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INDIA RECIPROCATES: UK CITIZENS MUST QUARANTINE ON ARRIVAL

The step came days after the United Kingdom announced new travel rules that state that Indian travellers, even those who have received both doses of the Covishield vaccine, will be considered unvaccinated.

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India has decided to impose reciprocity on British nationals under which UK citizens arriving in the country from Britain will have to undergo mandatory quarantine at home or at the destination address for 10 days after their arrival, sources said.

The step came days after the United Kingdom announced new travel rules that state that Indian travellers, even those who have received both doses of the Covishield vaccine, will be considered unvaccinated and will have to undertake Covid tests and undergo a 10-day quarantine. Sources said that reciprocity will come into force from 4 October, that is Monday, the same day UK’s new travel rules come into effect.

“New regulations will come into effect from 4 October, and will be applicable to all UK nationals arriving from the UK,” a source said.

Soon after the row erupted late in September, the British high commission in India clarified UK’s position by saying, “We are engaging with the Government of India to explore how we could expand UK recognition of vaccine certification to people vaccinated by a relevant public health body in India.” UK had concerns about the date of birth not being mentioned in the Co-Win certificate, which the Indian government promised to change. In spite of that the UK is yet to accept India’s vaccination certificate, even though both countries have discussed the matter.

With the UK unwilling to change its stand, India finally decided to go for reciprocal action. Sources said that 4 October onwards, all UK nationals arriving in India from the UK, irrespective of their vaccination status, will have to undertake a pre-departure Covid-19 RT-PCR test within 72 hours before travel, RT-PCR test on arrival at the airport and an RT-PCR test on the eighth day after arrival.

“UK nationals arriving in India from the UK will have to undergo mandatory quarantine at home or in the destination address for 10 days after arrival,” the source said.

Sources said that authorities in Health and Civil Aviation Ministries will take steps to implement the new measures.

Reacting to India’s move, the British High Commission spokesperson said in a statement, “The UK is continuing to work on expanding the policy to countries and territories across the globe in a phased approach. We are continuing to engage with the Government of India on technical cooperation to expand UK recognition of vaccine certification to people vaccinated by a relevant public health body in India.”

The spokesperson said the UK is open to travel and they are seeing a lot of people going from India to the UK, be it tourists, businesspeople or students. “Over 62,500 student visas have been issued in the year ending June 2021, which is an increase of almost 30% as compared to the previous year. We want to make the process of travelling as easy as possible.”

India had said last month that it would be within its rights to take reciprocal measures against UK’s “discriminatory” move to recognise AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, but not Covishield, which is the same vaccine but manufactured in India, if the issue is not satisfactorily resolved.

Even though the new British rules state that AstraZeneca Covishield is among the vaccines that qualify as approved, India is not yet on the list of 17 countries that have been exempted from quarantining. The “changes to international travel rules” state that formulations of the four listed vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda, qualify as approved vaccines.

The new British rules also state that travellers will also qualify as fully vaccinated if they have taken a full course of the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen vaccines from a relevant public health body in Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan or the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Covishield, which has been developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, is manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India.

NEW VISA CONDITIONS

Sources say that with India set to open its borders for international tourists, the government has decided on “reciprocal treatment” to the applicants under new visa conditions. The visa facilitation will depend on the applicant’s home country’s policy for Indian tourists. A senior official of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that to iron out all the issues emerging from such a situation, a meeting was held last week which was attended by representatives from all concerned agencies which was chaired by the Union Home Secretary.

“In the meeting, it was decided to provide reciprocal treatment to tourists visiting India. Many countries have opened for tourists from foreign countries but have posed several restrictions for Indian travellers. The issues have been raised with the diplomats of concerned countries to get issues resolved,” the official said.

So, an incoming foreign tourist might have to show their vaccination certificate or undergo a quarantine period or face rejection, which will depend on how they treat Indian tourists visiting their country.

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VASU HEALTHCARE FORAYS INTO EXCLUSIVE BRANDED OUTLETS WITH ‘VASU NATURALS’

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With an aim to strengthen the direct consumer connect and give first-hand experience of existing and new product offerings, Vasu Healthcare, Herbal Cosmetics, Personal Care, and Nutritional Supplements brand, has launched the company’s first exclusive brand outlet (EBO)—‘Vasu Naturals’ in Vadodara, Gujarat.

