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Adolescents could be more susceptible to the negative effects of physical distancing during COVID-19 since they are in a period of vulnerability. Pixabay

Adolescence is a critical period in the life of an individual when one acquires knowledge and develops cognitive skills which are critical to the transition to adulthood. Societal interactions, particularly those at school, are at the fulcrum of an individual’s development.

A recent report in the Lancet (Child and Adolescent Health) Journal has pointed out that social deprivation and reduction in peer contact threaten to have long term consequences on the impressionable minds of our young population.


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Adolescents could be more susceptible to the negative effects of physical distancing during COVID-19 since they are in a period of vulnerability where peer interaction is a vital aspect of their social development.

According to UNESCO, over a million young people are out of school globally due to the disruption caused by COVID-19.

“In this digital day and age, being stuck at home during lockdown also means increased and sometimes unfettered access to television and social media, which can negatively impact their mental health,” says public health expert and executive director of Population Foundation of India (PFI), Poonam Muttreja.

Results from a recent rapid assessment study conducted by PFI to assess the impact of COVID-19 on young people shows that nearly 46 percent of adolescents who were social media users reported being spending more time online during the lockdown. 65 percent of adolescents who reported feeling depressed also said they were watching more TV during the lockdown.


Adolescents could be more susceptible to the negative effects of physical distancing during COVID-19 since they are in a period of vulnerability. Pixabay

“At 243 million, India has the largest adolescent population in the world who are greatly at risk today. The shutting down of schools has made the already difficult lives of adolescents more challenging, especially in rural India. While many schools have moved to online classrooms, internet accessibility is still a major problem in many parts of India,” Muttreja added.

The recent suicide of a scholarship winning girl in Kerala, due to her inability to attend online classes in the wake of the lockdown is a grim reminder of the differential access to digital technology in the country.

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“While digital literacy will undoubtedly be the new normal in the post-COVID-19 era, it is equally important to assess the holistic impact of the pandemic on adolescent health, development, and well-being.”

Inclusive learning solutions are critical to addressing the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized children to bridge the digital divides in our society. Adolescents, particularly girls, need to be included in all aspects of COVID-19 response planning and decision-making. (IANS)


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Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Central Vista- the new builddesign of Government of India.

The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Centre, within three days, on a plea challenging a notification for change in land use, which would deprive residents of Delhi a vast chunk of green space in the Central Vista area.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted before a bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar that he will seek instructions from the government. He added since the Prime Minister and Vice President's house is coming up there, therefore it would not be possible to have a recreational area in the vicinity.

After hearing arguments, the bench, also comprising Justice C.T. Ravikumar, posted the matter for further hearing on Friday.

The plea, filed by social activist Rajeev Suri, who had earlier challenged the project earlier citing an illegal change in land use and absence of environmental clearance, through advocate Shikhil Suri, contended that the Centre did, mala fide, issue a notification dated October 28, 2020, notifying the change in land use, which will deprive residents of Delhi a vast chunk of highly treasured open and green space in Central Vista area available for social and recreational activity.

The plea argued that this notification stands against Article 21 (Right to Life) in the right to the enjoyment of wholesome life. "Since the subject plot no 1 takes over spaces of a children's recreational park and bus terminal for public transport, heightened judicial scrutiny is required to cut through the well-disguised illegalities and infirmities to reach the violations of statutory laws," said the plea.

The plea sought the top court to issue directions to call records and quash the notification concerned issued by the Centre, through the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, and, also to prevent loss equities by staying activities such demolition of buildings, cutting of trees, excavation of land and other actions which may be irreversible.

The Central Vista redevelopment project, which covers a three-km stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate in Lutyens' Delhi, at the cost of Rs 20,000 crore, where several government buildings -- including the Parliament House and ministry offices, will be rebuilt.

In January, this year, the Supreme Court had cleared the decks for the Central Vista project by upholding the environmental clearance and the notification for change in land use. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: India, Government, Central Vista, Supreme court of India.


