Impact of COVID-19 on the Indian Workforce

How Covid-19 Might Change Indian Feminist Narratives For Eternity

Increasing confirmed cases in India of Coronavirus had caused a drastic disruption in the lives of people. The economy is hit, and a slowdown has been expected. The lockdown has put the life in India to a standstill, and every industry is putting recruitment on hold or laying off workers and making decisions regarding pay cuts. The automotive and IT sectors are suffering the most, as there was a significant dependence on exports and imports. The economy is also being affected by the same, i.e., the supply irregularities due to modifications in international trade policies. We can look for a silver lining in this situation as the Indian industries might emerge as the major suppliers in the areas of pharmaceuticals and textiles. The significant impact is on the people running all these industries. The country is not only facing economic losses but also human resource losses. These are both physical and psychological. This is discussed further by dividing the workforce into three types – a) Daily wage workers, b) Normal Employees, c) Managers/Head of Departments/Companies.

The needs of different workers have been explained using Maslow’s Need Hierarchy theory in this article it is assumed that the conditions stated in his theory hold true.

Daily wage workers and urban poor include the people working in the agricultural sector, construction sites, car washers in a typical scenario. But with progress in technologies and companies like Uber, Ola, Zomato, etc. coming up, the delivery boys, cab drivers etc. are also people who might earn a monthly income but are still in a job with little assurance of income. Then there are mechanics, vegetable vendors, etc. with no fixed payment as well. All of the above mentioned and many others have been left with no means to earn a livelihood after the lockdown was imposed to contain COVID-19’s spread in India. The closing hotels and restaurants and little movement on the streets have left many people devoid of income.

For these people, the main aim is to earn a livelihood and secure their income for tomorrow. Their needs can be related to the first and second need defined in the Malow’s need hierarchy, i.e., physiological and safety needs. These people have not moved up and do not crave recognition in the organization as such. Most of them are not even a part of any organization as well. These people will be affected the most since there can be three possible scenarios. First being that they might become too dependent on the government aid being provided to them during the lockdown period. Second, if their locus of control is external, they might end up being depressed and let the suffering take a toll on them. Third, if their locus of control is internal, they might strive to make their situation better after the lockdown period and prepare in advance for any future pandemic.

The people who will breed on government’s aid might become lethargic and lack the motivation to do work again. They will be forced to do work after the conditions normalize, and this will cause them to be dissatisfied because of their mindset of receiving without working. The people who have an external locus of control, which encompasses most of this population because poor people might not always give priority to mindset development, will suffer the most. They will keep blaming the authorities and the external conditions and will let the pandemic disrupt their lives. The people who have an internal locus of control might try to make the best of their current situation while planning for the future.

The normal workers are the ones working in the corporate world and are related to certain organizations and are financially stable. These workers are facing layoff and pay – cut tensions as almost every organization is trying to manage finances with the economy coming

down. Some organizations have decided to not take this path such as DLF limited, which did not take a pay – cut and is not even retrenching the workforce.

Companies outside India like Tesla has decided to do the opposite. It laid off all the non- essential workers till May 4 and even took a pay cut of 10%. Around 3,000 workers were also laid off by Sephora. In India, most of the companies and start-ups are following the same path. Techolution laid off 20 workers in Telangana. Acko, an online insurance firm, laid off 50 employees. Fareportal, a travel firm based in the US, cut off on 500 workers in India.

Bounce, a transportation network company, has decided to take 20-60% pay cuts. All these measures are being taken to ensure that the organizations have finances to run their business when the conditions normalize. Some companies are taking initiatives not to lay off workers and continue working from home, but it is also a challenge only around 5% of their employees have Wi-Fi at their homes.

The people working in these organizations can be classified into three types based on their needs. First are those who still are struggling to fulfil their safety needs in the Maslow need hierarchy. Second, are those who have affiliation and esteem needs that are to be satisfied, and the third category is of those people whose self-actualization needs are too satisfied.

A relation between locus of control and motivation level can be established as people who tend to struggle in fulfilling their safety needs are usually stuck at the external locus of control. Thus, such people will feel unmotivated and distressed during the period of lockdown as their need for security won’t be fulfilled due to the retrenchment process going on in many organizations.

