Indian Politics and The Youth

An article on Indian politics and today’s generation

Pericles a great Greek orator once said,

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you”.

Youth and Politics

Politics in India in the last 70 years has gone through a stigmatizing change, people often refer to it as a sewer, but most fail to realize that this is what keeps the country going. It may be one of the reasons why youth refrain from stepping into politics. They want a good life but are afraid of a degraded social image.

India is a country with a population of approximately 1.3 Billion people. Youth makes 19.1%, i.e. one-fifth of the country’s total population. Statistics say that 65% of India’s population is under the age of 35 years. Nevertheless, only 6% of our leaders, ministers and peoples representatives are below the age of 35.

Yet only13%of our Lok Sabha representative’s are below the age of 35, “Young Parliamentarians.”

Yet some have taken ahead of the legacy of their families. Still, many young leaders stepped into the world of politics to make a paradigm shift in the Indian Political System. Fresh, Energetic, Bold and Innovative they provide the much-required enthusiasm to the Indian Political System.

Despite the substantial population of Youth in India, there has not been a proportional representation in the Political Sphere of the Nation. Though there isn’t lack of words to describe the zeal and capacity of youth to make a change, numbers have there owned role which can’t be ignored and certainly in Indian Political System, the number is not enough to make an impact.

There isn’t a shortage of examples to determine how youth have been engaged in politics since the old times. Even the real independence struggle on Youth Revolutionaries. Starting from moderate leaders like Dadabhai Naoroji, Badruddin Tayyabji and many more whose experience of admin was considerable. The later movement in the last phase of Congress was led by youth. Leaders like Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and more in the earlier stage led to enthusiastic and bold steps in the struggle, and the later phase was led by youngsters like Subhash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and many more.

In the current context, young, vibrant leaders like the new Chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz, is 31. The new Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, is 37, and also the world’s youngest female leader.

Talking about India Lakya Suryanarayan Tejasvi also known as Tejasvi Surya is 29. Nusrat Jahan Ruhi Jain is 30, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal is 35, and there are many more examples of young leaders who have genuinely represented how vibrant, enthusiastic, energetic and diplomatic today’s youth is. As voters grow tired of decrepit political parties, now some Political Parties are embracing new blood and empowering it, to survive.

But politics isn’t something that cannot run just by power. It needs a calm mind who can face the challenges, threats of all sorts. Youth is always exuding energy but seldom knows how to direct it to the right path. Hence, often end up taking decisions applicable for a short run. Politics is a field that needs a calm mind, along with experience. Experience teaches tolerance and the potential to have realistic visions, Young people have no experience and hence, often tend to have idealistic and unrealistic images of the society which may not be victorious in implementation. It is easy to manipulate young people and can be treated as mere as puppets. These were seen in violence and destruction of public properties by a few student groups recently.

But by making politics available to youth, the negative aspect of politics can be slowly erased in the minds of youth. Policies affecting youth can be framed by young people themselves rather than old politicians, who most probably cannot feel the contemporary problems young people are facing.

Nowadays, there is a shortage of young guns in the present scenario of Indian Political System. Youth should be given the prospect to prove themselves by making politics accessible to them. The right balance of young talent and experienced politicians can lead to the cleaning of politics and can restore the public faith in the political system.

Written By – Ishita Singh.

Why is Phase-3 of Vaccine Trial Complicated?

Written by Inshaa Siddiquee

The Covid-19 outbreak has proved to be one of the most challenging phases in our lives. However, many companies are racing towards developing a safe and effective vaccine to protect against Covid-19. Moreover, Phase 3 trials of investigational vaccines are underway.

How are vaccines developed?

New vaccines are tested in clinical trials to determine that they are both safe and effective. After the successful completion of clinical trials, they get licensed in US.

A lot of testing is done before a vaccine ever gets tested in humans. There is a long process of development in the laboratory.

The vaccine is firstly tested on various animals like mice, rabbits, hamsters and primates that have similar human physiology. After which their responses and reactions are studied. Because it is unclear whether these vaccines will work or not, a very structured set of clinical trials begins.

If the vaccine has proven itself it enters the Phase-1 studies.

What Happens in clinical trials?

The phase involves healthy volunteers who are informed about how and why these vaccines are being tested and also about a new potential harm. This process is called Informed Consent taken place before entering the trial.

The clinical trial comprises of 4 phases.

PHASE -1

PHASE -1 includes human pharmacology and safety. Testing takes place among a small group of people (roughly 30-60). It’s given in small doses and monitored to see if it is safe and well-tolerated.