Photo by Pixabay

Kerala a part of UN-backed ‘Race to Zero Campaign’.

Health Care Without Harm, the official Race to Zero healthcare partner, on Monday announced that over 50 healthcare institutions collectively representing more than 11,500 healthcare facilities in 21 countries including India's Kerala, are part of the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign.

In joining the Race to Zero, these organizations commit to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. They become part of the largest ever alliance outside of national governments committed to delivering a zero-carbon world in line with the Paris Agreement.

The healthcare organizations in Race to Zero include institutions ranging from individual, public and private hospitals and health systems to entire provincial or state government health departments. In recent weeks several large health systems have signed on to this vital commitment.

These systems include the Directorate of Health Services in Kerala, the international private healthcare and insurance system, Bupa, and CommonSpirit Health in the US.

They demonstrate global leadership in the healthcare sector by committing to net zero emissions and taking immediate climate action.

"It's exciting to see the momentum of healthcare organizations worldwide join the Race to Zero. All health organizations, large and small, can accelerate the transition to a healthier, sustainable, and more equitable world," said UN High-Level Climate Champion Gonzalo Muoz.

"At a time when Kerala is facing unprecedented climate events, the state Health Department has shown its commitment to climate resilience and pledged to achieve net-zero healthcare by signing up to the Race to Zero program. This initiative brings health facilities of the state on track to being low carbon and climate-resilient," said Kerala Minister of Health and Family Welfare Veena George.

"As a global healthcare company, we are very conscious that people's health depends on a healthy planet and we believe we can continue to deliver high-quality healthcare while mitigating our impact on the environment. We can't do this alone, that's why we are so incredibly proud to join the Race to Zero campaign with Health Care Without Harm, setting our ambition to become a net-zero business by 2040 and joining leading healthcare companies that are also committed to driving change for a healthy people and healthy planet," said Nigel Sullivan, Chief Sustainability and People Officer, Bupa.

In the lead-up to COP26, Race to Zero healthcare leadership is part of a diverse and growing global health sector movement for climate action.

National government ministries are making high-level commitments to healthcare decarbonization and resilience, while more than 45 million health professionals have called for aggressive action to protect people's health from climate change.

Health sector decarbonization is critical to reducing global emissions.

Health Care Without Harm's 2019 report shows the sector's climate footprint is equivalent to 4.4 per cent of global net emissions, with the majority originating from fossil fuels used across facility operations, the supply chain, and the broader economy.

To guide the sector's decarbonization, Health Care Without Harm's Global Road Map demonstrates how implementing seven high-impact actions can reduce global emissions by 44 gigatons over 36 years, equivalent to keeping more than 2.7 billion barrels of oil in the ground each year, and potentially saving more than five million lives by the end of the century. (IANS/JB)


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Photo by Manisa Mitpaibul on Unsplash

The R&D team at ITC Savlon, shares some tips to maximize hygiene and ensure germ-free cleaning this Diwali.

With Diwali comes the yearly ritual of disinfectingand deep-cleaning our homes. However, your basic cleaning ritual might not be sufficient to the changing needs of the environment we live in. If the deadly viruses around us have taught anything, disinfection should be as much a goal in our regular cleaning, rather than just the basic visible cleanliness. Therefore, it becomes necessary to know the right way of cleaning and disinfectinghomes that lends itself to a responsible celebration. While we plan to welcome Goddess Lakshmi by cleaning and decorating our living spaces inside out, we should be aware of those corners that are prone to infections, diseases and require our special attention.

The R&D team at ITC Savlon, shares some tips to maximize hygiene and ensure germ-free cleaning this Diwali:

Clean your Kitchen
As the excitement builds for us to be able to open our houses to guests and have the kitchen work overtime to put out scrumptious meals, do spend a moment on considering thorough kitchen disinfection. Bear in mind that the multiple ways in which we use our home kitchen carry with it the burden of microbes that can cause infections.

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