GOVERNMENT ASSAULT ON FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN INDIA

By Moksha Grover

The year 2021 has shown catastrophic effects on India so far. The country has witnessed a devastating second wave of covid-19 which continues to rage on with the official death toll being over 3,50,000[1]. Hospitals in India run out of beds and medical oxygen because of the country’s paralyzed healthcare infrastructure. But the most important point to be noted here is that India increased its oxygen exports by 734 percent in January 2021, and exported around 193 million doses of vaccines[2]. Justifying the export to other countries, union health minister Harsh Vardhan claimed that the country was in a virus endgame. However, at the end of April 24, the total confirmed cases of coronavirus stood beyond 16 million with less than 2 percent of the population fully vaccinated[3].  When the people started questioning the government, the government in response reportedly directed Twitter and other social media platforms to remove over 100 posts and URLs criticizing India’s handling of its second nationwide COVID-19 wave[4].

It forced social media companies, especially Twitter, to stifle expression, and if the companies don’t obey they face the threat of punishment from the government. This is one example of the recent case of assault followed by the Indian government in relation to the freedom of speech in India.

IMPORTANCE OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND EXPRESSION

Freedom of speech and expression as regarded by Mahatma Gandhi

“the two lungs that are absolutely necessary for a man to breathe the oxygen of liberty”. Article 19 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”[5]

The Indian Constitution provides for the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a).[6] This right can be restricted on the basis of grounds provided in Article 19(2), which are: in the interests of sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offense [7]. The right to articulate opinions without fear of retaliation, censorship, or punishment carries significance in the life of every human being, thus making the right to expression important for all human beings. Freedom of speech is an important right because a person’s voice is sometimes all that person has. To take away a person’s thoughts and opinions is to strip their life away.

THE CRISIS OF FREE SPEECH                        

   In the last few months alone, Delhi Police has made international headlines for visiting Twitter’s India offices to “routinely” investigate its policies on tagging content as manipulated media. The Union Government has strongly instructed Twitter to remove all the tweets critical of Prime Minister Narendra covid response. Many activists have been arrested by the government for mobilizing support for the farmers’ protests. Multiple FIRs have been filed against journalists for reporting on Covid deaths and oxygen shortages. Last year, two Malayalam news channels were suspended for 48 hours by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for reporting the Delhi riots. This year, a comedian also got arrested and spent the whole of January in prison for the jokes he never cracked. The latest illustration of the assault on free speech is the government’s response to protests against the new farm laws. Instead of allowing peaceful assembly, the government in Delhi started building barriers on protest sides with nail beds or concrete walls. They blocked the protests. Many protesters were arrested. Violence erupted on many occasions and the farmers traveling to Delhi were placed under house arrest in Agra to cut at the root of the protest. Also Recently, three FIRs have been filed against union minister Narayan Rane for his remarks against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray while giving a speech in Raigad district on Monday. His support in Mumbai also clashed and two of his supporters and two policemen were injured in the clash. Furthermore, in an English weekly, Organizer, was said to be publishing communal writings and was ordered by the Chief Commissioner of Delhi to submit all materials for prior censorship There are numerous other cases that depict the crisis of free speech in India.

IS THE ASSAULT FOLLOWED BY THE GOVERNMENT TENABLE?

The failure of the government to control the covid-19 cases in India and handle the pandemic has resulted in us bearing the worst covid surge in the world. However, instead of being accountable for its lapses and listening to its citizens, the government is prohibiting people from even talking about it. It is trying to suppress the voices of all the people who have been affected by the wrong decisions of the government. Such attacks on free speech end in the tipping away of balance from constitutional freedom; of late, the higher judiciary seems to be complicit in this absurd process[8]. One must realize that liberty once lost is lost forever and censorship is undoubtedly against the very foundation of a free society.

THE TWO MAJOR FREE SPEECH CHALLENGES FACED BY THE WORLD

There are mainly two major free speech challenges faced by the world, Today. In most developing countries like ours, the legal system isn’t strong enough to guarantee freedom of speech and needs to be revised. In other developed countries like the U.S free speech is increasingly being mixed up with absolute speech. In developed countries, the fight for freedom of speech has shifted to normalizing hate speech’s and to

 Silence minorities. As said, words always have consequences. One such example was a surge in anti-Muslim attacks in the UK after Prime Minister Boris Johnson called women in burqas “bank robbers”, and similar incidents happened everywhere[9]. In India, the government keeps suppressing its critics and agrees to give a free pass to all those who abide by its values. Hate speeches are allowed to be shown on national television considering, that these hate speeches are directed toward minority communities. Even by the American standard of “imminent lawless action”, chanting “Desh ke gaddaro ko, goli maaro saalo ko” at rallies would be considered wrong, and yet it seems to be acceptable here[10].

PROTECTING AND PROMOTING FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

Social Media has given a voice to almost everyone. But the digital world, like our real world, is not a level-playing field and those with power quickly learned how to use it to their advantage. In India, along with direct suppression, indirect suppression is also being followed through the way of troll armies that abuse people and flooding tactics (fake news, propaganda bots, paid commentators) that drown out real voices. Sticks and stones have always broken bones but words hurt twice as much. Social Media companies need to develop good terms and conditions to tackle all the misinformation and hate speeches. Online platforms should make it harder for people to share misinformation. Since women and children are mostly targeted online, companies should ensure to make their platforms a space to share ideas and not to harass people by employing sufficient moderators. We should keep fighting for the right to expression in India but at the same time keep in mind that our right to express opinions should not stifle the voices of other people or put them in danger.


[1] Jacob Mchangama and Raghav Mendiratta, ‘Supporting free speech, but not a criticism of government’, The Indian Express (June 25,2021) <https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/supporting-free-speech-but-not-criticism-of-government-7376023/> accessed 26th August 2021

[2] MD Tasnimul Hassan,’ Latest salvo in the crisis of free speech in India’, The Leaflet ( 27th April 2021) < https://www.theleaflet.in/latest-salvo-in-the-crisis-of-free-speech-in-india/&gt; accessed 26th August 2021.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Sourabh Yadav, ‘Right to free speech is democracy’s precious gift, but not when it stifles others’ voices’, The Print (December 2,2021) < https://theprint.in/campus-voice/right-to-free-speech-is-democracys-precious-gift-but-not-when-it-stifles-others-voices/555715/> accessed 26th August,2021

[10] Ibid.

HOW WILL ASSET MONETISATION HELP THE GOVERNMENT?

By Moksha Grover

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced on Monday that the Indian Government intends to monetize ₹6 lakh crore worth of state-owned assets over the next four years under its asset monetization pipeline. The union government has said that they’ll allow the private sector to bid for operating the assets for 25 years, and with a lump sum payment upfront, but without giving away title to the underlying assets. The Centre aims to sell off gas pipelines, roads, railway assets, and warehousing facilities among a host of other assets with the help of the National Monetisation pipeline (NMP).  The private sector can operate these assets for 25 years but they have to calculate what they can earn from it in various ways, over the next 25 years; discount that cash flow to its ‘present value (PV), deduct from that their profit margin, and pay the balance amount as an upfront rental to the government[1].

Lets us assume the value of the said asset is Rs 100. And return to the asset in real terms is 4% per annum (net of inflation)[2]. The present value of the 4% earnings, discounted at the real rate of interest to such an operator, assuming it is 6%, (again real as opposed to nominal rate) would be Rs 51.3[3]. Let us round it off to 50. Rs 50 represents the PV of an annuity of Rs 4, over 25 years, discounted at 6% per annum[4]. In effect for every Rs 100 of assets monetized, the cash flow yield from the asset that the operator can expect is Rs 50[5]. From this, he must deduct the return that he expects from his investment, the risk premium attached to the earning, and the general uncertainty of dealing with a capricious government[6]. Assume the operator wants a minimum of 50% return on his equity[7]. He will then be willing to pay Rs 35 (rounding off the calculation) for the Rs 100 assets[8]. One doesn’t know if the Rs 6 trillion number is indeed the market value of the assets[9]. But assuming it is, then the total value of upfront rental it can expect from such monetization will be in the region of Rs 2.1 trillion or less[10]. In fact, given normal discounting rates of 50% in such cases (100% return on capital), the government should expect no more than Rs 1.5 trillion[11].

WHY IS THE GOVERNMENT DOING THIS?

The Indian government has been facing a silent budgetary crisis. This crisis resulted because of disasters like demonetization, tax cuts for corporates, and GST made by Modi. Because of these serial disasters, the GDP growth of the country has fallen drastically. As a result of GDP falling, Modi had to steeply hike the prices of inelastic commodities like petroleum products to pay for corporate tax cuts. The price hike and hike in direct taxes burden the lower and middle-class people, indirectly, and hence, they have to reduce their consumption. So their consumption falls dragging GDP growth down even further. As a result of all these events, the economy tanked by sinking GDP by 28% in one quarter[12]. The GDP for the full year fell by 7%, the highest of any major economy[13]. All the government revenues are left plummeting and deficits soaring, thus necessitating record borrowings to pay for government expenses. Presently, the government debt as a percentage of GDP now stands in the region of 90%[14]. Government tax and non-tax revenues are expected to be 22.7% of GDP, and the combined government deficit is projected at 6.3%[15]. So, the government was left with no choice introduced asset monetization to fill its coffers. As and when, asset monetization will take place it will add up to the non-tax revenues of the government. All this trickery comes in the backdrop of India’s worsening credit ratings, which are just about a notch above junk, with a negative outlook.

FEW POINTS TO KNOW ABOUT ASSET MONETISATION

  1. Asset monetization involves monetizing brownfield assets and does not include the selling of land.
  2. “Ownership of assets will remain with the government and there will be a mandatory hand-back,” as said by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman[16].
  3. The infrastructure line ministries included the pipeline—Roads, Transport and Highways, Railways, Power, Pipeline and Natural Gas, Civil Aviation, Shipping Ports and Waterways, Telecommunications, Food, and Public Distribution, Mining, Coal and Housing, and Urban Affairs—along with Secretary (Department of Economic Affairs) and Secretary (Department of Investment and Public Asset Management)[17].
  4. The estimated value corresponds to 14 percent of the proposed outlay for the Centre under the National Infrastructure Pipeline ( ₹43 lakh crore)[18].
  5. Asset Monetisation aims at tapping private sector investment for new infrastructure creation.
  6. Asset Monetisation is important for employment opportunities and generation, which will further help in accelerating economic growth and public welfare of the country.
  7.  The top 5 sectors (by estimated value) capture ~83% of the aggregate pipeline value. These top 5 sectors include: Roads (27%) followed by Railways (25%), Power (15%), oil & gas pipelines (8%) and Telecom (6%)[19].
  8. In terms of annual phasing by value, 15% of assets with an indicative value of ₹0.88 lakh crore are envisaged to be rolled out in the current financial year (FY 2021-22)[20]. However, the aggregate, as well as year-on-year value under NMP, is only an indicative value with the actual realization for public assets depending on the timing, transaction structuring, investor interest, etc[21].
  9. A range of instruments is identified through which assets and transactions identified under the NMP are expected to be rolled out[22]. These include direct contractual instruments such as public-private partnership concessions and capital market instruments such as Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvIT) among others[23].
  10. Union Budget 2021-22 had identified monetization of operating public infrastructure assets as a key means for sustainable infrastructure financing[24].

EFFECTS OF ASSET MONETISATION

Privatization of assets will lead to the following outcomes: –

  • Through the way of consumption or investment, privatization will lead to paring down of government instead of a further increase in government expenditure.
  • Efficacy of asset use is improved through lower real interest rates to spur private investment.
  • All the money that comes from asset monetization will go back to the government via a circuitous route.
  • Asset monetization will not result in any addition to the gross domestic in the economy, either by bringing in foreign savings or by attracting a significant synergy premium.
  • Asset monetization doesn’t add up to the share of resources available to the private sector and does not contribute to the growth of the private sector even by a penny.

In conclusion, the idea of selling existing government funds to create new ones is excellent. But in the current situation, there is no such thing, and speaking of the economy as a whole, there will be no other changes except transaction costs go up, and a severely limited government bandwidth is further stretched thin over needless paperwork.


[1] Sonali Ranade, ‘How Will Asset Monetisation Help the Government?’, The Wire (August 26,2021) < https://thewire.in/economy/how-will-asset-monetization-help-the-government> accessed 27th August 2021.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] there will be no other changes except e, th of the private secto even by a penny.  Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

IMPACT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON CRIME RATE

By Moksha Grover

The Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China was recognized as a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO). Today, the world is in the fight towards covid wide-ranging consequences. Pandemics have always changed the way human beings interact and covid pandemic is no exception in this case. People are facing collective forms of trauma due to health concerns, negativity caused by the pandemic, loss due to unemployment, false information surfing around social media etc.  Isolation and quarantine increased depression and anxiety among the people. Because of the side effects of the pandemic faced by the people domestic violence, homicide crimes, fraud and trafficking of medicinal products have increased significantly. While, due to lockdown crimes like theft, and robbery has shown a decline.

Domestic physical violence, abuse. Scared little caucasian girl, victim sitting close to a white wall with the shadow of an angry threatening mother with alcohol addiction. Awareness of social problems.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND HOMICIDES CRIME

While the covid pandemic has affected all types of crimes, some crimes have increased and some decreased. It has affected domestic violence and homicide crimes the most. Pandemic has added to the rise in domestic abuse and homicide crime. Due to economic reasons, the victim is forced to remain with the abuser. Some victims get quarantined with the abusers and are prone to sexual assault, partner violence, and child abuse. These people are also left without any access to services.

During the lockdown, many women were trapped in their houses and had to work all day and also become the victims of domestic violence by their husbands.  A study in New Delhi, India shows that by the second week of lockdown domestic violence cases rose from 116 in the first week to 257 in the final week in the month of March[1].  A study by researcher Priyanshi Chauhan found that “approximately 22.5% of married women, as compared to zero men and unmarried women, worked for more than 70 hours per week” during the lockdown[2]. The study also said unemployed women witnessed the highest increase of 30.5 percentage points for those who spent more than 70 hours per week on unpaid work[3].

COUNTERFEITING AND FRAUDS

Counterfeiting and fraud have increased a lot in this covid pandemic. High-demand products during the pandemic, mostly medical products are being counterfeited the most. Virus mitigating products such as face masks, virus test kits, PPT kits etc. worn by frontline workers and medical supplies used for treating COVID-19 patients were also counterfeited. In India, due to the shortage of remdisivir vaccines used for treating covid patients, criminals started selling fake remdisivir injections to people and in return took huge amounts of money from these people.

As the covid-19 pandemic led the way for online shopping, countering in online shopping also rose. Criminals began to exploit a greater use of social media as a medium for sales. The public trusts celebrities and influencers, promote a product and have faith in their recommendations. But this benefit was recognized by criminals and they recruited irresponsible influencers to engage in building interest in cheap and often dangerous fake goods. The covid pandemic is making a way for criminal counterfeiters and increasing the threat to businesses and consumers alike.

CYBERCRIMES

Owing to the shift of focus to a health crisis, cyber defence systems have been lowered. As a result, cybercriminals are attacking the computer networks and systems of individuals, businesses and even global organizations. Cybercriminals have created thousands of new websites for conducting spam campaigns or spreading malware. Various covid-19 maps and websites have been found embedded with malware, spyware and Trojans. Hospitals, medical centres and public institutions are being targeted by cybercriminals for ransomware attacks – since they are overwhelmed with the health crisis and cannot afford to be locked out of their systems, the criminals believe they are likely to pay the ransom[4].

TERRORIST ATTACKS

In comparison with the past, terrorist attacks have been reduced due to the global lockdown. In the past, when in 2013, the emergence of the Islamic state brought a new wave of attacks 2014 in cities around the world[5]. This wave of ISIS terror attacks seems to come to an end now. However, “Coronavirus denier movements” could contribute to the potential of violence since they attracted extremists from various ideological backgrounds[6]. In 2021, may a series of attacks in Afghanistan resulted in the deaths of 56 people[7]. Today, Afghanistan has been conquered by Talibans and now Talibans in association with Al-Qaeda have attacked Panjshir valley, a fight ongoing for two days[8]. Switzerland has warned of terror attacks on Covid vaccine sites[9].

THEORETICAL REASONS FOR THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON CRIME

Overall covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the reduction of crime rates. More stringent restrictions over movement in public spaces due to lockdown have resulted in large declines in crimes like theft, burglary and other types of crimes.  There are mainly 4 causes that have led to a significant decrease in crime rates due to pandemics.

First, restrictions on mobility and reduction in economic and social activities outside of the household leave the criminals with fewer opportunities. These restrictions have also reduced the number of assaults with deadly weapons, robberies, residential burglaries, shoplifting, and thefts as a consequence of a reduced interaction of people in the urban environment. Furthermore, this pandemic has also led to a reduction in the opportunities for potential victims to encounter the potential offender

Second, due to the fear of infection, many criminals have become hesitant to engage in criminal activities. This cause has shown a consequence in the reduction of group crimes. Even if the lockdown is not imposed there are many criminals who do not engage in criminal activities due to the fear of infection.  Various studies propose that the lockdowns specifically lower crimes that are committed in groups. But more severe crimes like homicides fail to decline.

Third, due to the economic problems caused by the pandemic crimes can relatively increase. Individuals losing employment, income, lack of new public policies, weaker public support systems, and a larger informal sector can result in to increase in the willingness of criminals to commit crimes.

PREVENTING CRIME AND KEEPING SAFE DURING COVID-19

Covid-19 has affected the whole world in many ways including the type and number of crimes being committed. Along with focusing on the health crisis, it is the right time now to take steps that can help in the reduction of crime rates to ensure the safety of the people. Here are a few steps that can be taken to reduce crime rates.

  1. Talking about the risk factors associated with crime, our focus should be shifted towards socially vulnerable areas where there is often a combination of risk factors such as high levels of unemployment, mental ill-health and drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Alcohol consumption should be reduced as it can lead to domestic violence and child abuse when stress increases.
  • For reducing cybercrime, people should be taught about the precautions they should take to protect themselves from cybercrimes. These include setting a strong password, updating software, managing social media settings, using a full-service Internet security suite etc.
  • Appropriate policy measures can help a lot in overcoming fraud and counterfeiting of the products.
  • Having a proactive approach and spreading awareness can also help a lot. We should treat violence as a public health concern to ensure the protection of the people.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, I would like to say that, although covid pandemic has decreased overall crime rates. However, Covid has not caused a reduction in all kinds of crime nor in all countries across the globe. There are some types of crimes that have increased due to covid pandemic and there are some countries that have seen an increase in crime rates. The focus should be given equally to crime around the world as to pandemics. People should be taught about the precautions they need to take. The world should stand together and fight against all the terrorist activities taking place in this covid pandemic


[1] Bismee Taskin, ‘Increased work, domestic abuse — how Covid lockdown was especially hard on women in India’, The Print (9th February,2021) < https://theprint.in/india/increased-work-domestic-abuse-how-covid-lockdown-was-especially-hard-on-women-in-india/601328/> accessed 3rd September, 2021

[2] Ibid.

[3] ibid.

[4] ‘COVID-19 cyberthreats’, Interpol < https://www.interpol.int/en/Crimes/Cybercrime/COVID-19-cyberthreats> accessed 3rd September,2021.

[5] ‘Timeline: the Rise, Spread, and Fall of the Islamic State’, Wilson centre (28th October,2019) < https://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/timeline-the-rise-spread-and-fall-the-islamic-state> accessed 3rd September,2021.

