Love Animals, Discard Cruelty rather extreme Cruelty: Facts from PETA 

Many animals are friends of human beings. Some animals stay in forests but some stay with human beings known as domestic animals. Domestic animals help us in many ways. Anyway, as for food habits, many human beings eat non-vegetarian foods such as eggs, animals’ meat, birds’ flesh, fish, etc. So, food habit is not the question of discussion but cruelty towards animals in many cases extreme cruelty is highly deplorable. And based on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a few facts are being presented.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), founded in 1863, a not-for-profit association representing more than 99,500 veterinarians in the US, “the human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviours essential to the health and wellbeing of both. This includes, among other things, emotional, psychological, and physical interactions with people, animals, and the environment. The veterinarian’s role in the human-animal bond is to maximize the potentials of this relationship between people and animals”.
Anyway, as a supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), I became very sad and dejected when I see the most awful and cruel videos (also write-up) because of entertainment or for jackets or for other purposes animals are killed or tortured, etc. A few cases from the PETA are presented and full credit goes to PETA.
A) The dogs are collected from different places and kept in a small room, and then a person sends one by one dog from the room with a big stick, another smashes the head of the dog moment it comes out of the room, another person by hanging the dog from a pole cut its body and de-skinned it and thus many dogs are killed for jackets, simply for jackets dogs are killed. If we discard wearing such jackets then to a great extent this issue can be resolved.
B) Because of PETA‘s initiative, “the U.S. Department of Justice has announced the indictments of eight individuals allegedly involved in a monkey-laundering and -smuggling ring that supplied U.S. experimenters with monkeys captured in their forest homes in Cambodia and falsely identified as captive-born”.
D) PETA shared the cruel video about the killing of ducks. These ducks are kept in a small room with little food and litter in the same place. Many ducks become sick and many also die. Anyway, as per the video ‘ducks are stabbed in the neck and their legs cut off for ‘responsible’ down and left to die, unbelievable cruelty.
E) Every year, up to 16 million UK farm animals suffer in cages. Unbearable pain they suffer till their death for which human beings and their greed are responsible.
F) I salute PETA because of PETA’s initiative many dogs were saved. In one experiment, workers used a drill to bore holes into the skulls of 30 beagles so that the distemper virus could be injected directly into their brains. “Some dogs blinked and even whimpered during the painful procedure, and they woke up moaning. In the days that followed, they banged their heads against the walls of the cages, causing blood to spurt from their wounds”. Following PETA’s exposé of the suffering that dogs and cats endured at Liberty, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and State officials cited the company for failing to provide some of the approximately 3,000 animals in its “care” with adequate veterinary care. The laboratory was also suspended from experimenting on animals for three months after its renewal application was denied.
G) For making woollen clothes the way rabbits, sheep, goats, etc., are tortured that is a horrible scene. Extreme cruelty can be observed in the videos.
H) Most shocking and cruel ‘also can be said devils activities by some human beings’ are that babies from the cows are taken away within 24 hours of birth and in many cases, male babies are killed within a few hours (by smashing heads with a hammer) so that all the milk can be consumed by the human beings. We should remember that milk is for her babies and babies are killed for human consumption of cow’s milk.
Many many shocking cruel cases are observed as PETA has been exposing the ‘cruelty of so-called civilized human beings’, and shame to such human beings.
Dr Shankar Chatterjee, Hyderabad

Love Animals, Discard Cruelty rather extreme Cruelty: Facts from PETA 

Many animals are friends of human beings. Some animals stay in forests but some stay with human beings known as domestic animals. Domestic animals help us in many ways. Anyway, as for food habits, many human beings eat non-vegetarian foods such as eggs, animals’ meat, birds’ flesh, fish, etc. So, food habit is not the question of discussion but cruelty towards animals in many cases extreme cruelty is highly deplorable. And based on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a few facts are being presented. 

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), founded in 1863, a not-for-profit association representing more than 99,500 veterinarians in the US, “the human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviours essential to the health and wellbeing of both. This includes, among other things, emotional, psychological, and physical interactions with people, animals, and the environment. The veterinarian’s role in the human-animal bond is to maximize the potentials of this relationship between people and animals”. 

Anyway, as a supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), I became very sad and dejected when I see the most awful and cruel videos (also write-up) because of entertainment or for jackets or for other purposes animals are killed or tortured, etc. A few cases from the PETA are presented and full credit goes to PETA. 

A) The dogs are collected from different places and kept in a small room, and then a person sends one by one dog from the room with a big stick, another smashes the head of the dog moment it comes out of the room, another person by hanging the dog from a pole cut its body and de-skinned it and thus many dogs are killed for jackets, simply for jackets dogs are killed.  If we discard wearing such jackets then to a great extent this issue can be resolved.  

B) Because of PETA‘s initiative, “the U.S. Department of Justice has announced the indictments of eight individuals allegedly involved in a monkey-laundering and -smuggling ring that supplied U.S. experimenters with monkeys captured in their forest homes in Cambodia and falsely identified as captive-born”.

D) PETA shared the cruel video about the killing of ducks. These ducks are kept in a small room with little food and litter in the same place. Many ducks become sick and many also die. Anyway, as per the video ‘ducks are stabbed in the neck and their legs cut off for ‘responsible’ down and left to die, unbelievable cruelty.

E) Every year, up to 16 million UK farm animals suffer in cages. Unbearable pain they suffer till their death for which human beings and their greed are responsible.

F) I salute PETA because of PETA’s initiative many dogs were saved.  In one experiment, workers used a drill to bore holes into the skulls of 30 beagles so that the distemper virus could be injected directly into their brains. “Some dogs blinked and even whimpered during the painful procedure, and they woke up moaning. In the days that followed, they banged their heads against the walls of the cages, causing blood to spurt from their wounds”. Following PETA’s exposé of the suffering that dogs and cats endured at Liberty, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and State officials cited the company for failing to provide some of the approximately 3,000 animals in its “care” with adequate veterinary care. The laboratory was also suspended from experimenting on animals for three months after its renewal application was denied.

G) For making woollen clothes the way rabbits, sheep, goats, etc., are tortured that is a horrible scene. Extreme cruelty can be observed in the videos.

H) Most shocking and cruel ‘also can be said devils activities by some human beings’ are that babies from the cows are taken away within 24 hours of birth and in many cases, male babies are killed within a few hours (by smashing heads with a hammer) so that all the milk can be consumed by the human beings.  We should remember that milk is for her babies and babies are killed for human consumption of cow’s milk.

Many many shocking cruel cases are observed as PETA has been exposing the ‘cruelty of so-called civilized human beings’, and shame to such human beings.

Dr Shankar Chatterjee, Hyderabad

STRATEGIES DEPLOYED… THE 21ST CENTURY SUCCESSFUL CORPORATES

By: Moksha Grover

Image credit: Liknoss

As technology and globalization are expanding, it is formulating a way for new markets to enter and prosper in the consumption economy, beyond rich, industrialized nations. The global economy in the 21st Century is fluctuating extensively, thus bringing new challenges for current and upcoming CEOs. With the introduction of covid pandemic and change in globalization and economy, the strategies used by most of the businesses earlier for successful operations have proved to be complicated and failed in the modern world. It is now important for all businesses to adapt to changes taking place in their environment and take steps accordingly. “To succeed in the long term, companies must compete effectively and outperform their rivals in a dynamic, and often turbulent environment” (Thompson, 1995, p. 1).

Today, the whole global economy is facing the competition between tech and non tech companies. As technology is upgrading and replacing almost all the fields of business, non tech companies are facing a hard time and an uncertain future. Since the covid pandemic, the competition between both these industries has increased significantly. The industry most affected is the non tech industry. It is therefore, critical for businesses to improvise certain strategies in order to function flexibly and improve strategies that don’t work.

There are many strategies that successful corporates are taking up for longer sustainability of their business. Some of the strategies are listed below:

  1. Internationalization of Business: Just with a click on mobile, we’re able to communicate with people living far away, we’re able to share our ideas and spread our talents worldwide through social media and various other platforms. So, why cant we use such profitable platforms for expansion of our business? In the modern world, it is very important for businesses to trade their products internationally for successful operations. Good quality products with low prices are quite attractive for American consumers. If you are a company, which is looking to increase its profits and lower your cost of production, you can buy materials at cheap prices from international markets and also have cheap labour from other countries like china. You can also set up manufacturing units in countries which provide low cost of production. Thus, internationalisation of business will not only assist you in competing with other businesses but will also help you to maximise your profits and enjoy long term benefits.
  2. Technological Impact on Businesses: Its quite astonishing to note the adverse changes in technology. We are living in a technology based society where we need the latest technology for almost everything be it buying or selling. So, business world needs to be updated with latest technology in order to ensure innovation in their businesses so as to sustain and flourish. It is very important for all the CEO’s and business students to demonstrate a deep understanding of technology and adopt the technology which is effective and gives you economic benefits. In the end, the business which gives high level of satisfaction to its consumers, is successful.So, businesses need to keep upgrading their technology for giving satisfaction to their consumers.
  3. Outcome and Input based Businesses: The 21st century does not focus much on input based businesses. Successful businesses in 21st century are mostly outcome based. It is very important for businesses who want to survive in 21st century to revolutionize their business models and to supply outcomes in such a way that it cuts across value chains.
  4. Ecosystem operating vs ruinous competition: The 21st Century encourages businesses working on collaboration rather than businesses entering destructive competitive environment. The lingua franca of a 21CE is non-homogenous “ecosystems”[1]. These are complex specialized networks where employees, suppliers, providers and consumers collaborate to extend the ecosystem beyond the enterprise with one common motive – to weave together a positive customer experience[2].
  5. Personal Strategies: The last but not the least, it is very important for all the CEOs and business students to apply personal strategies in order to raise themselves in productive business environment. Here are some personal strategies that can help you to take your business to a next level: Increasing the speed of your business, embracing new technologies, adopting global thinking and investing in your business for a longer term.

In addition to this, it is very important for all the businesses to operate  in such a way that it does not harm any of the species living on this planet or our environment and also have good CSR activities. People always get attracted and encourage those businesses which are contributing for the betterment of the society and the country as a whole.

There are many changes occurring in our society and our global economy. From all the predictions of great economists, the pace of these changes is likely to increase further. This article highlights five strategies that can help you grow your business further and help in  sustaining your business in this dynamic environment.


[1] Anant Gupta, ‘5 characteristics of a successful 21st-century enterprise’, World Economic Forum (9th October,2015) < https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/10/5-characteristics-of-a-successful-21st-century-enterprise/> accessed 24th December,2021.

[2] Ibid

Insurance

Insurance is generally a financial coverage for the losses which is beared by the person under certain circumstances or we can say that it is a legal agreement between two parties, the two parties include 1) insurer 2) insured .

Insured is defined as the person who is covered against risk while insurer is the company that is providing coverage.

Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels.com

In simple terms if any bad things happen to the person at any time where he/ she is not aware about the situation and not having that much amount or we can say he or she was financially weak then this insurance will help them in her bad situation or mishappening.

What is the importance of insurance?

Insurance help the society for managing their economic growth. Insurance develop financial institutions and reduce uncertainties by improving financial resources.

  1. It provide safety and society to the person in case of any sudden financial loss. It provide financial support to the person and reduce the uncertainties in business and human life . Let take the example that if any accident will happen to anyone’s life then this insurance will help to overcome from the financial loss.
  2. Some insurance plans will help in protecting the dreams of your child in terms of his/ her education. Insurances are make sure that your children are financially strong while pursuing their goals .
  3. There is one type of insurance that is home insurance which help a person when there is any damage to your home the this insurance will help you to get coverage for damages and pay for the cost of repairs, whichever is needed.
  4. It will help your family to maintain the stability of financial growth. If any unfortunate death to the sole earner will happen then the insurance will help to the other family members.
  5. Insurance will help in encourage savings. Everyone need savings in this generation. They saved money for the future needs which help in our education and in other events .

Types of insurance

  1. Health insurance – Health insurance are types of insurance policy that helps to cover the expenses done by the medical care .
  2. Property insurance – Property insurance gives you financial coverage against damage caused to your private property due to fire , earthquake and many other casualties.
  3. Travel insurance – This insurance covers the costs and losses which are incurred while traveling.

HOW INDIAN FARMERS PROTEST TURN INTO A COUNTRY-WIDE MOVEMENT?

By Moksha Grover

In September 2020, three controversial farm laws passed by the Indian government sparked India’s biggest protest in history. Tens of thousands of farmers marched to the capital to protest proposed new legislation and upward of 250 million people around the subcontinent participated in a 24-hour general strike in solidarity[1]. This massive protest gained attention worldwide and led to millions of farmers’ protests worldwide. Between six and ten million people took part in protests in up to sixty countries over the weekend of 15 and 16 February[2]. Some of the largest protests took place in Europe. But what are actually farm laws? Why are farmers so worried? Why are these protests taking place? Let us take a brief understanding of all these points

WHAT ARE THE NEW FARM LAWS AND HOW WILL THEY AFFECT THE FARMERS?

The three farm laws Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 passed by the government last year have become a great source of attention due to farmers’ protests. Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at several Delhi border points since 26 November last year, demanding a repeal of the three farm laws[3]. These laws are said to dismantle the minimum support price system of the farmers and reduce their income. Due to the terms and conditions being handled by big corporate houses, farmers will get a less assured price for their crops, and also the commission agents who pitch in loans for them will be out of business. By weakening the government’s price guarantee system, the laws may end up hurting small and poor farmers, who form 80% of the sector and 23%of those who live below the poverty line, say critics[4]. Because of all these reasons farmers are protesting day and night and demanding a repeal of these laws.  It has now been 1 year since the farmers have been protesting and looking for the government to listen to their demands.

