New York, Sep 26 The first time 2011-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer Sneha Dubey won the internet was due to the calmness with which she delivered on Friday India's right to rebuttal on the falsehoods attempted by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Dubey's family roots, her education in Goa and Pune's Fergusson College culminating in a master's from New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, and even her dream of joining the foreign service since she was 12, were shared fast and furious over multiple news reports and social posts. Some padded this up invoking another young daughter of Indian diplomacy, Enam Gambhir, who delivered the lines, "Pakistan, the Ivy League of terrorism". Gambhir had put in just 12 years of service at that time and there she was, rebutting a head of government. A more recent comparison was last year. Here, Vidisha Maitra, a 2009 batch deputy-secretary rank diplomat, yorked Khan's veiled threat of nuclear devastation as an example of 'brinkmanship' and not 'statesmanship'. But on Saturday, in Dubey's case, it wasn't just her stinging quote, "Pakistan is an 'arsonist' disguising itself as a 'fire-fighter'." More glory came thanks to an extra enthusiastic anchorperson, live feedbacking her, gatecrashing into an anteroom where Dubey was calmly reviewing some papers. The anchor did the standard number of thrusting the gun mike demanding a quip. But what did Dubey do? She smiled charmingly and didn't utter a word. Not even "no comments". When the anchorperson, who incidentally has a PM interview among her achievements, persisted, Dubey struck a courteous bow and pointed her right arm akin to adman Bobby Kooka's Air-India Maharajah we've grown up seeing. Result? Both ladies trended. But only Dubey won Twitter. Without saying a word. ians
K.P.Sasi Nair www.mediaeyenews.com Pradeep Guha was a genius whose wizardry in marketing and branding changed the fortunes of almost everything he touched. His accomplishments as an astute, quick-witted person blessed with a visionary zeal gave him the aura of an advertising guru par excellence. That well-earned tag will be his epitaph. Guha, 69, passed away on Aug 21, in a Mumbai hospital after a brief battle with liver cancer. The flamboyant master strategist would be best remembered for making the Times of India group of publications into the top-selling brand that is now worth billions of dollars. Page 3 concept of celebrity gossip and showbiz was his idea to vet the appetite of newspaper readers, particularly the new generation. Purists and rival media who initially frowned at the offering grudgingly lapped up and plagiarised the theme into their newspapers. His achievements are peerless and are unlikely to be matched in the foreseeable future. He also dabbled in TV broadcasting and films. “He wasn’t tall, but he towered over the media world with a visionary grasp of evolving trends,” Anand Mahindra, chairman of Mahindra Group, summed up succinctly. “His speed of decision making was also legendary and true to form, he scripted for himself a rapid departure from this planet. He leaves behind hordes of friends and admirers.” Guha was a dapper general manager at the Kolkata office of Bennett, Coleman and Company Ltd (BCCL), the owner of the Times of India group when he was picked to jazz up the staid newspaper chain more than 30 years ago. The “Old Lady of Bori Bunder” was the undisputed king of the print media but it was weighed down by sedentary functioning and a rigid hierarchy that abhorred interference and change. The task at hand offered immense opportunities and formidable challenges. At the time marketing executives lounged in their offices and waited for advertisers to come knocking. Editors with a larger-than-life halo ran their fiefdoms with disdain for the marketing side of the operations. The department heads who ran the organisation resembled the ghastly politburo stuck in a time machine. The company was making profits and the top management hardly intervened in the functioning. Dazzled by the operations of successful media companies in major world cities that he saw first-hand, the freshly minted Samir Jain, vice chairman of BCCL, was convinced the group needed a thorough revamp. Guha’s flair, fast thinking and forceful presentation on how advertisement revenue could be expanded exponentially impressed Jain greatly, and Guha was given a free hand to steamroll a