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The Covid-19 pandemic should serve as an eye-opener for the government to increase allocation for the health sector in the Union Budget 2020-21, feel representatives from the sector.
Pointing out that the pandemic exposed the “shortcomings” in the India healthcare system, they have urged Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to hike the allocation in the Budget to be presented in Parliament on February 1.
According to them, the pandemic posed a serious threat to the healthcare system and consequently to the supply chain of medicines and materials used for the care of those affected. They believe that the situation has forced everyone to think about the money India spends to strengthen its healthcare sector.
Sitharaman had allocated Rs 69,000 crore or 1.28 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for health in the last fiscal. However, the situation India faced due to the health emergency exposed the shortcomings of the healthcare sytem.
Doctors and health professionals appealed to the government and to the Finance Minister to increase allocations to ensure healthcare reaches all sections of society, both urban and rural.
“I sincerely hope the Minister increases allocations to the health sector in the 2021-22 Budget, and a major portion of this allocation must be spent to strengthen primary healthcare and improve the quality of healthcare delivery mechanism. India needs better healthcare facilities which will work towards improving the economy. Covid-19 pandemic must work as an eye-opener to increase Budget allocations for the health sector,” said Dr Guru N Reddy, founder and director, Continental Hospitals.
“Not just an increase in financial allocations, India must focus on skill development and training of the workforce to ensure better delivery of healthcare services in the country. Increased funding will help in improving preparedness to manage uncertain situations arising out of emergencies,” said Dr Mervin Leo, Cluster COO, Gleneagles Global Hospitals.
Dr Rahul Medakkar, COO, Care Hospitals-Banjara Hills, said that in addition to increase in allocations, the government must consider the option of giving enhanced tax incentives for individuals and groups who intend to invest in the health sector.
“One major lesson learnt from the pandemic is the need to establish epidemiology units at all districts in the country, and this is possible only when more investment comes into the sector. The government should also consider to set up infectious diseases units in all hospitals which require unique design considerations and isolation strategies.”
The health professionals are of the view that the Indian healthcare budget is directionally sound but is inadequate in view of the vastness of our country. The sector remains underfunded, and this continues to reflect on the short-term fixes at the expense of building a robust health system over a longer period of time.
The glaring mismatch between allocation and desired outcome make it unclear how the government proposes to achieve what it claims to have budgeted for, they added. (IANS)
Facebook must pay a $4.75 million fine and up to $9.5 million in back pay to eligible victims who say the company discriminated against U.S. workers in favor of foreign ones, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
The discrimination took place from at least January 1, 2018, until at least September 18, 2019.
The Justice Department said Facebook "routinely refused" to recruit or consider U.S. workers, including U.S. citizens and nationals, asylees, refugees and lawful permanent residents, in favor of temporary visa holders. Facebook also helped the visa holders get their green cards, which allowed them to work permanently
In a separate settlement, the company also agreed to train its employees in anti-discrimination rules and conduct wider searches to fill jobs.
The fines and back pay are the largest civil awards ever given by the DOJ's civil rights division in its 35-year history.
"Facebook is not above the law and must comply with our nation's civil rights laws," Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke told reporters in a telephone conference.
"While we strongly believe we met the federal government's standards in our permanent labor certification [PERM] practices, we've reached agreements to end the ongoing litigation and move forward with our PERM program, which is an important part of our overall immigration program," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "These resolutions will enable us to continue our focus on hiring the best builders from both the U.S. and around the world and supporting our internal community of highly skilled visa holders who are seeking permanent residence." (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Facebook, Employment, Justice Dept., Recruitment
Tomatoes are a staple in the Indian diet, be it a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian dish. It has to be a part of each meal in some form. As puree, paste, flavour, or diced into the dal. This tangy, sweet, and juicy ingredient was not always Indian. In fact, it did not even grow in India until the British sanctioned it. It is a product of colonization and has come a long way to become part of our everyday meals.
Originally, the tomato was considered poison. Its actual native is debatable. Some say it is European while others argue that is came from indigenous parts of Spain and Portugal. Either way, it is a plant species that is associated with the legendary Nightshade. It looks very similar to this poisonous plant that tomatoes were not even harvested for a long time, for fear of picking Nightshade instead. It was believed that Nightshade caused the blood to turn to acid and that tomatoes had the same property. Later research proved that the plant itself may be poisonous but the fruit is not.
The fruit if the woody nightshade plant Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Tomato is considered a fruit instead of a vegetable because it is cooked. But this theory has an interesting tale behind it. in the United States, in 1887, a tax was levied on the transport of vegetables, but not on fruits. By then, tomatoes had become a huge part of the American diet and traders could not afford to pay the ten percent duty. So, they began to call the large loads they transported fruits, just to avoid the tax due. In time, this is how the tomato came to be regarded. Some scientists went even further and stated that it is a berry. Botanists claim that since it is a part that grows from the flower's ovary and contains seeds, it is a fruit and not a vegetable. But this is a debate that will never end.
Incorporating tomatoes into the Indian diet must have happened so long ago that people do not remember a time without tomatoes, considering how it is the fundamental ingredient of most cuisines. The tomato has a name in every language as well, so the trading between nations, the voyages that brought them to India, and the decoding of the fruit-vegetable must have taken place far earlier than our ancestors remember. Or, perhaps we liked it so much that we decided to use it everywhere and make it our own. Nonetheless, it has been a delightful addition.
Keywords: Tomato, Fruit, Vegetable, Nightshade, Voyage, Staple
Every child who grew up in the 90s and the early 00s has certainly grown up around Tom and Jerry, the adorable, infamous cat-chases-mouse cartoon. The idea of naughtiness and playing mischief had the standards that this particular series set for children and defined how much wreckage was funny enough.
The show's creators, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera initially named their characters Jasper and Jinx. They did not plan for the fame that Tom and Jerry brought them when they released a movie by the name of "Puss Gets the Boot". This movie featured a certain cat and mouse who were a notorious pair, named Jasper and Jinx. When the movie became a hit, the names of the characters were changed and the show shot to fame.
Tom and Jerry became a go-to cartoon for children in the early 00s, and it was one of those shows with a firm foundation, that had already been in the running for decades. The original template had been planned nearly 80 years ago, and the makers did not change it. The music that was played in the many episodes, made a breakthrough in its own way. It is the most easily recognizable melody with utterly nostalgic associations.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons Image credit: wikimedia commons
A set of supporting characters were defined for the show, to occasionally take the focus off the original pair. There was a large, black woman named Mammy Two Shoes and a bulldog who took Jerry's side. Mammy Two Shoes was discontinued because her character portrayed racist tendencies. A tall white woman replaced her, who was kinder and loved mice. Either of the women's faces was never revealed.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons. There are a host of other shows besides this that aim to replicate the same aspects of the cartoon but do not come close at all. Despite the immense amount of violence in the show, it is a beloved pastime of parents and children alike.
Keywords: Tom and Jerry, Cartoon, Hanna and Barbera, Television