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MyVoice: Views of our readers 26th April 2020

MyVoice: Views of our readers 26th April 2020
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MyVoice: Views of our readers 26th April 2020

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Indian economy to face dire straits

The destruction of public health in India and with the imposition of a full-fledged lockdown, various sources of revenue, services, trade and commerce, and other sources of income have been shut down, and governments are facing huge financial losses.

The rising unemployment rate in the wake of the economic downturn in all countries, including the US, is disturbing the world.

The growing unemployment problem under the influence of corona is another crisis. When it comes to India, many shocking facts have come to light in many recent surveys.

According to the latest survey by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, unemployment has risen to record levels for the first time in the country's economic history. Of the country's population of over 137 crore, about 103 crore people over the age of 18 said they were ready to do something.

As of February 2020, 40.4 crore Indians were employed in various sectors. According to the survey, there are 3.4 crore unemployed people.

In the wake of the Lockdown announcement, the country's workforce has declined to 28.5 crore by March 2020. In just two weeks, about 11.1 million people are unemployed, which means losing jobs.

The survey reveals that about 8 crore of them are the sole breadwinners for their families. It is not hard to imagine that the consequence would be worse if these Indians were once unemployed due to the lockdown effect. The National Sample Survey (NSO) also revealed the same.

One-third of the country's population has been ruled out by the economic crisis. The NSO has warned that it will poison the lives of 136 crore people. Another survey found that 56% of hotels, travels, 38% of the auto industry, 26% of pharmaceuticals, 11% of insurance and 9% of IT industries were affected.

Yet workers, workers, daily workers and freelancers in almost all sectors, including aviation, manufacturing systems and construction, are at risk of serious financial problems.

Economists and analysts say public governments should respond quickly and take the appropriate action and help the unemployed in this predicament.

The hope is to provide adequate financial support to small and middle-class industries, thereby reducing the unemployment rate to some extent. As well as rural employment in areas where corona is less prevalent.

The financial package already announced to the MSMEs by the central government is unclear. The rulers set up field-level treatment centres on a war-based basis. It is a great time for the central and state governments to prepare for joint action, recognising the danger of starvation in the world's largest democracy.

M K Kumar, Tirupati

Working lives will get transformed soon

The corona virus has affected the lives and working pattern of many people across the globe. 'Work From Home', erstwhile considered as a privilege of only select few categories of employees is now a surviving tool for most of the employers and employees.

Virtual recruiting and online training sessions have outpaced the traditional classroom based training and interview sessions- a relief for most of the employers to cut costs on otherwise cumbersome manual hiring process. The pandemic has also resulted in lesser chaos, reduced office related work pressures and eased traffic mess for a while.

A complete office-presence based pattern of employment now will no longer help the business to survive and retain talent in a cut-throat competitive market. Organisations thus should now look upto 'Work from Home' as new norm for recruitment, training and on boarding employees apart from offering regular employment and thus retain talent.

An effective HR policy should now be framed to offer work from home as an absolute employment opportunity instead of providing it only a one-time basis and thus curb attrition rate.

As many companies have committed to reduce carbon footprint including lessening traffic chaos in urban areas- by adopting such a eco-friendly policy otherwise, the companies will inch closer to achieve a smart working environment under the ambit of Corporate Governance and Sustainability.

Varun Dambal, Bengaluru

FDI: First Develop India

It appears that the invisible virus, COVID-19 gave a louder message to our ruling classes on how a nation is to be built upon. The Prime Minister's latest statement that the country should be self-reliant, falls in this direction.

It remains definitely an eye-opener to our governments. We always looked at the intrusion of foreign capital for the last many decades, particularly since the initiation of the liberalisation process in our country.

A new definition was also given for FDI as 'First Develop India'. There was an argument that the inflow of foreign capital would generate employment and the country will move forward in growth. Besides, we gave a corporate look than that of the common man in our policy frame work.

The fundamental necessities like health and education have not been properly fostered in our budget allocations. Our strong public sector, a perfect symbol of self-reliance is being dismantled slowly.

The Left parties, trade unions and many economists like Prof. Amartya Sen, very often, have cautioned the governments, from time to time how the ruthless economic policies will ultimately undermine the country's sovereignty.

Now, the economy is in distress with many momentous challenges like slow down with the fall in GDP rate, job loss growth, huge increase in inequalities etc. The present situation poses a grave threat to the country in form of another pandemic on the economic front.

It is totally undeniable and indisputable fact that India is a nation of vast resources. Our human capital and natural resources are our inherent strengths. However, we lag behind when any report like HDR, happy index or hunger index is gone through, except in ease of doing business.

Now the governments should rethink of our policies. It is TINA i.e. there is no alternative except the reversal of the present policies in the interest of the people and the nation as a whole.

