Economic turmoil : corona courtesy

The corona effect on the economy in a nutshell.

As the country went into lockdown mode by the end of march, there were hopes that the country would beat the virus in a matter of few weeks. Almost 6 months down the line, we’re yet awaiting the silver lining; with the ever limbing economy, crippled.

Indefinitely blurring, the promise of a better tomorrow. Like a picture by an amateur photographer.

It is difficult times we’re living through, our tales would be recited someday, on how the world lived through a pandemic in the first quarter of the twenty first century.

As always, US leading from the front, with the highest toll of covid casualties. A testament that no superpower is indeed that ‘super’ a power. Uncle Sam bowing to a virus with Communist roots.

India on the third spot on the chart, showing little hope on cutting down the numbers whilst reviving from a stringent lockdown.

Following the trend of lockdowns to curb the novel coronavirus by the end of march, slowed down the pandemic by a few months rather than preventing.

Prevention would have been ideal.

As the end of the day, millions hope that the the worst has passed, with reviving the economy being a priority and curbing the pandemic being the top priority.

The lack of health infrastructure ever apparent. ‘Events being the greatest teachers of fools,’ hoping the future game-plan would be proficient in this aspect.

The sudden surge of covid clusters in certain localities, pushes the authorities to impose further lockdowns, affecting such local economies evidently. Throwing the business owners into a frenzy.

I believe it goes without saying that the worse hit by the lockdown was the daily wage earners and the poorer households. About 50,00,000 people have lost their jobs till date.

The loss of jobs would constrain the purchasing power and consumption for good. Further derailing the economy.

Basic economics I learned in grade 11th taught me that, ‘Production’, ‘Consumption’ and ‘Investment’ constitutes the major economic activities in an economy.

With the former two limited, economy revival any time soon seems like a far fetched dream. Investment fell to the lowest in the last two decades during the past year. With the new highly criticised policy reforms promised by the Union with regards to Investments and education; makes one wonder whether covid is really at the heart of all our problems. Strange.

Don’t get me wrong, ‘Recovery does require reforms.’ Provided it addresses all the socioeconomic factors. Equality and freedom requested by popular demand.

The relief package of ₹20,00,000 crores promised by the Central Government fed the hopeless hope. But closer introspection made clear that such a generous financial aid can do nothing to crank up the economy. The relief sought after, delayed for the time being.

The current trends have shown us that the union does redress grievances; Mostly of industrialists and the people of a certain religion.

As the country is heading into the worst recession post independence, with the ones in power tolerating zero accountability and on the verge of striking down ‘the freedom of expression’. A ‘happily ever after’ seems like a far fetched dream than the reality

The Joys of Volunteering

Volunteering is a voluntary act of an individual of doing some work for the society as community service. It may include different forms of work. Some volunteers are specially trained in a particular field while some offer to help and join hands for a good cause freely. Volunteering has different sectors like medical, disaster management, education and upliftment of community. There are several NGOs and organisations which offer volunteering opportunities.

Photo by Matthias Zomer on Pexels.com

It can help you to make new friends, advance your career, and feel better. Taking some time out of our busy schedules and finding time for volunteering can be difficult for some of us. But you can start small for the sake of trying it out. Volunteering lets you help and reach out to people from different backgrounds and create social change in your own little way. It provides vital help to individuals and gives you a chance to make lives better. Surely it makes people’s lives better but it gives you greater benefits. Give a little time to volunteering and you will get a lot in return!

It helps you feel happier and healthier. Once you start volunteering, you will meet a lot of new people from different communities. Working with underprivileged communities makes us more aware of our surroundings and feel grateful about our own lives. Also, when you start doing something new it gives you a fresh start and brightens your mood. Most of us love doing new things. Volunteering will also help you spend some quality time outside of work. It will bring both fun and fulfillment to your life. It will help you combat better with issues of mental health like depression and anxiety. It will also improve your mood and give you immense joy. Seeing the smile on the face of a child will surely brighten your day.

