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The power of vision in the time of corona

Dr Rahil Chaudhary holds the record for maximum laser specs removal surgeries in India. He talks about the future of Indian medicine.



Dr Rahil Chaudhary, Director, Eye -7 Hospitals, recently joined NewsX for an exclusive interview. Having grown up in a family of doctors, he developed a passion for medicine from a young age. “I grew up in a family of doctors, my maama, chaacha, all of them were doctors. My father was an eye surgeon, so I was kind of following in his footsteps. That is where you develop a passion for the field you see them working every day.”

Dr Chaudhary holds the record for most number of laser specs removal surgeries in India. He attributes this to the new laser removal technology, ‘Contoura Vision’, which Eye-7 hospitals have been utilising. “It’s a matter of chance. We were the first to introduce laser specs removal, and we recently introduced Contoura Vision. It’s a cutting-edge technique which can give you ‘supervision’ after the surgery, and it’s housed only in select few facilities in India. That’s why you’re seeing people from all over India, and even around the world, trying to get the surgery.”

Ophthalmology is an elective field, and deals mostly with the elderly. Because of this, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on his work. “We don’t have many emergency procedures, so the elderly have been avoiding surgeries right now. Obviously, nowadays, old people are scared to move out.” He says, though, that there are two sides to the story. “On the contrary, I see a lot of youngsters now coming in for their laser specs removal surgeries. Earlier, they wouldn’t, but now, I think during lockdowns and work from home they are actually able to make time for these procedures, and take advantage of them.”

The pandemic will also create a “new normal” in medicine, according to Dr Chaudhary. The Government of India has relaxed tele-medicine laws, and they’re here to stay, in his view. “Patients prefer to get a first opinion on the phone, and only come to the hospital if it’s necessary. Obviously, most hospitals are only serving Covid patients right now. Additionally, telemedicine helps those people living in rural India. Earlier, they could not get a super specialist’s opinion, but now, they can and plan their whole trip and come down to a city, on the basis of that. “

There are currently only around 20,000 eye doctors in India, almost all in urban areas. Many people in rural areas around the country are unable to receive treatments because of this. “Many times there are problems that can cause blindness, and would not be difficult to fix. For example, cataracts. It is a simple procedure, but some of these basic procedures are not available in many parts of India.”

Talking about the future of Indian medicine, Dr Chaudhary focuses on the problems plaguing our health infrastructure currently. “Indian medicine is on par with the world in the cities, but in the rural side of India, facilities really diminish. People in rural parts are not able to take good treatments. I think, in the future, we’ll be growing and going to places where people can get the facilities and treatment they need.”

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India is poised to become one of the biggest fashion countries in the world: Naeem Khan, Fashion Designer

Naeem Khan recently joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive conversation, he shared his incredible journey to become one of most successful Fashion designers in the industry.



Naeem Khan is an Indian-American fashion designer renowned for his ornate and intricately detailed gowns. His designs have been worn by celebrities such as Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Taylor Swift, Rachel McAdams, First Lady Michelle Obama, Queen Noor of Jordan, and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. Naeem Khan  recently joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX India A-List. In this exclusive conversation, he shared his incredible journey to become one of most successful fashion designers in the industry.

Naeem Khan started his introductory remarks by sharing his incredible journey to become one of the most successful designers and said, “It’s been a very interesting journey. It has not been just a super smooth journey where you just become famous right from day one. I started from ground zero. I came to America in 1978 on the basis of going to school. My parents have a business in India where we make embroideries, so I grew up in that business in India and through embroideries, I learned about how to create beautiful things by hand because I used to watch my grandfather and my father make them. My father was expanding his business, he was coming to America for an appointment with some designers and I was coming here to get admission to the school. It happened to be luck And God be with me, I was offered a job to work for this very famous designer called Halston, who was at that time, the biggest designer, not only in the sense of the visibility of who he designed for, but he had the most successful business, it was a billion-dollar business. So for me to be part of a business like this and to learn from the master himself to be his right hand and coming from India, where you grew up with having a guru and the guru asks you for your right thumb, you get it. I grew up with that philosophy and for me, whatever it took I dedicated my life to fashion.”