full-throttled makeover. Guha swung into action with his characteristic panache. He halved the cover price of Times of India and jacked up advertisement rates. It was a big gamble that he pulled off with finesse. Simultaneously, he undertook a cultural overhaul. He changed the name of the advertising department to Response and hired bright, young management graduates to chase and hand-hold advertisers. As the Old Lady’s circulation outstripped its rivals by a huge number, advertisers had no reason to complain. The pathbreaking initiatives hit the goldmine and made Guha a legend, respected across the highly competitive media world. The marketing genius soft-pedalled changes in the editorial operations, taking care to avoid treading on the toes of touchy editors. Over time Guha’s writ ran the full spectrum and advertisements encroached onto the front page, and sedate news items were replaced with people-sensitive stories. There were murmurs that aggressive reporting was encouraged against business rivals of advertisers, and cosy deals were inked for friendly coverage. “Few realise the immense, positive contribution he made, though indirectly, to the evolution of content as well in #TOI,” tweeted Srinivasa Prasad, a veteran journalist who had worked in the Times of India, the Hindustan Times and DNA. “We are talking about an Editorial Model that other papers adopted with few changes later.” “The editors were not good enough to fully comprehend why power cuts and potholes made better sense than a Lok Sabha walkout and why India-New Zealand match should replace earthquake in Indonesia on FP (front page),” he wrote. “But they were good enough to obey instructions.” The king who created multiple queens You could love or hate Guha, but his chutzpah commanded admiration. He revelled in out of the box solutions to problems, showed impeccable people handling skills, and motivated and inspired staff to outperform. “He was an exceptional boss with extraordinary skills and a kind heart, “said Rajesh Pattani who worked with Guha for 27 years. Guha took the broom to other publications in the group including Femina, Filmfare and The Illustrated Weekly. Hindi magazines Dharmayug and Madhuri were shuttered. Stiff-necked editors were shunted out and pliable replacements were put on the saddle. The guiding mantra was optimising revenue through glitzy coverage. His penchant for uncanny brilliance was best demonstrated when he transformed the Filmfare awards into a high-octane event rivalling the Academy Awards. “He transformed the media landscape in India,” gushed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, and remembered Guha as a “friend, pioneer, game-changer, mentor to so many”. Guha left an indelible mark in promoting and enlivening Miss India and Miss India World pageants, grooming and chaperoning a bevy of beauties that included Sushmita Sen, Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra and Neha Dhupia. “He was the man who discovered me as a 17-year-old girl in Kolkata and ultimately led me to Miss India and Miss Universe,” actress and model Celina Jaitly wrote. A film buff he produced movies “Fiza” starring Hrithik Roshan and Karishma Kapoor and “Phir Kabhi” that featured Mithun Chakraborty and Dimple Kapadia. After nearly 29 years with BCCL, he quit the organisation and took over as the CEO of Zee Telefilms, which was controlled by media baron Subhash Chandra. From a print media czar, he shifted gears to the more competitive world of TV broadcasting and proved his business acumen by reviving Zee TV’s flagging market share to within handshaking distance of market leader Star Plus. He was also pivotal in launching the Daily News Analysis (DNA) newspaper, an equal partnership between Zee and the Bhaskar Group, by roping in former Times stalwarts like Gautam Adhikari and Ayaz Memom as well as many others. Later he branched out on his own and bought into 9X Media, which was founded by Indrani and Peter Mukerjea. Guha restructured the loss-making company by selling its general entertainment channels to Zee TV and focused on its niche music channels. He was diagnosed about a month ago with late-stage malignancy of the liver. His untimely demise brings the curtain down on one of India’s greatest marketing brains. “Your larger-than-life personality, your big heart and twinkling eyes will be missed by not just me, but every person who knew you,” actress Preity Zinta wrote in a remembrance note.