HOW DID FARMER’S PROTEST TURN INTO A PAN INDIA MOVEMENT?

As tens and thousands of farmers came together from different states of Punjab, and Haryana and started their protest by moving toward the capital of the country— New Delhi, they were stopped midway by the authorities from entering India’s capital. So, they started protesting on highways to New Delhi. The farmer’s protest is termed as the biggest protest in the history of the world wherein these farmers are supported by different farmers across the globe and also by big companies and brands like Marks & Spencers, Cover story, etc. Many people are supporting them by giving them food, clothes, money, etc.  There have been trials of talks between farmer unions and the government but the ultimate result of these trials has been failure. Several ministers and leaders from Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) have dismissed these farmers’ protests viewing them as demonstrations by a handful of wheat and rice-growing people only from Punjab and Haryana. This is very wrong on the part of government as government is accountable to all its citizens irrespective of the fact that whether they are just some handful of wheat growing farmers. Further, as the days went on, farmers from other parts of the country galvanized into action by either joining the protest near New Delhi or organizing a series of demonstrations in different states[5].

Besides their demand of withdrawal of the laws, farmers have another demand. Their second demand is that governmet has to pass a law in which they’ll buy all the farm produce at a state set guaranteed price. The new demand gained traction among farmers from across the country, beyond Punjab and Haryana – known as India’s grain belt[6].

UTTAR PRADESH— A STATE IN WHICH FARMER’S WANT TO INTENSIFY THEIR PROTESTS

Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state being home to around 240 million people. As farmer’s protest is being more intensified, the union leaders are turning their gaze towards Uttar Pradesh. Modi’s BJP came to power in Uttar Pradesh in 2017, and the state assembly election is due by early next year[7]. In western Utter Pradesh agriculture is a mainstay and before the state assembly elections, farmer’s union aim to declare Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) as an anti farmer party. To achieve this aim, it is said that farmers will go in every city and town of Uttar Pradesh and convey there to the people about the ignorance followed by Modi government to farmer’s interests. The election in Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 lawmakers, or more than any other state, to parliament in New Delhi, is seen as a barometer of the popularity of the federal government[8]. Farmers now plan to hit the ruling party at the side which will hurt it the most.

HAS THE FARMER’S PROTEST LED TO THE COMING TOGETHER OF HINDU AND MUSLIMS FARMER’S?

In Western Uttar Pradesh, protests from Punjab and Haryana have turned up into a broad base movement. In western Uttar Pradesh, which sends 130 lawmakers to the state assembly, the upper caste landlords from the Jat community and the farmhands who typically come from the lower strands of the rigid Hindu social hierarchy have joined hands to oppose the farm laws[9]. The most remarkable point about this protest is that Hindu and Muslim farmers have come together to fight against the laws put up by the government breaking away all the communal clashes that had taken place between the two communities. It is said that the unity followed by the two communities will hurt the ruling party. However, BJP has denied fanning communal tension.


[1] Nitish Pahwa, ‘India Just Had the Biggest Protest in World History’, Slate (9th December,2020) < https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/12/india-farmer-protests-modi.html> accessed 13th September, 2021.

[2] ‘2020–2021 Indian farmers’ protest’, Wikipedia < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020%E2%80%932021_Indian_farmers%27_protest> accessed 13th September,2021

[3] ‘Explained: What farmers want and why they are protesting’, mint (26th January, 2021) https://www.livemint.com/news/india/what-farmers-want-and-why-they-are-protesting-11611662903629.html accessed 13th September,2021

[4] ‘Why Farmers Are Worried About New Laws; It’s The History’, Bloomerang Quint (2nd December,2020) < https://www.bloombergquint.com/politics/why-farmers-are-worried-about-new-laws-its-the-history> accessed 13th September,2021

[5] Manisha Sen, ‘How Indian farmers’ protest turned into a country-wide movement’, The Sen Times (9th September, 2021) < https://www.tkbsen.in/2021/09/how-indian-farmers-protest-turned-into-a-country-wide-movement/> accessed 13th September,2021.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Mayank Bhardwaj, ‘Explainer: How Indian farmers’ protest turned into a country-wide movement’, Reuters (September 9, 2021) https://www.reuters.com/world/india/how-indian-farmers-protest-turned-into-country-wide-movement-2021-09-09/ accessed 13th September,2021

Tradition is not an obstacle to progress.

Tradition basically means undocumented beliefs and customs that have been passed on from generation to generation,  which we all adhere to in our daily lives either knowingly or unknowingly. It is upto the decision of an individual where to follow traditional values and take them as a lesson or not. Since tradition is unwritten, it gets modified with time to suit the need of the time, but it is a chapter that provides lessons of right and wrong. Adhering to these values doesn’t make us orthodox, it rather makes us more aware of the past, and thus help make right decision. Along with binding  us to our forefathers, it makes our character distinct. In fact tradition are a testimony to our culture and society. While we have modern lifestyle today, one should remember, traditions values are not meant to be erased.

Such is the significance of tradition in our lives, that it can never become an obstacle in progress. It teaches us ways to utilize our time more effectively.The tragedy lies in the fact that usually elders tend to look down upon the younger generation if they don’t adhere to the religious and cultural traits of their parents. This decision should left up to the individual. Moreover, traditional Indian habits like touching the feet of our elders to show respect or visiting the temple with the family on an auspicious occasion are signs of a refined sense of culture, not of backwardness. Tradition cannot be an obstacle.

Photo by Genaro Servu00edn on Pexels.com

Most spoken languages in the world

Knowing this information is essential to understand if you’re planning a global expansion strategy and levelling up in the business world. Additionally, whether in the workplace or personal development, knowledge of more than one language offers us new horizons and the opportunity to expand our cultural understanding.

From the languages that English speakers will find easy to learn, to the more difficult languages, we’ve compiled this all-encompassing list for you based on real data. The German Language is easy to learn, start German Listening

So keep reading to find out what the most spoken languages are.

1. English (1,132 million speakers)

  • Native speakers: 379 million
  • Non-native speakers: 753 million

Like Latin or Greek at the time, English is the universal language of today. It is the default language in international business, tourism, technology, and much more.

A bilingual person, who speaks Spanish and English, can understand 1 in 3 people who connect to the Internet. In addition, he or she can access over 60% of everything published on the web

2. Mandarin (1,117 million speakers)

Mandarin_and_Cantonese.jpg
  • Native speakers: 918 million
  • Non-native speakers: 199 million

Adding native and non-native speakers, Mandarin is the second most widely spoken language in the world. However, it is the first, if only native speakers are taken into account.

Mandarin is not actually a language, but a set of dialects of the Chinese language. What unifies these dialects under the same name is that their speakers can understand each other.

Interestingly, 20% of people who connect to the internet speak Chinese, but only just over 1% of the content available on the web is in the Chinese language.

3. Hindi (615 million speakers)

  • Native speakers: 341 million
  • Non-native speakers: 274 million

Hindi is, along with English, one of the 22 official languages of India, the second most inhabited country in the world. The region’s linguistic diversity (more than 1,600 languages coexist) explains the high rate of non-native speakers who use it as a lingua franca.

4. Spanish (534 million speakers)

Child_in_Mexico_who_can_speak_Spanish.jpg
  • Native speakers: 460 million
  • Non-native speakers: 74 million

Spanish is the second of the most widely spoken languages globally in terms of the number of native speakers. In addition, it is the most spoken of the Romance languages, and is the third most used on the internet.

Its enormous colonial expansion took it not only to America, but also to Africa and Asia. Due to migration, the United States is the second country with the largest number of Spanish speakers in the world.

5. French (280 million speakers)

  • Native speakers: 77 million
  • Non-native speakers: 203 million

Colonialism allowed French to spread throughout the world. Today it is the official language of 29 countries on different continents.

If English is the language of business, French is considered the language of culture. Its enormous importance is also reflected in the fact that it is the third language with the largest number of non-native speakers.

6. Arabic (274 million speakers)

Walking_towards_Egyptian_pyramids_Arabic_language.jpg
  • Native speakers: 245 million
  • Non-native speakers: 29 million

Arabic is the official language of 26 countries. Due to this territorial coverage, it is actually a set of dialects. It is also the liturgical language of Islam.

It is not only the language that treasures the enormous cultural legacy of the Arab world, but also a necessary tool for the field of business in that region of the world.

7. Bengali (265 million speakers)

  • Native speakers: 228 million
  • Non-native speakers: 37 million

Bengali is the official language of Bangladesh. In addition, people speak it in some areas of India and Burma. It may come as a surprise that a language spoken in such a small territory appears in a list of the most spoken languages in the world. However, it makes sense when you think about the population density of that region.

8. Russian (258 million speakers)

  • Native speakers: 154 million
  • Non-native speakers: 104 million

Less surprising is the inclusion of Russian among the most widely spoken languages globally if we think about Russian history and territories. It is the official language of four countries, but people also speak it in all those part of the former Soviet Union. It is the language with the largest number of native speakers in all of Europe.

9. Portuguese (234 million speakers)

Christ_the_redeemer_Brazil_Portuguese_language.jpg
  • Native speakers: 221 million
  • Non-native speakers: 13 million

Portuguese is another of the languages that expanded in the European colonial period. Today it’s the official language of nine countries divided between Europe, America, Africa and Asia. Brazil is the largest country out of those nine and has the most amount of Portuguese speakers. In addition, it is the most widely spoken language in the southern hemisphere.

10. Indonesian (198 million speakers)

  • Native speakers: 43 million
  • Non-native speakers: 155 million

Bahasa Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world. Peculiarly, it’s not the native language of most of its speakers. Rather, it’s a second language necessary for mutual understanding in a country with more than 200 languages.

Top 20 Languages are as follows

1 English 1.5 B

2 Mandarin Chinese 1.1 B

3 Hindi 602.2 M

4 Spanish 548.3 M

5 French 274.1 M

6 Standard Arabic 274.0 M

7 Bengali 272.7 M

8 Russian 258.2 M

9 Portuguese 257.7 M

10 Urdu 231.3 M

11 Indonesian 199.0 M

12 Standard German 134.6 M

13 Japanese 125.4 M

14 Nigerian Pidgin 120.7 M

15 Marathi 99.1 M

16 Telugu 95.7 M

17 Turkish 88.1 M

18 Tamil 86.4 M

19 Yue Chinese 85.6 M

20 Vietnamese 85.3 M

“Web series the new craze”

Photo by Samson Katt on Pexels.com

A web series is a series of online videos that can either be scripted or non- scripted. They first came into existence in late 1990’s with first web series being released on April 1995 , the series was “Global Village Idiots” it was an episode of Bloomington, Indiana based public access program Rox, it was uploaded to the internet on the show’s website at rox.com thus making it the first such series which was distributed via web. The series got a huge popularity at that time thus calling it out as the real impact of digital revolution in pop culture.

But web series gained more popularity in early 2000s and since then they are continuously gaining popularity. The reason behind there increasing popularity is that they are available on a range of platforms and devices including desktop , laptop , tablets and smartphones and by being online they have chance of being by the other country audience as well thus making them extremely popular or go viral. A web series is a group or series of videos and its one video or single instance is called as a “episode” or “webisode” .

WORKFORCE EXPLOITATION DURING COVID PANDEMIC

By Moksha Grover

Exploitation of workers is a very common phenomena followed by many employers since a long time in several countries across the globe. This covid pandemic has mainly impacted and increased the rates of child labour and forced laboures. Reports provided by agricultural farms and slaughterhouses, where most of the workforce exploitation is of migrant workers are really horrific. Many workers have been subjected to loose their employment and income. As a result, these affected groups are often subjected to discrimination. These affected groups are mostly children, women, people working in informal sector, religious minorities, LGBTQ community, refugees etc.

There is clearly a need to stop labour exploitation and ensure all the workers have safe working conditions and adequate pay. It is important to ensure that exploitation of workers does not become a ‘new normal’ in this pandemic.

REDUCED INCOME

This pandemic has led to the reduce in income of many households. Many rich business owners have been declared as bankrupt. As a result, many companies have reduced the income of their workers as well as terminated many people from their company to maximize their profits thus, leading to the loss of employment and income. Due to these circumstances, the overall world has seen an increase in social issues like poverty. According to Asia–Pacific Employment and Social Outlook 2020: Navigating the crisis towards a human-centred future of work  estimates, the economic backlash of the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out some 81 million jobs in 2020[1]. Due to this reduction in income and loss of employment, many workers have been found carrying a hangover of debt as many had taken loans from friends and other sources and because of the loss they suffered by the pandemic, they were not able to pay back what they had borrowed.

OVERWORKING OF REDUCED WORKFORCE

As a consequence of loss of employment and increased production in certain industries, many people have to work overtime and many have suffered overloads of work. Many of them don’t even get breaks in between their work and are made to work continuously due to reduced labour.      Because of poverty, they even have to work and cannot leave their work due to their helplessness. These labourers are meeting additional pressures to meet their targets and many of them don’t even get good working conditions. Having limited access to healthcare, sanitation, drinking water further increases their vulnerability.

