Sugar-free Mangoes – The New Trend

Mangoes are the favourite fruit of most people around the globe. However, it is disheartening for diabetic people who don’t consume it due to its high sugar content. It is true that mango has high sugar content. Many businesses have cropped in selling diabetic mangoes that are claimed to be good for health. That is quite good, as mangoes are really a superfood, good for health and very tasty at the same time. But does that mean diabetic patients have to rely only on sugar-free mangoes? Let’s discuss this in this article.

Every Indian household buys mangoes during summer. Mango in India is a seasonal fruit, which is available only in the summer season. Hence, most cultures of India represent the summer season with mangoes. However, today’s health-conscious world has associated mangoes with sugary fruits and carbs, which will increase your blood sugar level. It has been speculated so much into people’s minds that many people have stopped eating mangoes and went for expensive imported fruits, thinking that they are a miracle compared to mangoes.

It is time to bust these myths. Mangoes are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, which strengthens the immune system. Mangoes have a significant quantity of B vitamins, vitamin A, potassium and magnesium that promotes heart health, and are actually good for maintaining sugar level in blood. Mangoes are considered a superfood in many countries around the world where mangoes are exported to developed countries like the US and the UK.

Sugar-free mangoes are a new trend nowadays. Despite several advantages, mangoes are looked upon as sugary fruits, that contains a large number of carbs, and carbs are today treated as more harmful than artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners. As a remedy comes sugar-free mangoes that are presented as a miracle food for diabetic patients and weight watchers.

Any food having a glycemic index of 55 or less are considered low-sugar food. Mangoes have a glycemic index of 51. Thus mangoes are considered good for sugar patients. Glycemic index or GI is considered a better choice of food as it shows how blood sugar is affected on eating any food item. The lower the GI, the lower is the chance of a blood sugar spike. Mangoes, despite being sweet are low in GI, that is they don’t abruptly raise the blood sugar level. Comparatively, sugar has a glycemic index of 65, rice has 68-73, bread has 75-78, and honey has 61.

All carbs are not the same. Refined carbs are treated as empty calories that only provide energy and are not healthy. Mango contains complex carbohydrates that give nutrition to the body and are absorbed slowly, not spiking the blood sugar. Mangoes contain a significant amount of dietary fibre too, which is absent in refined carbs that we eat almost every time, like most bread, cakes, and biscuits.

It is true that some varieties of mango contain more sugar than others. Go to a local market, see the varieties of mangoes available in your area. If you happen to live in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, where mango is native, you will most likely find more than one variety. Ask the shopkeeper for less sweetened ones. He/she is more likely to suggest to you the best option available, better than even so-called sugar-free varieties. Most sugar-free varieties have insignificantly low glycemic index than those available in your local market, and they are never sugar-free as claimed. Some expensive varieties do have a lot of sugar, so you may skip those if you are diabetic. The less-sugar mangoes are also the cheapest. So you don’t need to search everywhere for expensive sugar-free mangoes, it is most likely available in your neighbourhood market.

Written by – Himadri Paul

Why Are Prices of Diesel and Petrol not Decreasing, when Crude -Oil prices are falling drastically?

On June 8th, India prepared to lift the lockdown imposed on its citizens due to the Coronavirus.

Around this time, Oil companies controlled by Union Government started hiking both petrol and diesel prices. From June 7th, fuel prices were hiked consecutively for 22 days.

In Delhi, the price of petrol was increased by 13%, and the price of diesel was increased by 16%, – during this period alone.

Fuel prices were hiked to such extent that in some states diesel was costlier than petrol since each state in India has different fuel prices (state-specific taxes).

The peculiar thing about this price hike was that even though Crude Oil prices fell drastically from $71 per barrel at the beginning of Financial year 2019-’20, to $39.89 as of June 2020, a price drop of more than 42%.

Falling Crude Oil prices, theoretically speaking, should be beneficial for the public as it should mean a decrease in fuel prices. But in practice, consumers rarely get these benefits.

According to The Scroll, “The Indian crude basket is an index consisting of different crude grades according to which – in theory – retail price of petrol and diesel is supposed to be benchmarked. In practice, however, this benchmarking only works if crude prices are going up.”

