The United States, as a precautionary measure, may have banned Indians travelling to its shores from 4 May, but it is working relentlessly to ensure that all essential medical supplies reach India without any further delay, ensuring a ‘global fight’ against the Covid pandemic. The Covid relief supplies from the US, which arrived on Friday, indicate President Biden administration’s all-out support to control the ‘Indian Variant’ as early as possible.
The US has come forward to help timely as India has collapsed under the weight of its creaking health infrastructure, inadequate vaccinations, and its policy makers’ inability to come out with a contingency plan to meet the demand-supply gap.
Many see the incoming US health supplies as a new lifeline for people affected by the coronavirus. At the forefront of this fight against the Covid pandemic in India, are the Indian origin CEOs, their US counterparts, and dozens of American companies working round-the-clock to make available the supplies to India at the earliest.
The Sunday Guardian spoke to Mukesh Aghi, CEO and President of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), which is at the centre stage of relief supplies coordination with other Indian groups and companies in America. There is hope in fighting together as the challenge is huge, says Aghi.
Q: India is faced with a health crisis, no one anticipated or alerted. Is this a signal for a bigger global health scare?
A: India is going through the same phase that wreaked havoc in Italy, France, UK, or the US. The second wave was caused by lack of vaccination, callousness, and too many public events. India is suffering more because of the lack of healthcare infrastructure.
Q: How much impact does the Indian Covid pandemic situation have on the US and global economies, which were slowly getting back to business?
A: Almost 2,000 US companies have a presence in India. They have varied operations from direct sales (Amazon, Walmart) to R&D and back-office support. We are seeing critical back-office operations as a precaution being assigned to other geographies. The financial impact on the US is minimal when you look at the size of the US economy and its trade with India.
Q: The US administration under President Biden pledged all support to India? What all went to make that happen?
A: The US companies and its leadership were alarmed when there was no clear directive of support coming out of Biden administration, initially. Efforts by USISPF and others to nudge the administration paid off eventually with a call between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Also, planeloads of supplies got delivered to India quickly.
Q: USISPF has been spearheading the initiative with others. Can you elaborate on what has been done from the USISPF so far and what’s more in offing for India?
A: The USISPF has been focused on multiple fronts to support India’s immediate health emergency. So far we have committed to deliver 100,000 oxygen concentrators. Shipments have starting landing in Delhi at 1,000 pieces at a time. One thousand devices weigh 1.5 tons. We expect to deliver 25,000 in May. We have delivered 11 one-ton cryogenic oxygen tanks. Shipments of anti-viral supplies are being also delivered.
India›s health emergency needs a global response as this virus knows no borders. We are working with our member companies to alleviate critical shortages of oxygen by procuring supplies necessary to concentrate and ship clinical oxygen around the country. With the support of our members — Deloitte and FedEx, we are ensuring that the supplies reach India at regular intervals in May to control the spread further. We are energised and heartened by the support of our members and board at all levels, using their substantial resources and expertise to help address this burgeoning crisis in India.
Q: The problem is the demand-supply gap, which largely aggravated the crisis. How fast the global support, including the one coming from the US, will help India control the situation?
A: The current need is enormous if we have to control India’s health emergency quickly. We have estimated India needs a minimum of one million oxygen concentrators right away. The challenge is India’s manufacturing capacity, which takes time to ramp up. You have to look at the challenge both from preventive and cure. Preventive means vaccination, we need to ramp up production and delivery of these vaccines. The immediate cure lies in faster delivery of all these medicines and supplies. The challenge here is logistics and distribution. We are delivering everything to Indian Red Cross and it is distributing the health supplies in partnership with the Ministry of Health.
Q: Are there fund-raising efforts or any other fightback measures also being organised by the USISPF to help India from other countries?
A: Our efforts are with US companies and the Indian diaspora in the US. The Indian diaspora through its associations has launched fund-raising campaigns to help India. We are helping the Indian diaspora in Canada, Brazil, and others in North and South America.
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Around 53 Egyptian vultures spotted on Yamuna river in Delhi
As many as 53 Egyptian vultures were spotted two days ago by an ecologist on a sandy mid-island on the Yamuna river in Delhi.
While talking to ANI, TK Roy, who is an ecologist, said, “I found 53 Egyptian vultures here two days back in Delhi, which is the largest number in the last five years. This place is suitable for them.”
Roy further informed us that there are around 47 Egyptian vultures in the area at present.
“The population is slowly rising because of a ban on diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug that has a toxic effect on vultures and awareness among people on vulture conservation,” the ecologist added.
