Hunger, malnutrition and stunting

“Close to a billion people – one-eighth of the world’s population – still live in hunger. Each year 2 million children die through malnutrition. This is happening at a time when doctors in Britain are warning of the spread of obesity. We are eating too much while others starve.”
-Jonathan Sacks
Malnutrition is the lack of nutrients in the body necessary to grow and stay healthy. Doctors check for the following when testing for malnutrition:
• a person’s height and weight or body mass index (BMI) to check if he is healthy
• for other underlying diseases that usually occur as a side effect of malnutrition
• blood tests to check for deficit of vitamins and minerals
• physical and medical history to look and instruct the patient to do some tests on that basis
Some of the effects of malnutrition are:
• lower levels of observed energy
• dizziness
• weak immune system which makes it hard for the body to fight off minor injuries or infections
• swollen and bleeding gums
• other dental problems such as tooth decay
• slower than average reaction time
• difficulty in paying attention for extended time periods
• low body weight
• slow physical and mental growth
• muscle weakness
• bloating of stomach
• brittle bones
• problems in various organs
• difficulty memorizing information
“Our foremost priority is the removal of poverty, hunger and malnutrition, disease and illiteracy. All social welfare programmes must be implemented efficiently. Agencies involved in the delivery of services should have a strong sense of duty and work in a transparent, corruption-free, time-bound and accountable manner.”
-Pratibha Patil
The Government can provide loans free of interest to people in dire need. Educational loans should also be made free of interest as it is one of the primary needs of mankind. The Government could also try and spread information about hunger and malnutrition in order to educate the youth of our nation. New schemes could be developed to aid disaster-stricken citizens. India ranked 94 among 107 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) in 2020. According to reports, 14 percent of India’s population is malnourished. Severe rates of stunting and malnutrition still plague our country to this day.
Very often more than not, extremely poor people rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. They face several challenges like drought that do not let crops grow for extended periods of time. Sometimes all their crop may go to waste due to heavy showers of rain or flooding of rivers. Often their crops suffer due to improper usage of fertilizers and pesticides. This occurs since they have no education on how these things work, since the majority of the population suffering from poverty is uneducated. Farmers do not get any benefits while taking loans and they mostly lack the capital to spend in order to buy seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and other farm equipment necessary to feed their crops. Educating people on proper nutrition, a balanced diet, sanitation and hygiene is an important step towards eradicating poverty. Poverty is the root cause of hunger and malnutrition. For communities depending upon natural resources for their livelihood, it is important to identify that they depend on a perishable source. Thus it is important for them to prepare for calamities and to save up on natural resources and use them wisely. Sometimes, families are suddenly struck with crisis. In these situations it is extremely important for humanitarian assistance to be provided to them, so that they do not fall victim to hunger and malnutrition. Hunger and malnutrition also does not let a person work properly which in turn becomes a cause of poverty and ultimately contributes to the same.

Procrastination

“Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.”
― Denis Waitley
Procrastination is the act of deferring or delaying a task or a set of tasks. Regardless of what it is called, it prevents us from concentrating and completing our work. We now know that the world today is conducive to procrastinating and learning how to overcome it is, therefore, one of the most important skills you can learn.
Research has uncovered a particular phenomenon known as “time inconsistency” which tells us why procrastination wins even when we have sincere goals. Time inconsistency alludes the human brain to value immediate rewards much more than long term future rewards. One must remember that although thinking about our future self might bring about solid objectives, only our present self is capable of taking the action necessary in order to fulfil those objectives. This is why humans often fall asleep while thinking about thinking about future improvements, and then wake up the next day finding themselves back into their old routine, without implementing any changes even after so many thoughts.
Examples of procrastination are:
• Browsing social media instead of doing important tasks or work
• Putting off homework assignments until the last date of submission
• Delaying getting started with gym or diet or similar physical exercises to get fit
• Looking at unimportant information instead of relevant information
• Going to work on a project and then instead looking up inspirational material
• Ignoring household chores
• Ignoring regular studies and postponing them for later on

“I’ll think of it tomorrow, at Tara. I can stand it then. Tomorrow, I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.”
― Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind
Procrastination is a major cause of people missing out on quite a number of things they want to do. Sometimes all our opportunities seem to be on our fingertips, but we can’t seem to reach them. It is one of the most important topics in today’s modern era. When we procrastinate, we waste time that could be invested in something meaningful. If this fierce enemy can be overcome, we can accomplish more and in doing so better utilize the potential that life has to offer. It causes depression in millions of people each year. Procrastination is the primary cause of severe psychological disorders in teenagers of today’s age. It is a common trait for people having ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) and OCD(obsessive compulsive disorder).
The easiest way to stop procrastinating is to make it as easy as possible for our present self to start doing our work. One of the most reasons for procrastinating is the fact that we don’t have a clear path about what we want to do. Hence, the way out is to have a clear idea about our path and then get to work. It is also extremely important to realize that we are procrastinating in order to get relief from it.
Children and young people should more often be educated about procrastination. Teachers should be asked to have a talk with their students about this topic in order to optimize their student’s study routines. We should get inspired to put in actual effort into our work, rather than waste time procrastinating about what we are going to do.