New Delhi, Aug 15 Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday unfurled the Tricolour to mark the nation's 75th Independence Day at the historic Red Fort here. Soon after Modi unfurled the Tricolour, following which the national anthem was played, the Indian Air Force (IAF) threw flowers from the sky. Before that, Modi inspected the security arrangements as the historic Red Ford is all set to celebrate the 75th Independence Day. Delhi's Red Fort, from where Prime Minister unfurls the national flag and address the nation, has been decorated with colourful flowers and numerous national flags across the premises. Every year on the occasion of Independence Day, the Prime Minister of India along with his address to the nation also makes some major announcements. India's first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru had unfurled the Tricolour for the first time on August 15, 1947, to mark India's Independence Day. ians
K.P. Sasi Nair (firstname.lastname@example.org) www.mediaeyenews.com A handful of organisations kept the wheels of government humming during the pandemic-forced shutdown last year. The stellar role they played has largely gone unnoticed. It’s time to shine the torch on their herculean efforts and showcase their achievements. They are an inspiration to everyone. The lockdown in India and in the rest of the world disrupted global trade overnight, through supply chains into disarray and posed a serious shortage risk of everything, including important items for healthcare. There was an urgent need to facilitate cross border trade of vital goods and services to wade off a systemic collapse. Without wasting time Mumbai Customs, or specifically Mumbai Zone III (MZIII), embraced the lead role to expedite cargo movement. Factories across the world either cut back or halted operations, save a few that produced items to fight the pandemic and for everyday use. As speed was critical air routes were the preferred mode of transport. Sahar in Mumbai, home to India’s largest air cargo complex, thus became the gateway to the country during the lockdown months. It was no easy task as skilled workers had mostly bolted in the wake of the fear psychosis that gripped the nation, exporters and importers were reluctant to venture out and there was an overall feeling of intransigence. MZIII Chief Commissioner Rama Mathew led from the front. A day after the lockdown was announced, she showed up at the air cargo complex like a general marshalling his troops. Her presence and quick thinking made a decisive impact. Under her guidance senior officers painstakingly contacted each stakeholder – manufacturers, exporters, importers, agents, handlers and so on – and instilled confidence in them. A new normal was worked out to the satisfaction of all. Going beyond the mandate of Customs, which was basically to clear cargo for export or import, officers swung into pivotal roles to resolve issues related to physical movement. For instance, to overcome labour shortage for handling cargo, officials took the initiative to bring in custodians and manpower supplying companies to fill the void. Dialogue windows were kept open at all times, oversight was maintained to untie knotty issues on a daily basis and sometimes on a consignment basis. For critical medical supplies, their movement and delivery of consignments were constantly monitored. Mathew appointed a very senior officer to help monitor and streamline responses to requests pouring in through emails, social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook, Central Covid Helpdesk in Delhi, trade bodies and individuals. Nodal officers were formed for each unit under MZIII – whose geographical jurisdiction covers a wide span from Mumbai, the surrounding four districts and the continental shelf comprising the Exclusive Economic Zone. While the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) took on the lead role at the national level, the MZIII was the pivot for the biggest and most crucial region. As part of proactive measures, nodal officers were battle ready round the clock not only to resolve customs matters but to sort out issues such as locating cargo in the premises, liaising with logistics agencies and the police. A daily review of progress and disposal of cases was undertaken. Waiver of demurrage guidelines by the government and simplified documentation also helped. The all-out efforts saved the country from what would otherwise have been a strangulating choke. The abrupt lockdown announced in late March 2020 had initially caused chaos. Uncleared goods piled up as workers left in droves and transport services were thrown out of gear, shrinking the space in the complex. By mid-May, however, the authorities succeeded in bringing about a semblance of normality. The CBIC also chipped in by promptly acknowledging written communications, conveying decisions in a time- bound manner and ensuring refund and other claims were settled on time. Even before the lockdown, the MZIII with 1,400 staff on its rolls was in the thick of action. About 28 lakh passengers passed through the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai, the country’s second-busiest, in the first three months of 2020 as the Covid outbreak loomed. To handle the rush and to take precautions, the Customs opened more counters and speeded up clearances. Social distance norms were imposed and separate counters started for passengers coming in from Covid-struck regions. A team of Customs officers who were also doctors put up their hands for duty, providing a big thrust to relief operations when sick, elderly, women with babies or children arrived. Vande Bharat flights, which mostly flew between May and September 2020, to bring in stranded people were also promptly cleared by Customs. Several officers and other staff went beyond their call of duty to ensure the easy flow of critical goods and services, often at great personal risk when most of the country remained safely indoors. Despite taking precautions many officials and their families were infected by the Covid virus. A small team under Mathew’s direction monitored the situation closely and ensured each of them were adequately taken care – financial, logistics and hospitalisation. The nation owes a big chunk of gratitude to these silent warriors, led by a lion-hearted woman.
