Although India has faced earthquakes and tsunamis, COVID-19 has been one of the largest crises India has ever had to address. Yet, one of the silver linings of the pandemic is the generosity of people who offered both financial and in-kind help. Notably, as per the recent World Giving Index report, India has risen to become the world’s 14th most charitable country, as a result of monetary contributions made by philanthropists, corporations, non-profits, and individuals.
From education to work, to social engagements, all aspects of Indian lives changed in unprecedented ways, and it seems that these societal changes will continue, now that the third wave of coronavirus is expected to hit later this year.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the country, charitable citizens– in individual and collective capacities– not only offered financial support, but also came up with unique, creative ideas to provide help to India’s most vulnerable populations. From converting auto-rickshaws into ambulances to setting up COVID-19 care helplines, and the citizens became more accustomed to giving without reservation.
The Vaccine Drive
India is one of the first countries to develop COVID-19 vaccine by Bharat Biotech, Covaxin in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) – National Institute of Virology (NIV). It is included along with immune-potentiators which are added to the vaccine to increase and boost its immunogenicity. The monthly vaccine production capacity of Covishield is planned to be increased from 11 crore doses to more than 12 crore doses per month and of Covaxin from 2.5 crore doses to around 5.8 crores. From January 16 to August 5, 44.42 crore doses of Covishield was supplied by Serum Institute of India and 6.82 crore doses of Covaxin by Bharat Biotech for the National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme.
Implementing Spiritual Path
A land of many religions and spirituality, India has addressed the mental effects of the Pandemic in a spiritual way to overcome stress and anxiety caused by the fast-paced sedentary lifestyles. The Indian way of life envision the entire world as ‘one family’, and the government has urged religious leaders to take the message of spirituality and service to the youth and the masses.
India adapted and embraced online education as soon as the Pandemic hit the country. For the effective implementation of online education, The National Education Policy initiated various policies such as National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission for preparing framework on FL&N, codification of learning outcomes; E-learning expansion through DIKSHA for providing a large number of curriculum-linked e-content through several solutions such as QR coded Energized Textbooks (ETBs), courses for teachers, quizzes, etc.; an initiative called ‘Manodarpan’ for mental health and wellbeing of students; CBSE exam reforms; and constituting own Task Force in each to steer implementation of the NEP provisions in their respective jurisdiction.
Citing the role of farmers for increased food grain production in the previous year, despite the severe hardship caused by the pandemic, the Indian government has focussed on increasing the storage capacities, remove restrictions on crop transportation, and encourage food processing to make agriculture more remunerative. The government has called for a renewed national effort through the collaboration of civic society, agriculturalists, agronomists, students, and researchers to make agriculture profitable and villages thriving economic hubs.
India finished 48th on the medal tally in Tokyo, its highest ranking in over four decades. The 7 medals include 1 Gold Medal, 2 Silver medals and 4 Bronze medals. Naveen Chopra hurled an astonishing throw of 86.58 and won a gold medal for India. Ravi Kumar Dahiya won a Silver medal in Wrestling. Mirabai Chanu also won a Silver Medal for India in Weight Lifting (49 Kg Women).
PV Sindhu became the first Indian female athlete to win 2 consecutive medals in the Olympic Games. She won Bronze for India in Women’s Singles Badminton. Lovlina Borogohain fetched a Bronze medal in Women’s Welterweight Boxing for India. Indian Hockey team created history by winning a Bronze medal in Olympics after 40 years of wait. Bajrang Punia brought home the Bronze Medal for India in Wrestling.
e-RUPI is a digital solution launched to allow a cashless payment solution for COVID-19 vaccination. The digital payment solution has been developed with the support of DFS (Department of Financial Services) and NHA (National Health Authority) and are powered by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
This seamless one-time payment mechanism enables users to redeem the voucher without a card, digital payments app, or internet banking access, at the merchants accepting UPI e-Prepaid Vouchers. The e-RUPI would be shared with the beneficiaries for a specific purpose or activity by organizations via SMS or QR code.
This contactless e-RUPI is easy, safe, and secure as it keeps the details of the beneficiaries completely confidential. The entire transaction process through this voucher is relatively faster and at the same time reliable, as the required amount is already stored in the voucher.