Online Courses for Students

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Being stuck in a pandemic, students have been confined to the four walls of their home. Everyone, from preschoolers to college students pursuing degrees, has been forced to learn online. In such a time of despair, it is only wise to make the most of it.

In today’s times, we are privileged to have an access to the internet, and using it wisely can provide a wealth of information. Amongst the plethora of resources, there are a few platforms that offer great courses, curated for the youth of today, with aim to up their skills in their respective fields. These courses will help you to learn new things from the comfort of your home.

Here are a few such platforms and courses that you can do to update your skills.

  1. Swayam.Gov.In-

SWAYAM is a Sanskrit acronym that stands for “Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds” is an Indian Massive open online course platform.  It offers over 2,748 courses taught by close to 1,300 instructors from over 203 Indian universities. They are officially launched by the Ministry of Education, Government of India.  It was launched on 9th July 2017 by Honourable President of India. The aim of Swayam is to give a coordinated stage and free entry to web courses, covering all advanced education, High School and skill sector courses. All the courses offered by SWAYAM are recognized by the government of India. certificates are awarded to students only after successful completion of the course which is valid pan India even while applying for jobs.

  • Oxford Home Study-

Oxford home study is UK’s leading Home Study Centre offering highly affordable home study courses. They deliver fully accredited courses in a variety of different fields; from art & design and management, through to interior design and work health & safety. Every course is created by a team of noted academics and experienced industry experts. This maintains the highest possible quality standards and provide the ultimate online learning experience for every student. These courses aren’t free; however, a student can take a loan or apply for scholarships. The certificates offered by these courses are valid and well recognised.

  • Udemy Courses-

Courses available on Udemy help you make the most of your time, from working at home to learn trending technical skills and self-improvement from wherever you are. They provide a wide range of courses, covering a variety of subject from writing, finance, commerce, e-commerce, lifestyle, fashion, designing and many more. Some of them are paid but many of them are free as well. Additionally, they provide a certificate too, however, only on paid courses.

  • Google Digital Garage-

The Digital Garage is a non-profit nationwide programme from Google delivering free digital skills training via an online learning platform. You can learn soft skills like personality development, building confidence or even practice our interview skills. The majority of courses are free, and are approved by industry experts, top entrepreneurs and some of the world’s leading employers. This ensures the student that they are learning from authentic sources. The speciality of these courses is that they are flexible i.e., can be learnt on own’s own pace, and extremely personalised. The most popular courses on this platform are Data and Tech, Digital marketing, online business. These are paid/free certificated courses. There are numerous reputed institutes providing courses on this platform; Monash University, university of Auckland, to name a few.

The rise of online learning during the pandemic

The pandemic has severly affected all the sectors ,and Educational sector was one of them ,but thanks to technology because of that we have an alternative mode of learning.Online or virtual mode of education became asset for the students life in the pandemic situation,but who thought that this online mode of learning would remain with us for such a long duration and still no one knows how long.

ADVANTAGES OF ONLINE LEARNING

Several arguments are associated with e-learning.

• Accessibility, affordability, flexibility, learning pedagogy, life-long learning, and policy are a number of the arguments associated with online pedagogy.

• It is said that online mode of learning is definitely accessible and may even reach to rural and remote areas.

• Flexibility is another interesting aspect of online learning; a learner can schedule or plan their time for completion of courses available online.

•Students can learn anytime and anywhere, thereby developing new skills within the process resulting in life-long learning.

•The government also recognizes the increasing importance of online learning during this dynamic world, as in future online mode of education would be the most helpful and trending part.

DISADVANTAGES OF ONLINE LEARNING.

• Personal attention is also a huge issue facing online learning,as no one knows who is paying attention during the classes and who is not.

•Sometimes, online content is all theoretical and does not let students practice and learn effectively,which is a huge disadvantage of e-learning.

• A lot of distraction sources are available during the online mode of teaching .

• A lot of health related problems can be developed in this mode be it mental or physical , continuous learning from electronic gadgets can lead to eye problems as well as mental stress and exhaustion could also be felt , physical movement is negligible in this mode.

What should be done to get better mode of education in the time of pandemic?

Combining face-to-face lectures with technology gives rise to blended learning and flipped classrooms; this type of learning environment can increase the training potential of the students.

How to Deal with Mental Health in Pandemic?

Although we are advancing day by day. We just focus on keeping forward and gaining success but with all these fast signs of progress, we are forgetting ourselves and our love one’s mental health. In this swift and fast-moving world, mental stress and depression are becoming common among youths and adults living in different parts of the world. But only a fraction of these people seeks advice and proper medical treatment. Sometimes the fear of social shame and sometimes not excepting the truth, do not lead the people to take proper advice from the experts.

 In the alone United States of America, about 70 per cent of youths dealing with any type of mental disorder are not taking any treatment or therapy from mental health advocacy. While about 10 million adults and 2 million youths living in America are exposed to serious mental health disorder and only a few sections of these has recognised and are taking the treatment. Although it is not always required that a person suffering from mental health trouble needs a psychiatrist but many disorders can be treated by just communicating and expressing themselves. It is a high time to overcome and resolve all the mental disorders

Ways to Deal with Health of Mind

Mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, addiction, and many more are ruining thousands of lives as people who can’t deal with this mental health disorder they see committing suicide as the easiest escape from the various problems of life. Many teenage youngsters, adults and even prominent personalities including actors, politicians, and businessmen and sports personalities are ending their lives instead of ending their problems.

Many problems can be solved if people start taking treatment and communicating with trusted people. Not all disorders and mental problems require a psychiatrist but some small anxiety and problems can be resolved by making small changes in life and expressing oneself. Some of the ways to deal with mental health disorders are as follows:

  • Talk to someone you trust the most. Sometimes communicating with our love ones can help to resolve various mental health disorders.
  • Self-care too is important. Start giving value to yourself. Do things which makes you happy and follow your hobbies. Don’t ever think that you are inferior and no one loves you as everyone is unique and precious.
  • Make small changes in lifestyles. Proper sleeping and eating right balanced diet plays a very important role in keeping mind healthy and give mental satisfaction as well.
  • Don’t indulge in harmful habits like drinking alcohol and taking drugs. As sometimes people indulge in such bad habits to avoid the problem but they don’t know that they are creating bigger trouble for themselves.
  • Do exercise, go for morning walks and start recognising the beauty of nature. Soak yourself in sunlight and find joy in everything that surrounds you.
  • Get socialise, go for parties, meet friends and do whatever makes you happy.
  • Help others. By helping others we feel satisfied and this help to reduce stress.
  • Don’t let troubles and problems ruin yourself. As every problem has a solution and nothing is impossible in this world.
  • Take help from the psychiatrist when the situation is out of control and you are not able to cope up with it.

Know more about Mental Health Advocacy and Advocates

As from the long-time, this issue is always been a subject of social stigma and no one wants to discuss their mental health issues as they feel that society will not accept them. But today many organisation and health caretakers are taking a step to make this world a safer place for mental health survivors.

WHO has recognised the need to detect social stigma attached to mental health by making a module called mental health advocacy in its policy. It’s a new concept in which people dealing with health of mind comes forward and share their experiences to makes others start excepting the reality.

The mental health advocacy works to make people believe that this is also as important as physical health. These worriers who work tirelessly to remove the stigma attached to mental health issues are called mental health advocates. These advocates make people believe that they are not alone and people who are suffering from these issues too are humans just like us. 

Advice from Health Advocacy

The Mental Hygiene Legal Service- This mental health advocacy is a New York state agency working to help people dealing with the issues. The Mental Hygiene Legal Service was started in 1964 as a mental health information provider but later on, it starts working as the mental health advocacy and become the voice of people dealing with mental health issues.

They are starting many new missions to over the stigma attached to mental health and to make people recognise their disorder with feeling shame. Currently, the Mental Hygiene Legal Service is working towards the disorders in sex offenders.

Conclusion

All humans are very precious and a person must love oneself and give value to themselves. The feeling of inferiority should not come in people as this feeling give birth health issues. The issue of health always remains as a matter of social shame and stigma, as people feel that society will not accept them with their mental illness.

But slowly this perspective is changing and many people are coming forward for not just treating themselves but also for helping others dealing with these issues. These advocates are becoming the voice of survivors of mental issues.

As time changes so do the humans too, thus people are changing and they start seeing the world from a new perspective in which they are started considering mental health as also an important part of life. Thus, now in this modern world, we can say that people with health issues are also humans and it is their right to take treatment for their problem without feeling shame.

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By Megha Sharma

Posted in Internship

Best Ways for Students to Gain Work Experience in Pandemic

COVID19 had left us with troublesome impacts which have affected all areas of our general public. The training area is no exemption for this situation. The enlistments are dropping, colleges requesting more extensive educational expenses for virtual classes, low scholastic execution, change in friendly and study propensities and unsure future work.

The best ways that can help you to gain work experience in the pandemic:

1. Internships

Understudies should search for Internship programs with regarded associations. One should begin by investigating different entry level positions that can assist you with deciding your essential or extreme profession way. Various sites can offer entry level position openings. One can search for temporary positions on LinkedIn, Internship.com and neighborhood business offices.

2. Personal Projects

An individual undertaking is something which you choose to chip away at in your spare energy. While they may not generally bring about monetary profit, they can act naturally serving and significant. It assists you with learning and develop and undoubtedly pick something firmly identified with your premium.

3. Freelance Work

Independent work in your field of study can give heaps of involvement and worth to your portfolio. Furthermore, it is an incredible method to associate with a few organizations or customers to develop your organization. Various sites list projects dependent on your abilities, interest, pay, length and experience. These are a by and large brief undertaking that should be finished on concurred terms.

4.Online Training/Courses

COVID19 has urged us to move to virtual learning. While you can take a course at college and seek after a certificate program as well. There are assortments of themes that are accessible for web based learning. Set aside time at first to pick what courses you needed to take. Ensure it helps you in future. Go for sites that offer free online courses. It is an incredible method to fabricate your CV and growing new abilities that potential managers will esteem. To profit the best, investigate tips for fruitful web based learning.

5. Live Projects

Live tasks are the activities wherein understudies work with an association in an ongoing climate (virtual for the present) for a particular period during their investigations. Understudies embrace these undertakings to acquire industry bits of knowledge and experience.

6. Referrals

References can be the best method to find a new line of work. To search for references, all that one can move toward a school/college graduated class, companions and family members, workers of the organization or experts via online me dia stages for any open situations in their association.

Unemployment-hindrance to development

Unemployment became a never ending war problem in front of our country .But the outbreak of covid19 make this problem more dense. Now along with the problem of unemployment the problem of disguised employment is in front of us. Unemployment means the numbers of individuals in the state are finding jobs for which they are fit, and they are willing to, but not getting that. Or simply a person is willing for a paid job or searching for one. It is a curse to society and decreases the economic growth of the country. The particular age group of unemployment is adults. The main reason for unemployment is the rapidly increasing population is one of the most affecting factors of unemployment. Slow economic growth, industrial growth is also the main reason for unemployment.
Unemployment leads to an increase in poverty and sets back the economic growth of the country. The women’s unemployment rate is higher in rural areas than in urban sectors of the country. Unemployment also misguides or makes our youth helpless to do criminal activities. The migration of people from rural to urban areas for the search of the job also affects it. As the demand for jobs is high and the number of posts is less. Unemployment is also a reason for our youth is getting addicted to drugs. Due to lack of a job, they get addicted to drugs, alcohol, and may even get into criminal activities. The government, as well as the society or we, should focus on population control and make people aware of its ill effects, long-time advantages, and ways to control which help the government to provide jobs to needy ones if there are some limited members.
Agriculture is the backbone of our economy. Agriculture in India is not developed enough to accommodate all the unemployed youth. Our agriculture is still dependent on old and traditional ways of farming. And our education should also be upgraded as it mainly focuses on practical aspects of learning, should offer the vocational course and with that indirectly it will give the job to teachers.

PEN AND PANDEMIC

Literature acts as a powerful tool for capturing moments. Its influence is visible from the very beginning of the human civilisation. Experiences of a particular time period can be restored mentally by the reading/rereading of a text. It also has the ability to create a new world filled with fantasy. Literary works produced in different genres are uncountable and the various methods used by the authors in different contexts help readers to connect with the social- political- economical- cultural scenarios of the time. In history how do we understand that one led to the other? How can we be certain that one was the cause and the other was an effect?  The historian links these two facts and provides a narrative where we can see the cause – effect sequence. Therefore we can know history only in the form of narrative or texts.