EMPLOYMENT DECEPTION AND FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION

Many people having the hope to have better job opportunities visited countries like USA, UK. However, this sense of job security was sabotaged as when they later reached these countries, they found that these jobs actually didn’t exist. This organised criminal deception represents a worrying trend, given tighter visa restrictions following Brexit, which may encourage workers without employment to seek jobs in the informal economy, with a higher risk of exploitative conditions[2].

In this pandemic, businesses also suffered a lot with respect to high costs they incurred on purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as setting up the systems of offline work in their office and formulating new procedures and guidelines ranging from new health and safety protocols to new audit report systems. Also, while audits into supply chains have continued, these were taken up from a long distance without physical contact which limited businesses’ oversight of their suppliers.

RISKS FOR THOSE ALREADY IN SITUATIONS OF LABOUR EXPLOITATION AND FOR SURVIVORS— MIGRANT WORKERS

People those who are marginalized, discriminated against, and impoverished are at greater risk of exploitation. However, due to this pandemic, they are even at a greater risk of exploitation with inadequate healthcare and some essential facilities. Due to restricted movement including the border closures and travel disruptions during the pandemic, these workers are not even able to return to their hometowns. This is the case with migrant workers. These workers often live in poorly sanitized and unhygienic labour camps and due to inadequate healthcare facilities, they are prone to health risks. And because of this pandemic they are not able to return home. They go to different lands to earn money but often become the victims of exploitation due to any social or religious factor. the sudden announcement of the pandemic left 13 crore migrants with no way to return home and no money in India. When the lockdown got relaxed, many employers got worried about the shortage of labour and whether these migrant workers will return back. However, when these labourers returned back, none of the employers were concerned about their health and facilities. As a result of all these consequences, many people are now facing mental health issues thus, increasing the cases of mental health risks.

CHILD LABOUR

This economic and social crisis is predicted to particularly affect children. An estimated 42-66 million children could fall into extreme poverty as a result of the crisis this year, adding to the estimated 386 million children already in extreme poverty in 2019[3]. Before this pandemic, there was an improvement in child labour almost in all countries around the world. Many children had started going to school and educating themselves. But due to this pandemic, everything got disrupted. The whole education system became online and those who were not able to afford this system unfortunately, had to give up on their studies. This led to thousands of children leaving schools and working as forced labourers.

Due to this pandemic, many households have fallen into extreme poverty as a result, they force their children into child labour. Children who belong to marginalised communities, are disabled or homeless are more prone to indulge in child labour. In addition to being forced in child labour, many children, mostly girls are also burdened with increased household responsibilities and domestic chores.

REPUROPOSING AND INNOVATING OPERATIONS

It is very important to stop labour exploitation and take necessary measures and steps in order to prevent this exploitation. Following steps and measures can be taken to stop workforce exploitation.

  • Ensuring workers, a regular and good pay should be made essential for all the companies and organizations.
  • Job security should be given to all the employees.
  • Government should take adequate measures and frame policies in support of all the labourers and workers and ensure safe working conditions for them.
  • In the wake of this pandemic, all the organisations and companies should provide all its workers with personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Overloading of work and overtime of workers should be avoided.
  • Working in collaboration with educational institutions for the purpose of boosting re-enrolment and avoiding children engaging in child labour.
  • Migrant workers who have been confined to a workplace and are subjected to forced labour should be rescued.

CONCLUSION

In this pandemic, there is a risk of labour exploitation to become the ‘new normal’. The poor labourers are forced to work in informal sectors and face exploitation due to the lack of sources and income. If this issue is not controlled now, it would be very difficult to control it in future. There should be appropriate measures taken to help all the workers who are at a risk of this exploitation and for those who are already facing this exploitation.


[1] ‘81 million jobs lost as COVID-19 creates turmoil in Asia-Pacific labour markets’, International Labour Organization (15th December,2020) https://www.ilo.org/asia/media-centre/news/WCMS_763819/lang–en/index.htm> accessed 21st September,2021

[2] Dr Oana Burcu, ‘Evaluating the risk of labour exploitation among migrant workers in the UK during Covid-19’, University of Nottingham < https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/vision/evaluating-the-risk-of-labour-exploitation> accessed 21st September,2021.

[3] ‘COVID-19 impact on child labour and forced labour: The response of the IPEC+ Flagship Programme’, International Labour Organization (May,2020) < https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@ed_norm/@ipec/documents/publication/wcms_745287.pdf> accessed 21st Septemer,2021

Property frauds and how to stop them?

Property frauds are majorly done in the form of mortgage frauds. Mortgage frauds in India are very common now. It is to a degree where it’s started to become a problem. Committing a mortgage fraud in India is very simple. Let’s first understand what is a mortgage? So, a mortgage is a loan approved by a bank for housing purposes. A mortgage loan is very common in India . A lot of people apply for mortgage loans. Because it’s so prevalent, there are a lot of mortgage frauds that have been taking place over the past few years.

A man named Rajiv rathee forged property documents to mortgage the same property with six different banks cheating them of a whopping 7 crore. One of the major reasons for the regular occurrence of mortgage fraud is an equitable mortgage. An equitable mortgage is a simple way of getting a mortgage loan. But one of the major drawbacks of an equitable mortgage is that it doesn’t have any public records. So any charges that are mentioned in the equitable mortgage cannot be seen by the public or the bank, unlike a registered mortgage.

Equitable mortgage is a major issue and should be looked into and rectified as soon as possible. Overvaluation of the property also leads to mortgage fraud. It is very simple to present an overvalued sum of the property to get a higher amount of loans. The banks should take measures to cross-check the valuation of the property. There are legal remedies in place to ensure that the bank recovers from the loss because of fraud. But there should be proper measures in place so that the fraud doesn’t happen in the first place.

The first thing that a bank can do is educate its staff. The staff should be able to understand the red flags of mortgage fraud so that they can identify them when they see one. The lender should always check the identity of the person. He should make sure all his identity documents match and are original. The lender should make sure to take the consent of all the joint holders of a property. The lender should cross-check every document and important details. A bank should be able to identify if a property is overvalued to commit fraud. These are some of the ways by which a bank can ensure that a mortgage fraud doesn’t happen.

China’s Debt Trap Diplomacy in Africa

China initiated trade relations with African countries way back in 1970. Their motive was primarily strategic, i.e., creating new allies and expanding its global influence against the west, mainly the United States. African countries are the perfect victims of China’s predatory lending policies. They are capital-poor and are desperate for an influx of investments to grow and compete with the Western world.

The goal of the African Continental Free Trade Area was to break away from its colonial routes and begin trading and competing with various countries from different continents. However, the most significant benefit of this FTA was reaped by Communist China and its crony-capitalist policies. China expands its network through this FTA through new loans, trade deals, and military support. Chinese companies are dominating transportation and infrastructural development projects in Africa. According to a McKinsey Africa report, about 50% of Africa’s engineering, procurement, and construction contracts were given to Chinese companies. Africa’s extractive economy depends on its natural resources, raw materials, and primary goods. Low production values and infrastructure gap in Africa force African countries to export these commodities to China to be converted into finished goods and imported back to Africa. China also lends money to African nations to create infrastructure and improve connectivity. African countries give China exclusive access to their resources, like mining rights in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aims to improve regional integration, increase international trade, and stimulate economic growth by connecting Asia, Africa, and Europe via land and sea. The BRI is often referred to as “debt trap diplomacy.” China appears to be giving emerging countries questionable loans for growth capital to strategically use the recipient country’s debt to China for economic, military, or political gain. The ownership swap of Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port, in which China has forgiven Sri Lanka’s massive debt in exchange for a long-term lease of the port in 2017, is a well-known example of this.

Why Loans from China?

Using confidentiality clauses, China seems to be very secretive in its lending policies. It offers far less transparency compared to international lending agencies such as IMF. China must use more competitive interest rates compared to these organizations for African countries to so enthusiastically borrow from them.

What Might Happen in Case of Default?

As in the case of Kenya’s multi-billion dollar railway project and Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port, China seizes control over these assets, i.e., all the revenue generated from the operations of these projects is credited to China’s EXIM bank. There is no formal judicial process in case of loan default as it is in international organizations and other Western countries. The secret contracts enable the Chinese Exim Bank to control these assets.

Does China overlook human rights violations and labor exploitation when giving loans that other countries may not overlook? Is this ethical?

Most of Africa missed out on the industrial revolution. Therefore, the lack of capital accumulation and the lack of growth (as stated by various development economists such as Solow, Meade, and Robinson)  has been the primary cause of the backwardness of most African economies. This has resulted in the backwardness of physical and human capital in education, skill, and health. China saw the potential to exploit cheap and abundant labor in Africa. More liberal Western countries lean towards protecting employees and safe working conditions. However, a country like China is ruthless when capitalizing on the low labor cost for procurement and activities.

The ethics dimension of the Africa-China relationship is always under question. It can be compared to how the Europeans ruthlessly colonized African, Asian, and Latin American countries and exploited their resources and manpower for their gains. There are both advantages and limitations to China’s lending policies toward Africa. On the upside, countries are moving towards a stage of economic development with capital accumulation and mobility. At the same time, on the downside, prosperity is still not very high due to exploitation.

Everyone wants to become prosperous fast, but is it possible? Should countries live within their means?

There is no congruence between the growth of Africa and that of the rest of the world. However, there is a fine line between growth, development, and prosperity. A country can grow economically, but it may not be developing. A country may be developing, but it may not be prosperous. African nations must keep in mind that improving prosperity is a gradual process. Upliftment is of the poor takes time. According to Gunnar Myrdal’s theory of Circular Causation, there is a backwash effect between China and Africa which means that savings are gradually being siphoned off from poor regions to richer ones.

In the 21st century, countries can’t live within their means. A state of complete autarky can not lift a nation from economic backwardness. A country needs investments and the accumulation of capital to grow. Citing another development economics theory, namely “The Big Push Theory” given by Rodenstein Rodan, a large amount of minimum investment is required to overcome development obstacles in an underdeveloped economy to set it on the path of development. This is where China plays a vital role. China brings in high amounts of investments to push African Economies towards the course of development. International Lending Agencies and Western Countries may be hesitant to invest a significant amount in such emerging countries.

How much leverage is acceptable?

China’s primary aim in Africa is to create allies. African nations risk losing control of their assets due to leverage. However, African countries don’t have many alternatives. Even they need to progress to meet their domestic consumption requirements and increase their international competency. That said, they can not keep increasing their debt just because there are no judicial ramifications. The only thing at stake is the control of assets, which Africans use daily to earn their bread. From Africa’s point of view, a high level of external debt to China is not wrong because of the conditions and clauses involved in their lending. The fact that 88% of Djibouti’s GDP stems from Chinese investments reflects that China has an overwhelming contribution to the economy of such nations. Such a high debt to GDP ratio is not sustainable for any country, and this should serve as an example to other African nations to keep a check on borrowings and the terms and conditions laid out in the contract of loans taken from Chinese institutions.

What sort of reforms and fiscal discipline are required for a strong economy?

Fiscal discipline necessitates governments maintaining fiscal positions compatible with macroeconomic stability and long-term growth. Excessive borrowing and debt buildup should be avoided for this reason. At the same time, authorities must be cautious when it comes to attaining resource allocation and distributional goals and smoothing out output fluctuations. Creating financial buffers is also necessary to respond to both unpleasant shocks and predictable fiscal pressures, such as those caused by high levels of population growth.

The track record of fiscal management in achieving these many goals has been uneven. Weak fiscal discipline, which reflects deficit and debt sustainability issues, has frequently jeopardized stability and growth and, in the worst situations, has resulted in economic and financial disasters. Furthermore, while output stability would necessitate countercyclical fiscal policy, governments tend to favor procyclical discretionary expenditure increases and tax cuts when the economy is performing well. While the countercyclical fiscal policy may be beneficial in “hard times,” urgent deficit and debt sustainability issues make such policy difficult, if not impossible. Procyclicality becomes a significant underlying factor of poor budgetary discipline in good times.

Budgetary discipline is required to maintain overall economic stability, reduce susceptibilities, and improve economic performance. If governments are to benefit from the opportunities provided by increasingly free trade and open capital markets to improve their long-term economic prospects, fiscal discipline is required. They must, however, decrease their exposure to market sentiment fluctuations and capital flow volatility to reduce the likelihood of debt crises.

How can the global community help small, vulnerable countries? Can some frameworks be put in place to control the predatory instincts of China?

For emerging countries, the current structure of international economic organizations has proven insufficient. A positive examination focused on equity, sustainability, and social prosperity is required. Essential international organizations must be reconfigured to reflect inclusion and representative coverage now that different leaders are at the table. Allowing the African Union to join an expanded Group of Twenty (G20) would act as a catalyst, reshaping global policy and allowing for a more inclusive and sustainable world. African and other countries must look for alternatives that would allow them to be independent, as Western and Chinese policy initiatives have shown that their operations do not benefit the host countries.

Concluding Remarks

The credit line extended to other emerging countries is predatory, not benevolent. To begin with, the contracts with the host countries are murky. Contracts frequently include stipulations ensuring that contracts for infrastructure projects are awarded to Chinese businesses and that the labor engaged in these projects is Chinese rather than local. These contracts ensure that a considerable portion of the money returns to China. As manufacturing possibilities decline in China, the country’s large labor force is repurposed and does not become a burden on the Chinese economy.

