The public servants, as mentioned by the Prime Minister, are ‘sevaks’ of the people at large. They serve, through policymaking and its implementation, which have a potential to impact peoples’ lives and influence their well-being. These public servants make decisions on a daily basis during their career. They are influenced by various human values which often are complementary and at times competitive. Any issue of public life, therefore, put diverging solutions before public servants. They are expected to select the best solution among a variety of good solutions, putting themselves in the world of ethical dilemma.
What is an ethical dilemma?
The study of human actions, differentiating between good and bad and understanding its consequences, lead to the study of ethics. A public servant’s actions and consequences thereupon, deliver good and sometimes not so good results. If a good result, it doesn’t mean ethical and if no good result, it doesn’t mean unethical. The ‘means’ and ‘end’ of any decision making and its impact, are equally important for it to label as ‘ethical’ or ‘unethical’.
Ethical dilemma, on the other hand, is a state of confusion where an individual faces multiple ethical options in a given situation. Selecting the most ethical option, then is a difficult proposition. It is the situation of hard choices, where one choice is neither fully good and nor fully bad. It is not the selection of good from bad but often a selection of good from a ‘lesser’ or ‘equal’ good. Further, an ethical dilemma is wider and more demanding than a problem, however difficult or complex, the later may be. Dilemmas, unlike problems, cannot be solved in binary terms in which they are often presented to decision-makers.
Every individual faces an ethical dilemma at multiple stages of life, depending on the situation they are presented with. May it be the profession of doctors, lawyers, journalists or business enterprises, ethical dilemmas for them props up when their professional roles contradict with their individual roles. General public and some professionals are often presented with ethical dilemmas, in binary terms. The resolution of it becomes a little easier. The public servants, on the other hand, face ethical dilemmas which are more complex in nature, often due to multiplicity of roles and responsibilities and wider implications of decision making. The resolution of ethical dilemmas therefore is a complex process for them.
Unlike professionals and the general public, the public servants play multiple roles in their personal, professional, work jurisdiction and social spheres. The prioritisation of roles, for them vary due to the very nature of work and its impact on the governed. The multiplicity of roles, varied duties and impacts of decision making, present complex ethical dilemmas to them. Public managers, therefore, need a wide range of attributes, attitudes and skills to survive and to come over these dilemmas. Their skill, competence and commitment are tested daily as they try to respond to their constituencies, fulfil their responsibilities, and meet the challenges they face. Significantly, all these players act simultaneously, with few clear lines of authority, constantly changing public mandates, and frequent turnover of people. They therefore need to act vigilantly, resolve conflicts, set aside pressure and march forward with their public agendas.
Ethical dilemma in public policy
Covid-19 has presented a myriad of ethical dilemmas for almost everyone — professionals like doctors, public servants, political leaders and the people at large. Due to an unprecedented influx of patients in ICUs, the medical community and the administration has to confront raising ethical concerns not only surrounding triage and withdrawal of life support decisions, expanding ICU care into non-ICU spaces, utilising non-critical care trained staff to participate in delivering critical care and innovative approaches to obtain, conserve and increase the efficiency of physical equipment, including personal protective equipment and mechanical ventilators. Practitioners encountered the difficult decisions of whom to test, whom to treat and where to focus attention and resources. At some places, doctors were forced to make decisions about whom to ventilate and whom to not. The agony of these decisions prompted several physicians to seek ethical counsel.
On the other side, we have been hearing stories about family members or relatives deserting the sick people at a time when they needed care, and even funerals of victims have been violently disrupted, raising unprecedented ethical questions. Consider the ethics of the most visible response to the pandemic — the lockdown. Different countries adopted different strategies. Countries like South Korea didn’t impose a lockdown but concentrated on other ways of containing the pandemic. Whereas in the US, some states adopted lockdown approaches and some didn’t. In India, the government adopted a lockdown strategy for containing the pandemic.
Ultimately, the “ends” of any of these above approaches is the wellbeing of the citizens. But the following “means” are different for different entities. Several ethical issues emerge from these decisions:
• One such issue is paternalism. Countries across the world, considered their decision of lockdown, to be in the best interests of the people, but have they deprived their citizens of informed consent? They may have been correct in their assumptions that their decision is correct rather than giving citizens a choice. But the ethical question still remains whether it is ethically correct to take the decision out of the citizens’ hands.