K.P. Sasi Nair (email@example.com) www.mediaeyenews.com K Nalinakshan was a rare breed among bureaucrats who championed a hands-on approach in any job he was entrusted with. He would eagerly roll up his sleeves and wade into a crisis with abandon. Little surprise his affable character and boundless energy rubbed off on his team and enabled him to accomplish many success stories. The aloof laid-back style preferred by many civil servants was not his cup of tea. When the Shipping Corporation of India tanker Lala Lajpat Rai caught fire in the 1980s while anchored at the oil jetty of Mumbai port, he was the General Manager of Bombay Port Trust. He swung into action on a war footing to organise rescue and other operations, working through the day and late nights untiringly. The fire was eventually put out after foreign experts were called in, but it was the Nalinakshan-led team’s proactive action to tug the burning tanker away into a deeper sea that prevented a major disaster to the harbour. Nalinakshan, aged 79, passed away in Mumbai on Friday, leaving behind a legion of admirers in the corridors of power and beyond. As Urban Development Secretary from 1995-1999, the 1967-batch IAS officer of the Maharashtra cadre was the architect of several innovative policies in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) such as development control rules. He later became the BMC Commissioner. In a colourful career spanning more than 35 years, he was the chairman of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Nhava Seva and adorned several top-level positions including Additional Chief Secretary of Transport and Excise in Maharashtra. “His smiling face, pleasant disposition, proactive approach to problem-solving were all praiseworthy qualities,” P.S. Nair, CEO and Executive Director of GMR Airports in New Delhi, told Mediaeye. “We shall greatly miss him.” Nair, who was earlier a top official at the Airports Authority of India, recalled Nalinakshan’s efforts as the Chief Executive of City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) to speed up the ground for the international airport that is now coming up in New Mumbai. Known for his “ever readiness to help the needy at all times”, Nalinakshan was always anguished about wasted opportunities caused by the prolonged decision-making process. “I vividly recollect the passionate discussions we used to have on the undue delay of the second airport when I was posted as the Mumbai Airport Director in the late 1990s,” he said. Speaking to Mediaeye, Dhanalaxmi Bank Director P.K. Vijayakumar said Nalinakshan was a “deeply spiritual and blessed person with a heart of gold”. Vijayakumar, who had retired as the Director-General of Income Tax, based in Kerala, had a long association with Nalinakshan. Vivek Nair, Co-Chief Executive Officer of HLV Ltd that owns the Hotel Leela in Mumbai, knew the veteran bureaucrat well. “He had an uncanny knack to untangle knotty issues. His quick decision-making and foresight played a big role in the developments you see in this big city and beyond.” A native of Kozhikode, Kerala, Nalinakshan was a brilliant student through school and college, in both studies and extracurricular activities such as public speaking, debates and dramas, retired Kerala High Court Justice N. Hema recalled about her favourite cousin. A product of Malabar Christian College, he was also a keen football player. He worked as a lecturer at Zamorin’s Guruvayurappan College, affiliated with the University of Calicut, where GMR’s Nair was one of his students. When he first cracked the civil services exam, he was picked in the Indian Police Service and did a stint as Assistant Superintendent of Police in Kerala. He got into the IAS later. Popular with his colleagues, Nalinakshan headed the IAS Association for many years. After his retirement in 2002, the veteran bureaucrat settled down in Churchgate near Mumbai’s picturesque Marine Drive. Always jovial he was often seen hitting the gym. A deeply spiritual man, he leaves behind his wife, three sons, their spouses and grandchildren. “He was a role model for us,” Anil Sukumaran, a businessman from Kozhikode and close acquaintance, told Mediaeye. “The light has gone out.”
