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Punjab Cabinet minister Rana Gurjit Singh tenders his resignation

first_imgPunjab Cabinet minister Rana Gurjit Singh, who has been under fire from the Opposition for his alleged involvement in sand mining auctions, has submitted his resignation as Power and Irrigation minister to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.“I have given my resignation from the ministry to the Captain Sahib. I gave my resignation personally to the Chief Minister a week back,” he said today.Rana Gurjit Singh, who is an MLA from Kapurthala, has been handling the power and irrigation portfolios.When asked why he gave his resignation, he said that the Opposition was trying to corner the Chief Minister by making false allegations against him and was demanding his resignation.“I have now tendered my resignation,” Rana Gurjit Singh said.However, there is no official confirmation of the acceptance of his resignation.The opposition, especially AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira, was demanding Rana Gurjit Singh’s resignation from the Chief Minister after the cabinet minister’s name had last year allegedly figured in the sand mining auctions.The State government had then formed the Justice JS Narang Commission following allegations involving Rana Gurjit Singh in the sand mining auctions conducted by the mining department in May last year.The commission was mandated to probe all aspects of the allegations of impropriety against the irrigation and power minister in the multi-crore sand mining auctions.The minister had claimed that there was no wrongdoing in the auctions.This year, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had reportedly issued summons for January 17 to Rana Inder Partap Singh, son of minister Rana Gurjit Singh, in connection with the raising of funds abroad by floating global depository receipts for one of the family-owned companies allegedly without the mandatory permission of the Reserve Bank of India.“Opposition again made hue and cry that ED had issued summons. Though, I am not looking after the business, the reply will be given to them (ED),” said Rana Gurjit Singh, who has been considered close to the Chief Minister.last_img read more

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Acclaimed Bengali writer Nabanita Deb Sen dies at 81

first_imgAward-winning poet, writer and acclaimed teacher Nabanita Deb Sen passed away in her south Kolkata residence on Thursday night after prolonged illness. She was 81.Her parents, both poets, were associated with Rabindranath Tagore and thus Ms. Deb Sen often said she knew that “one of the signatures of growing up is to write poetry”. Her first collection of poems came out in 1959, the year she was married to economist Amartya Sen. The couple had two daughters and separated later.A Sahitya Akademi and Padma Shri awardee, Ms. Deb Sen taught for many years in the Comparative Literature department of the Jadavpur University and was a favourite among students.Her travelogue, Truckbahone McMahone [On a Truck Alone to McMohan], provides an entertaining and delicate description of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. Ms. Deb Sen, in her early twenties, hitchhiked up to Tawang in an Army truck to write the all-time bestseller of Bengali literature.Lamenting her demise, writer Shirshendu Mukherjee said Ms. Deb Sen had a “huge pool of material” which could not be used due to her ill health. “Besides losing a friend, I would say I will be missing her writings,” Mr. Mukherjee said. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said “her absence will be felt by her myriad students and well-wishers”.last_img read more

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Indiecan20k Reveals Winners from Northern Southern Ontario and Northwest Territories

