Home healthcare demand surges as Dengue, Chikungunya cases rise in India

Sep 4, 2016 0

New Delhi– The demand for home healthcare services has increased 20 to 30 percent as government as well as private hospitals have been flooded with Dengue and Chikungunya patients.

According to the service providers and the health experts, healthcare at home was helping the hospitals in balancing the flow of patients.

The patients subscribe to the home healthcare services after the doctors provide initial consultation to them, the experts said.

Health Care At Home (HCAH), one of the major home healthcare providers, has recorded between 150 and 200 Dengue and Chikungunya patients subscribing to the services.

HCAH, which has an annual subscriber base of three lakh patients every year, said the services were best used during the epidemic situations of Dengue, Swine Flu and Chikungunya whose cases have suddenly risen manifold.

“Health Care at Home Services are helping in a big way. During epidemic situations, not even the nurses are able to attend to all the patients admitted in the hospitals. Such services allow patients to recover faster and comfortably at home itself,” Gaurav Thukral, Vice President of HCAH, told IANS.

Medical superintendents of Safdarjung and Ram Manohar Lohia hospitals said they recorded over 100 suspected patients every day who insisted on admission even when the beds in the Dengue wards were only between 120 and 130 in each hospital.

According to Vishal Bali, chairman and co-founder of Nightingales Home Health Services, home healthcare gives immense mental peace and satisfaction helping in faster recovery.

“With plenty of advantages our team ensures holding hands of patients and family, gives facility on time by maintaining protocols, constant personal attention towards health which saves expensive hospital treatment and treats you better,” said Bali.

Bali’s company has recorded over 25,000 subscribers in the past one-and-a-half-year.

The services are not only affordable but also help in improving the patient’s health faster as they spend time with their family, unlike in a hospital.

Apart from setting up the ICU infrastructure, such organisations also provide post-surgical care, post-joint replacement care, post-cardiac surgery care, pulmonary care, elderly care and physiotherapy.

Commenting on the home healthcare services, Piyush Jain, a senior doctor of internal medicine at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, said: “No doubt such services help during the outbreak of Swine Flu and Dengue every year.”

“Patients hardly understand that we have limited beds. Through such services they undergo treatment at home comfortably after initial consultation with the doctors,” Jain said. (IANS)

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Weekly Roundup: Key Indian equity indices scale 52-week high

Sep 3, 2016 0

Mumbai– After two weeks of lacklustre trading, the latest one that ended Friday saw some renewed appetite for equities among investors, lifting two key indices to their highest levels in 52 weeks.

The sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE rose 2.7 per cent at 28,532.11 points, after touching a 52-week, intra-day high of 28,581.58 on Friday, while the Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) rose 2.78 percent at 8,809.65.

Both the indices also close at 17-month highs.

The main reason for this uptick in sentiments was the flow of some positive macro-economic data from within the country.

The official data on national income showed a 7.1 per cent growth in GDP in the first quarter of this fiscal. While the growth was slower than last year, the fast clip in the expansion of manufacturing sector was a comforting factor.

“Markets regained momentum with report of manufacturing sector growth touching a 13-month high in August, bolstered by expansion in new works as well as acceleration in buying and production levels,” said Dhruv Desai, Director and COO, Tradebulls.

“The Nikkei India Manufacturing PMI (purchase managers’ index) jumped to 52.6 in August from 51.8 in July as Indian manufacturers enjoyed a solid improvement in operating conditions last month. Sustained foreign fund inflows and persistent buying by domestic financial institutions as well as retail investors, supported the markets’ uptrend.”

But the gains, and in some cases loses, were not evenly matched across sectors.

The launch of free lifetime voice service by Reliance Industries, along with a sharp cut in its tariff for data, shook the telecom counter. The BSE telecom index lost maximum ground, of 5.8 per cent. The realty index was also down, albeit at a lower level of 1.73 per cent.

On the other hand, the indices for automobiles, banking and capital goods rose by 5.1 per cent, 3.6 per cent and 2.9 per cent, respectively, data available with the exchange showed.