People who require the feeling of belongingness and are out to fulfil their esteem needs might make use of this lockdown period if they have access to the required resources. There can be two categories in these people as well. Some might spend their time leisurely, but the ones with an internal locus of control will try to improve their skillset and use the time productively.

This is also a great opportunity for people who want to satisfy their need for self-actualization as now they can serve the community and do something helpful for society. Some professionals are doing it be it situational or be it out of their sense of duty, for example, the doctors, policeman, etc.

The people who are at managing positions in the organizations have different problems altogether. That set of the workforce is influenced by their type of commitment towards their organization. The people who have an affective commitment towards the firm they work with will be the people who will help these firms to recover after the lockdown. They will be forced to think creatively so that they can sustain their finances and help the company grow. A few examples of such people are Deep Kalra and Rajesh Magow the founders of MakeMyTrip have decided to take 100% pay cut and not affect the salaries of their employees.

Then some people have a normative or continuance commitment towards the organization and might not be willing to put in efforts to contribute to the organization. They would probably plan for their secure future and their savings.

Thus, COVID-19 won’t only be impacting the population physically, but it also has left so many people psychological affected. The organizations like Sephora, are also trying to help their workers by assuring that once the conditions normalize, they might consider taking the laid-off workers back. Bridged is also taking initiatives to help employees during this time of self-isolation by making a service available so that people can talk to someone and share their problems.

There is a strong need to balance out the focus on running the organizations and taking care of the employees. Similar initiatives are required to focus and develop the workforce in India because of it one of the things the country will rely on reviving the economy after the pandemic ends.

Some measures that the organizations can take are that they can host free webinars for their employees and even for the laid-off workers to give an insight into the skills that would be required in the coming times.

There can also be awareness spread about how to take care of their mental health along with physical health. Also, there is a need to let the population staying at home right now know how essential it is to develop their skills. The silver lining in this tough situation is that we might end up with a more skilled workforce. This is because people might choose not to get into jobs for some time and pursue higher education.

The main crux of the situation is that it is necessary to address their needs keeping in mind the feasibility aspect as well because that is the essence of organizational behaviour. Human resource cannot be ignored totally to sustain organizations because even if the companies manage to use finances wisely, there would still be a need for employees to ensure future success.

Why read ‘Predictably Irrational’?

Why there will never be a cure for irrationality

In this meticulously researched work from acclaimed Professor Dan Ariely, the author dives into the chasm of human psyche and carefully articulates even the most trivial archetypal decisions that we consciously and unconsciously make in our lives. The book starts off with the author describing a personal tragedy where an explosion left 70 percent of his body with third degree burns that left him immobilized. The victim was then subjected to an excruciating three-year period of hospitalisation and excessive dependency on nurses. The trivial yet significant observation of the methods that were used to remove burn bandages in a way that minimises the amount of misery inflicted upon the victims, led the author to further his research on psychology and behavioural economics.

 In each chapter, the author describes the general decision making rigamarole that our psyche seems to follow and then he backs these claims with ground-breaking experiments and logic. The first part of the book concentrates on how we have a comparison bias while we evaluate, judge or make decisions. As an ambitious college student- I, unfortunately, can relate to this. An 8.5 CGPA seems trivial if it’s surrounded by a dozen 9 CGPA’s. This phenomenon of viewing things relatively has been analysed and understood by the market forces. Salesmen and prominent websites prey on this psychological bias to make profits.

I have always wondered how economists arrive at accurate supply and demand statistics and about the factors that should be taken into consideration. The author does a marvellous job in explaining how psychological factors play a major role in the economic decisions made by us and why apart from external factors (price, income etc), psychological factors should be also taken into consideration while predicting market fluctuations or any data of that sort. One of the most interesting and shocking part of the book was the “cost of zero cost” experiment. Apparently, people would rather receive a 10$ gift card for free than paying 7$ for a 20$ gift card. The author personally conducts this experiment at a mall in Boston. The explanation for this irrational phenomenon is conveyed coherently.