• Have the policymakers done the right thing by announcing lockdown abruptly without giving much time to the vulnerable groups to prepare for the lockdown? Has it created an empathy gap between those who made policy and those who suffered? Or should the lockdown be announced with prior notice and time frame of 8-10 days for people to move out to their locations? This might have spread the pandemic to the remotest parts of the country, causing larger damage to rural areas. This also could have led to the possibility of hoarding essential items leading to artificial scarcity of goods. Which decision would have been more appropriate, considering the larger benefit of the society or hardships of few?
The values of life versus livelihood versus fundamental freedom of individuals presented ethical dilemmas before the policymakers. Any option had its collateral effects on the country, at large.
Further as the lockdown continued it presented different ethical dilemmas due to unexpected outcomes, which needed urgent attention from the policymakers. The lockdown phase gave sufficient time to the policymakers to understand the strain of the virus. As the health recovery rate was improving, the policymakers were presented with multiple ethical dilemmas viz continue lockdown till the development of vaccine, at the cost of economic slowdown, affecting the livelihood of people; partial opening of economic activities, which may slowdown the spread but slowly help in rolling the economic wheel and put lesser burden on government exchequer; open up the complete economy, as people are fully aware of the Covid-19 precautions, which might lead to abrupt rise of virus spread, leading to abrupt losses of lives. There were other options too leading to ethical dilemmas for the policy makers.
Safeguarding lives of citizens, protecting liberty and individual freedom, adhering to constitutional principles, wellbeing of all versus hardships of few, support to the poor and free ration versus burden on the exchequer and economic prudence, empathic versus rational decision-making, etc, were conflicting human values, policymakers and implementers had to face, during Covid-19. But such instances are not limited to pandemic situations and are routine phenomena occurring during the process of policymaking. The opinions and decisions differ, as the impact. They often therefore lead to primetime discussions and debate, across news channels. May it be a decision of road widening displacing certain number of people, industrialisation by encroaching forest land, extension of populist measures during economic crisis times, preferring development over environment or change of status quo for certain states through border reorganisation or by abolition of certain act. The decisions impact certain lives, benefitting a certain number of people.
Resolving ethical dilemma
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Recall the face of the poorest and weakest man you have seen, and ask yourself if this step you contemplate is going to be any use to him.” Resolving an ethical dilemma is often a zero sum game, whereby the choice of one value alternative is necessarily followed by the negation of the other. The resolution of ethical dilemmas is based on the principles of selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, leadership, rationality, impartiality, non-partisanship etc. These principles were first laid out by the Nolan committee, the committee on standards of public life during 1994-95, as essential principles for ethical standards in public life. In order to resolve ethical dilemmas, it is essential for an individual to understand the nuances of conflicting ethical claims, in a given scenario. Understanding them correctly with their likely impacts on different stakeholders is the key to resolve ethical dilemmas. There are various ethical tests prescribed to resolve ethical dilemmas. These tests being smell test, utility test, rights test, everybody test, choices test, justice test, common good test and virtue/ mirror test etc. The results of one or multiple tests decide the probable solution for the dilemma.
Evolving ethical mechanism for govt
The government controls the governed through laws of the land and judicial mechanism. However, to control itself the government needs to devise the check and balance mechanism. These mechanisms help ensure government machinery functions with the laid-out principles and vision of the system. These mechanisms can curb the illegal and unwanted acts by individuals but not the unethical acts. To devise the system based on ethical principles, the government has to build the ethics infrastructure.
Ethics infrastructure supports and encourages ethical behaviour and establishment of ethics-based decision making processes, enabling individuals to resolve ethical dilemmas in the correct perspective. It also ensures the highest standards of ethical behaviour in the society, by any individual, in public and private life. The elements/building blocks of infrastructure are complementary, mutually reinforcing and achieve necessary synergy to become a coherent and integrated one. The ‘guidance’, ‘management’ and ‘control’ are three main building blocks of ethics infrastructure.
