Review on Proposed Changes in Lakshadweep

Lakshadweep is the smallest union territory of India, which comprises many tiny coral islands on the country’s south-west coast. Lakshadweep is one of the most peaceful areas of India, with untouched beauty, and unique local culture. The sandy coral islands, that form like a necklace of the Arabian Sea, are rich in corals and biodiversity. For centuries and even for 74 years after independence, Lakshadweep coexisted peacefully as a Union Territory of India, where the locals happily earned their livelihood doing their own business. For the past 3 months, we are seeing an increased agitation in Lakshadweep against some newly introduced policies of the Indian Government.

Some point out the communalism played by the Indian Government against a minority religion. Over 97% of Lakshadweep people are Muslims. Their economic livelihood was supported by agriculture, deep-sea fishing, small home industries and of course tourism. The governance of all these was left with the local panchayats and the locals themselves had got benefited from them. However, Lakshadweep Administrator, who is a representative of the Union Territory and appointed by the Union Government, has now taken full control over all of them. The reason given was unsatisfactory to the locals as well as many Indian political thinkers. The Lakshadweep Administrator introduced a debatable Anti-Goonda Act, that allows anyone to be arrested for 1 year without trial. On an island, where the crime rate is almost zero and the lowest in India, the introduction of such an Act is viewed with suspicion by local leaders, who perceive it as a method of suppressing the rebellion. A new rule on panchayat elections has been imposed, where any local leader having more than 2 children were barred from participating in elections or other Government schemes.

Beef, which forms a very important part of Lakshadweep cuisine, was banned. Schools were forbidden to include any non-vegetarian items in mid-day meals, where fish and meat were the predominant food items of the locals. Alcohol was banned in Lakshadweep since antiquity. The ban is now being lifted mostly to help tourists get access to alcohol. Even the lands of the locals, who belong to the Scheduled Tribes category, are in jeopardy. Lakshadweep Development Authority (LDA) was established for developing the islands of Lakshadweep in the pattern of Maldives. According to the Government, LDA is supposed to boost tourism in the region with world-class resorts, urban facilities and employment of the locals. However, the locals fear that they will be forced to give up their land, will be evicted and sent to mainland India, and will provide land for business to non-natives.

Not only the Lakshadweep people but also many mainlanders oppose such kind of development in the eco-sensitive region. Environmentalists are concerned that large scale construction will destroy the corals. The politicians accused of snatching away the rights of the Lakshadweep people. Many religious groups see it as a disturbance between the peaceful coexistence of Hindu and Muslim culture that prevailed for centuries in the region. Left and Congress are banned from entering Lakshadweep, while tourists with a negative RT-PCR test, can enter Lakshadweep without any quarantine. This mandatory quarantine rule for all tourists was lifted in May 2021 following which Lakshadweep recorded its first-ever Covid-19 case. Now the situation has worsened among the small population as Covid cases increase, reaching 100 a day by June 2021. Though many of the changes were not implemented yet, the Administrator is thinking about withdrawing some of the proposed changes that have drawn the people to protest. While making changes are good for a society to develop, it is equally important to preserve the rights of the locals, their customs and traditions, and also protect the environment at the same time for sustainable development.

Written by – Himadri Paul

Vaccine hesitancy

Covid19 is an ongoing disease across the globe. After almost a year of struggles, the vaccine for this deadly disease has been found. 

Covid Vaccine

What is a vaccine?

It is a preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a specific infectious disease.

Vaccines are of great importance to prevent the infection. Recently, many people show a sign of hesitance towards the Covid vaccine. Vaccine hesitancy is the refusal to get vaccinated despite its availability. Several diseases that have taken the lives of thousands before have been completely eradicated now due to the vaccine administration. Let’s not forget about the deadly infectious diseases like Polio, Tetanus, Mumps, and Chickenpox that were put to an end. 

Side effects are considered to be the biggest reason for people refusing vaccines. Vaccines may have side effects like slight fever. But serious side effects are rare. 

Besides, social media spreading vaccine misinformation should be tackled. People trust blindly the information they receive without analyzing the facts and myths. These highlighted a lot of anxiety among the public. One such rumour that spread is that the vaccine could give the disease. They are designed to prevent the disease. People fail to understand this. Vaccines don’t give us the disease they are meant to prevent. They are administered only after detailed and accurate reviews by the Doctors, scientists and other researchers. 

Some people are convinced that the natural immunity is more effective than that is acquired through vaccination. 

Reasons why it is important to get vaccinated:

Vaccines can save lives by preventing contagious diseases

It is safe and effective 

Rapid development

It keeps us safe and healthy.

Doctors, Scientists, and other health researchers strive hard to put this contagious disease to an end. Which is why they have come up with the vaccines that would save thousands and thousands of lives. Do not get misinterpreted by the fake news or rumours. 

Written by R.Varsha

COVID management in India

India was the second-highest contributor of cases around the world with about 11 million cases. All this due to the high population. But it cannot be ignored that around 97% of patients were healed from COVID in India. Over 1,200 cases and 30 deaths were reported by the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (as of March 31, 2020). The cases were unequally distributed across the country with Maharashtra and Kerala recording the highest number.

Government’s role

  • Border control practice for screening passengers.
  • Early closure of borders for air passengers from affected countries.
  • Barring visitors from selected countries.
  • Lower rate of air traffic.
  • Media associated with spreading awareness.
  • Sudden lockdown helped keep the cases in the control.
  • Compulsive tests and sanitization in slums and places with least hygiene.

The Dharavi Model

Dharavi: Asia’s biggest slum. With its narrow streets, congested housing, underfunded health care and poor sanitization, many thought India’s largest slum would be devastated by COVID-19.

Instead of hundreds of daily cases, the biggest slum became the biggest example of Government’s well-planned methods. The streets and restrooms of the slum were sanitized continuously. A single restroom used by hundreds of people and sanitizing it for many times a day was a difficult job for the health workers. The residents did not go to the hospitals even after being tested positive because of the ill-management of hospitals and lack of staff and equipment. The health workers would test every remember of every house even if they showed no symptoms. Dharavi after implementing the new method, in upcoming weeks had been reporting only single-digit increases and the number of active cases is less than 3 per cent of the total and now there are no new cases. The mortality rate is also low.

WHO lavished praise on local authorities after they embarked on an ambitious and comprehensive program to bring the coronavirus under control in a region where social distancing and contact tracing is impossible. A place where 15 members reside in a house of 150 square feet area, the management was not so easy. The Dharavi Model has been adopted in other parts of the country as well.

History’s help

  1. Broad-based immunity in the Indian population due to the extensive microbial load.
  2. Exposed to a vast variety of pathogens, including bacteria, parasites and viruses like Malaria, AIDS, Tuberculosis and many more, in the past years
  3. Role of Indian spices in augmenting immunity as per Ayurveda.

Some states might have failed to manage the number but overall India as a nation successfully brought the count down. And with the vaccines coming up, we can fight COVID easily.

Deepali K.