New York, July 8 The global Covid-19 death toll has surpassed the 4 million mark, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Argentina registered 457 more deaths from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, raising the total death toll from the pandemic to 97,439, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday. In the same period, tests detected 19,423 new cases of infection, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 4,593,763, Xinhua reported citing the ministry. Southwest China's Yunnan Province reported two locally transmitted Covid-19 confirmed cases, both in the city of Ruili, on Wednesday, the provincial health commission said on Thursday. The two confirmed cases were previously found and categorized as asymptomatic infections in the all-inclusive nucleic acid testing in Ruili, the commission said. Meanwhile, Brazil registered 1,648 more deaths from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the national death toll to 528,540, the health ministry said on Wednesday. A total of 54,022 new infections were detected, raising the total caseload to 18,909,037, the ministry said. Chile reported less than 2,000 Covid-19 cases for the second consecutive day, continuing a gradual decline in infections prior to a lifting of a lockdown, the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday. In a statement, Health Minister Enrique Paris said that in the last 24 hours, 1,892 Covid-19 infections were reported, bringing the total number to 1,576,336. Cuba registered a new record of daily Covid-19 infections on Wednesday, with 3,664 cases, for a total of 214,577, along with 18 more deaths to total 1,405. National director of hygiene and epidemiology of the Ministry of Public Health Francisco Duran reported that of the total number of new cases, 3,622 were from community transmission. ians
Mumbai, July 7 It was at the peak of the Mumbai riots of 1992-1993 when my boss at The Indian Express, D. K. Raikar (now, Group Editor, Lokmat Media Pvt. Ltd.), saw that I was 'underemployed' and called me. "Get Dilip Kumar's reactions. Quick!" he ordered softly. With mild trepidation, I dialed Dilip Saab's number - and he personally answered. I reeled off my questions in a single breath, and he started his replies. There was a long pause, a short sentence, another long pause, a brief reply, one more long halt and a tiny reaction, each word measured before he uttered it. And so it went on for an hour. In between the mega-pauses, a couple of times when I couldn't even hear him breathe, I would blurt out anxiously: "Dilip Saab...?" And he would shoot back in chaste Urdu: "Intezar kijiye. Main aapse mahve guftagu hoon!" (I am with you, please wait!). I almost fainted. After a weary hour, the marathon call ended, and I secured five or six sentences of invaluable, well thought-out reactions. As I replaced the warm receiver, Raikar mischievously remarked: "So, you got a full-fledged interview, huh?" I just smiled and trudged back to my workstation. That was the legend - Dilip Kumar, who had a phenomenal rise from the son of a Pathan horticulturist to canteen manager to India's first and ever-green superstar adored across generations, besides being a shining example of a great actor, good human being and an intellectually sensitive person. The death of the 'Tragedy King' has orphaned his teary-eyed kingdom of fans, followers and admirers, both in India and abroad. The much-revered Koh-i-noor (Mountain of Light) of Mumbai's film industry has stopped glowing forever. Born to Lala Sarwar Ali Khan and Ayesha Begum on December 11, 1922, Mohammed Yusuf Khan was one of 12 children. His father owned orchards in Peshawar, then a part of undivded India, and Nashik, was fondly groomed to take over the family business. The tall, fair, dreamy-eyed handsome boy, who went to school at Deolali, the military cantonment town in Nashik, however, was impatient to script a different story for his life. Later, the Khans shifted to Chembur in Mumbai, but in 1940, following differences with his family, he walked out of home and went to Pune, where he became a canteen contractor at the local army club. In 1943, Devika Rani, owner of the famed Bombay Talkies, took a snack break at the canteen and was impressed by the courteous behaviour of the young Khan and asked him if he would like to act in films. He said he would, if his "father permitted". A few months later, after saving Rs 5,000 (a fortune in those days), he returned home to assist his father with the family's finances. When he broached the subject of a career in films, his father quietly but firmly said: "NO." Undeterred, the young Yusuf Khan approached his father's old neighbour from Peshawar, Prithviraj Kapoor, who was by then a well-known actor, for help. It was only when Kapoor intervened that the senior Khan reluctantly relented. Devika Rani kept her word, asked him to change his name to 'Dilip Kumar', offered him a job as an actor on a magnificent monthly salary of Rs 1,250 and cast him in 'Jwar Bhata' (released i 1944). The film was a dud and it seemed as if the newly rechristened Dilip Kumar's starry ambitions would come crashing down. Two subsequent films, 'Pratima' and 'Milan' (both in 1945), featuring the fledgling actor, also flopped, but neither Dilip Kumar, nor Devika Rani gave up. Finally it was 'Jugnu' (mid-1947), where he paired with the legendary singer-actress Noorjehan, that gave