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The changing face of work post-pandemic

By Sidhi Jain

As the world of education and work makes a gradual recovery from the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, experts foresee the new trends and dramatic changes that will impact the careers of graduates who venture out in the market in 2021-22 onwards.

A new technology-driven focus, according to Marwadi University Provost Prof. Sandeep Sancheti, would emerge in the jobs that are likely to be in demand in the coming times. In the medical and health field, he lists some of these trending jobs to be: Health-care supporting staff like intake specialists, pharmacy technicians, and certified nursing assistants. This field also has roles such as mental health specialists and health and fitness coaches to be on the rise.

In the IT and Computer space, he foresees demand for data science specialists, data management analysts and data mining experts, along with artificial intelligence and machine learning engineers, user experience professionals like UI/UX design specialists, product design consultants, game developers, full stack developers and cloud engineers and architects, and cyber security experts.

“Among everything else, one thing is for sure, remote work is here to stay. The millennials and GenZ will be the trendsetters with Zoom and Google workspaces as the ruling platforms for remote work and the year 2021 will see more opportunities and prospects for dynamic and multi-tasking professionals with analytical, programming and marketing skills,” he says.

As per Dr Sandeep Shastri, Vice Chancellor, Jagran Lakecity University, the career trends currently being offered in the second decade of this century are the most diverse ever available in human history. The fields are demanding super specializations and individuals are training to fill the gaps.

“The digital revolution has shown its effects in the hospitality sector in the form of automation of a huge chunk of repetitive tasks. Public policy traditionally being a blend of political science, law and sociology now has added data analytics to the mix. In areas like accounting and finance, new and extended career roles are outsourcing services, big data analytics, fintech, artificial intelligence, cloud accounting and block chain technology. Post-Covid era brings huge job opportunities in financial institutions like stock exchanges, depositaries, stock broking firms and investment banks etc which are employing tech-savvy economists en masse,” he says.

Digital content creators like podcasters, bloggers, influencers, video creators, and voice-over artists will be in demand in the future.

According to Sahil Aggarwal, Co-Founder and CEO, Rishihood University, “with increasing options, access to information, and technological changes”, the current generation of students faces a different aspect of career growth.

Here are some tips on capitalizing on these career trends:

Entrepreneurial mindset
Employers are increasingly looking for employees who are self-driven. The best employees align with the company’s objectives, find new tasks, and work with teams to achieve. Those who work as if it is their own company are more likely to succeed than those who wait to be given a task list.

Interdisciplinary talent
Graduates who demonstrate an understanding of varied domains are appreciated more than those who are narrowly focused.

Creative potential
In a world changing so fast, successful companies are always creating new value for their customers. Employees who have creative potential are far more valuable than those who stick to the routine.

People skills
It is often repeated, and rightly so, that beyond a point, a person grows or stagnates based on how well one can work with others.

Learning to learn.
Once we stop learning, we are replaced by other humans or machines. The mindset of learning is key to succeed in the 21st century.

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e-paper-stories India Latest News

Addressing G-7, PM Modi calls for open vaccine chains

New Delhi: Calling for “global unity, leadership and solidarity”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi last Saturday emphasized the “special responsibility of democratic and transparent societies to prevent future pandemics”.

Addressing the G-7 outreach session via video conference, Modi also expressed India’s commitment to support collective endeavors to improve global health governance.

This is an oblique reference to the lack of transparency displayed by China in dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak and WHO’s poor leadership as the crisis engulfed the world.

Modi said there should be “one earth, one health” approach, which, sources said, was supported by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Sources said India’s emphasis on keeping “open supply chains for vaccine raw materials and components to help enhance vaccine production received widespread support”.

This came days after French President Emanuel Macron supported India’s demand for lifting restrictions on export of raw materials needed to manufacture vaccines.

The session, titled ‘Building Back Stronger – Health’, focused on global recovery from the pandemic and strengthening resilience against future pandemics.

Modi sought the G-7’s support for a proposal moved by “India and South Africa at the WTO for a TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) waiver on Covid-related technologies”. Sources said Australian PM Scott Morrison and others came out strongly in support of this.

The Prime Minister highlighted India’s “whole of society” approach to fight the pandemic, synergizing the efforts of all levels of government, industry and civil society.

He also explained India’s successful use of open source digital tools for contact tracing and vaccine management, and conveyed the country’s willingness to share its experience and expertise with other developing countries.

Modi expressed appreciation for the support extended by the G-7 and other guest countries during the recent wave of Covid infections in India.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had invited Modi to attend the outreach component of the G-7 Summit, along with Australia, South Korea and South Africa.

