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It is critical to continue and expand the answer to Covid in order to save lives.

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SARS-CoV2 infection has increased dramatically and consistently in the WHO’s South-East Asia Region in recent months. In April and May, the region announced more than two million new cases in a row, with some areas reporting test positivity rates of up to 40%.Concerning variants and their sub-lineages have been identified, and they may be linked to higher transmission speeds. In the fight against Covid-19, both the country and the world are at a crossroads. There is no country that is completely secure. We’re all in danger.

People are running out of energy. They’ve been doing whatever they can to keep themselves and their loved ones safe for nearly 18 months. Despite this, we are only in the early stages of the pandemic. Vaccine euphoria and the complacency it can breed are real risks, particularly when some countries return to normalcy globally. We must continue to maintain and scale up the response in all countries, and see this task through.

What is the best way forward for the region?

First, vigorously implement tested public health and social policies that are our best line of defence against new variants. Distancing yourself physically will help. The use of a mask is effective. Hand hygiene is efficient. Ventilation, testing, touch tracking, and isolation are all used to stop the spread of the disease, save lives, and reduce the effects. The 3Ws–wear a mask, wash hands, and keep a safe distance–must continue to be followed. We must also avoid the 3Cs: crowded environments, close-contact situations, and confined and enclosed spaces.

Second, keep an eye on and extend health-care capability to ensure that it can meet population demands, regardless of caseload. In the event of an increase in cases, step-by-step measures must be implemented to increase room, personnel, and equipment –such as oxygen and beds–as well as improve communication between and within facilities. Essential health care must be maintained in order for all to have access to the services they need to remain safe and well.

Third, as described in national deployment and vaccination plans, vaccinate priority classes. In the face of ongoing supply constraints, countries can maximise public health benefits by maximising the use of available doses.

We must push ourselves to the limit and go all out. Since the beginning of the pandemic, WHO has given vital guidance and assistance to member-States throughout the field, including thousands of oxygen concentrators, millions of respirator masks, and a number of auxiliary health facilities in recent months. Thousands of employees have been reassigned to help with the national response. The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, which is the world’s quickest, most organised, and active global partnership to accelerate the growth, manufacturing, and equal access to Covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines, continues to save lives.

Only by working together and maintaining our commitment will we be able to reduce infection, plan for and deter new waves, and provide evidence-based therapies and technologies to anyone who needs them. It’s a matter of life and death. We must all stick to our weapons.

Opinion

Six digital marketing agencies with best work culture

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Work culture in today’s time is so important to work on, especially in a digital marketing company. People are in a lot of stress already because of their work and if there’s a toxic work culture, no one will be able to work. Work culture is something because of which an employee not only stays in the company for a longer period of time but also puts extra effort from their side towards the work assigned.

Giving perks and leaves is not only the motto behind the best work culture. But having a really cool environment in the company is what people seek. Proper guidance from the senior staff is what an employee seeks for. 

Here is a list of the top five digital marketing agencies with the best work culture:

Sociowash:

Sociowash is a full-service digital marketing agency with an aim to connect brands to the world, in the most creatively fueled way. From providing a blueprint of digital strategy to pixel-perfect execution, it helps brands to matter more. It provides services like social media marketing, media planning, collateral design, website design and development, youth marketing, video production, influencer marketing, animation, and others. Sociowash focuses on producing tangible and intangible results while striking a perfect balance between art and business. It does not adopt a ‘one size fits all approach and focuses on customizing the way forward for each brand based on its positioning and needs and help them stand out in the crowd.

PinStorm:

PinStorm is a digital marketing agency that offers a completely new approach to building your brand in this digital age. An approach driven by a different philosophy – where it is believed innovating on the product offering can be far more impactful than innovating in TV commercials. Pinstorm believes outsmarting the competition is a better thing to do than outspending them.

The Social Lions

The Social Lions is a digital marketing agency in Mumbai based out of the suburbs. A strategy-led agency where the team specializes in out-of-the-box ideas, on-point solutions to problem areas, and new approaches to how consumers perceive their brand. Founded in 2018 by Archit Chawla & Siddhant Mohite, TSL has grown multi-folds with its unparalleled expertise in running intelligent marketing solutions across Social Media mediums, Websites, SEO, PPC, for a diverse range of clients and partners. 
http://www.thesociallions.in

WAT Consult:

WATConsult is a full-service digital agency that delivers across the value chain right from launching a brand via digital to building a brand’s salience via digital to driving business leads and sales for a brand.