The power of advertisements

“There are a lot of great technicians in advertising. And unfortunately, they talk the best game. They know all the rules … but there’s one little rub. They forget that advertising is persuasion, and persuasion is not a science, but an art. Advertising is the art of persuasion.”
– William Bernbach
Advertisements are known to be the spreading of information about a particular brand, product or service in order to engage customers and increase sales. Advertisements have been characterized as the most remarkable, influential, and manipulative instrument that organizations need to control buyers everywhere on the world. It is a type of correspondence that regularly endeavours to convince expected clients to buy or to devour all the more a specific brand of item or administration. Advertisements have had a profound effect especially in today’s day and age. Impacting individuals’ propensities, making bogus requirements, twisting the qualities and needs of our general public with sexism and women’s liberation, publicizing has become a toxic substance snake prepared to chase his prey. In any case, then again, publicizing has had a constructive outcome as an assistance of the economy and society.
Nowadays, it is very hard for a brand or company to spread news and sell their product without advertising. The amount of sales of a product is highly dependent on how much the product is advertised. Brands are using different techniques nowadays to advertise their products. Popular celebrities are often used to advertise their product. New marketing strategies and ideas are being researched every day. Traditionally, advertisements used to be through means such as banners, posters, hoardings, radio or television. With the growth of social media, especially after the internet boom in India, a large amount of advertisements is online nowadays. Most popular social media stars use their social media handles to promote a particular product. This lets them earn vast amounts of revenue from these brands. Brands also try to conduct more and more advertisements through social media since they gain a lot through such means. The main reason to use famous people for such advertisements is that they have a much higher power to convince in comparison to an unknown brand advertising their product, claiming it to be very good. Celebrities have the power to transform their image into the product that they are advertising. It is almost as though they share their personality with the product and with this personality comes the trust of the buyers. However, the selection of a correct person to endorse a brand is prudent. This selection must be done carefully in order to achieve maximum results.

“There is a great deal of advertising that is much better than the product. When that happens, all that the good advertising will do is put you out of business faster.”
– Jerry Della Femina

Fake advertisement is a malpractice and should be done away with. Some examples of such are thing such has hidden fees, changing standard units of measurement to hide downsizing, incorporation of fillers in food and consistently comparing the product to only the competitors that it can beat. Some other example of such fake advertisement is the use of artificial colours to change appearance of food, advertising a high number of vitamins even though it is way under the Dietary Allowance, bait and switch of a discounted product with a product costing far more and permanent acceptance of a product until the consumer manually opts out of accepting it. Unfortunately, such malpractices are very common in today’s world. Harsh penalties are incurred by companies performing such false advertisements and several millions of dollars are lost in lawsuits. The government should be on the lookout for such malpractices and strict actions should be instantly taken to protect the common man.

Poverty and social life

“Child labor and poverty are inevitably bound together and if you continue to use the labor of children as the treatment for the social disease of poverty, you will have both poverty and child labor to the end of time.”
— Grace Abbott, social worker
Poverty is normally characterized as having less than than 60% of the median household income. Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime. It is defined as the inadequate supply of items that are essential to live a healthy and comfortable life. In western developed countries some people are poor not because they lack food, clothing or shelter but because the person may not have car,tv,computer etc. But in India, poor people means those who do not get two square meals a day, they sleep on others pavements and live bare bodied and bare footed. In India, poverty is primarily caused by unequal distribution of wealth. Furthermore unemployment and an increase in urban population is drastically increasing the rate of the country’s population. To aggravate the condition, the jobs that these individuals work pay woefully low wages. This is because these individuals do not possess the required qualifications and are not employable. Also, corruption is one of the biggest factors contributing to poverty followed by illiteracy. Poverty in India is from the ancient times when people who were poor weren’t allowed to enter religious places. The main causes of poverty are unemployment, lack of education, poor utilization of resources, corruption and poor government policy. Poverty is a man-made issue and can be removed by efforts from fellow human beings. Poverty in India can be reduced by providing amenities such as education, family planning etc.
India is currently known as one of the most fastest developing countries on the planet, with around 18 Indians getting past the poverty line according to the World Poverty Clock. As indicated by Oxfam, India’s top 1% of the populace presently holds 93% of the abundance, while 670 million residents, containing the country’s most unfortunate half, saw their abundance fall by 60%. The National Council of Applied Economic Research assessed that 48% of the Indian families procure more than ₹90,000 yearly. As indicated by NCAER, in 2009, of the 222 million families in India, the totally helpless families represented just 15.6% of them or around 35 million (around 200 million Indians). An additional of 80 million families were said to have pay levels of around ₹45,000 to ₹90,000 each year. These numbers are like World Bank assessments of the “underneath the-neediness line” families that may add up to around 100 million. Another reason is the lack of education. Education is a major reason for joblessness which contributes to poverty. Millions of people are jobless right now in India.
“When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.”
— Mother Teresa, Roman Catholic nun
One of the root causes of poverty is marginalization. When a country or a group of people are trying to come out of poverty, all classes should have a say in how things are going to work. Diseases and poor climatic conditions may also contribute to poverty since they may prevent people from earning money. Also,

The government could put up banners and posters. Hoardings could be put up across streets. The national television is an excellent place to advertise such things. This would bring about knowledge and information to the youth of India. The common man would definitely benefit from the circulation of such information. This could be supplemented by free education schemes by the government. The poor and needy could be offered education free of cost so as to support them in their educational endeavours. Overall, poverty is not a problem that can be resolved overnight. However, implanting these solutions over a long tenure may help alleviating this issue.

U.S. criticizes brutal killing of people by security forces in Myanmar

The United States has criticized the brutal killing of people by security forces in Myanmar. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that Washington is horrified by yesterday’s deaths in Myanmar. He said the killings, reportedly of more than 100 people, show that the junta will sacrifice the lives of the people to serve the few. He said the courageous people of Myanmar reject the military’s reign of terror.
 
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he is deeply shocked. 
 
 The lethal crackdown against civilians came as protesters defied warnings and took to the streets in towns and cities. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) monitoring group confirmed at least 91 deaths while local media put the figure higher.
 
The latest violence took the number killed in the suppression of protests in Myanmar since the 1 February coup to more than 400.