When asked how it feels to be a fashion icon in India, he said, “It feels great, but I do feel that I need to get back. I need to do certain things more for India, that I have actually not paid attention to. Because living in America and running a business, it becomes very hard to focus on yourself. About being an icon, I don’t know, but I do love what I do and to me, I have always followed my passion with every cell in my body. I have spent every moment, from morning noon and night, I wake up thinking of fashion, I sleep thinking Fashion. To me, it’s my soul and to be Indian, it’s like giving back to India. I’m working on projects in America, where education is a big part of it. I’ve just written a book, a table book, which has come out in January and is available on Amazon. I want to do more and I want to pay attention to education and fashion is a big part of everyone’s life. India is poised to become one of the biggest fashion countries in the world. Because we have style and all the necessary elements to make the most beautiful things”

When it comes to the development of the Indian fashion industry, Naeem described, “My grandfather, who was the pioneer of embroideries in his days was the chairman of the entire Indian Embroidery Union. I grew up with amazing men who gave their lives for the craft. And I saw the beauty in what we do. To me, I carry the burden and the thing in my heart that I cannot let my grandfather and my father down because we are masters of that field of textile making in India. I take the core, that’s my core, and I modernize it to the new woman of today.  In the 1930s, and 1920s, when my grandfather was making these beautiful things, it’s the same, it’s you who take that craft, and if you change it to your aesthetics for the modern woman of today, it’s all very relevant. You can say yes, India makes things that are different but that’s catering to that lifestyle in India. And I think that Indian fashion is also changing. We need to just tweak that like what I did for America and it could all relate to India for the new generation. India for me is the core of my fashion life. And whatever I do, India 100% is in it is and just that it’s a tribute to the women of today.”

Speaking about his plan to expand his business in India, the designer said, “I would love to be part of India, but India is something that you have to have a partner with. I haven’t found the right partnership in India to do what I do. This could be apart from beautiful prints that we do, to the embroideries that we do, to different lifestyle things that we do in the house or any of the other products that we are working on cosmetics for example. So hopefully we’ll find the right partner but it is my dream and my intention to be part of India very very soon. But coming soon, I would say”

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The word “opportunity” has always stood out for ISACA: R.V. Raghu

R.V. Raghu is spokesperson of ISACA, an international professional association focused on IT governance. Raghu joined NewsX for an exclusive interview as part of the NewsX India A-List and discussed ISACA and its importance in India.



R.V. Raghu is the spokesperson of ISACA, an international professional association focused on IT governance. Raghu has over a decade of hands-on global expertise in engineering, manufacturing, information technology, chemicals, mining, and telecommunications. He recently joined NewsX for an exclusive interview as part of the NewsX India A-List and discussed ISACA and its importance in India.

“One of the most fascinating aspects of today’s world is the rise of technology. Technology has been similar to energy or water in that we use it without considering what is behind it. This is where an organisation like ISACA and what ISACA does in the Indian context is very important because we are very good at implementing innovations but only later do we find out about cyber protection problems or any other obstacles that are behind the technology. As a result, ISACA provides experts with the resources they need to ensure that technology risks are identified and handled effectively,” he said.

In terms of ISACA certifications, Raghu elaborated, “We provide four kinds of certifications in India – CISA, Certified Information System Auditor, which is the oldest certification that we offer. It is really popular because it helps you to help inspect technologies and anything related to it. The other qualification is the CISM, which stands for Certified Information System Manager. CRISC and CGEIT are two new ISACA certifications that have piqued my interest. Each of them is the Information Technology certified for something that fits with someone who is new in the industry and wants to demonstrate that they grasp the basics.”

