of fraying of hair due to the above mentioned reasons. But what if we do not have to get a hair cut to get rid of split ends? Well then, take notes as we jot down some amazing home remedies to prevent split ends and the good news is you can find them easily available at home.

8 Amazing Beauty Remedies for Split Ends, Without Getting a Haircut!

Causes of Split End

  • Exposure of hair to excessive heat, dust and pollution
  • Over-washing your tresses
  • Excessive use of hair-styling products like straighteners, curlers and chemical products like serums, sprays and dry shampoos
  • Irregular oiling of hair
  • Washing your hair with hot water
  • Not getting your hair trimmed regularly
  • Chemical treatments including perming and hair coloring
  • Exposure to hard water including chlorinated swimming pools


straighten hair 620

The causes of split ends can include excessive usage of hair-styling products that damage your hair


Beauty Remedies for Split Ends​

1. Egg Yolk


Using egg as a hair mask is one of the best and most effective remedies of all time. Eggs help cure your frizzy hair and give them a healthier shine. The egg yolk is the protagonist here. It has an adequate amount of protein that strengthens the strands of your hair and prevents any split ends. Egg also works as a moisturiser and conditioner for your hair.


How to Apply?


It is always better to team up the egg yolk with other ingredients to get remarkable results. One of the remedies is to mix egg yolk with two tablespoon each of olive oil, almond oil and honey. Apply this egg mask and keep it for about 30-45 minutes before washing it off with lukewarm water.

egg yolk hair pack

Eggs are full of protein that help in strengthening your hair

2. Beer


Applying beer is as good as drinking it. It supplies sugar and protein to your damaged hair follicles, thereby controlling split ends. It also helps in adding volume to your hair, apart from working as an amazing conditioner.


How to Apply?


Make sure you use flat beer on your hair. Beer with fizz may damage your hair. After shampooing your hair, just wash your hair with beer and keep it for 2-3 minutes before washing it off.

beer 620x350

Beer supplies sugar and protein to your hair

3. Honey


Honey has always been a healer, working wonders for maintaining a healthy body, hair or skin. Honey has humectant, which prevents loss of moisture, thus rescuing you from getting a dry scalp. Consequently, it will also prevent split ends as it strengthens the hair follicles. It also helps in keep your hair scalp clean due to its anti-bacterial properties.


How to Apply?


Using only honey and water can make your hair sticky and messy. A better way is to prepare a hair mask consisting of honey mixed with curd, olive oil and egg yolk (optional). Apply this mixture on your hair, including the scalp, and keep it for around 20-25 minutes before washing it off.


Honey has humectant which prevents loss of moisture in your hair

4. Chamomile


Chamomile is a brilliant ingredient for curing dry and frizzy hair. Its antiseptic properties remove the dead cells to let your hair grow properly. Regular use of chamomile helps to prevent split ends as it keeps the hair scalp and hair clean.


How to Apply?


Giving your hair a nice rinse with chamomile tea can result in beautiful hair. All you need to do is soak two chamomile tea bags in boiling water and let it cool. Once the water has extracted its elements, rinse your hair using this water. You can use chamomile oil for massage too.

chamomile oil

Chamomile is a brilliant component for curing dry and frizzy hair

5. Black Lentils (Dal)


Surprised, aren’t you? Yes, black lentils are a wonderful source of proteins, iron, folic acid, phosphorus and fiber, among others. Folic acid is responsible for transporting oxygen from the blood to your hair follicles, thus improving the quality of your hair. You can apply and off course include a lot of it in your diet.


How to Apply?


Make a coarse powder of half a cup of black lentils and one tablespoon of fenugreek seeds and blend it with half a cup of curd. Apply this thick paste on your hair and keep it for at least an hour before washing it off with a mild shampoo.


