Emergence of pandemics: A common phenomenon in these times!

We have been part of a tumultuous journey where we have been able to conquer our hold over deadly epidemics like Zika, Ebola and SARS. A sage scientist recently stated that the coronavirus might be living with us forever in some or the other form. But, the current pandemic has gotten all of us plugged in our houses and it has changed our lifestyles completely. The chaos and mayhem caused on social media surrounding the pandemic has questioned the brevity of our lifestyles, health care and many other areas.  We have been revolving around the whirlpool of social distancing, masking and sanitizing. But, many of us still are lagging behind in following this circle of safety. The WHO states that the coronavirus would last for at least two years just like the Spanish flu. Even though we are living in the twenty first century where we have enriched our lives with the buzz of technology but we still are unable to tackle a deadly virus which has gotten a strong hold on our ever evolving world. There are several reasons behind why spread of pandemics like Covid-19 can become a  common phenomenon in the coming future, urbanization, global warming, rising sea levels, contagious diseases from animals, increase in greenhouse gas levels are just a few . The spark risk and the spread risk can shape a pandemic. In the future we will be easily seeing outbreaks of deadly viruses turning into wild epidemics and pandemics.

Increase in Urbanization which has also led to felling of trees and has wiped out forest land had led to an imbalance in our ecosystem, the invincible increase in population is one of the major factors as well as the increase in pandemics is in correlation to the increase in population. Increased connectivity and mobility contributes to the risk in increase of deadly infectious diseases. According to many experts rise in air travel is one of the many reasons behind the sudden increase in the number of corona virus patients. Climate change, even after all the hue and cry it will be a factor which will be a playing a major role in watering the increase in pandemics. The years between 2030 and 2050 will have a majority of deaths being caused by malaria and dengue and the reason behind this phenomenon would be climate change. Scientists state that the ice melting in arctic regions is giving life to many deadly viruses which have been frozen in the ice from many years. As viruses cross the specie barrier due to increase in animal-human connection it has led to an increase in zoonotic diseases which has actually been the major reason behind the epidemics which have crossed our path.

As the virus mutates a single vaccine won’t really be the one step solution. Updated vaccines will be the need of the hour according to researchers and scientists. Covid-19 has alarmed the world with its disastrous streak. The viral age of pandemics will soon turn out to be disastrous on the world if we don’t take needed action.




Media: Limitations of story coverage

Our mornings generally start with a dose of news, most of us have subscribed to numerous YouTube channels or follow many social media sites on Instagram and Facebook which keep us updated with the latest happenings around the world. The media never fails to intimidate us be it a global crisis, politics or even haute couture, they have got the latest updates on each and everything. But many a times many media outlets fail to cover many issues. Areas affected by wild weather such as cyclones and tsunamis tend to get less coverage as these stories become hard to cover due to the drastic conditions and the untamed circumstances. These days you find many news and media outlets using drone footage which is not only found to be easier but also more feasible. Technology has always played a crucial role and its advancements can be definitely seen in the developing world where it is seen giving a tough competition to mankind. Many factors play a crucial role in barring the media from covering a plethora of stories.

The fear factor has a crucial role to play in this situation, certain issues which need to be covered by media require a strong courage .Political implications can also restrict media outlets from showcasing certain news features and this can add up to the long list of uncovered data. The notion of censorship also pays a huge role here, many news agencies and media outlets are put under acute pressure from organizations to not showcase a certain story. In many cases the topics being covered are quite sensitive and hence are not shared with the viewers. Eventually many agencies spike the news feature or do not show the true story at all. Also, covering the latest developments is a lengthy task which consists of tedious work. To keep on giving the audience some trendy tea which is accompanied by their hot cup of coffee is not a cake walk, it requires man power and is time consuming, it requires a great deal of patience and also needs a lot of research.

Viewers expect news to be delivered and updated on time and many media houses fail to meet the audience’s demand. They end up delivering inaccurate information which sometimes turns out to be fake or the data being shared by them is wrong which also leads to a slump in the quality of content and can hamper the ratings of the media house.

Media outlets require a strong audience but when the viewers become unresponsive the news agencies and media companies lose their drive to showcase the latest stories. A news agency with low ratings can easily roll down from the viewers’ top picks. Even though journalist risk their lives, go out of their way and have scaled heights in covering the latest events by dodging their fears, but still they do face certain obstacles in their day to day lives which bar them from covering the current developments.






USA and China trade relations, cooperation strategy.

India may both gain and lose with the U.S-China Trade Deal

In 2018, the U.S President Donald Trump started setting tariffs on Chinese goods imported in the US due to, what the President said was “unfair trade practices” and violation of intellectual property rights. This decision was followed by China Imposing tariffs on goods from the U.S beginning a series of trade barriers and imposition of mounting tariffs on either side.