In many ways, the plan is comparable to what Imperial Britain achieved by establishing colonies, albeit more subtle and with minor tweaks as the CCP adapts it for the twenty-first century. While initially appealing to poorer countries, China’s offering to fund infrastructure projects frequently becomes a trap for them. The projects do not generate enough cash for the host countries to repay their debts to China. China collects its debt by seizing control of the host country’s essential infrastructure, giving it a long-term strategic advantage. These countries’ only hope is that China agrees to rework the contracts, which China typically refuses to do.

China’s Debt Trap Diplomacy in Africa

China initiated trade relations with African countries way back in 1970. Their motive was primarily strategic, i.e., creating new allies and expanding its global influence against the west, mainly the United States. African countries are the perfect victims of China’s predatory lending policies. They are capital-poor and are desperate for an influx of investments to grow and compete with the Western world.

The goal of the African Continental Free Trade Area was to break away from its colonial routes and begin trading and competing with various countries from different continents. However, the most significant benefit of this FTA was reaped by Communist China and its crony-capitalist policies. China expands its network through this FTA through new loans, trade deals, and military support. Chinese companies are dominating transportation and infrastructural development projects in Africa. According to a McKinsey Africa report, about 50% of Africa’s engineering, procurement, and construction contracts were given to Chinese companies. Africa’s extractive economy depends on its natural resources, raw materials, and primary goods. Low production values and infrastructure gap in Africa force African countries to export these commodities to China to be converted into finished goods and imported back to Africa. China also lends money to African nations to create infrastructure and improve connectivity. African countries give China exclusive access to their resources, like mining rights in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aims to improve regional integration, increase international trade, and stimulate economic growth by connecting Asia, Africa, and Europe via land and sea. The BRI is often referred to as “debt trap diplomacy.” China appears to be giving emerging countries questionable loans for growing capital to strategically use the recipient country’s debt to China for economic, military, or political gain. The ownership swap of Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port, in which China has forgiven Sri Lanka’s massive debt in exchange for a long-term lease of the port in 2017, is a well-known example of this.

Why Loans from China?

Using confidentiality clauses, China seems to be very secretive in its lending policies. It offers far less transparency compared to international lending agencies such as IMF. China must use more competitive interest rates compared to these organizations for African countries to so enthusiastically borrow from them.

What Might Happen in Case of Default?

As in the case of Kenya’s multi-billion dollar railway project and Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port, China seizes control over these assets, i.e., all the revenue generated from the operations of these projects is credited to China’s EXIM bank. There is no formal judicial process in case of loan default as it is in international organizations and other Western countries. The secret contracts enable the Chinese Exim Bank to control these assets.

Does China overlook human rights violations and labor exploitation when giving loans that other countries may not overlook? Is this ethical?

Most of Africa missed out on the industrial revolution. Therefore, the lack of capital accumulation and the lack of growth (as stated by various development economists such as Solow, Meade, and Robinson) have been the primary cause of the backwardness of most African economies. This has resulted in the backwardness of physical and human capital in education, skill, and health. China saw the potential to exploit cheap and abundant labor in Africa. More liberal Western countries lean towards protecting employees and safe working conditions. However, a country like China is ruthless when capitalizing on the low labor cost for procurement and activities.

The ethics dimension of the Africa-China relationship is always under question. It can be compared to how the Europeans ruthlessly colonized African, Asian, and Latin American countries and exploited their resources and manpower for their gains. There are both advantages and limitations to China’s lending policies toward Africa. On the upside, countries are moving towards a stage of economic development with capital accumulation and mobility. At the same time, on the downside, prosperity is still not very high due to exploitation.

Everyone wants to become prosperous fast, but is it possible? Should countries live within their means?

There is no congruence between the growth of Africa and that of the rest of the world. However, there is a fine line between growth, development, and prosperity. A country can grow economically, but it may not be developing. A country may be developing, but it may not be prosperous. African nations must keep in mind that improving prosperity is a gradual process. Upliftment of the poor takes time. According to Gunnar Myrdal’s theory of Circular Causation, there is a backwash effect between China and Africa which means that savings are gradually being siphoned off from poor regions to richer ones.

In the 21st century, countries can’t live within their means. A state of complete autarky can not lift a nation from economic backwardness. A country needs investments and the accumulation of capital to grow. Citing another development economics theory, namely “The Big Push Theory” given by Rodenstein Rodan, a large amount of minimum investment is required to overcome development obstacles in an underdeveloped economy to set it on the path of development. This is where China plays a vital role. China brings in high amounts of investments to push African Economies towards the course of development. International Lending Agencies and Western Countries may be hesitant to invest a significant amount in such emerging countries.

How much leverage is acceptable?

China’s primary aim in Africa is to create allies. African nations risk losing control of their assets due to leverage. However, African countries don’t have many alternatives. Even they need to progress to meet their domestic consumption requirements and increase their international competency. That said, they can not keep increasing their debt just because there are no judicial ramifications. The only thing at stake is the control of assets, which Africans use daily to earn their bread. From Africa’s point of view, a high level of external debt to China is not wrong because of the conditions and clauses involved in their lending. The fact that 88% of Djibouti’s GDP stems from Chinese investments reflects that China has an overwhelming contribution to the economy of such nations. Such a high debt to GDP ratio is not sustainable for any country, and this should serve as an example to other African nations to keep a check on borrowings and the terms and conditions laid out in the contract of loans taken from Chinese institutions.

What sort of reforms and fiscal discipline are required for a strong economy?

Fiscal discipline necessitates governments maintaining fiscal positions compatible with macroeconomic stability and long-term growth. Excessive borrowing and debt buildup should be avoided for this reason. At the same time, authorities must be cautious when it comes to attaining resource allocation and distributional goals and smoothing out output fluctuations. Creating financial buffers is also necessary to respond to both unpleasant shocks and predictable fiscal pressures, such as those caused by high levels of population growth.

The track record of fiscal management in achieving these many goals has been uneven. Weak fiscal discipline, which reflects deficit and debt sustainability issues, has frequently jeopardized stability and growth and, in the worst situations, has resulted in economic and financial disasters. Furthermore, while output stability would necessitate countercyclical fiscal policy, governments tend to favor procyclical discretionary expenditure increases and tax cuts when the economy is performing well. While the countercyclical fiscal policy may be beneficial in “hard times,” urgent deficit and debt sustainability issues make such policy difficult, if not impossible. Procyclicality becomes a significant underlying factor of poor budgetary discipline in good times.

Budgetary discipline is required to maintain overall economic stability, reduce susceptibilities, and improve economic performance. If governments are to benefit from the opportunities provided by increasingly free trade and open capital markets to improve their long-term economic prospects, fiscal discipline is required. They must, however, decrease their exposure to market sentiment fluctuations and capital flow volatility to reduce the likelihood of debt crises.

How can the global community help small, vulnerable countries? Can some frameworks be put in place to control the predatory instincts of China?

For emerging countries, the current structure of international economic organizations has proven insufficient. A positive examination focused on equity, sustainability, and social prosperity is required. Essential international organizations must be reconfigured to reflect inclusion and representative coverage now that different leaders are at the table. Allowing the African Union to join an expanded Group of Twenty (G20) would act as a catalyst, reshaping global policy and allowing for a more inclusive and sustainable world. African and other countries must look for alternatives that would allow them to be independent, as Western and Chinese policy initiatives have shown that their operations do not benefit the host countries.

Concluding Remarks

The credit line extended to other emerging countries is predatory, not benevolent. To begin with, the contracts with the host countries are murky. Contracts frequently include stipulations ensuring that contracts for infrastructure projects are awarded to Chinese businesses and that the labor engaged in these projects is Chinese rather than local. These contracts ensure that a considerable portion of the money returns to China. As manufacturing possibilities decline in China, the country’s large labor force is repurposed and does not become a burden on the Chinese economy.

In many ways, the plan is comparable to what Imperial Britain achieved by establishing colonies, albeit more subtle and with minor tweaks as the CCP adapts it for the twenty-first century. While initially appealing to poorer countries, China’s offering to fund infrastructure projects frequently becomes a trap for them. The projects do not generate enough cash for the host countries to repay their debts to China. China collects its debt by seizing control of the host country’s essential infrastructure, giving it a long-term strategic advantage. These countries’ only hope is that China agrees to rework the contracts, which China typically refuses to do.

Birth tribute to Sri Aurobindo: 15 August 2022

India is celebrating 75 years of independence under the banner of Azadi ki Mohotsav.  We are enjoying ourselves, we are celebrating in a joyous mood but we did not get this Azadi / Independence easily. Many people sacrificed their lives, many were physically tortured and crippled, and also many women were assaulted. There are numerous cases of heinous crimes inflicted upon to Indians by the British Raj.  Indians salute all of them and will continue generations after generations. It is also sad that in the school textbooks a few names and their family members’ names are highlighted as if for their sacrifice we have got independence. Here, I am presenting a case of a great freedom fighter who later on became a spiritual leader but was not widely known to many Indians (my observations). He is Sri Aurobindo earlier known as Aurobindo Ghosh.

Sri Aurobindo, the original name was Aurobindo Ghose, (Aurobindo also spelled Aravinda) was born on 15 August 1872, in Calcutta /Kolkata. “ Although his family was Bengali, his father believed British culture to be superior. He and his two elder siblings were sent to the English-speaking Loreto House boarding school in Darjeeling, in part to improve their language skills. Darjeeling was a center of Anglo-Indians in India and the school was run by Irish nuns” (wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Aurobindo). Later on, “he was sent to England for further schooling. He entered the University of Cambridge, where he became proficient in two classical and several modern European languages. After returning to India in 1892, he held various administrative and professorial posts in Baroda (Vadodara) and Calcutta (Kolkata).  Turning to his native culture, he began the serious study of Yoga and Indian languages, including classical Sanskrit” (britannica.com/biography/Sri-Aurobindo). After that slowly he became a revolutionary. The Partition of Bengal in 1905 led to a general outburst which helped the rise of the extremist party and the great nationalist movement. The British Government dealt with severe repressive measures against the ‘Swadeshi Agitation’. “In 1908, Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki attempted to kill Magistrate Kingsford, a judge known for handing down severe sentences against nationalists. However, the bomb thrown at his horse carriage missed its target and instead landed in another carriage and killed two British women, the wife, and daughter of barrister Pringle Kennedy. Aurobindo was also arrested for planning and overseeing the attack and imprisoned in solitary confinement in Alipore Jail. The trial of the Alipore Bomb Case lasted for a year, but eventually, he was acquitted on 6 May 1909. His defense counsel was Chittaranjan Das” (wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Aurobindo). Anyway, the British administration was after him for silly issues they were after him. In view of this, he finally decided to go to Pondicherry, now Puducherry, a French colony (until 1954). In Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo dedicated himself to his spiritual and philosophical activities. During this period, one French lady  Mirra Alfassa popularly known as The Mother greatly supported him.  “When the Sri Aurobindo Ashram was formed in November 1926, Sri Aurobindo entrusted its full material and spiritual charge to the Mother. Under her guidance, which continued for nearly fifty years, the Ashram grew into a large, many-faceted spiritual community” (sriaurobindoashram.org/mother). Before conclusion, a few paragraphs written by Sri Aurobindo himself, in 1934 are presented here.

“All beings are united in that One Self and Spirit but divided by a certain separability of consciousness, an ignorance of their true Self and Reality in the mind, life, and body. It is possible by a certain psychological discipline to remove this veil of separative consciousness and become aware of the true Self, the Divinity within us and all. Evolution is the method by which it liberates itself; consciousness appears in what seems to be inconscient, and once having appeared is self-impelled to grow higher and higher and at the same time to enlarge and develop towards greater and greater perfection. Life is the first step of this release of consciousness; the mind is the second; but the evolution does not finish with the mind, it awaits a release into something greater, a consciousness that is spiritual and supramental. The next step of the evolution must be towards the development of the Supermind and Spirit as the dominant power in the conscious being. Only then will the involved Divinity in things release itself entirely and it become possible for life to manifest perfection” (auroville.org/page/sri-aurobindos-teaching-and-spiritual-method).

On his (Sri Aurobindo) birthday on 15 August 2022, Pronam to yogi, seer, philosopher, poet, and Indian nationalist who propounded a philosophy of divine life on earth through spiritual evolution.

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The cow in the field

Credits- dreamstine stock photos.

A farmer is in deep worry because his prize cow has wandered somewhere. The farmer expresses his concern to a milkman. The milkman reassures him not to worry because he has seen the cow nearby. The farmer tries to look for the cow in the nearby field, he sees a large shape that is black & white. He is relieved to see the cow. He visits the field just to be sure the cow is there. The cow is there, but to his surprise, the cow was hiding inside a bush of trees. The black & white thing that he saw was just a big piece of paper. This raises the question: was the farmer right when he said the cow is in the field?

The cow in the field is a classic example of the Gettier problem. It was discovered by Edmund Gettier in 1963. According to Plato, for anyone to attain knowledge, three conditions must be satisfied. Belief, truth and justification. So if a person believes something to be true and can provide a justification for it, he has attained knowledge. The three conditions are called tripartite of knowledge. Edmund believed this theory is wrong. He gave two reasons to prove it wrong. While justification is present, the justification is fallible because there is a possibility that the belief could end up being false. This means that our justification for the truth can be wrong because sometimes the source of our information can be false. Each problem features luck. In all of Gettier’s problems, the belief becomes justified; however, it is due to the presence of pure luck.

