I am born and brought up in Nagpur. I completed my engineering from VNIT, Nagpur (2012 batch). I am a Vice President at Barclays in London, UK and was one of the youngest employees to become a VP at the age of 28. I have worked in Germany for Allianz before coming here. I am also a cricketer and have represented my school, college and company for the same. Also, continuing my family tradition, I have been involved in social work by providing money/essentials to the needy people.
When Covid-19 started to rapidly increase in various parts of the world (especially Europe) in March, all countries started to take measures to tackle this gruesome situation. It had become more of a WhatsApp world: watching 10-15 different kinds of videos daily. It mostly included police actions on people violating rules, how China is having a masterplan, celebration for health heroes, how India is doing so well when compared to European nations etc.
As I have been staying in UK and my parents are in India (who have recently recovered from Covid), I have had a good view on whats happening on both sides. I have penned down few of my observations below:
Lockdown Policy: It has been a bit similar on both sides with only essentials being open. However, one major difference being flights were operational in UK but completely closed in India. Lockdown imposition was done slightly late in UK according to few scientists and too early in India when peak wasn’t even near. The sad part in India was, even though strict lockdown measures were in place, cases were increasing and never went on decline. Due to serious repercussions of lockdown on economy, India lifted its restrictions even though cases were increasing at exponential rate. UK on the other hand lifted restrictions only after cases saw a constant decline.
Financial Aid: UK govt. launched a scheme, where every employee or businessman got 80% of their income (capped to £2500 per month) if their work was affected due to Covid. This ensured all kinds of employees from all professions were financially secured. There was no such provision in India, which even led to few deaths due to starving and suicides.
Daily Updates: There was a daily press conference held in UK where govt. gave updates on numbers, current/future plans and target dates. There were some serious questions asked on daily basis to the PM by the media houses, which ensured govt. was under constant pressure to deliver on their set targets. In India, PM mostly gave motivational messages, which didn’t titillate most of the people.
Testing: Most people count test based on actual numbers but should be actually considered based on per certain population. For e.g. India is carrying out 10 lakhs test daily (0.08% of population) whereas UK is carrying out 2 lakh tests per day which is (0.3% of population), tests are free in UK and that isn’t the case in India. My parents did around 7-8 tests, didn’t even get a bill for the same and only acceptable mode of payment was cash.
Hospitalization: As we all know the current situation in Nagpur, it was very difficult to get a good private hospital in Nagpur without contacts and a good initial deposit. This becomes a huge issue for > 90% population who cannot afford such things. There should be some strong voice of people in improving medical facilities at government hospitals so that people don’t differentiate much between these two facilities. In UK, hospitalization was reserved only for seriously ill patients and paracetamol, some vitamin tablets were the only prescribed drugs for home quarantined patients. All medical treatments are free in UK at NHS facilities, which are at par with private facilities.
Conclusion: Though it might look UK has done comparatively better, the Covid thing is such it can turn the tables within weeks for even strongest of countries. Considering the population issue in India, it’s even unfair to expect same kind of outcomes especially with this highly contagious virus. All we need to do from our side is follow the laid-out guidelines and take care of our family and friends. Also, help the needy wherever you can.
(Views are personal)
Anil Deshmukh seeks court permission to visit hometown Nagpur, Delhi
Former Home Minister of Maharashtra Anil Deshmukh approached a Special Court on Thursday seeking permission to visit his hometown Nagpur and Delhi. The Bombay High Court, while granting Deshmukh bail, had put a condition that the latter should not leave Mumbai without the trial court’s permission.
The senior NCP leader, who’s out on bail in an alleged money laundering case, was arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED) in November, 2021 and later by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in April 2022.
Deshmukh, who filed two separate pleas before the trial court through his advocate Inderpal Singh, said he was a native of Nagpur and has deep family roots there, apart from being the elected representative of an Assembly constituency in Nagpur district. In his plea, Deshmukh stated that he also needed to visit New Delhi to meet his lawyers.
Special judge RN Rokade sought a response from the ED and CBI and adjourned the matter to February 6.