The author then shifts focus to some intricate and personal areas of decision making. He addresses questions such as “Why we can’t we make ourselves do what we want to do?” and “why we overvalue what we have?” and then presents the observations of his experiments.

Throughout the book, the reader is asked perplexing questions about various decisions they make which forces them to scratch their heads, following which the rational and irrational answers (observations) are conveyed in a sound and profound manner. I felt that one of the most interesting and perspective-changing parts of the book was when the author accentuates the effects of cost on the psychological and physiological forces of our body. The knowledge of the cost of a commodity shapes our psychological perception towards it- which results in a manipulative physiological response. The author elegantly unravels the reason why a 50-Cent Aspirin can do what a penny’s worth of Aspirin can’t in an experiment he conducts.

In the last part of the book, the author attempts to undertake the courageous journey of deciphering the context of the human character. He tries to analyse the human quality of honesty- What is honesty? Why are people dishonest? What can we do about it? – These are some of the questions he attempts to address. The relevance of these questions and its importance is underestimated in the financial sector. 600 Billion dollars’ worth of thefts and frauds are committed every year in various organisations, claims the author. Furthermore, the reader is clued in about the ever interesting and mind-boggling realm of behavioural economics- The hidden forces that shape our decisions are acutely outlined.

Overall the book is an amalgamation of rigorous research, profound wisdom, intricate questions, ground-breaking experiments, astounding observations and a tinge of humour as only Professor Ariely can provide. It is a must read for anyone who is interested in human psychology and behavioural sciences.

Quarantine ‘n Chill

Quarantine and Chill — Stay Strong

In the modern world, the target audience captivated by the introduction of web series in my opinion is nothing but stupendous.

The indulgement has reached a point where people expect more from the storyline and climaxes than they do from the government or what’s happening around the world which sure sounds vague but is the harsh reality and I would on no uncertain terms deny my participation in it.

 On the contrary, web series do provide us with an array of genres to learn and get entertained from and are a glorious source of information if one wishes to perceive it that way. In the present day with the spread of the pandemic and the concept of “social distancing” , which sure is a blessing in disguise for our worthy couch potatoes and the busy youth.

 It is giving them the time they need to catch up, relax and binge watch their favourite web series leading to off the charts increase in the indulgence of the same but now enough of the intellectual aspects of it and let’s get to the part we all enjoy.

So embrace yourselves while I take you on a ride with me exploring the top 5 web series that in my perception will keep you on the edge of your seats and will not disappoint. Being a web series fanatic myself, the series I would like to inaugurate this journey with is none other than the classic,

  • SHERLOCK
sherlock screenshots Tumblr posts - Tumbral.com

“I’m not a psychopath, I’m a highly functioning sociopath”

One of the most beloved lines of the British crime series which is based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books comprising of detective stories named as “Sherlock Holmes” originally .The series is based around Sherlock, a man with extraordinary observatory skills which is played by Benedict Cumberbatch who is then accompanied by his roommate Dr. John H. Watson who recently moved in at 221 B Baker Street played by Martin Freeman.

They work as a team to solve twisted crimes as “consulting detectives” in modern day London. Although most people were suspicious of Holmes at first, but over time his exceptional intellect and bold powers of observation as mentioned above persuade them of his value.

 Dr. Watson who used to blog about the adventures and cases they have been to and witnessed, lead to Holmes becoming a reluctant celebrity with the media reporting on his cases and eccentric personal life. Both the ordinary civilians and the British Government including his sibling Mycroft Holmes would ask for his help.

The series depicts variety of crimes and perpetrators, conflict with nemesis Jim Moriarty who is another intellectually supreme fellow is recurring feature.

Now coming to my opinion and why I would like to suggest this to you, the readers, is because the genre being crime, it keeps you on your feet the entire turn with the suspense and the plot twists which I personally enjoy making the episode “The Abominable Bride” my favourite so I recommend this show to each and every one of you out there hope you enjoy.

  • Black Mirror
Black Mirror' Screen Capture - - Imgur

“So many choices, you end up not knowing which one you want”

Once again we have with us a series that will leave you flabbergasted with its jaw dropping premise and unusual yet true discoveries and logics.