[6] Thomas Wahl, ‘Council Conclusions: COVID-19 Impact on Terrorism and Violent Extremism’, Eucrim (6th July,2021)< https://eucrim.eu/news/council-conclusions-covid-19-impact-on-terrorism-and-violent-extremism/ > accessed 3rd September,2021

[7] Greg Barton, ‘n COVID’s shadow, global terrorism goes quiet. But we have seen this before, and should be wary’, The Conversation (14th August,2020) < https://theconversation.com/in-covids-shadow-global-terrorism-goes-quiet-but-we-have-seen-this-before-and-should-be-wary-144286> accessed 3rd September,2021

[8] ‘Afghanistan Crisis Updates: Al-Qaeda reportedly joins Taliban in attack on Panjshir valley, fight ongoing for two days’, The Economic Times (05 September, 2021) <https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/newsblogs/latest-daily-news-and-updates-september-02/liveblog/85854590.cms > accessed 5th Septembter,2021

[9] ‘Switzerland warns of terror attacks on Covid vaccine sites’, Mint (29th August, 2021) < https://www.livemint.com/news/world/switzerland-warns-of-terror-attacks-on-covid-vaccine-sites-11630226544056.html> accessed 5th September,2021

INDIAN PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES IN THE TIMES OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC

By: Moksha Grover

As the whole world is suffering against the covid-19 pandemic, pharmaceutical industries all over the world are trying their level best to fight against these unprecedented times. The covid pandemic has actually benefitted the pharmaceutical industry and helped in the growth and development of this industry. The Indian pharmaceutical industry is the world’s third largest drug producer by volume and the country’s market manufactures 60 percent of vaccines globally[1]. This constitutes 40 to 70 percent of the supply to satisfy the World Health Organization’s (WHO) demand for Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DPT) and Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccines and 90 percent of the global demand for the measles vaccine[2]. In this covid pandemic, the Indian pharmaceutical industry has played a vital role in distributing affordable and low-cost generic drugs to millions of people around the globe.

GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF INDIAN PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES

The covid-19 pandemic presented several opportunities for the pharmaceutical companies and helped them to think differently. It helped them to act in a sense of urgency for all the patients who were looking for cheap and affordable medicines. In this pandemic, Indian companies have risen and developed in the field of therapeutics by re-purposing the dugs.

This pandemic also gave the pharmaceutical companies opportunities to work in collaborations with some major global companies for the purpose of developing the covid vaccine in turn enhancing the global connections. Serum Institute of India partnered with Oxford University, Zydus Cadila partnered with Gamaleya Institute of Russia, Panacea Biotec collaborated with US-based Refana Inc and there are many other companies who collaborated for the purpose of producing good and effective vaccines against the deadly virus. These collaborations and partnerships helped the companies to make effective vaccines, develop a stand in therapeutics, and also reach the global market.

Indian pharma industry took a proactive approach during the pandemic and also became successful in proving its mettle in complex and specialty generics. These companies also ensured regular manufacturing by not hindering manufacturing even for a single day. With the development in the pharma industry, eCommerce platforms and industries also developed. In the current pandemic, a great deal of motivation was given to E-pharmacy which helped in ensuring that patients received their medication despite lockdown. The domestic pharma market turnover in India has reached Rs. 1.4 lakh crores (equivalent to $ 20.03 billion) in 2019 as per the government data[3]. This is actually an increase from Rs. 1.29 lakh crores in 2018[4].

CHALLENGES FACED BY INDIAN PHARMACY INDUSTRIES DUE TO PANDEMIC

The source of APIs plays a very crucial role in the strategic plan of the Indian pharmaceutical industry to combat covid-19. A major challenge faced by this industry is the supply of APIs. Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) are defined as the active ingredients contained in a medicine. This pandemic has highlighted the dependence of the Indian pharma industry on imported APIs. Today, 60 percent of India’s API requirement is imported[5]. In commonly used APIs, such as cephalosporins, azithromycin, and penicillin, the dependence is as high as 90 percent [6].  Of the total imports of APIs and intermediates into India, China accounts for 65–70 percent [7]. This is a problem faced by almost the whole west depends upon china for their API supplies. This pandemic has also highlighted low healthcare coverage in India. n terms of healthcare spending, India has one of the lowest healthcare budgets with just 1.26 percent of GDP being spent on healthcare[8]. India ranks 155th out of the 167 countries in terms of hospital bed availability (as per the Human Development Report 2020) with just five beds available for every 10,000 Indians[9].  Such a sudden rise in covid cases in India highlighted the shortage of hospital beds, medicines, and availability of laboratory tests. As pandemics have always shifted the way people react. A similar change has been seen in the consumption pattern of various consumers. There has been an increase in the case of online ordering and e-consultations, especially in the case of chronic diseases. These challenges can result in long-term impacts on this industry.

STRATEGIES FOR PROMOTING INDIAN PHARMA PRODUCTION

Initiatives like Production Linked Incentives (PLI) schemes for bulk drugs and medical devices introduced by the government for the industry’s self-reliance have given a major boost to this industry. These incentives are to the tune of INR6,940 crore and INR3,420 crore, respectively, and encompass greenfield projects for bulk drugs and intermediates, and the establishment of three bulk drug parks[10]. In addition to this, the government should take some steps in removing the financial and technical barriers prevailing within this industry. This will in turn help in reducing the dependency of the Indian pharma industry on china for APIs.

The pharmaceutical companies have now identified the importance of backward integration which is expected to bring greater reliability, improve the quality of production, reduce dependence on external sources of supply, and help in increasing the efficacy of manufacturing. Several key representatives from the pharmaceutical industry and NITI Aayog have suggested fostering the approvals of pharmaceutical infrastructure developments, clearance from the environment ministry, and providing tax exemptions and subsidies for the development and promotion of the pharmaceutical industry hubs could benefit the market[11].

Over the last few years, many tourists have been visiting India for their medical treatment. The government has also relaxed rules for the tourists by issuing rapid airport clearances and fast-track medical visas, thus helping in the promotion of this industry.

CONCLUSION

This covid pandemic has been a boon to the Indian pharmaceutical industry. Medicine spending in India is expected to grow between 9-12 percent over the next five years, leading India to become one of the top 10 countries in terms of medical spending[12]. It is now important for all pharmaceutical companies to shift their product portfolio toward chronic diseases like covid drugs, antidepressants, anti-diabetes, cancers, etc. which are on the hike nowadays. Many initiatives have been taken up by the government to reduce healthcare expenses and make it affordable for the whole population of the country. The introduction of generic drugs has also paved the way for the benefit of pharma companies. It is now important to focus on the rural healthcare system and provide the rural areas with the necessary drugs and preventive vaccines. Doing so will help a lot in the development of pharma companies in India and will also lead to the development of the country as a whole.


[1] Dr Abhishek Dadhich, ‘The COVID-19 pandemic and the Indian pharmaceutical industry’, EPR (22 April,2020) < https://www.europeanpharmaceuticalreview.com/article/117413/the-covid-19-pandemic-and-the-indian-pharmaceutical-industry/> accessed 19th September 2021.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Dr Sujith Varma K, ‘Covid-19 impact on Indian pharmaceutical industry’, PHARMABIZ.COM (10th February, 2021) < http://www.pharmabiz.com/ArticleDetails.aspx?aid=135427&sid=9#:~:text=The%20domestic%20pharma%20market%20turnover,actually%20an%20increase%20from%20Rs.> accessed 19th September,2021.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Sanjay Singh, ‘Pharmaceuticals: emerging not just stronger, but better and smarter’, KPMG https://home.kpmg/in/en/home/insights/2021/04/indian-pharma-industry-boom-mantra.html accessed 19th September,2021.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Dr Sujith Varma K (n 3)

[12] Ibid.

The imbalance in cricket’s Ecosystem

Credits- wall arts

Cricket has shifted completely in the last 10 years. T20 cricket gives the game such a high economic drive that every other format lives in the shadow of it. With that said, people have constantly raised their voices and have made efforts to keep test cricket alive. We’ve seen some great test matches in the last 3 years. One of the biggest problems the game faces right now is scheduling. There’s so much cricket being played all over the world. The majority of it is franchise cricket. Franchise cricket brings the majority of the money to the game and every player wants to be a part of it because of how economically convenient it is. Now, these tournaments take a big window out of the calendar. That leaves very little time for international bilateral series.

South Africa cancelled the one-day international tour to Australia to make sure that all top South African Players are available for CSA’s newly announced T20 franchise league. It seems clear which way the game is heading. Although, we cannot solely blame CSA for choosing franchise cricket over international cricket. If they didn’t make that decision, they could’ve almost been on the verge of being broke. They require investment to kick off their new league and that could’ve only been possible if the investors were sure that the international South African players will be available for the league from the start. Opting out from the Australia series means South Africa might not qualify for the world cup directly and will have to go to the qualifiers first. That’d indeed be something to keep an eye on.

One great issue is the imbalance in international cricket. There are only 3 cricket boards that can sustain their cricket on their own. India, Australia and England. Everyone else is dependent on each other. For example- if India tours West Indies for a test series, West Indies will make so much money that they won’t have to play cricket for the whole year because of how bad their economic situation is. Boards other than the strong 3 find it difficult to ask their players to play for their country rather than their franchises because they cannot offer the kind of money these Franchises do.

Credits- wikipedia

Cricket has reached a tipping point now. With more games being played than ever before. Players retire from a particular format because they cannot see a way to play all formats and sustain. Franchise cricket taking a huge chunk of time out of the calendar. All these things have made a lot of administrators reach to a conclusion. They’ve planned to reduce the number of bilateral series. Especially ODIs. The future for ODI looks rather bleak. Test cricket is not going anywhere and the same goes for the Revolutionary T20 form. ODI format finds itself in a tough position because it seems irrelevant in today’s age. The quality of cricket is not the same anymore. It feels like an extended version of T20 cricket. The most prominent ODIs that we’ll see in the future will be the World Cup. Cricket has truly changed.

India: One Land, Many Clans

India One Land, Many Clans

Romaine Rolland, a French scholar, once quoted, “If there is one place on the face of Earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India!”

India, the land of spirituality and philosophy considers religion as an integral part of its tradition. The worship of various religions and its rituals play a significant role in every aspect of human life in the country.

India is the birthplace of two great religions of the world, namely, Hinduism and Buddhism. India is also home to the followers of one of the oldest religions of the world, Zoroastrianism and ancient religions like Jainism and Sikhism are also widely practiced here. Followers of Islam, Christianity, Bahaism and Judaism exist throughout the world and also form a part of the population of secular India.

Hinduism is the dominant faith in India. The ancient Hindus, literally meaning the people of the valley of the Indus river, soon took on functions and specialisation that had little to do with tilling the soil. Different castes developed out of necessity, for with the evolution of society, it was no longer possible for the tiller of the soil to assume the functions of priest, warrior, merchant and artisan, all rolled in one. Roles began to be defined and people were classified according to their work, occupation and economic place in the society.

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Also, a number of world religions originated in India and others that started elsewhere found fertile ground for growth here. Buddhism and Jainism, and ancient monastic traditions, have had a major influence on the Indian art, philosophy, and society and are followed by a large section of the society even in the late 20th century. Islam spread throughout South Asia in the early 8th century and is the largest minority religion in India today.

Sikhism, which started in Punjab in the 16th century, gradually spread throughout India and to the other parts of the world. Christianity, represented by various denominations, traces its history in India, back to the time of the apostles. Judaism and Zoroastrianism, that originally arrived with traders and exiles from the West. are represented by small populations, mostly concentrated on India’s West coast. A variety of independent tribal religious groups are also live carriers of their unique ethnic traditions. Even with such diversity, the message of love and brotherhood is expressed by all religions and cultures of India-the bowing in prayer in the courtyard of a mosque or the rows of lamps that light up houses at Diwali, the good cheer of Christmas or the bonhomie of Baisakhi-the festivals of India are celebrations of a shared emotion that bring people together.

People from different religions and cultures of India, unite in a common chord of brotherhood and amity on this fascinating and diverse land. Yet, there is a disparity amongst various religions in accordance with the occupation or hierarchy due to which the caste system evolved.

This rigidity of caste system marginalised a lot of sections of society, thus,hampering the overall growth of the human race in India. A lot of religious leaders such a Mahavira (540-468 BC), the founder of Jainism and Gautama (563-483 BC), the founder of Buddhism, failed to reduce the rigidity of caste system It was the Industrial Revolution that finally made a dent in the caste system and brought a new awareness to Indians. Industrialisation encouraged urbanisation, as village dwellers of both high and low castes moved to the cities for better jobs. In the urban areas, the rigid, age-old, caste-centered thinking gave way to a more liberal outlook and encouraged the mixing of castes without distinction. Trade unions and other associations saw members from all castes working together.

The British Government of India had a considerable transforming impact on the country’s social structure. The British brought changes by passing many important laws, such as the Hindu Act, the Caste Disabilities Act and the Widow Remarriage Act etc.

The strongest, most systematic attack on the caste system had come in the 20th century through the Constitution of India, adopted on 26th November, 1949, India’s Constitution guaranteed the rights of all its citizens to justice, liberty, equality and dignity. This highlights the long and arduous journey from ancient caste distinctions based on Hindu philosophy and religious traditions to the constitutional pledge of a democratic government with equality, dignity and justice for all human beings. To uplift the backward classes, the Government of India has officially documented castes and subcastes, primarily to determine those deserving reservation in education and jobs through the census.

India is a secular state and probably, the only state where so many religions flourish side by side. In practice, it is difficult to divide religion or caste affiliations from the life of people. This is probably so, because it is impossible to know India without understanding its religious beliefs and practices, which have a large impact on the personal lives of most Indians.

For many Indians, religion and their caste exerts a strong motivational influence on their lifestyles, beliefs and culture. Kinship bonding in India is very strong, with an enormous respect for family, community values and traditions. Festivities transcend the invisible barrier between religions and rather become a celebration of the universality of human living. But this does not mean that religious practices in the Indian sense merely involve hollow and meaningless display of traditions, instead it is a deep rooted sense of the way of life.

At present, Indian society is characterised by the development that has led to a free-market economy. In the current scenario, India’s caste system can no longer fully contain the socio-economic changes that the country is undergoing. Different occupations and levels of education are no longer correlated with caste.

For example a high caste person may not be born as a Chief Executive, but he/she can work to become one. A person of low caste can now get a good education and can become an executive, a college professor or even a political leader.

However, the vote politics rampant in Indian democracy tries to lure the voters on the basis of their castes and religions, which is also a great setback to the real and concrete development of the country. The only weapon that seems available to fight the rigid caste system is education.

We need to learn to respect man as man first, which will help us value the uniqueness of religion, class, ethnicity and culture of India.

Aristotle – The peripatetic thought

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Aristotle’s father was a court physician to the Macedonian king Amyntas II. The connection with the Macedonian government held Great relevance in Aristotle’s life. His parents died when he was young. He was sent to Athens by his guardian for further studies. He met Plato there and started to study in his academy for the next 20 years. He was Plato’s student and colleague. When Plato died, everyone thought Aristotle will be the next director of the Academy. But due to his disagreements with some of Plato’s work, He was not offered the position.

Around 338 BC, he returned to Macedonia and started to tutor the son of king Philip II, Alexander(who was later given the tag of “The Great”). When Alexander became the king and conquered Athens, Aristotle moved back to Athens. Plato’s academy headed by Xenocrates was still the top academy there. Aristotle decided to open his school. Aristotle’s school of thought is called peripatetic.

After the death of Alexander the Great, Anti-Macedonian sentiments were high and Aristotle was charged with impiety. He fled to Athens to save his life and spent the rest of his days on the island of Eubea. One of the significant contributions of Aristotle was his creation of logic. He divided the process of learning into three parts. Theoretical, Practical and productive. Logic did not belong to any of the categories. Logic was the first step applied to learning anything. It is used to attain knowledge about anything. Logic helps in establishing truths and errors about reality.

In his book, prior analytics, He talks about the notion of syllogism. It is one of his most important contributions in the area of reasoning. A set of assumptions and affirmations are taken to come to a logical conclusion. For example- All Indians are human, every human is not religious. Therefore, not every Indian is religious. I want to let you all know that it took me 10 minutes to think of that example. The syllogism consists of two premises and that gives us one conclusion. Aristotle created some rules which would allow him to come to a valid conclusion. One example is –

: At least one premise must be universal

: At least one premise has to be affirmative

: If one of the premises is negative, the conclusion should be negative.

Credits – Zazle

Aristotle believed three rules should be applied to every valid thought. Law of Identity, Law of Noncontradiction, Law of Excluded Middle. The Law of identity determines the characteristics of any particular thing. For example – A Human Being has 2 Hands, 2 legs, a stomach etc. These are all characteristics. The Law of noncontradiction means that a single statement cannot be both true and false at the same time. If you’re ugly, you’re ugly. You’re not beautiful. The Law of excluded middle claims that there is no middle ground between truth and false, something has to be either true or false. Although I and many philosophers disagree with this. Every living being is grey and nothing can be so black and white.

Aristotle believed in metaphysics and this is where he had a different thought from Plato. He did not use the word “Metaphysics”. He rather called it first philosophy. Aristotle rejected the theory of forms. To read more about theory of forms, go to the link attacked below.Plato believed the Intelligible world(made up of ideas and thoughts) and the visible world are different and the intelligible world is the true form of reality. Aristotle disagreed. He believed that if you separate those two things then there will be no meaning. Anything can be form or matter or both. He believed that intelligibility is present in everything. He believed that knowledge is gained through specific truths which are gained through experience and also art and philosophy. Wisdom, on the opposing hand, is when a person understands all the fundamental principles of all things and uses that knowledge in real life. He breaks down how things come to be through 4 causes:-

1. The material cause- This explains what something is made of

2. The formal cause- This explains what form something takes.

3. The efficient cause- This explains how something comes into being.

4. The final cause- The final purpose of anything.

Aristotle believed that the ultimate purpose of any human being is happiness. And to attain happiness, one must act with virtue. It is only through virtue that a human being can attain happiness. A person must make decisions with true virtues which he sets for himself according to his past experiences. The ultimate form of happiness, according to Aristotle, was a life of intellectual contemplation and living life with reasoning. The reasoning is what separates humans from animals and is the highest form of living. That’s all about his school of thought.

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Existentialism- philosophy of Human experience.

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Existentialism gathered momentum during the nineteenth and twentieth century. Philosophical thoughts were about nature and truth before existentialism. Philosophers did not lay focus on human experiences. Existentialism aims to focus on human individuality and finding oneself. Though there are massive differences between existentialist philosophers, there is one common ground among everyone. The idea of existentialism is to find oneself and discover the meaning of life.

According to existentialism, the meaning of life and oneself can only be attained through free will, personal responsibility and freedom of choice. An individual creates his meaning and value through his consciousness. An individual who constantly makes efforts to expand his consciousness and the idea of themselves will always know what it is to exist. Personal responsibility is of great importance. Our choices have consequences. And we are all products of these consequences. It is through personal responsibility, that we get the power to fight our nature. Sometimes a human being has to fight his own nature to attain harmony. Our decision-making gives birth to our natural self.

Credits – doroleung

There is something magical about the truths that we discover that changes the meaning of our existence and brings a new awareness into our life. When we go through a crisis, our body produces emotions like anxiety, angst, absurdity etc. There is certain meaninglessness to our existence. We believe that we have an understanding of how this universe works until we discover something that tells us something else. Those moments, when your world-view is challenged. The things that you thought to be true are false. We find it hard to accept it but a human being who is aware will find a way to accept the new meaning of life. Empathy is of great importance here. We should try to empathise with people around us who are faced with existential questions they are struggling to find the answers to. Everyone goes through a crisis and we should take note of it and build ways for humanity to deal with it in a much more efficient way. Empathising with one another is a good way to start.

Existentialism also lays great importance on authenticity. To be authentic, one must be in harmony with his freedom. One must be able to come to terms with his identity while not letting his background and history play a part in his decision-making. We can often be scared of our past selves and go into a state where we fear that we might again become who we were. This is why it becomes very important to not be controlled by the idea of yourself. You have to let go of yourself. It is the only way you can be yourself. The choices you make should be based on certain values. This brings responsibility to your decision-making.