India crosses milestone of administering over 6 cr COVID19 Vaccine doses

India has crossed the milestone of administering over 6 crore COVID-19 Vaccine doses. Continuing with its largest vaccination drive in the world, the nation administered over 15 lakh doses yesterday till late evening. India is one of the fastest countries in the world to achieve the 6 crore mark in a short span of only 71 days. The nation commenced the largest vaccination drive in the world on 16th January this year with vaccination of healthcare workers.

Vaccination of front line workers began from 2nd February whereas the most recent phase began from 1st of this month encompassing vaccination of everyone aged above 60 years and above 45 years with specified co-morbidities. The Health Ministry has informed that in just 27 days of the current phase nearly 2 crore 73 lakh senior citizens above 60 years and over 64 lakh people above 45 years with co-morbidities have been administered the first shot of the COVID-19 Vaccine. 

Negative RT-PCR report must to enter Gujarat from April 1

Gujarat government has made a negative RT-PCR report must to enter the state from April 1. The test report should not be older than 72 hours. The decision was taken in view of a surge in Covid-19 cases in recent time. AIR correspondent reports that the state recorded 2,276 cases yesterday. This is the highest daily count so far. A total of 1,534 people were discharged from hospitals during the day.

The number of active cases in the state has risen to 10,871. At 760, Surat recorded the highest number of new cases in the state yesterday, followed by Ahmedabad with 612 cases, Vododara with 326 and Rajkot with 172 cases., The new wave of Covid 19 in the state has also hit two of the country’s premier educational institutions such as IIM Ahmedabad and IIT Gandhinagar. According to official sources, the IIM Ahmedabad currently has 40 active cases of Covid 19, while IIT-G has 25 active cases. Meanwhile, more than 2 lakhs 98 thousand people were vaccinated in the state during the day. 

Two terrorists killed in encounter in J&K’s Shopian

In Jammu and Kashmir, two terrorists were killed in an encounter with security forces at Wangam area of Shopian district yesterday evening. Police said a joint team of security forces launched a cordon and search operation (CASO) in Wangam  following the intelligence inputs about the presence of terrorists in the village. As the joint team approached towards the suspected spot, the terrorists fired upon them and in retaliation, two terrorists were gunned down. The identity of the slain terrorists is being ascertained. Arms and ammunition have also been recovered from their possession.
 
One Army soldier also attained martyrdom in the encounter while another injured soldier was evacuated to Army’s 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar.

West Bengal records over 82 percent voter turnout; Assam over 77 percent in 1st phase of assembly polls

West Bengal has recorded more than 82 percent voter turnout and Assam registered over 77 percent polling in the first phase of assembly elections.

The voting was held in forty-seven constituencies across twelve districts of Assam and for 30 constituencies across 5 districts in West Bengal.

The Election Commission has said, the first phase of Assembly Elections in the two states was conducted successfully yesterday across 21 thousand 825 Polling Stations spread over 77 Assembly Constituencies.

In Assam, the fate of 264 candidates has been sealed in the first of the three-phase elections. Among the prominent candidates in this phase include, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal from Majuli, State Congress President Ripun Bora from Gohpur and Asom Gana Parishad President Atul Bora from Boka khat.

In West Bengal, barring a few stray incidents, polling was by and large peaceful. State Chief Electoral Officer Ariz Aftab said, 10 persons were arrested in three separate incidents yesterday.

191 candidates including 21 women were in the fray during the initial phase.

The state is witnessing eight-phase elections this time.

Webcasting arrangements were put in place for 5 thousand 392 Polling Stations in West Bengal and 5 thousand 39 Polling Stations in Assam. The Poll Body said, all the Polling Stations were directed to follow COVID-19 Safety protocols. A total of 167 cases of Model Code of Conduct violations were reported through the cVIGIL app from West Bengal out of which 111 were disposed off till 4.30 pm yesterday. Similarly 582 cases were reported from Assam with 423 disposed till 4.30 pm.

India, Bangladesh say, partnership between two countries evolved as a model for bilateral relations for entire region

India and Bangladesh have said that the partnership between the two countries has evolved as a model for bilateral relations for the entire region. A joint statement, issued after the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Shiekh Hasina in Dhaka, said that Mr Modi’s visit symbolised the partnership of half-a-century between the two countries. The statement said, this partnership has strengthened, matured and evolved as a model for bilateral relations for the entire region.

The talks between the two leaders were marked by great warmth and cordiality. The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the excellent state of bilateral relations, based on deep historical and fraternal ties, which reflect an all-encompassing bilateral partnership based on equality, trust and understanding. Recognizing that terrorism remains a threat to global peace and security, both sides reiterated their strong commitment to eliminating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

India and Bangladesh yesterday signed MoUs in key sectors including trade and technology to foster bilateral ties after talks between the two leaders.

Mr Modi and Ms Hasina virtually inaugurated several projects during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Bangladesh.
The two leaders unveiled the foundation stone for the construction of a memorial at Ashuganj honoring the martyrs of Indian armed forces in the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh.

Prime Minister Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart jointly inaugurated a new passenger train, ‘Mitali Express’, between Dhaka and New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. The train will run between Dhaka Cantonment and New Jalpaiguri via Chilahati, a border railway station in Bangladesh.

The train will run from New Jalpaiguri to Dhaka Cantonment on Sunday and Wednesday and Dhaka Cantonment to New Jalpaiguri on Monday and Thursday. It is expected to give a boost to tourism in both the countries.

This is the third passenger train after Maitree Express (Dhaka-Kolkata) and Bandhan Express (Khulna-Kolkata) running between the two neighbouring countries.

Briefing the media about Prime Minister Modi’s Bangladesh visit, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said, the service will start when normalcy is restored. Both countries had suspended railway services after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.

Mr Shringla said, the two countries agreed to start a new era of cooperation in the Civil nuclear and space sectors. The Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone for infrastructure development for power evacuation facilities from the Rooppur Nuclear power plant.