first_imgAdvertisement Login/Register With: PRESS RELEASE:Indiecan20k Reveals Winners from Northern & Southern Ontario and Northwest TerritoriesToronto/Canada – December 20, 2016 – Avi Federgreen, founder of the first-time feature filmmaker initiative INDIECAN20K, is pleased to announce the three winning filmmaking teams representing Northern and Southern Ontario, and the Northwest Territories. The winning films selected are: FUGUE (Northern Ontario) by writer-director Tomas Street, with Christine Rochon producing; MY GIRL MOLLY (Southern Ontario) written by Dave Roberts, with director Brandon Ludwig, who is also producing with Sheldon Ludwig; and, DARK SKY (Northwest Territories) by writer-director Jennifer Walden with Jeremy Emerson producing.“With stories about a broken character searching for identity, a young transgendered protagonist, and the adventure of a lost boy and a mythical creature, the winning scripts selected represent a real boldness emerging from the next generation of filmmakers in Canada. I am proud to provide the opportunity to get these films off the page,” commented Federgreen.FUGUE by writer-director Tomas Street (Northern Ontario): Malcolm wakes up in an unfamiliar room, unsure of whom he is. When his friend pays him a visit Malcolm begins to suspect things are not entirely as they seem.Parry Sound-based Tomas Street has nearly two decades of experience as a script supervisor with over 30 credits. He is the creator and writer of the entire first season of the award-winning webseries Kid’s Town.MY GIRL MOLLY directed by Brandon Ludwig, written by Dave Roberts (Southern Ontario): A young transgendered girl starting over in a new school is met with relentless teasing and bullying but when she stumbles across a suitcase of pills she suddenly finds a new popularity. Except the people who lost the suitcase now want it back.Brandon Ludwig is an actor and director. His on-camera credits include Conviction, Lost & Found Music Studios, and Man Seeking Woman. He has co-directed several short films including I’ll Love You Hallways, and The Dictator’s Speech.DARK SKY by writer-director Jennifer Walden (NWT): When separated from his mother on a family camping trip, a young boy meets a mythical Rock Creature that helps him find his way back home.Yellowknife-based writer-director Jennifer Walden is a well-established visual artist who is becoming known as one of the North’s up-and-coming filmmakers. Her short films include, Painted Girl and Preserved.As the winners of Indiecan20K the film teams will receive in-kind production and post-production services, additional funds, and mentorship to get a first feature completed. All combined, each filmmaker will make a film with a budget of up to $250K.In addition to in-kind services, the filmmakers are responsible for raising $20K in cash towards the budget but several organizations have stepped forward to get the filmmakers started towards that goal. For the filmmakers of FUGUE, Music & Film In Motion (MFM) is putting in $5K, and for the filmmakers of MY GIRL MOLLY, the Harold Greenberg Fund (HGF) is contributing $5K towards that budget. For DARK SKY, Northwestel Community Television is providing $3K while the HGF is contributing $2K.The following sponsors are providing in-kind services:Ontario Service Provider and Post Production Facilities Sponsors:Grip and Lighting Equipment –William F. White International Inc.Camera Equipment – Clairmont CameraPost Production Facility –Deluxe TorontoSound Editing and Supervision – ParachuteInsurance – Front Row InsuranceScript Clearance – The Rights CompanyLegal – Brenda Blake LL.B.Music Supervision – Instinct EntertainmentDCP’s – Red Square MotionDVD & Blu ray Replicators – The Media ConciergeClosed Captioning – Caption EasyPublicity – Raw Sugar PRDigital & VOD Aggregation – Juice WorldwidePoster Creation – Small Dog DesignNorthwest Territories Service Provider and Post Production Facilities Sponsors:Grip and Lighting Equipment – Western Arctic Moving Pictures (WAMP)Camera Equipment – WAMPPost Production Facility – Avatar MediaInsurance – Front Row InsuranceScript Clearance – The Rights CompanyLegal – Brenda Blake LL.B.Music Supervision – Instinct EntertainmentDCP’s – Red Square MotionDVD & Blu ray Replicators – The Media ConciergeClosed Captioning – Caption EasyPublicity – Raw Sugar PRDigital & VOD Aggregation – Juice WorldwidePoster Creation – Small Dog DesignMajor Financial Support provided by:Northern Ontario – Music & Film in Motion (MFM)Southern Ontario – Harold Greenberg Fund (HGF)Northwest Territories – Northwestel Community Television and Harold Greenberg Fund (HGF)Major Supporter for the Northwest Territories:The NWT Film CommissionThe film teams for FUGUE and MY GIRL MOLLY will be co-mentored through the filmmaking process by writer-director Warren P. Sonoda (TRAILER PARK BOYS, SWEARNET: THE MOVIE) and Federgreen, while writer-director-producer, Kirsten Carthew (THE SUN AT MIDNIGHT) and Federgreen will mentor DARK SKY’s team.The filmmakers must develop, shoot, and complete their films by April 30, 2018 with the goal to hit the 2018 film festival circuit. Federgreen’s Indiecan Entertainment will release the films in Canada once they have travelled around the festival circuit.AVI FEDERGREEN brings over 20 years of experience in the Canadian film industry to the Indiecan20K project. His experience includes music videos to TV series to feature films. Federgreen’s current releases include KISS AND CRY, PRISONER X, and HOW TO PLAN AN ORGY IN A SMALL TOWN. Some of Federgreen’s other producing credits include STILL MINE, SCORE: A HOCKEY MUSICAL, ONE WEEK, RELATIVE HAPPINESS, RANDOM ACTS OF ROMANCE, THE COCKSURE LADS MOVIE, MOON POINT, I’M YOURS, HUNGRY HILLS, HIGH LIFE, LESLIE MY NAME IS EVIL, and the documentaries MILK and AS SLOW AS POSSIBLE.INDIECAN ENTERTAINMENT focuses on independent, low-budget films. As a distributor, Avi Federgreen follows the same principle that earned him his reputation as a filmmaker; bringing audiences films they want to watch. Indiecan has distributed PRISONER X, END OF DAYS, INC., SEX AFTER KIDS, DOWN RIVER, THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE, MOON POINT, MILK, THAT GUY DICK MILLER, THE SHEEPDOGS HAVE AT IT, and more. Aside from the traditional distribution route, Indiecan leans heavily on digital delivery. Indiecan helps films find more opportunities with audiences through TV, Netflix, iTunes, websites, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Indiecan’s vision is to not only support Indie production but to encourage the viewing of quality independent films by audiences around the world. http://indiecanent.com/HAROLD GREENBERG FUND: The English-Language Program of the Harold Greenberg Fund, with contributions from The Movie Network and Viewers Choice Canada, provides reimbursable financial assistance for the development and production of feature films, as well as sponsoring industry workshops, training programs, festivals, special events, and awards. Since its inception in 1986, the Fund has supported nearly 4,000 projects and initiatives, for an investment of over $85 million to date in the Canadian film and television industry. It is proud to support the vision and works of Canadian storytellers. http://www.bellmedia.ca/harold-greenberg-fund/MUSIC AND FILM IN MOTION (MFM), a division of the not-for-profit organization Cultural Industries Ontario North (CION), is dedicated to fostering and promoting the music and film industries in Northern Ontario, as well as providing educational programming to cultivate the advancement of Northern Ontario’s emerging talent. MFM works within the boundaries of Northern Ontario, which includes a population of approximately 760,000 people. MFM strives to connect music and film artists and practitioners with opportunities and resources to advance their projects and their careers. MFM’s ongoing advocacy for Northern Ontario music and film production output is carried out with the primary objective of contributing to the further development of Northern Ontario’s thriving cultural industries. http://www.cionorth.ca/en/NORTHWESTEL COMMUNITY TELEVISION tells northern stories, helps develop northern screen media talent and fosters northern audiences through public-access non-commercial programming on its community television channels in Yellowknife, NT and Whitehorse, YT. www.nwtelcommunitytv.caTHE NWT FILM COMMISSION is a division of the Government of the Northwest Territories’ Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment providing funding, support, and production assistance to local and guest productions in the NWT to build a more vibrant film community. www.nwtfilm.com Advertisement Advertisement Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment “Congratulations to Jen Walden and Jeremy Emerson – Winners of Indiecan20k Northwest Territories with their project DARK SKY; to Tomas Street and Christine Rochon – Winners of Indiecan20k Northern Ontario with their project FUGUE and to Brandon Ludwig, Sheldon Ludwig and Dave Roberts – Winners of Indiecan20k Southern Ontario with their project MY GIRL MOLLY. Looking forward to helping you make your FIRST FEATURE FILMS!!! We’re going to kick ass and take names!Many thanks to The Harold Greenberg Fund, Music and Film in Motion, Northwestel Community TV and NWT Film Commission for all of their support and also to all of the Amazing Sponsors for the kindness and belief in this initiative. I also need to give a HUGE thanks to Warren P. Sonoda and Kirsten Carthew for all of their help, support, knowledge, passion and talent! I am truly forever grateful!” ~ Avi Federgreen. Twitterlast_img read more