Gettier attempted to fix the tripartite theory of knowledge. he came up with 4 theories. Now instead of 3 conditions, he believed knowledge had an extra condition. The four theories are:

1. No False Belief condition: this theory states a belief cannot be based on a false belief. For example, someone at the cake you ordered the night. They ordered another cake for you. When you woke up in the morning, you saw the cake and you didn’t notice that it’s not the same cake you ordered. You think it’s the same cake.

2. Causal connection condition: Between knowledge and belief, there has to be a causal connection. For example, Rohit believes that Pratham is in the room because he saw him in the room. But in reality, he saw his twin brother Latham in the room. Although Pratham was also in the room Rohit didn’t see him. That’s why Rohit’s reasoning is wrong. According to causal connection, Rohit shouldn’t be able to prove that Pratham’s in the room cause he didn’t see him

3. Conclusive reasons conditions: A reason for belief must exist that would not exist if the belief were false. For example, you know a softie is in front of you because there is a softie in front of you.

4. Defeasibility condition: This states that as long as there is no contrary evidence, a belief is known. In the scenario with Rohit, Pratham and Latham. Rohit is entitled to say Pratham is in the room because he doesn’t know evidence pointing to the contrary.

‘Her’

She had some dreams- enormous and small but someone tried to kill them all. That someone was no one else but she. For she never had the fortitude to set herself free.

Free from every fear that curtailed her to move ahead, free from the fear of the past, the present and the future, free from the opinions of outer community.

But soon she realised that she had wings to fly and the power to kiss the sky. So the dreams became alive again and she began to thrive In order for them all to survive.

– Isha Chawla

AIR POLLUTION – A GLOBAL ISSUE

Introduction: One of the significant global threats to our health and food safety is air pollution. Air contamination kills around 3.7 million individuals all throughout the world and makes sufficient harm to crops. It is mainly caused by smoke and other harmful gases, fundamentally oxides of carbon, nitrogen, and furthermore sulphur. It is the presence of a substance in the environment that can make hurt human health and furthermore other living creatures on this planet. The sources for air pollution can be divided into two significant categories: 

•Anthropogenic (human-made sources): are for the most part identified with the consumption of fuel. This may likewise incorporate little sources other than ignition like exhaust of paint, hair splash, and different solvents. Military assets, for example, atomic weapons additionally go under this kind of contamination. 

•Natural sources: This might incorporate normal causes, for example, volcanic ejections and woodland fires likewise dust from huge spaces of land with little vegetation.

Ambient air pollution: An expected 4.2 million deaths each year are ascribed to ambient air pollution because of stroke, coronary illness, cellular breakdown in the lungs, and persistent respiratory infections. Around 91% of the total population lives in regions where air quality levels surpass WHO guidelines. While both developed and agricultural nations are influenced by fine particulate matter, low-and middle pay nations bear the biggest weight, with the best conceivable cost in the WHO West Pacific and South-East Asia regions. With investments in cleaner transportation, energy-proficient lodging, power generation, industry, and further developed municipal waste administration can altogether decrease ambient air pollution.

Data: Source: https://www.who.int/data/gho/data/indicators/indicator-details/GHO/ambient-air-pollution-attributable-deaths

Household air pollution: Household air pollution is caused by the burning of household fuels, which causes indoor air contamination and adds to open air contamination. In 2016, 3.8 million deaths were reported because of indoor air pollution. Therefore, this risk factor is perhaps the main natural supporters of chronic weakness. The significance of household air pollution as a public health threat shifts extraordinarily relying upon the degree of advancement: in low-and centre pay nations, it is answerable for essentially 10% of death rates; around the world, it is liable for 7.7% of mortality.

Data: 

Source: https://www.who.int/data/gho/data/indicators/indicator-details/GHO/household-air-pollution-attributable-deaths

Major sources of exposure: 

● Contaminant emitting from power plants, refineries, and petrochemical plants, just as chemical and fertiliser industry, Industrial plants, lastly government incineration. 

● Domestic cleaning exercises, cleaners, printing shops, and service stations are instances of indoor sources. 

● Automobiles, vehicles, railroads, aviation routes, and different sorts of vehicles are instances of versatile sources. 

● Finally, as mentioned earlier, normal sources incorporate actual fiascos like forest fires, volcanic erosion, dust storms, and agricultural burning.

Environment and health impacts of air pollution: Various contaminations are significant supporters of human sickness. Particulate Matter, particles with shifting yet tiny measurements, enter the respiratory system through breathing causing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, fertility and central nervous system dysfunction, and cancer. Despite the fact that ozone protects against ultraviolet radiation, it is unsafe at ground level, influencing the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

Air pollution: A development issue

Effects on the economic development: In 2015, WHO estimated that the financial expense of unexpected passing and disability from air contamination in Europe is near USD 1.6 trillion. Air contamination influences the economy from various perspectives. It reduces individuals’ capacity to work and kills trillions of individuals consistently. Besides, it obliterates government properties like monuments which will influence the economy by decreasing the tourist destinations.

Effects on food Production: Food creation contributes recognizably to air contamination and the other way around. Air contamination impacts the dirt and lessens its capacity to the creation of good yields and as trade in agricultural products grows it increases the air contamination discharged from producer nations. This outcomes in an irregularity causing expanding pollution emission from producer countries rather than importing countries.

Measures are taken to eradicate air pollution: 

By the government:

● Action Plans for Improvement of Air Quality: Under the central sector of control of pollution, (NCAP) ‘national clean air program’ was launched to address the country’s increasing air pollution problem.

● The government even informed a detailed action plan in the year 2018 for the prevention and control of air pollution in Delhi and the national capital region.

● In 2018, a graded response action plan was notified for again the prevention, control, and eradication of pollution in the national capital region. Which was divided into 4 main categories: moderate to poor, very poor, severe, and emergency.

To spread awareness:

● The SAMEER app, which provides public access to air quality information as well as the ability to file complaints about air pollution-causing activities, has been launched.

● The government also encourages people to spread awareness among the people and grow more trees, save water, electricity, maintenance vehicle for less smoke emission.

● Since 2019, central pollution control board teams have been placed to provide field feedback in Delhi and the national capital region.

How can we reduce air pollution? 

● Conservation of energy.

● Look for the ‘energy star’ label while buying products.

● Using public transportation and carpooling can also help.

● Avoid using hair spray and other solvents.

● Avoid using an air conditioner.

● Recycle and reuse.

● Afforestation.

● Environment safe paints should be used more often.

● Mulch or compost leaves and yard waste do not burn it.

It’s tough being a Dalit.

Credits – Human History

For years, Dalits have suffered the consequences of being Dalit. Their daughters are raped, sons are murdered and whatnot. I’ll narrate to you 3 stories that I came to know through my friends, family and the internet.

I had to take the help of the internet because I have been travelling for the past few days and couldn’t meet a lot of people. Coming to the point, this is a story from Bhilai. A Dalit family used to survive on wages. Their daily wage was delayed. They asked the landlord to pay them their dues. Instead of paying them back, he tortured them. He locked them in a room. They starved for days. This story is not even reported anywhere because it never came out. Imagine asking for what is yours and getting thrashed for it. You start to become less of yourself every day.

This story is from mahulpala village. The residents of this village collected money to build a temple. Dalits(10% of the population also contributed money and labour) to the temple. But when the temple was inaugurated, they were asked to step outside the temple. They started praying from outside of the temple. They were thrashed by the priest’s son for even touching the temple. When they filed a complaint. The whole village started to boycott them. They refused to sell anything to them. They refused to let them inside the village. The district administration has signed a compromise that they can pray from outside the village. A temple that they built themselves refuses to let them in.

Another story comes from the school I studied in. There was a boy named Govind. He was in our class. He found it very difficult to be around us. Because nobody respected his presence. Everyone teased him. And it was not friendly banter.

Imagine living in an environment where you are not even considered a decent human being. Nobody wants to listen to you. Nobody respects you. And imagine this place to be your school. That is the worst thing that can ever happen to you. We created that environment for Govind. He came to school every day. He tried to fit in between us every day but we never let him fit in. He always wanted to play with us but we never allowed him to. What I feel bad about is that I watched it happening around me and I did nothing. You never forget the trauma you faced as a child. I was part of the reason Govind faced such a thing in the first place.

Discriminating against anyone based on their caste signifies only one thing. SUPERIORITY COMPLEX. When a person assumes their caste is superior than the other person, they feel “free” to discriminate against them. This shows the lack of logic that is applied while discriminating against someone. It makes no sense and it has to stop. When you discriminate against someone, you’re mocking your intellect. RISE ABOVE.

Development of Rural Women in Vidarbha Region, Maharashtra

Credits- The guardian

The Vidarbha region of Maharashtra primarily consists of four major cities. Nagpur being the largest has a huge rural population which is deprived of stable sources of income and is riddled with social problems including alcoholism. The primary contributor to the alcoholism problem is the male population. Inadvertently, the women of the household have to take up the responsibility of earning the bread. In regions lacking educational infrastructure, women have to not only overcome sexism, misogyny and toxic masculinity to earn, but they also have to battle the unavailability of jobs and the unwillingness of employers to employ women just to keep the food on the table. Out of the 48 lakh unemployed people in Maharashtra, the Vidarbha region contributes 6 lakh of them. Although an older report, according to the 2013-14 Report on District Level Estimates for the state of Maharashtra, Nagpur reported 27% unemployment in urban areas and a staggering 55.3% in rural areas. As mentioned earlier, this was a relatively old statistic. However, going through the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t done any good in the rural employment sector.

Taking the dire unemployment situation into consideration as well as considering the rising issue of alcoholism amongst the general male population in the region, it has also given rise to domestic violence, marital rape and sexual assault under influence. The Covid-19 pandemic and the Lockdown made this situation a lot worse as unemployment was peaking and the availability of alcoholic beverages was very low. Upon gathering statistics from an NGO called Aroha working for the development of rural women, it was found that domestic violence cases simply multiplied by 2.3 times during the first lockdown (March – July 2020). This is an extremely dire situation and it is continually worsening with the increase in economic disparity and water shortages reaching an all-time high. This is the time when the need to empower women to gain financial stability and independence is the most. The NGO Aroha has taken this as their mission and has been working towards training women in making handicraft items and selling them on an international market through powerful marketing and product development via their brand Rangers.

Rangers is a traditional eco-friendly, high-quality handicrafts store based in Nagpur which sells purses, handbags, lamp shades etc which are made by women from rural areas and all the profit is evenly divided between all women involved, contributing to their financial independence.

Aroha starts by enrolling women who are in dire need of financial assistance. They start by providing them with training in handcrafting, Warli art, stitching, embroidery and block printing. Then, once the women graduate with enough skills, they’re hired by Rangaresha which provides them with employment, stable income as well as incentives for them to work. Aroha is financially supported by Larsen & Toubro Ltd. Since 2004, Aroha steadfastly remained focused on the promotion of livelihoods, capacity-building initiatives and extending training support as well as surfacing as a resource agency for all of the above for the benefit of other allied agencies. With time self-help group formation activities were also undertaken. In the past 17 years, Aroha has helped 1739 women overcome poverty and has made them

capable of standing up for themselves and fighting back against years of oppression. Although the actual statistical data about profits and actual gross income from handicrafts remains unknown and the organisation didn’t provide that information, it is undeniable that the organisation and their vision had been successful in their initiative and continue to empower women to date.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

What is Economic development?

Economic developmentis a process through which the overall education, well-being, health, income and living standards of the general population improves. This is where the economy will gradually grow, change and become advanced.
Economic development is the priority of local, state and federal government as it will lead towards an upgrading in innovation and new ideas, higher literacy rates, creation of jobs, improved environment, creation of higher wealth, labor support and better quality of life.

Development economic is the study of economic development.


Difference between Economic development and Economic Growth:

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Economic Growth: Economic Growth is all about expanding the size of the economy bigger.
Here GDP is the sum of all economic activity in a nation over a specific period.

Economic Development:
Economic Development look into how the citizens are affected in a country.Apart from the living standards it also look into the freedom to enjoy their living standards.
Here GDP is divided by the total population.

Important perspectives in Economic development are:
*Average life expectancy
*Education Standards
*Literacy rates
*Environmental standards
*Availability of houses for living and their quality
*Health care.It also includes the number of doctors available and the affordable medicines for their treatments.
*Income per capita

Economic growth is a crucial condition for development. However, just growth is not enough because it cannot guarantee development.
Amartya Kumar Sen, an Indian economist and philosopher, who received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, once said:
“Economic development is about creating freedom for people and removing obstacles to greater freedom. Greater freedom enables people to choose their own destiny.”
“Obstacles to freedom, and hence to development, include poverty, lack of economic opportunities, corruption, poor governance, lack of education and lack of health.”

Policies of Economic development:
It can be encompass into three major cases:
• Governments undertaking to meet broad economic objectives such as price stability, high employment, and sustainable growth. Such efforts include monetary and fiscal policies, regulation of financial institutions, trade, and tax policies.
• Programs that provide infrastructure and services such as highways, parks, affordable housing, crime prevention, and K–12 education.
• Job creation and retention through specific efforts in business finance, marketing, neighborhood development, workforce development, small business development, business retention and expansion, technology transfer, and real estate development. This third category is a primary focus of economic development professionals.
Contractionary monetary policy is a tool used by central banks to slow down a country’s economic growth. An example would be raising interest rates to decrease lending. In the United States, the use of contractionary monetary policy has increased women’s unemployment.
One growing understanding in economic development is the promotion of regional clusters and a thriving metropolitan economy.
International trade and exchange rates are a key issue in economic development. Currencies are often either under-valued or over-valued, resulting in trade surpluses or deficits. Furthermore, the growth of globalization has linked economic development with trends on international trade and participation in global value chains (GVCs) and international financial markets. The last financial crisis had a huge effect on economies in developing countries. Economist Jayati Ghosh states that it is necessary to make financial markets in developing countries more resilient by providing a variety of financial institutions. This could also add to financial security for small-scale producers .