Existentialism is often associated with atheism. All atheists are not existentialists but existentialists are usually atheists. Religion and existentialism do not go hand in hand. Even the existentialists who place their faith in some higher being accept that religion is suspicious. Existentialism is all about finding the truth about oneself and that will not be possible if we place our faith in some higher being.

* I was influenced to write this article after reading the book Philosophy 101 By Paul Kleiman *

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Stating the importance of Fundamental Rights

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Imagine waking up to see a day where you are denied using the cafeteria of the college or denied using the vending machine in the office because of your race or your caste, it would probably be the most horrible day of your life. To make sure that these things never happen to you, a lot of people fought and gave their lives to make sure that the future society is egalitarian. Fundamental rights ensure that you have the liberty to do what you want to do, how you want to do it and where you want to do it. You have the right to equality in a consumer market, in your workplace and in the social places you visit. You have the freedom of speech to voice your opinion wherever you feel it’s needed. Without fundamental rights, everything will be in a state of chaos

These are the basic rights that help the human being reach his maximum intellect and intelligence. Our rights ensure that we are governed by a law which respects our human rights. It ensures that the government stays well within their limits and cannot compromise the dignity of any human being whatsoever. We as human beings need a certain environment to achieve our intelligence and find ourselves. Fundamental Rights tries to ensure that we get that environment. The highlights of the preamble are justice, liberty, fraternity and republic. Your rights allow you to fight for your justice, it allows you to be liberal, it allows you to form your fraternity which makes you feel welcome and the republic ensures that the power is always within the people.

Credits- topper guide

Dr B R Ambedkar and a lot of other people saw a dream in which every Indian citizen should be equal before the law. When we look back at the colonial period, Our society was segregated into different parts because there was no sense of unity among people. This led to isolation from each other. This environment led us to disarray. To make sure a healthy relationship between the state and the people, fundamental rights play a huge part as it ensures freedom of speech which leads to better communication. Fundamental rights also ensure that society is always progressive because it promotes growth and stimulation. Our constitution is designed in such a way that it supports flexibility but that does not put our fundamental rights in threat in any way. It is the backbone of our country or any country.

Advertisements

We come across different types of advertisements in our day-to-day life. They have invaded every aspect of our day-to-day dealings, our conversations, our thoughts and to a certain extent even control our behaviour as customers and consumers of goods. and services, Advertisements stare and scream at us from every corner of the street every newspaper, every magazine, every hoarding, every stall or shop or showroom to walls of every public building, vehicle, radio and television. They don’t even spare our computer screens when we all are interested in checking our mails or even simply browsing through. The world has suddenly become advertisement conscious, so much so, that at night the city lights up with thousands of neon glow signs proclaiming. capturing and demanding our attention.

Advertisements have crept even into smaller and insignificant things of our life. Everything from education to career building to buying a soap or a mobile, one has to rely upon advertisements. It seems nothing as if can be obtained without advertisements. They are the ones that tell us which soap to use, which biscuit to eat. which brand to wear, which sun glasses to use, which pens to write with, which toys to play with etc. An effective advertisement can zoom the sale of even a third rate and useless commodity. No business, trade or transaction can flourish without proper advertising and marketing. It is these advertisements that bring products to the sotice of general public. Today lakhs of rupees, even crores, are spent in preparing Two or three minutes of an advertisement.

Many small things have been made large by right kind of advertising. Infact, newer needs have been generated amongst people. People have started to feel the need for even those goods which they have never heard of before. Advertisements intentionally create demands. The companies pay utmost attention to study the right time to telecast their advertisements so as to target major viewership. Large companies depend heavily on advertisements to make their products known to the consumers. Without these sponsorings, the major sports events cannot be organised with such a fanfare.

The art of advertisement is of course a modern blessing but it has reached and touched all possible heights. It has touched all the aspects of modern complexities and has complicated man’s life more. For even a simple pencil, there are too many options which don’t provide a child with any solution but rather confuse him all the more. Myriads of products work up man’s brain, play havoc with his pocket and assault his peace of mind. It is because of these advertisements that a whole new field of career and businesses have opened up. The branch of marketing solely depends upon this recent art of advertising alongwith other components. Advertisers exercise their imagination, feel the pulse of the people, what touches or tickles them and what captures their mind and then create a whole new tantalising world of fantasy, glamour and fiction to sell off real things. Infact, advertisers and advertisements play and encash upon the psychology of people in order to achieve their ends.

Even cinema has been affected by advertisements. What we call as trailors of movies Theatre. In this age of tough competition, one cannot survive without popularising publicity of a movie, is nothing but its advertisement to bring audience to the sae’s business, product, institution. It is then that advertisements come to one’s aid. Moreover, these days politicians too rely heavily on advertisements for election campaigning. Some advertisements are enlightening like the ones which caution against the use of tobacco or informing about polio day. Some advertisements are revolutionary in nature like Tata Tea Jago Re’ advertisements or Idea Cellular advertisements. Some advertisements are misleading, especially in the education sector wherein various institutes guarantee 100% job placement. Such claims proved fake and thus were banned. There are some other advertisements too which gained huge popularity, but did little to boost the sales of the company. The Vodafone’s Zoozoos are the perfect examples of this. “A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself,” quotes David Ogilvy.

It is through advertisements that people can popularise their business, talent, product, service or commodity. But for this, advertising is not limited to the television advertisements only. Advertisements in thousands are there in newspapers, magazines, radio, banners, hoardings, on walls, on the internet. All of them are gaining equal viewership. Advertisements are not limited to consumer durable or FMCG products only. Today advertisements are published or telecast for everything like for services: banking, hospitality, matrimonial service, insurance, salon service, for schools and other educational institutes; for vacancies available, for upcoming exhibitions or shows, for every big and small thing. And with a smart phone in every hand, internet seems to be a new rage for advertisers wherein Bill Gates has said:

“The future of advertising is the internet.”

Without advertising, the world refuses to acknowledge the presence of a thing in today’s It would not be wrong to say that hike in sales depend upon the kind or quality of advertisements prepared to promote it.

Lately, it has been seen that some advertisements are crossing over from artistic sensibility and creativity to shabbiness, puerility and sometimes even indecency which hurts a person’s artistic sensibility and aesthetic sense. For this reason many advertisements have been banned. For instance, cigarette advertisements are banned on Indian channels. Tobacco and Alcohol advertisements are telecast or printed only with statutory warnings. Other advertisements which were found indecent, unethical or provoking religious sensibilities have been banned from time-to-time. Advertisements should be made with great care as they are seen by all men, women and children alike. Sometimes, children try to imitate what they have seen without realising that they are breaking the code of conduct. Public needs to be vigilant while watching or reading advertisements. Thus, we see that advertisements can be useful as well as can be destructive. If used with sense, advertisements can prove to be entertaining as well as educative. Although, we cannot escape this onslaught of advertisements, we can use our own intelligence to weed out the bad ones. 

Indian Railways

Indian Railways is one of the largest railway networks operated by the Government of India. Railways was first introduced in India in 1853. Today, its operations cover 19 states and 7 union territories, and also provides international services to its neighbours, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. It is also one of the busiest rail networks in the world, carrying about 18 million passengers daily. Moreover it is the world’s largest employer, providing jobs to millions.

For a country so reliant on its trains, Indian Railways Vision 2020 envisages introduction of bullet trains. It will be a massive addition to its route network, with segregation of passenger and freight services into separate double-line corridors, raising the speeds of passenger trains from the current 130 kmph to 160-200 kmph on some routes, zero accidents and equipment failures and setting up of high-speed passenger corridors.

However, this vision would remain a difficult one to achieve, looking at the past and current situation of the railways. Inspite of being the largest and the busiest network, Indian Railways was never a sector to give good returns to the economy, (barring the time of Lalu Prasad Yadav). It faces a lot of problems, sometimes proving even a burden to the Indian Government. The age-old and crumbling infrastructure, low fares, lack of maintenance, mismanagement, lack of quality service deliverance ete are all the major issues with the railways. A sharp decline in the earnings and serious escalation in expenditure has posed even more problems for Indian Railways. Additionally, the ever increasing prices of fuel, coal, the number of accidents, cost of maintenance ete further increases the problems.

A significant change in the Indian Railways came after the year 2004. The 156 years old Indian Railways was regarded as a hopeless, loss making organisation, with too little revenue, too many problems. Steps were taken to increase the demand rather than the price. A team of experts proposed and applied some simple techniques effectively on a per train basis. Subsequently, fares were increased in line with the demand, giving the railways the much needed cash flow to improve its services. Thus with these efforts, Indian Railways was able to book profits. After 2010, the railways went back into problematic phase. The funds started shrinking, therefore improvement in passenger amenities could not be carried out. However, the recently elected government has again brought in a ray of hope for the good days for Indian Railways. Surprisingly, Indian train fares are among the cheapest in the world. With such fares, Railways paced its steps well with technological advancement. The e-ticketing for making reservations and mobile app system to track train schedules are some major breakthroughs. Additionally, with the new government, new hopes have also risen. Today, Railways is eyeing private players and foreign funding to mobilise more funds for its various projects. Railways is keen to modernise railway stations with the help of private players. They are also prepared to lease out its properties for some years, given the share should come to Railways too.

Vision 2020 also intends to spread the railroad service to isolated areas of the country with 25,000 km of new track by 2020. Moreover, the ‘vision’ to revamp railways comes with an assurance that investment in India’s conventional train network would continue, which is a social necessity in the wake of 18 million daily passengers.

With 18 million daily passengers, a staff of 1.4 million employees and 17,000 trains operating on 64,000 km of track, India maintains one of the world’s largest rail systems. Vision 2020 not only aims to accelerate the urban pace of the country, but also plans to connect the isolated parts of the country by reaching far and wide. It largely suggests that India is all set to write a new chapter in the history of Indian Railways.

Brain Drain – A Need for Reversal

Brain drain refers to the situation when highly qualified and trained people leave his/her own country to permanently settle down in some other country. It is also referred to as human capital flight. Brain drain is a global phenomenon that refers to flow of human resource in bulk from one country to another. With the beginning of globalisation, ideas, opinions, skills in the form of labour started being exchanged between nations. The term emerged in 1960’s when the skilled workforce started emigrating from the poor or developing countries to the first world countries (or developed countries) in search of better job opportunities. This is primarily due to the fact that developing countries like India have failed utterly in providing the right kind of opportunities to its youth. 

This, in turn, is leading to a great loss of national wealth. In the past few decades, a lot of Indian professionals too migrated to other countries. The human capital in terms of skills, ideas, labour and intelligence is being transferred to countries abroad from India since ages. This has become a characteristic more of the intelligentsia of the nation-the doctors, engineers, scientists, MBA’s, CA’s, lawyers and other professionals. Today, Indian constitutes majority of large organisations like NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration), California Laboratory etc. Additionally, studies show that Indians are one of the most hard working, dedicated and sincere workers. That is why various countries and companies readily take our nationals.Countries like USA, UK, Germany, France, Russia, Italy, Japan etc., have developed greatly in their technology, science, electronics, computers, astronomy etc. Thus, these countries provide greater opportunities-quality as well as quantity-wise. The facilities, packages, scholarships etc., provided by these nations are far better than what India can provide them. While this is the case of young students/ professionals, the academically well qualified people prefer going abroad for a higher research because they don’t get the best chances, resources and facilities for research in India. The cut-offs for admissions have became close to 100% in the best Indian Institutes. While the institutes are in the race of getting the best students, the ambitious youth fail to occupy seat in any of the prestigious Indian Universities. This leads them to explore the scope of higher education abroad.

Most of these students prefer staying back in the host country due to better work opportunities and heavy pay packages. A part from good earnings, those in the US and Europe are aware of the public services, social security system and retirement benefits. So, after getting global exposure and getting introduced to the high quality life and facilities, the students become reluctant to go back to the home country.

There are many Indians at top posts in global firms and companies like Sabeer Bhatia, founder of Hotmail email, Satya Nadella, now Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft, Indra Nooyi, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo. As many as 12% scientists and 38% doctors in the US are Indians, and in NASA, 36% or almost 4 out of 10 scientists are Indians. Awakening to this fact, Indian Government is putting the best foot forward to curb brain drain. In lieu with consistent economic growth, India will see robust hiring and there is an expected double-digit salary increase across all sectors-IT, manufacturing, finance, insurance and real estate.

Both, government and private firms are aiming towards a better and friendlier atmosphere to create better conditions for their employees. Discrimination and bias at work places are checked by making laws and strictly implementing them. Incentives are given to stop youngsters from going abroad in search of work.

After witnessing a huge brain drain of doctors, the government was persuaded to take actions. Now, the medical students going abroad for higher studies will have to signa bond with the government, promising to return to India after completing their studies Policies to nurture higher education, better public service delivery and better sharing of data with the public (RTI) needs to be promoted to encourage a reverse brain drain. Moreover the government of the day needs to ensure good employment facilities for students by encouraging domestic and international investments in manufacturing research and development. ‘Our IT professionals and IIM graduates are the best in the world. Countries welcome them open arms. We can use the best potential of the country to accelerate our own progress in socio-economic fields. We need to give deserving jobs to students, who return to India after completing their education.

Meditation – The Ultimate Nirvana

Modern age philosopher Osho maintains “No meditation, No life. Know meditation, Know life.” This quote holds cent per cent relevance in today’s time. In this modern day and age, the negative effects of stress are unavoidable. People have literally forgotten the way to live their life. They are extremely busy running after materialistic goals thereby fueling stress every day.

To cope with this stress, they have tried everything from exercise and diet to alternative methods like medicines. However, the most effective method to deal with stress is not one of these modern methods but rather a thousand years old idea of meditation. Meditation finds its root in many religions, primarily in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Hindu mythology is full of examples wherein normal human beings and sages meditated for years to gain higher spiritual powers. Through meditation, they have risen above the botherations and tensions of worldly life. They have aligned their souls with the almighty in their meditation.

Buddhist mythology explains ‘Nirvana’ through meditation. According to it, Lord Buddha reached enlightenment at the age of 35, awakening to the true nature of reality, which is ‘Nirvana’, the ‘Absolute Truth’. The word Nirvana comes from the

root meaning to blow out and refers to the extinguishing of the fires of greed,

hatred and delusion. When these emotions are destroyed by wisdom, the mind becomes free, radiant and joyful, and at death, one is no longer subject to rebirth. Nirvana is the ultimate happiness, which can be achieved through meditation. The basic principles and practices of meditation are rooted in Hinduism, which believes that the soul is eternal and maintains an eternal relationship with God. The aim of meditation is to quieten the thought waves of the mind.

Quietness can lead to more peace inside the mind. Meditation leads to tranquility and

purification from negative state of our mind, Infact, Buddha religiously believes

“Meditation brings wisdom, lack of meditation leaves ignorance.”

Meditation is very difficult to describe and can only truly be explained once experienced. It is the practice of mental concentration leading ultimately through a sequence of stages to the final goal of spiritual freedom called nirvana. Meditation can be compared with any sport, for example to a basketball game. Everyone can try to play this sport but only a few know the rules and the central dogma of the game. And the others just play the game as they assume it is like. So, it would be right to say that not everyone is able to practise meditation correctly.

Learning to meditate properly, however, is very difficult and must be done under the supervision of teachers. A person who has not practised meditation before, finds it difficult to understand the nature of his mind and may think he is meditating while his mind runs disorderly.

Just a mere 10-15 minutes practice of meditation each day can bring many positive results in the lives of the people. It can be practised anywhere and anytime. The first stage of meditation is to stop distractions and make the mind clearer and more lucid. This can be accomplished by practising a simple breathing meditation.

A quiet place is chosen to meditate and to sit in a comfortable position with closed eyes. Sitting in a traditional cross-legged manner is preferable. The most important thing is to keep the back straight to prevent the mind from becoming sluggish or sleepy. The main motto is to concentrate on breathing.

Breathing during meditation is done naturally, preferably through the nostrils, without attempting to control it, thereby trying to become aware of the sensation of the breath’s movement. This sensation is the object of meditation. Additionally, meditation should be practised with great discipline and awareness to obtain positive results, otherwise it can cause problems in psychological and spiritual well-being.

In recent years, scientists and doctors have shown interest in the effects that meditation has on people going through various situations. Infact, prestigious universities such as Harvard and Washington have invested their efforts in the research and have also come out with positive results. Meditation not only helps reduce the negative effects of stress, but also leads to a better sense of well-being by uniting mind and body.

Statistics on meditation in the Western culture have shown that people suffering from chronic pain, anxiety, depression, hypertension were treated with the help of meditation. Meditation provides benefits to all of the major forms of human existence: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

A lot of famous people across the globe have started shifting to this practice religiously. They believe that through meditation, the mind is rejuvenated, the soul refreshed, nerves calmed and in general, one is at peace with oneself and the environment. Fortified by sessions of meditation, people have found they are able to face the tensions of the world with increased success. 

Wildlife in India

Wildlife constitutes animals, birds, insects etc., living in the forests. The rich flora and fauna of India have been studied and mentioned in texts since the earliest times. Animal laws date to third century BC. Later, several zoologists recorded their distribution and abundance. Wildlife helps in the promotion of various economic activities that generate revenue from tourism. The fauna plays a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance of a region. With the baffling variety of forests in India, the wildlife wealth is equally diverse and perplexing. There are about 76000 species of animals in India which comprise about 82% of known species of the world. India has a variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

The trans-Himalayan region, encompassing Lahaul-Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh comprise the richest wild sheep and goat community in the world. Tigers are found in the forests of Eastern Himalayan foothills. Leopard is found in Northern parts of Asom, Lynn and Yak in Ladakh along with Brown, Black and Sloth Bear in the Himalayan Region. The Wild Buffalo is found in Asóm, Bastar district of Madhya Pradesh, while the Great Indian Bison is found in the forests of Central India. Black Panther is found in widely distributed areas including deserts and jungles. Cats are found in the North-Western parts of the country. Several species of Wild Sheep and Goats too are found. Deer, Stag are common but have reduced in numbers considerably. Monkeys, Langurs, Chinkaras too are common as well as the Blue Bull, the Four-horned Antelope or the Chawsingha, Wild Dog, Fox, Jackal, Hyena, Mongoose, Shrews, Hedgehogs, Mole, Bats, Rodents and Squirrels. There isof reptiles like Cobra, Krait, Russel Vipers Dhamoa, a non-poisonous large snake, Rock Python, Marsh Crocodiles, Gharial, Lizards, Chameleon, Monitor Lizards, Turtles etc. Elephant is the largest Indian mammal found in the forests of Asom, West Bengal, Central India, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Rhinoceros is India’s second largest mammal whose number has considerably decreased and is now confined to the forests of Asom and West Bengal under strict protection, in the famous Kaziranga

and Manas Sanctuaries of Asom, and Jaldapara Sanctuary in West Bengal. India can proudly boast of about 2000 species of birds in India which is thrice the amount of birds in all the countries of Europe put together. Aquatic birds like Storks, Herons, Ducks, Flamingoes, Egrets, Cormorants are found along with waders and shore birds like the Sea Gulls, Snipes, Iluses, Cranes and Lapwings. The Great Indian Bustard, Pea Fowl, Jungle Fowl, Quail and Partridges are the main ground birds along with Babblers, Barbits, Bulbuls, Mynas, Pigeons, Parakeets, Doves, Cuckoos, Rollers Beaters, Fly catchers, Orioles, Warblers, Wagtails, Finch larks, Finches, Drongos and Hoops. Prey birds such as Owls, Eagles, Kites, Fallows and Kestrel too are found in large numbers. Peacock, is rightly the national bird of India symbolising the vast variety of our bird-wealth with its rich and magnificent plumage fossils of several animals have also been found in India. Titanosaurus indicus was the first dinosaur discovered in 1877 in the Narmada Valley by Richard Lydekker. Rajasaurus narmadensis, a carnivorous dinosaur was also known to inhabit this region. Whale fossils were found in the foothills of Himalayas, as the area used to be underwater (in the Tethys Sea). Unfortunately, our wildlife has been adversely affected by the fast dwindling forest wealth. Large number of species have got reduced, others are endangered and still others are on the verge of extinction. This has adversely contributed to the disturbance of the ecological balance. Moreover, poaching and illegal killing of animals for their fur, skin, teeth, hair etc has contributed in the reduction of wildlife population.