The guidance is achieved from leadership, training and ethical codes. The management ensures laid out policies for the resolution of ethical dilemmas whereas control is generally from outside such as anticorruption agencies. The guidance and management ensure compliance of ethics from within, whereas control ensures compliance of ethics from outside means. The developed countries have well-established ethics infrastructure, whereas developing countries including India, have an ethics infrastructure, in an evolving phase. Lack of concrete ethics infrastructure is one of the important reasons for the prevalence of corruption and malpractices in public life, in India.
‘Doing good is hard; even beginning to do good is hard.’ Inscribed in the Emperor Asoka’s fifth ‘major rock edict’ from circa 257 BCE. India has very first instances of ethical teachings, through Asoka’s ethical project, as inscribed on rock edicts. The message from this project was universal and not restricted to any particular language, religion, place or state. It’s the sanctity and sacredness of those ethical teachings that the Constituent Assembly adopted on 22 July 1947, 24-spoke Asoka Chakra on the Indian National flag, symbolising the wheel of ethics and wheel of time. Each spoke on the Chakra depicted the principles and values of ethical living such as love, courage, self-sacrifice, righteousness, faith, truthfulness and others. Along with it, the rich cultural heritage, ancient philosophical moorings, preaching and practices of Mahatma Gandhi and other social reformers, religious texts and Constitution of India, laid the very foundation for ethics infrastructure in India.
Post-Independence however, India could not build much on these strong foundations. We could establish dozens of institutions of excellence but not a single institution of ethical teaching. Ethics could never become a dedicated subject of studies in our schools or colleges, barring a few references through childhood moral stories. The first ever formal attempt has been carried out by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), bringing the subject on ethics in 2013, for the Civil Services Exam. For other government services, there is no formal training in ethics, as such.
The focus of the government since the beginning was on compliance approach to ethics with control ensured from outside agencies like anti-corruption and others, against the menace of illegal activities but not against unethical practices. Some institutions and professional bodies could pen down the code of conduct but could not develop a code of ethics till recent period. Few could develop on self-regulatory mechanisms but without any outside body ensuring its compliance in case of any violation. It is only the Upper House of Parliament, which could establish an ethics committee as an institution to check on unethical activities and areas of conflict of interests for the Members of Parliament. The very recognition of ethical concepts of conflict of interests in the corporate sector and bodies like BCCI has been a recent phenomenon of the 21st century. The overall ethical compliance from within has seen a slow progress, so far. The beginning for the ethical life was made by the Constituent Assembly then. It is high time that we should walk the ethical path, it proposed.
Santosh Ajmera and Nanda Kishore Reddy are Indian Information Service officers of 2008 batch and have co-authored the book ‘Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude’ published by McGraw Hill publications.
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I BROUGHT THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF FITNESS CULTURE: DR MICKEY MEHTA
In an exclusive interview with NewsX India A-List, Dr Mickey Mehta spoke about his journey as a health guru, fitness culture, life coaching, and much more.
Dr Mickey Mehta, Author & Health Guru, recently joined NewsX for a candid chat as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive interview, the author spoke about his journey as a health guru, fitness culture, life coaching and much more.
Speaking about his journey till now, he said “Many years back, I would say, when I actually started in the industry, as a career, that was the year 1980, so 1980-81. That was the time that coaches and fitness trainers had no respect, and there was not any formal training or qualifications available. People would say, ‘Kya karega jake, kya uthayega?’. I would say people had very scant respect for fitness trainers and they were called bodybuilders. We were put in the category of pehlwan, pehawani. I brought the whole concept of this culture—fitness culture, wellness culture, physical culture, and culturing the body. While you culture the body, culturing of the mind comes along. It translates into culturing your emotions, your psychology, and your spirit as well. So, anything to do with exercise, anything to do with training your body, shaping your body, culturing the body, translates into awareness because you become aware of more physical parts moving. You become aware of better by-product of circulation because if you circulate well, you don’t know how many liters of blood you have pumped inside because there is a feel-good factor.”