6. Ripe Papaya


Papaya also consists of folic acid. Folic acid helps in improving the blood circulation in your scalp and hair. It also has vitamin A that enhances the production of sebum, which is natural oil present in the body. Papaya helps in keep your scalp and hair follicles moisturised, promoting hair growth and preventing spit ends and frizzy hair.


How to Apply?


All you need is to blend a raw papaya and yoghurt to make a thick paste. Apply it on your hair and wait for 30-45 minutes. Finally, wash it off using cold water.


Papaya consists of folic acid that helps in improving your blood circulation

7. Coconut Oil


This is the most common, age-old recipe to prevent split ends. It helps in smoothening your hair and remove the dirt present on the scalp. It clearly combats all hair problems including split ends, dullness and hair fall.


How to Apply?


Without any additions, you just need to massage your hair and hair scalp with warm coconut oil and keep it for about 1-2 hours and wash it with tap water.

coconut oil

Coconut hair oil helps in removing dirt from your hair

8. Aloe Vera


Aloe Vera has always proved to be an excellent cure for damaged hair and split ends. It consists of proteolytic enzymes that dig out dead cells on the scalp, further letting your hair grow. It has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that keep your scalp cool and away from dirt, further promoting a healthy hair growth.


How to Apply?


All you need to do is to extract the gel out of 2-3 aloe vera leaves and apply it on your hair. It may be sticky and messy but worth it. Keep the gel for about 30-40 minutes and rinse it off. You can apply a mild shampoo after the application of gel.

aloe vera gel

Aloe Vera is an excellent source for curing damaged hair 

So now you don’t have to worry about getting a haircut due to dreaded split ends. Trust these beauty remedies to be amazing and with regular use, you can easily get rid of your hair woes.

8 Ways to Use Red Sandalwood for Glowing, Acne-Free & Beautiful Skin

Your skin goes through a rough time facing dirt and pollution daily. No matter how lucrative some beauty products may sound, natural ingredients and a home-made pack are still the best solutions. Ingredients like saffron, lemon, milk and sandalwood are known to be great for your skin. Although sandalwood (chandan) is popular as a beauty remedy, very few people know about the red sandalwood. Rakta Chandana or the red sandalwood is one of the finest ingredients for your skin.

The red sandalwood tree can be found mostly in the southern Eastern Ghats mountain range of South India. The tree is prized for the rich red color of its wood. Just like regular chandan, red sandalwood is also sold in powdered form but it is a bit more coarse. It is primarily used for skin care and beauty purposes. It is very effective in reducing blemishes and treating acne. It also helps in the removal of sun tan and dullness because of its cooling properties. Here are eight ways to use red sandalwood for beautiful and glowing skin.

8 Ways to Use Red Sandalwood for Glowing, Acne-Free & Beautiful Skin

1.  Add few drops of coconut oil to red sandalwood powder and make a paste with it. This can be applied on dry areas for moisturizing them. Wash off after 10-15 minutes. Red sandalwood powder is known to provide nourishment to the skin cells.

2.  Mix red sandalwood powder with lemon juice to prepare a mask for oily skin. Apply this paste all over your face and let it dry out. Once it does, wash it off with lukewarm water. It helps in regulating the secretion of sebum and makes the pores tight.


skin 620x350

Red sandalwood is great for oily skin. Photo credit: Istock

3. Acne and pimples happen to be common skin problems faced by most people. A rose water and red sandalwood face pack helps in the reduction of acne and acne scars and also the irritation caused by acne due to its cooling properties. You can even add a teaspoon of honey and a pinch of turmeric to the pack for better results.

4.  A pack made with 1 tablespoon of red sandalwood and 2 tablespoons of mashed ripe papaya can help in exfoliation (removal of dead skin). This face pack helps you shed the dead skin and leaves your skin feeling fresh and rejuvenated.


skin care lemon

Red sandalwood also helps in exfoliation. Photo credit: Istock

5. Use red sandalwood powder along with curd and milk to improve uneven skin tone. Mix 1 tablespoon of red sandalwood powder, half tablespoon of turmeric, 2 tablespoon of curd and milk each to make a face pack. Apply this all over and let it dry. Later wash it off with lukewarm water and enjoy radiant complexion.