It is a British Sci-Fi anthology series created by Charlie Brooker. It examines modern society, particularly with regard to the unanticipated consequences of the newly discovered technologies .The episodes are usually set in an alternative present or the past or the coming future and sure does demand your maximum indulgence.

The thing that intrigues me the most and keeps me occupied is the phenomenal representation of the things that we face in daily life but with a totally different perception and is a show worth your time and brains.

  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
Agents of SHIELD Recap: 'Among Us Hide ...' | The Mary Sue

“Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.”

One of the finest picks for MCU enthusiasts as it reveals and answers most of the questions that organically arise in an individual’s mind after watching the movies and reading the comics and yet feeling like they have not been answered.

S.H.I.E.L.D ,a peacekeeping and spy organisation in a world of superheroes is led by none other than Phil Collins who is dead as we know from the previous movies making it more interesting on how is he still the leader ?Well to answer that you have to be a part of this show.

The entire series is dedicated to how a small bunch of trained agents fight injustice opposed by alien terrorist organisations such as Hydra, I’m sure the MCU fans know what I’m talking about and witness way too many hurdles in their way yet come out victorious with their team work and the training that they behold.

All I can say is it is a must watch for you Marvel fanatics out there trust me you will not be disappointed instead feel like all your questions have been answered.

  • Marlon
Marlon Wayans works hard for laughs in new sitcom 'Marlon ...

“If you are going to black up, they are going to back up”

An ultimate test for your tickle bones as I can bet money on the fact that you will crack up at every joke made not because it’s just funny but because it’s really smart and witty along with being funny.

It’s a story of a divorced couple who have two kids and are still more like best friends than ex husband and wife while the ex husband being a very established comedian in real life, Marlon Wayne is a youtuber and has an elite sense of humour and the entire series revolve around them being there for their kids incorporated with fun little feuds with one another and the other characters in the show.

In totality it is a light hearted yet superiorly funny show and I give it a solid 10/10 in the genre of comedy.

  • The Mentalist
7.13 White Orchids - TheMentalist713 0204 - The Mentalist ...

“My memory is a mighty fortress, Lisbon, from which no fact ever escapes once committed”

Another American drama thriller series which will leave you in a state of shock once the story starts taking its turns.

Patrick Jane, an independent consultant for the CBI formerly considered as a “psychic” uses his extra ordinary skill sets of observation and   contemplation of the body language and the minute details to help the CBI solve numerous cases and is doing that in return to gain help from the CBI to catch his forever nemesis who goes by the name of Red John as he killed his daughter and wife in bright daylight and Patrick is out for seeking revenge.

Again a show I highly suggest if you are in the search of getting yourself amazed. With that we come to the end of the journey and I hope the suggestions made by me suit you and help you pass time in the current scenario of social distancing.

Impact of COVID-19 on the Supply chain of the Manufacturing sector

A roadmap for manufacturing: These five steps can power an ...

The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on March 11, 2020. Apart from the substantial deaths and chaos, Pandemics can have severe implications on the economic and social landscapes of the world. The manufacturing sectors of various countries have taken a huge hit as they are labour intensive, and the current pandemic situation has called for nation-wide lockdowns and several restrictions all over the world. This has caused stagnancy in operations conducted in numerous manufacturing plants.

Today, the world is more connected than ever due to incredible technologies and globalisation. Hence, disruption in just one of the manufacturing hubs is more than enough to cause anomalies throughout the enormous supply chains spread across countries. For example, Greenland has 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and all of them have recovered. However, it relies on imports and supply of raw materials which are spread across Europe. 

 To understand the impact on the supply chain of the manufacturing sectors, lets first identify the key drivers of manufacturing. The primary factor is demand in the economy. Only if there is substantial demand for a commodity, it will be manufactured. After manufacturing, the commodity is required to be delivered to the customer/consumer. It is in this stage that the pandemic has had an adverse effect. Due to lockdowns and restrictions the logistics are in vain. Hence, the manufactured goods are not reaching the customers.

