VIZAG STEEL PLANT PROTESTS: EMOTIONS AND ECONOMICS OF DISINVESTMENT - The Daily Guardian
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VIZAG STEEL PLANT PROTESTS: EMOTIONS AND ECONOMICS OF DISINVESTMENT

The ongoing agitation against the privatisation of the Visakhapatnam steel plant has presented the government with the complex task of managing a loss-making PSU while being sensitive to a matter of regional pride. The government must take into account these public sentiments while explaining to people that disinvestment might actually keep the steel factory alive, not take it away from them.

Dinakar Lanka

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The primary aim of a democratically elected government is to provide good governance without an authoritarian approach to the administration of the people. Generally, the government concentrates on matters pertaining to financial and economic policies along with other functions like internal and external security and foreign affairs. Apart from this, it gives the utmost priority to public health, value addition for human resources, infrastructure for the ease of living and industrial setups, remunerative prices for agriculture and farm infrastructure, trade, industries and commerce for the furtherance of the nation with social responsibility.

The implementation of the post-1990s reforms became mandatory for the country irrespective of the ruling party, especially for executing their tasks in all the sectors connected to finance and the economy. The primary goal of any popularly elected government was to discharge its responsibilities for serving basic amenities to the people, along with the vital tasks of internal and external security, and minimize their role in other unimportant functions since the government had a limited role in those areas in the post-Reforms era. The then Union Government had established Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) after 1947, since India was formed as a structured democratic country with new aspirations after the freedom struggle. Thereafter, there was a requirement to provide employment opportunities and boost economic activity for our new country as there was a huge investment crisis domestically at that point in the private sector, due to limited resources and other constraints. These PSUs have served the nation all these years without any doubt, but simultaneously, there have been a lot of changes in the global economic scenario in the last 30 years. These have impacted India, and given the competitive environment today, the output of our economic activity has become important because it affects our presence in the global market.

In the year 1990, the then Union Government had taken a policy decision to remove the License Raj and facilitate Foreign Direct Investment. It had recommended disinvestment from PSUs in a phased manner as taxpayer money was being utilized to provide assistance for the losses. Such assistance is seen as unproductive expenditure and such approaches caused a shortage of funds which were needed for productive developmental expenditure. But, instead of shutting down the PSUs causing losses, the Union Government is accepting offers for private participation by means of divestment of shares, in part or whole, in the loss-making non-strategic PSUs. The objective of disinvestment is to either operate the loss-making PSUs by provisioning to perform capacity utilisation efficiently to achieve productivity with the available sources and alternatives or to accept private participation by the disinvestment of government shares for achieving the targets of production, productivity and cost effectiveness by optimum utilization of existing capacities or the expansion of the capacities of the entities with automation and the use of modern technology. Both options are a positive approach to turn around sick and potentially sick PSUs.

Another option is that PSUs can have a synergy by the disinvestment of government shares to prestigious and internationally renowned firms with a good brand image and output quality. A success story in this case is that of Maruti Suzuki. The car brand reveals how synergy could be created through timely strategic decisions. The success of the joint venture of Maruti Suzuki led Suzuki to increase its equity from 26% to 40% in 1987, then 50% in 1992, and further to 56.21% in 2013. Simultaneously, Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL) showed remarkable performance. MUL sold about 1.20 lakh cars in FY 1993, which increased to 18 lakh cars in 2018-19, with present cash reserves around Rs 40,000 crores. Their healthy financial condition also served direct and indirect taxes of around Rs 1.80 lakh crores, created millions of jobs and supplied exports to numerous countries across the globe.

The CAG reported that 80% of 189 underperforming PSUs have eroded their capital and now account for accumulated losses of around Rs 1.50 lakh crores, which are a huge burden on the Union Government exchequer. The Union Government has tried to revive some of these entities by providing financial assistance through various measures, but most of them are still rated as underperforming. One important case study here is Air India. Although the Union Government provided it a bailout package of Rs 30,000 crores in 2012, the turnaround plan was a total failure and Air India has not shown the desired results. It continues with its operational losses with more than Rs 50,000 crores in debt.

