New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) Even in the worst of the times during the Wave 1 of Covid pandemic last year, the country was still optimistic and general opinion was that the country is moving forward even in the difficult times.But everything seems to have changed in last one month or so. Now majority of the Indians are saying that their personal life as well as the Country, both are in poor state, as per the IANS-CVoter Covid 19 Tracker. The sample size of the Covid-19 tracker was 56685 and the period of the survey was January 1 to May 27, 2021 covering all 542 Lok Sabha segments. Every 10th household in India is right now reporting an active case within immediate family members and almost every fifth household in India is reporting loss of life among near and dear ones, as per the IANS C Voter Tracker. This means one in every 10 Indian families has at least one family member suffering from Covid and one in every 20 Indian families has self-reported a death within immediate or extended family. Majority of Indians reported that in the last one year or so their overall living standard has dropped significantly. This happened almost a year back and that red line has not come down since then. Worse is, the ever-optimistic Indian is so much spiraling down the pessimism at the moment that they don't see any ray of hope in the coming 12 months either. And the fear remains about someone in the family getting infected or not getting treatment. This fear is unlikely to go down till the actual number of cases go down and people start getting treatment and oxygen properly without getting too stressed about it. Our tracker is generally one to two weeks ahead of the official trendline, and we don't see that happening for next 6 to 8 weeks in near future. The tracker found that Corona becomes the top issue, again in India and the number of confirmed +ve cases and deaths within immediate family as reported by Tracker is multiple times over the official Government numbers. Even by the most conservative estimates, the self-reported ILI (Influenza like illness) symptoms is directly in sync with the trendline of self-reported Covid positive cases. Needless to say, that only a fraction of such cases have been tested for Covid, as usual. So, the lack of testing is being passed as lack of positive cases. "Whichever way we calculate, the official records are showing less than 1/10th of numbers that is being reported by the public, be it in case of Active report or be it the case of mortalities. The self-reported numbers by "We, the people of India" are numbing, and experienced by all of us barring the "system", the tracker found. --IANSsan/in
New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) Almost half of Indians showed their dissatisfaction with the Indian government's way of handling the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that began its second wave in March 2021.A total of 46.6 per cent people in a survey said they did not "think the Indian government is handling the Coronavirus well". Of them 29.2 per cent strongly disagreed with the steps being taken by the government to handle the viral outbreak.The IANS-CVoter Covid tracker survey, which was conducted in the last seven days on a total of 6,872 people across the country, also revealed that 48.7 per cent agreed the steps so far adopted by the Indian government while handling Covid-19.Replying to whether they believed "the threat from the Coronavirus is exaggerated", 46.8 per cent agreed while 39.4 per cent did not.Similar survey was also conducted on 56,685 people between January 1 and May 27 this year.The survey comes at a time when India's overall tally of Covid-19 cases now stood at 2,78,94,800 with 21,14,508 active cases and 3,25,972 deaths so far.India reported less than 2 lakh Covid-19 cases third day in a row on Sunday, with 1,65,553 fresh cases recorded in the last 24 hours. In the same time span, 3,460 patients succumbed to the coronavirus, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry said.--IANSrak/in
New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Covid-19 has changed the way people live, work and socialise and after a year of lockdowns, 98 per cent of consumers (those surveyed) in India have made at least one permanent change to their lifestyle since the outbreak of the pandemic, a new Accenture survey said on Tuesday.While 87 per cent of respondents in India said they want to work from a "third space" -- a location other than their home or workplace (highlighting a potential opportunity to grow revenue for the hospitality and retail industries), 57 per cent of respondents have no business travel plans post-pandemic or they intend to cut it by half."Online purchases for products by infrequent e-commerce users in India have increased by 667 per cent,a¿ the findings showed.The findings of the global consumer survey, which covered more than 9,650 people in 19 countries including more than 500 in India, suggest that the pandemic is set to trigger a new wave of innovation as retailers, consumer goods companies shift from reaction to reinvention."As companies shift from reaction to reinvention, they need to harness digital's full potential across the value chain at speed and scale,a¿ said Anurag Gupta, managing director and lead, Strategy and Consulting, Accenture in India.Many consumer-facing companies have re-platformed their businesses in the cloud, addressed cost pressures, and continued to build resilience and security, putting the infrastructure in place to enable innovation and position them for future success."Adoption of digital technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, combined with a well-defined purpose, can help companies to not only reach out to consumers in innovative ways but also adapt faster to the evolving market demands,a¿ said Manish Gupta, managing director and lead for Products practice, Accenture in India.Not only do people think some of their work habits and travel plans have likely permanently changed, but many also think their shopping habits have evolved for the long haul. The latest research supports previous findings that the dramatic rise in e-commerce is likely to remain or accelerate further, the report showed.a--IANSna/sdr/