The Indian manufacturers have significant dependency on China for the supply of raw materials. The current situation has made supply difficult due to complications in logistics. Operations in manufacturing plants are incredibly difficult to carry out due to social distancing norms and lockdown restrictions that are essential to follow. This has minimized the use of human resources which is vital for carrying out operations. The demand for essential goods has skyrocketed in contrast to non-essential goods which has taken a hit due to inaccessibility. Considering this scenario, industries which manufacture essential goods have been able to continue with connections to e-commerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart. However, the automobile industry has been stagnant due to overwhelming inefficiency in the supply chain caused by the pandemic.

This pandemic has provided India an opportunity to be independent with regards to supply and imports. Realizing the Indian potential for raw materials would have a ripple effect in the future economy and reduce dependency tension. To stimulate the manufacturing sector and operations, logistics must be made more efficient. This could be done by eliminating/reducing the entities of supply chains. This would ensure minimal human involvement which is essential in the current situation. E-commerce websites could implement grouping of delivery to ensure efficiency. The government could take precautionary measures and incentivise demand for non-essential goods. This could stimulate the manufacturing industries of non-essential goods which have been stagnant.

What you need from your Customers: Loyalty

3 Ways to Build Customer Loyalty at Your Restaurant

Customer loyalty is an important part of any type of business. Loyal customers are more likely to come back and purchase more of your company’s goods or services and thus increase the profits of the company in the long-term. Customers who are given the chance to participate in loyalty programs are also known to be more likely to recommend goods and services to friends and family as they begin to feel loyal towards the company. However, gaining and maintaining customer loyalty can be a challenge especially depending on the type of business and the strategic goals that the company wants to achieve in the future.

One way that a company can attempt to gain the loyalty of their customers is through loyalty programs. The term loyalty program refers to the use of a special gift or incentive being used after a repeated action by the customer. An example of this would be if a cake shop decided to give their customers a free cake for every nine cakes that they had already purchased. This incentive encourages customers to spend their money at the store because there is a special reward for giving the company their business. Aside from this, there are two main reasons why companies should consider using this method of customer service to improve their customer loyalty. One of these reasons includes the fact that loyalty programs have a positive effect on the relationship quality between the customer and the business and that these types of programs make the customer feel entitled towards their reward from the company because of the business that the customer gives them.

A loyalty program “gives the customer a sense of superior status relative to the other, “ordinary” customers” (Steinhoff & Palmatier, 2014). This, in turn, makes the customer feel more valued and is more likely to bring them back to your business instead of someone else’s business the next time they want to purchase a good or service. The other reason is that there is the principle of reciprocity once the customer receives that reward from the company. They will feel like they need to reciprocate or give back to the company for the reward that they received. This is a principle that is taken from studies done on human behaviour and the factors that motivate human beings. This principle can be used to benefit companies through the loyalty programs, because as stated above, once the customer receives their rewards they will feel as though they have an obligation to pay the company back by giving their loyalty to that business. This can increase profits for the company as loyal customers will continually purchase their goods and services.

Overall, companies can greatly increase their long-term profits and sales if they implement customer service practices such as loyalty programs since loyal customers have been proven to repeatedly revisit the company and repurchase goods and services that are offered. Loyal customers are also more likely to recommend the business and thus companies are receiving positive benefits yet again. All of this is because customers not only begin to feel more special to the company because of the rewards they receive but because they also feel a need to reciprocate for those rewards as well. If a company is willing to invest in creating a loyalty program for their customers then they will directly see the positive effects that it could have on their business and customer relationships.

References

Ma, B., Li, X. and Zhang, L. (2018), “The effects of loyalty programs in services – a double-edged sword?”, Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 300-310. https://doi-org.library.sheridanc.on.ca/10.1108/JSM-06-2016-0227

Steinhoff, L., Palmatier, R.W. Understanding loyalty program effectiveness: managing target and bystander effects. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. 44, 88–107 (2016). https://doi-org.library.sheridanc.on.ca/10.1007/s11747-014-0405-6

When the Police take matters into their hands…

Police Cars in India (List of all Indian Cop Cars)

On July 10, the Vikas Dubey was killed in an encounter while he was being taken to Kanpur in the custody of UP Special Task Force. The gangster was arrested at a temple in Ujjain just a day before for murder of as many as 8 policemen. To describe the incident, the car which was taking the accused to Kanpur got overturned and Dubey seized the opportunity by snatching the gun from a policeman who was injured in the accident. Afterwards, the man tried to flee but he was killed from the shots fired by the police in retaliation.