The Union Government has kept its eye on underperforming PSUs in order to take appropriate remedial measures as per expert opinion with the consultation of the NITI Aayog. But the Vizag steel plant has now become a significant case study in the divestment in PSUs as it has taken the form of an emotional issue. Besides being an economic concern, it has established itself as a matter of Andhra pride, because it was built with the sacrifice of 32 lives in 1982. The steel factory had been established under the name Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, with the support of the USSR, in the pre-reforms era. It began with a 3.5 metric ton capacity per annum. At that point, there was a lack of private investment opportunities for the corporate sector and it had been incorporated by the Union Government as a PSU. This company has been registering operating losses (profit before taxes) continuously: in the years 2015-16 it was Rs 1,702 crores, in 2016-17, Rs 1,690 crores, in 2017-18, Rs 307 crores, and in 2018-19, Rs 1,369 crores. The exact amount of losses during 2019-20 will be known after audited financial statements are available. Moreover, during the Covid-19 lockdowns, the capacity utilization of the plant reduced 13,000 tons to 14,000 tons of metal per day as against the previous capacity of 20,000 tons.

Critics are saying that the operating losses are only due to the higher side of the raw material input cost since no mines of its own are available to RINL. Hence, intellectuals are requesting the Union Government and State Government to allocate mines for its captive consumption to make the unit profitable or merge RINL with SAIL for its sustainability, keeping in view the emotions of the people of Andhra Pradesh, especially as “Vishaka ukku, Andhrula hakku” (the Visakha steel unit is the right of Andhra).

But there is a point of contention here. On 20 May 2006, the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, had appealed to the Prime Minister not to merge the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant with SAIL. The Prime Minister had shown his concern for the state by allocating Rs. 8,600 crores for the expansion of the steel plant with an intention to merge it with SAIL. But it had been stopped due to the CM’s appeal. If RINL had been merged with SAIL then, the Visakha steel factory unit of RINL might have continued as part of SAIL today, without the problem of not having its own mines.

Prior to this, the Union government under the leadership of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had provided assistance by restructuring capital two times. The first time, in 1993-94, the Government of India had converted a loan of Rs. 1,184 crores to equity capital and Rs 1,604 crores as 7% non-cumulative redeemable preference shares. Further, the Union Government had assisted with a Rs 149.40 crore loan interest waiver and converted a payable interest of Rs 791 crore into an interest-free loan. This had been facilitated to save about Rs 582 crore in interest per annum. The second time, in the year 1998, GoI had converted a Rs 1,333.47 crore loan into 7% non-cumulative redeemable preference shares to save about Rs 325 crore as interest per annum. Hence, the Union Government provided assistance as and when it was required, but the unit failed to turn around in its operating profits.

The privatization of the steel plant has caused an emotional outburst in Andhra Pradesh. However, the Union Government is concerned about the continuous losses, which will lead to the shutdown of the unit. The sacrifices of the 32 people will amount to nothing if the plant cannot be saved. The unit needs to be revived with the world-class, efficient management of South Korean steel giant POSCO. It is required to safeguard existing employees and others who are dependent on RINL. There is a lot of speculation about this proposal since the assets of RINL hold more than 24,000 acres of highly valuable lands, which may be alienated at a cheaper cost and incur huge losses for the Union Government. Meanwhile, POSCO has been approached by both the Union Government and State Government of Andhra Pradesh to express their interest in setting up the Greenfield Integrated Steel Plant in Visakhapatnam and it entered into an MoU with RINL. RINL Visakhapatnam has a 7.30 million tonne capacity plant and is a sea shore-based integrated steel plant. It holds over 24,000 acres of land with access to the Gangavaram Port, where raw materials arrive.