Vasu Naturals outlets will have the entire range of products from Vasu Healthcare: haircare, skincare, personal care, men’s care and other health and wellness products. The company has 200 plus products covering segments including Urology, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Gynecology, Respiratory care etc.

Speaking on the launch, Hardik Ukani, Managing Director, Vasu Healthcare Pvt Ltd, said, “Vasu Naturals outlet is the fifth division of the company—direct consumer division to give the consumers first-hand experience of all existing and future launches of Vasu Healthcare. Going forward, the company is planning to launch more Vasu Naturals outlets in Gujarat: Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot etc. and gradually expand nationally. Focused on direct consumer connect, the company is looking to strengthen a network of retail touch-points including company outlets, exclusive kiosk, and shop in shop model.”

The company has the vision to establish itself as a science-based, head-to-heel brand harnessed from nature’s wealth. The company’s flagship brand—Trichup, is omnipresent worldwide and offers a range of hair care Solutions including oil, shampoo, serum, hair conditioner, cream etc.

“Inspired by nature, Vasu Healthcare offers a range of innovative products enthused by Ayurveda’s rich heritage and backed by strong R&D, modern science, and technology. The company will consider setting up Vasu Naturals brand outlets in overseas markets based on the response in domestic markets. Our R&D team is further working on expanding the personal hygiene and oral healthcare,” said Sagar Patel, Director, Vasu Healthcare Pvt Ltd.

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Ticketing platform Yellowheart launches app to stamp out middlemen

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In an apparent bid to stamp out middlemen that seek to profit from tickets resale of live events and concerts, ticketing platform Yellowheart recently announced the launch of NFT ticketing mobile application YellowHeart Wallet, which eliminates the need for a physical ticket and connect users directly to its Web3 Ethereum-based NFT ticketing platform and marketplace.

The Wallet enables credit card fiat and cryptocurrency payments via Ethereum and Polygon integration, to be used for live event NFT ticket purchasing and on-site redemption and integrates with on-site activations and the concert-going experience.

“The YellowHeart Wallet is a major milestone for the live event industry. The App allows fans, artists, and venues to interact with Web3 marketplaces, which will greatly evolve the fan experience and create long-term recurring revenue opportunities for artists, teams, and venues. Artists, teams, and venues that don’t adapt will get left behind,” said Josh Katz, CEO of Yellowheart.

“Providing fans with a technology that grants exclusive access to concert tickets and event-specific content is a real win for us; combining this with our focus on artist community tokens, exclusive album-connected NFT content, and the possibilities for creativity from here are endless,” added Katz.

Running ticket sales through an open-source blockchain via the new app and wallet will give artists and event organisers the ability to track the entire ticketing cycle including monitoring secondary market resale and potential ‘scalping’.

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Jai Bheem app to give young Indians a platform to enhance their skills through short videos

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The country’s young generation will now be able to express their creativity through short videos. Girish Wankhede, a well-known entertainment professional and trade analyst of mainstream cinema, has announced the 4 December launch of the Jai Bheem mobile application in India, allowing users to record, discover, and share short videos.

“Jai Bheem is a short videos application that hones the skills of the youth in small towns that don’t get the opportunity to express their creativity. It will shape their careers by sharing the revenue with those whose videos go viral. It is an opportunity for youth offering them a career in entertainment as well as it makes them our ‘Revenue partners’,” announced Wankhede.

The app maker claims that ensuring data privacy has been the priority with all the data stored on servers in India.

The app also allows creators to enjoy full ownership and control of their videos, which they can download, anytime they want. Jai Bheem App is fully developed by an Indian team.

The teaser launch event of the Jai Bheem app was recently held amidst huge fanfare in Dubai in the presence of top Bollywood stars and corporate bigwigs.

Wankhede also unveiled the motion creative of the Dhamma Chakra Pravartan diwas especially created by the app team that fetched stupendous applause from the press persons. Along with Wankhede, Aman Kamble of Awaaz India was also present on occasion.

This app would not only talk about entertainment; it will also be focusing on entrepreneurship apart from entertainment.