The first species to disappear during the Indus Valley Civilisation was wild cattle. This probably happened due to inter-breeding with domestic cattle. Species of birds, like pink-headed duck and Himalayan quail have become extinct. Along with Tigers, the numbers of Cheetahs too have dwindled who are now surviving under protection and breeding programmes in the Gir Sanctuary, Gujarat.

To put a check on this, Indian Board for Wildlife was made in 1952 with its main function as an advisory board advising the government on how to conserve and protect wildlife with the construction of National Parks, Sanctuaries, Zoological gardens etc. The Wildlife Conservation Act, 1972 is a strict law and gives a firm footing to National Parks and Sanctuaries. The endangered species of plants and animals have been classified under this act for protection. Project Tiger was launched in 1973 under which 21 Tiger Reserves have been created to check intensive land use practices like mining, construction of roads and railway lines affecting the tiger habitat and corridors. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has set-up a 10-member committee of experts in 2011. The committee will also appraise ongoing demand for diversion of habitat areas towards infrastructure projects in states. Wildlife reserves have started using advanced technology for better maintenance of facilities and also the inhabiting animals. Haryana wildlifedepartment will make use of the camera trap method to get the exact number of animals in its sanctuaries. Kolhapur department has been equipped with wireless communication.

Along with the efforts of the government, people’s awareness and cooperation is needed in order to conserve and protect these invaluable natural resources of our country. Then only can the efforts of the government be given a concrete direction and the conservation goals can be achieved. On International Tiger Day, 29 July, Pench Tiger Reserve along with Rotary Club organised competitions in Nagpur. Such initiatives can go a long way in instilling responsibility towards wildlife among citizens. Wildlife is an integral part of our national heritage. We want our future generations to be able to ‘hear’ lions roar and not just ‘see’ them in picture books. For that we must take steps today. Otherwise, it will be too late!

Water Resources in India

Water is the most important and valuable natural resource on Earth. It sustains all life and life itself originated in water. Before the discovery of traces of water on Mars, Earth was the only planet in the solar system to contain water. About 71% of Earth’s surface is covered with water, but only 3% of the available water is freshwater, About two-thirds of the freshwater lies frozen in the form of glaciers and ice caps. The rest of the small portion is available in the form of groundwater and surface water.

Water is used in the agriculture for irrigation of crops. In industries, water is used as a coolant, solvent and in manufacturing processes. Hydroelectricity is electricity generated with the help of water. Water is also used for navigation and transport of goods.

India covers 2.45% of the world area and possesses 4% of world’s water resources. Precipitation contributes about 4000 cu km of water to the country. India has a large number of surface water resources, in the form of rivers, lakes, ponds, tanks and other small bodies. The three main rivers of North India are Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra, which carry 60% of the total surface water in India. The flow of India’s rivers constitutes 6% of discharge of all the rivers of the world.

Being an agriculture-centric country, India has developed a number of irrigation schemes. Irrigation projects of Bhakra-Nangal, Hirakud, Damodar Valley. Nagarjuna Sagar and Indira Gandhi Canal have featured prominently in Five Year Plan.

The land area between Punjab and Brahmaputra Valley has abundant groundwater resources. The technology for identification of more aquifers can be developed further, as has been done in Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. India also has more than 600 km long coastline. Lagoons exist in the states of Kerala, Odisha and West Bengal, where the coastline is indented. This water, known as brackish water, is used for the cultivation of paddy, coconut etc., and for fishing. na

Unmindful use of groundwater has led to the lowering of the water table. Excessive quantity of water used in irrigation increases soil salinity, affecting the crops.

Disputes also have arisen where water bodies are shared between two states and distribution of water is in question. For example, in the absence of Cauvery Agreement, Karnataka developed some irrigation schemes, which affected Tamil Nadu’s rice delta.

“Water, water, everywhere, not a drop to drink.”

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner -By ST Coleridg

Hydroelectricity can solve a part of India’s energy crisis, triggered by hike in oil prices. It is generated by the use of gravitational force of falling or flowing water. is the most widely used form of renewable energy, with production in 150 countries India has one of the greatest hydroelectric power potentials in the world. Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) has installed a hydel power grid in North India. Hydroelectricity is cost-effective. Once a hydroelectric complex is constructed, no waste is produced and carbon-dioxide emission is also less as compared to fossil fuel powered plants.

Water of the rivers and other natural sources is getting polluted due to industrial chemicals, pesticides, oil slicks and household wastes. Around 75% of surface water in India is polluted. Rajasthan and Maharashtra have high fluoride content in water, while arsenic has been found in water of West Bengal and Bihar. There are 14 river basins found to be most affected by dumping of sewage. For example, leather factories in Kanpur pump around 5.8 litre of waste water into Ganga everyday. Yamuna is also known as ‘Open Drain’.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) along with the State Boards monitor water quality at 507 stations. Some of the legislations passed by government include water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, Water Cess Act, 1977, Environment Protection Act, 1986 and National Water Policy, 2002. Ganga Manthan dialogue was initiated recently, to discuss measures to check pollution of Ganga water. Placing portable toilets and small scale water treatment plants along the river can go a long way in halting pollution.

Other than these, efforts of NGOs and citizens have also counted in the cleaning of lakes such as Puttenahalli lake, Dal lake, Agara lake, Rankala lake etc.

Maintenance of water quality and water conservation are the needs of the hour. Villages can collaborate to form watersheds, so that wells and other water reservoirs can be recharged with water. Ralegan Siddhi is a village in Maharashtra which successfully implemented this approach. Rainwater harvesting has been made mandatory in Tamil Nadu.

India’s water resources are in ample amount, but what is available freely, shouldn’t be Wasted. Let us be more responsible and emulate successful models like that of Ralegan Siddhi in every part of India.

Right To Education (RTE)

Education is the most effective tool and medium for human development. Education changes the mindset through a continuous process involving, research, experiment and innovation. Without such practices a nation cannot expect the future citizens of its country to be informed and creative.

Education is a must thing” quoted modern political activist Malala Yousafzai. This quotes further justifies Aristotle’s words, “The educated differ from the Uneducated as much as the living differ from the dead.” These two quotes show the importance of education in everybody’s life. According to the Indian Sages, the aim of education is second birth.

We are born into the world of nature and necessity, we must be reborn into the world of spirit and freedom. This significance gave rise to Right To Education. The Right To Education is a Fundamental Right and is accorded the same legal status as the right to life as provided by Article 21 A of the Indian Constitution. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 is “An act to provide for free and compulsory education to all children of the age 6 to 14 years”.

The right of children to free and compulsory education came into force from 1st April, 2010. According to the Act, every child in the age group of 6 to 14 years will be provided 8 years of elementary education in an age appropriate classroom in the vicinity of his/her neighbourhood.

According to the Act, any cost that prevents a child from accessing school will be borne by the state which shall have the responsibility of enrolling the child as well as ensuring completion of 8 years of schooling. No child shall be denied admission for want of documents; or shall be turned away if the admission cycle in the school is over and no child shall be asked to take an admission test.

This would apply to all schools, private or even Navodaya schools. The act restricts schools to claim special category status because it indulges in screening procedures at the elementary level. Moreover, if the number of children applying to a school exceeds the available seats, an open lottery system shall be used to fill the seats. This applies to all categories of schools.

Children with disabilities will also be educated in the mainstream schools. Section (10) of the Act makes it the duty of the parents to ensure that their children go to schools, without prescribing any punishment. Special provisions are laid for children not admitted to school or who have not completed elementary education; a child so admitted to elementary education will be entitled to completion of elementary education even after 14 years.

Banking in India

“Money plays the largest part in determining the course of history.”

-Karl Marx

A bank is a financial body that accepts deposits and channels them into lending through loans or capital markets. Banks thus, connect customers with lack of funds and those with extra capital.

The word ‘bank’ was borrowed from European languages, literally meaning bench’ or ‘counter’. Banking system evolved in the 14th century in Italy. By the 18th century, merchants of London had started storing their gold with goldsmiths who charged a fee and issued receipts.

A banker is a person who discharges his dduties in the form of operating customer accounts and, paying and collecting cheques.

Banks borrow money by accepting the money deposited in current accounts, by accepting term deposits and issuing securities on banknotes and bonds. They also create new capital by giving loans. Banking activities can be for retail, in which the customers and small businesses are involved directly with the bank; for businesses; for large corporate houses and for investments.

There are various types of banks such as commercial banks (which are engaged solely in banking activities), investment banks (for capital market activities), cooperative banks (non-profit banks), postal savings banks (associated with postal systems) and private banks (managing the assets of high net worth people).

In India, banking has its origin in the Vedic period. It is believed that the transition from money lending to banking must have occurred even before Manu, the great Hindu Jurist, who laid down rules relating to rates of interest. During the Mughal period, the indigenous bankers played a very important role in lending money and financing foreign trade and commerce.

The first bank in India, though elemental, was established in 1786. From 1786 till today, the journey of Indian Banking System can be segregated into three distinct phases. They are-Early Phase from 1786 to 1969 of commercial banks; Nationalisation of Commercial Banks upto 1991, prior to Indian banking sector reforms and New Phase of Indian Banking System with the advent of Indian Financial & Banking Sector Reforms after 1991.

The General Bank of India was set-up in the year 1786. The East India Company established the Bank of Bengal (1809), Bank of Bombay (1840) and Bank of Madras (1843) as independent units and called it Presidency Banks. These three banks were amalgamated in 1920 and Imperial Bank of India was established which started as private shareholders banks, for mostly European shareholders.

Health Advancements

Modern medicine has gained prominence and widespread acceptance as the preferred method of curing diseases. Today, we know more about the human body, how it works and about its diseases. The advances in modern medicine have made clearer the physical and psychological causes behind various diseases. Advancements in the field of health and medicine has been there in every civilisation. But, today it is more researched and revised in form of chemicals. These advances in medicine have opened up possibilities beyond what doctors thought was possible years ago. Today’s techniques, surgeries, therapies and drugs have decreased the overall death rates, placing doctors equivalent to God.

Due to the advancements in modern medicine, newer and more effective methods of cure and treatment are available that will help humans to live longer, healthier and with more satisfaction. Medical advancement has shown various wonders like achieving the impossible task of separating bodily attached twins. After the accident, people were bound to live a handicapped life with amputated body part. But now they are given a second life with a help of a substitution part. People born with diseases or any defects as such being blind, deaf or any other bodily defects can now be cured with the help of advanced technology.

Moreover, doctors have been successful in transplanting various body parts like heart, liver, kidney, etc and have performed various brain surgeries too. Not only this but they have also treated people with acid burns etc by providing them with new faces. And it has all been possible due to the advancement in cosmetic surgeries. Medicine are now available for psychological disorders also. Even the gender of people in some cases, can be changed nowadays. Such is the power and might of modern day medication.

Medical sector is thus proving miraculous every day and coming up with refined development each time. Some important ones amongst them are: Robotic surgeries, which are happening on a daily basis and in growing number of centres. Doctors are using more of robotic technology in complicated surgeries to improve the accuracy of procedures. Because of the combination of drug therapies, the rate of death due to HIV and cancers have come down.

Today treating heart attack is not about doctor’s perfection. It is about the speed with which the patient is brought to the hospital so that the clot that blocks the heart can be cured. The most recent stem-cell research has proved a laboratory breakthrough for doctors. This is likely to be the future of regenerative medicines. About so many life-taking diseases can now be cured using embryonic or adult stem cells.

India is also not behind in its medical advancements. It is a promised land offering much in the medical and scientific research. In medicine, India has not only put research efforts in traditional medicine, but also in herbal medicine. It has thus adopted a holistic approach. Indi, has formulated the drug against tuberculosis called Risorine’ which has drastically cut short the duration of TB treatment. India is now a home to some great hospitals like Medanta the Medicity, Apollo Hospitals, NIMHANS (The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences), Fortis Hospital chain and others serving patients from foreign countries too.

The bright Indian minds leading various research projects are making news every day. Thousands of years of accumulated medical knowledge is now. available at a d click of a mouse. Even doctors need to study and be up to date. For that, Ministry of Health has come up with the world’s first digital library on traditional knowledge comprising ayurveda, herbal and other such medicinal formulations. Government, private and even some non-profit organisations are coming forward to boost the sector even more.

According to a Chinese Proverb: “Good medicines, tastes bitter” which implies medicines comes with side effects too. Today, it seems that people just don’t want to bear even a slightest amount of pain because they have a medicine available for pain. In response to this, they undergo a number of tests, and request for unnecessary care for themselves. Doctors see the human body as a machine with separate parts that can be treated independently rather than as an integrated whole. every

Medicines give quick results but have to be continued for long. People suffering with same disease are treated the same way irrespective of their uniqueness and emotions Medicines have several side-effects too. For instance, over dose of medicine can hamper the immune system, the therapy for cancer leads to baldness, several surgeries need extensive after care, and so on. That is why Buddha’s quote holds meaning as he said:

“Every human is the author of his own health or disease….”

In the earlier time, people would die pitiably, without any known reason. One would feel helpless in front of a small illness. People would accept their disease as their fate. In lieu of this fact, the benefits of medical advancements has outweighed their drawbacks. A lot has been achieved in this field, yet a lot needs to be done for the betterment of mankind.

India’s Defence System

The Indian Armed Forces are the military forces of the Republic of India. It consists of four professional uniformed services: the Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force and Indian Coast Guard. Additionally, the Indian Armed Forces are supported by several paramilitary organisations (Assam Rifles and Special Frontier Force) and various inter-service institutions such as the Strategic Forces Command.

The President of India is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. The Indian Armed Forces are under the management of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), which is led by the Union Cabinet Minister of Defence. With strength of over 1.5 million active personnel, it is world’s 2nd largest military force and the largest standing volunteer army in the world.

India has quite a volatile neighbourhood. To our north we have China- a very big military power- with whom we keep on having altercations, not to mention the war of 1962. We still have many border issues with them and their troops keep on infiltrating our land. Then there is Pakistan, a country born out of India but still trying to take one or more parts of it under control. We have had a number of wars with them. In the recent years, terrorism has become a grave concern for India. Owing to all these wars in the past, the recent infiltrations, terrorist attacks, border altercations and stand-offs it is easy to imagine why India needs a strong military strategy to combat these problems and survive as a nation.

Speaking of stats, India is now one of the world’s biggest spenders on defence and the world’s largest importer of military equipment and munitions. Adjusted for purchasing power parity, India was the world’s ninth-biggest spender on defence in 2012, according to the World Bank. It spends a full 2.5% of its GDP on the military, a tad higher than the world total of 2.4%, though lower than America’s 3.8% of GDP. Yet, unlike the US, most European nations or even China, India does not have a thriving domestic defence industry of its own. The tendency to import weapons, military aircraft, ships and other hardware from abroad is worrying. However, India has a land frontier of 15,200 km, a coastline of 7,516.6 km and an exclusive economic zone of 2.2 million sq km, as well as island territories, vital offshore installations and airspace to defend. The Indian forces, therefore, have to be kept prepared and well equipped to repel any external threat.

One can easily understand that Indian military depends heavily on foreign products. India, hence, needs to revamp how its defence sector operates. Though the country basks in the glory of Kargil and thumps its chest over an occasional successful missile test, defence development and production remains a joke in India. The list of failures and shocking delays in the country’s defence sector is long. The cloak of secrecy under which research and development in defence operates causes even greater concern about inefficiencies, waste, questionable priorities, and failed or delayed projects the public is not yet aware of.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s maiden budget does address issues relating to the defence sector. A key Budget announcement was that 49 per cent foreign direct investment will be allowed in the defence manufacturing sector, up from 26 per cent. This will induce more foreign companies to invest in India’s defence manufacturing. It is also good news for domestic private sector players such as Mahindra & Mahindra Defense, Tata Power SED, or the Kalyani Group’s defence arm which manufactures

field guns and similar equipment. That, in turn, is healthy for India’s defence procurement, which is dominated by either public sector undertakings or by foreign contractors. This, combined with the upgrade plan for soldiers and the modernisation of the army, means well for Indian manufacturers who stand to benefit.

A policy of integrating border policy in some ways with defence needs is also evident in the enhanced allocation of 990 crore, a substantial sum, for the socio-economic development of villages along the border. This may mean economic improvement of those communities residing there. The 150 crore earmarked for marine police stations, jetties and purchase of patrol boats holds out a similar indication. While modern warfare is mostly about improved technology, it is also important to ensure that the morale of the troops remains high. The decision to erect a war memorial and set up a defence museum will definitely raise the morale of the armed forces. It will certainly be a welcome addition to the Amar Jawan Jyoti at New Delhi’s India Gate. Again, the one rank one pension scheme, accepted earlier by the government, has been given a Budgetary allocation of 1000 crore.

In the recent years, India has leaped miles forward in the field of tiding up its security. We have a range of state-of-the-art products like missiles and tanks that has put us at par with the strongest military powers of the world. India is one of the few countries to have developed an anti-missile system. India is only the sixth country in the world to develop an undersea nuclear deterrent, INS Arihant ballistic missile, Agni-5, which can carry a nuclear warhead in the east as far as all of China and in the west all over Europe. There is no dearth of money in defence, what remains to be seen is how the private sector and the army spends it. The best way would be to increase our capabilities using the opportunity and the increasing interest from foreign collaborators. The most difficult part of this balance would be ensuring a successful interlocking set of relationships between the military, private sector, universities, and the political leadership at least over the fledgling period.

Is Caste Based Reservation Justified?

Dr BR Ambedkar, Mayawati, Abhijeet Sawant, PT Usha, we all know these notable people of society. They all are known for their distinguished effort and hard work. But does their caste or social backwardness have to do anything with their work as they all belong to the weaker sections of society? Are they at their stature because their caste had a reservation? Indeed the answer to all these questions is ‘no”.

Reservation in India is the process of setting aside a certain percentage of seats (vacancies) in government institutions for the members of backward and under-represented communities. Reservation is a form of quota-based affirmative action. Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) are the primary beneficiaries of the reservation policies under the Constitution. The concept was enshrined in the Constitution to allow the so-called deprived classes to come at par with the so-called privileged ones.

Initially, the reservation policy was only for 10 years after the independence to uplift the socially and under-privileged to stabilise them economically. Yet, even after 68 years of independence the Government has failed to truly uplift the backward sections properly.The reservation system finds its origin in the age-old caste system of India. The caste system at its birth was meant to divide people on the basis of their occupation like teaching and preaching (Brahmins), kingship and war (Kshatriya), and lastly business (Vaish) etc, but soon it became an instrument to divide the society on caste-basis, creating various walls between different sections of the society. After independence, the primary objective of the reservation was to uplift the untouchable who were the most marginalised.

But today we stand divided widely into Hindu, Muslim, SC, ST, OBC with newer reservations coming up from different sections of society like Christians, Jats, Pandits, Tribals etc. Unfortunately, the policy has failed to achieve the desired aim of bringing the non-privileged classes into the mainstream. It has instead marginalised them all the more and has deepened the rift created by the caste system even more. Moreover, today it is not taken as a right but it is considered more of a privilege by people, provoking unending debates.

The 93rd Amendment and the recent declaration of the government for reservation in institutions of higher education has stirred the anger of the youth in general all over the country. The UGC cell helps universities implement the reservation policy in student admission and staff recruitment process for teaching and non-teaching jobs. Protests from various sections of society had come stating that development of one section of the society should not be at the cost of the other section.