“It is about awareness that you have heart and you have lungs. Your heart beats for good things, for creativity, for sympathy, compassion and glow. When you do a lot of exercises, vanity comes to form because there is a glow because you are circulating. There is oxygen, so radiance, vibrance, so these are the by-products of fitness and physical culture. Mindlessness is not a negative connotation here. Mindlessness is when your mind is not you are and when the mind is, you are not, so you as a spirit are absent in the presence of mind and when you as a spirit are completely present in duality, the mind is absent. Mind is a negative phenomenon because the mind only lives and comes alive, either in the past or in the future. The mind is always wandering in the past. So, fears of the past keep haunting you, the anxiety of the future keeps you occupied,” he added
When asked about the plethora of people he has trained in the past and his experience of the same, he responded, “I think I had a short time of month and a half with Aamir Khan. While he was shooting for ‘Talaash’ and was also preparing for ‘Dhoom 3’. That short span with him was very interesting. My training with Lara Dutta also was very interesting. My training with Yukta Mukhi was very meaningful. With Priyanka Chopra, she was only 15 when I touched her, so not have memories with her but I am extremely proud of who she is today. They are the people who are very desiring and these are the people who are sincere as well. They were very disciplined. I remember Aamir used to call me at 3 AM in the night. The very first day, it was a 5:35 reporting and I thought that I would go there and he would then wake up. To my surprise, he was already up and about. These are very focused people, which is why they are successful, which is why they are leaders.”
Mental health is not just about anxiety and stress: Divija Bhasin, mental health therapist
Mental & Emotional Health Therapist Divija Bhasin opened up to NewsX Influencer A-List about being a therapist in the digital age and responsibilities that come with being an influencer.
Divija Bhasin, Mental & Emotional Health Therapist, recently joined NewsX for a candid chat as part of its special series NewsX Influencer A-List. In the exclusive interview, Divija opened up about being a mental and emotional health therapist in the digital age.
Talking about the kind of content she puts out on the Internet, Divija shared, “I make all kinds of things. I don’t just put out psychology or mental health stuff. I put that stuff along with other random or relatable funny stuff, even things that are indirectly related to mental health. Mental health is not just anxiety and stress, it is way more than that. It is also about our family systems and our education and even abuse. I try to make it a little simpler, relatable, and put it out there based on trends. It is like entertainment and education together. “
When asked did therapy come into her life first or being an influencer come first, she responded, “I have always wanted to be a therapist. I have been studying psychology since class 11th. I started out on TikTok last year. I used to make random videos on TikTok, sometimes psychology-related videos. I was just doing it for fun because of the lockdown but then I started gaining a lot of followers. I was like I like it and I am not that bad at it. After it got banned, I switched to Instagram and that’s when I started putting out more serious stuff. I realised that the audience on Instagram likes that and they also appreciate it more. I tried it on TikTok but it didn’t work out that well. Here, my audience likes both. That’s why I put both. I became a therapist after I started making videos not because I wasn’t going to be but because I am still doing my second master’s. While making these videos, I started working with another clinical psychologist. Under her guidance, I took sessions and now since I have some experience, I do private practice.”
When prodded further if these two worlds collide, she added, “Not particularly. It feels like my audience and clients are able to differentiate. They don’t try to talk to me and I make my boundaries clear. In the first session, I send them a formal email, stating that I will not be able to interact with you outside the session, just to maintain boundaries. They all respect that. I haven’t had experiences where my clients would try to become friends with me or something like that on social media. They follow me and like my videos but that’s it.”
Speaking about responsibilities that come with being an influencer, considering the fact that with being a mental health professional, the responsibility is twofold, Divija expressed, “I do have to be extra careful compared to other influencers because I feel like people are looking up to me to give the right information. Every time I put out anything serious, I make sure to read a lot about it, including research papers, not just random things on the Internet, so that it is properly verified and also in case someone questions me and thinks that I am just giving my opinion.”
Mental health is not just anxiety and stress, it is way more than that. It is also about our family systems and our education and even abuse. I try to make it a little simpler, relatable, and put it out there based on trends. It is like entertainment and education together.
The colour green is deemed to be therapeutic and soothing to the eyes. A person with a green thumb is someone who looks after their plants with a passion. Researchers recommend consuming green vegetables and to spend time in green environments whenever one can.