Fast-forwarding to 2020, and the US has imposed tariffs worth more than $360bn on Chinese goods while China has imposed tariffs of more than $110bn on US goods. With both the countries at the brink of a full-blown trade war, and the tariffs adversely impacting both the countries, the US and China came to a trade agreement in February 2020. Currently in the Phase One of the agreement, China has committed to buy $200 billion worth of more US goods and services in the next two years above its purchases in 2017 and also look into complaints by the US regarding intellectual property rights and forced technology transfer. In exchange the US will reduce the tariffs from 15 % to 7.5% on $120bn worth of Chinese products.

What’s in it for India?

The trade agreement has further weakened the World Trade Organization and is a warning signal to countries like India who conduct trade with China and other countries as per the rules of the WTO. But, before this deal, the trade war between the two countries since 2018, had not affected their trade with India majorly. Though with the United States of America now relatively free of the tensions with China, can focus on having more trade with other countries. India and the U.S at this point are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement which is expected to come soon. Under the FTA, India has proposed a full restoration of benefits under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) scheme and certain concessions for agricultural products.

With China agreeing to buy more products from the U.S, Indian exports to China may suffer with fruits, vegetables and other products being exported more from the U.S than India. But, on the other hand, with the US having IT complaints against China, Indian IT companies and services can fill the deficit that this trade deal has caused. Likewise, due to the high U.S tariffs many companies may consider shifting from China to India.

However, currently due to the conflict of India and China at the LAC, trade has suffered a setback in both the countries. For example, the Indian government has banned more than a hundred Chinese Apps on grounds of inadequate privacy.

Due to Covid – 19, global trade has immensely suffered and it may take some time to assess the impact of the trade deal between America and China. The tension at LAC may also have far reaching economic impact for India and China but currently the FTA with US looks hopeful for India economically.


Festivals in the time of a Global Pandemic

From the processions and idol immersions of Ganesh Chaturthi to the roaring festivities of Navratri, along with the celebrations of Diwali, Eid, Christmas, and many more, India is known for being a very culturally and ethnically diverse country. Every season gives us a reason to celebrate, which is why India is known as the land of festivals and fairs. Be it the first harvest, the first monsoon, celebrating the bond of siblings on Raksha Bandhan, playing with colours on Holi, lighting up the surroundings with ‘diya’s’ and fireworks on Diwali, are some of the many reasons why festivals bring happiness to all.

Festivals are an integral part of Indian culture and are always celebrated with joie de vivre along with the utmost respect to people of all faiths. No matter how big or small the event, it is always a good occasion to spend time with near and dear ones. Shopping for new clothes and jewellery, cleaning every inch of the house, helping in the preparation of sweets and going around meeting friends and relatives and distributing gifts and sweets are the highlights of every festival.

Unfortunately, with the pandemic still running rampant, it will change the way we celebrate our festivals now. Living in the age of the internet has given us a new way to celebrate our festivals while practising social distancing. Video conferencing platforms like ‘Zoom’, has been a major helping hand during these tough times. It has brought us closer together to celebrate special occasions despite being far away from each other.

Neeta Kumar’s home is filled with warmth and the smell of freshly made ‘laddoos’ and sweets, every year on Diwali. She says that “With my daughter living abroad, Diwali is usually the only time she comes home, and then I at least have someone who helps me make the sweets instead of eating them!” Knowing that the current situation will not permit her whole family to be together this year, she plans on making it all feel the same despite being miles apart.

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar also celebrated the festivities of Ganesh Chaturthi with his family, domestic helpers and relatives who joined through the Zoom app.

The time has come for all social gatherings to move to virtual platforms. There will no more be large crowds of people in public places of worship and no greeting people in the street as you pass by.

Celebrating Easter this year was not what anyone expected. The services were held with the help of YouTube live for people to watch from the comfort of their homes. “Going for the midnight masses held on Christmas and Easter with friends and family and the greetings and merriment after mass is what we always looked forward to”, says Melanie D’Souza. She further adds, “I know things won’t be the same this year and I’ll definitely miss the whole family coming for a get-together but, staying safe is more important right now and we must adhere to the rules given.”

A big salute to the police officers who have been doing their best to keep people from gathering in large numbers even for small celebrations and made sure that the necessary distance was maintained.

With the current situation of the country and the increasing number of cases every day, having any type of social gathering is dangerous for people’s health especially when there are so many who still insist on not abiding by the social distancing rules and not wearing their masks properly or not wearing one at all.

To be able to have any sort of celebration or festivities in the future, we need to keep following the rules given to us now.