New Delhi, May 17 (IANS) Health expenditure of Indians is likely to surge from the current levels and impact the expenditure on items of discretionary consumption, according to an SBI Ecowrap report."Health expenditure, currently at 5 per cent of overall PFCE (private final consumption expenditure), could increase by at least 11 per cent from the current level. This is likely to also result in squeeze in expenditure on other items of discretionary consumption, a recipe for a cutback in consumption spending," it said.It noted that although CPI inflation slowed to 4.29 per cent in April 2021 from 5.52 per cent in March 2021, primarily due to easing food prices, as the pandemic rages through India, it is worthwhile to look beyond the headline inflation.In particular, rural core has now jumped to 6.4 per cent in April 2021 and would rise further in May 2021. Increasing health expenditure because of the pandemic is having a meaningful impact in rural areas. Item-wise inflation of Health CPI shows persistent month-on-month increase in inflation of non-institutional medicine, and X-ray, ECG, pathological tests.Even hospital and nursing home charges have increased in April 2021. In the current pandemic, headline inflation may not be incorrect to look at, said the report."A more important price concept is the relative prices which are not a monetary phenomenon but their movements convey important information about the scarcity of particular goods and services as now like health," it said.It noted that overall CPI declined in April 2021 because of significant decline in food CPI, but when the relative prices of food items is compared to overall CPI, the deceleration was not sharp as it was seen in actual food CPI. Similarly, for certain items like fuel and health, the increase in relative prices is maximum.The core CPI, which was showing a decline of 57 bps, increased in relative terms by 18 points."We believe such distortions in relative prices must be looked through now as it could have an important impact on ratcheting up future inflationary expectations..," the report said.--IANSrrb/sn/vd
London, May 1 (IANS) Admitting that he is facing immense pressure from "some of the most powerful people in India" demanding supplies of Covishield, Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla said on Saturday that the company is also planning to start vaccine production in the UK, the media reported.In an interview with The Times, Poonawalla said that everything falls on his shoulders when it comes to delivering the Covid vaccine to millions in India."I'm staying here (London) for an extended time because I don't want to go back to that situation. Everything falls on my shoulders, but I can't do it alone...I don't want to be in a situation where you are just trying to do your job, and just because you can't supply the needs of X, Y or Z, you really don't want to guess what they are going to do," Poonawalla told The Times.Referring to the phone calls from some of the most powerful people in India to get them vaccines first, he added: "The level of expectation and aggression is really unprecedented. It's overwhelming. Everyone feels they should get the vaccine. They can't understand why anyone else should get it before them."India is facing an immense crunch of vaccines amid the lethal second Covid wave, and as the country started vaccination for people in the 18-44 age group in its third drive on Saturday, several states are unable to start the immunisation drive because of the demand-supply gap.The CEO of the Pune-based pharmaceutical company said that the company will make an official announcement to produce vaccines in London in the coming days."There's going to be an announcement in the next few days," he said.Recently, SII had borrowed money from banks instead of waiting for the government's aid to arrive to scale up the production of its Covishield vaccine.The company assumed that the funding from the government will reach them very soon, probably by this week.Covishield has been developed by the Oxford University and AstraZeneca and manufactured by the SII.The government recently announced that it has given in-principle approval for credit to vaccine manufacturers, SII and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, to boost India's vaccine production in the wake of the huge surge in Covid-19 caseload.The Union Finance Ministry has approved to sanction Rs 3,000 crore credit for SII and Rs 1,500 crore for Bharat Biotech.Poonawalla had earlier suggested that the company would require around Rs 3,000 crore to increase production of Covid-19 vaccines.--IANSna/arm
Toronto, May 1 (IANS) Ontario, Canada's worst-hit province which is battling the third wave of the coronavirus, has sought a ban on the arrival of international students.Currently, students from India make up the majority of international students studying in Ontario.Making this announcement on Friday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that since 94 per cent of all new cases in Ontario are of new variant of the virus and are coming from outside, he would urge the federal government to ban the arrival of International students into the province to check the spread of the virus.The Premier said, "Not enough is being done to keep these deadly variants out of Canada. Last week, the new Indian variant was reported here in Ontario. It didn't swim here I can tell you that."Responding to the Ontario Premier's request, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that his government would do everything to stop the spread of the virus.Trudeau said, "Premier Ford has asked that we should suspend the arrival of international students and because at this time Ontario is the only province making this request, we are happy to work narrowly with them."Canada banned all direct flights from India for one month earlier this week, after Health Canada statistics showed that many passengers from India were testing positive for the virus.There were 219,855 Indian students in Canada last year, making up about a third of all 642,480 foreign students. The majority of them study in institutions in Ontario.--IANSint/rs
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