Nurturing plants and even crooning to them is believed to accelerate their growth. It is an opportunity for budding singers to practice their vocal cords for audiences or lack thereof. Humour aside, spending time with our green friends is cheaper than therapy.
People addicted to wanderlust in the current Covid-19 scenario have limited turf to wander on. With the work-from-home culture, many want to create inspiring and cosy nooks to work in while the wanderlust seekers take it a notch up by setting up a tropical vibe at home.
One can go to town making different and imaginative arrangements with plants and pots. As a result of which India-made garden accessories are en vogue.
The pandemic has brought many close(r) to mother nature. The lessons mothers teach us the hard way!
Zoom into the Tier one cities, The Humans of Bombay, Delhi and Bangalore also have different motives in keeping plants in close proximity to them. These cities with Air Quality Indexes that make one cringe have people stressing over not having clean air.
There is a gamut of indoor plants that can diminish pollutants from the air. There is no limit to how creatively these things of joy can be placed. A few popular plants are Areca Palm, Snake Plant, Aloe Vera plant, Spider plant, and Money plant. Plants lend a feel-good vibe to an abode cutting down on toxins in the air rendering them the most cost-effective air purifiers.
Areca palms make aesthetic plants that need moist soil and some sunlight indoors.
Snake plants are the least demanding ones requiring water once a month.
Aloe Vera is a multi-utility plant. Not only does it alleviate the impurities in the air but the gel found inside the plant has therapeutic properties. It maintains its stature without a constant supply of H-2-O.
A home decor aficionado’s dream plant: the Money plant. This decorative plant is easy to look after with a few sprays of water once a week. It winds around the shape of what adjoins it (only if that happened with real money).
There is an array of made-in-India pots to choose from. They are made from myriad materials such as terracotta, brass, glazed ceramic and handmade crochet.
A playful homegrown brand, The Wishing Chair (inset) doles out some charming little hand-painted pots. These bump up the cuteness quotient of any corner. Glazed pot with floral and chevron motifs is their signature style.
For a formal look, plant takers can head over to Mora Taara for their gold-finish and textured planters. Whether you are placing your stack on your workstation or on the floor of a living room these gilded numbers add a luxe feel.
Elementary, a Jaipur brand has a variety of earthy pots. These are minimalist with their geometric lines and are available with subtle tones. They are great extensions to a contemporary style.
The June Shop, a quirky Kolkata-based shop has some game-changing planters too. Their hanging crochet planters are truly special. These babies are suitable for any space ranging from a cosy family room to a covered outdoor patio.
Whatever the time, it is always ripe to nurture what is natural. Plant some seeds of time to potter around. It is sure to do you good. Happy Pottering!
I TRIED TO CREATE A CONVERSATION AROUND SEXUALITY: LEEZA MANGALDAS
In an exclusive conversation with NewsX Influencer A-List, Leeza Mangaldas opened up about the content she creates on Instagram, the kind of conversations she has been having on social media, and how she has been helping youngsters get relevant information about sex.
Leeza Mangaldas, Sex Positive Content Creator recently joined NewsX for an insightful conversation as part of NewsX Influencer A-List. In the exclusive conversation, Leeza opened up about the content she creates on Instagram, the kind of conversations she has been having on social media and how she has been helping youngsters get relevant information about sex.
When asked about the content that she is creating on Instagram, Leeza said, “I tried to create a conversation around sexuality, sexual health, gender, the body, identity. My hope is that this can help normalise these conversations because sex remains so stigmatised for discussion. Most young people don’t receive information. It is a normal part of life. It’s something we deserve, that is, accurate judgement about sex. The fact that most people have a smartphone now, the internet allows us to access the stuff from the comfort of our homes and privacy from our headphones and phone. It’s really lensed. I also think that young people use social media so much, people don’t put their phones down. They take it even in the bathroom. So, if you want to connect to young people, social media seems like a great way to do it, but it’s so important to me to have the conversation. A typical attitude to sex education is like let’s teach people how not to have negative experiences. ‘Ok, so it’s very don’t do this, don’t do that, and kind of fear-based approach. If you have sex, you will get pregnant. If you have sex, you will get an STD. Oh, it’s really bad that if you have sex, you will be punished as if you have done something wrong or evil,’ This kind of messaging is there. Any official messaging intended is laced with judgement and punishment. All of this type of language, absence base, fear-based or even when it is well-meaning it’s like not to get an STD or not to get pregnant. Nobody is focusing on pleasure. Nobody knows how we can have the best experience, it’s just talking about how we cannot have a bad experience. I wanted that shift where we talk about sex and its normal, important and wonderful thing, rather than a scary bad thing.”