Intellemo:

The team at Intellemo consists of experts – in-house employees and creative contributors. The organization provides a platform where anyone can contribute in any capacity as per their convenience. Automation and Technology are deeply embedded in the core philosophy of Intellemo. It is what they continuously strive to achieve by combining Intellect and Emotions to help businesses grow digitally.

EveryMedia:

EveryMedia is a full service digital and mobile marketing company that specializes in communication strategies with a focus on movies and brands. They provide end-to-end digital marketing campaigns and are pioneers in Design, Development & Technology.

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Opinion

Truth and its Power in creating good Ads, Songs and Movies – Prasoon Joshi – TRUTHtalks

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Aashwin Shanker, Mumbai Uncensored, 25th June 2021:

Prasoon Joshi is a two time National Film Award winner and The creator of many memorable
ads and actor in movies like “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” “Taare Zameen Par”.
The two time National Film Award-winner was a guest on Truth talks held on Saturday,
19th June 2021 at 11 am on YouTube, anchored by Mr Manish Chokhani, Director of Enam
Holdings.


Before I tell you everything about the interview let me inform you that TRUTHtalks, an initiative
of Satya Vigyan Foundation and Mr. Vallabh Bhanshali, Founder, Desh Apnayen, seeks to
explore the perspective of those who have ‘experimented’ a lot with Truth. The talks are
designed to inspire a better understanding of Truth as the most powerful phenomenon in nature,
more than just a moral value or a legal obligation, and a practical tool to bring more peace, trust
and prestige to oneself and the society as a whole. Stay engaged with the community via
www.truthtalks.in.


In the interview at the TRUTHtalks Prasoon Joshi touches on a diverse range of topics
from life, worldview, to science, spirituality and social media.
The high point of the interview was his views on truth and reality. Prasoon said that he comes
from the world of anubhut satya, or experiential truth, and that the world is a thought
projection of the cosmic mind. He explained this with the metaphor of a river: “The
experience of someone swimming against an aggressive tide on the river is different from that of
someone standing at the river bank to meditate; for the one standing on the bank, the river is
calm and peaceful. Same river, different realities.”
Prasoon also mentioned his fondness for entrepreneurs. When entrepreneurs seek his advice
he tries to understand the deeper reasons for why they want to work on a particular idea or
project, what he called the kernel of their truth!

Nobody likes to be confused. But Prasoon Joshi has a different take on the state of
confusion. He says that we have to learn to be comfortable with the state of confusion, as that
is when we are most fertile and are thinking of options and possibilities and truly exploring.
Mr Joshi’s take on the advertising and business industry.
According to him, “Any business that is not in sync with the well-being of society, that
does not have concern for society at the heart of their work, will eventually die.” Also, “I believe
in the power of informed choice. Advertising doesn’t hide behind anything. It clearly tells
you I’m an ad and I’m expecting you to try me out. As an ad, I’m going to use
exaggeration to entertain you and stay in your mind.”


Go ahead and watch the full conversation here: https://youtu.be/HOo0zjbRhPU

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Opinion

India needs priority sector lending

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Priority sector lending dates back to1966, when Morarji Desai saw a need to expand credit to agriculture and small businesses. However, a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) study in the National Credit Council in 1972 was the first to formalise the PS concept. Indira Gandhi was able to assuage important political concerns after bank nationalisation thanks to the PS formulation. Over time, the PS concept expanded to include important overlooked sectors of the economy, rather than being restricted to powerful lobbying groups. Despite the changes, the classification continues to place a strong emphasis on agriculture and small businesses (also known as micro, small, and medium enterprises or MSME).

Banks lend nearly 40% of their adjusted net bank credit (ANBC) to the priority market, amounting to Rs39,50,205 crore. As we fight Covid-19 today, the crucial question is whether the PS meaning needs to be modified. Is legitimate infrastructure, such as health care, well-served? Are we taking advantage of JAM’s complete potential— full access to Jan Dhan accounts, universal Aadhaar numbers, and near-universal mobile penetration— to fix problems that PS lending can’t solve but direct benefit transfers (DBT) can?

PS is divided into eight distinct fields. Agriculture is the most significant, with an 18 percent goal for total ANBC. MSMEs are another significant group. Housing, export credit, education, social infrastructure, and renewable energy are among the five PS industries.

Loans for setting up schools, drinking water facilities, and sanitation facilities, including construction/renovation of household toilets, and water improvements at the household level, are all covered by social infrastructure lending limits, which cover loans up to a maximum of 5 crore per borrower. It also includes loans for the construction of health care facilities in Tier II to Tier VI cities up to a maximum of ten crore per borrower. Loans for research or vocational courses fall under the education category. Furthermore, 12 percent of loans must go to specified weaker parts, 7.5 percent to micro enterprises, and 10% of the agriculture goal must go to small and marginal farmers.