He explained ISACA’s background, saying, “ISACA is a multinational, not-for-profit organisation. The firm has been in operation for 50 years. It all began with a group of experts in the United States deciding that we needed to work together to provide a better mechanism for auditing, and the great thing about ISACA is that it is entirely motivated by desire. ISACA has approximately 220 chapters in 188 countries and 150,000 members. We’ve been in India since 1968, with the first chapter set in Chennai, and we now have chapters in almost every corner of the country. As a result, once an individual becomes a member, he or she has access to all of the services that ISACA provides at both the national and local levels.”

“One of the things that ISACA has recognised is innovative learning methodologies,” he said when asked about the organization’s current offerings. Traditional pedagogical approaches are no longer effective. Not only have methodologies evolved as a result of the pandemic, but also as a result of the Internet. We have the ITCA (Information Technology Certified Associate) certification. It aids in the comprehension of foundational concepts in fields such as networking, basic cyber defence, and artificial intelligence. CET (Certification of Emerging Technologies) is another certificate we have. It allows professionals to keep up with the latest developments in technology.”

He clarified the philanthropic aspect of the organisation by saying, “ISACA recognises that, while we are a volunteer-driven organisation, there are segments of society that are under-represented that need access to all of these resources. The word “opportunity” has always stood out for ISACA. We’re attempting to address three issues: young adults, the shield stick, and inclusivity. If someone wants to become a member then they have to go to to get access to all member-related information, or they can contact one of the several chapters in India or around the world.”

On being asked what sets this organization apart from the others, he replied, “The one thing that ISACA has always known is that we are just as strong as the way we allow our members and constituents to keep up with what is going on. The second reality is that our participants are practitioners and professionals, which means that anytime ISACA contacts them to inquire what’s going on and what needs to be understood, you’re having access to cutting-edge information that’s really happening. It’s not just about the theory. Since the internet is so strong now, objects easily become obsolete.”

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For a choreographer, it is very important to be a performer first: Shabina Khan



Having choreographed songs like Hud Hud Dabangg to Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, Shabina Khan’s songs have went on to become a rage around the country. Ahead of her latest film Radhe, in which she has choreographed the song ‘Dil De Diya’,  she joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX India A-List and spoke to us, not only about her journey so far, but also the secret mantra behind her hook steps, her upcoming project ‘Radhe’, close association with Salman Khan and much more.

“I am a performer myself. For a choreographer, it is very important to be a performer yourself. You cannot just compose a song on somebody else and then create the steps. I believe that my background has been acting. I have been to a acting institute, i come from a classical acting background and I am very fond of dancing. I think, being a performer, is my key to come up with different hook steps. Hook steps are something that everyone should be able to do. They should be easy going. When your hook steps are done by none other than Salman Khan, then you know how it is. When you know you are choreographing Salman Khan, you are lucky to work with him for so many songs, it becomes your duty to come up with something that is easy to do yet fun. Anytime, anywhere- you can just do the step. That’s how I started and it started coming out so well. Till today, I get DMs and messages about songs like Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. I keep it very simple so that it becomes a part of daily routine,” she said.

Speaking about her upcoming project Radhe, Shabina shared, “In Radhe, I went a step higher. The steps are not so easy but they are unique. I thought that nowadays people are actually smart because of social media and everything, so I should go a little higher and that’s how I choreographed Radhe. It is a little difficult but people love it.”

When asked about her favourite project with Salman Khan so far, she responded, “All my songs with him have been my favourite. All the songs that I have done with him, I have taken very seriously. But, I think Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, the film as well as the song, is very close to my heart. It gave me recognition. People started knowing Shabina Khan, The Chereographer, because of that film. That film is very close to my heart because of Salman sir and Sooraj Barjatya sir. But, Radhe has taken that place now because we have really worked hard on it and so has Jacqueline. In those 8 to 10 days of rehearsal, we really worked hard. With all the forces going to Radhe, it is also really dear to me. This journey with Salman Khan has been amazing. He always had confidence in me, always displayed so much trust on me. In every song, I feel like I have to prove myself to him first and then the audience because he is the one who trusts me every time. He comes up with difficult songs for me. He has other choreographers as well but he gives really situational songs to me, which allows me to do something different. That’s how the journey has been so beautiful with him.”