They have argued caste category cannot decide whether he/she is eligible for admission or not, what matters is merit. Further some have argued that in some cases children belonging to the backward classes do not even possess the necessary merit. thereby snatching away one seat, just because they come from a particular religion or caste for which our government provides reservation.

Recent Women’s Reservation Bill’ passed by Rajya Sabha in 2010 got majority support but it has not been voted on the bill as yet. Its opposers say gender cannot be held as a basis for reservation alone. True, as Pratibha Patil, Meera Kumar, Sonia Gandhi and other women do not hold their position merely because of their gender reservation.

If one takes a look at the issue objectively, one will realise that the intention behind reservation is not faulty at all but it is the implementation and application that has proved ineffective. The benefit of reservation has failed to trickle down to the lowest section of the society. Also, it has killed the spirit of brotherhood and healthy competition.

India can take a lesson from the United States in this regard. For instance, US has long abandoned the quota system for affirmative action. They have put in place a point system under which candidates from Blacks, backward regions, immigrants etc., are given a few extra points in admission and appointment procedures, Caste of a person cannot be the sole criteria for ascertaining whether a particular caste is backward or not. Determinants such as poverty, occupation, place of habitation could be the relevant factors to be taken into consideration. All sections of the society that need development and financial aids should be clearly identified. Then to uplift them with free-education or incentives and financial assistance should be provided. And if a class reaches the state of progress where reservation is not necessary then the government should delete that caste from the list of backward classes.

With time, people have started misusing this policy. There are many examples of people making false documents just to get a seat in a college or a job. Politicians are playing a major role in fueling reservation policy. The reason behind this is that SC and ST make up to 33% of the population of our country. Politicians fear losing out on their vote bank if they make changes against SC and ST.

Let us not do such that these policies hinder the growth of our economy. Need of the hour is to remove this evil. Making education mandatory and free for all till the age of 15 is one good resolution that has been adopted. Others could be proposing reservations based on economic status and providing opportunities to students to earn while they study. Also from time to time such laws must be evaluated by experts and their impact on the development of the under-privileged, and overall society must be assessed.

Children: Our Tomorrow

The wealth of a nation lies not so much in its economical and natural resources but it lies more decidedly in its children and youth. It is they who will be the creators and shapers of a nation’s tomorrow. The children of today will be adult citizens of tomorrow. Today’s students will be tomorrow’s lawyers, doctors, engineers, teachers, leaders and activists. Their quality and personality will determine the kind of destiny that beckons the nation. Nelson Mandela has aptly said:

“Children are our greatest treasure. They are our future.”

It therefore becomes mandatory for every nation and every society to nurture a strong, healthy and intellectual childhood. The children have a boundless store of energy, will, capability, zeal and enthusiasm, and have the power to mould the destiny of the nation. And particularly in India, this store is available in abundance. The Indian population has this major advantage over the population of China or the rest of the world. So, this advantage has to be properly moulded and needs to be given appropriate direction. Development and upliftment of children is an important step, especially for poor and low income children. Investing in them in their early years will provide a foundation for future success with lifelong benefits for them, and economic and social benefits for our entire nation. Government of India has acknowledged this fact and has started with reforms to bring a change. It has been seen that not only non-poor, but poor children too perform well if they are provided with the right support.

There are so many examples around us, which show that it is not that only children of rich families help in the development of nation. There are many famous riches who had poor and gloomy childhood. Yet, today they are famous billionaires.

Howard Schultz, Chairman of Starbucks was born in a government housing and his father was a truck driver. Sam Walton, founder of Walmart helped his family out by milking the cow and delivering newspaper. Famous Media person Oprah Winfrey was born into abject poverty but now is a well-known face. Dhirubhai Ambani, US President Barack Obama are all examples of such people who were born poor but found their way to the top of the world.

Right kind of education is the first step towards the upliftment of children. The education provided should be progressive, in keeping with the needs of the society and should not only create great professionals, but also great human beings. Academics should be taken care of along with adequate emphasis on sports, technical areas and other fields as per the interest of the students.

The ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ (Education for All) is one such wonderful step taken by the government to brighten the future of poor and village children. Some NGO’s like CRY, Smile, Asha too are doing great work by providing education, rights, meals to poor children and their families. Social evils like child labour, drug addiction, child marriage, beggary, child abuse etc., also hamper the proper development of children. These rampant evils, if remain unchecked, will jeopardise and endanger the future of the country.

The government should take strict measures to ensure that children are enrolled in primary and secondary schools and should try to reduce the drop-out percentage. Child labour too should be strictly prohibited.

Children today are very smart and enlightened right from their early age. They are capable of many feats and accomplishments. All they need is proper channelisation of abilities, right guidance and training, and a desired environment. Given this, the posterity is sure to lead the nation to greater heights and newer worlds. We all are human beings and share the same planet.

Just as it is our responsibility to care for the environment for generations to come, we must also take responsibility for those children who were born into a world without the care and support what every child deserves. God has given us two hands, so we must use both of them to help these children. And let’s use our mouths too to advocate for their rights. Let us give them a better future and in turn give the world a better future.

Delhi Metro: The Defeline of Delhi

Not long ago, Delhiites used to curse the public transport system of the national capital. Errant, reckless and rash bus drivers, showing no sign of courtesy even to the ladies as well as the elderly, made commuting from one place to the other a painfully daunting task.

Delhi Metro has changed the way people travel within Delhi. With the arrival of Metro, travelling from one place to another has become joyfully exciting, fast, noiseless, dust free and absolutely dependable. For most people living in Delhi, Metro is their great pride, as it has made their life comfortable by making travelling stress free. It has brought relief from traffic snarls.

Delhi Metro is thus a world-class metro. It is one of the few metro systems in the world having an operational profit from the very first day. It is India’s second urban-mass rapid transportation system after Kolkata Metro. Delhi Metro or Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to be precise, is a metro system serving Delhi and the suburbs such as Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad region in the National Capital Region of India. Delhi Metro is the world’s thirteenth largest metro system in terms of length. It is a dream come true for the workers and people employed and a blessing for its commuters.

After the 1980s, Delhi saw a major population explosion and about fivefold rise in the number of vehicles. As a result, the other public transport system i.e.. bus service was unable to bear the load. Commuters took to private vehicles which increased the traffic congestion as well as pollution. So in 1984, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Urban Arts Commission came up with a proposal of developing multi-modal transportation system which would curb all the problems and would connect the city in a better way.

After the technical study and finalising the finance issue the physical construction of Delhi Metro was started on 1st October, 1998. The first line of Delhi Metro was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on 24th December, 2002. It became the second rapid system in India after the Kolkata Metro which was operational since 1984. The first phase of the Metro was completed on the estimated budget and almost-three years ahead of schedule, an achievement described by Business Week Magazine as ‘nothing short of a miracle’.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (DMRC) is a state-owned company with equal participation from the Government of India and Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi. The huge investment involved in the construction comes from both of these sectors as well as from the loans from companies. These companies are banks like Japan Bank for International Cooperation or Indian companies like Reliance Infra. In 2007, the Delhi Metro claimed to be one of the only five metro systems in the world that operates at a profit without governmental aids. This was achieved by keeping the maintenance cost limited and by getting additional revenues from advertisements and property development, apart from the ticket sales.

With the increasing association with Delhi as an image of the city’s everyday life, it became popular filming location for films like ‘Love Aaj Kal’, ‘Delhi 6’, ‘Paa’ ete and for some other advertisements too. The metro also generates revenue with such a lease. Delhi Metro has air-conditioned coaches. To ensure safety, it is equipped with the most modern control and communication system. It has all the conveniences and world class amenities like ATMs, food outlets, cafes, mobile recharge stores etc., in most of the stations.

Students of many art colleges have designed decorative paintings at Metro Stations, while pillars on some elevated sections have been decorated with the creations of schoolchildren. Some of the newer metro stations conduct rainwater harvesting as an environment protection measure. In order to reduce its dependence on non-renewable sources of energy, DMRC is looking forward to harness solar energy. Infact DMRC has been certified by the United Nations as the first metro system in the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions thereby reducing pollution levels in the city.

Delhi Metro has a huge ridership on the daily basis and even record breaking number of commuters on the festival days. Commuters find it most convenient as it saves their money, save them from ever-lasting time consuming traffic, pollution, rains. heat among other things. The brighter side does not end here. DMRC conducts awareness programmes for the labour engaged in the construction work on issues like HIV/AIDS etc. It also provides medical facilities and educational services to its labourers and to their children. Overlooking some minute drawbacks like overcrowding, congestion during construction, Delhi Metro is a huge success in the capital city. It has, in more than one way, helped in the beautification of the city. Looking at such a positive success, government is planning to come up with more such metros in other cities like Mumbai and Lucknow. It is also attracting foreign investors who wish to be a part of one such profitable plan.

Old Times vs Modern

There is a famous saying: “Old is gold”. It’s modern adaptation says “Old is Gold but New is Diamond.” Such is the very uniqueness of the two times too: The Old Times and The Modern Times. They both have their own distinctive values. Irrespective of its peculiarity, the times have always been the reflection of human kind. Both the old and the modern times have their charms, characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. But to prove which one is better is an endless debate. Both have some or the other epitome excellence and both have, in some way degraded the mankind.

The old age does not refer to the stone age or the ancient age; it primarily refers to the age before the technological and scientific advancement. The age in which our grandparents were born and lived. The age which is particularly known for its rich traditions and values. But lack of education lead to diseases, ignorance and superstitions. Lack of advanced medical facilities led to shorter lifespan, wherein people would die pitiably merely due to spread of infection. Means of transport were rare or were limited to the elite only. Far-off, international journey was as far as one aeroplane itself. Means of communication were in equally terrible state wherein exchanging a message was a herculean task.

Inspite of this, old times were the times when people cared less for materialistic goals. Instead they gave utmost importance to their health and well-being. They would eat fresh, work upright and so would sleep tight. They did not have much technology to ease their work load. Yet, they had time to sit with people as a community. There were very few opportunities yet they enjoyed peace of mind.

Their lives were stress free. The chronic diseases like HIV/AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis were unheard of. They enjoyed their existence alongwith nature, with utmost zeal. We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths,” said Walt Disney. Indeed, the advancement in the means of transportation and communication lead mankind to newer paths. Modern lifestyle has come across with new technologies and has broaden the horizon of one’s knowledge. The development of technology has made it easier for people to communicate, to travel, to work and so on. The computers, laptops and mobile phones have completely changed our lives. Education has developed, more so with the use of internet. Medical advancement is at its peak and still surprises us daily with further improvements.

Modern times has a darker side too. Due to modern lifestyle, the culture and tradition is fading off. Innovation has increased the hunger to quest for even more. It has in turn led to more competition and less peace of mind. People are more dependent on fast food which is taking their health down the drain. Technology has reduced the interaction time with family members, alienating human beings. Gadgets have made us lazy. Status and snobbery have evolved because of growing affluence. There are endless number of risks involved, yet people take those things, infact they take life for granted. Another major problem is all kinds of environmental damages like air pollution, water pollution and noise pollution. As a whole, life in the old days was simpler. One did not have so many problems that we face today. Their lives were not cluttered with so many consumer goods that we find today in supermarkets and shopping malls. Their lives were not any better or worse, only that it was different. They had so little gadgets such as TV, so they did not become square-eyed. They did not have cars nor pollution. We have so many gadgets but at the same time so many accompanying bills as well. Like every coin has two sides, both the old and modern times too have its advantages and disadvantages. The way both the sides of coin are inseparable, incomparable and of equal importance, same is the case with the times. Both the times have their uniqueness, their share of advancements and setbacks. Yet it can’t be denied that in a country like India, old times and modern times co-exist. Or in Anita Desai’s words: “India is a curious place that still preserves the past, religions and its history. No matter how modern India becomes, it is still very much an old country”

The Role of Indian Cinema

Cinema is in today’s world the most popular means of entertainment. Millions of people watch cinema everyday all over the world-not only as a means of entertainment, but also as an escape from the monotony, boredom, anxiety and troubles of life. It is a restful, pleasurable and entertaining way of rewinding and relaxing after a long day’s work. All the senses are captivated while viewing cinema and the next two and a half or three hours are spent in a wink. Moreover, every class and section of society can afford this form of entertainment at their will and convenience.

Indian cinema has a charm, flavour and magic of its own. It appeals not only to the film-crazy Indian public but also enchants a large number of audiences the world over. People who do not speak or understand Hindi still sing songs from Hindi films. An average Indian film is longer than films from other parts of the world, has a ginger-touch of love, hate, revenge, drama, tears, joys and also its own share of songs and dances. A typical Indian film has it all-all the spice and variety of life condensed into it, transporting the audience on a magic carpet to a totally different world where everything and anything is possible. Infact, Salman Rushdie has quoted:

“I have been a film buff all my life and believe that the finest cinema is fully the equal of the best novels.”

Down the years, cinema in India has reached its own destination, created its own history, touched its own milestones. From stereotyped love stories to action, to drama, to realistic, to fictional-the silver screen in its every aspect has mesmerised, captured and tantalised millions of every age, class, sex and community. The journey from silent films to talking pictures, from black and white to coloured has been long.

It has catered to the dreams and aspirations of many who have hungered for glamour and reached “Mumbai’ and it still does.

There have been two streams of cinema in India-one is the Commercial Cinema which has the sole aim of entertaining and making money in return. The second stream is the Parallel Cinema or the Art Cinema which aims at sensitising people on various social issues and problems of the society. While Commercial Cinema appeals to all sections of the society. Parallel Cinema appeals mainly to the intellectual class and the intelligentsia of the society. But a change has taken place over the last decade and half. A general awareness among people has increased and Art Cinema is being more and more appreciated by a large number of people. Many a times, an art film does much better at the box-office than a mainstream commercial film. This has resulted in the thinning of the differentiating line between Art and Commercial Cinema.

Cinema has an educative value too. Because it exercises a deep influence upon the minds of the people; cinema can be used as a very effective reformative instrument. Statutory warnings are included to spread the awareness about the adversity of smoking has compelled many to quit the habit. Social awareness can be generated on issues like dowry, women education, abortion, girl foeticide, youth unrest, corruption, unemployment, poverty, illiteracy etc. Films like No One Killed Jessica, My Name Is Khan, The Attacks of 26/11 are some movies which have dealt with current sensitive issues. Cinema can expose the evils prevalent in society. It is the most effective means of mass communication. Cinema also is a great unifying force in a diversified country like ours. People belonging to all communities and sections, speaking any language, watch the cinema with the same fascination and excitement. Moreover, people can go to places with cinema. We travel from Ooty to Shimla to Switzerland to Washington to Sydney. It also encourages the art of music, singing, dancing, script-writing, direction etc. It employs a large number of people from technicians to producers to spot boys to dress makers. Thousands of people earn their livelihood through cinema.

Shahrukh Khan has aptly put the significance of cinema by saying: “Cinema in India is like brushing your teeth in the morning. You can’t escape it.”

The silver screen spreads and sells not just dreams but captivates the hearts of young boys and girls. If this medium is not used judiciously and wisely, it can distract the youth from the right direction. Thus, the film makers should undertake film making as a social responsibility and through films should give youth a sense of direction. The trend of making films on famous novels and plays should be encouraged to spread good literature and its appreciation among common man. Sensible and relevant themes should be picked to make films. Films need not be didactic, but they still can pass on constructive messages subtly to the masses. Hence, if used with pure sensibility, cinema can help in bringing positive changes in the society and the attitudes of the people.

Citizenship Journalism

Credits- ISTE

What is citizenship journalism? It is more or less a medium through which rural people can communicate and share the ongoing problems in their state. One such example is cgnet Swara. Cgnet Swara started in 2004 as a website which acted as a middleman between the people and the news. Using the site is simple. All you need to do is call a number and tell them your problem and they’ll report it. A lot of times these stories have broken up like wildfire.

Ndtv once reported a piece of news that was reported by cgnet Swara first. The wonderful thing about this is illiterate people can also tell the news from the ground in a very convenient way. This is revolutionary. Keeping in mind that most of the people only speak their tribal language, it becomes hard for them to understand English or Hindi. But the problem with citizen journalism is that its structure is not very professional. Most of the time the calls might not result in anything because they are just opinions.

This is one of the reasons journalists are sceptical about this. Sometimes the mainstream media has used information from cgnet Swara and didn’t credit them. This makes the relationship worse. One of the officials from cgnet Swara said “Their relationship has become more antagonistic … It is very unfortunate, that local media see us as a competitor—which we cannot be and never intended to be. Every platform has its problems and strengths. We understand the structural problems of mainstream media and we want to fill in the gaps.” The initial goal of citizen journalism was to bridge the gap between the alienated theories that mainstream media provides us as entertainment. This is why the big conglomerates don’t like the idea of citizen journalism. Although it’s unprofessional, it represents the voices of the people in the rawest way possible. Since the narrative in India is controlled by a handful of people, they’ll always try to not let citizenship journalism grow. Going forward, one of the major challenges for citizen journalism is building a structure and improving fact-checking.

Tourism in India

Tourism is the world’s largest and fastest growing industry. It is an invisible export, which carns valuable foreign exchange without any significant or tangible loss of internal resources. It is a source of revenue and employment. There are countries in the world whose main source of revenue is tourism.

India is one of the popular tourist destinations in Asia. India has fascinated people from all over the world with her secularism and her culture. Hence, India is a country with a great potential for tourism. Bounded by the Himalayan ranges in the north and surrounded, on three sides by sea (Arabian sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean), India offers a wide array of places to see and things to do. The enchanting backwaters, hill stations and landscapes make India a beautiful country. There are historical monuments, beaches, places of religious interests, hill resorts, etc. that attract tourists. Every region is identified with its handicraft, fairs, folk dances, music and its people. Tourism is the second largest foreign exchange earner in India. The tourism industry employs a large number of people, both skilled and unskilled. It promotes national integration and international brotherhood.

Tourism is highly labour intensive industry of a unique type. It provides different services needed as well as expected by the incoming tourists. At the world level, it is one of the largest in terms of money spent by tourists in the countries they visit. This amount is said to exceed the GNP of many countries with the sole exception of the USA. According to the latest estimates of the world travel and tourism council, this industry is expected to generate about 6 percent of India’s total employment.

The services rendered to foreign tourists visiting India are the invisible products of tourism industry. These products, i.e. hospitality services of all sorts for tourists turn into invisible exports because these are included in this category without leaving Indian soil. More the foreign exchange earnings, greater is the gain. In the same manner more the number of visitors from foreign countries, more is our foreign exchange earning. The host country has only to provide all possible facilities to the guest visitors to keep them entertained and in a holidaying mood for the longest possible period in hotels. Longer is their stay, more money they will spend and their earning is passed on to us. As the same time, the creative items like art pieces fabrics in indigenous designs including heavy goods like carpets and a lot more, do not fail to carry an appeal for the sightseers. Their sale in India itself is an additional advantage. By exporting the same product through an agent, our profit gets reduced. Next to readymade garments, gems and jewelry, tourism is our largest export item in terms of its earnings. In 2005 The Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) started a campaign called Incredible India’ to encourage tourism in India For a better growth, the department divided different places in different sections like ‘spiritual tourism,’ ‘spa tourism, ecotourism’ and ‘adventure tourism.

As Indian healthcare sector develops, a new term has been coined called Medical Tourism’, which is the process of people from all corners of the world visiting India to seek medical and relaxation treatments. According to research reports on Indian Healthcare sector, the medical tourism market is valued to be worth over $310 million with foreign patients coming by 100,000 every year. Medical tourists choose India as their favorable destination because of the key opportunities in Indian healthcare sector in the form of efficient infrastructures and technology. The health insurance market and National medical systems here are well developed, which is convenient for visitors from the West and the Middle East. They also find the hospital expenses very affordable.