Texts are necessary to understand social contexts. These texts are literature. Literary texts not only reflect an age’s themes and contexts, it shapes those contexts by persuading people to accept particular believes and opinions. We can’t separate literature as an effect of historical or social contexts but have to see literature as contributing to informing, influencing and participating actively in the construction of those contexts.

Behind every illness there is a mystery; literature discuss about mysteries. Literary perspective of Pandemic become more important because it shows how disease, death, sex are affecting humans and society, socially mentally and culturally. It is also important that by recording pandemics, literature tries to show pandemic in a literary discourse rather than in a medical discourse. Pandemics in literary discourses help the common people to understand the context. Many authors used pandemic as a narrative device to showcase the effect of diseases and deaths in the lives of creatures, mainly humans. Pandemics have been fictionalised by some writers, but the advancement of science has increased the knowledge of illness by creating an understanding that truth or reality is stranger than fiction.

Pandemics are nothing new in the path of human history and pandemic literature helps to contextualise real incidents. It mirrors people’s fears about disease and societal collapse, but it simultaneously shows that survival is possible and that rebuilding ourselves into something new is not only necessary but inevitable. A story about a pandemic is rarely about the disease itself and as a genre pandemic literature focuses more on sociology, psychology and human behavior. There is a long history of authors writing about and writing in times of pandemics. Human beings have indeed for a very long time experienced pandemics (experiencing) and they have written about it.  Concept of universal fear questions the notion that humans are not in control.

At the beginning of Susan Sontag’s classic text, Illness as Metaphor, she writes, “Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick.” According to commonly accepted psychological theories of illness, the sick bear ultimate responsibility for both being sick and getting well. A reading of Susan Sontag’s text says that isolation is a mode of oppression. They are being constantly watched and controlled by the ‘kingdom of well’. People who are trapped in the ‘kingdom of sick’ are treated as mere biological bodies which contain infection instead of ‘normal’ human beings. Medical gazes would follow them until they reach in the ‘kingdom of well’.  Till the mid 19th century modern epidemiology was hardly in action. For most of the time people were confused about the origin and center of diseases and it’s spread. So early examples of pandemic literature focuses more on what people do during the pandemic, with a touch of moralising trend of that period.

The pandemic reached us in an unforeseen way and we’re going through a huge, collective transition. Historically distant texts felt urgent and real, with quarantines, stay-at-home orders, critical staff, and rule breakers. We started to understand the ability of literature to convey something new about the shared experience, something that was not possible to communicate through clear reporting. Perhaps it’s a stretch to say that our answer to COVID-19 gave us knowledge and experience, but we discovered dimensions of our existence that were unmistakably familiar as we entered the foreign worlds of epidemics through history.

Black Fungus: A Threat to Eyes

200,000 Amphotericin B doses used in black fungus treatment reaches India |  Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Mucormycosis, also known as black fungus, is a rare but dangerous Infection. Its caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes and often affects the sinuses, lungs, skin and brain. You can inhale the mold spores or come into contact with them in Things like soil, rotting produce or bread, or compost piles.

Symptoms of Mucormycosis

The symptoms of mucormycosis will depend on where in your body the fungus is growing.

 They may include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling on one side of your face
  • Headache
  • Sinus congestion
  • Black lesions on the bridge of your nose or the inside of your mouth
  • Belly pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Diarrhea

If your skin is infected, the area can look blistered, red, or swollen. It might turn black or feel warm or painful. The infection can also spread to other parts of your body through your blood. This is called disseminated mucormycosis. When this happens, the fungus can affect organs like your spleen and heart. In severe cases, you may have changes to your mental state or go into a coma. It can even be deadly.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Mucormycosis-

If you suspect mucormycosis, your doctor will give you a physical exam and ask about your medical history. Let them know if you’ve been around spoiled foods or other places in which fungal spores are often found. If it looks like you have a lung or sinus infection, your doctor may take a sample of the fluid from your nose or throat and send it to be tested in a lab. They might also do a tissue biopsy, taking out a small piece of infected tissue for testing. Your doctor may do imaging tests like CT or MRI scans to find out whether the infection has spread to your brain or other organs. If you’re diagnosed with mucormycosis, you should start treatment as soon as possible with prescription antifungal medications. These medicines stop the growth of the fungus, destroy it, and bring the infection under control.

You might take:

  • Amphotericin B
  • Isavuconazole
  • Posaconazole

You get these medications through a vein (intravenous or IV) or as pills that you swallow. Your doctor may start with high doses through an IV until the infection is under control, which can take several weeks. Then, you’ll switch to pills. Let your doctor know if a medication has troublesome side effects like stomach pain, heartburn, or trouble breathing. They may be able to change your treatment plan. In severe cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove infected or dead tissue to keep the fungus from spreading. This might include removing parts of your nose or eyes. It can be disfiguring. But it’s crucial to treat this life-threatening infection.

  • Blindness
  • Blood clots or blocked vessels
  • Nerve damage

Mucormycosis can be deadly without treatment. Because the infection is so rare, the exact mortality rate isn’t clear. But researchers estimate that overall, 54% of people with mucormycosis die. The likelihood of death depends on which part of the body is affected. The outlook is better for people who have sinus infections than it is for lung or brain infections.

Mucormycosis Prevention-

There is no way to avoid breathing in spores. But you can do a few Things to lower your chances of mucormycosis. It’s especially important if you have a health condition that raises your risk.

  1. Stay away from areas with a lot of dust or soil, like construction or excavation sites. If you have to be in these areas, wear a face mask like an N95.
  2. Avoid infected water. This can include floodwater or water-damaged buildings, especially after natural disasters like hurricanes or floods
  3. If you have a weakened immune system, avoid activities that involve dust and soil, like gardening or yard work.
  4. If you can’t, protect your skin with shoes, gloves, long pants, and long sleeves. Wash cuts or scrapes with soap and water as soon as you can.
  5. If you get mucormycosis, be sure to take your medications as directed. If side effects cause problems or the infection doesn’t get better, let your doctor know right away.

STAY HOME, STAY SAFE

Why unemployment occurs?

Being 2nd in terms of the population can seem a curse to our country especially in terms of employment. The competition that youngsters face these days is because of this population. Even those who get a job didn’t get the desired salary. Most employees are not paid in proportion to the work that we put in. What’s more, this is not a new problem or one that has been created by a single government. In our country, low monthly incomes are a norm – across all states, and as a consequence, wage inequality remains high. Wage growth significantly trails economic growth in the country. The sluggish growth of our GDP has led to a rise in inequality and widened the economic divide between rural and urban India.

The sad part is that India’s unemployed are mostly the higher educated and the young. And those who have jobs are not satisfied enough. If you believe that only a few people at the top are getting huge paychecks, think again. Because data suggest that we aren’t creating too many high-paying jobs either. And even though labor productivity has risen in India, growth in remuneration has remained slow. The sad part is statistic, graphs of unemployment are still the same. The new jobs and opportunities are nothing in front of our population. This problem needs to review and can be to some extent need to be solved through bargaining power. Skilling, sometimes, multi-skilling at all levels is the most effective way to fight the wage crisis and the coming job crisis -the crucial designation before talent can be matched with demand. If the skilling exception isn’t corrected, job seekers will end up in the bad job trap. Skills produce productivity, and productivity brings with it higher pay.

The problem is that the business power of workers in India is low and getting more worse. Wage changes are also a result of changes in the way of production. Throughout the last few years, production has become more capital intensive or less dependent on labor in nearly every manufacturing industry in the organized and unorganized sectors. This is true, if to a lesser extent, for agriculture and services as well. While technical know-how and increased use of machinery is a change that needs to be welcomed since it translates to increased productivity, in labor surplus economies like India, the enhanced productivity does not automatically translate to higher wages for employees. Therefore need of the time is to cope up with the desired need of the institutes and became more high tech by learning more digital skills.

Pandemic, Placement, and Future of young generation.

Covid19 binds us to our shelters, and study remains restricted to computer screens. In one way or another way, covid19 does impact the life of the people. So to the final year students. Due to covid19 outbreak and lockdown, many students did not receive their job letters those who received them faced delaying joining dates even after getting hired. some students did not get a call back from the employer regarding their status of employment. Along with elders, students were hoping too for things to get back to normal But the second wave of the virus crushed all the hopes of the students. Students will have to set in the new normal of digitization.


Firms have changed their hiring process also from full-time to unpaid or stipend-based internships, to cut costs. Companies are even reducing the number of hiring employees and are also offering comparatively lower compensation packages. Only a few companies have joined so far for placement in the but only with minimal vacancies. besides affecting the health sector, Covid19 has also posed major setbacks for small businesses and it’s going to affect freshers.

Marginal or no placements have hugely affected students. There’s a persistent fear of remaining unemployed even after college ends. Sadly, the institutions no longer take the responsibility of getting their students placed and ensuring their economic and financial safety. Also, there’s a lack of strategy behind planning placement drives. Government should interrupt to negotiate between the colleges and companies for the interest of the students.. The government has to put in extra effort to ensure that unemployment levels among the youth do not increase further. A lot of people lost their jobs during the pandemic. Now, the challenge in front of freshers is to compete with those who are experienced enough but unemployed. Our state should look into this matter and try to create job opportunities for the youth so that the number of unemployed population could be declined.

mental illness during pandemic

Mental Illness during Pandemic.
Covid19 pandemic hit the masses most severely mentally. The trauma from looking for the medicine, hospital beds to dealing with the mass of dead bodies, from being left jobless to mass migration and suffering. These all circumstances severely impacted our mental state. A tremendous number of people have lost their dear ones. And some are fighting for their life. While their loved ones and family are busy in the constant search of medicines and oxygen cylinders. Those who are safe are also suffering from mental illness by looking at their environment. Full of grief, devastation. This time is very hard. And financial crisis makes this problem. So many families especially of the lower class. Left without money and aid. Those who earn daily and labor are struggling a lot. These financial bottlenecks resulted in mental illness. Especially those students who are handling the digital divide. Faces stress and mental illness. All students couldn’t afford online education due to a lack of digital gadgets. That acts as a hindrance to the growth and education of unprivileged students. The cost of academic education and institution creates a financial burden for the students and the family. some can deal with it. But those who couldn’t eventually end up dropping out there college and institute. That leads to mental stress among the students. Recently, the cases of suicide by students increase manifold. That shows how mentally covid have impacted the students. Therefore cases of suicides are reported manifold. Students who are privilege enough. Also facing mental trauma. Online education also created an additional problem, technical glitches, electricity problems, access to devices, are major problems related to online education. That cause mental stress, headache as well as eyesight problems. This problem can be overcome through everyone’s participation. All need to contribute. By providing financial aid to the needy. And by including in the conversation as much as possible with our friends and family in this hard time. Chatting with each other acts as a medicine to cure the ailment of mental stress.

SELF RELIANT INDIA

INTRODUCTION

As the covid 19 pandemic affected the whole world including India, Narendra Modi the prime minister of India has addressed the nation with the necessity of being Self-reliant. He emphasized that self-reliance was need of the hour. Modi coined the term on 12 May, 2020 in his address to nation with regard to the covid 19 pandemic. His focus was mainly on the absence of domestic production and that there is a need to improve the quality and supply of domestic production. Thus, he started the wave of Atma Nirbhar Abhiyaan (Self Reliant India Movement). In the long term race, this decision is seen as a very beneficial one but for a short term, it can be a slight pain for the country. The difficulties arise as the nation aims to boycott economic relations with China, when India imports $75 billion worth of goods every year from there. The mission has already taken pace with banning 59 apps from Chinese developers. But it doesn’t just stop here; the centre has put 250 more applications under watch. The relations between the nations are sour since the Galwan Valley skirmish on 15 June, 2020 in which 20 brave soldiers sacrificed their lives. Many are of the view that the movement is a repackaged version of the Make in India launched by the Modi government in 2014.

The concept of being a self reliant nation does not mean that India will cut ties from rest of the world, says the Finance minister. ‘It doesn’t mean isolating away from the world but playing a bigger role on the global economy.’ says Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Law and IT minister.

WHAT DOES SELF RELIANT MEAN?