The Foreign Secretary informed that India also gifted 109 life support ambulances to Bangladesh and also Covid-19 vaccine doses.

Three border haats were also opened along the India-Bangladesh border.

Earlier, on the concluding day of his two-day visit to Bangladesh yesterday, the Prime Minister visited places of historical importance and temples in Bangladesh. Addressing the Matua community at Orakandi, Mr Modi said, both India and Bangladesh want to see stability, love, and peace in the world instead of instability, terror, and unrest.

Mr Modi offered prayers at the centuries-old Jeshoreshwari Kali temple at Ishwaripur village in Shatkhira district of Bangladesh yesterday.
This was Prime Minister Modi’s first visit to a foreign country after the outbreak of COVID-19. The visit coincided with epochal events – celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of the Independence of Bangladesh, the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Bangladesh. 

PM Modi to share his thoughts in Mann Ki Baat today

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will share his thoughts with the people in the country and abroad in Mann Ki Baat programme on All India Radio at 11 AM today. It will be the 75th episode of the monthly radio programme.

The programme will be broadcast on the entire network of AIR and Doordarshan and also on AIR News website www.newsonair.com and newsonair Mobile App. It will also be streamed live on the YouTube channels of AIR, DD News, PMO and Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

AIR will broadcast the programme in regional languages immediately after the Hindi broadcast. The regional language versions will be repeated at eight in the evening.

Materialism

The world says: “You have needs — satisfy them. You have as much right as the rich and the mighty. Don’t hesitate to satisfy your needs; indeed, expand your needs and demand more.” This is the worldly doctrine of today. And they believe that this is freedom. The result for the rich is isolation and suicide, for the poor, envy and murder.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
Materialism is the giving of higher value to material things instead of intellectual or spiritual things. Someone who is not materialistic is described to be “not materialistic” or “non-materialistic”. Such people do not think about acquiring materials just to gain social acceptance. Globalization is said to be the main cause of materialism in the modern era.
A major example of materialism is money. In today’s world, it is the prime cause of rifts in relationships. On a recent survey, it was observed that one in every 5 couples are a victim of materialism. These couples were very often observed to have a highly unstable relationship. Such couples mostly pay more attention to materialistic things instead of paying attention to nurturing their relationship. Materialistic people never have happiness since they are always concerned with what they do not have instead of what they have. Material possessions mostly include clothes, furnitures, accessories or cars. Most of today’s younger generation will buy clothes and overpay for them, just for the brand name, instead of the looks or comfort that it offers. Similar factors are present in the corporal world. Living in a richer neighbourhood, travelling to beautiful locations on holidays, enrolling into certain schools, colleges or clubs all come under the banner of material possession. Wealth is considered an important possession in the modern societies. Hence we often associate a person possessing a material thing with the fact that he must be wealthy. The human brain often craves for acceptance and love from their fellow creatures. This leads them to try to gain material possessions, since they believe that having that will grant them acceptance and love.
“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”
― John Lennon
Materialism can negatively effect a person, by contributing to depression and anxiety and thus be a cause of sorrow for them. Since there is literally no end to obtaining material things, it is a very dangerous trait for an individual to possess.
Although the root cause of materialism is unknown, it may just be that humans are inherently jealous creatures. Be it material possessions, relationships or other social constructs. They may be thinking that what they do not have is always better than what they do. Another cause may be the fact that it is easier to think about what we do not have instead of thinking about what we already have. Acquiring what we do not have by setting our sights on it may feel like more “progress”. Some studies think that the urge to possess material things may be an evolved form of hoarding. Hoarding used to be a necessary skill to survive in the previous ages. When an unhealthy perception of what is necessary combines with the habit of hoarding, it may give rise to materialism. The media glorifies the usage of name brands and forces us to make a connection between their product and happiness. Even major blockbusters and tv shows promote such behaviour. This leaves a lasting impression on the human mind. Most of the time, it isn’t possible to avoid their tactics, even while being aware of what they are doing.

The government could introduce various programmes to educate young people upon the evils of materialism. Banners and hoardings could be put up across streets. The national television is a great place to advertise such things. Raising awareness is very important in order to eradicate such social evils.

Farm Laws 2020: Consequences and Implications

What are these laws?

The farm bills 2020 were combination of three farm bills that were brought by the central government as Ordinances in the early half 2020 with an aim of improving the dilapidated condition of the agriculture industry.

These were later passed by the Parliament of the country (which remains another contentious issue) and became a law by the assent of the President towards the end of the 2020 and are being protested against at large.

The three bills and the provisions are as follows:

  1. Essential Commodities Amendment Bill 2020

Provisions

This Bill states that there will be no regulations imposed on the stock limits until there is either 100% increase in the price of horticulture produce or 50% increase in the retail price of nonperishable agricultural items.

Aims

It is aimed at maximizing the number of cold store facilities and silos by involving the private players to store essential food commodities in the facilities available with them since the government alone cannot take care of the huge produce across the country in the limited spaces available.

Disadvantages and their feared consequences and implications

The biggest issue that is associated with the Bill is that there is a possibility hoarding by the large buyers thereby leading to an artificial scarcity and thus resulting in inflation (which any nation can ill afford).

  • The Farmers’ Produce, Trade and Commerce Bill 2020

Provisions

This is the most elaborate Bill amongst the three Bills that were tabled, it has provisions regarding the setting up of an electronic market, the contact farming that can be done only between a farmer and a sponsor, the methods of redressal, the setting up of a parallel market to the APMC markets independent of state interference and taxation, interstate trade and removal of all barriers and setting up of an “Price Information and Market Intelligence System”.

Aims

The aim of bringing this to the floor of the House was to increase competitiveness, removal of the middle men, shortening of the supply chains and proving the farmers with an alternative market structure which is tax free to help them sell and get better prices.