Talking about the topics she has been addressing via her videos, she said, “I try to also allow for audience questions to dictate the topics I choose. I got a lot of questions repeatedly around certain things and addressed them. I think many people have a lot of issues when it comes to body image. Like questions around penis size, questions around boobs size, questions around why is the skin of the vagina is darker than the rest of the body or lots of questions around first sexual experience. I have created a lot of content types trying to provide help with full information on what you should know before you have sex. Consent is a subject that is important to me, talking also about stuff like arousals, desires, and being in contact with your own body and pleasure and understanding that you can communicate better because I think communication is central to sexual experiences.”
Speaking about where she draws a line between helping younger people to get relevant information about sex and drawing a line with what is the legal age to have sex, she said, “The age of consent varies from country to country and changed over time and it’s a really tricky area without easy answers in terms of age of consent of what is legal to begin having sex. In India, it is 18 but there was a time when it was something around 12 here. Child marriage is a part of how things operated in your grandparents’ generations. In other countries, it’s 16 and in some countries, it’s still even younger than that. So, how old is appropriate or not appropriate 16, 17, 18, 20. This is a question that doesn’t have an easy answer and it’s not up to me to decide. I’m also a citizen abiding by the laws, so of course, I maintain the age of consent. In India, it is 18 but I think the information, the education is something that has to start earlier and have to start when the child is learning the first word or when he learns the body parts. For example, you are teaching him this is your eyes, your nose, you are teaching them the words to think and why is it that we never teach them the correct names of the vagina, instead we say some other name like shame shame. You’re getting it, in such an age, this is shameful. So, of course, you should be appropriate but not for a one-time conversation, which you have with a young person. These are opportunities to normalise education around sexuality, body, sexual health, all through childhood because it’s usually the age 6 or seven somebody will ask mom, where do babies come from how would I get here or if you are expecting another sibling like how would it get in your stomach? Are you going to tell them that a bird dropped it or you found it in the dustbin? Why lie to the child? After there are picture books that simplify an explanation or consumptions and pregnancy, seeing things. When your adult teaches a child to get on her first periods, don’t you think they owe an explanation?”
I try to also allow for audience questions to dictate the topics I choose. I got a lot of questions repeatedly around certain things and addressed them. I think many people have a lot of issues when it comes to body image.
Huge social media following comes with a certain responsibility: Rasika Shekar
Singer and Flautist Rasika Shekar, in an exclusive conversation with NewsX Influencer A-List, speaks about her journey as a singer and a flautist, as well as the responsibility that comes with having a huge following on social media.
Rasika Shekar, Singer and Flautist, recently joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX Influencer A-List. In the candid chat, Rasika opened up about her journey as a singer and a flautist, as well as the responsibility that comes with having a huge following on social media. Read excerpts:
Speaking about her journey, Rasika shared, “My flute journey started when I was 13. I started learning Carnatic classical music, then I came down to India to study Hindustani music. I was born in Dubai, grew up in the US, so music brought me to India. I have been exploring a lot more genres when I’ve been living here. I have been lucky to work on some Bollywood films, working on a couple of background scores. I have also sung for a couple of movies, as a playback singer and it has been extremely exciting. I am very fortunate that I am able to do so.”
Revealing that one song that she liked the most and has stayed with her, Rasika said, “I would say, the second song called Hulla Re, from a movie called ‘2 States’. I loved doing that song because it is a very upbeat, fun song and I got to do it with Shankar ji and Siddharth Mahadevan. It was super fun. I also got to sing the part that was in Tamil, which is my mother tongue, so it was a brilliant experience.”