Self reliant India indicates the need to recognize the value of production at domestic level. The concept might seem similar to make in India but it has a vast horizon. It includes the slogan Vocal for Local which refers to be more attracted to local products. India is a developing country but there are many things which India lacks, like it has the second largest market for smartphones but produces a very little amount of the same. The movement aims to make India a bigger and more essential part of the economy. This is a great opportunity, especially after a brutal pandemic which left the people helpless. It will boost the economy and would help the country to reach new heights of development. The move has special importance as America a home to many companies seeks to shift business out of China, India can become home to Industries and MNCs. Many states have also eased the labour laws in order to give companies an exemption from them and attract investments. The prime minister also announced an economic package of Rs. 20 lakh crores focusing on cottage industries, MSMEs labourers, middle class and industries among others. Package of amount Rs. 20 lakh crores amounts to 10% of India’s GDP.

PM’s 5 PILLARS OF ATMA NIRBHAR BHARAT

Modi has introduced 5 pillars to Atma Nirbhar Bharat, they are; Economy, Infrastructure, System, Demography and Demand. He focused on essence of local markets and supply. In the pandemic phase, the import and export of major supplies is not possible and so it is an important time for India to utilize this opportunity for the benefit of Nation. Modi has asked the nation turn this crisis into opportunity, giving an example of domestic production of PPE kits and N-95 masks. He believes that the vision of India of turning crisis into opportunity will be equally effective for our resolution of self-reliant India. He also explained that the decision is not self centered but will improve the dynamic performance of India before the world, “The culture and tradition of India speaks of self-reliance and the soul is Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. India does not advocate self-centric arrangements when it comes to self-reliance. India’s self-reliance is ingrained in the happiness, cooperation and peace of the world.”

Initiatives regarding Atmanirbhar Bharat:

  • India’s personal protective equipment (PPE) sector grew from zero before March, to around 1, 50,000 pieces a day by May. It is considered an inspiring example of a self-reliant India. The PPE industry of India became worth ₹7,000 crore (US$980 million) in two months, the second largest after industry in China.
  • IIT Alumni Council setup the largest fund in the country worth ₹21,000 crore (US$2.9 billion) with the aim of supporting the mission towards self-reliance.
  • Reliance Jio announced the India’s own ‘Made in India’ 5G networks in July 2020. Mukesh Ambani announced in mid-July “Jio has created a complete 5G solution from scratch that will enable us to launch a world-class 5G service in India, using 100 per cent homegrown technologies and solutions”.
  • For the first time, it was announced that Apple would manufacturer one of their premium I-Phone models in India itself in July 2020, Chinese media also debunked misinformation related to Apple entirely shifting out of China.

CONCLUSION

Even in the phase of a virus outbreak, India cannot stop building itself. A crisis led to the birth of a new opportunity to India. This will not only help the country but the citizens to grow by reducing unemployment and poverty. It will help the health sector, agriculture sector, infrastructure and many more to grow and reach the world. The road to the same will not be easy but still with full determination the country can achieve its aim to become self reliant. After a total shutdown of the economy, a revival of the same is important and can be achieved by growing even more. The government hopes for the better and have set an aim of gasification of 100 million tons of coal by 2030 with an investment of Rs 20,000 crore. This will help our country to reach a new level in the world economy. This cannot be only fulfilled by the government but requires a great role of the citizens.

Climate crisis and the pandemic surrounding it

People have a perception that 2020 has brought them in the midst if a pandemic and it to be solely blamed for all the ruckus in their lives. What can I say, we all are humans ultimately, we are designed to blame other things in this universe for our own wrong doings. What most people don’t realize right now that isn’t supposedly just a limited pandemic which can be cured with the help of a vaccine, it is, in fact, a full fledged climate and health crisis. THESE ARE THE REPERCUSSIONS OF OUR OWN DOINGS !!

It comes as no surprise that India is ranked fourth among the list of countries most affected by climate change and it emits almost 7% of global emissions in the world. As a result, our daily temperatures keep on rising and glaciers keep on melting.

This crisis is being mainly caused by the society’s on-going cut throat competition regarding the limited resources of this planet, and of course, the merciless exploitation of our nature. We are over using our fossil fuels and the government keeps on cutting down trees to showcase the development being brought about by them. In India, all the issues over any crisis, soon goes on to become the puppets of politics.

This crisis is being mainly caused by the society’s on-going cut throat competition regarding the limited resources of this planet, and of course, the merciless exploitation of our nature. We are over using our fossil fuels and the government keeps on cutting down trees to showcase the development being brought about by them. In India, all the issues over any crisis, soon goes on to become the puppets of politics.

  • Power Plants
  • Transportation
  • Farming
  • Deforestation
  • Fertilizers
  • Oil Drilling
  • Natural Gas Drilling
  • Permafrost
  1. Population control- According to statistics, India is projected to overtake China in terms of population within forty years. The population of a country is directly linked to the amount of resources required to survive in it. The monopoly behind resources will continue to prevail till we don’t take adequate steps to control the population and curb the climatic crisis. For the same, many population bills were raised in the Indian parliament to they continue to be stuck in the roaring politics.
  2. Pollution control- This is one of the most obvious ones. Our government took many steps for this but they continue to fail because of the lack of dedication regarding them in the citizens and the government of India. Also, pollution can automatically be controlled by population control.
  3. Reuse, Recycle, Reward- The government can introduce certain awards and rewards to encourage people to go green. We all agree that one who misuses our resources shall be punished, but along with it, one who saves it shall also be appreciated. The government can voluntarily, also provide extended support to the producers and small scale shops who take an extra step for ensuring environment safety.
  4. Volunteer at NGO and in real life- Speak up for the right! You can also extend your support towards the cause by working in NGOs. You can also join protests regarding that.
  5. Environment friendly methods- This is where the talk about awareness and action comes in. On the internet, we can find tons of daily life ways on preserving the environment but what about the people who don’t have an access to the social media? Adequate laws and awareness programmes should be released.

I would like to end this with a powerful quote by MARSHALL MCLUHAN-

“There are no passengers on this spaceship earth. We are all crew.”

We already have the solutions to the problems. All we need to do is to wake up and change!

A Year Into the Pandemic

Remember 2020? When the whole world was threatened by a terrible virus outbreak and nation-wide lockdown had to be imposed in many countries. When the healthcare infrastructure was crumbling under the load of increasing critical patients and the only way out of this was to stay at home, wear a mask and practice social distancing?

Well, these aren’t distant memories, because 2021 has brought another wave of Covid-19, this time much more severe and deadly. The symptoms have drastically changed owing to a mutated strain, and detection of the virus has become a lot more harder. The statistics and numbers look so vague to us, until this virus reaches our doorstep and infects someone we know.

Schools and colleges have been shut down, and studying has taken a new form through virtual platforms. Some are getting the chance to spend time with their family. Some are witnessing losses in business. Some are looking for a way out of poverty, since the pandemic destroyed their only source of livelihood. Some are suffering from this deadly virus and some are losing their dear and loved ones. This pandemic taught something new to every person and brought out different emotions from everyone.

Did we ever imagine that something as microscopic as a virus could lead to so many losses in the world? That a ‘normal viral infection’ could bring humanity down to its knees, and make us realize that this is a fight for survival. That we aren’t alone on this planet, we just inhabit this planet like many others.

This lockdown allowed nature to flourish. Animals reclaimed what was theirs and the sky could finally shed its true light, free from all the smoke and chemicals. Humans were silent and earth was blooming with colors again. Birds were surprised, yet happy, for how a bustling city had been turned into a silent place.

We have been thinking that this pandemic is a new enemy that mankind has to fight against, but the real enemy, right from the start has just been us. The wars that we have started, the violence that has been ravaging across different parts of the world and is now prevalent in almost every city.

We trust the government, the people-in-charge to help make things better. To help get things back to normal. Well, I want normal too. I want that normal where people live in peace and harmony, and help the world grow. I want that normal where we co-exist with nature and give back to the planet. I want that normal where soldiers and don’t die at the border every day.

 

How can can the world go back to ‘normal’ and still possess pain and cruelty?

 

It’s disturbing that bloodshed and barbarism has become so common. We know everything happening around the world, but now choose to view these incidents politically. Accusingly. Blindly.

It’s been a year into this pandemic, but it’s been decades since we managed to bring about any changes. With such little progress and so many mistakes, it feels like time flew away and now it’s too late for us to catch it.

 

 

HOW TO STUDY AMIDST PANDEMIC

“Victory comes from finding
opportunities in problems.”

Do you prefer to study at home? We millennials have an inherent ability to sneakily use social media during classes, whether in the classroom or online. During our lectures, we know how to eat, sleep, and chat, and that tradition will continue online as well.

But, by the end of the day, don’t we get to do anything useful? It may be navigating congested roads in the rain, maintaining positive social relationships, or engaging in practical learning. During this online process, we will miss out on all of that. So, in such a situation, how does one become productive? It all comes down to self-control, in my opinion. Nobody is pressuring us to read, study, or do something productive; there is no pressure, and we have complete control of how we spend our time.

Which is better: online or in a classroom? Since it is much more receptive and engrossing, the solution is a classroom environment. Learning online, on the other hand, has its advantages. With more spare time on our side, we become more productive time managers. Having said that, I am aware that most of us fall victim to the vicious cycle of procrastination, and to combat this, I have begun to use the Pomodoro technique, which appears to be successful. It divides work into 25-minute chunks, with a 5-minute leisure break in between and a 20-minute reward break after 2 hours or so. It assists me in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Nobody knows how our educational environment can shift in the coming months, so we must make the most of the time we have and learn some useful skills while we’re at it.

LET’S ALL WALK ALONE YET TOGETHER!

In the valley noted for its echoes, silence talks. Our northern kin has been living in the shadows of the military and a political power struggle that will end in bloodshed regardless of who wins. Kashmiris have become inmates in their own homes, with the majestic peaks serving as a jail. Who are they pleading with? How can they get their message across?

While the mainland watches the programme, they protest, fight, and plead for their rights and freedom. They were alone, as were the Jews, the Blacks, and that one child in the diner with his parents on their phones, despite a population of 1.25 crore.

Like the Black Death in Europe, stories of social alienation abound in our history textbooks. Even so, we can feel its claws tightening around our necks now more than ever. We have a lot of connections. We have the whole planet at our fingertips. Calls and texts have relieved the sweet doves of their duties, allowing us to converse with strangers as well as friends.

In our pockets, we bear a piece of our loved ones. We are surrounded by more than 7 billion people and 8.7 million other animals. And yet, as we sit on our sofa, pizza in one hand and phone in the other, the knowledge slowly sinks in that we are both very lonely, like a slow poison.

In the United States alone, over 60 million people reported feeling lonely (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2018). Globally, youth are becoming increasingly withdrawn and absent-minded, preferring to curl up in a comfortable corner rather than face the harsh realities of life. The Loneliness Epidemic is one of many aspects that have characterised this period. People are becoming more agitated, despondent, inactive, and withdrawn. We rest isolated, unaffected, and unmoved in the midst of the whirlwind of likes and followers.

If the Loneliness Epidemic is not handled, we will be hollowed out. It drives people insane and turns them into savages. It encourages them to engage in drug abuse. As they sit trying to fit bits of garbage into the gaping hole inside, one loses all sense of reason. Loneliness is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, or a black pit, swallowing all life and leaving nothing but death and decay behind. It’s a shame the internet doesn’t bind people’s souls.

Wuhan was put on lockdown when the Coronavirus struck, with all residents being rounded up and placed in isolation or quarantine. China constructed a wall around itself when the Mongols threatened, and an alienation zone when the Chernobyl disaster occurred. Our reaction to the possibility of a global war was to create memes. We conveniently chuckled and japed instead of recognising the ramifications of such a brutal global phenomenon, refusing to be scared into a frenzy. When wars arrive at our doorstep, we slam the door in their faces. But what about the conflict that exists inside you? It is futile to demand caution from those who have never known peace.

Ironically, Mahatma Gandhi, Anne Frank, Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, William Shakespeare, Vincent Van Gogh, and Albert Einstein all came from this species. Guess what, visionaries, poets, freedom fighters, scientists, painters, and one teen girl who turned the world upside down? They began on their own. They began in seclusion. They were triumphant in the internal war that was raging. The world was awestruck, inspired, and speechless as a result of their valiant struggle. They were given meaning by a little trust in themselves and a greater love for others. We are, in reality, lonely. We’ve always been that way. And we’ve been battling it for a long time. Sure, it’s a sorry state of affairs for our species. But we’re fighting back, and we’re stronger than ever. We’re in this together. Despite stumbling and fumbling, we persist.