However, a drug’s side effects might be subtle or restricted to a few people. In reference to this Phase-1 trial are not expected to identify all the side effects

PHASE -2

Phase-2 includes testing with a large group of people around 100-300 to determine the safe dosage range to get the desired response.

In reference to Covid-19, AstraZeneca vaccine had been put at halt at this stage. The pause was due to a harmful side effect reported by a volunteer in US who had been injected with the vaccine.

Nevertheless, promising vaccines that are safe and generate strong immune response move into phase-3 trials.

PHASE-3

Phase-3 is a larger version of phase-2 trial. It is held in multiple locations to capture the demographic variability in the population. It a complete randomized and double-blinded trial. Half of the volunteers are given the vaccine, whereas the other half are given placebo (salt water). As the process is double-blinded, neither the participants nor the study staffs are aware about who is getting which type of injection.

Furthermore, the study compares the rate of infection and placebo groups. It tells us whether the vaccine will be able to prevent the infection and if so, if it is effective enough in all of the volunteers or only a sub-group. Along with the safety data that is collected in all phases of vaccine studies, this efficacy data is used by the FDA to decide if the vaccine should be licensed.

In the case of Covid-19, there is an occurring trial of the US-MRNA vaccine.

The CEO of Moderna, Stéphan Bancel said, “The phase-3 for vaccine is a typical clinical trial, it’s a very large one of 30,000 people, 15,000 will receive the vaccine, whereas 15,000 will receive placebo and we will be able to see through data what is the safety of a vaccine and what is the efficacy of a vaccine”.

Across Europe, Brazil and other locations the Oxford vaccine is likely to be tested in the same way.

PHASE-4

A vaccine which clears all the phases is further sent for approval and license. After which the entire company is devoted to creating the vaccine in bulk, safely without it degrading or losing potency.

Post marketing studies delineate additional information, including the treatment’s risks, benefits, and optimal use. As such, they are ongoing during the drug’s lifetime of active medical use.

RESUMPTION OF SPORTS: – Rising above Pandemic

Sports is something everyone looks up to, for some sports is a profession, for some it is passion and for rest, it is a source of entertainment. Due to COVID-19, everything came to a complete halt, sports being no exception. Regularity is something every Sportsperson always desires but during lockdown no means of training and practice were allowed hence dark clouds moved over Sporting Fraternity.

  •  Impact on Players and Coaches

Players and Coaches were worst hit in these grim circumstances “No sports, No training, No practice”. Rising talents and Veterans who were looking for an opportunity to prove their potential were denied chances and sports is one such profession where time is of utmost worth. Every other field may get over this pandemic and restore to normal but Sports will never be able to. Maybe Virat Kohli could have scored 1000 more runs in this lockdown tenure or M.S.Dhoni could have won another IPL and regained his spot in National Team or Christiano Ronaldo could have scored 5 more Hat tricks which would have enabled them to cross various milestones. 

A lot of Prospects were honing their Skills and were working for the Olympics, which was scheduled to take place from 24 July to 9 August eyeing it as a path towards glory. Survival in sports need proper management of finances as Sportsman always need balanced nourishment and diet and in lockdown, no source of income was in fluids making this unasked, unpaid off days even more difficult.

But the clouds have now started to disperse and the ray of light is now visible, though distant.

  • Impact on Spectators 

Impact of Social Media and Binge watching of web series and movies is the new source of killing time for today’s youth and the reason for it is the diversion of sports spectators. Football and Cricket are a craze for this world. Broadcasting Sponsors have lost big chunks of their fortune and created more turmoil in the field of Field.

  • Resumption:- Revival or Blank

Resumption of Sports was marked by the resumption of Bundesliga (Football league of Germany) later it was followed by LaLiga, BPL, and other major leagues. Similarly, cricket resumed international operation by the Bilateral test series of England v/s West Indies. Indian Cricket team will play its first series in Australia in a bio-secure environment in December.

All sporting Authorities have issued specific guidelines; majorly most of the sporting events are played without live spectators in bio-secure environments.

  • Venue shift of Indian Premier League 

Indian Premier League has witnessed a venue shift from India to the United Arab Emirates, this move is likely to cause repercussions but this is BCCIs best bet in holding this season. Huge Revenue losses will have to be settled as cities, stadiums, and franchisees have already put up their chips in advertisements and promotions. One positive that rises from this situation is holding IPL will save a lot of talent and potential from getting to waste.  

  • Author’s Take

Sport is important but life is most significant, conducting Events in the safest way possible is the best way forward. Acts such as “Liverpool fans breaking lockdown rules” should be controlled and condemned. The world will have to rise above this pandemic and this Resumption of Sports will surely be a cause.   

~ Shubham Yadav

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