Disadvantages and their feared consequences and implications

The farmers and the workers of the APMC system fear that since a parallel market will be created with better benefits; their market may crash in a few years leaving the stakeholders at the mercy of the big corporate houses who will later exploit them by being the price makers, the natural death of APMC markets will not be responsibility of any government thereby rendering the people involved jobless, the state revenue will be majorly hit since the new market structure will not give them revenue as the provision of the tax has been ruled out( already the GST system has hit the state revenues), the small farmers will be still forced to sell at the Mandis because they do not have the capacity and finance to do interstate trade hence only the big farmers stand to benefit from this system.

  • Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services 2020

Provisions

This Bill elaborately explains the provision of the contact farming, between whom can it be done, the terms of trade to be mentioned, the methods of redressal, etc.

Disadvantages and their feared consequences and implications

The most controversial provision is regarding the redressal where no civil court will have a say in the settling of the disputes between the parties involved in the contact farming. The settlement has a three-tier set up where first the Conciliation Board, then the Sub Divisional Authority and then the Collector will settle the disputes if none of the three work out only a Joint Secretary of the Government of India will be then able to have a final verdict. The farmers fear that the bureaucratic structure may not listen to them as they have less bargaining power, etc. The small traders will also risk themselves when entering into the contract as they will have to comply with all the rules and will be slapped with heavier penalties if they are at fault.

Advantages of the laws

The advantages are where the farmers cannot sign the contracts between themselves saving the small peasants working on the lands of big landlords from being exploited, in any circumstance the farmers’ land cannot be leased out to the sponsor if the farmer fails to fulfil the terms of the contract and is unable to pay the punishment fee.

Conclusion

In conclusion if we look at the larger picture then the major stakeholders like small and marginal farmers, the states, the small traders all stand to lose out in this process making this law non inclusive. The ills of the existing system of agriculture can be done away simply by making no changes in the familiar existing structure of the Mandis and setting up of a parallel market instead. The foremost step that the government should have taken was to change the structure such as facilitate irrigation, stop the overuse of groundwater for crops like paddy in water scarce areas of Punjab and Haryana, stop the burning of stalks by introducing scientific methods of clearing them to make the soil productive and fertile in natural ways, set up agricultural banks to facilitate the credit and set up agri schools for farmers to learn to increase the productivity and the capacity of production, implement the existing laws properly in the states(Bihar and Madhya Pradesh being some of the many) where the APMCs do not function and the contract farming takes place in order to set a good precedent which can eradicate the fears regarding the laws and the consequences and implications of them.

Obesity and social life

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Body shaming is referred to as the act of humiliating someone by making unsolicited rude remarks on their bodily appearance. Ideal body shapes for genders have existed throughout the ages, with one coming back in vogue only to result in the others slowly becoming unpopular. While this is uplifting to people of some body type, it is demeaning to the people on the other side of the spectrum. It almost appears as though one cannot be lauded without the other being demeaned. One can even body shame themselves by comparing their body to another person. Obese people in general generally have a worse social life than the normal person due to them being much more prone to being bullied, humiliated or ostracised. Due to these factors, in turn, they are also most likely to engage in similar bullying behaviour. Obesity is generally the act of having excess fat in the body. The main causes of obesity are as follows:
• Excessive calorie intake.
• Poor diet containing high quantities of junk of processed food, eating larger quantities, drinking high quantities of alcohol or fizzy drinks, or eating to feel better from low self-esteem or depression.
• Lack of periodic physical exercise doesn’t allow the body to burn any fat.
• Some people are just genetically more prone to gain weight – this is uncommon but not rare. However, obesity is most likely due to environmental factors and poor eating habits picked up as a child.
• Medical reasons such as an underlying disease such as hypothyroidism or cushing’s syndrome.
• Some medicines taken to cure other diseases such as corticosteroids, epilepsy and diabetes may contribute to weight gain. This includes antidepressants and medicines for schizophrenia.

The use of phrases like “you should put more meat on your bones” or “you should start a better eating routine” are both belittling and still used widely throughout the world. People who fall outside social standards of body proportions face criticism regularly. They’re often called “brave” for getting a gym membership, while a person could work out for a multitude of reasons other than losing body fat, similar to how some people may not be able to work out due to a multitude of reasons. Clothes are often used as objects of criticism for such people. The failure to realise that gain or loss in body fat may come from various factors such as physical or mental health conditions is also one of the reasons why people choose to pass remarks on another’s body.

Body shaming has been attributed as the key contributing factor to several disorders like anxiety, depression and anorexia. Children who grow up looking at photo shopped celebrities on newspapers and magazines try to resemble them and believe them to be perfect, when in reality their body is completely fine. These fake pictures create mostly unachievable standards for teenagers and thus are a cause of degradation of mental health over time.