Things have now started looking bright for the Indian tourism industry. However, the Indian tourism industry has been hit by pollution. The effluents emitted by the Mathura Refinery have led to the de-colorization of the Taj Mahal in Agra. The condition of many of our monuments is deteriorating due to the negligence of the concerned authorities. On the other hand, beaches have become the dumping grounds of garbage and waste left by tourists. The natural environment and heritage sites remain a source of attraction as long as these are not damaged beyond control from their degradation or pollution. Massive tourist traffic, unless regulated creates these mal-effects. Tourist carrying capacity of a resort needs to be matched to minimise the inconveniences of local people during the period of tourist rush. Youths of the host area are also to be saved from cultural alienation by blindly imitating the lifestyle of foreigners during days of reckless massive tourism. A planning for adopting a sequence of steps like a survey of the existing position of services, facilities needed by tourists and measures for development of a healthy and sustainable tourism, has become a dire need. At national level, an apex body has to take stock of the status and trends of tourism in comparison with neighbouring countries. It will help appraise the future needs, the nature of various incentives for alluring tourists and the gaps to be removed for better provision as well as management of the infrastructure.

India: One Land, Many Clans

Romaine Rolland, a French scholar, once quoted, “If there is one place on the face of Earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India!”

India, the land of spirituality and philosophy considers religion as an integral part of its tradition. The worship of various religions and its rituals play a significant role in every aspect of human life in the country.

India is the birthplace of two great religions of the world, namely, Hinduism and Buddhism. India is also home to the followers of one of the oldest religions of the world, Zoroastrianism and ancient religions like Jainism and Sikhism are also widely practiced here. Followers of Islam, Christianity, Bahaism and Judaism exist throughout the world and also form a part of the population of secular India.

Hinduism is the dominant faith in India. The ancient Hindus, literally meaning the people of the valley of the Indus river, soon took on functions and specialisation that had little to do with tilling the soil. Different castes developed out of necessity, for with the evolution of society, it was no longer possible for the tiller of the soil to assume the functions of priest, warrior, merchant and artisan, all rolled in one. Roles began to be defined and people were classified according to their work, occupation and economic place in the society.

Also, a number of world religions originated in India and others that started elsewhere found fertile ground for growth here. Buddhism and Jainism, and ancient monastic traditions, have had a major influence on the Indian art, philosophy, and society and are followed by a large section of the society even in the late 20th century. Islam spread throughout South Asia in the early 8th century and is the largest minority religion in India today.

Sikhism, which started in Punjab in the 16th century, gradually spread throughout India and to the other parts of the world. Christianity, represented by various denominations, traces its history in India, back to the time of the apostles. Judaism and Zoroastrianism, that originally arrived with traders and exiles from the West. are represented by small populations, mostly concentrated on India’s West coast. A variety of independent tribal religious groups are also live carriers of their unique ethnic traditions. Even with such diversity, the message of love and brotherhood is expressed by all religions and cultures of India-the bowing in prayer in the courtyard of a mosque or the rows of lamps that light up houses at Diwali, the good cheer of Christmas or the bonhomie of Baisakhi-the festivals of India are celebrations of a shared emotion that bring people together.

People from different religions and cultures of India, unite in a common chord of brotherhood and amity on this fascinating and diverse land. Yet, there is a disparity amongst various religions in accordance with the occupation or hierarchy due to which the caste system evolved.

This rigidity of caste system marginalised a lot of sections of society, thus,hampering the overall growth of the human race in India. A lot of religious leaders such a Mahavira (540-468 BC), the founder of Jainism and Gautama (563-483 BC), the founder of Buddhism, failed to reduce the rigidity of caste system It was the Industrial Revolution that finally made a dent in the caste system and brought a new awareness to Indians. Industrialisation encouraged urbanisation, as village dwellers of both high and low castes moved to the cities for better jobs. In the urban areas, the rigid, age-old, caste-centered thinking gave way to a more liberal outlook and encouraged the mixing of castes without distinction. Trade unions and other associations saw members from all castes working together.

The British Government of India had a considerable transforming impact on the country’s social structure. The British brought changes by passing many important laws, such as the Hindu Act, the Caste Disabilities Act and the Widow Remarriage Act etc.

The strongest, most systematic attack on the caste system had come in the 20th century through the Constitution of India, adopted on 26th November, 1949, India’s Constitution guaranteed the rights of all its citizens to justice, liberty, equality and dignity. This highlights the long and arduous journey from ancient caste distinctions based on Hindu philosophy and religious traditions to the constitutional pledge of a democratic government with equality, dignity and justice for all human beings. To uplift the backward classes, the Government of India has officially documented castes and subcastes, primarily to determine those deserving reservation in education and jobs through the census.

India is a secular state and probably, the only state where so many religions flourish side by side. In practice, it is difficult to divide religion or caste affiliations from the life of people. This is probably so, because it is impossible to know India without understanding its religious beliefs and practices, which have a large impact on the personal lives of most Indians.

For many Indians, religion and their caste exerts a strong motivational influence on their lifestyles, beliefs and culture. Kinship bonding in India is very strong, with an enormous respect for family, community values and traditions. Festivities transcend the invisible barrier between religions and rather become a celebration of the universality of human living. But this does not mean that religious practices in the Indian sense merely involve hollow and meaningless display of traditions, instead it is a deep rooted sense of the way of life.

At present, Indian society is characterised by the development that has led to a free-market economy. In the current scenario, India’s caste system can no longer fully contain the socio-economic changes that the country is undergoing. Different occupations and levels of education are no longer correlated with caste.

For example a high caste person may not be born as a Chief Executive, but he/she can work to become one. A person of low caste can now get a good education and can become an executive, a college professor or even a political leader.

However, the vote politics rampant in Indian democracy tries to lure the voters on the basis of their castes and religions, which is also a great setback to the real and concrete development of the country. The only weapon that seems available to fight the rigid caste system is education.

We need to learn to respect man as man first, which will help us value the uniqueness of religion, class, ethnicity and culture of India.

Information Media

By far, books, magazines, newspapers and other printed matter carry the largest and most varied kinds of information to their readers. We can get books on almost any subject that we care to read on. There are books on sports, cookery, fashion, language education, etc. You name the topic and the likelihood is that somebody has published a book (or books) on that topic. So does the internet, which is a modern development in this field.

We get all kinds of information via magazines and newspapers. We come to know about various anti-social happenings through the print media and are able to keep ourselves alert. We also read about the rise and fall of certain politicians, the cricket matches, the state of the stock exchange, the grand sale going on in a supermarket, and also about the various kinds of jobs available.

The amount of information that we can gather from a newspaper is enormous. To read the whole newspaper completely would take hours. While everything printed in newspapers may not be interesting to everyone, we usually read the sections we like, for example, the sports and cartoon pages, and leave the rest. In our country, newspapers are published daily in various languages to cater to various linguistic groups. Each newspaper gives its own version of the hottest news items plus other items that are its particular preferences.

Thus, an average person can be reasonably well-informed about the current happenings in this ever changing world; and only at the price of a few rupees.

The last century, and especially the last few decades, witnessed the tremendous strides made in the field of electronic technology. The simple traditional telephone has been joined to sophisticated television sets, computers, stereo, music, mobile phones and the internet.

Moreover, the internet and social media are particularly important for facilitating access to an unparalleled wealth of information, as well as providing opportunities for new innovative activities and social interactions. Through the means of the internet, especially in smart mobile phones the information spreads instantly and reaches mass audiences in a less costly manner.

In order to get the attention of masses one can voice thoughts on any of the social networking sites and in return get thousands of reviews back. This advancement made Bill Gates quote; “The PC (Personal Computer) has improved the world in just about every area you can think of… Access to information and the ability to give a voice to people who would never have been heard.”

Through the television comes all manner of soap-operas, talk-shows, news, documentaries and the ubiquitous advertisement clips. Large number of people are reached daily in this way. A whole new generation of people is created based on the ideals and dreams that are propagated by television. Political groups and manufacturers make extensive use of this mode of communication to communicate with people. Television has become so effective as a means of transferring information that even criminals and terrorists know its value.

The invention of communication satellites now allows us to witness any event around the globe at the touch of a remote. Even the internet is playing a huge role in the transfer of information at present.

India: A Software Superpower

Two mighty streams flow through India- the spiritual and the technological, indeed! Many developed countries today feel threatened with the Indian Brains taking up leading positions in their country. India is fast becoming the boiling pot of all the IT and software professionals. For a country that lagged behind in the industrial revolution, this rapid catching up with the technology is nothing short of a miracle. It is a country that is being increasingly identified with the high quality IT products, services and processes as well as wealth of skilled manpower that ranks among the best in the world.

The country is forecasted to become the ‘software superpower’ of the world by 2020. It has thus acquired a foremost position in the map of the IT world. India’s progress in this sector is quick and influential, providing the economy a boost.

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, manufactured the first computer in India, in 1966 and since then there has been no looking back. India has emerged as a great reckoning force and a dynamic nation at the dawn of this century.

The year 1985 is said to be the year which is the generator of the software and IT revolution in India. India declared its IT policy under the leadership of late Rajiv Gandhi who saw computer as a powerful instrument of modernising the country. The IT policy of 1985 stressed on the fact that electronics and software would be the answer to the problem of unemployment in near future. Indeed computers are spreading in the country at a rocketlike speed. Today, software revolution is at its peak in India. Computers are common in every home, with small children playing games, to generating businesses. Computer consciousness and awareness is fast-developing amongst the youth of today. At present, the United States is considered the leader in IT software, with giants like Microsoft, Apple, Hewlett Packard etc. Today even India is among the top rankers is software industry with over 150 of the fortune 500 companies existing in India.

The world’s top software firms such as Microsoft, Motorola, Intel, IBM etc already have set-up centres for research and development because of globally recognised quality standards of India. For instance, Guillermo Wille, head of GE’s India Research Centre noted that GE’s Indian scientists and engineers are working in leading edge fields such as nanotechnology, hydrogen energy, photonics etc. Moreover, while complimenting Indian talent, Oracle co-president Charles Phillip said:

“The kind of intellectual figure you people have is phenomenal……

The success is ‘phenomenal’ and has been achieved because of various reasons. Strong steps by the government have been taken to improve infrastructure led by revamped policies to attract global foreign direct investments. There is a huge base of English-speaking graduates that supports the extensive ITES-BPO industry. Additionally, there is a ready supply of professionals with relevant IT skills from both formal and informal sector.

Infact, to further boost the literacy in this sector, Indian Government has launched low-cost-tablet called ‘Aakash’ which will link about 25000 colleges and 400 universities to an e-learning programme.

Bengaluru is popularly known as India’s Silicon Valley. It is the hub of IT companies specialising in R & D, electronics and software production. Leading Indian software companies like Infosys, Wipro Technologies, Tata Consultancy Services, HCL hold the world ranking in terms of revenues.

Infosys is the third-largest Indian IT service company by 2014 revenues. Wipro’s founder, Azim Premji was claimed to be the richest man according to Forbes 2011 list of billionaires. Sabeer Bhatia, founder of hotmail e-mail services, recent Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s new CEO (succeeding Steve Ballmer in February 2014) are the examples of India’s excellent might in this sector.

A 21 years old Indian engineering graduate won a reward of ? 8 Lakh for discovering a bug which enabled the users of facebook to remove pictures from other accounts without the approval of the owner. Truly, India’s software whiz kids have won world-wide acclaim in rectifying the millennium computer bug. They are less prone to committing mistakes than their Western counter parts, especially in writing long and complicated software programmes,

And they take advantage of the 24-hour clock, while European and American multinationals sleep, Indian experts fix their software glitches overnight. Every third of Bill Gates’ employees is of Indian origin and upto 50000 Indian technicians make their way to US Silicon Valley each year.Indian politicians are eager to back the IT revolution. They are making the concessions so that the infrastructure and the sector as a whole can flourish. With such incentives India’s IT sector is getting stronger with each passing day. With a 1.2 Billion people, India has the world’s largest pool of technical talent and is the top global technology services outsourcing destination.

Moreover, the increasing demand of Indian software engineers is a sure signal that even the world accepts India as a software super-power to reckon with in the present era.

Sex Education in school

One of the much debated topics across the world is the importance of sex education in schools. Sex education refers to a broad programme designed to impart knowledge/training regarding values, attitudes and practices affecting family relationships. The real purpose behind sex education is the transfiguration of a male child into manhood and of a female child into womanhood.

It is the education that provides knowledge on physical, social, moral, behavioural and psychological changes and developments during puberty. It teaches the adolescents about the role of boys and girls in family and society, responsibility and attitude of boys and girls towards each other, etc within social context.

Sex education is never the most pleasant of the conversations for an adult and child to have. Yet, it is an essential one that many feel should happen in a responsible and safe environment. Due to increasing incidences of HIV/AIDS, RTIs/STIs and teenage pregnancies, there is a rising need to impart sex education. Parents and counsellors in Delhi argue that banning sex education is not a solution and will prove disadvantageous instead, given the exposure kids have to the internet.

Plato and his allegory of the cave.

Credits – thoughtco

Plato was born in Athens, Greece, around 429 B.C. He was expected to become a politician by his family but he chose not to for two reasons and took the road of philosophy and mathematics. The first reason was the Peloponnesian War where he found out that some of his relatives were part of a dictatorship and were removed for corruption. The second reason was the death of Socrates who was the biggest influence in Plato’s life. Socrates was executed by the new Athenian government. Plato started writing and became a philosopher. He studied under Pythagoras in Sicily. After returning from there, he founded The Academy, a place where he and other people discussed philosophy and mathematics to come to better conclusions.

Plato’s allegory of the cave proves the power of reasoning over the senses. Personal human experiences will not amount to the truth. Proper philosophical reasoning is the only way to find the truth. To understand his allegory of the cave, you first need to understand his theory of forms. So Plato states that reality exists on two specific levels. First is the visible world which has sight and sound. Second is the intelligible world which gives the visible world its being. For example, when a person sees an ugly face he’s quickly able to identify its ugliness of it. Because in his mind he has an idea of ugly that allows him to point out ugly. He was able to spot the ugliness because he has an abstract idea of what ugliness is. The current state of that ugly face might change in the future because everything keeps changing in the visible world but the form of beauty, ugly etc is eternal and never changes. This is the theory of forms.

Credits- Amelia

Coming onto the theory of caves, The allegory of caves was a conversation between Socrates and Plato’s brother, Glaucon. Socrates asks Glaucon to imagine a world where illusion is believed to be reality. To prove his point further, he asks him to imagine a scenario where there’s a cave and 3 people are locked up inside the cave since their birth. Their necks and legs are chained and cannot escape from the cave. They can only see what is in front of them. Behind and above the prisoners is a fire, and between the fire and prisoners, there is a low wall from where people walk with objects in their heads. Now, these prisoners can only see the shadow of the object and therefore they believe the shadow to be the real form of the object. Because the prisoners have never been exposed to real objects, they start to believe that the real form of that object looks like a shadow. If a shadow of a hammer were to appear, they’d believe the shadow of the hammer to be the real hammer. They are not saying that it’s a shadow because in their reality no shadows exist. They think it’s an actual hammer. One of the prisoners will eventually be able to understand the nature of this illusionary world and would be able to guess what shadow will come next. This will lead to him being praised by the other 2 prisoners.

Suppose, one of the prisoners is set free. He escapes the cave and gets to see the world. He gets angry and frustrated after seeing the real world because he believes the cave illusion to be his reality. When his reality is disproved, he becomes angry, sad and frustrated because he is now forced to believe something else and step out of his comfort zone. Eventually, he’ll be able to make sense of what he has seen and accept that the cave illusion was not his reality. He has now accepted that his past was based on a lie and that is not the way he should perceive things going ahead because he has now found out that it was all an illusion. He goes back to the cave to tell the other prisoners about the real world. When he tells them whatever he has witnessed, they don’t believe him and threaten to kill him if he tries to free them. They are so comfortable in their fake reality that they don’t even want to make the effort of exploring a new possibility because that might lead them out of their comfort zone and face chaos. People mistake what is in front of them as reality and choose to live in ignorance. And when parts of the truth start to emerge in front of their eyes, they get frightened. Because that threatens their ignorant reality. However, a person who pays attention to these flashes of truth and is open to the idea of exploration will always have a better understanding of the world around him. Always aim for reasoning rather than simply believing what seems easy to believe.

Credits- steemit

*I was influenced to write this article after coming across the book Philosophy 101 by Paul Kleinman*

E-commerce – Market Trend of the 21st Century

Even today, some considerable time after the so called internet revolution”, Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce) remains a relatively new, emerging and constantly changing area of business management and information technology. Speaking in layman’s terms, E-Commerce refers to the entire process of marketing. selling, delivering goods and servicing customers over the Internet. It has revolutionized the way companies do business. Consumers can buy almost anything online 24 hours a day.

In the 21st century, the rapid development of information technology and the rapid increase in information exchange have brought new drives and innovative ideas to the whole society. The wide adoption of information technology by the community has led to great changes. These changes are not simply in the context of data processing or computing. They are changes which affect how we communicate with each other, how we organise our daily activities, how we educate the younger generation, and how we run business. The great development and acceptance of information technology, computer networks and the Internet have transformed the mode of operation of many businesses, and at the same time have brought along unprecedented business opportunities. Businesses are now able to conduct transactions across geographical boundaries, across time zones and at a high efficiency. E-Commerce has become the market trend of the Century.

Life has become very busy these days. Odd working hours, hectic schedules and time constraints have changed how people shop these days. Hence, E-Commerce has become the preferred method of shopping for many people. They love the ease with which they can shop online from their home at any time of the day or night. Purchasing options are quick and convenient with the ability to transfer funds online. Consumers save time and money by searching for items and making their purchases online. It can take several days of physically going from location to location, costingtime and fuel, to purchase a hard-to-find item. Moreover, E-Commerce is an retail method for business transactions. Start-up costs for establishing an E-Commerce business is far less than expanding your business with more brick and mortar locations. Fewer licenses and permits are required to start an online business than that of a physical store location. You will also save money by using fewer employees to perform operations such as managing inventory and billing customers. You won’t have to search for an appropriate geographic location or worry about paying high utility costs for the facility. efficient

Advertising done well on the web can get even a small firm’s promotional message out to potential consumers in every country in the world. A firm can use electronic commerce to reach narrow market segments that are geographically scattered. The web is particularly useful in creating virtual communities that become ideal target markets for specific types of products or services.

The prospects are, in no doubt, great for E-Commerce and its followers. But still, there are some consumers who are reluctant to embrace E-Commerce because of privacy issues. Making an online purchase often requires disclosing personal information such as an address, telephone number and banking or credit card account information. While many people feel making an online purchase does not compromise their personal information, some still prefer not to take a chance of having their account information accessed by a third party, and will only make their purchases at a storefront operation.

Then there is the issue of inability to feel the product physically or check it with your own hands while buying. When making a purchase at a brick and mortar business, you get the product when you pay for it. On the web, there may be a time lag from purchase to actually being able to consume. The consumer will have to wait for delivery of physical goods.

Also, some businesses are less suitable for electronic commerce. Such businesses may be involved in the selling of items which are perishable or high-cost, or which require inspection before purchasing. Most of the disadvantages of electronic commerce today, however, stem from the newness and rapidly developing pace of the underlying technologies. These disadvantages will disappear as electronic commerce matures and becomes more available to and accepted by the general population.

Not only the new generation, but also the older generation is getting a hold of technology. They are adapting to the changing technologies and try to be up-to-date. Therefore, E-Commerce is also making its way into their lives. It is true that going to markets or malls to shop will never go out of fashion but E-Commerce is also here to stay and become more and more popular as people realize its advantages and get comfortable with it.

Decentralisation

Decentralisation can be defined as “the dispersion of decision making governance distribution of functions and powers from a central authority to regional and local authorities.”