Unlock 4 : New Covid Rules

The Government of India had announced a lockdown over the last few months due to the Coronavirus pandemic. A lockdown was imposed on the whole country from the month of April. The lockdowns were imposed as a preventive measure for the pandemic. Since rates of infection have still not gone down, these measures are being continued. Recently there has been a change in the guidelines and a new system of “Unlock” is being introduced in the country. Today, a new set of guidelines were announced regarding the unlock. The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued a new guideline about the opening up of more institutions and activities. Metro train services and open air theatres are to be allowed in areas other than Containment Zones. A new set of lockdowns is being extended in the country and the rules will apply to zones where there are active cases and places labelled as containment zones. Other zones will have less strict Unlock rules. These guidelines will be extended in the country till 30 September.

Photo by Miguel Montejano on Pexels.com

The Centre has said,”The new guidelines, issued today, are based on feedback received from States and UTs, and extensive consultations held with related Central Ministries and Departments.” After issuing the guidelines, the Home ministry also announced opening up of more activities, like the resumption of Metro train services and open air theatres. Closed theatres have not been permitted to be kept open. Until further notice they will be closed. The re-opening of activities rule will only be applicable in areas outside the Containment Zones, said the Ministry. The Centre has allowed the states and Union Territories to permit up to 50 per cent of its teaching and non-teaching staff to be allowed to go to the schools for online teaching and other official and related work. States will also be allowed to permit students of classes 9 to 12 to visit their schools, but only in areas which are not included under the containment zones, said the government order. The Centre, however, has allowed reopening of higher education institutions. But this is only for research scholars and post-graduate students of technical and professional programmes which require necessary laboratory or experimental works in labs or other institutions. The previous Unlock 3 guidelines which were issued on July 29 had allowed the opening up of yoga institutes and gymnasiums. It had also removed restrictions on movement of individuals during night curfew.

School, colleges and other educational institutions will continue to remain closed for students, said the Centre on Saturday as it issued guidelines for the fourth phase of easing down the COVID-19 restrictions – “Unlock 4” – beginning September 1. This will be continuing for a month. The Home Ministry, issuing the guidelines, announced opening up of more activities, such as restarting of Metro train services and open air theatres. According to the Ministry, the re-opening of activities will only be allowed in areas outside the Containment Zones.

The Unlock3 guidelines issued on July 29 had allowed opening of yoga institutes and gymnasiums and removed restrictions on movement of individuals during night curfew. In its latest order, the States have also been asked not to impose any local lockdown restrictions in places outside Containment Zones. According to the government data, India’s COVID-19 numbers rose to 34,63,972 with a single-day spike of 76,472 new infections, while the death count climbed to 62,550 in 24 hours.

Was the Environment Healing During the Pandemic?

While the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic prompted lockdowns in many countries all over the world, the resultant decrease in emissions may have improved the health of our planet. Incidents where endangered animals have been spotted in certain areas were all around social media.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

The worldwide disruption caused by this has resulted in great impacts on the environment and the climate. Also, the considerable decline in travel has caused many regions to experience a large drop in air pollution. Carbon emission rates have reduced across countries significantly. There have been many instances where considerable changes in environmental conditions were observed. In China, lockdowns and similar measures have resulted in a 25 percent reduction in carbon emissions and 50 per cent reduction in nitrogen oxides emissions. One scientist estimated that this may have saved at least 77,000 lives over the course of two months. When compared with indexes of last year, pollution levels in New York have decreased almost by 50% this year. Satellite images have shown that Nitrogen dioxide emissions have started to decrease in Northern Italy, Spain and United Kingdom.

As most people had to stay at home due to lockdown and travel restrictions, many animals have been spotted in several cities. Sea turtles were spotted laying eggs on beaches they once avoided. This was found in coasts of the Bay of Bengal due to the lowered levels of pollution and human intervention. In the United States, dangerous vehicle collisions with animals such as deer, elk, moose, bears, mountain lions were very common. These incidents have reduced greatly and the rates fell by 58% during March and April. Endangered animals were visible in urban cities. A group of Nilgai deer were spotted on the roads of Noida near New Delhi. Dolphins which were seen in the Ganges many years ago, were also spotted in the river during the lockdowns. Several migratory birds were spotted across cities.

Gabon, an African country, had decided to ban the human consumption of certain animals like, bats and pangolins. This was done to reduce the spread of zoonotic diseases because the novel coronavirus is thought to have transmitted to humans through these animals.

According to a study published in May 2020, it was found that the rate of daily global carbon emissions during the lockdown in early April fell by 17%. This could possibly lead to an annual carbon emissions decline of up to 7%, which would be the biggest drop in emissions since World War II according to the study. Researchers suggest that these decreases are mainly due to the reduction of transportation usage and industrial activities. It is true that rebounding and returning to our previous routine and lives could diminish these reductions due to the more limited industrial activities. Due to the reduction in flights, air pollution levels have also dropped significantly.

Temporary changes have affected the environmental conditions. However, whether this pandemic will have a lasting impact on the environment is yet to be known. None of us would have wanted to lower emissions in this way, but it has shown us what we can do together in times of need. Covid-19 has shown us the importance of lives, health services, jobs and mental health. It has also shown us the difference that people and communities can make when they work together – this has given us hope that we can show the same zeal while dealing with climate change and saving our planet.

Economic turmoil : corona courtesy

The corona effect on the economy in a nutshell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prevention would have been ideal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Covid-19 Cases in New Zealand

On Tuesday, New Zealand announced that Auckland, its largest city, would be shutting down since 4 new cases has been found in the city.  It is the first case of domestic transmission for the nation after remaining covid free for 102 days.

New Zealand’s fight against Covid was recognised across the world. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was congratulated for her effective method and governance. A vigorous and decisive response to the pandemic had effectively curbed down the rates of infection. The Pacific island nation of 5 million citizens was considered to be the safest place as it remained Covid free for 100 days at a stretch. It had made a record of zero new cases of community transmission of Covid-19. From a first case on Feb 26 to the last one recorded on May 1st, the whole process of elimination took about 65 days. The nation was placed under lockdown for weeks when the virus first broke out and it had achieved a milestone of 100 days. After the last case was recorded on May 1st, the government had warned from before as countries like Australia and Vietnam which were once free from the virus are now fighting a second battle.

The Director General of Health had said that the 4 new cases are from a single family in South Auckland. It is the first local case in 102 days. The patients had no international travel history and contact tracing has been started.

With the announcement of shutdown, media reports suggested that people have started panic buying. The Prime Minister has made a surprise news conference and announced that Auckland will have Level 3 restriction from Wednesday as a “precautionary approach”. According to it, people should be staying at home, away from work, school or any social gathering. Any gathering of more than 10 people will not be allowed. This restriction would be applicable for 3 days, until Friday. This was done to assess the situation and gain further information about contact tracing. Immediate steps have been taken to find the source of the infection and to prevent further spread. There is an added concern because the source of the virus is not known this time. Travelling to Auckland, on North Island, would be restricted for people other than the ones who live there. The rest of New Zealand would go into Level 2 restriction from Wednesday for 3 days. Social gatherings would be restricted and mass gatherings of over 100 people would not be allowed. Since sources are unknown for the new cases, it is expected that there could be a rise in numbers in the coming few days.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has said, “I am urging Aucklanders to come together like we did last time to stamp out community transmission. Please remain calm, please do not panic buy and please follow the lockdown rules.” People have been instructed to use masks and to avoid all kinds of social gathering. Jacinda Ardern has told reporters, “No other country in the world was free of community transmission as long as New Zealand. Together we have beaten the virus before. We can do so again.”

New Zealand elections are scheduled to happen on September 19. The break of new cases was unexpected. Till now, the government has fought against the situation and done quite well as a result Ardern’s Labour Party has got a lot of support before the elections.

Doomscrolling

Doomscrolling is the act of endless scrolling of one’s news apps or social media apps and reading bad news. Although a problem existing since pre-COVID times, but the pandemic has exacerbated the problem. According to a new research conducted by the Pew Research Centre survey, 53% of adults say that the Internet has become “essential” during the pandemic. Twitter’s daily use numbers are up by 24% and Facebook’s numbers by 27% as shown by data analysis. With an emphasis on work from home, government updates, and making sure our loved ones are alive, mandates the use of the internet more than ever. With the advent of cheap internet and in an effort to make information accessible to all, many news sources are providing information on COVID for free. This ensures fewer barriers to being informed but simultaneously bolsters the abundance of doomsday headlines. Doomsday headlines inflict panic, anxiety in the reader, which in turn forces more screen time in the hope of finding some good news and finding solace. Thus the internet dictates what’s important rather the other way round. Checking the news feed for extra hours won’t hold the apocalypse but surely would make you psychologically weaker to face it. Already social media was being questioned about its net benefits in pre-COVID times as it was shown that social media bolsters the advent of anxiety and depression in its users,  global-pandemic and civil unrest have just exacerbated the situations. Feeling informed in such a volatile environment may be good, but being overwhelmed by tragedy serves no purpose. Many people think that staying updated on the situation would keep them safer but they don’t realize the fact that the consumption of bad news only leads to greater fear, anxiety, and stress. Instead one could try some habits in order to get rid of this malicious and vicious ‘unsatisfying addiction’.

  • Finding your voice in niche communities could help you a lot in overcoming the stress and reinforcing your emotional well-being. And these communities do not include social media communities. But remember if in the group if your voice feels another comment in-crowd, that might be not your place.
  • Sticking to sites that help you feel creative and empowered are good places to be. The Internet proves to be a space for expressing versions of ourselves. So why not do it while also enjoying instead of following the crowd.
  • Need social media? Use desktop versions of them, bookmarking the pages, groups or accounts so as to avoid falling in the trap of scrolling.
  • Dedicate some time for the do-good feel-good. Reviewing the businesses out there providing essential services could be a great way to make the most of your time. Restaurant owners, authors, small-business owners love your reviews, especially good ones.
  • Acquire a new skill, be it learning another language, drawing, coding, cooking, or whatever you feel like. This not only boosts our mental health but also distracts you from the bad news thereby providing serenity.
  • Cut back and create boundaries for social media use. Get to know the limit of your body and brain. If you are feeling agitated, anxious or stressed, put away your phone as your body is signaling you to stop.

Lessons we learned from the coronavirus pandemic

Do face masks really reduce coronavirus spread? Experts have mixed answers.  | Live Science

Coronavirus has already created a havoc in the world by taking the lives of around 571,574 people. Where as till now almost 13,036,587 people have been infected by COVID-19. This is the first mega pandemic which has caused so much panic among the people. This virus doesn’t know how to discriminate people and has ended up infecting all kinds of people from all sides of the world. It successfully forced some powerful countries with the largest economy to impose shutdown. many people in their lifetime might have never witnessed something like this, which can force the world to shutdown.

But don’t you think this pandemic happened because of we people only ? Can we say that this is the karma we are facing for destroying our environment and killing poor animals ? We people have always taken our environment for granted. some scientists think that corona virus originated in bats and could have been transmitted from that. Also huge amount of corona virus traces were found in the meat market of wuhan and the city had to stop the trade of live animal sales because that’s where COVID-19 started. So basically people like us are the reason behind this pandemic. By considering the brightest part of this situation we have rediscovered some values, because we realized that everyone in the world is vulnerable to crises, irrespective of religion, wealth and economy. So let’s know what are the lessons we learned from corona virus pandemic.

SOME MAJOR LESSONS LEARNED :

How to wash your hands and how long it takes to get clean - Insider
  • Hygiene habits : A habit which we are well aware of now. We have all been taught to wash our hands everytime we have been to a place. Earlier we didn’t wash our hands from time to time but now this pandemic has forced us to get few of our good habits back. Rather on today’s date washing hands is a game changer habit to keep the virus away from you. Washing hands with just water in not just enough rather we learned to wash our hands more often with soap, which plays a vital role in killing germs and viruses. Hence we rediscovered the value of washing hands again!
Health Report
  • focus on personal health : Before pandemic we never bothered about our health, we were more into junk foods and less into healthy foods. This pandemic has made us realized the importance of our own health. The more careless we are towards our health the more problems we invite. During this pandemic we have started living a healthy life. people now exercise more often and go for healthy drinks and foods. Because now we understand the importance of having a strong immune system and therefore now we are more conscious about our health. Now we understand the real meaning of “Health Is Wealth” , because money might not save you but a strong immune system can.
Before-and-after photos that show how lockdowns reduced air pollution -  Insider
  • Responsibility towards environment : We all can see how our environment is healing during this pandemic. We people are the reason behind the calamities that take place in our earth. Our irresponsibility and carelessness are the only reason for what we are facing today. But the shutdown has given our environment ample time to heal and ample time to we people to think about the destruction we have caused to our planet. The sky and water bodies are more cleaner now, animals and birds are roaming freely without getting scared because there are less cars in the streets, yes the nature is healing as there is less pollution now.