Talking about her huge following on social media and the responsibility that comes with it, she stated, “I feel very fortunate to have that because we are able to interact with people that are from so many different parts of the world, so many different parts of the country. Technology enables us to do that, which probably I never expected or anticipated to be able to. I think that comes with a certain responsibility, at least I like to see it that way because it pushes me to be able to learn more and make sure that I am putting out quality work and I love that part. At the same time, because I am connecting with a very different audience, I feel like it pushes my musical boundaries and ideas as well. It is a really nice give and takes kind of a scenario, so it is very encouraging and I love it.”
When asked what she considers as her main responsibility when you say that you feel responsible for the people that are looking up to you, she responded, “At the fundamental, I would say that for me, it is to put out the most honest music. That’s my first thing. If I look at something like promoting it, it would be a different thing. If the promotion happens as the side effect of what I do, that’s great. When I am putting out music, I make sure that it is the most honest music that I put out. Secondly, I am always making sure that I am continuously learning and evolving as a musician so that I can create something different. Every time I can create something that is of top quality, to the best of my ability and at the same time, I am able to interact and collaborate with different musicians so that we can bring people something new, something fresh. To top it all off, at the end of the day, if I can bring a smile to someone’s face through my music, I consider myself really blessed.”
I WANT TO SEE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF INDIANS SELF-EMPLOYED: VEERANDER CHOWDARY
Digital marketer and an entrepreneur Veerander Chowdary spoke to NewsX India A-List about how the Covid-19 pandemic made him feel the need for educating people about self-employment so that they can ride the waves of such uncertain times with ease.
Veerander Chowdary is a skilful digital marketer and an entrepreneur. But now, he has set on a mission to train people and make them self-dependent for employment. We hosted Veerander for our series, NewsX India A-List. Below are the excerpts from the interview:
Describing his journey, Veerander said, “When we come to our journey, it’s quite interesting. So I’ll tell you why we started this. Before the first lockdown, there were so many people who were working, but after the lockdown, 7.3 million jobs vanished and people were in a situation where they couldn’t even fulfil their basic needs. That’s where I recognised why I can train people on how to become self-employed.” This led Veerander to start his own training course ‘BBA Mastery’. Chowdary claims that the course has trained 5,500 people so far and 40% of his trainees have succeeded in building self-employment opportunities for themselves. The digital marketer also said, “I have seen many digital marketing institutes, across India, which charge to the range of ₹75k to ₹1L.” He further added, “People from various backgrounds are investing in them and coming out without any practical knowledge. So that’s where I recognised why there is no need to spend such amounts on digital marketing courses when one can get the knowledge, for free, on YouTube.”
We asked Veerander what he feels sets his brand apart from his competitors, to which he replied, “Online course completion rate is very less because people don’t show any interest in completing the course. My competitors are training people using pre-recorded classes, but I give my students live classes every Saturday.” Veerander told us that he has spent the last 68 Saturdays giving live classes to his students. Moreover, he said that his course comes with lifetime access and at a reasonable price of ₹5,000, which he says makes his course stand out from what his competitors have to offer.
Speaking about the challenges in this endeavour, Veerander said, “The biggest challenge that I’m facing is the low course completion percentage. Out of 100 people registered for my course, only 20-25 people complete it.” He said his focus right now is on improving the overall content and adding value to the course so that more trainees complete it.
Our next question to Veerander was about the achievements in his mentoring journey. “Till now, I have a community of 2,76,000 students who are currently enrolled in my individual courses, out of which, 5,500 students are the paid students,” said Veerander. He continued, “When it comes to how many people manage to become self-employed, as I said, 5,500 people are learning through the courses and 40% of them are successful entrepreneurs right now where they are earning a minimum of ₹1L per month.”
For our final question, we asked Veerendar about his plans for the future. “I want to see a maximum number of Indians self-employed. Recently, we started our own edtech startup called Self Employment. We have launched the Android and iOS versions, as well, to give more learning flexibility to our students,” was his answer. Veerander concluded the response by expressing his desire to train at least 1 lakh people and make them self-dependent for employment.
Before finishing the interview, Veerander shared a few words of wisdom for the youth of the country and said, “Think creatively. Whatever field you are in right now, you need to stand out and you need to be creative. If you are the same as everyone, you will not get any recognition.” He also appealed to the youngsters to be of value to the people around them.
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