There are various forms of decentralisation. Privatisation is a type of decentralisation. Privatisation and deregulation means shifting responsibility for functions from the public to the private sector. Privatisation can range from public-private partnerships to allowing private enterprises to perform functions the had previously been monopolised by the government. Usually, though not always, privatisation and deregulation are accompanied by economic liberalisation and market development policies.

India’s fiscal deficit during 1990s, spectacular growth by economies of Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia due to the indulgence of private sector; integration of world trade changes in China and dissatisfaction with the performance of public sector-all factors collectively contributed to the initiation of privatisation in India.

To begin with, in 1992, India opened up cellular and basic services to private players and then the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was constituted in 1997 as an independent regulator in this sector. Till 1986, telecommunication was a public utility owned by the Government of India.

Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) was created in 1986 as a Public Sector Enterprise (PSE) to facilitate telecommunication services in the cities of Delhi and Mumbai. In all other places, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) was formed as a PSE on 1st October, 2000 as a telecom service provider.

These state-owned incumbents with a large existing subscriber base dominate the fixed line service. However, with the entry of private players, today the Indian telecommunication industry is the world’s fastest growing industry with 826.93 million mobile phone subscribers, as of April, 2011, as liberalisation led to the entry of private players such as Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices. Idea Cellular and Aircel.

Privatisation of banks began in 1994 when the Reserve Bank of India issued a policy of liberalisation to license limited number of private banks, which came to be known as New Generation tech-savvy banks. Prior to this, SBI was in existence since 1955, apart from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) established in 1935, which controlled the central banking responsibilities.

Thus, Global Trust Bank was the first private bank after liberalisation, which was later amalgamated into Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) and Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited (HDFC) was the first bank to receive an in principle approval from the RBI to set-up a bank in the private sector. At present, there are many private banks in India including leading banks like ICICI Banks, ING Vysya Bank, Jammu & Kashmir Bank, Karnataka Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, SBI Commercial, Dhanalakshmi Bank, Federal Bank, HDFC Bank. Karur Vysya Bank, UTI Bank and YES Bank. Privatisation of insurance sector in India happened around the year 2000 when the government allowed private players to enter the Indian market. Although in the year 1993, a road map for privatisation of the life insurance sector was laid, but it took another six years before the enabling legislation to pass the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act in the year 2000.

s that Resultantly, the newly appointed insurance regulator-Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA)- started issuing licenses to private life insurers. At present leading private sector life insurers are SBI Life Insurance, Metlife India, ICICI Prudential, Bajaj Allianz, Max New York Life Insurance, Sahara Life Insurance, Tata AIG, HDFC Standard Life, Birla Sun Life, Kotak Life Insurance, Aviva Life Insurance, Reliance Life Insurance, ING Vysya, Shriram Life Insurance, Bharti AXA, Future Generali, IDBI Fortis Life Insurance, AEGON Religare and Star Union Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. Ltd.

In the electricity sector, the new wave of policy reforms designed to promote private participation has been driven by the need to expand the capacity and increase the reliability of systems, public sector budget constraints and the positive results of the private participation in other countries. Although in India electricity sector is still largely under the domain of public sector, but the inclusion of private sectors for capacity additions has also begun.

Major PSUs involved in the generation of electricity include National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCI). Besides PSUs, several state level corporations are also involved in the generation and intrastate distribution of electricity. In the private sector, major capacity additions are planned in Reliance Energy, Tata Power and RPG Group-CESC.

Decentralisation is an answer to the problems of the centralised sector. Decentralisation in the government sector helps to solve problems of economic decline, lack of funds, performance issues and reservation for minorities. In the area of politics, its objective is to vest more power with citizens or elected representatives. Economic decentralisation brings about privatisation of public institutions, through deregulation, abolition of restrictions on business competing with government services, such as postal services, school etc. Decentralisation has also been executed in various technologies like water purification, waste disposal, agricultural technology and energy technology.

Internet is a good example of a successful decentralised network. Wikipedia, the online Encyclopaedia, storing information on a plethora of topics, is also decentralised as it allows users to add, modify or delete content via the internet. Social networking sites are also decentralised systems that have greatly changed our lives. Information technology used to facilitate interactions of the government with the citizens, is referred to as e-Government.

petroleum are some of the other sectors that have been decentralised and are among It is indeed a good initiative to boost democratisation. Education, health care and the fastest growing sectors of the economy today. Thus, decentralisation of public sector enterprises that began with the economic reforms of the 1990s has yielded angible benefits to the country.

However, dangers of decentralisation loom large. For example, if the technical capacity or functioning of a system is weak, it will definitely result in poor quality products and services. Coordination for national policies can become complex and resource distribution can become uneven. A few local elites can grab power and hindrances in proper decision-making can surface. In the absence of a higher competent authority, monopoly and anarchy can give way to chaos and suppression of public interests.

Thus, decentralisation is both a boon and a bane to the economy. It is to be used as an ‘instrument of change and empowerment of the masses’ and not to earn quick money by few individuals pursuing their selfish interests.

India has more doctors per 1,000 people than the 1:1,000 WHO benchmark

The country’s doctor-to-population ratio, according to the government, is higher than those set by the World Health Organization (WHO). Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar stated that the country’s doctor-to-population ratio is 1:834, which is below than the WHO guideline of 1:Thousand.

According to the Minister, there are 5 lakh 65 000 AYUSH physicians and 13 lakh 8 thousand 9 registered allopathic doctors, according to the National Medical Commission. Over 34 lakh registered nurses and 13 lakh allied and healthcare professionals are employed in the nation, according to the minister.

The Minister further stated that the government is boosting UG and PG medical seats in addition to other efforts to increase the number of physicians in the nation.

Rohit Yadav and Neeraj Chopra reach their first World Athletics Championships final in Oregon, USA

At the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA, Neeraj Chopra and Rohit Yadav of India have qualified for the men’s javelin throw final. Olympic gold medallist Choprasealed his place in the championship round with his first throw of 88.39 metres. Chopra was the first to throw in Qualification Round Group A. The 24-year-old will now take part in the final, which is scheduled for tomorrow morning. With a best throw of 80.42 metres, Rohit Yadav joined Chopra in the javelin throw competition.

Eldhose Paul of India, who jumped 16.68 metres, joined Neeraj and Rohit in making it to the final of the men’s triple jump. Paul finished sixth in Group A and 12th overall to become the first Indian to qualify for the final on Sunday. Also remaining idle today will be Praveen Chithravel and Abdullah Aboobackar.

With her third and final effort, Annu Rani, a great javelin thrower from India, finished with the highest throw of 59.60 metres, securing her spot in the championship final. The holder of the national javelin record advanced to the championship’s javelin final twice in a row.

India put up by far their finest performance at the World Championships. Tomorrow’s themedal round will be the centre of attention.

Neeraj Chopra, Rohit Yadav, and Eldhose Paul have received congratulations from sports minister Anurag Singh Thakur for their accomplishments in the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA. India made history at the competition, Mr. Thakur said in a tweet. According to him, Neeraj Chopra and Rohit Yadav, two Indian javelin throwers, are making history by becoming the first to compete in the World Championship Final. Eldhose Paul, he claimed, is the first Indian to advance to the Men’s Triple Jump Final.

The 15th President of India, Droupadi Murmu, will take office on Monday. She is the first indigenous woman to hold the position and the youngest President ever.

Droupadi Murmu has been chosen to serve as India’s 15th president. Following the conclusion of the vote-counting yesterday night, P C Mody, the secretary general of the Rajya Sabha and the returning officer for the presidential election, declared Ms. Murmu the winner.

According to him, Ms. Murmu received 64% of the vote, while the opposition candidate, Yashwant Sinha, received 36%. According to the Secretary-General, Ms. Murmu received votes from 2,824 parliamentarians, including 540 MPs, out of the 4,735 legitimate voters, giving her vote a value of $6,076,803. He said that Mr. Sinha received the votes of 1 087 legislators, including 208 MPs, with a total value of 3 80 000 177.

Mody, the returning officer, walked over to Ms. Murmu’s house later and gave her the certificate.

The second woman to serve as India’s president, Ms. Murmu is the first indigenous woman to occupy the office. On Monday in Parliament’s Central Hall, Ms. Murmu will receive her oath of office from Chief Justice of India, Justice N V Ramana.

The Pre-socratic era (Origins of Western philosophy)

Credits- Study maps.

Greek philosophers in the 5th and 6th centuries started to question the world around them. They thought that greek mythology was too vague, and irrational and did not ask the right questions. They were in search of a more rational approach to the truths of life. They questioned where everything came from, what everything was, the role of mathematics and the existence of plurality in nature. They believed that not everything in the world is the same and some materials don’t stay in their present state forever. That’s why they laid the principles of change which they called archê.

The term “pre-Socratic” meaning before Socrates was coined and popularised by Hermann Diels. Socrates was alive at the same time when some of the pre-socratic philosophers existed so this term doesn’t necessarily mean philosophers before the birth of Socrates. It just means a different take from Socrates’ philosophical work. Pre-socratic philosophers produced texts. No texts have survived fully. These philosophies are based on the texts that could be gathered and quoted from the later historian which was usually biased.

There were some different schools of thought during this era. Some of them were The Milesian school, The Pythagorean school, The Eleatic school and The Atomist school. The Milesian school consisted of three important philosophers. Thales was the first. Thales claimed that a single element was water. Thales determined that water could go through changes of state like evaporation and condensation. He also knew that it was responsible for moisture. The second philosopher was Anaximander. Anaximander claimed that the single element was an undefined, unlimited and indefinite substance, known as Apeiron. The thing that separates Hot and Cold, solid and liquid is the Apeiron. His philosophy is similar to the Chinese philosophy of yin-yang. The third and last philosopher from The Milesian school was Anaximenes. He believed the single element to be air. According to him, the air is everywhere and can transform into something else. For example water, objects, clouds etc.

Anaximenes. (credits- stratis)

The Pythagorean school was formed by philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras believed that every answer to life can be found through mathematical calculations. Every rationale of life is derived from mathematics. He had a very cult-like following. His students were very true to his rules and ways of life. They’d often follow his exact instructions. His students believed that his studies were the prophecies of God.

The Eleatic school was based in the colophon. It had four main philosophers. The first one was Xenophanes. He did not believe that gods were anthropomorphic or had human characteristics in other words. He believed that there was only one god and he didn’t have a physical form but he can See, Hear, Think and control the world with his thoughts. The second philosopher was Parmenides. He believed that individual experiences don’t amount to the real truth. Truth can only be found through reason and not senses. His foundations hugely influenced Plato and the whole of western philosophy. The school of Elea started using reason to find the truth because of him. The third philosopher is Zeno. He was Parmenides’s most famous student and probably his lover too. He spent most of his life creating arguments that defended parmenides’ ideas. His most famous Argument is about pluralism. The notion that many things exist as opposed to one, will lead to more absurd conclusions. He believed plurality was an illusion. His work was later disproved but was hugely influential. The last one is the melissus of Samos. His philosophy was that what it differs from what it seems. According to him it never really is what it seems.

*I was influenced to write this article after coming across the book philosophy 101 written by Paul Kleiman*

Europe is plagued by wildfires, and the weather is making the situation worse.

In Europe, where a heatwave has exacerbated dry conditions, wildfires are spreading. Firefighters are still battling fires in Greece, Spain, and Italy despite the fact that temperatures have dropped in France and the United Kingdom. The fires in the severely damaged south-west of France are beginning to be put out. Low water levels are also making it difficult to travel on German rivers as the heatwave pushes northeast. In Portugal, over 1,000 deaths have been connected to the extraordinarily high temperatures, compared to over 500 in Spain.

The Gironde area in southwest France had some of the worst flames, however circumstances for fighting them have improved. On Tuesday, it was 40 degrees Celsius; yesterday, it was in the mid-20s.
The French President, Emmanuel Macron, told firefighters during a visit to Gironde that the European Union will need to make structural changes as a result of the climate change that is causing more wildfires.

Firefighters in Greece were battling a fire on Mount Penteli, which is located northeast of Athens. From nearby communities, notably eastern Gerakas, which is home to around 30,000 people, hundreds of people have been evacuated.

Additionally, there have been several wildfires throughout Spain. In Galicia’s northwest, there are still two sizable wildfires burning out of control. In the extreme north of Portugal, 900 firemen were battling two major flames. Italy has been placed on its highest heatwave alert for today due to recent major fires that have also ravaged the country. Due to the temporary suspension of a crucial train link between Rome and Florence, the infrastructure of Italy has reportedly also been severely disrupted.

While Sweden saw its warmest day of the year with temperatures hitting 32 degrees Celsius in the south-west, portions of Germany recorded 38 degrees Celsius yesterday as the heatwave moved north-east.

Netflix’s third-quarter user growth will help it gain momentum as Wall Street closes on a high note thanks to excellent results.

Wall Street’s major indexes finished the day marginally higher, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq recording a rise of 1.6 percent on strong earnings news and a cautious eye on inflation and future Fed interest rate hikes.

Thus, to finish at 31,875, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 48 points, or 0.2 percent. To close at 3,960, the S&P 500 gained 23 points, or 0.6 percent. At 11,898, the Nasdaq Composite increased by 185 points, or 1.6 percent.

After predicting it will resume customer growth during the third quarter while reporting a smaller-than-expected 1 million-subscriber decline in the second quarter, Netflix shares soared 7.4%.

Apple, Amazon, Microsoft Corp., and Meta Platforms all had gains of between 1 and 4.2 percent among other high-growth equities.

Tesla, a manufacturer of electric vehicles, increased 2 percent in after-hours trading after announcing a boost in quarterly profit.

According to Refinitiv statistics, analysts now anticipate that the overall, year-over-year growth of the S&P 500 earnings will be 5.9 percent this reporting season, down from their initial forecast of 6.8 percent.

Inculcating Stoicism in your life

Credits- art.com

Stoicism is a philosophy founded by the Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. According to this school of philosophy, there are two factors. The internal world and the external world. The internal world contains emotions, reactions, behaviour and all the things that a human being controls. The external world is wealth, status, validation etc. Stoicism describes wealth as neither good nor bad. Although a human being should always live a life of modesty and should not pay much attention to the external world. We do not control what happens in the external control but we do control our actions and our reaction toward the external world. We should build such a mindset where the external world doesn’t have an overwhelming effect on us.

In today’s generation, everyone’s life is a busy one. No one has the time to be free and reconnect with themselves. This makes us lose touch with ourselves. This is how the world moves. We are controlled by the external narrative and are always chasing some illusionary goal that we think will give us all the joy and happiness needed in life. We’re all chasing one thing or the other. But stoicism has always said that no material thing in the external world can attain happiness. You always have to look within. Bureaucracy makes us a slave to the external world and we do not break the pattern until we are dead.

Credits- words of wisdom

Stoicism teaches us to take control of our lives. It tells us not to be controlled by the greed of wealth and status. It encourages us to find ourselves. You can inculcate stoicism in your life by getting across some of the stoic readings. Marcus Aurelius was a believer In stoicism. He was probably the richest man when he existed. He was still believed to live a modest life and people around him worshipped his virtue. One has to grasp an understanding of the world he lives in and more importantly they have to grasp an understanding of themselves. Stoicism encourages independence in thinking. It makes us see what really exists.

Personally, stoicism gave me an understanding of what the external world is. I came across it when I was 16 years old. I was very materialistic as a kid. I used to seek joy in buying all the gadgets that I wanted. There were times when I used to feel hollow but I never really knew what it was and why do I feel that? Stoicism made me understand that void. The void had been created due to the lack of real value in my life. I realised it and started studying stoicism. With time, my understanding of the world got better. Sometimes it makes me laugh how unconcerned I was. We all get lost in our lives sometimes. The games that we make for ourselves can sometimes trap us. But a true human being will always find a way to see through the fake and embrace reality.

“ I THINK, THEREFORE I AM”

• Rene Descartes

School of life’s video about stoicism

India’s PV during the Singapore Open Women’s Singles champion Sindhu is congratulated by the president and prime minister.

The top Indian shuttler PV Sindhu won the Women’s Single championship at the Singapore Open in badminton. In order to earn her first championship at the Singapore Open and third title overall this year after winning the Korea Open and Swiss Open, the two-time Olympic winner overcame Wang Zhi Yi of China, 21-9, 11-21, 21-15.

She finished the first game, which featured 13 straight points won, in in 12 minutes. But after he won the second game, Wang Zhi came back valiantly to tie the game. The decider got off to a suspenseful start until she took a five-point advantage into halftime. The Chinese attempted to retaliate but ultimately failed.

The President and Vice President have congratulated top shuttler PV Sindhu on her historic victory at the Singapore Open 2022. President Ram Nath Kovind stated in a tweet that P V Sindhu’s tenacity and energy are motivational. She should keep giving the nation honour and pride, Mr. Kovind hoped.

The entire country is proud of P V Sindhu’s incredible accomplishment, according to Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu. Wishing Sindhu well in her future endeavours was Mr. Naidi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also congratulated shuttler PV Sindhu on her historic victory at the Singapore Open. She has once more proven her remarkable sports skill and succeeded, Mr. Modi claimed in a tweet. He claimed it is a time to be proud of for the nation and will serve as motivation for up-and-coming athletes.

SBI introduces WhatsApp Banking Services to simplify banking for its clients.

State Bank of India, the largest lender in the public sector in India, has introduced WhatsApp Banking to make banking simpler for its clients. Since they no longer need to download the app or visit an ATM, SBI clients may now use WhatsApp to access a limited number of banking services, which may be useful for many. Customers of SBI may see their Account Balance and read their Mini Statement via WhatsApp.

Customers may access SBI WhatsApp Banking services by sending a “Hello” message to the number 919022690226. Under the moniker SBI Card WhatsApp link, State Bank of India will also provide its credit card customers with WhatsApp-based services through the platform. Customers of SBI credit cards may use this to check their account overview, reward points, outstanding amount, and to pay their cards.

Neeraj Chopra will compete on July 22 in the qualifying round of the World Athletics Championships after Annu Rani advances to the final.

Today in the US State of Oregon, the top javelin thrower from India, Annu Rani, qualified for the World Athletics Championships final.

In her third and last effort, she had the greatest throw of 59.60 metres. The holder of the national javelin record advanced to the World Athletics Championship javelin final twice in a row.

Parul Chaudhary placed 17th in heat number 2 but was unable to advance to the semifinals.

Tomorrow’s men’s javelin throw qualification round Group ‘A’ will include Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra.

Government initiatives to boost the number of pilots in the nation include: Jyotiraditya Scindia is the minister of aviation.

Jyotiraditya Scindia, the minister of civil aviation, stated today that the government has taken initiatives to expand the number of pilots in the nation, including both men and women. 5% of pilots worldwide are women, according to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots, Mr. Scindia stated in a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha.

With a 15% proportion, there are much more female pilots in India. According to him, the Airports Authority of India has awarded nine additional Flying Training Organization, FTO, slots at five airports in the first phase in an effort to boost the number of pilots. Belagavi, Jalgaon, Kalaburagi, Khajuraho, and Lilabari are the names of these airports. Six more FTO slots would be made available in the second phase at five airports: Bhavnagar, Hubballi, Kadapa, Kishangarh, and Salem.

The number of Commercial Pilot Licenses awarded annually and the number of flying hours at FTOs are both expected to increase, according to Mr. Scindia. In addition, the Women in Aviation International, WAI – India Chapter organises a number of awareness campaigns throughout the nation in partnership with the Civil Aviation Ministry, business leaders, and prominent women in aviation, with a special emphasis on young schoolgirls, especially those from low-income families.

Jyotiraditya Scindia in LS introduced the UDAN Scheme to promote regional aviation connectivity.

According to Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, the Regional Connectivity Scheme RCS – UDAN Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik was established by his Ministry to promote regional air connectivity and lower the cost of air travel for the general public.

Mr. Scindia stated that UDAN is a market-driven programme and that interested airlines submit their offers at the time of bidding based on their evaluation of the demand on certain routes. According to him, the resurrection of unserved and underserved airports project is used to upgrade or build airports, airstrips, helipads, heliports, and water aerodromes that are part of the UDAN routes that have been allocated.