A perfect example would be recent fuel price hikes in our nation.

But what was the reason behind this immediate hike?

In April the price of Indian basket of Crude Oil went below $20 per barrel. But since then the price of oil has risen. It averaged around $30 per barrel in May, and on June 28th it stood at $40.83.

So, the price of Crude oil has almost doubled, as lockdown is eased and International demand for Crude has picked pace.

But this is not the sole reason for the hike. The other reason would be taxes.

The excise duty on Petrol and Diesel was hiked by the Union government by a record Rs.10 per litre and Rs.13 per litre respectively, in the month of May.

Meanwhile, 13 states announced an increase in their fuel taxes.

Governments use this pattern of excessive taxation to provide themselves a steady profit.

This absurd system of taxation makes survival difficult for the public. For example, In Delhi, Central excise and State VAT (Value Added Tax) makes up for two-thirds of what a person pays at the petrol pump.

Basically, the entire fall in oil price has been captured by the Union Government without passing the benefits to the consumers. As a result, India has one of the highest tax rates on fuel, as compared to other countries.

But why is the government so keen on taxation of fuel?

This is because of the sharp fall in the revenues collected from GST (Goods and Services Tax) which has been a blow to both the states and the Union Government. Revenues collected from GST are 41% lower in the first quarter of 2020-’21, as compared to the same period of the previous year.

In 2017-’18, the gross tax revenue collected by the government rose from 9.98% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to 11.22%. The main reason for this increase was a hike in taxes on petrol and diesel, by the government (primarily excise duty).

The money earned through taxes imposed on fuel stood at ₹46,386 crores in the financial year 2013-’14.

In 2017-’18, this leaped to ₹2,23,922 crore.

Even though the COVID19 forced the government to increase the excise duties on petrol and diesel to some extent, the gross-tax revenue had still fallen to 9.88% of the GDP, in the financial year 2019-’20, owing to the ill-implemented GST and the aftermath of demonetization. Hence, even if India wasn’t hit by COVID19, the government would still have had increased the excise duty on diesel and petrol, though not so drastically.

Earlier in January, Former Finance Secretary, Subhas Chandra Garg, pointed out that India might miss tax collection target for financial year 2019-’20 by nearly Rs. 2.5 lakh crore.

Drawing attention to the “grim” situation of underlying tax revenue situation, he further said, that it is the right time to initiate much-needed reforms in the taxation structure.

                            – Aanandita Singh

Nationalism, Revolution, and Anti-Nationalism

The main concern of this article is to reveal the thin line Revolution and Anti-Nationalism share. In order to understand that, we also need to ponder on how these things are also related to ‘Nationalism’ as it is only by studying Revolution and Anti-Nationalism alongside Nationalism will we be able to justify the explanation to some extent. Successful comprehension of how blurry the line might get is only feasible if we look into these ideas in an orderly fashion. Although thorough research work in this arena is more appropriate to explain such a delicate issue, the article does provide an overview of the matter that has been emerging as a serious one in recent times.

A close look at History will divulge that Nationalism has been a very important factor of bringing together the mass since time immemorial. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines nationalism as “loyalty and devotion to a nation, especially a sense of national consciousness,” and “exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.” Historically, these nationalistic feelings have been first used in the 18th Century and Nationalism took the help of “ethnographic principles.” However, the idea of uniting nations under one banner was more favourable in the past and thus, the presence nationalistic aspects in the society were less. Irrespective of the positive features of nationalism, it has been often used to promote protectionist policies, radical politics, and even several militaristic movements like Nazism. The subjugation of individualism was promoted by fascist regimes of Mussolini and Hitler by inclining on national identity and tradition. This was done by emphasizing how individualism was most probably the cause of “economic and political turmoil of the early 20th century.”One of the notable instances of Nationalism being used to promote something pessimistic was the type of Nationalism exhibited during World War II by the Nazi party. When taken to the extreme Nationalism has taken the shape of the Holocaust, genocides, ethnic cleansings, lynching, etc.