We have taken extreme measures and have changed the way we live our lives to fight for the survival. All these changes have created a positive chain of reaction and it is definitely saving lives.The coronavirus has changed our perception toward’s life.

We might all pay for it unless we take this NEW state of the world as a lesson! A lesson we are capable of taking extreme steps to save lives, A lesson we are capable of reversing our environmental mistake. Once we win against COVID-19, we should not forget the lessons we learned during this pandemic then only we will be in our way to a safer future.

Students And The Pandemic

Amid COVID-19 pandemic, record 98.82 per cent students pass in ...

the coronavirus pandemic has already affected atleast 188 countries with more than 14.5 million confirmed cases. The virus has not only killed 6 lac people but has also made countries experience their worst economic crises. The pandemic has indirectly affected people in many ways, starting from poor to rich, everyone is facing one or more problems. It has forced some powerful countries with largest economy to impose lockdown which has affected many communities, not because the government wants to destroy their own economy but because there is no other choice left to save people. Countries now are in their worst condition, as they are in situation where they know that in order to save lives, their decisions and strategies will indirectly affect many communities.

Among all other communities, students are one such community who are also facing a lot of problems. Yes it is true that their difficulties and issues might not be greater and even equal to the difficulties faced by health officials, police forces, daily-wage earners, LGBTQ community or any other human being who is seriously affected due to the pandemic, but yet we can not ignore the problems faced by the students since they are the future of the country.

It has already been 4 months since the lockdown was declared for the first time in India. So probably 23rd of march was the last day for students at their schools and college. school students were then very happy about the 15 day lockdown since they thought they will be joining their respective schools after this mini vacation but little did they know that this little vacation of theirs will go on forever.

All sort of educational institutions were forced to close their doors for the safety of their students,but students are atleast now able to cope up with their studies through virtual classes. But unfortunately not all are able to access online classes since it requires good connectivity and most of the students are unable to attend their classes because of poor network. Especially students living in remote or rural areas are facing this particular problem. Government has failed to address this issue since students can only depend upon internet to continue learning. Apart from that we understand that online classes are a good option to continue learning but not the best when compared to classroom learning.

The Dangers of Keeping the Schools Closed – AIER

Student – teacher interaction is something which is lacking in online classes, and hence it decreases their motivation to study. It is quite understandable that such problems will arise in such a situation and it can not be avoided. Students have to manage their studies during this crises, since there is no other option left. This pandemic has also left final year students in a great confusion as they are not sure whether they will be having exams or not. Most of the companies have also withdrawn their offer letters from the students which is another sad thing faced by the final year students. Till now nobody addressed these issues faced by the students and no serious decisions are taken regarding this.

All i know is, that it took a whole pandemic to make students realize the importance of classroom teaching. Nobody knows for how long educational institutions will remain closed, but i am sure all of them are badly waiting for that day when they will be able to learn in their classrooms.

What COVID-19 has taught us?

We used to watch the news and feel bad for people in China regarding COVID-19, little did we know that in a month it will hit us. Things changed drastically. The way we used to interact with people, work, shop, eat, or travel outside; it all underwent a major transformation. Due to this, we have realized what needs to be valued that we took for granted earlier.

  • We can no longer exploit nature ruthlessly. Oceans are other water bodies that have cleaned up. There has been a return of wildlife as seen by the residents. The quality of air has improved. The ozone layer which depleting rapidly has started repairing itself. We can easily save our environment just like we during the lockdown. Only we need to be cognizant of this important factor once we completely resume our lives.

 

  • Now we have started valuing our loved ones more. Not able to interact like we used to, no meetings, no parties, no concerts; all of it was a part of our mundane lives has become so important in the last few months. We still don’t know when we will be able to socialize like earlier. Hopefully, we don’t take this for granted once we are back at it again.

 

  • We realized how fragile the economy is. There immense employees lay-off, salary cuts, migrant laborers were thrown out of factories or other workplaces leaving them without money. This crisis made us realize one should save enough that if anything like this happens again, one can tackle them with little ease.

 

  • We realized how important water it, and lack of it can be troublesome. As asked by the Government to wash our hands 20 seconds at a time has revealed the weak water infrastructure. This simple act has wasted a lot of water during this time. Not just this, there were millions of people who still don’t have access to water facilities in the country. They don’t receive clean water to wash their hands in the middle of the pandemic. The bells are loud and clear. Immediate action needs to be taken. Also, people should educate themselves about water conservation and try adopting it.

 

  • It has taught us about the importance of preparation- Preparation of everything! Whether it is money, food, healthcare anything.

At last, the virus has taught us how to be patient and the benefits of silence and solitude. We could look into ourselves and explore our consciousness. Otherwise, our busy lives would never have given us this chance. We were so involved in superficial activities and never got time for ourselves. Now that we have this opportunity, use it to the fullest. This will not only uplift each individual but society at large.

 

 

Mental Health: during Covid-19

As we all are aware about the current situation, dealing with this pandemic is the biggest challenge for all the Nations. Corona virus causing death to thousands of people. So many people are suffering from this decease and large number of infected persons are increasing day by day. Due to Nation-wide Lockdown people are locked in thier houses only can go out for essential services, watching News channel, reading articles about Covid-19 causing anxiety, fear and stress among the people, India and other countries facing economic instability and many losing their jobs increasing unemployment and daily wage workers are facing difficulties for living and worried about getting work and how to feed thier families. Doctors are working overtime to provide treatment to more and more patients, people are running hospitals to hospital to admit patients.

Number of Corona infected patients increasing day by day
Daily wage workers worried about thier future

The environment around us is very stressful and negative, but people should try to fill themselves with positivity and hope for better future. Take breaks from news and information related to Covid-19 excercise and meditate. Let’s foucus on building our immunity stronger and eat healthy. listening music or pursue some hobbies all should try to be happy and stress-free.

The UN has urged the governments around the world to take the mental health consequences very seriously, and ensure widespread availability of mental health support. WHO has published guidelines for the communities regarding this issue, because mental health matters. In this difficult time do not lose hope,We will fight, we will win.

It Took A Pandemic…

Remember the pre-COVID times when going out was not counted as a privilege, we could go out and enjoy with the scare of a deadly virus. All the long drives, eating out, the office runs, and whatnot. But what I do not miss is the pollution, long traffic jams, all the noise, and unnecessary honking. The lockdown made us realize that going out unnecessarily could be avoided and we can stay home on weekends as well, that we can work from home too without contributing to the traffic by going to the office. But the only thing which shakes my head is that it took a pandemic for us to realize that we can control pollution and contribute to saving the environment.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Pre-COVID we brought home groceries and placed them in the selves without hesitation, purchased different goods, and used them with ease, but now after bringing in stuff we thoroughly sterilize them as soon as we get them home and only then we use or store them. But now things have changed we clean and sterilize everything as soon as we bring anything home. Isn’t it something which we should have been doing always? Making sure anything that we bring home from outside to be sanitized thoroughly before using? Well, it took a pandemic to make us realize that everything carries germs and should be sanitized properly before use.

Oh and remember how earlier we used to just casually wash our hands and it took a pandemic to teach people how to wash hands properly, that a proper handwash is an 11 step process, and should take at least 20 seconds.

How do I wash my hands properly?

Washing your hands properly takes about as long as singing “Happy Birthday” twice,
using the images below.

Steps of washing hand-Courtesy WHO

There is no doubt that Corona times are crazy and COVID-19 has changed our lives in a way that we wouldn’t have ever imagined, there is no doubt that we are more cautious and disciplined now and the only question that we need to ask ourselves is why it took a pandemic to teach us discipline, to teach us proper sanitization, and a simple habit of proper handwash.

‘The New Normal’

Lockdown In India: India has been in a complete lockdown system due to the global pandemic issue since March 2020. It was the only way of staying safe at our homes and maintaining social distancing. However, all essential services,essential commodities and medicines were available. Banks, ATMs, grocery shops, petrol pumps, hospitals were not included in the lockdown. The night curfew was initiated by the Government that no movement of people from 7pm to 7am shall take place except for essential items.

The global pandemic changed the daily lifestyles of people, the work scenarios, the Indian economy, the Entertainment Industry, and so on.

Nothing like this was expected that the world would be in such a dilemma.The entire world has been affected by the global pandemic issue. Be it the economy, the business and industry sectors, the health sectors, the agriculture and law sectors, small scale and large scale sectors,railways and metros,aviations,etc.

The poor and daily wages workers have been hit tremendously by this pandemic. They are the ones suffering a lot today. Even the unemployed are facing problems and a number of employees have lost their jobs already. The ones still working in their work spaces are constantly in fear of the safety of themselves and the others.

This pandemic has changed a lot of things over the past few months. Each and every person is suffering due to the sudden issue be it through mentally or financially.

Even after the complete lockdown system initiated by the Govt. of India for literally three months, the number of cases of covid-19 has been going on tremendously increasing day by day. There is no number of decrease in the cases till date.

The nation followed complete lockdown for more than two months except for essential items. Initially, the domestic flights were resumed from May 25th with guidelines that has to be followed for travelling. The Railways then decided to start to operate the Shramik Special trains from May 1st to transport the stranded migrant workers, students, pilgrims and tourists.

The centre then decided to start lifting few restrictions on things in lockdown as Unlock 1.0 phase from the 8th of June. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi Ji however gave the authorities to the States and Union Territories to decide about what should be made opened and not in their respective states.

In the Unlock 1.0 phase malls, hotels and restaurants for takeaway and home delivery, and places of worship for the public were made opened. However, social distancing and proper safety measures had to be followed. The containment zones were in complete lockdown as earlier. People stepped out of the houses as soon as they heard about the Unlock 1.0 phase thus increasing the risk of themselves and others.

Amid the rise in the cases of the coronavirus after the Unlock 1.0 phase, the Government directed the State & Union Territories to ensure mandatory basis that no movement of people except for essential things would be allowed from 9pm to 5am throughout the whole nation. Indian Railways decided to operate 15 pairs of Special AC trains from 12th of May and 200 time-tabled trains from the 1st of June.

On July 1st, the nation entered into the Unlock 2.0 Phase with relaxations in night curfew, provision for more domestic flights and trains and clearance for more than five people in a shop. However, schools, colleges and other educational institutions are closed till July 31st. At present, offices are too opened with all the safety measures that has to be followed. Some offices still prefer work from home (wfh) for their safety. Works which can’t be done from wfh are resumed.

Shootings have also been resumed for daily soaps and TV Stars are practicing all the social distancing and are following safety measures while they are on the sets and all the reality shows would be getting back with new episodes from 13th of july.

Looking at the increasing number in the cases day by day, the nation would be entering in the Unlock 3.0 phase from July 31st.

The fact:

Currently, as we have entered unlock phases of lockdown people have accepted and are trying to make it a habit of wearing masks and scarfs before stepping out of their homes. Maintaining social distancing and using a hand sanitizer as and when required. All the precautions and safety measures have been followed by every person.

Markets have realised that masks are now an essentials things and also trendy and therefore, producing different brands and patterns of masks to the customers. This is an amazing business which is in actual demand and has already started making profits.

People are trying to accept ‘the new normal’ or you can say ‘the new usual.’ Earlier hand sanitizers were not in much demand the way it is now. Without masks, its impossible to think of going out right now today. And you think we have to follow this only for some months?

No, we have to follow and adapt this new normal not only till the number of cases gets reduced to ‘0’ which we all are hoping but also for some years for future prevention. It is true that we are not safe anymore. We can’t freely go out or hang out like earlier we used to do. We can’t do social gatherings or get together at some one’s home. We can’t chill with our friends or spend time with them at our homes. We can’t go to theatres for watching movies or go shopping with our friends. We can’t chill at the malls, or public places like earlier. This is the reality. We can’t touch anywhere or anyone without having the fear of risk right now or for few years till everything settles down completely.

I am just stating the facts. No one knows when exactly we all will be free and will be back to our normal life. Everyone is waiting for that one day when we hear the news that coronavirus (covid-19) is reduced and no more cases have been detected.

Hence, today looking at the current situation I do feel its not safe to step out of the houses without wearing our masks for coming years. This is the new normal that we have to abide by and just like we can’t leave our smartphones at homes, the same way we can’t leave our masks today before stepping out of our homes for anything.

