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168 stranded Indian students flown home in the first batch of Repatriation Mission

The Vande Bharat mission, which many are citing as the largest repatriation mission since the Kuwait airlift of 1990 has been started in earnest by the Government of India. The mission is aiming to bring back stranded citizens and students abroad who are stuck because of the restrictions of travel due to the global Coronavirus pandemic.

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The first batch of such students, 168 in number and stranded in Bangladesh left for their home in Srinagar aboard a special Air India flight on Friday. The Indian High Commission in Bangladesh expressed in a statement that the first phase of repatriation would be conducted all through next week with 7 chartered flights carrying 170 passengers each. Flights for Srinagar will leave on may 8,12, and 13; flights to Delhi on may 9 and 11; flight to Mumbai on may 10 and to Chennai on May 14. the Commission has also launched a dedicated link on its website for residents looking to return to India.

The High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das updated in a post on Twitter that the flight is “carrying only students. The students are enrolled in medical colleges in the country. We were in constant touch with them and their colleges have also taken good care of them.”

With flights banned in Bangladesh till May 16th to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, the repatriation began under a special agreement between the two countries. The Bangladeshi Government has already repatriated 2000 citizens from India with 14 flights with 9 more such flights being planned to bring back the rest of the Bangladeshi nationals stranded in India.

The pro-active nature of the government to bring back stranded citizens and NRI’s outside India should be lauded but it also brings to question the way the migrant labourers are being treated with apathy within India by the government. The Karnataka government refusing to let labourers go back due to pressure from the building lobby, The BJP government charging train fares, and the horrific incident In Aurangabad today where migrant labourers walking back to their homes on train tracks were crushed by a freight train with 16 dead.

All these incidents bring into question the government’s dedication to helping the poor during times of crisis and the lack of importance they have given to their lives. One can only hope that the approach given to stranded Indians abroad is given to the working class within our country by the government soon.

Featured Post Social Issues

TikTok raises Rs 30 crores through quiz, donates to the PM Cares Fund

TikTok has been seen as a ‘time-wasting’ social media app by many before lockdown. Sections of students used to look down on the app and its users but during lockdown, many of these people have changed their tune. TikTok has become a heavily used app providing people respite from the situation in the country and the world, alongside which TikTok has also contributed tremendously to government campaigns, the fight against coronavirus, and awareness campaigns.

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TikTok has partnered with several government, international, and non governmental organisations such as MyGov, WHO, PIB, and UNICEF India. It is also using its influence among its vast consumer base by using campaigns such as #GharBaithoIndia. This is an inspiring example of how multibillion dollar companies, especially with young customers such as TikTok can find innovative ways to use awareness campaigns.

In April, TikTok donated Rs 100 crore worth of health equipment to the doctors and frontline medical staff of India. This supply included 400,000 hazmat suits and 200,000 masks.TikTok also suggested that if further help would be needed it would be willing to lend a helping hand.

TikTok also came up with another innovative idea to raise awareness in the form of an in-app quiz. The quiz called “Kheloge Aap, Jeetega India” which aims to spread information about corona virus through the game. To garner increased participation, Tiktok said that it would donate to the PM cares fund if users participated in the quiz. This saw increased participation worldwide with around 7 million entries worldwide in 5 days as of 27th April 2020. This led to TikTok donating Rs 30 crores to the PM Cares Fund.

TikTok has set an inspiring example for a lot of other companies. It has shown that during these times of crisis, profits are not everything and how to exercise social responsibility. TikTok has shown ways to innovatively use social media for social outreach and responsibility In times like this, multi billion dollar organizations should step up and Tiktok is an exemplary example. So, the next time one looks at TikTok as a time wasting app, one should look at its contributions during times of crisis.

Featured Post Lifestyle Tips

Students and lockdown: how to cope with your mental health

With the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic, the country has been plunged into a lockdown since march, with many areas still in the red zone, there is no definitive idea on when this lockdown will end. The lockdown is currently the best option to break the chain of transmission in the country, but something which shouldn’t be ignored is the effect the lockdown and isolation can have on the mental health of students.

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One thing that is incredibly important to remember and acknowledge is that the lockdown is not a productivity contest. The human race is collectively facing one of the biggest challenges the younger generation might have seen, and it is okay to not be productive even though more free time is available. Everyone is facing a myriad of emotions being locked up and away from the outside world and its interactions in a very unstable time in human history, and shouldn’t have to burden themselves with the need to be productive.

Universities and colleges might still be piling on assignments and tests, with no clarity about whether semester exams will be conducted, it is the bare minimum to complete these assignments but do not hold it against yourself if you are not able to do your best. In times like these, it is the worst thing possible to compare your performance and productivity with your friends and classmates.