V V K Suresh, Guntur

Pakistan's game plan exposed

As Pakistan's existential hostilities towards India has not stopped since Independence and that it only grew multifold with radicalisation of terrorism, therefore its ceasefire violations on the borders of J&K on the rise is not surprising.

However, what is shocking is the continuation of terror acts in the midst of Covid-19 outbreak stalking people by the thousands every day and international fight against the disease.

Thus, when its strategic weapon is only terror, it only strengthened the doubt that Pakistan does not believe in peace and co-existence even in times of crisis of unprecedented nature.

Even humanitarian issue and social woes do not merit consideration on priority at a time when its own nation is passing through a critical phase is baffling.

The fact there is no let-up in firing by Pakistani army has resulted in deaths of civilians and forces on the borders is unpardonable, shamelessly Pakistan Prime Ministerhas been making factually incorrect and misleading statements to confuse the world.

Notwithstanding, the world is battling the pandemic, it is regrettable that the malicious and mischievous propaganda by Pakistan by spreading message that Muslims living in India are discriminated.

In fact, this is nothing but to divert attention of its wrong-doings on one hand and to create a discord between India and the Arab nations. Though India has been gIving a fitting reply each time, Pakistan showing no remorse for its conduct reflects the sorry state of affairs in their country.

At last as the game plan of Pakistan stands exposed, It cannot run away from the reality for too long. At the same time, Pakistan should keep in mind that as it is under close and constant watch of the world and therefore its attempt to portray India negatively may not cut ice any further.

On the contrary, time has come to mend its ways by refraining from exporting terror and bleeding India at its whim. Meanwhile, keeping in mind that Pakistan is most untrustworthy, India must strengthen its borders to thwart the nefarious designs of Pakistan at all costs.

K R Srinivasan, Secunderabad

Environment and Coronavirus

It's true that UV light can decrease the viability of viruses, including the new coronavirus on surfaces, but that doesn't mean people with COVID-19 who expose themselves to UV light or sunlight, which contains UV radiation will get rid of the infection.

Looks like Trump is so desperate to reopen the economy that he's now suggesting that sunlight and ingesting disinfectants like Lysol could help cure coronavirus. It's hilarious!

Sunlight has been most discussed topic in the coronavirus. It is an excellent natural source of vitamin D, which has many purported health benefits, including an increased resistance to infectious diseases.

There have been clinical trials to see if Vitamin D improves outcomes for Covid-19 patients, but so far there's no evidence that vitamin D reduces the risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Chlorine bleach is toxic. It can and does kill people who drink it. Bleach should not be injected or ingested. Bleach and sunlight might kill the coronavirus on a park bench, but they are harmful to the body.

Everything that is going on, say it Sunlight, UV Rays, Bleach, its an emerging study and don't have any grounds to believe it.

We should not change our behaviour based on the preliminary findings.

The study was limited to how environmental factors affected the virus on surfaces or in the air, not inside bodies.

Ravi Teja Kathuripalli, Hyderabad

The silent suffering of pet owners

In these times of lockdowns and social distancing amid the global pandemic scare, pet dogs — loyal and friendly human companions — seem to be the silent sufferers. Pet owners in Visakhapatnam unable to take their dogs out for walks or defecation, while others finding food, essentials and veterinarian services was a huge problem.

Ramana Rao, software engineer of BS Layout, owner of Labrador is finding it difficult to keep his dog well-fed. "The rumour-mongering about how consuming chicken may lead to contracting Covid-19 has led many owners of poultry and meat shops to down shutters. When dogs get used to a meat-based diet, it is difficult to feed them chapati or milk" says Rao.

For Katariya, another pet owner in Shivajipalem, the plight is quite different. His eight-year-old dog has a medical condition, has been running from pillar to post to stock up on vet-prescribed food. "I cannot experiment with another brand because it may not suit my pet dog. Despite efforts, I fear, I have too little to last 10 days," said Rao.

While announcing the lockdown, the Centre did not include animal food as an essential item, which made it very difficult to procure the items. Later, the Centre clarified that pet food and animal food was an essential item.

While, for Usha Rani, owner of pug, is worried about her dog's survival. "My dog hasn't eaten for the past few days because his wet food used to be delivered daily, which is not available now," she said. All the pet stores in my area are closed and deliveries are not taking place.

While, Nihar Tripathi owner of Om Sai Pet Nest shop in Muralinagar said "from visiting 4-5 houses on urgent calls to supply food and medicine for their pets in normal times, now the number has shot up to 15-18 households on any day during the lockdown period.

We are also doing home service for complete grooming of dogs from nail cutting to hair depending on the quality of breed during the lockdown".

"Business has gone down to 30 percent due to timing restrictions imposed due to Covid-19. Everybody is engrossed with getting their own essential items except food for pets" said Miralini, owner of the Marshalla Pet Zone in Jail road area.