Dilip Kumar's career the push it needed. The young silver screen pair, who played college friends, became the heartthrobs of millions and the film grossed over Rs 50 lakh by the time India became Independent. Post-Partition, Noorjehan migrated to Pakistan and Dilip Kumar continued in Mumbai. He gave other mega-hits such as 'Shaheed' and 'Mela' (1948), 'Shabnam' and 'Andaz' (1949), the latter with the formidable pair of Raj Kapoor and Nargis. "He had this royal persona, always smiling but rarely guffawing, composed and soft-spoken. He chose each word carefully before uttering it, even as his audiences remained mesmerised. He grew in popularity and stature with each film," the head of Tina Films International, the 94-year old but sprightly A. Krishnamurthi, said in a conversation with IANS. An old friend of Dilip Kumar, Krishnamurthi made it a point to visit and greet the superstar every year on Eid. "Though in recent years, he failed to recognise even me, he would quietly stare at me, and grip my hand tightly for long, without a word, as Saira Banu hovered around caringly." Over the years, Dilip Kumar earned the sobriquet of The Tragedy King for his memorable portrayals in films such as 'Andaz' and 'Jogan' (1950), 'Deedar' (1951), 'Daag' (1952), 'Devdas' (1955), the epic 'Mughal-E-Azam' (1960), 'Gunga Jumna' (1961) and 'Aadmi' (1968), and many of the roles did affect his own sensitive personality. After professional psychiatric counseling, he tried to balance the image with light and airy roles in films such as 'Sangdil' (1952) and India's first full-colour film, 'Aan' (1952), 'Naya Daur' (1957), 'Kohinoor' and 'Azaad' (1960), and 'Ram Aur Shyam' (1967). Years later, he returned to full-time acting, essaying multi-hued character roles in 'Kranti' (1981), 'Vidhaata' and 'Shakti' (1982), 'Mashaal' (1984), 'Karma'(1986), 'Saudagar' (1991), and his swansong, 'Quila' (1998). "Over decades of unceasing popularity, the untrained but natural actor earned the respect of audiences and critics worldwide," says veteran Bollwood journalist, Jivraj Burman, who knew Dilip Saab well. "He developed flawless acting skills, infused realism into every role in that informal era, attempted perfection in every shot/scene, and left an everlasting impression on the viewers, both with his dialogues and expressions. He was an institution of drama and a textbook of acting," Burman added. Citing an example of how he would immerse himself in each role/character, Burman remembers how Dilip Kumar arrived on the sets of 'Kohinoor' with bandaged fingers. The reason? He had hurt himself while practising to play the sitar for the immortal song, 'Madhuban me Radhika naache re' (sung by Mohammed Rafi). Dilip Kumar has left an indelible mark on the Hindi film industry. The Koh-i-noor may not be physically around, but it will shine bright in our hearts and memories. ians
New Delhi, July 1 On National Doctor's Day we take a look at the toll the pandemic has put on out healthcare systems and doctors who have to deal with it. After being in the crosshairs of the COVID-19 for nearly two years now, the crisis is a test for one's mental health, especially, the doctors and frontline workers. They face an immense level of stress daily, which has gradually put their mental health in jeopardy; they are experiencing symptoms of depression, insomnia, and psychological distress. "Doctors not only suffer the anxiety of caring for the patients, adhering to the ever-changing medical protocols, but they also put themselves in a situation where they voluntarily isolate themselves from their families for months," says Dr. Deepak Verma, Internal Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital, Ghaziabad. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear are triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones." The erratic work schedules, risk of exposure to infection and limited interaction with family members and loved ones have made frontline healthcare workers suffer from anxiety, depression, burnout, insomnia and stress-related disorders. Therefore, it becomes essential to work towards the lessening of their mental health problems. Keeping in touch with their families and loved ones is the what most doctors say help them stay calm even after working non-stop for long hours. "Even though burnout and depression are quite common among doctors, they are taking small steps to deal with the issue. Staying in touch with their families even during duty also helps them calm down. While these medical workers are working relentlessly to save people's lives amid the pandemic, very little has been done to provide them with institutional support so that they can seek out mental health treatment." Dr. Verma shares. Dr. Aswati Nair, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, New Delhi have similar views. She says: "When you are going through such challenging times, it's essential that as a healthcare professional taking care of myself can better equip me to take care of others. We make sure that we are connected with our family and friends through social media, phone. It's not only the healthcare workers who are facing the brunt. Everyone in society is going through the same mental health conditions. So, when we counsel a patient or a family member through phone calls or video chats, it's also making us feel less isolated. We also perform some stretching exercises in the middle of our OPDs." Many