Addressing another G7 session on ‘open societies and open economies’ on Sunday, Modi  said India is a natural ally for the G7 countries in defending the shared values from a host of threats stemming from authoritarianism, terrorism and violent extremism, disinformation and economic coercion. In that session, the prime minister highlighted India’s civilizational commitment to democracy, freedom of thought and liberty, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

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e-paper-stories India Latest News

India reopens big cities as Covid numbers plunge

New Delhi: After weeks-long lockdowns, major Indian cities have reopened for business, with long queues for buses in the financial hub of Mumbai while traffic returned to the roads of New Delhi after a devastating second wave of coronavirus that killed thousands.

The graph of new infections has been going down steadily. India reported 67,208 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours Thursday, data from the health ministry showed. The country’s total case load now stands at 29.70 million, while total fatalities are at 381,903, the data showed.

“We have to save ourselves from infection but also bring the economy back on track,” Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Twitter.

He ordered half the capital’s shops to open on odd- and even-numbered days of the month respectively, in a bid to limit crowds, but allowed offices and the Delhi metro rail network to run at 50 percent of capacity.

But some curbs were retained, such as the ban on dining in restaurants and the use of theatres and gyms in a city still slowly recovering from a surge in the months of April and May that overwhelmed hospitals. These ran short of beds and medical oxygen, and people died in hospital parking lots and homes, while crematoriums and morgues struggled to cope with an incessant flow of corpses.

Maharashtra allowed businesses to run until late afternoon, staffed with half their employees, and opened gyms, salons and spas, though cinemas and malls are to stay shut. India’s richest state eased restrictions based on infection rates and hospital bed occupancy.

 

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India Latest News

Google pledges Rs 113 crore to boost healthcare infra in India

New Delhi: Google on Thursday announced new grants of nearly Rs 113 crore to help strengthen India’s healthcare infrastructure and workforce in rural areas, as India prepares for the third Covid wave.

Google.org will support procurement and installation of approximately 80 oxygen generation plants in healthcare facilities in high-need and rural locations with new grants of approximately Rs 90 crore to GiveIndia and nearly Rs 18.5 crore to PATH non-government organization.

Google.org will also make an Rs 3.6 crore grant to NGO ARMMAN to run skilling programmes for 180,000 Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and 40,000 Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) in 15 states in the country.

The company said that it will also invest in the efforts of Apollo Medskills to help upskill 20,000 frontline health workers through specialised training in COVID-19 management and strengthen the stressed rural health workforce and rural health systems.

“We’re now broadening our COVID-19 support to help strengthen India’s healthcare infrastructure and workforce — especially in rural areas. With these new commitments, Google is proud to be supporting our partners as they build a bigger, better-equipped healthcare system,” said Sanjay Gupta, Country Head and Vice President, Google India.

The new commitments build on the Rs 135 crore ($18 million) funding that was announced by Google in April for COVID-19 response.

In addition to this, Googlers worldwide have donated and helped raise $7 million for organisations supporting high-risk and marginalised communities.

“We are thankful to Google.org for their strong commitment to ensure we save as many preventable deaths as possible, which happen due to lack of medical oxygen,” said Atul Satija, CEO, GiveIndia.

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India Latest News

Ramdev booked for comments against Covid-19 medicines

New Delhi: The Chhattisgarh Police have registered a case against Yoga guru Ramdev for allegedly spreading false information about medicines used to treat Covid-19, Raipur police superintendent Ajay Yadav said, the media reported.

Yadav said a First Information Report (FIR) has been lodged in this regard on the complaint of Indian Medical Association (IMA) Hospital Board (Chhattisgarh) chairman Rakesh Gupta, IMA’s Raipur president Vikas Agrawal, and other doctors.

In his complaint, Gupta has accused Ramdev of allegedly propagating false information about the medicines, misleading people about established and approved treatment methods when doctors and other paramedical workers are fighting Covid.

“The Chhattisgarh Police has taken the right step by registering a case against Ramdev, who is flouting all norms and international guidelines by misleading people of this country. Strict action should be taken against Ramdev for this act,” said Gupta.

Ramdev has been in the news for his comments against allopathic medicines and doctors. He later said he was “withdrawing” the controversial remarks hours after Union health minister Harsh Vardhan asked him to rescind them. In a letter addressed to Ramdev, Vardhan said the people were extremely hurt by the former’s comments against allopathic medicines and doctors.

Ramdev has drawn flak for his statement that about 10,000 doctors died despite vaccination. At least 646 doctors have died of Covid-19 during the second wave of infections and 753 during the first wave, according to IMA. IMA has pointed out no vaccines were available during the first wave and most of those who died during the second wave had not been able to take their shots.

Ramdev said his comments were taken out of context and blown out of proportion. He maintained he was merely questioning the excessive use of experimental therapy.

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USA

US’ reputation rebounds with Biden in WH

Washington: America’s reputation on the global stage appears to have significantly rebounded since Trump left office and Joe Biden became the commander in chief, according to a Pew Research Center survey released last week.