Not a populist but a fiscal consolidation budget: CAMIT Chief Dr Dipen Agrawal
Dr Dipen Agrawal, President – Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra (CAMIT) reacting to the budget 2023 said that “Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman has presented a vision document for India at 100”. In her speech she envisaged various new concepts and proposal to take forward India on its growth journey. She has attempted to provide something for everyone. Outlining the vision of central governments for technology-driven and knowledge-based economy with strong public finances and a robust financial sector, she said that this will be achieved by Jan Bhagidari and Sabka Saath Sabka Prayas.
Dr Agrawal said, the continuation of PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for one more year; formation of large producer enterprises to support about 81 lakh women self-help groups; recognizing traditional artisans and craftspeople as Vishwakarma and conceptualizing new package scheme to improve the quality, scale and reach of their products; exploring untapped potential in tourism on mission mode will enable youth in fulfilling their aspirations and provide necessary imputes for growth and job creation.
It is to be seen how government works on the seven priorities ‘Saptarishi’ 1) Inclusive Development 2) Reaching the Last Mile 3) Infrastructure and Investment 4) Unleashing the Potential 5) Green Growth 6) Youth Power 7) Financial Sector identified as guiding factor, added Dr Dipen Agrawal.
The announcement regarding establishment of Digital Public Infrastructure for agriculture to provide farmer-centric solutions on host of farming related activities, massive decentralised storage capacity and government facilitated multipurpose cooperative societies, primary fishery societies and dairy cooperative societies in uncovered panchayats and villages will give boost to rural economy. Similarly establishing new nursing colleges in co-location to medical colleges established since 2014 will improve per-capita nursing staff in the country. While government is considering to introduce teachers’ training through various programs, the government should at the same time ensure that government education institutions are not under staffed.
Dr Dipen Agrawal welcomed the announcement of PAN being made common identifier for business entities; Unified Filing Process is proposed to be set-up to avoid duplication of compliance; National Financial Information Registry to be set-up as the central repository of financial and ancillary information; the Vivad se Vishwash scheme introduced to settle MSME contractual obligations said that these steps will have long lasting positive effect to improve business sentiments.
The announcement to ensure timely payment is made to MSME, government has linked the deduction under Income Tax Act for payments to actual payment to MSMEs. However, the deduction will be allowed on accrual basis only if it is within time mandated under MSMED Act, i.e. 45 days. In its endeavor to give relief to MSME government has inadvertently created compliance hurdle for other side i.e. large scale industries, this step will have large scale tax implication for them, added Dr Agrawal.
Now days there is nothing much expected from FM on indirect tax but people eagerly wait for announcement on direct tax front. FM has disappointed common man by announcing meager increase (Rs 50000) in basic exemption limit. However, FM has given substantial relief to middle-class individuals by increasing rebate limit from 5.00 lakhs to 7.00 lakhs. Similarly high net-worth individuals will be benefited by reduction in highest surcharge limit from 37% to 25%.
Overall, I see this budget as intelligent budget that focuses on key areas of infrastructure, employment while keeping fiscal deficit on track and on scale of 10, I give 7 points for 2023 Budget.
Also watch: Lesser know facts about India’s Union Budget
Social media not only helps me stay visible and relevant, but also have a source of income: Alaya F
Alaya F made her entry in Bollywood with Saif ALi Khan starrer ‘Jawaani Jaaneman’. And after a three year gap we saw her in Kartik Aaryan’s ‘Freddy’. Even though she was missing from action in those three years, social media kept her in the limelight for her fans. The actress, who’ll next be seen in Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Almost Pyaar With DJ Mohabbat’, gets vocal in a chat…
Talking about social media, which kept her connected to her fans during those three year gap, she said, “There’s no such mystery left in the life of an actor in today’s time, thanks to social media. Our fans have access to us a lot of time and I think that’s fine. Because we’ve signed up for it to be part of the industry. And I believe, as an actor, you’ll always want your fans or people to see you a lot more. So, I don’t worry about keeping any mystery on my social media. Whenever I want to take a break, I take a break. At least that’s in our hands.”
Moreover, Alaya feels it’s important for a celebrity to be on social media. It not only gave her visibility, but was a source of income too. “It’s important to be active on social media. It was a big blessing for me at least during the three-year gap between my first ‘Jawaani Janna’ and second film, ‘Freddy’. It helped me to not only stay visible and relevant, but also have a source of income. No matter how much I hate social media, I’m grateful for it as it gave me a great foundation that I managed to continue in Freddy. Now, I want to be active because I’ve realised that if you use social media correctly, it can be really powerful in the right ways.