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GOVT FOCUSING ON STRENGTHENING INDIA’S LOGISTICS SECTOR

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The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) is giving enormous thrust on improving logistics in the country and taking steps to bring efficiency into logistics management.

Delivering a talk on “Improving Operational Efficiency in Logistics Infrastructure; Multimodal Integrated Logistics Parks; Technologies” at Smart Mobility Conference 2021 at Pragati Maidan in the Capital on Tuesday, Suman Prasad Singh, Joint Secretary (Logistics), Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, said, “Our present focus is to have integrated planning of transport network development. We should not develop it in silo, that’s why the Gati Shakti portal has already come.”

“So far as the infrastructure of MoRTH is concerned, our basic purpose is to reduce the travel time. There are instances near ports, when a distance of 10 km, sometimes, takes more than 24 hours to cover. The reason is not the distance but many other factors like traffic restrictions,” he said.

The JS (Logistics) said the Ministry is trying to develop a dedicated highway to the port so that the travel time gets reduced, and it is operational all the time. “Similarly, whenever there is congestion, we are coming up with flyovers, bypasses, ring roads etc. All such aspects have been studied and incorporated in the Bharatmala Pariyojana,” Singh pointed out.

He said a number of steps have been taken to strengthen the logistics in the country. “The seriousness of the government towards addressing the logistics issue can be understood by the fact that a dedicated logistics department has been set up to bring down the cost of logistics. The government is trying to bring down this cost,” said the JS (Logistics).

Calling upon the private sector to join hands with the government in a true spirit of “partnership”, he said the policies introduced by the Ministry should be complied with in a positive manner. “Compliance attitude needs to be developed by the users of these policies,” said Singh.

The session was also addressed by Amrit Lal Meena, Additional Secretary (Logistics), Ministry of Commerce and Industry; Prakash Gaur, CEO, National Highway Logistics Management Limited; and Vaibhav Dange, Advisor National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), besides others.

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DOCTORS GUIDE CORPORATE LEADERS ON DEALING WITH OBESITY AND MENTAL STRESS

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‘Exercise alone cannot make you lose too much weight. Diet plays a more important role. Meal replacements through various diet plans can work for only certain periods of time. Eventually, the body goes back to its original weight and in the long term, you don’t seem to have results. Bariatric surgery leaps ahead of any other non-surgical method as it can make you lose weight and maintain it”, said Dr Muffazal Lakdawala, Director, Dept. of General Surgery & Minimal Access Surgical Sciences, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital at an engagement of Thought Leaders of India (TLOI).

The meeting was held under TLOI’s Wellness Impact initiative last Thursday and the well-known laparoscopic, GI, and bariatric surgeon was addressing leaders of India Inc., who are members of the business community. He was the Chief Guest. The exclusive meeting was also addressed by renowned psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty, Founder of Maitri, who has been appointed as a member of the National Testing Agency (NTA) by the Government of India. He was the Guest of Honour. Given the work stress, haphazard timelines, and sedentary lifestyles, leaders of the corporate world often face challenges to physical and mental wellness. The two medical experts were invited to help the business leaders understand the two biggest health challenges—obesity and mental wellness— and realign their lifestyles with their bodies and mind in a more cognisant manner.

“Obesity is linked to less fertility, less sexual desire, varicose veins, and sleep apnea,” said Dr Lakdawala, while busting many myths on body weight, food habits, exercise, and lifestyle management. “It not only impacts the weight-bearing joints but also the non-weight bearing joints as it leads to high levels of uric acid”, he said. The Honorary Surgeon to the Vice President of India also informed about the non-fatty liver syndrome, saying that fatty liver is linked to not only alcohol but to obesity too. “Studies also show that it is not necessary for rice-eating people to put on weight”.

There were many cautions in Dr Lakdawala’s address. While guiding the business leaders on the way to check their BMI according to the specially curated index for Indian physiology “as obesity is classified differently for Indians and Asians vis-a-vis other countries”, he spoke about the danger of obesity leading to diabetes. “We have 90 million diabetics in India, and are next only to China,” he said adding that most obese people are malnourished as they face a deficiency of vitamins B and D.