Earlier, POSCO had proposed a 12 metric tonne per annum capacity plant at Jagatsinghpur, Odisha at the projected cost of more than Rs 50,000 crores on 4000 acres for the Greenfield plant, with 1000 acres for developing a residential and commercial township. An MoU had been signed between POSCO and the Government of Odisha in 2005, but it did not materialise due to protests by locals. However, less than 5000 acres of land was more than sufficient for POSCO’s setup. In a nutshell, the assessment of land requirements shall be evaluated carefully and land shall be developed by the Union Government on its own for the better utilisation of resources in that local area by establishing a SEZ for auxiliary units for the proposed new steel plant with buyback tie-up and other possible future industrial development projects can be taken up. Otherwise, the decision of the disinvestment process of RINL will be black spotted and opposition parties will use it as a political opportunity against the BJP as both regional parties have already started agitations to oppose the disinvestment process in RINL by wooing people with provocative speeches. All this is just to grab the attention of the public, rather than solving the problem.

The world is now a global village and creating an environment conducive to the ease of doing business is a vital part of trade, commerce and industry. Hence, governments of all the countries need to review their priorities and align them towards inclusive growth and better living standards for all people, along with the growth of the economy. The aspirations of people have also changed over the last 70 years. Emotions are important, but in economics, the end result prevails over emotions since inclusive growth and prosperity are a priority. If disinvestment in PSUs is not done at the appropriate time, it may lead to disaster. However, the government must keep in mind public sentiments and ensure that all reasonable options are exercised before it begins the process of disinvestment.

The writer holds a degree in commerce and works as an FCA.

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Voters must be made aware of healthcare issues

Suravi Sharma Kumar

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Covid 19 pandemic is when we have so clearly understood how broken our health systems are and this has made us contemplate the role that the government should play in ensuring healthcare for all in the country. Surprisingly Indian election manifestos across all parties don’t allow healthcare any decent space. And more curiously, India’s voters appear to place little emphasis on health as they decide whom/ which party to vote into power. For instance, in the state elections in Bihar in October-November 2020, as found in a post-election survey, only a meager about 0.3% of the voters considered health as a priority–even against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. Economic factors and general developmental issues loomed much larger to voter priorities against providing good healthcare.

Why do our voters not prioritize health despite their having to pay one of the world’s highest out-of-pocket (at 78% OOP) expenditures and catastrophic spending on health for decades? The reasons for the low prioritization of health in elections seem to be complex and rooted in our psychological imprint. Our people have surprisingly non-existent expectations of government as healthcare provider/s. This most likely is because the health system had been unresponsive and unaccountable for way too long. People’s minds have been turned away from this in their upbringing years while going through the thick and thin of their woes around hospitals and clinics. There is simply no expectation in their minds. 

An expectation is the emotional anticipation or belief of an occurrence that may take place in reality in the future. It’s a potential reality that we look forward to being manifested in our lives. But mindsets primed over many decades are transformed to such a state that it doesn’t allow the emergence of any such expectation in people. The very concept of government providing healthcare doesn’t exist in the minds of the multitude in our country.

The other cause of such reaction in voters may also be because none of the political parties provide the subject of Health any decent place in their election manifestos. They make no promises about improving health care. So this leaves the people to themselves as far as health is concerned and are left with no scope to choose a political candidate or a party on that ground.

Political leaders, on the other hand, stay away from promising improved healthcare, either because they don’t have the answers, or they find it too complex an issue to analyze and come up with an agenda on offer, or because timelines for improving the system are well beyond the life of their political regimes. However, we get to see that where political leaders have delivered well on health, such as in Kerala, it has created an expectation from citizens which compels leaders to offer election agendas prioritizing health. Despite the pandemic, it has been hard to identify any shift in the electoral politics of health provision even in the world’s richest party governing our country. The ruling party under the charismatic leadership of the honorable prime minister has also been stressing other welfare goals even in the backdrop of a pandemic. The ruling party is also seen to garner benefits from maintaining a raft of welfare schemes since 2014 adding several such schemes and promoting them actively during elections. 