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Strange File Aaron Hernandez Jerseys Hot Ticket on Ebay

As a show of how morbid people can be, so-called “fans” are overpaying for jerseys of accused murderer Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end.It does not matter that the NFL pulled all Hernandez jerseys from shelves when he was arrested last week for the shooting death of a friend. And the Patriots are offering replacement jerseys for anyone who wants to exchange one with Hernandez’s name and number.But a strange thing has happened as the league tries to erase the memory of Hernandez. Fans who have listed Hernandez jerseys on eBay and have been able to reap significant profits.For instance, Patriots fan John Lamothe told the Boston Globe he was shocked to get $289 for a Hernandez jersey he put on eBay last week.“I thought about giving it to Goodwill, but I didn’t think anybody would want it,” Lamothe said. “I thought I might get $15 for it.”Lynn L’Heureux, who paid $100 for a Hernandez jersey, has seen the bidding reach $127 so far.“I can’t think of any reason why people would want it,” L’Heureux said. “They might think it will go up in value later on, and maybe it will, but I’m not interested. I just don’t want it in my possession. I want to use the money to buy a jersey that reflects my pride in the Patriots.”So despite the mounds of evidence against Hernandez and the serious prospects that his playing career is over and he could spend the rest of his life in prison,  there just might be sightings of Hernandez jerseys in NFL stadiums. read more