doctors say that to unwind, they take small breaks in between and a stroll inside the corridor of the hospital while taking care to adhere to all public health protocols. "Doing indoor exercises like yoga and running on the treadmill also help the doctors improve their mood and sleep quality. Some doctors also practice mind-calming exercises such as mindfulness and meditation are some that help them avoid stress during such unprecedented times," Dr Verma shares. Dr Manisha Ranjan, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Noida feels that even doctors can work upon their mental health by taking care of their own health, doing meditation and taking a break from the news on media and social media. "Enabling doctors to communicate effectively, providing them tangible support from the administration/seniors, mental health problem screening, making quarantine/isolation less restrictive and ensuring interpersonal communication and proactively curtailing the misinformation/rumour spread by the media are some of the potential measures," she concludes. ians
New Delhi, July 1 The Centre has kept the small savings rate unchanged for the July-September quarter to offer the common man relief from lower savings earnings amid the pandemic. With interest rates falling all across financial instruments, the government was widely expected to cut rates on small savings too. In fact, the Centre withdrew a decision to cut rates for the previous April-June quarter too fearing a backlash from savers. The decision on rate cut was withdrawn in the middle of voting for Assembly polls in West Bengal and Assam. "The rate of interest on various small savings schemes for the second quarter of the financial year 2021-22 starting from July 1, 2021 and ending on September 30, 2021 shall remain unchanged from the current rates applicable for the first quarter (April 1 to June 30, 2021) for FY 2021-22," a finance ministry office memorandum issued late on Wednesday night said. With the status quo, savers would continue to get 4 percent interest on small savings during the July-September quarter as well. The 1-year time deposit rates will also remain at 5.5 per cent and so will the 5-year recurring deposit at 5.8 percent. Public Provident Fund (PPF) will also continue to get a 7.1 per cent rate while Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY), National Savings Certificate will get interest rates of 7.6 and 6.8 per cent, respectively. The interest rate on Kisan Vikas Patra was decreased to 6.9 percent and the instrument will mature in 124 months. ians
New Delhi, June 30 The Indian agricultural sector is at the cusp of a disruption based on technology, regulation, investment and stakeholder behavioural changes across consumers to farmers. Agritech and agri-ecosystem sectors have received significant interest from the investor community, making India the third-largest nation in terms of agritech funding and the number of agritech startups. Estimates indicate that approximately $30-$35 billion of the value pool will be created in agri-logistics, offtake, and agri-input delivery by 2025. These are among the findings of Bain & Company's ;Indian Agriculture: Ripe for Disruption', the report, released on Wednesday. Agriculture's contribution to the country's gross value added (GVA) is about 20 per cent, however it continues to be dominated by small and marginal land holdings. Additionally, close to 55 per cent of the Indian population still depends on agriculture for their livelihood. Commenting on the report, Prashant Sarin, partner and leader of the Advanced Manufacturing & Services, Energy & Natural Resources practices in Bain & Company, India said, "The traditional form of agriculture will be disrupted and overhauled over time, and $30-35B value will be created in new value pools across the agricultural value chain, over the next few years." The report highlights three Bills passed in September 2020 by the Indian Parliament on agriculture-focused reforms. All these are intended to encourage investment in direct farmer purchase by corporates, free movement of food items from production to consumption centres, and private investment in storage. A host of new business opportunities can be uncovered when these reforms come into operation. The APMC reforms will enable corporates to buy directly from the farmer while the ECA reform incentivises investment in storage and transportation infrastructure, resulting in supply chain efficiencies. Firms can save 5 per cent to 10 per cent or more on procurement costs of food items through a concerted national strategy. Parijat Jain, partner and leader of Bain's Agribusiness practice in India, said, "Indian agriculture is at an inflection point. The $370 billion sector will undergo a complete transformation in the coming years on the back of significant technology interventions, regulatory support and behavioural changes across consumers and farmers. Digital disruption across the agricultural and agritech value chain is enabling 'uberisation' of services, converting capital investment assets to pay per-use models and creating online communities along with online input & output marketplaces." Increasingly, many young entrepreneurs are entering the agriculture startup space. Adopting technology-friendly practices across the agricultural value chain is critical to transforming this critical sector of India's economy, the report said. ians