6.  It helps in removal of dark spots and reduces pigmentation. Prepare a simple pack with 2 tablespoons of red sandalwood and 2 tablespoon of milk and apply it everyday.

7.  A pack with cucumber juice or curd with red sandalwood powder helps in removing sun tan. Mix 2 tablespoon of curd or cucumber juice with an equal amount of red sandalwood powder and apply it on the affected area. Let it dry and then wash off. You will see instant results.

8.  Prepare a mask with 2 teaspoons of almond oil, 4 teaspoons of coconut oil and 4 teaspoons of red sandalwood powder. Use this regularly for soft and glowing skin.

almond oil 625

Red sandalwood has many uses in your skin care routine, give it a permanent spot in your beauty cabinet. You’ll find the best quality of red sandalwood in Kerala, so if you happen to visit it, you must buy it for yourself.

8 Amazing Health Benefits of Drinking Rooibos Tea or Red Tea

Green, black, brown and now, red! No, these aren’t just some colors on the palette of your paint box. They are hues in the world of tea. The latest addiction and addition to the list being the ‘red’ tea, all the way from South Africa. We are talking about the Rooibos tea. What makes Rooibos tea so popular is the fact that it is known to have 50% more antioxidants than those found in green tea. Rooibos is obtained from Aspalathus Linearis, a shrub native to the Cape of Good Hope.

According to Bangalore-based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood, “Red tea is an excellent anti-oxidant. It prevents the movement of free radicals in the body and thus, reduces oxidative stress. However, just like all kinds of tea, it must be had in moderation as tea is a natural dehydrator.”

8 Amazing Health Benefits of Drinking Rooibos Tea or Red Tea
A powerhouse of health benefits

1. An antioxidant:

The antioxidants present in rooibos tea prevent the movement of free radicals in the body and combat oxidative stress. This in turn prevents premature ageing and enables the maintenance of soft, supple skin.

2. Enables digestion:

Red tea is caffeine-free and also free of tannins. This element is present in other teas and is known to cause digestive issues among many people. Red tea is a storehouse of antispasmodic elements, preventing diarrhea and gastric issues. It has no oxalic acid, this makes it suitable for those who are prone to developing kidney stones.

3. Full of micro-nutrients:

Iron, zinc, copper and manganese are only a few of the many minerals that rooibos tea is rich in. If you are suffering from hair loss, red tea is known to improve hair growth by strengthening the hair follicles and provides the required nutrients that the body needs for healthy hair.

4. Boost your immunity:

Red tea has the power to protect your body against diseases while building and strengthening your immunity and making you stronger from within.

5. Anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties:

These encourage healing wounds and giving relief from any kind of pain. The tea is super rich in polyphenols, thus aiding the immune system and thereby, boosting the health of an individual.

6. Improves the quality of sleep:

It is important to note that rooibos tea is free of any caffeine content and therefore, it is extremely suitable for insomniacs. Caffeine is addictive and creates havoc for your the sleep cycle. Drinking red tea reverses the harrowing effects of too much caffeine and relaxes your tired nerves and calms you down.

7. Enhances bone strength:

The presence of calcium and manganese is really good for your bones. Along with strengthening bones, it encourages bone and joint development. Thus, problems like arthritis are kept at bay.

redtea 620x350

8. Good for skin:

Red tea is also the secret to beautiful and radiant skin. The alpha hydroxy content of red tea can reverse cell damage and rejuvenate the skin. As a rich source of bioflavanoids, red tea improves blood circulation and glowing skin.

Rooibus tea can be had plain or just like black tea with milk and a drop of honey. In case, you like it without milk, you can add a squeeze of lime for a citrusy flavour.