You will meet a lot of new people. Your fellow volunteers will either be from similar fields as yours, which will definitely be a positive side or they will be from completely different walks of life giving you a chance to know about a lot of new things. If you are a person who struggles with making new friends, it is a great opportunity for you to start new friendships. Once you start working as a team with others, you will share your ideas and share responsibilities for carrying out a task. While working and planning together it is most likely that you will become great friends. This will also make you a more social person and increase your communication skills. Volunteering helps you to network with a lot of people. Especially if your career path values societal issues, it will be really helpful for you to meet important people and make connections.

Lastly it will help you enhance your career prospects. Almost all companies or educational institutions value a volunteering experience. They will be glad to know that you have been a part of something so meaningful. Volunteering increases your chances of getting selected and helps you improve your resume. It will also give you experience of working with a team and make you a more empathetic and responsible person.

Rigged Facebook

Facebook, the most prominent and prevalent social media platform in India, with 346 million active users in India alone. But, Facebook who has previously been accused of meddling with the 2016 US elections, now has been accused of actively working with political parties of Brazil, the U.K, and India, allegedly using troll armies to spread misinformation and extremists ideologies. Under Katie Harbath, a former Republican digital strategist, Facebook helped politicians across the world harness their digital tools to establish an online presence. Narendra Modi, the world’s most-followed leader on Facebook and Instagram, was one of the most famous politicians all thanks to social media. The Bloomberg report that revealed these details also alleged that after Modi’s social media reach grew, his followers began using Facebook and WhatsApp to harass political rivals. WhatsApp, which has approximately 400 million users in India, has been an influential tool in BJP’s election campaign, as admitted by union minister Amit Shah in his 2018 speech. This all came to limelight after on 14th August an investigation made by WSJ revealed that a top public policy executive at Facebook was allegedly ignoring controversial, often communal, content posted on the platform by politicians from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).  WSJ spoke to current and former employees at Facebook and found that the social media platform’s Public Policy Director for India and Central and South Asia, Ankhi Das, was against “applying hate-speech rules” to at least four politicians from the BJP, despite them being “flagged internally for promoting or participating in violence”. These include BJP leaders T. Raja Singh, who made communal statements on Rohingya Muslims and threatened to raze mosques, and legislator Anantkumar Hegde, who accused Muslims of intentionally spreading the novel corona virus as part of a conspiracy so called “Corona Jihad”. Now, this has led to a political beef in the country. According to what anonymous Facebook employees told WSJ, the social media giant showed a “broader pattern of favouritism” towards the BJP, and felt that punishing violations by their politicians “would damage the company’s business prospects in the country”. Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesperson, admitted to WSJ that Das, who is also the public policy director for South and Central Asia, was worried about the political fallout of restricting BJP leader Singh. Facebook employees had flagged Singh’s statements on social media under the “Dangerous Individuals and Organisations” policy, which is meant to ban any content that praises or supports “organized hate”, “mass murder”, “hate crimes”, or “terrorist attacks”.  But the WSJ allegations add weight to the findings of past reports by international and local media. Congress Member of Parliament (MP) Shashi Tharoor, who also heads the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, promised that the committee would look into the allegations made by the report. When the committee called for a probe into the matter, union minister of Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad hit out at Congress through a tweet, calling Gandhi a “loser”. He also brought up an old accusation from 2018, claiming that Congress had colluded with Cambridge Analytica and Facebook to influence the electorate during the 2014 elections. Also, Privilege motion was moved against Rahul Gandhi and Shashi Tharoor alleging that Rahul Gandhi had “surpassed all limits of decency” while Shashi Tharoor is responsible for spreading “Fake News and hatred”. This is the usual blame game that BJP uses to play while facing allegations. In spite of answering the questions directly, BJP uses malicious ways to get around the question and indulge the proponent in trivial tasks. Whereas  Cambridge Analytica’s website declared that the company provided its services during the Bihar election in 2010 to a political party in India. Ovleno Business Intelligence (OBI), Cambridge Analytica’s Indian affiliate, named the BJP, Congress and the Janata Dal (United) of Nitish Kumar as clients. Claims are many but we must be responsible for what we see and how we react to the contents of social media. One should act responsibly and instead of spewing hate in the comment section, one should introspect and try to make judicious decisions. There is no tool that can counter fake news only us, we are the ones who spread fake news and can counter it.