Well, who imagined a world full of people wearing masks one day? But here we are today.

Masks are the new normal.

How Is COVID-19 Impacting The Environment?

A BRIEF ON COVID-19:

The coronavirus disease- COVID-19 is a highly transmittable and pathogenic viral infection caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2, which emerged in Wuhan, China and spread around the world. Analysis revealed that SARS-CoV-2 is phylogenetically related to severe acute respiratory syndrome-like bat viruses, therefore bats could be the possible primary reservoir. The intermediate source of origin and transfer to humans is not known, however, the rapid human to human transfer has been confirmed widely. There is no clinically approved antiviral drug or vaccine available to be used against COVID-19. However, few broad-spectrum antiviral drugs have been evaluated against COVID-19 in clinical trials, resulted in clinical recovery.

ORIGIN:

The first human infections were reported at the end of December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei province in China when a cluster of 41 pneumonia cases was identified. Deeper analysis showed that it was a novel coronavirus. A third – 66% of the cases – had direct exposure to the Huanan Seafood market. Fish, shellfish, wildlife, snakes, birds and several different types of meat and carcasses were sold at this market. The market was closed immediately, and it has not reopened since. (source: ScienceDirect.com, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673620301835?via%3Dihub)

The strongest speculation of the origin has been that the virus is somehow linked to the market given two thirds of the first batch of people infected had had ties with it. But even this hasn’t been proved yet. Nevertheless, Bats, in particular, have been studied closely because they are considered to be the natural host of coronaviruses.

this is not my image, credit to the artist

EFFECT of covid-19 on the environment:

The objective of this article is to analyse the positive and the negative environmental impact of this abhorrent pandemic, Covid-19.

The Positives-

  • Improved Air Quality: 

The coronavirus has temporarily slashed air pollution levels around the world (source: European Space Agency). Readings from ESA’s Sentinel-5P satellite also show that over the past six weeks, the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over cities and industrial clusters in Asia and Europe were markedly lower than in the same period last year. Nitrogen dioxide is produced from car engines, power plants and other industrial processes and is thought to exacerbate respiratory illnesses such as asthma. While not a greenhouse gas itself, the pollutant originates from the same activities and industrial sectors that are responsible for a large share of the world’s carbon emissions and that drive global heating. Take transport, for example, which makes up 23% of global carbon emissions. Driving and aviation are key contributors to emissions from transport, contributing 72% and 11% of the transport sector’s greenhouse gas emissions respectively. (Source: http://www.ipcc.ch)

If we consider the case of Delhi, on 6th April, for the third week Delhi continued to breathe clean. The weekend before this saw the best air quality in the national capital region (NCR) in 2020, with an average AQI of 46. The weekend before that, it was at 159.  There was a remarked improvement in air quality in the NCR, as the harmful PM10 and PM2.5 levels were down by 35-40% in Delhi (source: The Economic Times).

The visible positive impacts whether through improved air quality or reduced greenhouse gas emissions – are but temporary. This is because they come on the back of an economic slowdown and human distress. During the pandemic, these emissions will stay lowered. But what will happen when the safety measures are eventually lifted?  The people will be back to regular.

  • Some Cut Downs on Wastage:

During the coronavirus outbreak, the habits that are coincidentally good for the climate might be travelling less, like cutting down on food waste as we experience shortages due to stockpiling.

  • Rethinking how we use energy:

A benefit of no travel and a lockdown is we will spend some time rethinking how we use energy.

The Negatives-

  • Increase In Use Of Single-Use Plastics:

With as many as 12,82,931 cases recorded in 211 countries ( as of 8 April 2020, 05:30 GMT, Source: WHO), the United Nations’ World Health Organization has recently declared the fast-spreading COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic. It is natural then that citizens around the globe are hastening to take every possible measure to safeguard their health against the virus. The most widespread of these precautions is the extensive use of surgical face masks.

These masks are mainly made of non-woven fabric such as polypropylene, polystyrene, polycarbonate, polyethylene or polyester. While they keep out bacteria effectively, the masks are plastic-based, liquid-resistant products that have a long afterlife after they are discarded, ending up in landfill or oceans.  

Given that surgical masks are supposed to be worn for no longer than one day, their disposal- along with that of empty hand sanitizer bottles and soiled tissue papers- is leading to a massive trail of clinical waste in the environment.

Take the case of Wuhan, for example. The Chinese city which has been at the epicentre of the pandemic and which is home to over 11 million people, is reported to have generated 200 tons of clinical trash on a single day (24 February 2020), four times the amount the city’s only dedicated facility can incinerate per day. (source: scmp.com)

  • Mountain Of Waste:

With consumers stuck at home, there’s been a surge in the amount of household garbage as people increasingly shop online and order meals to be delivered, which come with a lot of packaging. (source: time.com)

Meanwhile, China is drowning under medical waste produced by hospitals including face masks and single-use tissues. If the waste is not handled properly, the garbage collectors are likely to catch and spread the infection

  • More Hand Wash, More Use Of Water:

Today, the only defence against the pandemic is that we wash our hands frequently — 20 seconds each time. The fact is, clean water remains the most important preventive health measure in the world.

A proper hand wash involves lathering soap and scrubbing hands on both sides for at least 20 seconds, according to WHO guidelines. A 30 to 40 second hand wash would use up around four litres of water if the tap is on, or two litres with the tap closed, while scrubbing with soap. Around 20 to 40 litres of water is used up every day, with the assumption that every person cleans her hands at least 10 times a day, instead of a usual average of five times a day.

A family of five members would thus need 100 to 200 litres of water per day only to wash hands. This would result in the generation of around 200 litres of wastewater per day, a 20 to 25 per cent increase in water demand and generation of wastewater from human settlements. (source: downtoearth.org.in)

It is also important to note that a large numbers of people in India and vast parts of the still emerging world do not have access to water, forget its portability. 

  • Climate Issues Take a Backseat:

Before the coronavirus, momentum seemed to be building behind governments and businesses taking steps to address climate change. As 2020 began, wildfires were destroying vast swaths of Australia; and the climate activist Greta Thunberg had become a household name. But the spread of the coronavirus has thrown an even more urgent crisis at governments and business: how to save the lives of millions of people, prevent health care systems from collapsing, and shore up economies that must now enter something comparable to an induced coma. 

CONCLUSION:

In conclusion, the coronavirus crisis has been having short term positive environmental effects but long term negative effects on the environment. Production has decreased, there’s less pressure on energy resources, less fuel burnt in transportation, fewer carbon emissions, and less air pollution. However, all of this is temporary and in the long term, the environmental impacts of the coronavirus such as water shortage, increase in plastic production and waste and issues relating to correct waste disposable, to name a few, will pose as a greater problem.

Friendship And Physical Distancing

Introverts or extrovert, social interaction is a need for everyone. No one is liking the fact that physical distancing isn’t taking place on their terms.

Self Isolation, physical distancing and ‘Real Friends’

To give you a breakup: Some of my friends aren’t taking self-isolation very well. Some don’t seem to be minding it at all. And then there are those who, on the surface, seem to be taking it well, but in reality are carrying the heavy load of being ‘the strong friend’.

In April, a tweet by the handle @/tiamowry got viral, it read “During this pandemic, you’ll really see who your friends are. Who’s really checking up on you? Making sure you’re okay? Remember that when all this is over?”. It was deleted after the backlash, but the sheer number of likes, retweets and all the ‘yes omg, you’re right’ comments it received made it clear that a lot of us follow the same mentality that the tweet reflected. The mentality, in plain words, is being self-absorbed. Sure, all of us want to receive love and feel loved. We want constant reassurance from our friends and family that care about us.

However, to go ahead and suggest that a friend who is not constantly checking up on you isn’t a ‘real’ friend is parochial. This mentality implies that the pandemic is only affecting you and your mental health. It fails to acknowledge that it is also affecting everyone else, which includes your ‘real’ friends.

The last thing you should do is measure the strength of your friendships based on how often a friend is checking up on you as if they don’t have other things that could be worrying them or occupying their time during a pandemic.

Personally, I’ve been checking in on my friends, talking to them as much as I can. Doing as much listening as sharing. In no way am I doing this expecting everyone else to do the same for me. While saying this, it is also important that I mention the context- I’m in an extremely privileged position than most in this whole situation. For one, I have a roof over my head, three hot meals and not any financial burden to keep me worried about. I am someone who can be described as an ‘overly productive’ person during the pandemic. While on most day I like to be buried in work, but there are also days when everything starts to take a toll on me, on those days, sometimes I’m busy pretending to be strong for people even though I can hardly seem do anything for my own mental health. The other times I prioritise myself, something I learned the hard way.

Who SHOULD YOU CHECK UP ON?

There is no fixed answer to this question. It could be people with emotional/mental disorders, your current friends, old friends, new friends, family or even distant relatives. It is okay to do this as long as it doesn’t cost you your own peace of mind. You can not help anyone if you yourself are struggling. If you are over extending yourself it is okay to not check in with people you regularly check in with. You can keep yourself first without dissolving in guilt.

UNLEARNING

Like I mentioned before, I personally don’t take offence to whether or not a friend drops me a text or randomly video calls me. The pandemic isn’t just about me nor is it just about them. It is something that we are all collectively experiencing combined with our own personal struggles.

Take a quick moment to practice a more open and accommodating mindset.

The Dark Pandemic….

The black death or what we call the Bubonic Plague is the most feared epidemic in this whole world till date. The three types of plague are the result of the route of infection: bubonic plague, septicemic plague, and pneumonic plague. Bubonic plague is mainly spread by infected fleas from small animals.It may also result from exposure to the body fluids from a dead plague-infected animal. In the bubonic form of plague, the bacteria enter through the skin through a flea bite and travel via the lymphatic vessels to a lymph node, causing it to swell. Diagnosis is made by finding the bacteria in the blood, sputum, or fluid from lymph nodes.The plague was the cause of the Black Death that swept through Asia, Europe, and Africa in the 14th century and killed an estimated 50 million people.This was about 25% to 60% of the European population. Globally between 2010 and 2015 there were 3248 documented cases, which resulted in 584 deaths. The countries with the greatest number of cases are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Peru. For over a decade since 2001, Zambia, India, Malawi, Algeria, China, Peru, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo had the most plague cases with over 1,100 cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo alone. From 1,000 to 2,000 cases are conservatively reported per year to the WHO. From 2012 to 2017, reflecting political unrest and poor hygienic conditions, Madagascar began to host regular epidemics. Between 1900 and 2015, the United States had 1,036 human plague cases with an average of 9 cases per year. In 2015, 16 people in the Western United States developed plague, including 2 cases in Yosemite National Park. These US cases usually occur in rural northern New Mexico, northern Arizona, southern Colorado, California, southern Oregon, and far western Nevada. In November 2017, the Madagascar Ministry of Health reported an outbreak to WHO (World Health Organization) with more cases and deaths than any recent outbreak in the country. Unusually most of the cases were pneumonic rather than bubonic. In June 2018, a child was confirmed to be the first person in Idaho to be infected by bubonic plague in nearly 30 years. A couple died in May 2019, in Mongolia, while hunting marmots.Another two people in the province of Inner Mongolia, China were treated in November 2019 for the disease. On July 2020, in Bayannur, Inner Mongolia of China it was reported that a case of bubonic plague happened since the last case on May across the border of Inner Mongolia. Then later, the authorities issued a third-level of warning for plague prevention that will last till the end of the year.

First pandemic

The first recorded epidemic affected the Sassanian Empire and their arch-rivals, the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) and was named the Plague of Justinian after emperor Justinian I, who was infected but survived through extensive treatment. The pandemic resulted in the deaths of an estimated 25 million (6th century outbreak) to 50 million people (two centuries of recurrence).The historian Procopius wrote, in Volume II of History of the Wars, of his personal encounter with the plague and the effect it had on the rising empire. In the spring of 542, the plague arrived in Constantinople, working its way from port city to port city and spreading around the Mediterranean Sea, later migrating inland eastward into Asia Minor and west into Greece and Italy. Because the infectious disease spread inland by the transferring of merchandise through Justinian’s efforts in acquiring luxurious goods of the time and exporting supplies, his capital became the leading exporter of the bubonic plague. Procopius, in his work Secret History, declared that Justinian was a demon of an emperor who either created the plague himself or was being punished for his sinfulness.