Counting of votes for 16th Presidential election underway; Droupadi Murmu leading after first round

After the first round of voting, NDA Presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu leads Opposition nominee Yashwant Sinha.

Ms Murmu received votes from 540 MPs totaling three lakh 78 thousand, whereas Yashwant Sinha received votes from 208 MPs totaling one lakh 45 thousand.

P. C. Mody, Secretary General of Rajya Sabha, told the reporters at Parliament House that the votes of 748 MPs were deemed to be genuine, while 15 were found to be invalid. MLA votes are currently being counted.

As Frank as the Ocean…

Credits-frankfan76

Blonde was released in 2016. The album has completed 6 years since its release. An album’s success is divided into 2 parts. The first one is the quality of the lyrics and the story of it. The second and a really important one is sound production. Sound production means the quality of sound. When you listen to any of the blonde’s track, you’ll realise how well produced the sound is. Every beat is so clean and soothing to the ears. Sound production makes a huge difference in the overall quality of the album. For example, Donda’s sound production was not very well done and lets the album down in a lot of ways. Blonde’s production was probably the best of this decade. The transition in the song “Nights” is so sick and is the highlight of the amazing sound production.

The album has some of the most diverse tracks. Ivy is a melodic soft indie lost love song whereas solo (reprised) is a fast and very catchy beat with a really good flow. Futura free is 10 mins long and continuously progresses its flow. There are abrupt audio clips filled in this album and that is a signature of frank ocean. Self-control starts in a very poppy fashion and translates into a coming of age song quick. Be yourself is a voice note from frank’s mom telling him not to get addicted to alcohol, drugs or marijuana because it will make him stupid, lazy and unconcerned. She also speaks about the importance of being yourself. Frank always finds a way to make his album feel more personal and intimate as he did with channel orange. After her mother’s voice note, he talks about rolling a solo for himself right in the next track. The album feels like a very honest and a true deep dive into frank’s life.

Credits- miranda devis

I think this is the reason people relate to it so much. I listen to some of the tracks every day like Self Control, Nights, Good Guy and Futura Free. Good guy is a cute lofi track where he is talking about a girl jasmine and reminiscing about how the relationship actually had more substance than he thought it had. Soon after good guy, Nights kicks and boy it kicks in so well. Everything about that song is perfect. The Pacing, Lyrics and the Transition. Apple Music in its description of blonde writes “an album we’ll be talking about for years to come” and here we are after 6 years of talking about it.

In the song solo, frank is talking about how he was very loud in public once and the police turned them down and suddenly very abruptly he says “I forgot to tell you how much I vibe with you” this feels so abrupt but so personal at the same time. It’s like you’re talking to someone about something and suddenly you tell them something totally different. Frank does it so beautifully. Another instance of his lyrical genius is spotted in the song self-control. He’s having some poolside conversation with a girl about her summer and this translates into something more. He says “ cause I made you use your self-control and you made me lose my self-control “ this is just brilliant writing. In the end, Blond is a very catchy, a very poppy but at the same time a very deep and personal album. Catch it if you still haven’t somehow.

How To Achieve Emotional Intelligence?

Each of us has a unique personality, as well as varied needs and desires and emotional expression styles. It requires tact and wit to get through all of this, especially if we want to thrive in life. Emotional intelligence is crucial in this situation.

Understanding your emotions, what they’re trying to tell you, and how your emotions influence those around you is emotional intelligence. It also affects how you see other people; you may develop partnerships more skillfully when you get other perspectives.

Self-awareness is the foremost step to achieving emotional intelligence. It simply means being aware of your strength and weakness. It builds confidence and due to this, it doesn’t let emotion rule them in any way. Self-regulation is basically thinking before you act. It doesn’t allow one to be impulsive or jealous and can be gained by controlling emotions there is more thoughtfulness than envy. Empathy one of the essential elements in emotional intelligence . Being able to identify other persons feelings and opinions help them to manage good relationship with others, and makes them avoid being judgemental or stereotypical and through these it can lead to development of motivation and social skills.

To establish social awareness in yourself the first step would be to observe around and be aware of the environment. Before forming an opinion about someone try to put your shoe in theirs and acknowledge their perspective. Coming out of your comfort zone and enjoying the new challenges that life gives you. Moreover, analyze how you cope up in stressful situations do you blame it on others and doesn’t take the initiative by yourself? That’s when you initiate with the practice of humility it will guide you to be aware of your actions and be true to it. Moreover, the main key is to keep an open mind. Whatever situation come and go it will help you understand how the world works. Grow and let others grow.

RED!!!

I was laughing at lame jokes for one moment, I was crying at silly things the other moment, I was lying in bed, holding my stomach the next moment. Why am I changing my mood so rapidly? This is because I got my periods recently.

Yes those cramps make me feel bad and I behave like a lazy lad. But the thing I hate the most is those absurd ads, the blue colour depicted there on that sanitary pad. Though I feel blue but I bleed red, Am I supposed to tell them even that?

No, I don’t crave any extra attention and I don’t even want any kind of detention. All I want is the menstrual products to be sold for free, so do you agree?

– Isha Chawla

Retail inflation in India drops to 7.01 percent in June.

Consumer pricing index (CPI)-based retail inflation dropped to 7.01 percent in June of this year from 7.04 percent the month before. According to the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation, lower prices in the “Food & Beverages” segment were a major factor in the slight decrease in inflation.

Inflation in the food basket in June 2022 was 7.56 percent, down from 7.84 percent in May of this year. Vegetable prices increased by 18.26% in May 2022, although they only increased by 17.37% in the reporting month.

Inflation has remained over the RBI’s upper tolerance level of 6% due to rising global commodity prices brought on by the Russia-Ukraine war and high crude oil prices.

For a five-year term ending in March 2026, the government has ordered the central bank to keep retail inflation at 4% with a 2% tolerance on each side.

The men’s skeet event at the ISSF World Cup is won by Mairaj Ahmad Khan, the first shooter from India to do so.

Mairaj Ahmad Khan, a two-time Olympian in shooting, made history yesterday at the ISSF World Cup in Changwon, South Korea, when he became the first Indian shooter to win the gold medal in the men’s skeet event. In the championship match, Mairaj Ahmad Khan won the gold medal with 37 hits out of a possible 40. Minsu Kim of South Korea hit 36 times for silver, while Ben Llewellin of Great Britain hit 26 times for bronze. Over two days of the men’s skeet shooting competition, Mairaj Ahmad Khan shot 119 from 125 in the qualifying round. For a second round of 30 targets in the ranking round, Mairaj Ahmad Khan competed against Sven Korte of Germany, Minki Cho of South Korea, and Nicolas Vasilou of Cyprus.

With 27 hits, Mairaj Ahmad Khan led the round. With 25 hits, Sven Korte joined Mairaj Ahmad Khan into the medal round. India earned a bronze in the women’s 50m rifle 3 positions team competition at the ISSF World Cup Changwon 2022 in addition to Mairaj Ahmad Khan’s gold medal. Anjum Moudgil, who took home the silver medal for herself, teamed up with Sift Kaur Samra and Ashi Chouksey to take home the bronze. With two more days of competition left, India has five gold, five silver, and three bronze medals, maintaining its lead in the medal rankings.

Government claims that because virus defence is deteriorating, Covid preventative dosage is necessary.

As the level of protection against the coronavirus is deteriorating, according to Dr. N.K. Arora, leader of the Covid-19 working group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), preventive dosage is required. Speaking to AIR News, he stated that given the increase of instances across various nations, the prophylactic dosage has to be promoted aggressively. The epidemic is in a low phase, and people are mentally fatigued, according to Dr. Arora, but we still need to ensure that we are completely protected. Beyond six months after the second dose, he claimed, we needed to have the best possible protection.

Within 18 months of the Covid-19 vaccine campaign’s commencement in January of last year, India reached a record 200 crore vaccinations. In addition to giving its population 200 billion vaccine doses, India has sold over 23 billion doses of vaccine to more than 50 nations. The government claims that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aggressive strategic and policy-level leadership, which includes the Make-in-India and Make-for-the-World motto, has assisted the nation in achieving this objective.

Following a disturbance by the opposition about price increases and other problems, both Houses of Parliament adjourned till 2 p.m.

Following the opposition’s protest against price increases and GST increases, both chambers of Parliament were suspended till 2 PM. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, a Congress politician, attempted to bring up the topic of price increases in the Lok Sabha as the house convened for the day. Without asking for permission, Speaker Om Birla launched Question Time. Following that, members of the opposition, including the Congress, DMK, and TMC, flocked to the well and chanted anti-government chants in protest of the price increase. The Speaker struggled to lead the Question Period among the clamour, frequently pleading with agitated members to return to their seats.

According to Mr. Birla, bringing signs inside the residence is not permitted. Later, Mr. Birla decided to postpone the proceedings till 2 PM.
The Rajya Sabha saw a like sight. Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu rejected the adjournment requests that Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party, and other opposition party members had submitted against price increases and other concerns when the Upper House convened this morning. Then the parliament was adjourned until 2 p.m. due to loud incidents caused by opposition members including Congress, AAP, and DMK.

How dangerous is Volcanic Lava?

We all know that lava erupting from a volcano can be too hot and dangerous but to what Fahrenheit and how is it monitored?

Lava flows that spontaneously utilise apertures in vents and cracks to escape are closely related to volcanic explosions. Lava extrudes with an amber glow at degrees between 1470°F and 2190°F. Lava cannot compete with the sun, which has an incredible temperature of roughly 10,000° F, even at this temperature. Practically all living things, including people, animals, plants, crops, and even dwellings, are negatively impacted by the intense heat from lava that results from an eruption.

Any substance with a melting temperature lower than 2,190° F may be melted by lava, including rubber, tanks, vehicles, trees, and grass. If it is unable to completely melt the materials, it can ignite them and eventually reduce them to ashes. But we must remember that volcanic lava is unquestionably hazardous and is far stronger than burning of wood or coal, therefore one must be extremely cautious when in its proximity.

The use of GPS devices or transmitters to aid in the most accurate mapping of current lava flows. The signals are obtained by radio waves sent by satellites circling the planet, and they provide crucial information for monitoring lava flows that may be moving closer to populated areas.

The Christian,Muslim conundrum

Credits-peakpx

I sat with my friend clive to know more about his culture. He told me how he was brought up to be a Christian and what were his values. He used to go to church every morning. Then we discussed if he has ever faced discrimination due to his religion. He didn’t feel that he has experienced discrimination. I also asked my Muslim friends if they’ve had any such experiences. They also felt the same way.

All of the people that I interviewed are from a well-to-do backgrounds. This makes me come to my next observation. Are people discriminated against because of their religion or because they belong from a not so well to do background? If you see in our society, Muslim or Christian people who have money don’t have to go through the religious stigma that other people go through. For example, a poor Muslim might have to go through a lot of discrimination as compared to a well-to-do Muslim. In today’s world if you are rich then you’re a powerful man.

Credits- gettyimages

I also had the opportunity of meeting a Muslim boy who was not very well-to-do. He told me that in his school, people were always given an opportunity before him. He was the last boy to be considered for every activity and he feels it’s because of his religion. I am not trying to make a stupid assumption but I feel this has some truth to it. In today’s world, if you belong to the higher class of society, you are likely to not go through any hardships due to your religion. Although, that is not completely true because there have been a lot of events where people were either kicked out or denied to take property at a certain place.

This activity led me to discover a lot of insights into the religious stigma that exists around me. I’d encourage everyone to go and ask people from vulnerable backgrounds about their lives. It serves two purposes. They get to share their sorrows and you become more informed about the situation of the matter.

Taoism- finding your own “way”

Taoism is an ancient Chinese philosophy. This philosophy was supposedly written by Lao Tzu during 500 B.C.E. We don’t know if Lao Tzu existed. We have no living proof of his presence. Taoism is a philosophy that is based on non-doing. Not getting in your way. Respecting the natural flow of this universe. For example, if the force of the river is on the right side then you’d be a fool to swim towards the left side. Taoism is about going with the force of life or with the TAO. Tao is not a god but it’s us all, every living being is a part of the tao.

One of the key things about Taoism is yin & yang. It talks about the balancing force of this universe. Action and non-action, dark and light, hot and cold. Every example has meaning because their opposites exist. There is no action without non-action or no light without dark. This teaches us to accept all things for what they are. Taoism finds power in the natural truths of life. It promotes harmony. When we accept the natural form of this universe, we become one and attain harmony. The tao can’t be explained or held. It can only be felt by letting go.

“Look, but you can’t see it.

Listen, but you can’t hear it.

Reach out, but you can’t touch it.

Invisible,inaudible,intangible.

Elusive.

The one, the tao”.

• Lao Tzu.

What does getting in your way mean? We often second guess our instincts and in some situations that is necessary. Taoism is all about making things simpler rather than complex. Living in the now, acknowledging everything but still detached from it. Creating your own “way”. Inculcating meditation in your life is one way to do it. I can’t stress how much meditation helps in finding yourself. Taoist meditation is a little different from the normal one. It’s more about communicating with your own body.

Like stoicism, Taoism believes in a modest approach to life. If I were to give a personal example, my mind automatically dived toward the future and I wouldn’t even know that it did. It was an automatic reaction that kept happening. But since I’ve come across Taoism, this situation has gotten much better. It has made me more accepting of my habits and given me a “way” to deal with them. You can’t change everything about who you are, you can accept it and get better at dealing with it. Taoism helped me do that. The teachings of Lao Tzu make you go into a state of Nirvana. That state can’t be explained because it is something beyond words. The tao cannot be held or explained. It can only be felt.

What is Tao? It is just this. It cannot be rendered into speech. If you insist on an explanation, This means exactly this.

• Yuan mei

Micro Learning

Micro learning is a form of short-term learning. Micro learning means learning small bits of information at a time that is simple to process. Over the last few years, everyone’s attention span is on a constant decline. In times like these, micro learning is a very efficient way of training people. It has its own pros and cons. It is very time efficient. It’s budget-friendly. It also keeps the learner hooked. But one of the biggest issues with this is that you can’t make people learn complex problems or concepts through this concept. Micro learning is a concept of an oversimplification to reduce the time and effort required to train. It may not be very useful when you aim to teach people complex concepts. In today’s world, we are surrounded by micro learning. Let’s take the internet, for example, a lot of people refer to different creators and sources for their consumption of information. They provide them with a total overview of a particular matter. This overview is rather oversimplified.

People seek political, local and lifestyle news in a simplified way. Short-duration content like reels and shorts or a ted talk are living examples of micro learning. Micro learning is a very good way to teach people small skills that are a means to a different end. For example, teaching someone how to operate a device or how to follow protocols. But it may not be very useful for teaching complex skills like writing, speaking and photography. Micro learning is the new way that people have preferred to learn about things that are relevant to them. If you can give them exactly what they need then it’s also not a very bad career choice. You must have come across many YouTube creators that simplify complex news and provide it to their viewers. That is a form of microlearning. It is a very popular and very effective way of grasping people’s attention.

Importance of seeking a spiritual experience.

I went into the Osho centre expecting a breath of fresh air and a new perspective on life. I had reached my saturation point and was seeking something meaningful. I learned a meditation technique there which changed my life forever. So the process, is that you have to lay down and breathe slower than you usually do. After doing that, you focus on your left leg and try to breathe through it. You move your attention towards the right leg and do the same. That’ll make your legs very light and peaceful. After doing this, you move all your attention to your navel centre which is the centre of your body and breath through it. If you do this correctly then that’ll give you immense harmony and peace. It feels as if all the negative vibrations are leaving your body. After this, you move your focus to your heart and breathe through it. And then from the face. In the end, you try to feel your whole body and try to breathe through your whole body. After this, you reflect on your meditation and take 3 deep breaths.

I’ve been practising this meditation for the last 2 months and it has made me comfortable with myself. I am now more accepting than ever, more confident than ever. It gave me a roadmap to working towards myself. Meditation makes you interact with yourself. When you do that consistently, you become more sure of who you are and what you want in life. I feel if you have clarity in life, everything automatically falls into place. Meditation definitely helped me do that.

I also met people from different walks of life in the centre. Middle-aged people, old people and young people doing completely different things. But doing things at their own pace and getting better at dealing with it every day. I came across a man whose name is Aditya. He is a middle-aged man in his 30s. He is not married and lives alone. In India, more often than not you expect a man in his 30s to be married cause that’s what society dictates. But he was completely free and detached from the social bounds we have. He was an artist working as a freelancer for the last 10 years. His energy was just different from the normal crowd. It was so refreshing to meet someone like that.

I always wanted to inculcate meditation in my life but I never had the discipline to do it until I started going to this centre. Meditation is so helpful for any human being because it makes you more conscious about yourself and when you are self-aware, you tend to make better decisions that affect you and you are aware of your flaws and you respect them. You find a way to deal with your vulnerabilities. I’d encourage my fellow members to go and seek out a spiritual experience free from the bounds of bureaucracy. This experience was personally so therapeutic for me and encouraged me to think in different ways and change my brain pattern towards life. It made me conquer my fear. And the only way to conquer fear is to accept it. I’d leave it at that.

Future of Robotics

Robots may be travelling to strange planets in 2030 and operating on patients from the other side of the earth. One of the areas of technology that is rapidly developing is robotics, which is influencing how people will travel, work, and explore in the future. IoT, AI, and other down side developments are assisting in further elevating the situation. Robotics is home to numerous fascinating discoveries that will be essential to daily living everywhere.

Saul -The Robot.

The robotics sector continues to innovate by fusing artificial intelligence with vision and other sensory technologies. According to the magazine, more recent versions of robots are simpler to set up and programme than older ones. High-tech ocean robots that explore the world beneath the waves, Saul the robot that shoots UV rays at the Ebola virus to kill it, and an AI-controlled therapeutic robot that facilitates more effective communication between patients and healthcare providers to lessen stress are a few noteworthy developments that will occur in 2021.

Cognitively and, in some situations, physically, more human-like. They already coexist with people in factories, warehouses, fast food restaurants, and apparel stores.

Future employees may have a far better future if technologies are developed to support new activities for which people are better suited. While millions of secretaries and typists were undoubtedly made redundant by the widespread use of computers in businesses, new jobs in related areas, such as computer engineers, software engineers, and IT advisors, were also created.

Traditional clothing around the world.

Our clothing represents our culture and way of life and is more than simply a collection of materials that are stitched together to keep us safe. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that communities have utilized clothes over the ages to convey status, mark significant occasions, and demonstrate togetherness, among many other things. And some of them are:

Kebaya -A traditional blouse-dress set known as a kebaya was first worn at the court of the Javanese Majapahit Kingdom. Women in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, southern Thailand, Cambodia, and the southern Philippines all dress in what is known as the national costume of Indonesia.

Shúkà-The Maasai people of southern Kenya and northern Tanzania typically wear sheets wrapped around their bodies, and the Maa name for this is shúkà. The sheeted clothing is generally red, however, occasionally it is combined with other hues and designs like florals or plaid. The Swahili word for one-piece clothing is kanga, and it is widely used.

Agbada-One of the titles for the sweeping, wide-sleeved robe that men in regions of West Africa and North Africa wear is the agbada. Agbada is a name that varies based on the ethnic group but is derived from the Yoruba language. Intricate stitching is typically used to embellish the clothing, which is worn for particular religious or ceremonial occasions. Aso-oke, the weaving fabric of the Yoruba, a significant ethnic group in Nigeria, is used to make several agbadas. To represent the wearer’s own sense of style, the cloth is available in a variety of hues and patterns.

Sari-India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal all historically wear the sari, which is also sometimes written “saree.” The sari is a neutral item of clothing and is mostly worn by women in contemporary fashion. It may be a completely practical item used every day or a family treasure passed down through the years.