Several scholars have come forward in order to explain how Nationalism might turn into something harmful when taken to the extreme and thereby suggesting patriotism as an alternative. An essay written during the final stages of World War II shows how it might turn a person into someone who disregards common sense and facts. Nationalism always carries around the danger of moulding itself into something ugly if taken to the extreme. This essay was written by George Orwell in 1945. From India, examples can be given of Rabindranath Tagore and in more recent time, Ramchandra Guha who have reiterated similar concerns. Nationalism, by being a catalyst to several violent chapters that one might want to erase from History, has invited both positive and negative criticism simultaneously. However, Nationalism has lived up to its definition while giving rise to several revolutionary movements like that of the French and the Americans in order to usher in a more advanced stage. It has managed to ignite the desire for a change that would help masses create a unified nation, on the basis of human rights and not rampant exploitation. Nationalism and revolution have always gone hand in hand. Various Nation-States have the feelings of Nationalism to thank for their creation and such a drastic shift was possible only after the revolution. And nationalism has been the impetus to these revolutions. For instance, it was the nationalistic feelings of people that drove the ‘Indonesian Revolution’ and led to the creation of a free nation from the clutches of colonialism.

Nonetheless, a word that has been climbing the ladder in contemporary time is ‘Anti-Nationalism.’ Several times situations have cropped up where dissenting individuals who merely tried to argue a point have been claimed by others to be an ‘anti-nationalist.’ Recent years have seen the demand for revolution or maybe overturning of certain authoritative dictates by the Government to be tagged as something ‘anti-national,’ but what needs to be understood clear as day is that nationalism has always associated itself with revolution since beginning. For instance, ‘Black nationalism’ has advocated for the rights of black people and has had a significant impact on how Black people are to be perceived. It has brought about revolutionary changes by involving blacks into the socio-political and economic sphere. Such a drastic change would not have been possible without tapping on nationalistic feelings. Nationalism has made way into not only positive but also normative aspects of society. Worldwide dissent against the government is initiating to be viewed as an anti-national move, but History would prove this stance to be something flawed and untrue. It should be kept in mind that the usage of ‘nationalism’ might vary from person to person. A different interpretation that stands in opposition to what another person believes should not be termed as ‘anti-national.’ For instance, person A might believe that critically questioning the Government is what Nationalism truly is all about; whereas person B might believe otherwise. However, such difference of opinion gives no right to either person A or B to tag the other as ‘anti-national.’

Moreover, a major trend has been to take Nationalism to an extreme level. When such a step is taken, a person without realizing signs up for ‘hyper-nationalism or ultranationalism.’ A modern history professor and political theorist,  Roger Griffin explain that when nationalism is taken to an extreme it becomes ‘xenophobic’ and establishes its legitimacy “through deeply mythicized narratives of past cultural or political periods of historical greatness or of old scores to settle against alleged enemies”. It might also draw on “vulgarized forms of physical anthropologygenetics, and eugenics to rationalize ideas of national superiority and destiny, of degeneracy and sub-humanness.” Several scholars claim that such a move is the initial stage of ‘Fascism.’ An instance of hyper-nationalism from Indian subcontinent can be claimed to be one regarding Bengaluru’s Hubbali Bar Association (HBA). A news outlet, The Times of India reported, “Hubbali bar Association had earlier passed a resolution prohibiting its members from appearing as counsel of defence for three college students who have been accused of raising pro-Pakistan slogans while staging an anti-CAA protest in their hostel. At the intervention of the High Court, the HBA withdrew the resolution, but some of its members heckled the lawyers who had come forward to defend the students, which once again caused the court to issue a rebuke and rule that proper legal representation is provided to the accused, as prescribed by the law of the land. The hyper-nationalism displayed by the lawyer’s association not only goes against the code of ethics which enjoins those in the profession to act on behalf of those charged with any criminal activity, on the fundamental premise of the presumption of innocence till otherwise proven but also violates the constitutional right to freedom of speech.”