As Biden went to Europe to repair relations with America’s allies, the poll found that several countries in the region like the current president more than the former. A median of 75 percent of respondents in 12 countries expressed confidence in Biden, compared with 17 percent for Trump last year.

In the UK, for example, 64 percent of those surveyed said they view the U.S. favorably, up from just 41 percent under Trump.

Similar favorability improvements of 25 percentage points or more were found in France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

Of the 16,254 people in 16 countries surveyed in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region between March and May, more than 60 percent in each country said they have confidence in Biden to “do the right thing in world affairs.”

Pew conducted the survey in countries  including Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Taiwan.

The study found, however, that many still view the U.S. as a “somewhat reliable partner.” No more than 20 percent of respondents in any one country said the U.S. is a “very reliable partner.” Reliability is highest in the Netherlands, where 80 percent say the U.S. is somewhat or very reliable. Seventy-five percent of respondents in Australia and Japan both said the U.S. is somewhat or very reliable. But 44 percent in Taiwan and 43 percent in Greece said the U.S. is not very or not at all reliable, the survey found.

However, attitudes toward the U.S. still vary in different countries. For example, only about 50 percent of people in Singapore and Australia have a favorable opinion of the U.S., and only 42 percent of New Zealanders like the U.S., according to the survey. Favorability in Taiwan is down slightly from 68 percent to 61 percent, compared to a 2019 Pew survey.

However, a median of only 50 percent of respondents said in the Pew survey that they believe American democracy is working well.

The survey noted, however, that attitudes toward the U.S. ebb and flow as administrations change.

Pew noted that when former President Barack Obama took office in 2009, favorability increased compared to George W. Bush’s administration. Similarly, when Trump entered the White House in 2017, favorability saw a sharp decline. For instance, a median of 34 percent of those surveyed across 12 nations had a favorable overall opinion of the U.S. last year, the survey found. Now, a median of 62 percent of nations hold the U.S. in glowing regard.

A photograph of an old couple kissing through screens and masks in a Covid ward is the most poignant among the pandemic pictures shot by AP’s chief photographer in Spain, Emilio Morenatti, that won a Pulitzer. (Photo courtesy AP)
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Innovation came to rescue during Covid: Modi

New Delhi: Inviting investors to the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that innovation came to the rescue during Covid as he highlighted India’s major benefits for both investors and innovators.

Delivering his keynote address at the 5th edition of VivaTech, one of the largest digital and start-up events in Europe, he said: “Covid-19 put many of our conventional methods to test. However, it was innovation that came to the rescue. By innovation, I refer to: Innovation before the pandemic. Innovation during the pandemic.”

“When I speak about innovation before the pandemic, I refer to the pre-existing advances which helped us during the pandemic. Digital technology helped us cope, connect, comfort and console. Through digital media, we could work, talk with our loved ones and help others,” he said.

Modi stated that the second part, innovation for the pandemic refers to how humanity rose to the occasion and made the fight against it more effective and in this, the role of the country’s start-up sector, has been paramount.

“India’s strides in the world of tech and start-up are well-known. Our nation is home to one of the world’s largest start-up eco systems. Several unicorns have come up in recent years,” he said.

The Prime Minister said: “India offers what innovators and investors need.I invite the world to invest in India based on the five pillars of Talent, Market, Capital, Eco-system and Culture of openness.”

Citing reforms in different sectors, he said: “We, in India, implemented huge reforms across sectors, be it mining, space, banking, atomic energy and more. This goes on to show that India as a nation is adaptable and agile, even in the middle of the pandemic.”

Stressing India’s extensive relation with France, he said: “India and France have been working closely on a wide range of subjects. Among these, technology and digital are emerging areas of cooperation.”

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coronavirus India Latest News

Covid-19 and the invisibilization of rural India

By Barkha Dutt

As the government declares the worst of the second wave of the pandemic over in our cities and gets ready to unlock, in our villages, our citizens have been dying. And they have been dying uncounted, and mostly at home, from illnesses that match the exact symptoms of Covid-19, including plummeting oxygen levels.

On the ground, in every hamlet, even the smallest ones across states, residents say, anywhere between 20-40 deaths have taken place in May. Though rural health care infrastructure in our southern states is distinctly better than in the north, the struggle for testing and vaccines is exactly the same in large swathes of rural India, irrespective of geography.

In Tamil Nadu’s Chennasandiram panchayat of seven villages, the panchayat president Jayakumar Reddy tells me that the surge in sudden deaths in the last two months has made people even more terrified to make the trek to nearby towns and cities — the only places where they have a hope of getting a vaccine.