Various factors/reasons are under play for this and the most prominent one is because reforms in the health sector are harder to enact and much slower to yield any tangible outcomes for voters to take cognizance of and manifest any impact in terms of votes earned for the party undertaking such a complex agenda. Hence, foregrounding health sector investments have been seen as politically riskier than other result-oriented schemes/ agendas. For instance, improvements in the distribution of food grains or gas cylinders (Ujjwala) are more visible and tangible/measurable for the general public than enabling efficient medical caregiving policy/ scheme which is a far tougher and time-consuming task to undertake. Welfare schemes based on the ‘delivery’ of a product are much simpler and tangible than improving services like health and education, which are much more complex. 

Healthcare depends on a system that includes infrastructure, human resources, medical protocols and resources, high accountability, and capacity. For this reason, perhaps, the main electoral pledge in the health sector in recent years has been on health insurance and a few free treatments offers rather than comprehensive infrastructural reforms within which this product can be effectively utilized.

The social determinants to health that are highly prioritized in the UN sustenance goals must find a place in any discussion on health infrastructure improvement. They are important contributory factors to health status in general and get varying degrees of priority in governments. But there is a need for more focused coordination to ensure optimal allocation of resources across various sectors touching the subjects of safe drinking water, sanitation, hygiene, and nutrition. Their contribution to good health is unarguably a lot but these need to be adequately recognized, measured, and evaluated.

There is also a need to establish a coordinating body in the country’s highest offices to connect the dots in health and other social determinants of health and coordinate the work of various agencies contributing to health improvement to enhance and better utilize these for the general good.

Experts would agree rebuilding India’s health system requires first and foremost better financial allocation and some policy work around the clarity of roles of the national and state governments. The other area is creating empowered institutions with evidence-based healthcare governance and administration. The motivation for these will emerge from creating (or making more visible) the demands of Indian voters for improved health. Social help groups and non-government organizations should work on voter awareness, their perception of health schemes, and even the politics behind these.

The author is a Consultant Doctor, Moolchand Medcity.

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HOW ONE CAN FOLLOW ONE’S PASSIONS AND DREAMS IN LIFE

A career has to be true to your inherent talent and interests. It should fulfil your financial goals and help you grow personally as well. It is important to be guided on the right career path, but it is far more important to stay true to oneself while making a career choice.

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We all have aspirations for the future. Ask a child and he too will have a dream. Dreams might revolve around a career, achievement, or the little pleasures of life, such as travelling or driving a nice car. We are defined by our dreams. Additionally, dreams also direct the course of our lives. But occasionally, circumstances deter us from pursuing them. Does that imply one shouldn’t pursue their dreams? Should one give up trying? And, more importantly, should we keep encouraging our children to follow their dreams and aspirations until they come true?

Firstly, we must realise that while barriers may occasionally stand in the way of realising our ambitions, they are seldom long-lasting. After all, dreams are what give us hope. The right thoughts, the right environment, and the right attitude are the key components that may assist children, students, and adults in never giving up. 

To stay authentic to yourself and your dreams, you can consider the following:

1. To think beyond examination scores:

Imagine parents telling their child to follow what their best friend or the best student in their class is doing. Most likely, he has no interest in what the other person does. However, ordering the youngsters to do anything will just add pressure on their young minds. Despite peer pressure, supportive parents and relatives must recognise their child’s innate skills. The child’s overall growth must be more important than who received the highest grades in the class. Once the child’s latent skills are discovered, positive reinforcement might help him excel in his chosen career path. This is the first step towards dream realisation – encouragement at all times. 

2. The P’s that will stand the test of time:

Patience, Perseverance, Passion. A deep interest in anything naturally leads one to success. But persevering in the long run with no distraction or fear of failure or other obstacles is the key. There will be challenges but taking them head-on will take one through the testing times. And what’s most important is patience. To wish for quick results and give up halfway through leads one nowhere. Things happen only with time and at their own pace.

3. Being grounded:

Taking time to introspect and self-evaluate is very important. One has to be mindful of one’s attitudes and confidence levels and keep arrogance under check. Perhaps with all the years of experience, we have still not come across someone better. So being modest and preparing to listen keenly is necessary. This includes being open to better ideas and suggestions. Besides, work ethics play a big role. From turning in homework in time at school to timely reporting at work, discipline only adds more to humility. Chasing your dreams needs you to be grounded first.