Evidently, it can be seen that the path Nationalism has traversed gave rise to revolutions that upturned societies and led to the formation of new nations freeing itself from clutches of colonialism, imperialism, exploitation, etc. Anti-nationalism is readily understood to be something that stands in contrast to whatever nationalism has to offer. Thus, it is crystal clear that revolution can never be claimed as something ‘anti-national’ and neither can be dissent as opposing views have been the source of revolutions in the first place. It needs to be remembered that crushing opposing views is not upholding ‘nationalism’ but rather the opposite. Nevertheless, it is also imperative to remember that with the increasing complexities of the society, more and more things have been entering the ominous grey area rather than remaining in the ‘black and white’ division of issues. Therefore, as stated above, a more thorough research paper will finely tune these issues as an article regarding the same might not fully do it justice.

   Sagarika Mukhopadhyay                                                                                                      

Markets: – A constantly changing Landscape

COVID-19 pandemic is a Humongous problem for companies everywhere, and it’s practically impossible to ignore the issue – it has changed the way business is executed everywhere. Many owners and work managers are failing to shift the regular marketing strategies to a digital marketing (The new normal). They are overlooking the situation because perhaps they have hope that some sudden turn of events towards normalcy will occur in the times of chaos. Whatever may be the cause but this inability to adapt will cause grave concerns to the economic survival of the company. Indian Markets, for the past few years, are constantly in a transition.

“Market is about two things, Marketing and Sales”

Online Shopping has been one of the major causes of loss to many Retailers and even whole-sellers, especially in urban localities. Because online markets are controlled by big multinational companies they marginalize their profit shares to such a low that, shopkeepers fail to catch up with them. So shopkeepers joined hands with them, this move was beneficial for both as the Online platform’s variety received a boost and reach of Shopkeepers increased to farthest corners of India and World.   

Many organizations have shown great adaptability by appointing digital marketing. This pandemic has made it absolutely essential for any trader, businessman, or Shopkeeper to appoint Digital Medium of Marketing and sales.

  • The impact – COVID: 19 on Market

There is no business which lies unaffected by the pandemic. In turn, this unaccustomed reaction has had a detrimental ‘trickle’ effect on larger B2B companies work as providers to these smaller businesses.

Every business, be it your neighbourhood departmental store or an enormous multinational firm, can benefit from digital marketing. Customers still need the products and services as much as ever—what these companies need to do is change the way they reach their target audiences. Even if a small enterprise doesn’t have an online page or portal (one in four do not have), it’s not very late to join in the businesses that are thriving online.

  • Coming to – HOW TO?

It’s time for the affected businesses to make the transition from a fortress store to a digital provider by contacting their customers, reviving unused online assets like websites and social media profiles, and pedalling full speed ahead.

  • Shifting daily operations online

There are very few organizations that cannot make the transition of their daily operations. Credit to video conferencing applications like Zoom, Skype, and many other executives and managers can communicate and impart instructions to staff and hold client meetings from anywhere. 

  • Sales teams can take orders and reservations and provide services to customers via email, chat, or video. They no longer have to commute; they can even start work early leaving customers with longer support hours.
  • Services that were previously delivered in person are surprisingly amenable to video presentations. Clients can pay online and receive a video link to live sessions.

Many businesses are cutting costs on their marketing efforts due to COVID-19, but what they should really be doing is grabbing advantage of the new opportunities that are rising.

This emphasis on digital marketing is not something that they’ll want to slow down on once the lockdown ends. Online shopping is going to stop no-time soon, and most companies will find those web-based interactions to be convenient than in-person meetings.

Stores will reopen but alongside newly adopted ways of selling and engaging with customers.

Talking of Digital Marketing, Digital Services, Digital India, we find one thing common that is Digital. Technologies and Gadgets are sure to expand and improve and in the process, a large number of job and services opportunities will emerge in Technology Development, Gadget Repair, Software development, coding, Data encryption, Data decryption, and Data Handling spheres.

  • Skills

India has the largest workforce worldwide but India stands nowhere in the list of Developed nations. The reason cited for this poor performance is the lack of skill in the workforce. Blaming only the individuals is not right because the Indian education System plays spoilsport due to its monotonous behaviour.

A number of govt. backed Skill Development programs have been launched recently but the major hurdle in the success of these programs is insuring proper implementation.