Satish Acharya of One Town area needed a de-worming medicine for his golden retriever on Sunday. As he called up a pet clinic at Paws N Tails Pet Clinic in Pedda Waltair, where he is a regular customer, he was asked to collect it before the closure time at 11 noon. "I badly needed the medicine.

I had called up the clinic in the morning and was told it will be open only for three hours. Happy that I could make it," he said. Acharya said he had to rush to the clinic in his car in the locked down city and reached the place after much pleading with the policemen on duty.

'I attend 4 to 5 cases strictly on appointment basis for treating tick-borne fevers, diarrohoea, vomitions, skin allergies, ear and eye infections through I/V fluids, antibiotics, antiallergic medications and emergency surgeries' said Dr. N Sridhar, owner of Paws N Tails Pet Clinic in Pedda Waltair.

"While we used to be open throughout the day on six days in normal times, now we are forced to run a curtailed service - for three hours on every day during this lockdown period.

Besides the problem of getting their pets treated, the owners are also finding it difficult to walk their dogs outside during the COVID-19 time. Renuka of MVP Colony said she had to walk her three dogs on the roof of the building thrice a day and sometimes on the courtyard.

"Naturally they are not liking the arrangement. But we can't help it," she said. Renuka said her neighbour is taking his dog out on the road for a brief period. "But he disinfecting the dog's paws immediately after returning home."

Javvadi Lakshmana Rao, Visakhapatnam

Save Indian publishers from doom, Madam FM!

Dear Ms Nirmala Seetharamanji,

I hope you and your family members are safe and I know for you it is enormous added responsibility to manage the Indian economy at a time entire globe is under the attack from "novel virus". My apologies for shooting off this missive at a time when your hand is full with more important issues.

I am writing this letter as a former professional from a publishing house where I have spent more than thirty years of my working life and also in the interest of lakhs who directly or indirectly employed in publishing houses across India.

I entered this profession with scant knowledge of books many of books which got prescribed in our schools as we have grown up with books like Longman's Brighter Grammar, Macmillan's New Horizon, Oxford's Pocket English Dictionaries and of course Blackie's Wren & Martin Grammar. All these publishers entered India through sea route during British era and carry a legacy of more than hundred years.

The Longman who later turned Orient Longman (and now Orient Blackswan) entered India way back in 1895 and Macmillan has history of more than 120 years and, of course, I don't need to say much about OUP.

All these established in India soon after Thomas B Macaulay who was instrumental making "English" as medium of instruction for higher education in India. Rest is history , it paved the way for these British-owned publishing companies turning Indian soon after India's Independence and also opened opportunity for many other Indian Publishing to enter the field both English and other languages.

Post Independence, these companies continued to follow the British legacy of publishing books written by British authors and reprint them for Indian school children like you, me and many others.

With India turning more rigid towards foreign holdings, it gave opportunities for few well read people to jump with offer to run these companies thus many of them turning to Indian authors and Indian contents which saw slow exit of foreign books from Indian schools.

The change also saw these publishing house publishing English language materials, Science, Social Studies, Mathematics etc which also saw many more Indian publishing house joining the fray most managed by Individuals and families.

With successive governments giving more importance to literacy, apart from private publishers the government sponsored organization like NCERT which was established in 1960s to frame curricula also forayed into publishing books for Indian schools. Jointly with NCERT the school textbook publishers play important role in developing educated India.

At the moment the publishers in India are neither considered big, medium, small or even cottage industry. As a result, publishers who have big role India's development are left status-less with no care which means they survive on their own by ploughing back the money which they collect from the book sellers.

Thanks to Covid and the lockdown, the publishing business is in coma except one or two publishers have managed to pay full salary , few others just paid fifty percent salary and many have not paid salary to thousands of employees.

The Publishing house also help not only the authors to write, there are paper merchants, printers, binders, artists and many others whose survival also depends on large number of publishers in English and other languages. As the schools are closed and country locked down, the publishers who have already printed textbooks for supply to schools , the stocks are now accumulating in warehouse or with printers.

Though many would get an impression that as books not perishable like other essentials, even if the textbooks can be supplied after the schools reopen, without understanding that late collections due to delayed supply would literally wipe out their coffers.

I therefore urge that the textbook publishers need support from the government. The options available to government are:

• Advise the banks to extend financial support to take care of working capital for a year or two

• Give all the publishers a Income tax break for a two to three years, if not more

• Include Publishing in MSME sector which would help them to approach the banks for financial support.

Your intervention would save thousands who are directly or indirectly depend on the survival of publishers whether publishing textbooks or other books. I have made my life by being with a publishing firm.

My sincere apologies again for this missive and I hope you will get someone to read my appeal and take appropriate steps to save the Indian publishers.

Once again , I pray that the Almighty gives you and PM Modi strength to overcome this biggest setback which India is facing like rest of world.

Yours truly,

N Nagarajan, Hyderabad

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