However, fat should not be completely driven off our dining table, advised Dr Lakdawala, who was given the Best Surgeon in the World Award by the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) in 2019. “Fat is important for vitamin A, B, D & E”, he said and explained how a balance could be arrived at. When asked about an ideal diet or eating routine he backed the practice of having dinner prior to sunset as it allows the person to get three to four hours of gap between their meal and sleep, which is important and healthy.

Dr Harish Shetty, identified as one of the 17 young mental health workers by the World Health Organisation, highlighted the need to reconnect in his address. “We have all lost connection. Connectivity in people has gone down and emotional contact time in the family has declined. Globalisation has caused the disconnection. We need to reconnect”.

Speaking on why leaders are more prone to mental stress and depression, Dr Shetty said, “In a globalised world it is very important to preserve empathy and it takes a lot of effort. You need to share your vulnerability with your hierarchy downwards. You can’t be the only pillar that holds the entire organisation.” Emphasising that our goal should be to build emotional health, Dr Shetty underlined the anatomy of Pathy Triad: apathy, empathy, and antipathy. “They co-exist,” he said guiding them about empowered vulnerability. “It is important to accept your vulnerabilities as that is what makes you empowered”.

Sharing specific data, Dr Shetty said that one out of seven Indians is mentally ill and shared a five-point solution to manage stress and prevent depression—deal, dissolve, deflect, distract, and disintegrate. “Continuous exhaustion and excessive guilt are signs of depression,” he cautioned. “Depression is a fracture of the mind and it is invisible”.

To a query on ways to destress in highly active life, Dr Shetty shared three simple ways: a) micro pranayama – using even a two-minute window to take a few deep breaths; b) showers – the water sprayed on the top of the head helps relax the skull muscle, which helps the body to relax; and c) short breaks – taking small breaks and processing one’s emotions. He stressed the need to vent out regularly. Dr Shetty, who also trains the judiciary, warned, “Obsessive exercise doesn’t work, joyous exercise works”.

He recommended every organisation to have a mental health policy. Dr Shetty gave five simple mantras to a good and happy life: yoga, exercise, diet, sleep and kindness. He had a strong piece of advice for women: “Do not try to be perfect in everything. It is ok to be imperfect.”

Thought Leaders of India (TLOI), an exclusive ‘by-invitation’ community that has made long strides in a short span is curated by Sapphire Connect, one of India’s premier B2B meeting specialists. Its members include top entrepreneurs, founders, chairmen, managing directors, and CXOs of corporate India across industries.

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LAWYER FILES PIL IN SC CHALLENGING VALIDITY OF CERTAIN SECTIONS OF NDPS ACT

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NEW DELHI: A lawyer has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme court challenging the validity of certain sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

The plea seeks direction to decriminalise the purchase of certain drugs up to a certain level of “small scale” for personal consumption. The plea filed by advocate Jai Krishna Singh seeks direction to quash Sections, 21, 27, 27A, 35, 37 and 54 of the NDPS Act and declare them in their present form as unconstitutional.

It seeks direction to the Centre to withdraw the cases instituted against the alleged drug users and those who are facing the charges of procuring drugs for the consumption of their associates having no commercial angle.

It further seeks direction for reframing these provisions of the NDPS Act and decriminalising the purchase of certain drugs up to a certain level “small scale” for personal consumption or for one’s relative or dear ones or live-in -partner or master encouraging side by side public health approach to drug users including recreational users.

The PIL seeks direction for the government to identify, and provide counselling and treat the drug users and not punish them by sending them to jail.

Further, it urged to set up an inquiry into the allegations of Rs 18 crore extortion racket run allegedly by NCB Zonal head, either by CBI or by a retired Judge of the Supreme Court.

“Their wounds can be healed only by withdrawing the cases instituted against them for drug consumption and procuring contraband for their masters, friends or associates. We cannot return their time spent in jail, their lost honour and respect but indeed we can console them who suffered horrendous treatment because of the faulty National Drugs and Psychotropic substances Act NDPS Act 1985in short,” plea said.

Many of the provisions have a wider ambit and were abused by enforcement agencies especially against alleged drug users, plea further said.

“The nation cannot forget that the youngsters have been given life long trauma by parading them in public in full media glare and then ailing and defaming them by accusing them of being part of the drug syndicate,” it added.

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