TRAFFIC FREE, PEDESTRIAN FRIENDLY ‘EK SHAAM CHARMINAR KE NAAM’ PROGRAMME BEGINS
The local authorities and the city police have organised the programme to provide residents of the city with an entertaining, fun, and frolic event.
A traffic-free and pedestrian-friendly “Sunday Funday” programme titled “Ek Shaam Charminar ke naam” is being held at the historic Charminar of Hyderabad.
The local authorities and the city police have organised the programme to provide residents of the city with an entertaining, fun and frolic event. This event will also be used to spread awareness about various issues of public importance.
The event is inspired by the continuation of a similar programme for eight weeks now at the upper Tank Bund road of Hyderabad.
“With the success of Sunday Funday programme at upper Tank Bund road which has been happening in Hyderabad for last eight weeks now, we felt that the iconic place of Charminar is also another place which can be used for similar entertainment, fun and frolic and intermingling of people,” said Anjani Kumar, Police Commissioner, Hyderabad.
“Through such events, communities can be educated and made aware about several things such as how to prevent theft by servant, drivers theft, and other similar programmes. So we look forward to have a successful program at Charminar,” he added.
The event was inaugurated with the performance of the Hyderabad police band.
“The police department is also actively participating in this programme, the event was inaugurated with Hyderabad police band which is quite famous and subsequently it will be used for various police initiatives which are citizen-centric,” said the Police Commissioner.
PEOPLE HAVE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WHAT SEX EDUCATION MEANS: KARISHMA SWARUP
In an exclusive conversation with NewsX Influencer A-List, Karishma Swarup opened up about sexual education, what comes in its ambit, whether it is important to have a degree in sexual education to be able to teach it and much more.
Karishma Swarup, Sexuality Educator, recently joined NewsX for an insightful chat as part of NewsX Influencer A-List. In the exclusive conversation with NewsX, Karishma opened up about sexual education, what comes in its ambit, whether it is important to have a degree in sexual education to be able to teach it and much more.
Speaking about what exactly comes under the ambit of sexual education, Karishma said, “I feel like in India today, we don’t have a standardised sex education curriculum that is applied across schools, so a lot of people have misconceptions around what sex education even means. People seem to think that just talking about biology pieces that they studied in biology class might be considered sex education, but in reality, sex education is so much more than that. It involves biology but in the context of understanding anatomy. Understanding and not the teacher being like, oh! This is out of syllabus. Being able to discuss what are your body parts, how do those body parts function, whether or not it’s in a sexual situation. Right, so that is the first piece of it, just the anatomy bit of it.”
The second piece is, of course, the sexual health piece of it. That involves contraceptives, how condoms work and how to prevent STI transmissions. Just generally how to be safe and have safer sex. You cannot have any conversation about sex without talking about consent and consent is something that we talk about in the context of abuse but not necessarily in the context of teaching people what is the correct way of having a healthy relationship, what is the correct way to ask for consent in a certain situation. All of this is also influenced by things like gender and people’s personal identities. Good comprehensive sexuality education takes into consideration what are the different ways and aspects people are bringing into their experience of sexuality. So, that could include the LGBT community, it includes one’s gender. It can also include other intersections such as how does your class or other religion influences you, how you relate to other concepts so comprehensive sexuality or CSE is this holistic picture that goes so much more than telling young people to have sex and if anything the countries where they offer CSE at an early age young people tend to delay their onset of sexual activity rather than doing it earlier,” she added.
Talking about your educational background and whether or not from where you see it it is important to have a degree in sexual education to be able to teach it, Karishma stated, “I myself have done science my whole life. I did science in school. I did those biology classes, I was referring to. I went and studied geology biology while I was at Brown University as well. A large bulk of my learning came from working with this NGO named Plant Parenthood, which is a really big organisation in the US that offers different sexual health and reproductive health services including sex ed. I was a part of a student organisation there, we went out and taught sex ed to high students in the area. Working with them, I got 3 years of field experience. I got trained by this NGO, which had years and years of grass-root teaching experience and i think it goes beyond the question of having a degree especially with sexual health. It is a topic that is so widely ignored around the world, in most places really like, it is a question of who is doing it.
Ministry of Food Processing Industries organises ‘Food Tech Summit 2021’
To commemorate World Food Day, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, under the Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme, organised the Food Tech Summit on Saturday.