This was reflected in the prices of individual stocks as well, with Tata Motors, Hero MotoCorp and UltraTech Cement being the man gainers on the BSE, while Idea Cellular, Bharti Airtel and Bharat Heavy Electricals led the losers.

“Passenger vehicle sales registered a scorching growth of 16 per cent for the month of August, which is the loudest signal on the health of the economy. This is one macroeconomic signal which is infallible in estimating the vibrancy in the economy,” said Jimeet Modi, CEO, SAMCO Securities.

Pointing to another key sectoral development, Modi said: “The government has initiated a policy decision to release Infrastructure companies’ 70 per cent of the funds stuck in arbitration awards, wherein the companies have won, but the matters are in appeal. Such a business-friendly move is unprecedented in the history of modern India.”

As regards foreign institutional investors, they were net investors in the Indian equity markets with a figure of nearly Rs 2,175 crore.

Looking ahead, analysts said the foreign funds will be keenly watched, since the markets are around a 52-week high and any signal can trigger sharp reactions.

“Investors will also closely follow important cues in the next two-three weeks like the global markets sentiment, monsoon progress and quarterly earnings season,” said Desai of Tradebulls. “Indian equity markets likely to trade volatility due to profit booking at higher levels in coming sessions.”

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Cab company Ola sacks 250 employees for non-performance

Sep 3, 2016 0

New Delhi– Bengaluru based private cab aggregator Ola last month sacked over 250 executives over non performance issues, an official said on Saturday.

The official also said the company will hire over 300 employees to strengthen its team of over 6,000 people across the 102 cities in which it operates.

“An annual attrition of three to four per cent is a natural churn witnessed in the current industry scenario. This includes performance driven exits, contract roles as well as a few surfacing from constant business realignment,” the official told IANS.

“These have been well thought through organisational decisions, keeping in mind the best interests of employees and business efficiencies,” the official added.

The company a month earlier sacked over 700 TaxiforSure service employees.

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Allahabad Bank to raise Rs 500 crore capital

Sep 3, 2016 0

Kolkata– State-run lender Allahabad Bank on Saturday said it has planned to raise up to Rs 500 crore by issuing equity shares by way of qualified institutions placement (QIP) in one or more tranches.

“…the Bank has planned to access capital market for raising capital upto the extent of Rs 500 crore (including premium) by issuing equity shares by way of Qualified Institutions Placement in one or more tranches…” the bank said in a regulatory filing to Bombay Stock Exchange.

The issuance of equity shares will be floated in such a manner that the Government of India shall continue to hold not less than 52 percent of the paid-up equity capital of the bank, it said, adding that it would seek its Board of Directors approval at the extraordinary general meeting scheduled September 28.

Owing to unfavorable market conditions, the earlier approval/consent of the shareholders for raising the equity capital of the bank upto Rs 500 crore (including premium) by way of qualified institutions placement could not materialised, the public sector lender said.

Further, it said the allotment of equity shares through qualified institutions placement route will be completed within 12 months from the date of the passage of the resolution.

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Indian trade unions go on strike, cripple banking, hit mining, trade and transport

Sep 2, 2016 0

New Delhi–India’s banking sector, mining, trade and transport were hard hit on Friday as a nationwide day-long strike by Left and Congress-affiliated trade unions in protest against the NDA central government’s “anti-labour” policies, price rise and growing unemployment evoked an overall mixed response. An industry body estimated the loss at Rs 16,000-18,000 crore.

The strike took the form of a total shutdown in Left-ruled Kerala and Tripura, Congress-ruled Karnataka, as well as Odisha, Bihar and Telangana, which are governed by regional parties. Uttar Pradesh and Haryana were majorly affected, the response mixed in Andhra Pradesh, and limited impact in national capital New Delhi and financial epicentre Mumbai.

Centre of Indian Trade Unions leader Shyamal Chakraborty said across the country, 18 crore people participated in the strike.

In Delhi and Mumbai, it was almost business as usual as public transport was unaffected and offices largely remained open. Suburban trains in Mumbai ran normally while auto-rickshaws, taxis and city buses operated unaffected.