Among the dead is 27-year-old Vijay, who was discharged from a private hospital and told he was well enough to go home, only to die the next morning, eight hours later. We also meet Shobha, the sister of Rudresh, a young man who travelled from Bengaluru to Hosur in the hope of finding a hospital closer to his home. He ended up riding in an ambulance for 250 kilometres before dying in the vehicle, unable to find an oxygenated intensive care unit (ICU) bed. “No one cares about the poor,” his sister says, barely able to form the words through a cascade of tears.

“We want vaccines,” implores Reddy. “We are all farmers. As poor people, are we going to be completely overlooked?” he asks.

The invisibilization of rural India is the stage of the pandemic we are now at, relegated to the margins of public and policy discourse and attention.

Tragedies abound in our villages where hardly anyone is chronicling them. Not only are their deaths slipping through the official cracks — of deep concern in a week that saw Bihar reconcile its death data in thousands, causing India to breach the 6,000 mark for daily fatalities — the absence of vaccines and testing also means we may not be measuring the trajectory of the second wave accurately. The crests and troughs in Covid-19 cases and the spikes and falls of daily infographics by which we now measure the wellness of our lives have been based mostly on city-driven data.

Reddy reports 20 confirmed Covid deaths in the villages under him in Hosur. He does not think most of them have been certified.

Hundreds of miles away in Ramana village in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, the village pradhan (headman) reports twice as many deaths, 40 in the last few weeks. Ram Gopal, who lost two family members, an uncle and a grandfather, shows us all the related medical paperwork. In one case, no death certificate has been provided. In another “typical pneumonia”, and not Covid-19, is listed as the reason for the fatality.

In UP’s Kannauj, at the cremation ground, residents say four or five hearses have left their villages every day in the past few weeks.

The ethical issue with these deaths remaining uncounted and unrecognised is obvious. But from the perspective of framing public policy too, there is a real conundrum.

If sickness and death in India’s villages remain on the margins of public and media attention, do we really know for sure if cases are coming down? Is the decision to ease restrictions based on data that is entirely city-centric? And once movement between villages and cities resumes, isn’t there a real danger that the virus will also travel up and down, undetected?

In 2020 we saw the poorest Indian citizen suffer as migrant workers, in the hundreds of thousands, fled the cities on foot, sometimes barefoot, to return to the villages.

In 2021, the virus came home for the wealthy and upper-middle-class Indians. Of course, low-income households suffered the most, financial penury compounding their grief and loss.

But as the situation in the metropolises slowly comes under tenuous control, the Delta variant’s damage has once again exposed the great class divide of the virus and our response to it.

(The Op-Eds appeared in The Hindustan Times)

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e-paper-stories Latest News

Dr Murthy & Dr Parikh emphasize vaccination to end Covid

By Parveen Chopra

Editor, The South Asian Times

New York: In support of the Biden-Harris Administration’s We Can Do This public education campaign to increase confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines and encourage vaccination, TDW+Co, in partnership with the US Department of Health, hosted a virtual press briefing for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) media on June 10.

In the first half of the event, Dr Vivek H. Murthy, Surgeon General, spoke. The second half consisted of separate breakout sessions in different languages for different ethnicities. Questions from the South Asian media were responded to in English by Dr Purvi Parikh, allergist and immunologist, who is a vaccine researcher at NYU Langone Health.

While acknowledging that we all have been impacted in some ways by the pandemic, Dr Murthy emphasized that vaccination is halfway to life becoming normal again. He said that we all have to provide correct information about vaccines, lift the voices of those in each community saying that these are safe and trusted, to instill confidence in people and remove vaccine hesitancy. He pointed out that there are more ways and more easy ways to get vaccinated now in America. Sharing the fact that he worries about his wife who is Chinese and their children, Dr Murthy also spoke against hate of AAPI communities.

The very first question Dr Purvi Parikh took was from The South Asian Times:  What actions are being taken to eliminate Covid? She replied, “The biggest action is vaccines. We have seen how quickly they work, the infection rates have dropped significantly where the numbers of vaccinated are high. We are also researching how these vaccines can be adapted for new variants that may emerge. Third, we are studying all the therapeutics to treat if you do get sick.”

She said there are no long term adverse effects because these types of vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna) are not ‘live’ vaccines, meaning there is no actual Covid infection in them. The majority of side effects like fever or body ache happen within the first few days of the shot, which shows that your immunity response is kicking up.

When asked how the South Asian, especially Asian Indian community has responded to the call to get vaccinated, she said the good news is that they overwhelmingly want to get vaccinated and they do get vaccinated. They should, she said, because South Asians are at a higher risk of getting severe Covid and death from the disease as they have higher rates of diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

In the first session, Lt Adelaida M. Rosario, Office of the Surgeon General, and Tim D. Wang, Founder and Principal, TDW+Co, also spoke.

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