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Catalans protest for separatists release

first_imgPeople hold banners reading `Freedom` and wave Catalan pro-independence `Estelada` flags during a demonstration in Barcelona calling for the release of jailed separatist leaders. Photo: AFPHundreds of thousands of Catalans marched Saturday to demand the release of regional officials jailed for their push for independence from Spain, which has left the country mired in a political crisis.The more than two-hour long protest in Barcelona, the Catalan capital, came a day after the region’s parliament speaker-one of dozens of lawmakers sacked by Madrid last month-was released from jail after posting 150,000 euros ($175,000) bail.The demonstrators gathered on an avenue next to the regional parliament building waving Catalan independence flags and chanting “Freedom!” while some held up banners announcing: “SOS Democracy”.Children in riding helmets climbed castells-the region’s traditional human towers-as others held placards bearing caricatures of some jailed lawmakers.Barcelona municipal police put turnout for the march at some 750,000 people as crowds stretched for more than 15 blocks along the boulevard.The Catalonia crisis has caused concern in the European Union as the bloc deals with Brexit and uncertainty over the fate of the region’s 7.5 million people. More than 2,400 businesses have moved their legal headquarters elsewhere.On Wednesday a general strike called by a pro-independence union caused travel chaos, blocking 60 roads and train lines including Spain’s main highway link to France and the rest of Europe.Since lawmakers in Catalonia-a wealthy region with its own language and distinct culture-declared independence on October 27 following a banned referendum, pro-separatist officials have come under huge pressure from Madrid.The central government has dismissed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, his government and the parliament, suspended the region’s autonomy and called for new elections there on December 21.Barcelona’s popular mayor earlier slammed the actions of Puigdemont’s government.“They’ve provoked tensions and carried out a unilateral independence declaration which the majority do not want,” Ada Colau told a meeting of her party members.“They’ve tricked the population for their own interests.”Eight members of the axed Catalan cabinet are currently detained on charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds.A further six fired officials including parliament speaker Carme Forcadell were granted bail this week on similar charges by Spain’s Supreme Court.Puigdemont is in self-imposed exile in Belgium awaiting a hearing on possible extradition back to Spain after Madrid issued an EU-wide warrant.“The situation is sad, the politicians haven’t done their jobs,” said Robert Muni, who was protesting with his children, although some protesters shouted their support for Puigdemont, “our president”.‘We want freedom’Puigdemont and four ex-ministers say they are in Brussels because they cannot be guaranteed a fair trial back home.“Although some of us are far away from you and others are in prison, we have an opportunity to express loudly and clearly that we want freedom and democracy,” Puigdemont told Catalan television.Saturday’s protest was organised by two pro-independence lobby groups, ANC and Omnium, whose two leaders are also detained.“We don’t know what’s going to happen but we know what we want: the release of political prisoners,” said demonstrator Maria Angels Quintana.Puigdemont has said he travelled to Brussels after declaring independence in order to raise international awareness on the treatment of separatists in Spain.But the European Union, nervous that Catalan independence could stir up separatist tensions in several member states, has repeatedly backed the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy over the crisis.Some participants at the rally betrayed their frustration at the lack of support from Brussels for their cause, holding banners printed in English asking “Europe, where are you?”Rajoy himself will be in Barcelona on Sunday-his first visit to Catalonia since the independence crisis erupted-to show support for his Popular Party candidates in next month’s vote.last_img
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Researchers use new approach to create triangulene molecule