Banking and services were crippled across the country, as nationalised banks remained closed, and even most ATMs did not function in many states.

Coal production in state-owned Singareni Collieries Company Ltd in Telangana and mining in Jharkhand came to a halt, but the Eastern Coalfields Limited in West Bengal only saw a limited impact.

Industry body Assocham estimated the loss to be between Rs 16,000-18,000 crore, lamenting that India can ill-afford strikes and shutdowns as it needs to ramp up its Gross Domestic Product growth by boosting manufacturing and other key sectors like services. It said production halts in public and private sector firms along with stoppage of transport services would damage the pace of growth.

“The industry is not against fair wages and a decent living standard for the workforce. But the demand for minimum wages should be balanced enough not to lead to a high-cost economy,” said its Secretary General D.S. Rawat.

In Kerala, it was almost a complete shutdown with public transport services not operating and government offices, schools and colleges closed.

Life was also crippled in Left-governed Tripura where shops, business establishments, markets, banks and financial institutions, government offices and educational institutions were closed and vehicles were off the roads.

However, West Bengal, a Left bastion even five years back and known for its life-crippling strikes and shutdowns, for a change, only saw partial disruption. Trains, flights, metro railway, and road transport plied normally and government offices and factories recorded normal attendances, though many shops remained closed and fewer people ventured out on the streets.

In Karnataka, shops, markets, banks and factories were shut, and buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws kept off the roads, while schools and colleges in seven of the 30 districts declared holiday.

The strike, however, did not affect IT firms and biotech firms in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mangaluru, and Hubblali.

In Odisha, public transport came to a standstill as protesters blocked roads and railway tracks, resulting in many express, passenger and freight trains getting stranded at various stations. Shops, other business establishments and some educational institutions also remained closed, while state administration was paralysed as employees did not turn up for duty.

Normal life was also hit in Bihar where the strike evoked a near-total response with shops and business establishments shut, and train and road services disrupted by activists of various trade unions.

In BJP-ruled Haryana, public transport remained off the roads leaving tens of thousands of passengers in a lurch. Private buses as well as auto-rickshaws also joined the strike.

Most of the 18 lakh government employees in Uttar Pradesh stayed away from office as the strike was supported by the state’s 250 employee unions.

Banks and commercial establishments were closed across Himachal Pradesh, but there was no impact on air, rail and road traffic.

Public transport came to a standstill in Telangana with employees of state-owned Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) joining the strike. Auto rickshaws too joined the strike at a few places.

In Andhra Pradesh, a section of employees of Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) went on strike while others reported for duty wearing black badges.

Production at Visakhapatnam Steel Plant was hit.

In Tamil Nadu, banks did not function, while several units were shut in the thriving garment manufacturing centre Tirupur, but otherwise life was more or less unaffected.

Life was also largely normal in the hill states of Uttarakhand and Mizoram.

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Kochi leads rest of country in using online classifieds

Sep 2, 2016 0

Kochi– According to a new survey, Kochi leads the rest of the country when it comes in using online classifieds OLX, CRUST (Consumer Research on Used-Goods and Selling Trends) announced on Friday.

This was the third edition of the survey (2015-16) conducted by IMRB (Indian Market Research Bureau) across 16 cities in India.

CRUST reveals that Kochi is a city of hoarders with its households stocking more unused goods than any other city in the country.

The survey reveals that cars and bikes are the most traded categories in Kochi while the city is not yet in the habit of selling unused kitchen utensils and clothes.

In addition, the city loves to stock books and toys as well, as compared to the rest of the country.

The survey also examined when it comes to selling and buying unused goods, people in south India emphasise more on the quality of the item than on the price of the product, which is very different from the trend in north India.

Kochi is a unique city where we see some very interesting consumer trends, said Amarjit Singh Batra, CEO of OLX India.

“Our data shows that 70 per cent of Kochiites have experienced online classifieds in some form, with 15-35 years age-group being the most active. Kochi is one of the key markets for us, and we’ll be observing these trends closely in the city to bring about a bigger change,” Batra said.