The Food Tech Summit 2021 aimed at setting the stage for all food-tech stakeholders to impart, discuss and acquaint micro enterprises on the new emerging trends in food processing and technological innovation. Minhaj Alam, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries addressed the Food Tech Summit and highlighted the importance of the micro food processing sector as the growth driver of the Indian economy and through the PMFME Scheme the government’s efforts to encourage food processing in India.
The summit witnessed the presence of eminent industry speakers sharing insightful pieces for micro-enterprises and paving a way in the food processing sector at the domestic and global levels.
Among the distinguished speakers were, Dr. Prasun Kumar Das, Secretary-General, Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA), who spoke about the “Role of small food enterprises in achieving food security – India vs. Global Perspective”. Dr. Prabodh Halde Head- Regulatory and Government Affairs Marico India, conducted a session on “Indigenous Food – Scale, Market and its Processing in Micro Industries”.
The session on “New Generation Food and Technology / Recent Trends (RTE/Convenient Foods)” was taken by Anand Chordia, Director – Technology & Innovation from Pravin Masale, (ONESuhana). Bidyut Baruah, Assistant General Manager, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), took a session on “Export Potential Food Products and its Scope in Micro Food Industries”.
The session on “Infrastructure and logistic Interventions for Micro Food Processing Industries” was taken by Vivek Jha, Associate Director – Government and Public Services, KPMG Advisory Service Private Limited. Akhilesh Gupta, Assistant Director – Regulatory Compliance Division, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), took the session on “Regulatory Compliances, Challenges & Solutions for Micro Industries”.
Tonisha Dixit, National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management, Thanjavur (NIFTEM) took the session on “Introduction on PMFME Scheme and Process for Applying (Online Form for Interested Enterprises/Groups)”.
The Food Tech Summit is one of a kind initiative by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries along with the support of distinguished industry experts to educate and guide the stakeholders to make informed decisions in order to scale up their food business in the present scenario.
In addition to the participation of the various eminent guest speakers, the summit saw the participation of government officials from across the states and also the food processing micro-enterprises. It was hosted live successfully and witnessed the vast participation of all stakeholders.
KAILASH KHER APPLAUDS INDIA’S VACCINATION DRIVE WHILE TALKING ABOUT HIS VACCINATION SONG
Singer Kailash Kher emphasised that any mass movement can only be successful after receiving participation and support from the citizens.
Renowned Padma Shri awardee singer Kailash Kher applauded India’s fast-paced vaccination programme against Covid-19 on Saturday while speaking about his new song ‘Teeke se bacha hai desh’, which he has sung to promote the vaccination drive across the country.
The audio-visual number was launched today by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Health and Family Welfare Minister Shri Mansukh Mandaviya. Speaking about the vaccination song, Kher noted that any mass movement can only be successful after receiving participation and support from the citizens. He said, “I want to say that all the missions or movements that achieve success, never do so without people’s participation. And it is only through this participation that India has been able to achieve such high success in the vaccination drive.”
“Today the number of vaccinated population in the nation is reaching 100 crores, hence this is a historical example of how India has conquered corona and that too amid all the misinformation and rumours. This has only been possible by the participation of the people,” continued the singer, adding, “But still, there are misconceptions amid people, like some individuals still haven’t taken the second dose and some not even the first. Intellect lies in taking the vaccine and saving yourself and others.”
Kher had pointed out that music is not only a source of entertainment but also has the qualities of inspiring others. He said that India is a great nation with the world recognising its potential and achievements but there are certain misgivings that need to be addressed. He said that moral support and awareness can be generated through inspirational songs and expressed confidence that the song will go a long way in overcoming the myths and boost the vaccine’s acceptability.
On the occasion of the vaccination song’s launch, Hardeep Singh Puri appreciated Kher and said that the singers can capture the people’s imagination, and this song will go in a long way in dispelling the myths and creating awareness about the vaccination.
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister had also shared the song on his Twitter handle, and along with it wrote, “A song that slays vaccine hesitancy! Teeke se bacha hai desh teeke se. Teeke se bachega desh teeke se. Joined my colleagues Dr @mansukhmandviya Ji and Sh @Rameswar_Teli Ji to release India’s Vaccination Anthem #BharatKaTikakaran sung by Sh @Kailashkhe Ji. #SabkaSaathSabkaPrayas”
During the vaccination song’s launch event, which was in a hybrid mode, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Rameswar Teli, Secretary PNG Tarun Kapoor, senior officers of the Ministry and Oil and Gas PSUs, were also present.
The song has been produced by the Oil and Gas PSUs.
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.”
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