Organisations of Economic Development:
Economic development has evolved into a professional industry of highly specialized practitioners. The practitioners have two key roles: one is to provide leadership in policy-making, and the other is to administer policy, programs, and projects. Economic development practitioners generally work in public offices on the state, regional, or municipal level, or in public–private partnerships organizations that may be partially funded by local, regional, state, or federal tax money. There are numerous other organizations whose primary function is not economic development that work in partnership with economic developers. They include the news media, foundations, utilities, schools, health care providers, faith-based organizations, and colleges, universities, and other education or research institutions.


Economic Indicators: An economic indicator is a metric used to assess, measure, and evaluate the overall state of health of the macroeconomy. Economic indicators are often collected by a government agency or private business intelligence organization in the form of a census or survey, which is then analyzed further to generate an economic indicator. Financial analysts and investors keep track of macroeconomic indicators because the economy is a source of systematic risk that affects the growth or decline of all industries and companies


Primary Economic Indicator:
Gross Domestic Product (GDP):
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is widely accepted as the primary indicator of macroeconomic performance. The GDP, as an absolute value, shows the overall size of an economy, while changes in the GDP, often measured as real growth in GDP, show the overall health of the economy.

Main Indicators of economic development:
1) National Income Index
Economic development takes place if real national income increases over time.
2)Per Capita Income Group
The national income indicator does not reflect the true picture of the development of the economy.
3)Physical Quality of Life Index
In many developing countries despite economic development, no improvement has taken place in the quality of life.
The physical quality of life index into consideration the non-income elements of life.
The country has a high life expectancy, the lowest infant mortality and the highest literacy is considered to be superior to other countries.
This index of development is superior to the per capita income index because it reveals the end result of the use of National Income in the country concerned.

4)Basic Needs Approach
ccording to this indicator of economic development, the development of an economy is judged in terms of the extent to which the basic needs of the masses are satisfied.
The components of basic needs are food, pure drinking water, sanitation, health, and education, etc.
The index of development is useful especially from the common man’s point of view as he is more concerned with his basic needs rather than the total production in the country.
5)Human Development Index: This index of economic development has been prepared by the United Nations called the Human Development Index (HDI).
It consists of per capita income, educational attainment, and life expectancy. The index does not measure the absolute level of human development. It ranks countries in relation to one another.
The index is superior to other indicators of economic growth as it takes into consideration both income and non-income factors.

Marital Rape

This report is an excerpt of an interview project that i completed for one of my practical classes. I had to interview people working in NGO working for marital rapes analyze the interview.In this project i’ve interviewed Dr. Chitra Awasthi, the founder of RIT foundation that in collaboration with many NGOs to promote gender equality in India.

NATURE OF REPORT

In order to gain insight on the prevalence of marital rape in India and to promote gender and social equality in the country, the students of Mass communication and journalism were instructed to interview an NFPO (RIT Foundation) within the field of awareness through Media

There were no stipulations about the medium used or the questions to be asked. Students were permitted to select their own respondent owing to their comfort as well as good knowledge of the field. The report is directed to citizens of the country and people across nations. The report aims to start a conversation on this topic, to give women under martial rape the courage to raise their voice and to pressurize the law-makers to criminalize such acts.

MARITAL RAPE

The act of sexual intercourse with one’s spouse without the consent of the partner is known as marital rape. Whether the perpetrator is a stranger or a spouse, it is one of the most horrific acts a man can conduct against a woman. Though marital rape is the most common and repugnant form of masochism in Indian society, it is hidden behind the iron curtain of marriage.  83% of married women i.e. nearly one in every 3 women have been subjected to physical, sexual and emotional violence from their spouse. Almost 31% of married women between the ages 15 and 49 have suffered from sexual abuse cite their current husband as the perpetrator. 

Any undesired sexual actions by a spouse or ex-spouse conducted without consent and/or against a person’s will, achieved by force, threat of force, intimidation, or when a person is unable to consent, are classified as marital rape. Intercourse, anal or oral sex, forced sexual conduct with other people, and other sexual practices that the victim finds degrading, humiliating, painful, or unwelcome are examples of these sexual actions.

Rape is a crime that occurs when a woman refuses to provide her consent. It’s crucial to remember that lack of consent doesn’t always have to take the form of the word ‘no.’ It’s reasonable to assume given the circumstances. If a woman consents to sexual intercourse within a marriage because of the threat of harm to her children or herself, the woman loses her right to stay in the house or get maintenance, it is not valid consent. It is still rape.

THE CURRENT SITUATION AND STATISTICS

140 of the world’s 195 countries have already made marital rape a criminal offence. The United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, and Russia are among the countries on the list.

However, 55 countries, including India, China, and Singapore, are countries where it is still OK to rape your wife.

The concept of marital rape has not been recognized until today. We’ve been lobbying for a law to make it a crime, but first we need to gather statistics on rape in marriage.

 And according to the latest National Health and Family Survey (NFHS-4) for 2015-16, 5.4% women have experienced marital rape, under this category. But while the data on marital rape in India exists, marital rape as a crime “does not exist”.

And yet 5.4% of married Indian women say they have experienced marital rape. 4.4% of them say they have experienced marital rape in just the last 12 months before this survey. The figure recorded by NFHS-3 for 2005-6 was 9.5%.

But while the data on marital rape in India exists, marital rape as a crime “does not exist”.

The data also includes entries for “forced her to perform any sexual actions that she did not want to” and “forced her to perform any sexual acts that she did not want to with threats or in any other way.”  Overall, 2.5% and 3.6% of married Indian women answered affirmatively to these categories as well. That brings the number of married women who have been subjected to what would be called rape or sexual violence if the perpetrator had not been their husband to 11.5 percent.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) ‘Crime in India’ 2019 report, about 70% of women in India are victims of domestic violence.

Marital rape exists in the data, but not in law

Despite the historical misconception that rape by one’s partner is a minor occurrence that causes little damage, research shows that marital rape has serious and long-term implications for women. Injuries to private organs, lacerations, discomfort, bruising, torn muscles, tiredness, and vomiting are some of the physical repercussions of marital rape. In addition to broken bones, black eyes, bloody noses, and knife wounds, women who have been assaulted and raped by their husbands may experience other physical consequences such as broken bones, black eyes, bloody noses, and knife wounds as a result of the sexual violence. Miscarriages, stillbirths, bladder infections, infertility, and the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases like HIV are all gynecological repercussions of marital rape.

Women who have been raped by their partners are likely to experience significant psychological repercussions. Anxiety, shock, acute dread, despair, suicidal ideation, and post-traumatic stress disorder are some of the short-term symptoms of marital rape. Disordered eating, sleep issues, depression, difficulties forming trusting relationships, and increased negative thoughts about themselves are all common long-term impacts. The psychological consequences are likely to linger for a long time. For years after the abuse, some marital rape survivors describe flashbacks, sexual dysfunction, and emotional pain.

OTHER COUNTRIES’ LEGAL STATUS

In the United States, experts estimate that 10% to 14% of married women are raped throughout their marriage. Researchers discovered that marital rape accounted for almost 25% of all rapes when they looked at the frequency of different types of rape. Given the popularity of marital rape, social scientists, practitioners, the criminal justice system, and society as a whole have paid little attention to the issue. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1970s that society began to recognize the possibility of rape in marriage. Until recently, the usual rule was that a husband could not be convicted of raping his wife because he has an implicit right to sexual intercourse with his wife under the marital contract.

Resistance restrictions are still in place in the majority of American states. There are no exemptions for husbands from rape prosecution in seventeen states and the District of Columbia. There are still certain exemptions for husbands from rape prosecution in thirty-three states. In several of these thirty-three states, a husband is excused from prosecution when his wife is most vulnerable (e.g., she is mentally or physically disabled, unconscious, asleep, etc.) and legally unable to consent. The majority of States have certain spousal exemptions, indicating that rape in marriage is still considered a lesser offence than other types of rape.

When we look at the laws of various countries, we can find that most of them punish rape both within and outside of marriage.

In Australia, for example, if a person has achieved the age of 16, he or she can petition to a judge or magistrate for an order permitting them to marry.

By 1991, however, the marital rape exception had been repealed in every state in Australia.

In New Zealand, a person under the age of 20 but over the age of 16 can only marry with the approval of their parents. For women, the age of sexual consent is similarly 16 years. The New Zealand Crimes Act of 1961 makes no provision for marital rape. In 1985, the marital rape exemption was repealed.  In the United Kingdom, a marriage between two people under the age of 16 is void.  In 1991, the marital rape exemption was completely repealed.

A marriage between two people under the age of 16 is void in the United Kingdom. In 1991, the marital rape exemption was completely repealed. In Egypt, the age of majority is 21 years old for all legal reasons except marriage. The legal age for consent is 18, and intercourse with a female under the age of 18 is considered rape under the penal code.

Various states in the United States have different laws. In the United States, the marital rape exception has been repealed in 50 states. In Indonesia, the age of majority, as well as the age at which girls and boys can marry, is 16 for girls and 19 for boys. A girl’s legal age for giving valid consent to a sexual act is also established at 16 years. Any marriage that occurs before the age of majority is null and invalid.

LEGAL POSITION IN INDIA

In India, marital rape is legal but not de facto. While in other nations, the legislative has either criminalized marital rape or the judiciary has actively participated in recognizing it as a crime, the judiciary in India appears to be working at cross-purposes. The Supreme Court ruled in Bodhisattwa Gautam v. Subhra Chakraborty that rape is a crime against basic human rights and a breach of the victim’s most prized fundamental right, the right to life, which is contained in Article 21 of the Constitution. However, it contradicts this declaration by failing to recognize marital rape. Though there have been some advancements in Indian domestic violence legislation, they have mostly been limited to physical rather than sexual abuse.

This established the notion that a woman does not have the right to refuse sex with her spouse once they are married. This gives husbands sexual access to their spouses, which is in clear violation of human rights principles and gives husbands permission to rape their women. The rape legislation only applies to two types of married women: those under the age of 15 and those who are separated from their spouses. While rape of a girl under the age of 12 may result in a sentence of ten years or more in jail, rape of a girl under the age of 15 results in a lower punishment if the rapist is married to the victim. When Section 376-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, was added in 1983, it made some headway toward criminalizing domestic abuse against the wife.

The Law Commission’s proposed definition of sexual assault, which is wide, complete, and acceptable, could be used in place of the existing term of rape in Section 375 IPC, according to the report. The Task Force, like the Law Commission, stopped short of suggesting that marital rape be included in the new definition. Currently, India’s legal framework is severely inadequate in terms of safeguarding women’s bodily integrity and sexual autonomy.

ABOUT THE FOUNDATION

The RIT Foundation is a non-profit organizationcreated in 2009 by Dr. Chitra Awasthi, an educationist, writer, and philanthropist. The RIT Foundation is collaborating with a number of non-governmental organizations in India to promote social and gender equality.

In 2015, they filed a petition – RIT Foundation v. Union of India writ petition c no. 284 of 2015 seeking to criminalize marital rape. It will be coming up before the Delhi High Court for final hearing early next year.

“The first step to breaking the silence is having the tool to validate,” Chitra Awasthi says. The last refuge of male dominance is the control of women’s sexuality and bodies. It will take time to smash it. However, as a society, we must begin a dialogue and put pressure on lawmakers to act.”

Respondent’s Background

Dr. Chitra Awasthi is the president and founder of RIT Foundation. She has been working as an educationist with children and young adults for the past 36 years now. She is well-known in academics for her psychological insights and comprehensive understanding of holistic living solutions. With a postgraduate degree, a university topper, in sociology from Kanpur University, she has authored a wide range of books on sociology and allied subjects. Her major interest, however, has always been in religion and spiritualism. She has translated, edited, and produced secret treasures from English, Sanskrit, and Hindi, and she is an eager student of spiritual literature in the Indian tradition. Rit International is her first foray into the corporate world. She does, however, wish to help share the same knowledge to children who are less privileged, so that they can benefit from high-quality education and knowledge.

The Complete Guide to Insurance And Why You Need It For Your Car, Home, and Life

Insurance

Introduction: What is Insurance?

To provide financial protection against the risk of some future event. The phrase “insurance” comes from the Latin for “to hedge one’s bets”.

It is also known as a form of risk management and is meant to hedge against financial loss. Insurance exists in various forms and can be categorized as compulsory or voluntary, public or private, or commercial.

Voluntary liability insurance provides protection to the policyholder against liability arising from an incident that triggers a policy obligation. Public automobile insurance is compulsory in most countries and private auto insurance often exists only where required by law.

Commercial Auto Insurance Policies are designed to provide coverage for motor vehicles used in a business enterprise – these policies typically provide coverage on an “occurrence basis” rather than “claims-made basis.”

What Is Life, Home & Auto Insurance?