first_img A triangulene molecule, as its name suggests, is a hydrocarbon molecule that is shaped like a triangle—it is also flat because it is just one atom thick—chemists have been trying in vain for years to synthesize such molecules because of their expected unique properties, but have failed due to the instability of unpaired electrons. In this new effort, the researchers took a new approach, using a scanning probe microscope tip to nudge pieces into place and then to tear away the parts that were not needed.To create the molecule, the researches began with a dihydrotriangulene molecule because it did not have the reactive unpaired electrons—they used it as a precursor, laying it on a base (they tried xenon, copper and salt) and then probing it with the electron microscope tip to get the molecules to align in the desired way. Next, they fired an electron beam at the molecule two times to remove the hydrogen, leaving behind a triangulene. The team then created an image of the molecule they had created using the same microscope, which showed its unique triangular shape. They also found they were able to keep the molecule stable as long as they kept it in a vacuum at low temperatures. In testing the molecule, they found that its two unpaired electrons had aligned spins, which was expected. That property was one of the reasons that chemists have been trying to synthesize the molecule—it is believed it could prove very useful in various electronic devices and might even have applications in a quantum computer.The research team plans to continue their work with creating triangulene molecules to learn more about their properties and possible uses. They also hope to find out why their technique worked when a copper bases was used—they thought the two materials would react. © 2017 Phys.org More information: Niko Pavliček et al. Synthesis and characterization of triangulene, Nature Nanotechnology (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2016.305AbstractTriangulene, the smallest triplet-ground-state polybenzenoid (also known as Clar’s hydrocarbon), has been an enigmatic molecule ever since its existence was first hypothesized. Despite containing an even number of carbons (22, in six fused benzene rings), it is not possible to draw Kekulé-style resonant structures for the whole molecule: any attempt results in two unpaired valence electrons. Synthesis and characterization of unsubstituted triangulene has not been achieved because of its extreme reactivity, although the addition of substituents has allowed the stabilization and synthesis of the triangulene core and verification of the triplet ground state via electron paramagnetic resonance measurements. Here we show the on-surface generation of unsubstituted triangulene that consists of six fused benzene rings. The tip of a combined scanning tunnelling and atomic force microscope (STM/AFM) was used to dehydrogenate precursor molecules. STM measurements in combination with density functional theory (DFT) calculations confirmed that triangulene keeps its free-molecule properties on the surface, whereas AFM measurements resolved its planar, threefold symmetric molecular structure. The unique topology of such non-Kekulé hydrocarbons results in open-shell π-conjugated graphene fragments6 that give rise to high-spin ground states, potentially useful in organic spintronic devices. Our generation method renders manifold experiments possible to investigate triangulene and related open-shell fragments at the single-molecule level. Citation: Researchers use new approach to create triangulene molecule (2017, February 14) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-02-approach-triangulene-molecule.html Researchers reveal the structure of individual chemical bonds using specialized imaging techniques Journal information: Nature Nanotechnologycenter_img (Phys.org)—A team of researchers with IBM Research in Switzerland and the University of Warwick in the U.K. has successfully created a triangulene molecule by manipulating a precursor molecule physically using a scanning probe microscope tip. In their paper published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the team describes their approach and what they have learned about the molecule’s properties thus far. Manuel Melle-Franco with the University of Aveiro in Portugal offers a News & Views piece on the work done by the team in the same journal issue. a,b, AFM images of triangulene on Cu (Δz = 1.66 Å, Isp = 2 pA, Vsp = 0.1 V) (a) and Xe (Δz = −0.82 Å, Isp = 1 pA, Vsp = 0.1 V) (b). Credit: (c) Nature Nanotechnology (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2016.305 Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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Book a Vegas package for a chance to win a free trip

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Monday, May 1, 2017 Posted by How does a free trip to the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’ sound to you? Travel agents are invited to book their way to Las Vegas with a new contest launched by WestJet Vacations, WestJet and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.Agents who book any Las Vegas package with WestJet Vacations will be entered to win one of two trips to Las Vegas that includes roundtrip flights for two, a three-night stay at a participating hotel, show tickets, excursions and more.“Travel agents play a vital role to our success and we want to make sure they are rewarded for their hard work in selling and promoting our destination,” said David Han, Senior Account Manager, LVCVA Canada office. “We will continue to invest in travel trade to provide better assets and platforms for them to succeed in the future.”Agents must submit their bookings on trackmylasvegasbookings.com. Agents must then register their bookings using the code CANADA under the LVCVA Tracking Code. Every WestJet Vacations package booked to Las Vegas earns one entry into the contest.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTBooking window runs from May 1-June 30, 2017. Contest excludes residents of Quebec.For more information, go to travelweek.ca/contests.center_img Tags: Las Vegas, WestJet, WestJet Vacations Share Book a Vegas package for a chance to win a free triplast_img read more