Sharing a piece of advise for young choreographers who want to make it big in Bollywood, Shabina expressed, “There are so many dancers coming up everyday, because of reality shows, Instagram and so many other platforms, where they are showcasing their talent but somewhere we are losing out on the grace. We are going too much into the west. We are doing all this hardcore dancing, making faces and everything. I’m saying do that but don’t forget that we have the powerful dancing style, which is called graceful dancing style. Even the west cannot do what we do. Don’t lose out on this. Legacy of choreography,

Legacy of dancing is that we maintain the grace. If you catch that and then you do other steps also, then you are a perfect choreographer. If you tell me to do hardcore dancing with western moves, I can do that because I’m a choreographer but I will not lose grace. I will include it in those steps as well. I would like to say that please come, we have so many new chereographers coming in but don’t lose grace.”

Finally, talking about her foundation, “The Shabina Khan Foundation”, which has been helping people by distributing essentials, primarily to dancers and junior artists, she said, “I started the foundation last year during the lockdown. That phase gave me time to think about a lot of things. Charity has been a part of my family. We have been doing it every year during Ramzan month. My mother taught me to remove 2% from my payment every time and keep it aside. My siblings and me, we do this every year. We do charity from that amount. Last year, we arranged ration and other essentials during the pandemic and sent it to people with full precautions. We tried helping pregnant ladies, who didn’t have bus fare to go to Cooper hospital. It started last year and then became a part of my life. This year again, when we are in this situation, I thought let’s take it further. Let’s make it big so that we can help more people. Dancers and junior artists started sending me messages for help and the news started spreading. Till now, I was doing it all alone with my brothers and my husband. This time, we thought let’s take it forward and make it big. Then, I started this foundation, where I am going to help everyone with whatever they need.”

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Experts believe the uncertainty in Afghanistan has provided TTP with a window to attack Pakistan, including the projects of CPEC worth around USD 50 billion.



There is a looming sense of fear in Pakistan that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan will increase instability in its neighbourhood, and add security threats in the region while putting China’s Belt and Road projects at risk, Nikkei Asia reports.

As the September 11 deadline of complete withdrawal is approaching, instability in Pakistan has steadily increased, and outlawed groups like Tehreek e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), have increased cross-border attacks in the country.

According to the analyst Fakhar Kakakhel, the US pull-back, along with a weak Afghan government will seriously destabilize the region.

“In the future, TTP will have more safe pockets in regions close to Pakistani borders,” Kakakhel told Nikkei Asia.

The report by the Japanese newspaper said that Taliban members from Afghanistan and Pakistan allegedly use the border region as a sanctuary.

Furthermore, experts believe the uncertainty in Afghanistan has provided TTP with a window to attack Pakistan, including the projects of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) worth around USD 50 billion.

As per the analysts, after the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, TTP can more easily attack targets that are key for Pakistan’s economy.

“Some (Chinese) investments are located near the traditional areas of TTP’s activities, so it makes them natural targets,” said Przemyslaw Lesinski, an Afghanistan expert at the War Studies Academy in Warsaw.

Michael Kugelman, the deputy director of the Asia Program at Wilson Center, told Nikkei that CPEC has not traditionally been a top target of TTP in Pakistan.

“But in recent months, anti-China rhetoric has [surfaced] in TTP propaganda, especially because of China’s oppression of Uyghur Muslims,” Kugelman told Nikkei.

Kugelman said that Pakistan, which has built a fence worth millions of dollars, will not get a 100 per cent deterrent against TTP cross-border attacks.