Insurance is one of the most important aspects for everyone to consider. There are two types of insurance: life and property. The first one ensures you don’t die from a disease or accident that happens, while the second one covers any damages that happen to your belongings such as your car, house, home appliances or anything else.

Life Insurance

Life insurance is a type of insurance that covers the potential risk of all or part of someone’s life, for example, if they die early or get left with dependent children. Life insurance rates are different and depend on many factors including age and smoking. So, always talk to a qualified advisor before deciding on the best option for you. Life Insurance quotes online in India could be what you need to find the best coverage at an affordable rate.

The general rule is to always have enough insurance coverage. This will allow you to replace items that are lost or damage due to accidents/incidents. Life insurance rates are different and depend on many factors including age and smoking. So, always talk to a qualified advisor before deciding on the best option for you. Life Insurance quotes online in India could be what you need to find the best coverage at an affordable rate.

Home Insurance

Home Insurance

Home Insurance is a must for any homeowner and is a legal requirement if you are renting or have rented your home. Home insurance can be confusing because there are so many factors that need to be taken into consideration as well as different products and providers.

The type of coverage you need will depend on what you want to be covered, how valuable your home is, who will live in the home and your budget. Below are some suggestions on how to choose the right kind of coverage at the right price.

* Which level of coverage do I need?

* How much does home insurance cost?

* What can I get with my policy?

* What else should I know about home insurance?

* Should I buy flood insurance too?

Auto Insurance

Auto Insurance

Auto Insurance is a must-have. It might seem expensive, but it can save you from financial ruin in the event of an accident or from being stranded on the side of the road.

Auto insurance rates depend on several factors, such as where you live, your annual mileage and your credit score. You can get quotes online for free to find out how much different options would cost you – but consider shopping around and trying to find a policy that fits within your budget.

Summary

In conclusion, insurance is a critical part of protecting your car, home, and life. It can help you recover from damages, replace lost belongings, and give you peace of mind in knowing that you are financially protected against unexpected events. Be sure to shop around for the best rates and coverage for your needs, and don’t hesitate to ask questions to make sure you understand your policy. Thanks for reading!

Indian National movement

The history of India and Indian national movement is resolvable in understanding. The Indian independence movement was a series of historic events during the British Raj with the ultimate aim of ending British rule in India on the Indian subcontinent. It lasted from 1857 to 1947.

REVOLT OF 1857:The first movement for freedom first broke in Bengal.The Revolt of 1857 was started on May 10, 1857, at Meerut. It was the first-ever war for Indian Independence. It was the first large-scale rebellion against the East India Company. The Revolt was unsuccessful but it made a major impact on the public and stirred the entire Independence Movement in India. Mangal Pandey was one of the major parts of the revolution as he declared rebellion against his commanders and fired the first shot on the British officer.

Photo by Still Pixels on Pexels.com

Swadeshi Boycott Movement:
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Britishers announced the partition of Bengal with a motive to weaken the unity of nationalists. Amongst the prime Indian national movements, the Swadeshi Boycott Movement surfaced in the year 1903 as a reaction against the partition of Bengal but was formally announced in July 1905 and fully came into force from October 1905.
From 1905 to 1908, the Swadeshi and Boycott movement was started by extremists like Bipin Chandra Pal, Tila, Lala Lajpat Rai and Aurobindo Ghosh. The general public was asked to refrain from the use of foreign goods and motivated to substitute them with the Indian homemade goods. Prominent events like Indian festivals, songs, poetries and paintings were used to propagate this Indian national movement.

Home Rule League Movement :
To convey and propagate the feeling of self-governance into the common man, this Indian National movement was carried out in India as it simultaneously happened in Ireland. Majorly, the below-mentioned leagues pivotally contributed to the group of the Home Rule League Movement using newspapers, posters, pamphlets and so on.Bal Gangadhar Tilak started this league in April 1916 and spread out to Maharashtra, Karnataka, Berar and Central Provinces.Annie Besant’s League began in September 1916 in various other parts of the country.

Satyagraha Movement:
The first Satyagraha Movement was led by Mahatma Gandhi in the Champaran District of Bihar in the year 1917. Champaran district had tens of thousands of landless serfs. One of the suppressed Indigo cultivators, Pandit Raj Kumar Shukla persuaded Gandhi to lead this movement. This led to other Satyagraha Movements.


Khilafat Non-Cooperation Movement :
The Non-Cooperation Movement was one of the most famous and crucial phases in the Indian freedom struggle against the Britishers.Ill-treatment of the Khalifa, the spiritual leader of the Muslims by the Britishers agitated the entire Muslim community in India and around the world.
Deteriorating economic conditions in the country along with the major incidents like Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, Rowlatt Act, etc were the main reasons behind how it emerged to be a pivotal Indian national movement.This are the one of the important reason for the rise of this movement. The Non-Cooperation Movement was officially launched by the Khilafat Committee in August 1920. Also, the Indian National Congress adopted the movement in December 1920 after their Nagpur session. After which a complete boycott of government goods, schools, colleges, food, clothing etc happened and emphasis was laid on studying at national schools and khadi products were used.
On February 5, 1922, Chauri Chaura incident took place wherein the police station along with 22 policemen inside it was burnt. This led to call-off of this Indian National Movement by Mahatama Gandhi.

Civil Disobedience Movement:
One of the most prominent Indian national movements, the Civil Disobedience phase is classified into two stages:
First Civil Disobedience Movement
The Civil Disobedience Movement was launched along with the Dandi March by Mahatma Gandhi on 12th March 1930. Ultimately, it ended on April 6 when Gandhi broke the Salt Law at Dandi. Afterwards, the movement was proceeded by C.Raja Gopalachari.Mass participation of women, peasants and merchants happened and was succeeded by salt satyagraha, no-tex movement and no-rent movement as this Indian national movement spread across the country. Later on, it got withdrawn in March 1931 because of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact.

Second Civil Disobedience Movement :
The failed treaty of the second roundtable conference led to the start of the second Civil Disobedience Movement stretching from December 1931 to April 1934. This lead to varied practices like protests in front of liquor stores, salt satyagraha, forest law violations happened. But the British Government was aware of the upcoming incidents, thus, it imposed martial law with a ban on gatherings outside Gandhi’s Ashrams.


Quit India Movement :
The main reason behind the launch of the Quit India Movement in 1942 as it became one of the powerful Indian National Movements include the failure of the Cripps proposal become the awakening call for the Indians.The discontent of the general public with hardships brought by the world war.

After going through so many hardships in order to redeem the motherland from foreign and save the religion and self-esteem, India received it’s freedom from British on the night of 15th August 1947, 12:02 am from the British to become a Sovereign and Democratic country.

How The Lamestream Media Perceives Gaming

Credits – goomba stomp

On 17th October, 2021,the Times of India published an article under ‘Talk It Out’
A segment called ‘Gaming addiction can take a toll on your wallet and relationships’.

The segment published that day had three questions in which only one was concerned with the issue of spending money while gaming; the question was: “My husband is totally addicted to gaming and is betting and losing money….What can I do to help this situation and get him to De-addict”.

In that question, there is a major error, substituting gaming for gambling would correct this mistake. The response by the expert counselor doubled down on the argument of gaming saying it was “addictive and difficult to disentangle from.” While I do think the issue of gambling is serious, miswording it does major damage to the already adverse image of gaming as in computer gaming or mobile gaming. In the article, the rest of the two questions were completely unrelated to the headline and the headline was misworded just for the sake of attention-grabbing.

On 4th October, The Hindu published a piece called ‘Gaming disorder increases during pandemic’. The article starts by mentioning a 15-year-old buying a smartphone during the pandemic and now playing games for eight hours a day and then dives into the problem of gambling and banning of gambling and fantasy apps like Poker which have financial stakes.

The article is another great example of goodwill but misjudgment. You should not write about something as serious as gambling addiction and mix it with the whole of gaming (which includes a wide array of forms). Playing a game like Age of Empires (a real-time strategy game) when you are 15 will not lead you to become a gambling addict at 21. Gaming is not just one thing or a single game. The advent of gaming as a form of pop culture in India is met with naive writing on a subject like this. There are downsides to gaming for the youth, excess of anything is harmful but misrepresenting a particular thing will lead to its disregard and indifference, which is what the conservative media wants to happen apparently.

Sources

The Time of India Article: Gaming addiction can take a toll on your wallet and relationships

The Hindu Article: Gaming disorder increases during pandemic

WHO ROLE IN COVID-19 VACCINE

By Moksha Grover

Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world completely, with affecting almost all the countries around the globe. Today, the whole world is struggling against covid-19. Amidst this fight, it has been declared that with the help of WHO we can win this fight against covid-19. Covid-19 has been declared as a pandemic by world health organization on on March 11, 2020 and since then, WHO has been helping a lot to end this pandemic situation. Safe and effective vaccines, being manufactured everyday are really crucial to end this pandemic. WHO has been working tirelessly in manufacturing and developing these vaccines and also ensuring equitable distribution of theses vaccines.

UPDATING COVID CASES

WHO plays a significant role in determining the covid cases around the globe. For the production as well as the distribution of vaccines, it is important to know how much Covid cases each country has, so that the vaccines can be manufactured and distributed accordingly. This task is being accomplished by World Health Organization (WHO).  WHO updates about covid cases worldwide with the help of statistical tools used for analyzing like graphs and histograms. There is one graph for the overall worldwide covid situation and separate graphs for each country. WHO also helps in providing a better understanding of covid situation by using graphs and histograms in such a way that even a layman can understand it.

This is a recent graph provided by WHO showing 221,134,742 total covid cases and a total of 4,574,089 deaths by covid around the globe as of 7th of September, 2021[1].

WHO also has kept us updated about some vital information about covid like when it became airborne, its second and third wave etc. It also uses apps like twitter and Instagram to update people about the latest information relating to covid. To accomplish all these tasks, WHO has set up a full support team for updating people time to time and also providing assistance to people in this pandemic.

DEVELOPING OF VACCINES

WHO has brought together 400 of the world’s leading researchers to identify research priorities for the manufacturing of vaccines[2]. “Solidarity Trial”, an international clinical trial, involving 90 countries is also one initiative launched by WHO, to help find effective treatment[3]. WHO has also taken up research protocols for better understanding of the virus. Approximately 130 scientists, funders and manufacturers from around the world have signed a statement committing to work with WHO to speed the development of a vaccine against COVID-19[4].

In addition to this, the world health organization is giving its best in making people understand about vaccines, its side effects, its importance etc. by uploading various pdfs and data files on its site.

Above is the cover page of one pdf file uploaded by WHO on their website which tells everything about the working of the vaccines, its benefits, vaccines by different companies etc. In addition to this, WHO has also answered the most asked questions about covid-19 vaccines.

WHO has also given details of various vaccines launched by different companies and have listed their side effects too. It has also helped in the approval of various vaccines given by Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Oxford, Serum Institute of India etc. On its website of Covid-19 vaccine tracker, WHO lays down the list of all the approved vaccines along with the number of countries approving these vaccines and the number of trials in other countries.

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF VACCINES

The world health organization (WHO) has a very big role to play in the equitable distribution of vaccines. For equitable distribution of vaccines, WHO has unveiled its global plan to fairly distribute covid-19 vaccine. two-thirds of the world’s population have joined its plan to buy and fairly distribute COVID-19 vaccines around the globe[5]. As per WHO’s “fair allocation mechanism” distribution of vaccines will be conducted in two phases.

In the first phase, all countries would receive vaccine proportional to their population; initially enough vaccine to immunize 3% of their population, with the first doses going to frontline workers in health care and social care[6]. Then, additional vaccine would be delivered until 20% of a nation’s population is covered. WHO envisages that these doses would be used to immunize those at the highest risk from COVID-19: elderly people and those with comorbidities[7].

Second phase would be dealing with the countries where vaccinations are needed to cover additional people on the basis of the urgency of immunizations needed. The priority will be decided on the basis of two criteria’s.

  • The magnitude of spread of virus whether it is spreading very fast and whether other pathogens like influenza are also spreading at the same time
  • Whether the health care system of the country is strong or weak, whether it has sufficient beds in hospitals for its patients and other intensive care units etc.

 RESULTS OF THE PLAN LAUNCHED BY WHO

The plan by World Health Organization (WHO) is still in progress and it is said that additional 38 countries are expected to sign soon[8]. Access to the vaccines in the COVAX portfolio will be given to these countries and they will pay for their own doses. It has secured an estimated 700 million vaccine doses so far and wants to provide 2 billion by the end of 2021, with the aim of providing coverage to at least 20% of the population of participating countries[9]. The WHO has also called for moratorium on Covid Vaccine Booster Shots till end of September to address the drastic inequity in dose distribution between rich and poor nations[10].

WHO ASSISTANCE TO COVID-19 ECONOMY

The world health organization (WHO) in collaboration with other organizations initiated a global collaboration known as the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT Accelerator) with the motive of accelerating the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

 So far 10 countries have contributed $2.4 billion to the work of the ACT Accelerator, with the United Kingdom committing just over US$ 1 billion, and Germany, Canada, Japan and France committing US$ 618 million, US$ 290 million, US$ 229 million and US$ 147 million respectively[11]. In just seven months, the ACT Accelerator’s progress has been significant: over 50 diagnostic tests have been evaluated and new rapid antigen diagnostics have been developed and being made available for LMICs; life-saving Dexamethasone treatments are being rolled out, research into monoclonal antibody treatments is advancing; and through the Health Systems Connector, the health system requirements for delivery of COVID-19 tools have been mapped in 4 out of 6 world regions[12].