Educational disparity

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever” – Mahatma Gandhi
Educational disparity refers to the act of unequal distribution of academic resources among people. This can be through things like limitation in funding of government educational bodies, lack of skilled teachers and shortage of books and other technological means that aid education. It is one of the most important problems plaguing developing third world countries such as India. The education quality of a state may vary even when moving from city to city. Good education is a necessary thing in modern times in order to make it get a job or become successful. Schools containing a large number of minority students often have fewer and lower quality books, bigger class sizes, no labs, inexperienced teachers and less access to better learning materials overall. Thus students with a high potential but no money are unable to surpass the well-off. Inequalities among such students include:
• Regional inequality
• Inequality on the basis of gender
• Caste based inequality
• Household income
Many students in our country still lack a proper internet connection even in areas outside villages. This is a major drawback, due to most of education shifting online nowadays, especially due to the worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Vast amounts of free educative material is available online for free, but cannot be accessed by most children due to the lack of an internet connection. Students coming from a wealthier background often do better in their studies. Although it is not impossible for a child from a poorer economic background to match up with him, it is quite a commendable job and for many, it is often not possible. In many rural areas, little or no schools exist which does not even give children the option to get educated. In metropolitian cities, education comes very costly and it isn’t possible for all parents to send their children to an expensive private school. Government schools still lack the guidance and infrastructure that is most likely present in their private counterparts. Most children in such schools have no access to labs and thus are never exposed to the practical side of education. Even in these modern times, we are unable to see ourselves under the lead of a woman. Girls are often denied education and are thought to be more appropriate to perform household chores. Men are expected to be better educated in comparison to women. Backdated mindsets and thoughts are the root cause of such problems. Reservations of seats in educational institutions have recently increased leading to the drop in the number of seats for meritorious children. There still exists a serious gap in education between the more privileged and the under privileged sections of the society.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” – Benjamin Franklin
The Government could teach young parents about the necessity of education and explain to them why they should educate their child instead of putting them to work. More encouragement can be given to children to study by providing awards to exceptionally brilliant students, even from a small age. Banners and posters could be put up and made attractive to attract people’s attention to the importance of quality education. The anti Ragging helpline is 18001805522 and the helpline for the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is 1800117002.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act engraves the importance of free education (that the child will not have discontinue his education due to lack of funds) and compulsory education (that the Government are liable to pay the charges for him to complete his education). The Government is now encouraging students towards higher education by offering various grants and scholarships to meritorious students. An increasing number of Government educational bodies has been observed in the last few decades. The Government is also now carefully monitoring the educational qualifications of teachers and emphasizing on quality education.
In recent times, there has been a disproportionate amount of rise in private school enrolment. A 2020 news article from the Hindustan times narrated that the students from the richest 20% of the society are 17 times more likely to be studying law from the poorest 20%. A huge percentage of India still craves English medium education, the lack of which is apparent in most cities and towns. In a 2011 Census, it was discovered that 73% of the Indian population was literate, out of which 81% were males and 65% were females.
The absence of constistent standards of education among educational bodies and the high cost of education are huge contributing factors to educational disparity. Without quality education, it is almost impossible for most people to become successful. This in turn makes them unable to provide their children with education, and this continues in a vicious cycle.

The crisis in Madagascar: Humanitarian, food and climate change

The crisis that has now been unfolded in terms of rising food crisis has been a result of years of negligence and the apathy that the area has received.

The southern Madagascar has seen severe droughts from the past three years but recently it has changes into famine amidst the pandemic situation.

According to Africanews the civilian population of the area have been feeding themselves with cactus fruit , a staple fruit of the region, wild potato and now due to three years of no rain stopped bearing fruit and in this situation of crisis the people have started to fill their bellies with white clay and tamarind.

The locals say that they have restored to this measure because the acidity of the tamarind is balanced by the white clay and that it helps fill their bellies.

The report by the World Food  Programme suggests that not only the southern states have had to face this crisis but soon the other states will be facing the crisis. The  WFP has been tackling the situation but the situation is far from good and they say that it will be now impossible to sustain life their with the limited amount of resources.

Humanitarian issue

Madagascar has been facing this issue for quite some time now but the region has been met with apathy by the world at large. The major help has been coming from the NGOs where the rich countries have neglected the area and the crisis it is facing. The WFP reports that the district of Ampanihy, around 80% of the livestock has been lost and the people have very low per capita income and most are unemployed.

This leaves with people having no choice but resorting to measures such as looting, stealing the cattle and robbing on to each other: the situation is anarchic. People have been fighting for survival and the biggest stakeholders in the process the children have lost the most.

Food and Health

Surviving on white clay and tamarind and also on non-nutritious food for several weeks, or months at stretch have stunted the growth of the children in the area. The white clay when consumed at large has resulted in “swollen bellies” in the children and have resulted in numerous deaths.

The locals have been unable to provide their children with the bare minimum requirement of food leading them to witness the deaths in front of their eyes but sometimes when they return fetching food or water they find the dead bodies of their children: this has led them into trauma and has devasted them emotionally.

Climate Change

Climate change has been one of the main reasons behind the arid climate of the region and this type of droughts is not uncommon to the area but a stretch of three years of prolonged drought is really for the first time that the region has experienced. One of the reasons behind the aridity is the effect of El Nino winds.

Much of the island was once covered with evergreen and deciduous forest, but only the Eastern parts is scantly populated with forest cover.

The Guardian.com reports that the plateau suffers seriously from erosion. The forest has been cut in order to clear rice fields, to obtain fuel and building materials, and to export valuable timber such as ebony, rosewood, and sandalwood.

Sources : Africanews and Guardian.com

Drug and alcohol abuse

“An over-indulgence of anything, even something as pure as water, can intoxicate.” – Criss Jami, Venus in Arms

Drugs often alter the way our mind perceives reality. Substance abuse is generally attributed to improper or excessive use of alcohol, medicine or other substances (legal or illegal). Drugs particularly affect an individual’s ability to perform usual actions by delaying them. Teens commonly take drugs due to peer pressure and eventually get addicted. If left untreated, it can result in a myriad of complex problems which may affect an individual’s life down the road. Some common examples of drug abuse are tobacco (nicotine), marijuana, painkillers, cocaine, heroin, benzodiazepines, stimulants, inhalants and sedatives. A few indications of ongoing substance abuse are:
• Sudden lack of money
• Disturbance in sleeping patterns
• Lack of common sense or understanding
• Secrecy about personal life
• Not talking to friends
• Sudden mood swings
• Lapses in memory
• Change in body weight and facial appearance
• Poor eating habits
• Negligence of personal hygiene

Although the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse vary, there are a few common ones which happen to most people. Among them are increased diabetes-related issues, sexual problems, birth defects, loss of bone density, loss in vision, weaker immune system and a higher than average risk of cancer. Early exposure to drugs or alcohol is generally attributed to poor outcomes in adulthood. However there exist some people whose bodies are much more susceptible to get addicted to drugs or alcohol than others. Often people may fall into bad company, which may induce them into taking drugs. Pre-existing mental health issues also contribute to addiction. Troubles in personal life can be a major cause of a person taking drugs. Excessive drug or alcohol abuse can stem from a toxic or broken relationship and this can turn into abuse in the long run. It is very important to keep a check on such habits during troubled times. Children who have exposed to any of their parents or loved ones being under the influence are far more likely to get addicted than the normal teenager. Things seen during childhood often leave a lasting mark in their brain.