This formulation, we conclude, needs to be reconsidered. To begin with, it is surprising that health is only a sub-category of social infrastructure, with a cap of ten crores for hospital construction. There should be a broad separate category in which we encourage “right size” rather than “small size” hospitals, which are large in metropolitan areas but smaller elsewhere.

Second, there is an urgent need for institutions to train nurses, health technicians, and health machine operators, as well as basic technology and digital device training more generally. In his book Bridgital Nations, Tata chairman N Chandrashekharan brilliantly captures this.

Third, the credit cap for educational facilities is just Rs. 5 crore. Finally, PS lending could provide loans for the purchasing of computers and smart phones for low-income individuals.

Assessing whether PS lending is the right type of intervention for some of its targeted categories is a related issue. Aren’t some PS categories better served by grants than by enabling banks to lend to micro finance institutions? In agriculture, how effective has lending to the weaker sections and small and marginal farmers been? After 50 years, they are all struggling. Non-performing assets (NPA) in the loan portfolios of banks lending to these groups in agriculture are in the double digits, rendering the sector economically unviable for them.

Giving loans to this group of borrowers with a high likelihood of default creates corruption opportunities for bank executives and moral hazard for the established beneficiaries. Big defaults in a segment disincentivize farmers from repaying their loans, and the overall credit climate is tainted by large defaults.

Converting a portion of PS lending to a grant paid directly by the government will increase the value of public sector banks significantly while also increasing system performance. Indeed, we believe that banks should be willing to pay for a portion of the total grant amounts through a special cess levied on them for this reason. It could be measured as the expense of their NPAs in the section, leaving them in the same position as before.

Covid-19 has made us rethink a lot of stuff from the past. Infrastructure for health and education has received a lot of attention. As we all settle into new ways of working and learning, it has highlighted the value of digital access. PS classification should reflect this, and we should take advantage of our technology stack’s (and JAM’s) capabilities to target and distribute grants to the most vulnerable sections. This, however, would not be enough to compensate for the significant rise in state government health and education budgets that is needed to repair our social infrastructure.

Article 2

Use decentralized/district-level guidelines to alleviate Covid-19 restrictions.

Our response strategy has revolved around the slogan “test, test, test” since the Covid-19 pandemic struck India. RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Test kits, as well as an ambitious combination of different platforms, have helped India expand its testing potential. These strategies allowed us to hit 1.2 million tests per day in September2020, and 2.2 million tests per day in May of the following year. In January, this was followed by the launch of two India-made vaccines.

Now that India is experiencing a second boom, state governments have enacted restrictive policies. While restrictions have been largely effective in preventing the spread of infection, they are not a long-term solution. So, what does an evidence-based approach to the situation look like? What can be called a not-too-late nor-too-early relaxation of constraints, as each case is different?

A decentralised pandemic response based on three pillars— district-level test positivity rate, vaccine coverage, and a bottom-up decision-making process — is the solution. Since we were dealing with a novel virus and regulatory mechanisms had to be set up, centralisation was crucial during the first wave. However, given the large variation in disease transmission between states, these decisions must now be decentralised and based on local data. At the district level, restrictions on travel, public meetings, and social activities are enforced. To make these decisions based on district-level data and patterns, we need to involve districts even more. Although monitoring is essential, assessment tools should be simple to use, avoiding a long list of requests that prolongs the decision-making process. Instead, we can concentrate on three main variables.

The first pillar should concentrate on districts with a test positivity rate (TPR) of less than 5%.TPR is the percentage of positive Sars-CoV-2 tests out of all those conducted. This will remain the most important metric for making informed decisions.

The second pillar is sufficient vaccination coverage for priority and vulnerable populations, which should be a consideration when considering opening up. Even if the cases increase, vaccinations in the most vulnerable population groups must be increased to ensure that fewer people die. The fact is that it will take a few months for vaccine supplies to hit the standard of adequacy in terms of doses.

The third pillar is group ownership. All administrative interventions are doomed to fail without group ownership, in which people engage in Covid-appropriate behaviour such as masking and maintaining physical distance.

The pandemic has compelled us to reconsider the standards that control our responses to it. While we live in silos and demand that punitive laws be maintained or that new treatments and prevention be implemented on a daily basis, we must understand the effect on people’s lives and livelihoods. As a result, our pandemic response must be driven by local data and carried out and supervised by a versatile administrative structure.

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