Ranchi: A special CBI court here on Wednesday sentenced 16 fodder scam convicts to three to four year prison terms in a case relating to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37 crore from the Chaibasa treasury in the 1990s.The court of S N Mishra also slapped varying penalties ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs seven lakh on the convicts in connection with RC 20A/96 case, defence counsel Sanjay Kumar said. RJD president Lalu Prasad is among 44 accused who have been convicted in the instant case in 2013. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoCPrasad is serving prison term here after conviction in cases of multi-crore fodder scam. Those awarded jail term Wednesday included former treasury messenger and technical assistant Lal Mohan Gope, ex-account assistant of the treasury Bharat Narayan Das and ex-assistant accountant of the treasury Sahadeo Prasad, all employees of the Chaibasa treasury when the scam was unearthed, the counsel said. The rest were suppliers, he said. The CBI had filed a supplementary charge sheet against 20 persons as they had not been included in the original list of accused after not getting sanction, the lawyer said. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citationsWhile one person is absconding, three others died during trial, the counsel said. On September 30, 2013, a total 44 accused, including former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad, had been convicted in the same case. Thereafter, Prasad was convicted in three other fodder scam cases, with maximum 14 years sentence he got in one of the cases. He is facing trial in a fifth fodder scam case in Ranchi. The scams surfaced in undivided Bihar in the 1990s.
FAO/Luis TatoFAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva addressing the opening session of the regional conference on Youth Employment in Agriculture, co-organised by the Republic of Rwanda and the African Union on the 20 August, 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda.Mr. Graziano da Silva also encouraged youth to “think beyond farm jobs” and explore employment opportunities across the agri-food chain, such as in food processing, distribution, marketing and retail.This “new kind of rural transformation” means equipping rural areas with basic services such as education, health, electricity, internet access and so on. “These services are themselves another important source for employment, especially for women and young people,” he said. “We need to take action to make agriculture more attractive to young people,” underscored José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), at the Youth Employment in Agriculture Conference in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.“They must perceive agriculture as a remunerative and profitable sector and the dissemination of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in rural areas play an important role in this regard,” he added.Over 60 percent of Africa’s estimated 1.2 billion people are under the age of 25 –mostly living in rural areas.Yet, there is a growing uncertainty over the continent’s preparedness to tap this precious resource, which requires that tens of millions of rural area jobs be created annually for the continent to harness the dividends of its youth.Mr. Graziano da Silva’s remarks came at the opening of the two-day event, which is co-organized by FAO, the Rwandan Government and the African Union (AU) to share knowledge and best practices on agriculture, youth employment, entrepreneurship and ICT innovations to prioritize interventions going forward.Other keynote speakers included Li Yong, Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); Geraldine Mukeshimana, Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources; and Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture.We need to take action to make agriculture more attractive to young people – UN agriculture chiefGrowing population means growing food demandsMr. Graziano da Silva noted that due to continued population growth, rapid urbanization and dietary changes accompanying rising household incomes, Africa’s food demand is projected to grow in the coming years by more than 50 per cent, providing “an invaluable and untapped potential” to address youth unemployment challenges, albeit amid numerous constraints.He pointed out that young people are usually employed on a casual or seasonal basis, with limited access to relevant education and technical training; limited access to finance, information and markets; and low involvement in decision-making processes.“These constraints become a bottleneck that also impede young people to start an agricultural business of their own. As a result, young rural people are migrating,” explained the FAO chief.Meanwhile, the World Bank expects that by 2030, African agribusinesses will create a $1 trillion market.“In the coming years, more and more of the agricultural activities and employment will require digital skills,” he stressed, calling cooperatives “the best way to provide family farmers and young professionals with technical assistance, capacity building, and access to modern technologies.”