The most widely used drugs in India include alcohol, cannabis, opium and heroin. Buprenorphine, propoxyphene and heroin rank the highest in the list of injected drugs. 62.5 million people in India use alcohol, 8.75 million use cannabis, 2 million use opiates while 0.6 million use sedatives or hypnotics. Around 26% of these people require urgent help. Most drugs are illegal and likely will leave the person with a criminal record. India’s Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act) was passed in 1985 and was underwent amendments in 1989, 2001 and lastly in 2014. The NDPS Act offers strict punishments to people for drug trafficking. In order to aid the NDPS Act, India released the Prevention of Illicit Trafficking act in 1988. This act contains provisions related to preventive detention of anyone who is associated to or performs drug trafficking. Such drugs are only allowed to be used under scientific purposes. Some of India’s drug law enforcement agencies include the Narcotics Control Division, Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN), The Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) as well as other agencies like the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation, Customs Commission and the Border Security Force.


“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have the strength.” – Napoléon Bonaparte

Resources to prevent and diagnose substance abuse exist in order to help people in need. The first priority of such an addicted person should be to talk to a doctor. Other options include going to a rehab facility or participating in local support groups. The Indian Government currently has no national or local system of monitoring drug misuse. The Government could put up banners and posters to spread awareness about drug abuse. Advertisements on television and radio channels could be put up to gain a much higher reach. Schools and colleges may include programmes to educate young minds about the horrors of alcohol and drug usage. The national toll free drug de-addiction helpline is 1800-11-0031.


Reasons as to why addiction occurs are still undergoing research. Among the most commonly proved reasons is the release of a chemical substance in the brain called dopamine. This element is commonly released by the brain during occurrence of pleasure. However, the artificial induction of dopamine release far out shadows the natural release of dopamine in the brain. Thus individuals try to derive pleasure from the drug instead of other natural social activities. People who are addicted may need the drug to feel normal. Their body often feels sick and unwell whenever they cannot take the drug.


Alcohol and drug abuse can be prevented if the Government and today’s youth should work for the betterment of the society. Education should be the primary step which would lead us to such goals. Together we can hope to dream of a better tomorrow.

Fadnavis to meet Maharashtra governor today over the Deshmukh issue.

The BJP leader submitted a memorandum to governor Bhagat Singh koshyari in which he requested a report regarding current situation in the state to be submitted to the President. The Maharashtra Cabinet holded a meeting on Wednesday morning to discuss the Deshmukh issue.

After the meeting, Fadnavis said that the governor should ask the chief minister what action has been taken on the issue of extortion and transfer racket. “CM Uddhav Thackeray has maintained silence on the entire political crisis. We have requested Governor to make him speak and seek a report from him,” said the former chief minister.

The BJP has been trying to attack the three-party ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance over the allegations against state home minister Anil Deshmukh, demanding his resignation. The NCP leader has been accused of corruption by Param Bir Singh, an IPS officer who was transferred as Mumbai police commissioner during the investigation into security threat case against billionaire Mukesh Ambani.

Param Bir Singh said in a letter to CM Uddhav Thackeray that Deshmukh provided Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze, arrested in the Amabni Bomb scare case, a target to extort Rs 100 crore from various establishments of Mumbai. Singh has been able to move the Supreme Court against his transfer and to seek a CBI enquiry against Deshmukh.

The NCP, part of MVA, has also backed the minister and their actions, ruling out his resignation. NCP chief Sharad Pawar who was the head of stitching three -party alliance of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress – acting as the chief crisis manager, held a press conference and multi party meeting to discuss the issue. He told reporters on Monday that Deshmukh was recuperating from Covid-19 during the period Param Bir Singh has claimed that Deshmukh was indulged in “extortion activities” through police officers.

But Fadnavis took a stand against the senior politician from Maharashtra over the statement. “Deshmukh was in home quarantine from February 15-27 but met officers and was not in isolation. I feel Pawar Sahab was not briefed properly yesterday,” the BJP leader said.

Fadnavis claimed the Maha Vikas Agadi (MVA) government in the state did not act even on a state intelligence department report containing audio intercepts of “large scale corruption” in police transfers and postings, and said he would seek a probe by the CBI.

The BJP leader met the Union home secretary in Delhi on Tuesday and submitted all the evidence regarding the issue so that they can verify all the documents. “The Union home secretary told me that they will verify document and evidence submitted and report will be sent to the Central government, which will take appropriate action,” Fadnavis told reporters after the meeting.

However, Shiv Sena Leader Sanjay Raut clearly declined that there is nothing serious in the documents which was given to the home secretary by Fadnavis. “The Government will not come under threat with it,” he added.

Meanwhile, amid the protest for his resignation, Deshmukh met Thackeray at the latter’s residence ‘Varsha’ in Mumbai on Tuesday.