4. Making use of technology:

We are blessed to be living in the era of digitization. Not only has technology brought the world closer, but technology has empowered children to get ample information at the tip of their fingers. To follow a particular vocation, one is better empowered today than one was a few years ago. Children are brimming with innovative ideas. With education technology, children are fully equipped to learn whatever they wish from any corner of the world. It helped them not to stop learning during the lockdowns, and, interestingly, they also discovered some of their latent talents. What also follows, however, is that one keeps upskilling with the ever-evolving technologies and opportunities.

5. Be a seeker:

The more one reads, the wiser their minds become. Besides, learning must stop at any age. The moment one stops learning, there is no fuel left to drive the dreams. Making learning enjoyable is something parents can do for their children. Teaching time can also be bonding time and motivate children to learn more and more. Children learn not from what parents say but from what they see. Parents too must serve as examples by learning something new every day and sharing it with their children.

6. Thinking beyond a conventional career:

A career has to be true to your inherent talent and interests. It should fulfil your financial goals and help you grow personally as well. It is important to be guided on the right career path, but it is far more important to stay true to oneself while making a career choice. A little support from folks and friends goes a long way in making a difference. 

7. Challenging oneself:

One must not be bogged down by the criticisms as they only help us grow. Learning to navigate through obstacles is a confidence booster. As we challenge ourselves to do better, we only grow our potential and skills. Don’t stop dreaming. When you take up a task take it up with the same zeal as you would as a beginner.

The author is a Lifestyle writer & voice artist, The learning obby by Practically 

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Co-joined twin Veena and Vani pass intermediate exams with flying colours

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In a sheer display of determination and will power, a co-joined twin named Veena and Vani have passed the Telangana Intermediate exams with flying colours. The twins scored first class marks, sending out a strong message of where there is a will, there is a way. While Veena secured 712 marks out of 1000, Vani scored 707 marks out of 1000 marks with CEC  (Commerce, Economics, Civics) stream.

Satyavathi Rathod, Minister for Tribal, Women and Child Welfare, congratulated Veena and Vani on achieving the feat. The minister further said, «All the necessary facilities will be provided for their higher education. Veena and Vani will always have the support of the state government.» She also praised the staff personnel, who assisted the two girls. 

Elated with their scores, Veena and Vani expressed the desire to become Chartered Accountants (CA). In the tenth standard, Veena and Vani had scored 9.3 GPA and 9.2 GPA respectively. 

It is noteworthy that Veena and Vani were eligible to opt for special priveleges, which could have ensured additional time to write their exam, but they refused and submitted their answer sheet to the invigilator five minutes ahead of schedule. 

The results for the 1st and 2nd year were announced by Telangana State Board Of Intermediate Education (TSBIE). Telangana Education Minister Sabitha Reddy announced the results. Among the 9 lakh students who appeared for the exam, the story of Veena and Vani stood out and is garnering praises across the country. 

Born in 2003 in Mahabubnagar district of Telangana, Veena and Vani were cojoined from birth. Due to this, their parents stepped back from taking their responsibility and refused to take them, citing lack of resources for their treatment. Thereafter, the twins stayed in Nilopher hospital till they turned 12 and later shifted to State Home.

Despite several attempts by doctors, medical and surgical experts from not just India but also the United Kingdom and Singapore, no way has been found to separate them.

While it was earlier estimated that the  procedure to separate them would cost around Rs 10 crore, it is very complex and risky  as their veins are tangled up. This is the reason an operation has not be done yet.

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A STEP TOWARDS SELFLESS PURSUIT OF HINDUTVA IDEALS

Shweta Shalini

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The party’s philosophy of “nation first, party second and self last” was drilled into every cadre not just through words but through actions.