It is now being reported that the countries who have contributed to ACT will now be able assess economic benefits to advanced economies in result of their contributions. Global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines estimated to generate economic benefits of at least US$ 153 billion in 2020–21, and US$ 466 billion by 2025, in 10 major economies, according to new report by the Eurasia Group[13]. With the help of introducing these policies and initiatives, WHO is now helping the falling economies of many countries to come to the positions they were on before this covid pandemic.

CONCLUSION

In order to sum up, I’ll like to say that WHO is working tirelessly to improve the covid-19 situation across the globe as well as supporting many economies in these hard times. Furthermore, WHO has also given certain guidelines for people to follow that’ll surely help in decreasing covid cases. Guidelines on vaccines are also given. All these guidelines are available on WHO websites. WHO has also conducted free campaigns to spread awareness. These efforts by WHO will only be fruitful when people follow all the instructions and guidelines in relation to covid 19 prevention and also get all the vaccinations properly for immunization. In order to win this fight against covid-19, it is advised to all the people to take necessary precautions and get vaccinated as soon as possible


[1] ‘WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard’, World Health Organization < https://covid19.who.int/> accessed 8th September,2021

[2] ‘5 reasons the world needs WHO, to fight the COVID-19 pandemic’, United Nations (9th April 2020) < https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/04/1061412> accessed 8th September,2021

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Kal Kupferschmidt, ‘WHO unveils global plan to fairly distribute COVID-19 vaccine, but challenges await’, Science (21st September,2020) < https://www.science.org/news/2020/09/who-unveils-global-plan-fairly-distribute-covid-19-vaccine-challenges-await> accessed 8th September,2021

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] ‘World Health Organisation Calls For Moratorium On Covid Vaccine Booster Shots’, NDTV (August 04, 2021) < https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/coronavirus-world-health-organisation-calls-for-moratorium-on-covid-vaccine-booster-shots-2502715> accessed 8th September,2021.

[11] ‘Global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines estimated to generate economic benefits of at least US$ 153 billion in 2020–21, and US$ 466 billion by 2025, in 10 major economies, according to new report by the Eurasia Group’, World Health Organization (3rd  December 2020) < https://www.who.int/news/item/03-12-2020-global-access-to-covid-19-vaccines-estimated-to-generate-economic-benefits-of-at-least-153-billion-in-2020-21> accessed 8th September,2021.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

INFIDELITY

Credits – Behance

INTRODUCTION

Infidelity can be better defined as any act that violates an open or explicit agreement

between two people, thereby damaging the relationship. It usually means having an

emotional or intimate relationship other than your partner.

Deception is one of the most devastating and destructive things that can happen in a

person’s life. It can lead to emotional distress, anxiety, depression, increased risky

behaviours and cause real physical pain.

All infidelity violates the supposed or implied marital union, whether that be emotionally or

physically.

Relationships in which more than two people are involved are known as Polyamory

relationships. In non-monogamous behavioural relationships, partners can practice flipping

or polyamory (having multiple romantic relationships at the same time). These programs

promote honest communication and consent between all members and is not an example of

infidelity.

Now, how does Infidelity affect society?

Disloyalty to a person is like a storm. When it floods you, you and everyone else are thrown into many different places. When parents are in trouble so are their children. When a house burns down, children and adults are left homeless. The same can be said of infidelity. Confusion, fear, uncertainty, anger, tears, withdrawal, suspicion, frustration, fighting affects everyone in the family and especially children who are naturally more sensitive and rely on their parents for emotional and physical stability and security.

For young adults, infidelity can wreak havoc on trust, and infidelity can have devastating effects on a person’s mental and physical health. The condition is associated with depression, anxiety and unhealthy coping strategies such as poor diet and substance abuse. Some mental health professionals believe that there may be a similarity to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Types of Infidelity

• Physical Infidelity: Physical or sexual contact outside of relationships. There may or may not be an emotional attachment between partners.

• Emotional Infidelity: Emotional attachment or intimacy with another person. Emotional affairs can do as much damage, if not more, to a relationship as a physical affair.

• Cyber Infidelity:

social media has made it easier for people to engage in online

messages, chats, forums, or groups with sexual content. Cyber infidelity also

includes viewing erotic stimuli, such as porn.

• Object Infidelity:

Excessive love or interest outside of relationships can lead to

what is known as materialism. This is a situation where one partner is too focused on

something like their job or their phone, causing disruption in the relationship.

Credits – neil webb

Data And Facts

Statistics report that anywhere from 40-60 percent of adults in committed relationships commit acts of infidelity and despite popular opinion, there is no significant difference in these percentages between men and women. Not only has dishonesty in the workplace become increasingly common but it has also become easier to deal with dishonesty on the Internet and social networking sites.

Biodiversity

The term “biodiversity” was coined around 1985.Biodiversity or biological diversity . Biodiversity is a term refers to the variety of species both flora and fauna present in an area, that is the variety of animals, plants, fungi, and even microorganisms like bacteria that make up our natural world. Each of these species and organisms work together in ecosystems, like an intricate web, to maintain balance and support life.

Scientists have estimated that there are around 8.7 million species of plants and animals in existence. However, only around 1.2 million species have been identified and described so far, most of which are insects.Although examining counts of species is perhaps the most common method used to compare the biodiversity of various places, in practice biodiversity is weighted differently for different species, the reason being that some species are deemed more valuable or more interesting than others. One way this value is assessed is by examining the diversity that exists above the species level, in the genera, families, orders.The variability among living organisms from all sources including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part. This includes variation in genetic, phenotypic, phylogenetic, and functional attributes, as well as changes in abundance and distribution over time and space within and among species, biological communities and ecosystems.

Photo by Domingos Moreira on Pexels.com

The framework based on counting-up units contrasts with other proposals for general frameworks for biodiversity, including those proposals that have attempted to include a variety of calculations like endemism , dissimilarity, rarity, and so on within the definition of biodiversity . The framework based on counting-up units implies not only that biodiversity as variety is that total count, but also that we can carry out lots of other important, associated, calculations that will be useful for decision-making and policy ,notably looking at gains and losses. This idea of a biodiversity “calculus” contrasts with the ecologically oriented perspective that there are many different indices called “biodiversity”.

The common measure, species richness, illustrates the different perspectives. The pre-history of biodiversity, reflecting the species extinction crisis and the values of variety, provides a core rationale for a definition that includes counting-up species. The pre-history of “biodiversity” also highlighted the idea that the value of variety itself should be considered along-side the recognised benefits and dis-benefits of individual species , and all these benefits/values can enter into trade-offs and synergies that support decision-making. Some current perspectives or framings about biodiversity and its value can be understood as again blurring that distinction between biodiversity and biospecifics. One such framing equates biodiversity with all of nature. A focus on biodiversity as the collection of individual units/elements suggests that biodiversity covers so many individual elements that it more or less can be equated with biotic nature. An ecological/ecosystem framing of biodiversity expands this further biodiversity may be interpreted as including not only the many individual elements but also all their ecological interactions, and associated processes. These expanded perspectives, focused on elements and their interactions, create a risk that we may miss the opportunity to properly consider both values of nature/ecology and the values associated with biodiversity-as-variety.

On the study of biodiversity,Conservation biology has emerged as a true scientific discipline and has succeeded in providing an understanding of many of the underpinnings of the field, including effects of pollution on populations of plants and animals, how to approach restoration of various habitats, how to manage endangered species, and many other topics too numerous to mention. Conservation biology has done well in developing the science of understanding individual species in their habitat, performing spatial scale analyses of individuals, and modeling their activity within the landscape.

Important direct drivers affecting biodiversity are habitat change, climate change, invasive species, overexploitation, and pollution.Habitat loss is the single greatest threat to biodiversity on Earth today and in fact it is the second largest threat to our existence on this planet next to Climate Change.Human activities such as urban development degrade or completely eradicate areas on which species depend for food and shelter.Habitat loss can also take the form of night lighting; this unnatural condition removes habitat for most animals, birds and even fish and especially from LED lights which mimic daytime spectrums. Even plants will not respire under LED lights. Undue noise levels from industry and fireworks can also alter nigh-time habitats and sleeping patterns of wildlife.Sidden changes in the climate temperature can cause habitat loss.Long term climate changes , increasing the temperature of earth causes global warming which affects biodiversity. Natural events such as storms, forest fires, floods, and droughts also have the potential to alter or eradicate habitats. And while these events are natural occurrences, overall, or until recently, they do not compare to the losses caused by human activities- and yet they are also amplified as a result of climate change- a phenomenon aggravated by human activities.Pollution also includes the release of effluents from industrial and agricultural processes into the natural environment.

Biodiversity supports human and societal needs, including food and nutrition security, energy, development of medicines and pharmaceuticals and freshwater, which together underpin good health. It also supports economic opportunities, and leisure activities that contribute to overall wellbeing.Biodiversity is essential for all living beings on earth.Change and conservation are increasingly in the hands of the people rather than governments. Therefore, it is our responsibility to do protect nature.

The Insecurities

( Insecurities that keep on knocking now and then)

You are more than those scars, I know you find them bizarre but try to embrace them at least for once because you are worthy enough to touch the stars.

You are more than those stretch marks, Just embrace them like tigress marks and enlighten that spark.

You are more than that cellulite, I know you are trying hard to win that inner fight.

It is hard to win that fight! I know, but remember that once you win this fight you’ll rise with a different glow.

Just start loving yourself beyond those scars, Why? Because you are worthy enough to touch the stars.

( You are much more than your insecurities)

– Isha Chawla

Ship of Theseus- what makes you?

Credits- Medium

Ship of Theseus is a paradoxical philosophical theory. It was first found in the writings of a greek philosopher called Plutarch. Theseus was the founder king of Athens. Plutarch writes about Theseus going on a voyage with his crew members. During the journey, they decide to replace the old wooden planks with new ones. They threw away all the old planks and replaced it with new pieces of woods. This leads to the question- is this the same ship that left from athens? Or is it a different ship because every single piece of wood has been replaced? What if there were still 2 old pieces? Would that change the answer?

Thomas Hobbes took this theory a little further. What if a scavenger collects all the old parts the crew members threw in the sea and builds a ship? Two ships arrive at the final port A) the ship made of new planks and B) the ship made up of old planks by scavengers. Now which one is the real ship of Theseus?

A theory called the Mereological theory of identity (MTI) states that the identity of anything is based on its components. So if we try to solve the ship of Theseus by this theory then we will have to conclude that the ship he originally left on and the scavenger-made ship are the same. In other words, we can say A=C. But this would mean that Theseus switched ships during his journey which he did not. Or we can just say that A=B which means the original ship = the newly made ship. But to say A=B would imply that B is not equal to C which would raise doubts because A and C are made up of the same parts. We concluded that A and B are equal even when they are not even made up of the same parts.

Credits – Ship of Theseus

Of course, the Ship of Theseus is a larger issue than ships. What is it that makes you yourself? Is it your physical characteristics? If that was the case then every time you cut your hair, you’d become a different person. Is it your feelings and thoughts? Then every time you forget some memory or have a change of heart, you will not be you anymore. People change over time and still believe they are the same from the core. What is it that makes us? This debate goes on to this day.

There is a film named on this topic. It is directed by anand gandhi. It is undoubtedly the best film i’ve ever seen in my entire life. It explores this concept, dividing it into 3 different stories of a blind women, A monk who’s fighting for animal rights and a businessman wanting to do seek an experience out of his bureaucratic life. The story merges in the end. This movie changed my outlook forever.

Insurance

Insurance is a legal agreement between the insurance company and the individual. When you buy Insurance it is a way you protect against unexpected financial losses. The insurance company pays your and your family, when some bad happens to you. When a person pays a insurance company, the company promises to pay the money if the person becomes injured or passed away.The Insurance company pays the value of property lost damaged. If no insurance, then you might be the responsible for all related costs at hard time.

In India, the insurance types are classified to Life insurance, Health insurance, Educational insurance, Home insurance and Car insurance. Health insurance is for
medical costs for expensive treatments. You can buy a generic health insurance policy. There are policies for specific diseases. The premium paid towards health insurance pay the hospital, treatment and medication costs. Educational insurance is specially designed as a save tool for children’s education. Education insurance provides a lump amount of money when your child reaches the age for higher education. The child’s life is assured under this is the insurance while the parent / legal guardian is the owner of the policy. Home insurance can help with covering the loss or damage of house by fire or other natural disasters like earthquake flood, and lighting.Car insurance is important for every car owner.It protects you against any sudden incidents like accident.Some policies compensate the damage towards your during natural disasters.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

It ensures your families financial stability. It reduces stress during our hard time of our life. Insurance are for safety and security. But apart from that there are also income tax benefits that are avail. Your independent insurance agent is a great resource to learn more about the benefits of insurance, as well as the benefits in your specific insurance policy.Before insurance you should check some of the qualities like what type of insurance the company offers,what is the financial strength of the insurance company and their costumer service.Check whether the company service is good at online. Read the agreements thoroughly before paying for a insurance.It is our choice to choose the way of insurance.It is also our responsibility to keep our family in a safe guard even in a hard time.

“Insurance is a social device providing financial compensation for the effects of misfortune, the payments being made from the accumulated contributions of all parties participating in the scheme.” – D.S. Hansell

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.

Photo by ginu plathottam on Pexels.com

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

Credits- Medium

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.

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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*