Second pandemic

In the Late Middle Ages Europe experienced the deadliest disease outbreak in history when the Black Death, the infamous pandemic of bubonic plague, hit in 1347, killing a third of the European human population. Some historians believe that society subsequently became more violent as the mass mortality rate cheapened life and thus increased warfare, crime, popular revolt, waves of flagellants, and persecution. The Black Death originated in Central Asia and spread from Italy and then throughout other European countries. Arab historians Ibn Al-Wardni and Almaqrizi believed the Black Death originated in Mongolia. Chinese records also showed a huge outbreak in Mongolia in the early 1330s.Research published in 2002 suggests that it began in early 1346 in the steppe region, where a plague reservoir stretches from the northwestern shore of the Caspian Sea into southern Russia. The Mongols had cut off the trade route, the Silk Road, between China and Europe which halted the spread of the Black Death from eastern Russia to Western Europe. The epidemic began with an attack that Mongols launched on the Italian merchants’ last trading station in the region, Caffa in the Crimea. In late 1346, plague broke out among the besiegers and from them penetrated into the town. The Mongol forces catapulted plague infected corpses into Caffa as a form of attack one of the first known instances of biological warfare When spring arrived, the Italian merchants fled on their ships, unknowingly carrying the Black Death. Carried by the fleas on rats, the plague initially spread to humans near the Black Sea and then outwards to the rest of Europe as a result of people fleeing from one area to another.

Biological warfare

Some of the earliest instances of biological warfare were said to have been products of the plague, as armies of the 14th century were recorded catapulting diseased corpses over the walls of towns and villages to spread the pestilence. This was done by Jani Beg when he attacked the city of Kaffa in 1343.Later, plague was used during the Second Sino-Japanese War as a bacteriological weapon by the Imperial Japanese Army. These weapons were provided by Shirō Ishii’s units and used in experiments on humans before being used on the field. For example, in 1940, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service bombed Ningbo with fleas carrying the bubonic plague. During the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials, the accused, such as Major General Kiyoshi Kawashima, testified that, in 1941, 40 members of Unit 731 air-dropped plague-contaminated fleas on Changde. These operations caused epidemic plague outbreaks.

Does EIA need revaluation?

This year, in March, a new draft of the EIA has been proposed by the Union Government. It constitutes some complicated and argumentative changes in the rules.


What was the need to bring out this notification in the midst of the pandemic?
How are people going to take part in public consultation during this lockdown?
How will they protest if they want changes in it?
Is the government trying to lay the blame on this pandemic for their decisions?


What is EIA?
On 27th January 1994, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MEF), Government of India, under the Environmental Protection Act 1986, proclaimed an EIA notification making Environmental Clearance (EC) mandatory for expansion or modernization of any activity or for setting up new projects listed in Schedule 1 of the notification.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has proposed a draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification to replace the current one, which dates back to 2006. The EIA process is extremely important because it is the only process which is supposed to prioritize Environment safety over Economic benefits. A prior, free and informed consent of people is welcomed in it; people can ask questions about the need of the process. In this process, the project can be rejected on precautionary grounds. The values that are fundamental to the EIA process are sustainability, equity, environmental justice, accountability, transparency; it is these values that make the EIA meaningful.

But the new draft of 2020 is considered to change some of these basic values of EIA and some of the provisions are:
 Projects can receive clearance post-facto; a project operating in violation of the EPA can now apply for clearance.
 The draft says that no information on such projects shall be placed in the public domain. This list also includes all inland waterways projects.
 Violations on any project can only be reported by any government representative or the project proponent, not citizens.
Now, the EIC members typically are bureaucrats, project proponents from previous projects who do not have any environmental credential.
 Priorly the EIA report does not go directly to the decision-maker, that report is to be shared with the public. A person who may be directly affected by the report or anyone interested in knowing about its impact can participate in the public hearing. But now the Public Consultation may be cancelled owing to the local situation, i.e; if the people are protesting against a project that itself can be used to cancel Public hearing. Isn’t it a violation of our rights?
 Once the EC is granted it will be included for the lifetime in the project without any review. EC cannot be revoked even in case it violates EIA.
 The time allotted for public hearings has been reduced to speed up clearance process, this makes it difficult for people living in rural and tribal areas who are most often directly influenced by these projects. Today we have 30days notice period which is itself insufficient, now it’s been said to be reduced to 20days. The only motive behind this is that people will not be able to participate.
 Earlier buildings of 20,000sq.m or above required an environment clearance after detailed scrutiny by the state-level expert committee. Now, in this draft, it has been proposed to make it 150,000 sq.m, more than 7times if you count.

The 2020 EIA draft seems to be leaning in favour of the industries and does not take care of the environment. This is important amidst the climate crisis and the pandemic. In the last 6 years, MoEFCC has given environment clearance to 2,256 of the 2,592 received proposals. At least 49 industrial projects have been approved since the lockdown began. Some of the projects which are in question are:
• Dibang Valley Hydropower Project, Arunachal Pradesh
A 3,097 MW project is being developed by Etalin Hydro Electric Power Company Limited which comprehends the felling of 2.7 lakhs trees in the subtropical rain forests.
• Coal Mining Project in Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve, Assam
The government is discussing a proposal to divert 98.59 hectares of the reserve forest in Assam for a coal-mining project. This Reserve is home to a vibrant habitat including Asian elephants, Royal Bengal tigers, Leopard, and crab-eating mongoose.
• Oil Drilling in Baghjan, Assam
In 2016, Oil India Limited decided to extend its drilling and bypassed the public hearings clause. On May 27, 2020, an oil well in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district experienced a blowout which led to a fire.
• Talabira coal mines, Odisha
The forest area has been cleared in Odisha for an opencast coal mining project. Parts of the forest have been protected over decades by the local community are now gone forever.
• Gas leakage in LG Polymers, Vishakhapatnam
In May, there was a gas leak in this company and this project didn’t have all the clearances as the company admitted this subsequently.
• A dyke at a Reliance power plant in Madhya Pradesh broke, spilling ashes over hundreds of acres of cropland, polluting the river and killing many people.

Recently the state government of Goa was caught for being engaged in fraudulence. It submitted a false report to obtain clearance for an airport near the ecologically sensitive Mopa plateau which will not only affect the vegetations or animals but also plunder the livelihood of hundreds of farmers. Even after this, no one was blamed for it. On the other hand, the EAC of MoEFCC revisited the project and issued a clearance.

Importance of Mental Health during Pandemic Times

Mental Health is a topic much discussed in the current times owing to its increasing importance in the world. Since it was not considered as important as our physical health, mental health disorders, illnesses and issues had been ignored and pushed under the rug for many years. However, with depression and suicide becoming the greatest threat to human life in this modern world, addressing mental health with understanding and seeking solutions are extremely important. Emotional and mental well-being is necessary for an individual to function as he ought in society, complete his tasks and maintain his space in the world.

Modernity has brought with it a number of problems all of which have contributed in their own way to a crisis of mental health. Long hours at the office, increased stress levels, financial crisis, managing work life and home life are all significant factors that affect our mental health. Among students, demanding coursework, fear of the future, a crashing job market, worry about not performing well and peer pressure can all lead to a situation where one is not able to think and behave as one ought.

Right now, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a spike in the number of mental health issues coming up. There is fear of the virus, worry about what happens next, and many don’t see how they can survive. 1 in 5 college students say that they are experiencing heightened mental health issues during this pandemic. This will become a pandemic by itself and the countries of the world are already realizing this.

A major issue that we in India is what the World Health Organization considers the mental health gap. It refers to the gap between number of those with the need and the number of providers available. There are not enough responders who can adequately deal with the issues and the number of people who are in need of help.

Another major issue with addressing mental health concerns in India is the stigma associated with it. Many are told to ‘just get over it’ or asked to ‘forget about it’. The honour-shame culture in India lends itself to this.  It is considered shameful to approach someone for help or to say that I am struggling mentally. It is not a choice to go into depression. There is rejection and discrimination against people who suffer from severe anxiety or other issues and they are not given the care they need. We need to understand that mental health is as important as physical health and that it needs to be dealt with as seriously.

If you or anyone you know seem to be struggling mentally, never hesitate to reach out for help. It is important that we ourselves do not try to treat anyone or counsel them if we are not qualified. Never wait for your mental health to deteriorate immensely before you start seeking help. Self medication and deluding oneself into thinking that they can conquer this on their own should also not be encouraged. If we see someone struggling with mental health, learn how to move towards them and assure them they are not alone. Don’t moralize them but listen to them and walk with them in their journey. You can do much by taking people seriously when they talk to you about their struggles and by being there for them.

 

 

Why it’s okay to not be productive right now

Pandemic or not, your self worth is not proportional to your productivity

Like me, if social media has become your only out to boredom, you may have noticed conversations about the notions of ‘productivity’ rocketing. Whether it is your twitter mate updating you with their daily baking sessions or an Instagram friend showing off the pages and pages of work that they finished, or your family groups bombarding you with motivational posts about how to spend your free time, if you have any. There’s so much pressure right now to make the most of this ‘free’ time. It’s exhausting to even try to keep up. The rhetoric around productivity is so romanticised, glamorised and even glorified. However, every time I come across a reminder to be productive, I find myself thinking whether is it really a practical thing or can being productive everyday be a damaging to oneself?

As a university student doing her under graduation, the increase of workload, since the onset of Coronavirus in India, hasn’t gone unnoticed- being given a task after task, a deadline after deadline took a toll on all students. At the start of lockdown, I had internals, I was constantly pulling all nighters revising for the tests, completing assignments and keeping up with the daily workload of the online lessons. In this sense, it felt like nothing even while being locked up in our homes. There was always something that had to be submitted, something that needed to be revised or something that I needed to start working on. I was trying, as was everyone, but oftentimes, it felt like all the efforts amounted to nothing in the end. The workload didn’t end with the end of the semester, having to take-up internships in the middle of a pandemic caused immeasurable pressure and paranoia. My work plans are disrupted by distractions, I find myself unknowingly overextending and the balance between work & free time has become invisible. Not to mention the stress is unavoidable, and I constantly find myself waking up wishing for the day to end.

Is there anything that can be done?

Last year, if someone told us that we would be trapped inside our homes in a state of quarantine due to a deadly pandemic, we would have laughed it off. So, at the time our worst and unimaginable fears are coming true, being plunged into uncertainty does not mean that we have to function effectively alongside it. And therefore, being productive is no longer as important as it was before.

It is of utmost importance to acknowledge that not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to use this situation to hone their skills, try new hobbies, explore new passions or build something unforgettable. In the midst of rapid unemployment, losing your loved ones, anxiety caused by separation from friends and family, isolation and loneliness, bad mental health is inevitable- and that’s okay. It’s okay not to be okay, it’s okay needing to take time off. It’s okay to listen to your body. Don’t be mad at yourself for not being able to deal with the situation as efficiently as your friend or your parent or your Instagram mutual. Getting out of the bed at a reasonable time is a task enough. Not putting off taking care of yourself and your needs is a task enough. Keeping up with your friends and checking up on them is a task enough. Spending time with your family is a task enough. Doing these tasks is no where near the perfect productive day I imagined – and it won’t be for a long while. I was meant to be getting excited about interning opportunities and travelling more and capturing more. Now when everything has gone south, the task of prioritising yourself is a rebellious act.

How can we change this mindset?

If you’re anything like me, university and work mean that I can not entirely ignore all my responsibilities in favour of self-care. Prioritising what you have to do is a good start to make sure you can do what needs to be done. Practice different methods or working. For me, sitting at my desk for more than 7 hours, staring at the laptop screen is quite overwhelming, mentally exhausting and doesn’t leave me feeling fulfilled. Taking breaks to perhaps watch an episode from a show that I’m currently hooked to or to mindlessly scroll on twitter ensures that I feel the balance.

This unsettling environment can be taxing. Forgive yourself for making mistakes.

Lets Defeat Insta-Anxiety

The new common question that pops up in everyone’s mind is- How do we move past our anxieties and insecurities so we can grow our personally on social media?

1. Unfollow your celebrities

This can be hard, and it can even take a long time, especially if, like me, you follow hundreds of celebrities alone. It can be hard to break from the habit of constantly checking what your favourite celeb is doing or wearing but for the sake of your mental health you need to make this move.

You can easily find any ground breaking news of your favourite in the on sites like BuzzFeed or Cosmopolitan. 