In 1895, Swami Vivekananda was to give a public lecture in London. When it was time to stand up and speak, Swami Vivekananda suddenly announced that it was Swami Saradananda who would deliver the speech instead of him. Though taken by surprise, the learned Swami displayed his scholarly mastery over the scriptures as Vivekananda sat overjoyed intently listening to the teachings. In the following years, Swami Vivekananda would delight himself by hearing about or pouring through the newspaper cuttings sent to him of Swami Saradananda’s lectures from Boston, Brooklyn and New York. Whether it is the success of Swami Saradananda in America or pushing Swami Abhedananda to deliver the teachings of Vedanta at a club in Bloomsbury Square, Swami Vivekananda created leaders who would work on the mission while also surprising his audience. Good leaders merely create followers. Great leaders create leaders and influence generations of leaders through their selflessness. Even after his Samadhi, a whole new generation of freedom fighters right from Lokmanya Tilak to Subhash Chandra Bose drew inspiration from Vivekananda.

Devendra Fadnavis pulled a shocker by announcing the name of Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde as Chief Minister. As media personnel took a moment to absorb the gist of the announcement, the CM-Designate let out his profound understanding of politics saying, “Nowadays, not even a Nagarsevak (Municipal Councillor) or Gram Panchayat member lets go of his position. I am thankful to you.”

It was not just a sacrifice or selflessness of BJP Leader Devendra Fadnavis but also a victory of the ideological cause, which every BJP karyakarta works towards. A Shiv Sena leader, who stepped down from government for the cause of Hindutva, was rewarded by fellow brethren, working towards the same Hindutva mission. A political leader moving away from the position of power is a rare instance as 50 rebel MLAs from Shiv Sena proved. However, a BJP leader himself taking a backseat for an ideological cause isn’t rare and Devendra Fadnavis was walking in the footsteps of great BJP leaders. When the founding fathers of Jan Sangh instilled selflessness as a philosophy in its cadre, it was Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was a leader (Member of Parliament), with Advani working as his secretary and later as editor of a Hindutva publication. Over the next few decades, Vajpayee and Advani alternated between roles selflessly working under each other’s leadership building the party brick-by-brick. The ideological mission was supreme and not individuals. This selflessness of the party was again on display in 1977 when the Janata Party government came into power and Jan Sangh took a backseat despite a higher number of seats – the mission was more important than the individual goals. The party’s philosophy of “nation first, party second and self last” was drilled into every cadre not just through words but through actions. The Modi era brought in a fresh wave of ideological strength with the BJP selflessly taking non-RSS Hindutva leaders like Yogi Adityanath into its fold.

Over the past few days, the Maharashtra government under Uddhav Thackeray had resorted to attacking the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs for insisting on sticking to the Hindutva stand. The Shiv Sena leaders, who were once foot soldiers of Hindutva under Balasaheb and made their way up from humble backgrounds, were portrayed negatively. Their insistence on sticking to the Hindutva cause was painted as a power-hungry move of Shiv Sena rebels with the backroom connivance of the BJP. “Will you get the Chief Minister’s chair by rebelling against me” taunted CM Uddhav Thackeray in a LIVE address to the state.

“Yes”, replied the BJP and Sangh Parivar in unison when Devendra Fadnavis made that unexpected announcement at the press conference. In one stroke, BJP under Devendra Fadnavis destroyed Uddhav Thackeray’s anti-Hindutva propaganda and honoured the rebels for taking an ideological stand. In a message to every Hindutva ideologue, he made it amply clear that the stability of Maharashtra, development of the state and ideological cause is more important to him than the Chief Minister’s chair itself. The real Shiv Sena of Balasaheb under Eknath Shinde finally leads the state with the support of BJP MLAs.

The press conference by Devendra Fadnavis will be written in golden words in the history of the Bharatiya Janata Party as a step towards the selfless pursuit of Hindutva ideals. A karyakarta like me, who has tirelessly worked for the party under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis. saw first-hand what selflessness towards the cause is all about. I have witnessed how faith in leadership trumps every personal consideration and makes BJP truly a party with difference. Detractors often resort to attacking the Sangh and its ideals while taking a gibe at BJP. The BJP under Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra has once again demonstrated how these Sangh ideals are the strength of the party.