“Pakistan has genuine reasons to be concerned (of TTP),” he added.

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The current situation demands quick identification of areas in clinical care that health workers with varied qualifications and experience would be able to perform with hands-on training as we can’t create enough doctors in a couple of weeks, months or even years.

Suravi Sharma Kumar



In healthcare, there is no equivalency between a doctor and someone who isn’t one, as patient safety requires doctors to step in when a complex problem or uncertainty arises over the given treatment. But considering the current shortage of doctors (and nurses and paramedics and assistants and so on) amid a pandemic that is intruding into the hinterland, optimum usage of doctors and medical staff is the immediate prudent thing that can be done to try salvaging the situation. Setting up centres that somewhat look like primary health care centres is now a must in every unit of a district to triage the cases and provide preliminary care.

The everlasting shortage of healthcare professionals has had fatal consequences for Covid-19 patients, who are now dying gasping for air despite the presence of brand new ventilators lying in district hospitals, as there aren’t trained staff to operate the machines. 

Primary care needs to be moving forth and towards small teams of healthcare workers with one supervising physician or even without one where there’s none. There are lots of things that require high skill and knowledge that only doctors can do, and there’re other things that nurses can manage and there’re still others that social workers /health coaches are adept at.

The pandemic demands acceleration of this restructuring of primary care, which has been gathering steam in recent decades. The higher prevalence of poorly controlled comorbidities in a population make the ageing population, and even the young more vulnerable to the effects of Covid-19 and most of such conditions can be controlled with a few blood tests, physical examinations, and medication adjustments. 

The current situation demands quick identification of areas in clinical care that health workers with varied qualifications and experience would be able to perform with hands-on training what otherwise doctors do; we can’t create enough doctors in a span of a couple of weeks, months or even years. Nurse practitioners (and physician assistants) who graduate after four to six yrs of education, can be permitted to do or trained/ guided to triage the sick patients as Covid/ non-Covid cases, or as mild, moderate or severely sick Covid cases. They can give initial care/advice, inform authorities of the need for oxygen or doctor consultation or transport to hospitals. This will save a lot of time of the golden hour of treatment for the patient as well as reducing a lot of confusion and crowd in hospitals. 

Hospitals in much of America are triaging Covid-19 patients because of a shortage of professionals, especially doctors trained in emergency care and anesthesiology. Another way to make available a good number of doctors for Covid care is by training doctors of other specialities (like dermatology, ophthalmology, plastic surgery, general surgeons, laparoscopic surgeons etc.) in critical care of the respiratory system in Covid patients who would be able to acquire the expertise in a small period. 

Final year UG and PG students who are yet to complete degrees and acquire experience should be left untouched in their academic pursuits to acquire their skills. It is likely to be detrimental for future generations if the current doctors-in-the-making are disturbed. Authorities can on the other hand help organise examinations at the right time so that the batches trapped in the pandemic can complete the degrees in the stipulated time without delay.

Another solution model that I believe is worth considering is developing a telemedicine web model that is closely linked to the primary care centres under a public health system. Such telemedicine units can be manned by nurse practitioner’s/ physician assistants with or without a supervising doctor present physically. The telemedicine room can be installed in the pharmacy/ chemist stores in villages /small towns equipped with the right Telemedicine kits (like digital stethoscope, thermometer, BP machines, oximeter, glucometer, audiometer etc.) in addition to a good quality video screen and audio system under good internet connectivity. Telemedicine is mostly ideal for follow-up patients or management of chronically ill patient that a doctor on the screen has already once seen/examined physically. But from our current experiences we’ve seen that Telemedicine consultations/ supervisions work as good in emergency care also where a specialist doctor can guide and direct the nurse practitioner or even a general practitioner/medical officer; and it also works in first-time consultations and even management of a critical care unit in a smaller centre from a higher distant centre.