Sushmita Balasubramaniam, Vice President of IMRB, Shopper and Retail, said that every year new facets emerge in terms of new trends and changing perceptions.

“One of the more interesting findings of this year is about the value of used goods that are sold online versus sold offline versus exchanged. The value of goods sold online is 47 per cent higher than those which are exchanged for purchasing new products,” said Balasubramaniam. (IANS)

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TAC Security bags Startup of the Year award at Assocham event

Sep 2, 2016 0

New Delhi– Cyber-security solutions provider TAC Security on Friday received the “Startup of the Year” award in the IT/ITES category at the apex industry body Assocham’s “Startup Summit and Tech Awards” event here.

“We are a homegrown company providing actual end-to-end security solutions. This award corroborates our strength as a startup having a whole array of offerings in terms of network, application and web security solutions,” Trishneet Arora, CEO of TAC Security, said in a statement.

The event was organised in association with Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), Punjab and Haryana governments.

According to Dalip Sharma, Director of Assocham, the summit aims at developing the entire startup eco-system in north India, from informing startups about their capital requirements, incubation, marketing and financial support to scale up their businesses.

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Cyrus Poonawalla Group launches eco-friendly toilets in Mumbai

Sep 2, 2016 0

Mumbai– Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday inaugurated the first of the eco-friendly, state-of-the-art and hygienic toilet facilities set up by the Cyrus Poonawalla Group (CPG) here.

A total of 10 toilets will be built in the first phase of the Rs 1 billion CSR-cum-contribution initiative of the group, which is headed by CEO Adar C. Poonawalla.

The group will construct 80 toilets across the city.

Devendra Fadnavis Maharashtra CM

Devendra Fadnavis Maharashtra CM

The first toilet block, along with separate changing rooms for men and women, has come up at the Mumbai Police Headquarters near Crawford Market, with others coming up at Government Railway Police office in Naigaon, Railway Protection Force office on Grant Road and other locations.

Poonawalla said that after the beginning in Mumbai, the CPG plans similar ventures in all major cities including New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and others.

“We need more private participants to come forward and join hands in the ‘Swachha Bharat Abhiyan’ to make India garbage-free. The government is trying to make the country open-defecation free for which proper sanitation facilities, like these, are required on a large scale,” Fadnavis said on the occasion.

Poonawalla assured that with today’s beginning the CPG would provide modern and comfortable sanitation facilities for the railway and police personnel and more toilets would be constructed in Maharashtra and other states in phases.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Police Commissioner Datta Padsalgikar, Cyrus Poonawalla Group CEO Adar C. Poonawalla, BJP national spokesperson Shaina N.C., Bollywood actress Raveena Tandon and other dignitaries at the launch of eco-friendly toilets in Mumbai.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Police Commissioner Datta Padsalgikar, Cyrus Poonawalla Group CEO Adar C. Poonawalla, BJP national spokesperson Shaina N.C., Bollywood actress Raveena Tandon and other dignitaries at the launch of eco-friendly toilets in Mumbai.

Good and hygienic sanitation facilities at workplaces for the people involved in heavy-duty jobs would provide them with a better and healthier environment which the CPG will attempt, he added.

Present on the occasion were several state ministers, Mumbai Police Commissioner Datta Padsalgikar, BJP national spokesperson Shaina NC and Bollywood actress Raveena Tandon among others.

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Do not allow Kerala, Karnataka projects on Cauvery, TN urges central government

Sep 2, 2016 0

Chennai– The Tamil Nadu assembly on Friday unanimously urged the central government not to accept recommendations for conducting an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a dam across Siruvani river in Kerala.

Passing a resolution moved by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa in the assembly, the state also urged the central government not to allow any projects by Kerala and Karnataka till the Cauvery Management Board and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee come into force and judicial references are finally settled.

J. Jayalalithaa

J. Jayalalithaa

The resolution was moved and passed following the recommendations made by the Expert Appraisal Committee for River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

The committee at its meeting on August 11 and 12, recommended grant of Standard Terms of Reference for conducting EIA to Kerala so it could build a dam across Siruvani river at Attappady.