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ACV launches EBB for Trafalgar vacations in Europe

first_img Posted by Travelweek Group Tags: Air Canada Vacations, EBB, Trafalgar ACV launches EBB for Trafalgar vacations in Europe << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img MONTREAL — Air Canada Vacations is offering both savings and perks with its new Early Booking Bonus for Trafalgar Guided Vacations in Europe.Available until Nov. 18, the offer includes savings up to $1,500 per couple plus free standard seat selection and an additional $50 optional experience credit voucher when booking an authentic European escape with Trafalgar Guided Vacations.The offer applies for travel between Jan. 1 and Nov. 2, 2019, and is based on economy class service on select packages and departure dates only. New individual bookings must be made with a minimum five-night stay.When booking a Trafalgar Guided Vacation with Air Canada Vacations, clients receive: roundtrip flights, hotel accommodation and select meals; air-conditioned coach equipped with Wi-Fi; the services of Travel Directors and Local Specialists; unique experiences like wine tasting, cooking lessons and walking tours; and Be My Guest dining that includes dining with local families in their homes.For more information go to aircanadavacations.com. Thursday, September 6, 2018 Sharelast_img read more

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Rural Uganda tapping into mobile technology to deepen financial inclusion

first_imgAdvertisement A mobile phone has ceased being merely a communication device and instead become a conduit to creating a cashless eco system world over. In less than a decade, a mobile phone has rapidly evolved into a safe and secure money transfer tool. It is also increasingly being used to conduct more complex transactions like settling utility and expense bills.How has it aided m-commerce? – Advertisement – Take an example of the now popular Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA). Dotted countrywide, these schemes have been instrumental in deepening financial inclusion in the countryside.According to a 2013 FinScope Survey, in rural areas people are more inclined to use informal financial service providers like village saving schemes and mobile money (35%) than the formal services like banks.Since the Ugandan government plans to increase gross national savings from the current 14.5% to 35% of GDP by 2024, these figures will be a welcome relief.The statistics from m-commerce providers like MTN Mobile Money, Airtel Money among others are also promising. The banking sector on the other hand has to constantly innovate so as to meet the ever changing needs of Ugandans. The FinScope Survey on Uganda’s financial sector reveals that the number of Ugandans owning bank accounts has declined since 2009.It would appear that, Ugandans now prefer easily accessible means not only for the purpose of accessing their funds but also for saving in smaller denominations. This is where the Village Savings and Loan Associations and Savings and Credit Co-operative (SACCOs) come in handy.However, these schemes are often riddled with accusations of theft of funds majorly because the methodology of keeping the money is not very clear.‘Who is the most trust-worthy? Who can keep our money well?’ These are some of the challenges these rural folk face.Telecom firms like Airtel Uganda and MTN have identified these as avenues to grow their subscriber numbers as well as widen their revenue streams.The ‘villagers’ on the other hand access a service that provides convenience.Airtel signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Plan Uganda to provide a group collections solution to its Village Savings and Loan Associations in rural Uganda, mainly the eastern part of the country.The mobile operator with support from the Grameen Foundation developed the service that will enable the VSLS’ to keep their group’s cash as mobile money.The Group Collections solution is an innovative solution that makes it possible for a VSLA’s and any other form of group collections associations like Investment Clubs among others to collect money for a common goal.It is not rare to find that most rural folk actually prefer keeping their money in secret places for safe ‘custody.’At the official launch of the Group savings product, Airtel officials said that Savings solution is a mobile solution that will reduce the groups’ reliance on cash and introduce the benefits of mobile technology.The service will incorporate the following; Group accounts, a group wallet to support safe storage and access of group funds as e-value, Mobile money transfers, Group Savings and deposits, Record management through Mini statements, and Mobile banking.The Group Savings product will be linked to a financial institution to allow access to credit. Credit will be dependent on saving history and installments can be paid from the wallet through mobile banking.The VSLA’s Signatories will be trained on how to use the solution to save their collected monies on the Group E-wallet.Once the money is deposited on the group wallet, it can then be stored for a while and the Group may cash out as and when they feel like.The Pin Holders will receive an instant SMS notification confirming the amount deposited and the recipient can withdraw the funds at the nearest mobile money agent if deemed necessary.Savings groups are a viable alternative for the vast number of the rural folk, mainly women unlikely to be served by the ‘brick-and-mortar’ financial institutions. With all the successes and benefits of savings groups and mobile phone technology, combining the two create the potential to improve each other without losing their intrinsic benefits.last_img read more