For first time consultations, besides the working doctors, it’s possible to hire from the pool of retired doctors with their wealth of experience, or even the newly licensed doctors after some training in Covid care. The fresh doctors can even avail support from technology-enabled clinical support systems that are now available in the healthcare digital sphere.

Covid-19 has accelerated retirements of ageing doctors as many such physicians who are at higher risk of dying from Covid have reduced or stopped seeing patients; we see that most of the aged doctors tend to practice with a reduced practice load which now is further cut down in size so much so that these are literally erased off the scene. 

As we know that the PPP (Public-Private Partnership) model has worked in all other industries/sectors in our country, the authorities should implement Telemedicine solutions through a viable PPP model reaching out to nooks and corners of the country enabling the right network connectivity, availability of medicines and patient transfer facilities whenever need be,

Other smaller wellness models may also work around the telehealth units where a patient can himself or with aid from a trained health worker, can upload data from his home blood pressure monitor, oximeter, glucometer and electronic scale, and he/she gets a visit/call from the local health coach/health worker to talk about his health data and required changes to lifestyle etc., or/and, get scheduled for a teleconsultation with a medical officer or a specialist when necessary. To help with mental health issues, one can schedule a virtual visit with a mental health worker or even a psychiatrist located in a nearby city/ hospital. 

It’s common knowledge that in India health has been a completely neglected area in the public sector and the poor health infrastructure and incentives for professional/ financial growth under a pitiable GDP to the health sector is the bottleneck of our health system. I have known doctor couples joining government services and leaving the same for issues like lack of toilet facility, insecurity and disgraceful behaviour from raging attendants. These affect the female doctor more than the male doctor. Every year girls outnumber boys in securing medical seats and graduating from college, but this is only to disappear from the world of medicine or practice in a few years of practicing. 

In India, girls have been constituting more than 55% of the students joining medical colleges for years together (as per NEET UG 2020, women cornered 427943 seats compared to 343556 men). However, there is a serious shortage of female doctors in India. According to a paper (Prof Mohan Rao, 2011) titled Human Resources for Health in India, published in The Lancet (Placeholder1), only 17% of all allopathic doctors and 6% of those in rural areas are women. This is less than one female allopathic doctor per 10,000 populations in rural areas (0.5), whereas the ratio is 6.5 in urban areas. According to a paper on women in medicine (Bhadra M., 2011) published in the journal Indian Anthropologist, the gender gap increases at the post-graduation and doctoral levels–the percentage of female doctors here is around one-third of male doctors.  

Another paper on women in medicine by the psychiatry department AIIMS (Mamta Sood) in the Indian journal of gender studies, noted that medicine has been a male-dominated profession considering long demanding hours of service and inflexible work hours, and this is in addition to disproportionate wages against the demands of the services, make female doctors with young families decide against practising creating a dent in our health system. It’s time, government find out the missing lady doctors that will uncover a huge pool of qualified medical graduates ready to be trained for Covid care and critical care services in a short period.

The writer is a medical doctor (pathologist) and holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of London. The views expressed are personal.

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Three held for black marketing Remdesivir in Delhi



NEW DELHI: Three persons have been arrested in Delhi for allegedly black marketing Remdesivir injections and six vials of the drug being used in the treatment of Covid-19 patients have also been recovered from them, the police said on Monday.

According to the Delhi police, the accused have been identified as Anshul Aggarwal, Sunil Kumar and Rahul Paul. “Kumar works as a nursing assistant at NKS Hospital in Delhi’s Gulabi Bagh area, while Paul works as a nursing assistant at Gayatri Hospital in Gaziabad,” the police informed.

The police further informed that they acted on a tip received.

“The team used a decoy to finalise the deal. Accused Anshul confirmed the availability of the vials at Rs 32,000. He was apprehended when he came to deliver the promised order. On his lead other two accused were also arrested,” the police added.

A case has been registered under the various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Epidemic Act and the Disaster Management Act.

With ANI inputs

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