Earlier, moving the resolution, Jayalalithaa said Siruvani river is a sub-tributary of the Cauvery river which is an inter-state river.

She said the Cauvery Tribunal has taken the water available to Kerala from Siruvani river and has arrived at the sharing of waters between various states.

The Tamil Nadu government has written to the Centre and the Kerala government, objecting to the proposed project.

Jayalalitha said the central government has not informed Tamil Nadu about the proposal or that it would be considered at the Expert Appraisal Committee meeting. (IANS)

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Illegal construction is now legal in Himachal

Sep 2, 2016 0

By Vishal Gulati

Shimla– Illegal is now legal in Himachal Pradesh, once again.

For, the state assembly has passed a bill for legalising illegal constructions across the state, mainly dotted across this capital town, once known as the Queen of Hills.

Some of the buildings are in danger of collapsing like a pack of cards even with a moderate intensity temblor that can be catastrophic for congested settlements where extracting bodies would be difficult.

But it’s all within the legal framework, at least now.

Justifying the passage of the Himachal Pradesh Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Bill of 2016, Town and Country Planning Minister Sudhir Sharma told IANS that mass demolition of illegal buildings was not practical.

“So we have brought a one-time relaxation policy to get the illegal structures compounded,” he added.

Official sources said the amended bill would enable legalising over 25,000 unauthorised structures — both commercial and residential — in the state.

Successive state governments earlier brought the retention or regularisation policy on six ocassions from time to time.

“Five times the retention policy was brought to legalise constructions in Shimla town alone. In 2009, the policy was implemented in the entire state. So far, 8,198 applications have come but only 2,108 buildings have been regularised,” the minister said, adding the state High Court took serious note of this time and again.

“That is why we have carried out necessary amendments to the original act of 1977 to enable the people across the state to get the benefit of regularisation for the last time,” Sharma said.

Earlier, this bill was brought on February 19, 2014, but on the demand of the opposition BJP, it was referred to a select committee of the assembly. After that, the government twice promulgated an ordinance to regularise the buildings.

“The deliberate delays in tabling the bill gave enough time to the builders and influential people to complete the illegal constructions,” an official of the state’s Town and Country Planning Department told IANS.

Anguished over the government’s populist policies, Shimla resident Arun Sharma said: “Successive governments, be it the Congress or the BJP, have converted the towns literally into concrete jungles. It’s no matter that the buildings are structurally safe or not.”

P.C. Lohumi, who is settled in this town for over five decades, said all those who are supporting the retention policy, which would spell Shimla’s doom, have no right to talk about its degradation.

“It’s strange that all the political parties are supporting the violators of law indulging in illegal constructions and showing the mirror to law-abiding people. It’s simply a nexus among the corrupt politicians, builders and bureaucrats,” he added.

Tremors in the past have failed to shake authorities out of their slumber. Four low-intensity earthquakes hit state’s Kullu and Shimla districts on August 27.

The next day another mild quake hit Chamba district.

Officials fear that a high-intensity quake can turn Shimla town into a tomb of rubble as it falls in seismic zone IV-V, suggesting severest seismic sensitivity.

Planned for a maximum population of 16,000, Shimla now supports 2,36,000 people, as per provisional figures for the 2011 census.

“More than 200 public utility buildings, comprising hospitals and government schools and colleges within the municipal limits of Shimla require seismic strengthening,” Deputy Mayor Tikender Panwar told IANS.

In Sanjauli, a congested locality on Shimla’s outskirts, the dead often have to be lifted out of homes with ropes in case of mishaps.

Soon after the bill for legalising illegal constructions was passed, the state high court again expressed its displeasure.

“Thousands of unauthorised constructions have not been raised overnight. The government machinery was mute spectator by letting the people to raise unauthorised constructions and also encroach upon the government land,” a division bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Sureshwar Thakur said earlier this week.

But fearing a backlash, Minister Sharma said: “If somebody raised structurally unsafe floors or buildings in the garb of getting them regularised, we will not regularise them.” (IANS)

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