5 Easy Lifestyle Changes That Can Improve Your Health at Any Age

5 Easy Lifestyle Changes That Can Improve Your Health at Any Age

As you get older, it can feel more difficult to adopt new habits or break longstanding old ones—especially when it comes to your health. You tell yourself that you’re too old to take up jogging or that you missed the boat on yoga. There’s often a tendency to stick to what you know, doing the things you’re used to whether they are good for your health or not. But while age can play a factor in your ability to engage in some activities, making healthy lifestyle choices isn’t one of them. In fact, there may not be a better time than right now to start changing your ways. It could even mean adding years to your life.

For example, the researchers at the Johns Hopkins Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis observed the behaviors of more than 6,000 men and women between the ages of 44 and 84 over a period of seven years. In less than a decade, the team found overwhelming evidence that making healthy choices later in life had enormous benefits. Doing things like quitting smoking, following a Mediterranean diet, and getting regular exercise actually decreased an individual’s risk of death during the course of the study by 80 percent, the researchers said. With that motivation in mind, it’s time to cut out the excuses and get to work on these five healthy lifestyle choices you can make at any age. And for more things you can do to improve your health, check out 50 Important Habits Linked to a Longer Life.

1. Get some sleep.

Getting a healthy amount of sleep is essential at every age. That’s because, according to a 2020 research article from the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), sleeping restores and “fortifies virtually every system in the body.” And failure to get consistent and sufficient sleep has been proven to weaken the body’s immune system—and can even make some vaccines less effective, the NSF says. In other words, not exactly a risk you want to take during a pandemic. So, make sure you are getting the recommend seven to nine hours of sleep a night and talk to your doctor if you are having trouble. And for how your ability to rest changes as you age, check out 20 Ways Your Sleep Changes After 40.

2. Be more active.

While physical activity may feel like more of an uphill climb than it used to be in your younger years, it’s highly important that you don’t let your age prevent you from keeping active.

3. Keep your mind sharp.

It’s not only your body you have to keep in good shape, but your brain as well. And just like your body, your mind needs regular workouts. According to Harvard Medical School: “Challenging your brain with mental exercise is believed to activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication among them.”

4. Quit smoking.

When it comes to the dangers of smoking—and the life-saving benefits of quitting—the stats speak for themselves. As soon as 24 hours after you stop smoking, Johns Hopkins doctors say you start to decrease your risk of having a heart attack. What’s more, quitting decreased middle-aged smokers’ risk of dying early by almost 50 percent. And for more helpful heart habits, check out 20 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease This Summer.

5. Eat better.

According to Hillis, one of the best things you can do to help prevent dementia and lower several other health risks is to eat a Mediterranean diet. What does that mean exactly? Load up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and fish, while keeping red meat, sugar, and processed foods to an absolute minimum. And for more helpful information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Joe Biden officially nominated US presidential nominee by Democrats

Democratic Party on Tuesday officially nominated Joe Biden as candidate for US Presidential Elections 2020. Confirming the news, Biden tweeted, “It is the honor of my life to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States of America.”

Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie

Former Vice President Biden appeared on camera after he officially succeeded in garnering enough delegates to be declared the Democratic presidential nominee. “Well, thank you very, very much, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you all. It means the world to me and my family, and I’ll see you on Thursday. Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Biden said in his address to his supporters.

Biden ended the roll call with a total of 3,558 delegates, compared to 1,151 which went in Bernie Sanders’ favour. Notably, Biden and Sanders were the only two candidates nominated on the ballot. During the roll call, delegations from 57 states and territories exercised their franchise to nominate candidates based on the results of the presidential primaries. 

According to the News, this year, the roll call includes delegates, parents, teachers, small business owners, essential workers, activists and elected leaders inside businesses, living rooms and in front of iconic landmarks.

Before the roll call, former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton offered their support for Biden.

“When I ran for president in 1976, Joe Biden was my first and most effective supporter in the Senate. For decades, he has been my loyal and dedicated friend,” Carter said. “Joe has the experience, character, and decency to bring us together and restore America’s greatness. We deserve a person with integrity and judgment, someone who is honest and fair, someone who is committed to what is best for the American people.”