One idea to keep in mind are active distractions, do activities which will keep your mind off the situation for a few hours. Play video games, catch up on your Netflix, read, write, help around in the house, and do things that make you happy. Monitoring the situation constantly wont be helpful to anyone, least of all to your mental health.

In relation to active distractions, try taking breaks from your social media or phone in general. During the lockdown, social media has become filled with fake news or with people trying to communalise the issue, sometimes seeing all of this can adversely affect one’s mental condition, and as such it is better to take breaks from social media to mentally refresh and rejuvenate from the fake news.

Another option is working out and fitness at home. Either following western exercises or following yoga is a great way to take this lockdown as an opportunity to improve your health and fitness, also exercises have the capability to release endorphins which will make you feel better.

Lastly, remember to stay positive in the face of this crisis. The most important factor in getting through this crisis is the belief that the human race, all of us collectively will be able to fight through this crisis. The pandemic seems like a steep mountain but throughout history the human spirit has faced and conquered greater challenges and it will triumph in the face of this pandemic too.

Written by : Prabhanu K Das

Aligarh Muslim University Featured Post

AMU receives another testing machine for COVID-19

Aligarh, April 22:

More than 200 patients can be tested for COVID-19 daily at one of the frontline line hospital of the Western Uttar Pardesh, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), with the installation of another RT-PCR testing machine today. The machine costing nearly 15 lakhs, given by the Uttar Pradesh government, will enable, JNMCH to speed up the testing.

AMU Vice-Chancellor, Prof Tariq Mansoor said that the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital of AMU is one of the accredited centres for testing COVID-19. “With the coordinated efforts of district administration including Commissioner, the District Magistrate, the Chief Development Officer, and Chief Medical Officer, JNMCH got another RT-PCR testing machine,” he said. He thanked the state government and said it would go a long way to curb the spread of COVID-19 and added that the AMU and its affiliate institutions are at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19.

Prof Shahid Siddiqui (Principal, JNMCH) noted that the arrival of the new machine would bolster our ability to test as many as 200 samples a day.

More than 3000 free tests of COVID-19 samples have been conducted so far at JNMCH, and the new machine will surely boost our capacity to dispose of more samples of COVID-19, he said.

Aligarh Muslim University Featured Post

AMU alumnus develops COVID-19 testing kit

Aligarh, April 18:

Alumnus of Aligarh Muslim University has developed the first indigenous coronavirus testing kit in response to World Health Organisation (WHO)’s call to all countries to ramp up coronavirus testing.

Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) alumnus from the Department of Biochemistry, Mr Nadeem Rahman, Director, NuLife Consultants and Distributors Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi has developed India’s first Antibody based testing kit which takes less than 15 minutes to yield accurate result. Its cost is 500 rupees at present and the labs charge 4500 rupees for it. The new kit will provide the general population in India with adequate access to cost-effective testing.

Mr Rahman was permitted by the government authorities during the nation-wide lockdown to reopen the NuLife Consultants and Distributors Pvt. Ltd lab, where he developed India’s first ‘Anti-Body based Testing Kit’ to do finger-prick tests, which only takes nearly fifteen minutes to yield accurate results.

The testing kits launched in just a span of two weeks have been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and soon the regular production will start, said Mr Rahman.

“We are confident of churning out one lakh kits a day to bring a faster and suitable solution for large-scale screenings,” he added.

Thanking the Government of Uttar Pradesh and ICMR for putting the trust in his team, Mr Rahman pointed out that a set of the testing kit will cost around 500-600 Rupees and the price is likely to further go down.

“The best part of this rapid and lesser time-taking kit is that it is economical to produce unlike the expensive RT-PCR testing kits,” he said.

Mr Rahman added that the anti-body based kit will ease the pressure on the pathology services struggling with COVID-19 detection in the Country.

“We are proud that an AMU alumnus has developed the much needed affordable testing kit when we see the surge in the number of coronavirus cases despite stringent measures are being implemented in the country.  It is a major cause of worry,” said AMU Vice Chancellor, Professor Tariq Mansoor, while praising Mr Rahman for his invaluable contribution to India’s fight to curb COVID-19.    

Prof Qayyum Husain, Dean, Faculty of Life Sciences who taught Mr Rahman when he was pursuing BSc and MSc in Biochemistry at AMU said that the launch of first anti-body based testing kit in India is an extra-ordinary achievement in the public interest.

AMU and its alumni are at the forefront of India’s fight against coronavirus. The Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College of the University has already conducted 2500 free-of-costs tests.