Cyberbullying

“Cyber bullies can hide behind a mask of anonymity online and do not need direct physical access to their victims to do unimaginable harm.” – Anna Maria Chavez

Cyberbullying is known as the act of using laptops, mobile phones, computers or other digital technology in order to anger, shame or hurt others. It is quite a prevalent topic in today’s day and age. This form of bullying is known to be quite different than the other “traditional” forms of bullying. Traditional bullying includes bullying which is mostly physical or verbal within close proximity of the victim. Cyberbullying has much harsher levels of harassment due to anonymity offered by the internet. Thus the bullies can continue without any fear of reciprocation. While traditional bullying occurs only when the victim is in close proximity with the bully, cyberbullying can happen anytime, anywhere. Online privacy is quite a rare thing these days. This can cause the victim much more grief since he is being bullied in public. There is a popular saying-“what goes online, stays online”. This is quite true in this case and this form of bullying thus causes massive psychological damage. Cyberbullying is also hard to discover, and mostly depends on the victim coming forward, requesting for help. This is especially rare in children who do not have the maturity to do so and thus is quite a potent threat to children online.

Examples of cyberbullying may include the posting of an individual’s private pictures on the internet, verbal abuse such as in online videogames, cyber stalking, impersonating a person online, or spreading hateful messages through multi-accounting. The main places where these occur are social media, through emails or through text.

The effects of cyber bullying are huge, and can contribute in massive humiliation of the victim. It can also be a cause of the victim isolating himself from the outside world, which in turn may make him further susceptible to various mental illnesses. Anger and frustration may also stem from such practices which have a further negative impact on health. This form of bullying may particularly render the victim feeling powerless which can cause mental consequences like depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and cause the victim to want to perform self-harm, have academic issues and suicidal thoughts.

In these modern times, it is very important to know how to react to such problems. The easiest way to get help is to open up to someone by telling them about your problems. Another simple way is to just walk away from the bully and this requires much less mental stress. An individual getting bullied online should ideally take a break instead of working on immediate retaliation, as decisions are best taken with a clear mind. Protection of oneself online is very important and this can be done by staying aware of such people at all times. An antivirus is a necessary application to have and can often save individuals from attacks like phishing and malware, or even simply block them from accessing a malicious site, which in turn prevents their data from being leaked and used as a source of ridicule or blackmail. Awareness should be spread regarding resources to fight cyberbullying. The anti-bullying helpline of http://www.childline.org for children in India is 1098. These are quite frequent occurences and more resources should be developed to fight these actively.

Very few laws exist in India pertaining to cyberbullying. Among them, the most eminent ones are the section 354A, 354D, 507 under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The Indian Internet Report from 2019 suggests that 2 in 3 internet users (66%) are between the ages of 12 and 29. 1 in every 10 adolescents (10%) in India are victims of cyberbullying. A large percentage of teens have already been victims of cyberbullying. A large number of cases like these are estimated to be unreported which causes the number seem to be lower than the original. Reports should be instantly sent to online service providers, law enforcement and to educational institutions in case of students. Friends and family should be well-informed to intervene in such cases instead of allowing it to occur. Seminars and meetings should be conducted on this topic to further spread awareness. The Government could put up banners and posters in order to encourage citizens to actively fight cyberbullying.

The reason people perform cyberbullying is much debated among researches. There is quite the possibility that it is accidental and occurs during friendly banter or ridicule. However, the most recognised reasons are the ability to stay anonymous on the internet, the ignorance of the consequences of such deeds and also social pressure. Many teenagers may simply think it to be “cool” to bully an individual, just because their peers are doing the same.

As technology progresses, more and more people continued to become victims of cyberbullying every day. It should be our job to offer them a helping hand in order to eradicate this problem for once and for all.

COVID-19 and the second wave : What it means for India?

COVID 19 here to stay or leave?
India has been experiencing a second wave in the COVID-19. Patients have been rising particularly in the state of Maharashtra, Karnataka,parts of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh and resonable restrictions and night curfews have been put into place.
According to the experts the main reason behind the surge in the cases has been the ignorance of the pandemic protocols such as wearing of masks social distancing frequent sanitisation and taking other effective measures.
Some relief has come since the severity of the cases and mortality rate have now gone down in comparison to those during the first wave of the pandemic hit. According to the experts the reasons for this dip could be that the medical fraternity has come to know of the ways to deal with the patients and the situation. Another plausible reason can be a herd immunity which has been acquired by the people living in India but this remains to be a matter of research since there is no conclusive evidence to prove this.


What is the road ahead for India?
According to the researchers and doctors involved in the medical fraternity a compete lockdown is not the answer to tackling this situation because COVID 19 cannot simply be done away with by locking people at home.
The way forward is to follow the pandemic rules and to speed up the immunisation process but this does not mean that after getting the first dose of vaccination one is immunised completely and cannot acquire COVID 19 again, therefore, the people who have had the first shot also have to follow the COVID 19 protocols.
According to Dr Parker a senior pulmonary consultant, the COVID-19 vaccines must be made available in the free market and the people of the upper middle class and above should pay and get the vaccine whereas the people belonging to the lower income group and below should get the vaccine for free using the money that has been collected by selling the vaccines.
But according to Dr Mehta of Medanta Critical Care ,this is not feasible right now taking into consideration the capacity of production of vaccines and availability of only two types of vaccines in India. This might be taken up after a few months when more options are available with us.


Some takeaways or possibilities in the near future :
The government alone cannot tackle the situation unless it has the cooperation from the people. The government also has to keep in mind while making policies that the people are facing COVID 19 fatigue, are frustrated because of low income and inflation and also because of unemployment and lack of human interaction.
The government instead of going for a complete lockdown should call for certain restrictions like closing down of the community spaces for example religious places, regulate the functioning of physical market places and food joints, provide people with jobs to venture out and boost production to tackle inflation and occupied people will have less time about unnecessarily which might prove effective against slowing down the pace of rise in COVID 19 patients.

Source used : NDTV’s “COVID-19 News : India’s Second COVID Wave Milder than First?Experts Answer” dated 17/03/2021 .