To grab these upcoming opportunities and chances by both hands we need to be prepared, these opportunities will demand skills like familiarization with Gadgets, computer languages and other technical know how’s? Those, who will fulfil these needs, will surely get an edge.

  • Author’s Take

While digital marketing may be regarded right now as an emergency plan, but by the time this is over, everyone will likely realize that it’s more than a temporary measure rather than a sustainable one. So “GO DIGITAL, BE FUTURE READY” and upstage and up veal everything.

~By Shubham Yadav

THE CHABAHAR CONTROVERSY

On July 14th, various news outlets reported that Iran has dropped India from the Chabahar project, which was aimed at building a railway line linking Chabahar port to Zahedan which was to be further extended to Zaranj across the border in Afghanistan.

The agreement to build the Chabahar-Zahedan rail line was signed four years ago between India and Iran. But now, the Iranian government has decided to proceed with the construction and the track laying process of the 628 Km long railway line on its own saying that there have been delays in funds from the Indian side to start the project.

Officials told The Hindu that “the entire project would be completed by March 2022, and that Iranian Railways will proceed without India’s assistance, using approximately $400 million from the Iranian National Development Fund.”

This project was meant to be part of a Trilateral Agreement between India, Iran, and Afghanistan, to construct another trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

The Indian government, however, denied this report and called it “speculative”. The Times of India reported that “New Delhi remained committed to financing and building the railway and was continuously engaged with Iranian authorities concerned to take this important project forward.”

On 16th July, Iran clarified that it made no deal with India on the Chabahar Railway project.

Farhad Montaser, a deputy to Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organisation, claimed that the report was “totally false because Iran has not inked any deal with India regarding the Chabahar-Zahedan railway.”

“We had a list of Indian investments in Chabahar port, which also included the issue of Chabahar railway infrastructure and the railway but during the negotiations, it was not agreed,” he told official news agency IRNA.

He further clarified that “Iran has only signed two agreements with Indians for investment in Chabahar: one is related to the port’s machinery and equipment, and the second is related to India’s investment to the tune of $150 million.”

Mr. Montaser concluded that the US sanctions have nothing to do to Iran-India’s cooperation in Chabahar”.

In 2018, the United States had agreed to a waiver on Chabahar port projects under IFCA (Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act).

The Indian government on 16th July said the project was waiting for the appointment of authority by Iran to resolve outstanding financial and technical issues.

“The MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) said India’s main investment in the Chabahar Port where it has taken over operations of one terminal, had progressed well in the last few years, handling 82 ships with 12 lakh tonnes of bulk cargo in 8200 containers since December 2018”, reported The Hindu.

MEA spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava, said that since 2016, there has been progress on the Chabahar port project, despite the difficulties posed by the sanctions situation.

Srivastava stated, “ IRCON (Indian Railway Construction Company Limited) was appointed by India to assess the feasibility of the project. It was working with CDTIC, an Iranian company under the ministry of railways in that regard. IRCON has completed the site inspection and review of the feasibility report.”

“Detailed discussions were thereafter held on other relevant aspects of the project, which had to take into account various challenges that Iran was facing. In December 2019, these issues were reviewed in detail at the 19th Iran-India Joint commission meeting in Tehran,” said Anurag Srivastava.

 He further said, “In December 2019, issues [on the railway line] were reviewed in detail at the 19th India-Iran Joint Commission Meeting in Tehran. The Iranian side was to nominate an authorized entity to finalize outstanding technical and financial issues.”

Mr. Srivastava, however, declined to comment specifically on Iran’s decision to begin the project without India.

The MEA confirmed that due to policy changes on the Iranian side, India is no longer involved in the Farzad-B gas field project. The ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited) had not only signed an agreement for exploration in 2002 but also invested around $100 million so far. The MEA didn’t give further details on this subject.

Mr. Srivastava said that “In January 2020, we were informed that in the immediate future, Iran would develop the field on its own and would like to involve India appropriately at a later stage. This matter remains under discussion.”

India had offered to invest approximately $6 billion in the Farzad-B gas field project, and $1.6 billion in the Chabahar Zahedan railway line.

                                        – Aanandita Singh