In the words of Swayamsevaks, BJP Leader Devendra Fadnavis acted true to the lines in the Sangh Prarthana – (TvadiyayayKaryayaBaddhaKatiyam) – We are committed to the cause- The cause of Hindutva, the cause of Maharashtra.

The author is BJP spokesperson, advisor to former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, and executive director of Maharashtra Village Social Transformation Foundation.

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ON DOCTORS’ DAY, NETIZENS THANK DOCTORS FOR THEIR IMMENSE CONTRIBUTION

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As India celebrated National Doctors’ Day on Friday, politicians, business leaders and social media users took to Twitter to thank doctors for their immense contribution and serve to the nation. #NationalDoctorsDay took the top trend as wishes poured in on social media. Leading the celebrations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared a video on social media and said, “Doctors Day greetings to all hardworking doctors who play a key role in saving lives and making our planet healthier.”

Union minister Nitin Gadkari remembered Bharat Ratna Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, who was an Indian physician, freedom fighter, educationist and philanthropist. “Deepest gratitude to all the doctors on National Doctors Day. I salute their tireless efforts in keeping us safe during the global pandemic,” he said.

Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan also remembered Bharat Ratna Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy and tweeted, “Remembering Bharat Ratna Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, one of the pioneers of healthcare sector on National Doctors Day. Today , let us express our gratitude and take a moment to appreciate all our doctors for their round-the-clock efforts for a healthy and fit society.”

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Fearing a layoff? Devise an action plan

Priyanka Sharma

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India›s workforce has been at the receiving end of the economic impact of the pandemic. While many of the employees faced salary cuts up to 40-50%, there are a significant number of people who were laid off. One might assume that layoffs were a phase and the time to recover losses that occurred due to Covid-19 is not too far, but the recent layoffs in EdTech giants like BYJU’s and Topper paint a different picture.

In such uncertain times, there are certain strategies that one can adopt to evade a powerful economic blow. Having an action plan might not help in retaining the same job, but it will sure help in sustaining a huge financial blow as well as finding more opportunities.

BE INDISPENSABLE

The trick to retaining a job is to be invincible. Be so good at your job that it prompts the employer to think twice before taking a decision on laying you off. This does not happen in a day. Daily actions translate into a long-term commitment. Show up on time, learn as much as you can, deliver more than expected, come up with new ideas, maintain good relationships with your colleagues as well as your seniors, and you will carve out a space for yourself in your organisation.

INVEST IN YOURSELF

Learning is a process that must never end. Skills like creative writing, social media marketing, video editing, graphic designing, machine learning and others are skills that are highly in demand. Even if you are working an 8-hour shift and are not actively looking for a job, these skills will give a boost to your resume, enhance your skill set and set you apart from others.

BUILD NETWORK

Social media has made it possible for us to stay connected all the time, not just with our friends and family but also with potential employers. Building a positive relationship with your colleagues, ex-colleagues, seniors and people who are working in other organisations will ensure that you never miss an opportunity. Showcase your work on websites like LinkedIn to ensure that you don’t look for an opportunity, rather it comes to you.

BUILD ASSETS

No matter what your current pay scale is, it is always advisable to have multiple sources of revenue. That is only possible when you start investing early. Whether it is your 1st paycheck or your 300th paycheck, make sure to save a portion of your salary. Spend that amount on things that will give you a bigger return and not just dig a hole in your pocket. It is always advisable to have an emergency fund. As the term suggests, this emergency fund will help you sail through a difficult time. Even if you are laid off, you will be financially secure.

POSITIVE SELF TALK

Finally, it might get difficult to stay unaffected by what is happening around you. The uncertainty can take a toll on you but staying positive can help you not only manifest your dream job but also avoid the stress. Have a positive self-image, eat nutritious meals, dance your heart out, spend time with family and wait for life to surprise you.

Having an action plan might not help in retaining a job but it will help in sustaining a huge financial blow as well as finding more opportunities.

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