2. Follow real and actual people

Instead of page 3 celebrities, follow more people who are like you, real people. If you are a writer, follow more writers. If you are a local blogger owner, follow other local bloggers. If you are an illustrator, follow more illustrators. If you just appreciate any form of art, be it singing, dancing, spoken poetry, follow more such artists. You’ll come to realise that everyone has flaws, no one is really perfect. On the upside, you’ll be lifting other talented people up, and they will be lifting you up. All will grow together. 

3. Do your own photoshoot

Take your phone and a tripod if you have one, and just walk around your house. Wander around and see what catches your eye, maybe it’s a well-lit corner in your house that you never noticed before or a tiny window with a sky view. Snap a picture or ten, then move onto the next thing. 

Look for the beauty in yourself and the world around you. Be raw, you don’t always have to filter your photos, you are beautiful as you are. Be as much or as less artistic you want to be while taking pictures. The more photos you take, the better you’ll get at it, don’t give up.

4. Try scheduling your posts

For me, scheduling Instagram posts saves me from a lot of fear. It’s less scary when you aren’t actively thinking about posting something. 

With Facebook’s Creator Studio, you can easily schedule your Instagram posts. For this all you need is a Facebook page and an Instagram page that are connected to each other, that’s it, it is that easy!

No more third-party scheduling apps that don’t even automatically post the images. Now, you can plan everything out in advance, schedule it for whenever you want, sit back and (try to) relax.

Living through a pandemic during the social media age

Wuhan Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), woman and man in suit with blue medical face mask. Concept of coronavirus quarantine

In the face of the coronavirus, social media is a great way for individuals and communities to stay connected even while physically separated. With the advent of social media in the 21st century, not only are we learning the latest news updates, but we’re also using platforms like Facebook and Twitter to provide personal and business updates. For businesses, this means leveraging social media to support employees and customers like never before. For the government, it means doing its best to efficiently share factual and up-to-date information.

Taking a look at how individuals, businesses, and government agencies have been sharing information and interacting with others on social media in the past few weeks, here are two important roles that social platforms are playing during the COVID-19 outbreak:

An influence on public response to the outbreak

Billions of people are free to publicly share their opinions on COVID-19 across various social platforms. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen individuals, organizations, and businesses use social media to spread awareness of COVID-19, as well as the public actions that can be taken. 

Here are a few of the most distinct ways social media has influenced the public since the virus reached epidemic and pandemic levels:

Social distancing and home quarantine are trending

Until a few weeks ago, many of us hadn’t even heard of “social distancing,” which refers to staying at least 6 feet away from others to help prevent the spread of infection. Now, social media users, from friends and family to celebrities and governments, are regularly calling for social distancing.

Boasting and shaming panic buying 

Many people have been excessively purchasing household goods, sanitization products, and food in fear that necessities will no longer be accessible — just like they do when there is a hurricane or some other natural disaster. This over-purchasing has become so commonplace that social media users have coined a phrase to describe it: panic buying. 

On social, panic buying is being discussed in two distinct ways: 1) people are posting about their own panic buying, showing images of carts filled with toilet paper, water bottles, and frozen meals; and 2) people are posting pictures of empty shelves or other people’s carts as a way to shame supposed panic buyers.

A source of information as well as misinformation

Never have we had more realtime information available at our fingertips in the face of a worldwide event. Such information can help keep us safe, providing us with a better understanding of what is occurring and how it might impact us and those we love. Yet, social media can also spread falsehoods, including miracle preventative measures, false claims about the implementation of martial law, conspiracy theories, and more. 

Finding trusted sources of information regarding COVID-19 is extremely important.

Social media companies are working to combat misinformation on coronavirus

At a time where many of us are grappling for as much information as we can get our hands on, the public is especially susceptible to false and sometimes hazardous claims, which are then passed on to others.

untrustworthy sources on social media

The best rule of thumb for making sure information is accurate is to check original sources and make sure that (a) those sources are indeed trustworthy, and (b) the information was relayed accurately. Just because someone claims to have learned something from a reliable source doesn’t mean they’re relaying that information accurately. 

If you’re the one presenting information, whether on behalf of a business or your personal account, it’s your responsibility to cite and fact-check your own sources. Be wary of using verbiage that is alarmist or absolute. There are still so many unknowns about the virus, and nobody is sure what the coming weeks and months hold. It’s always best to be cognisant of this and avoid unnecessary bold statements.

Coming together in COVID-19

Since the dawn of civilisation, epidemics and pandemics have continued to haunt mankind. From the outbreak of Spanish Flu to Yellow fever, history of these pandemics dates back to the time of plague in Athens (430 B.C).But perhaps; COVID-19 (spread by SARS-COV-2 virus) is greatest in the history of mankind. This particular virus has brought entire world to a halt, something that the modern world history hasn’t witnessed before.

The virus, whose roots can be traced back to Hubei Province in China, has spread globally causing the infected number of cases rising over 92 lakh. From the Superpowers to third world countries, this virus has brought down healthcare sector, economies and the entire human race on its knees; India being no exception. Yes, various sectors such as healthcare, education, energy, and logistics have faced a serious crunch amidst lockdown. With the global economy shrinking to an all time low, economists predict a depression like situation in the near future. One might question whether we are heading towards an inevitable crisis? Or is the humanity doomed? Such negative thoughts do more harm to us than the virus itself.

Just like all other major turmoil and struggles, COVID-19 too comes with its own share of lessons and learning for the mankind. Lessons in humility, humanity and gratitude. These simple lessons which we had long forgotten in the rat race for materialistic pleasures.  While some countries initially played the “blame game” but very soon they realized that the mightiest weapon in combating the virus lies in unity and mutual co-operation. Shunning the geo-political differences, the SAARC countries came together and contributed to the COVID-19 relief fund. Other stories include those of Hindu-Muslim harmony in Telangana where a group of Muslim men performed the last rituals of a Hindu woman in the middle of lockdown restrictions. This virus has brought out heart warming stories of real heroes to the forefront. From the generous acts of donating her education savings by 13 yr old Nethra of Madurai, few Jamatis voluntarily coming forward to donate plasma serve as a ray of hope in these turbulent times.

Despite the social distancing, humanity is coming closer than ever before with a mutual sense of compassion, empathy and concern towards fellow human beings.  While we stay hidden indoors amidst fear, the mother earth is breathing back to life. Those little sparrows playing in my balcony, which I hadn’t seen in a long while, are a living testimony to that. The medical staff, sanitation workers and the COVID warriors whom we once took for granted are risking their lives to save ours. What else could be a nobler act than this!

The corona virus has indeed enabled us to look beyond economic differences. Becoming more sensitive and considerate towards our domestic helps. We’ve begun appreciating simple acts of kindness, engaging in deep conversations with our loved ones and clapping to say “thank you”. Our generation is more enlightened than ever before with the realisation however evolved the human race might become but in the end we’ll only remain a tiny speck in the universe. The forces of natural world are far mightier than we could possibly become. Humans may change the course of nature but can’t defy it.

The Chinese symbol “Yin and Yang” illustrates the philosophy of life beautifully. Life flows when energies complement rather than contradict each other. The mankind and nature must maintain balance for life to exist .The day we try to overpower the forces of natural world; it will only take a single microcosmic organism to perish the entire human race.

Yin and yang: business and IT | CIO

No, I’m not implying living in a utopian world and becoming ignorant of this deadly virus .True that our healthcare and education systems have failed required to meet necessary standards. But if it wasn’t for COVID-19, these loopholes might have gone neglected. There is no better time to reshape the economy, healthcare, politics and culture than now for the dawn of new world post COVID-19.

But why did it take a virus for this realisation?

Because sometimes we need to get sick in order to get better”.

Let’s change our outlook towards this pandemic. Instead of perceiving it as a threat we need to see it as opportunity and emerge stronger than ever before. We are a fortunate generation having the privilege to shape a better world than the one we left behind. All we need is to shed stigmas and embrace this change.

Concluding in the words of Yuval Noah Harrai (bestselling author of Sapiens)

“The storm will pass, humankind will survive, most of us will still be alive –but we will inhabit a different world.”

New Normal: Virtual Teams

Keys to Overcoming Virtual Team Communication Challenges - Chanty

The current pandemic situation has driven everyone to their homes in order to protect themselves from the novel Coronavirus. Countries are in the phase of ‘unlocking’ now as they can’t afford the lockdown anymore but the virus is still prevalent. Social distancing measures must be taken up even when all activities resume and other necessary precautions like wearing a mask and maintaining hygiene must be taken as well. The work-from-home culture has been adopted worldwide and both a person who is working individually and people who are working in teams need to be managed. 

A virtual team is a group of individuals in remote locations that are working together towards a common goal and the mode of communication through which they coordinate their activities is electronic. Before the pandemic, virtual teams were formed when people from different countries were on board for a project. Such a team was advantageous because the organisation could save up on real estate costs and it was also favourable for the employees because their time wasn’t spent on commuting, leading to more productivity. There are also disadvantages like technological issues and lack of that level of bonding associated with workplace teams. Managing a virtual team is obviously more difficult than workplace teams, especially when the communication between the team members isn’t as effective.

Due to the prevailing circumstances, formation of virtual teams is inevitable but there are a few differences. The members of the team aren’t necessarily in different locations and the was formed to ensure social distancing and prevent the transmission of virus, in turn. There is a chance that the members of the team know each other personally beforehand. Formation of a virtual team is also more complex because the people with qualities like effective communication and sense of individualism have to be handpicked and assigned role after due thought process for smooth working of the team.

The leader of a virtual team isn’t very different from the workplace team and needs to have qualities like emotional intelligence and effective communication so that the members of the team are clearly aware of  division of work and goals of the team and shortcomings of face-to-face interaction can be prevented. There is a possibility that the members might hesitate to speak up their concerns in such a setting but the leader must encourage them to speak their hearts out whenever needed. 

Read about Emotional Intelligence here.

Now that there is a team with a leader, the members have to get to know each other personally in case they don’t and the targets have to be made and communicated. Short term milestones should also be set in order to keep the members motivated for them to keep up with their efforts continually in order to reach them. The means of electronic communication should also be decided and they should be favorable with whatever project the team is taking up. There are an array of platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams available that facilitate the work-from-home culture. Video conferencing should be done regularly for both work and non-work related conversations to increase cohesiveness.

The background of Pandemics

As humans have spread across the world, so have many infectious diseases. Even in this modern era, outbreaks are nearly constant, although not every outbreak has reached the level of a pandemic as the Corona virus did.

Disease and illnesses have been for ages. It was after the growth of agrarian communities that the spread of these diseases increased dramatically.

Widespread trade helped in creating new opportunities for human and animal interactions that increased the spread of  such epidemics like Malaria, leprosy, tuberculosis, smallpox,  influenza, and others. More civilized the humans have become with trade routes, larger cities, and increased contact with different populations of people, animals, and ecosystems,  the more likely pandemics occurred.

Despite the persistence of disease and pandemics throughout history, there was a gradual reduction in the death rate. Healthcare improvements and understanding the factors that incubate pandemics have been powerful tools in reducing their impact.

During the 14th century, the practice of quarantine began in an effort to protect coastal cities from epidemics- plague. The port authorities asked ships arriving from infected ports to sit at anchor for 40 days straight before landing in Venice. The origin of the word quarantine from the Italian word  “Quaranta Giorni” which means 40 days.

While the interactions created through trade and urban life play a major role, it is also the virulent nature of particular diseases that lead to the trajectory of a pandemic.

With rise in global interactions and connections as a driving force behind pandemics  from small hunting and gathering tribes to the metropolis, humanity’s reliance on one another has also lead opportunities for disease to spread.

Urbanization in the developing world is bringing more and more rural residents into denser neighborhoods, while population increases are deteriorating environment. Passenger air traffic has nearly doubled in the past decade. These macro trends have a profound impact on the spread of infectious diseases.

As Covid-19 reminds us, that infectious diseases haven’t vanished. There are more new infectious diseases now than ever: HIV, Sars, and Covid-19 have increased by nearly fourfold over the past century. Since 1980, the number of outbreaks per year has been tripled

There are several reasons for this – Over the past 50 years, the population has increased to double. So more human beings get infected and in turn to infect others, especially in densely populated cities. We also have more livestock now than we did over the last 10,000 years of domestication up to 1960 combined, and viruses can pass from those animals to us. The ability to get to nearly any spot in the world in 20 hours or less, and pack a virus along with us, allows new diseases to emerge and to grow. For all the advances we’ve made against infectious disease, our very growth has made us more vulnerable, not less, to microbes that evolve 40 million times faster than human beings do.