The whole story sounds a scene from the movie Singham in which a group of cops can’t stand the injustice anymore and take matters into their hands to bring a politically powerful organisation of gangsters down with the aid of fake encounters. When a person with a criminal record or a terrorist is killed by the police or armed forces without any trial but in self-defence, it is known as encounter killing. Such killing can also be part of a set up in which the police makes it seem like they were helpless and the life of the criminal was compromised in turn.

Something similar happened in Hyderabad in December 2019. Four men who were suspected of raping and killing a female vet were shot dead when they were being taken to the crime scene. The narrative goes like this – the four men had made an attempt to escape by attacking the ten officers that they were in the custody of and not only did they throw stones and sticks but also stole the officers’ gun. The police tried to make them surrender until they were finally killed in retaliatory firing. Justice was served and the police were appreciated for doing their job by the public.

But is it actually the police’s job to do justice or the court’s? The police are only supposed to catch the criminals and present them in court for trial. It is the court’s job to decide whether a criminal gets imprisoned for life, hanged or even figure out whether the accused is guilty and not the police’s. There have been several cases in which the police picks up the wrong person and sometimes they do it deliberately in order to calm the public rage or hide its very incompetence. Innocent people, usually from poor or minority section of the society, are dragged into jail so that the police can protect their image and become a hero in the public’s eyes.

Are the stories of police acting out and killing the suspects or murderers in defense even plausible? The fact that people were even able to get away from the police, let alone steal their guns and the police were not able to stop them. Law enforcement in this country has become more about revenge than justice. It is strange how the accused in so many major cases manage to escape from a large group of policeman and firearms always end up in the hands of arrested persons. An Encounter happens and whether it is real or staged, is subjective. How does police expect people to believe that such encounters are not fake? Because if it wasn’t, then it really says a lot about the competency of the officers assigned to such cases.

Role of perception in the discrimination against people with COVID-19

I am not a virus.' How this artist is illustrating coronavirus ...

The on-going COVID-19 pandemic crisis has had severe implications on the economic and social landscapes of the world. It has caused a substantial amount of deaths and has disrupted the workings of the entire world. This has impacted the way we perceive our world and everyday lives. The pandemic has also brought out a whole range of attitudes, prejudices, beliefs, perceptions and stereotypes. The pandemic is extremely infectious and is dangerously quick in spreading. In addition to this, it is a new virus and no vaccine or medical procedure guarantees recovery. This is critical as people are fearful and uncertain about their own safety around corona patients or otherwise. A general perception has been formed and shared amongst several people against people suffering from COVID-19. This has caused several instances of discriminatory behaviour against these patients. There could be many factors in play that might have influenced the perceptions of the masses. Perceptions are instrumental to personal characteristics of the individual as well as the target. The personal characteristics include personality, past experiences, interests, motives and expectations. The target factors include novelty, motion, sounds, size, background, proximity and similarity. The role of perception in the discriminatory behaviour exhibited by the masses can be analysed using these factors as well as common errors in perception.

The perceptual process begins with the environment and leads to perception of a stimulus which eventually results in a behavioural reaction. The uncertainty around infections and their cures causes fear. People do not have the most rational responses under an environment where they are fearful. They associate this fear to “others” in order to reduce the uncertainty. This phenomenon is likely to be responsible for the mass perception developed with regards to corona patients. Consequently, a stigma has been associated with these patients. This causes negative association towards the patients or anyone who is perceived to be a patient. Discriminatory behaviour, stereotyping, differential treatment are all reactions to this stigma. Even people who are not infected with the virus and are merely exhibiting some common symptoms such as coughing are being treated unfairly. There have been many instances where people thought that an individual was infected and instead of aiding, they reacted in an unpleasant manner.

COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China. This fact caused people to form negative perceptions towards the Chinese. In Italy, the rampant pandemic spread was initiated due to two carrier of the virus who were from China. There were several cases of discrimination against the Chinese people living in many countries across the world. They were shunned at and treated unfairly. However, the main question is if this is due to people inherently being racist or if there is some other explanation. The psychological factors should not be ignored in this circumstance as in a pandemic situation, emotional responses are bound to occur. It is important to realize that the perception formed by the masses needs to be exposed to objective reality. The government of India has tried to do the same by using social media, mass media as well as caller ringtones to disseminate information about discrimination of corona patients. They have clearly said that corona patients are not the enemy, corona is. This shows the importance of mass perception as it can be dangerous if it is formed based on irrational and untrue facts. Stigma can undermine social cohesion and prompt possible social isolation of groups, which might contribute to a situation where the virus is more, not less, likely to spread. This can result in more severe health problems and difficulties controlling a disease outbreak.

Past experiences of the people also play an important role in forming their perception. Viruses are known to be extremely dangerous and have caused significant death. When exposed to this fact, people are much more fearful of the pandemic. This causes chaos and confusion. Under this psychological framework, errors in perception are bound to happen. Assigning group guilt, isolating and blaming groups are some of the behavioural responses made under the influence of this erroneous perception. This has severe implications. Such negative perception associated to patients and potential patients drive people to hide the illness just to avoid discrimination. This reduces testing and increases the potential spread of the virus. It prevents them from seeking appropriate medical assistance and adopting essential healthy behaviours.

The Horn effect is a perceptual error which resembles the current situation quite appropriately. The horn effect is when an individual is completely judged and treated based on his negative aspect. The corona patients are perceived as “negative” or “bad” or “dangerous” based purely on the fact that have been infected by the virus. It is not considered that they are fighting for their lives and they are in the situation that they are in just because they were unlucky. Another perceptual error is stereotyping which is currently rampant.

Chinese and Asian races are being discriminated all over the world. This is purely due to the negative perception formed which identifies Chinese and Asian races as “dangerous” and blames them for the misery caused in the world. This stigma and perception associated with patients and races is extremely serious as it escalates and gets out of hand quickly. It starts with differential treatment and ends with extreme racism and associating group guilt to individuals.

Negative perception has also caused segregation of people. This further facilitates stigmatisation and normalises routine differential behaviours. Stigmatization causes resentment. As the number of patients rise, if the perception does not change there could be dire consequences. Just like HIV and leprosy patients demanded rights and concessions, COVID-19 patients could walk the same path. Protests and riots are potential consequences. This was seen in Indore, where a group of patients protested and attacked a peaceful contingent of doctors who just wanted to provide medical assistance. However, due to constant discrimination, resentment exceeded the level of tolerance and violent demonstrations were made. When the importance of mass perception as well as the consequences are realised, precise steps to avoid the development of negative perception can be taken.

Erroneous perception has not only facilitated stigmatization towards covid-19 patients but also influenced behaviour to anyone and anything perceived to be associated to covid-19. There have been numerous instances where healthcare workers and police officers have been subjected to differential treatment. The famous beer named Corona had been boycotted. A rumour which said that covid-19 spread rampantly due to the 5G towers caused people to try and burn down these towers. Normally these reactions seem extremely irrational and could be cases of blatant ignorance. However, in this case it could be explained by the mass perception of stigma and hatred towards anything associated to the pandemic. There is no doubt that perception plays a significant role in the discriminatory behaviours exhibited by several people against covid-19 patients.

It is important to inculcate the right attitude in people towards the pandemic situation as it will strengthen the fight against coronavirus. In order to accomplish this, the perception towards the same must be modified. Misconceptions, rumours and misinformation are contributing to stigma and discrimination which hamper response efforts. Correcting

misconceptions, at the same time as acknowledging that people’s feelings and subsequent behaviour are very real, even if the underlying assumption is false is vital. Another way to modify perception could be to promote the importance of prevention, lifesaving actions, early screening and treatment. Collective solidarity and global cooperation are needed to prevent further transmission and alleviate the concerns of communities. Share sympathetic narratives, or stories that humanize the experiences and struggles of individuals or groups affected by the new coronavirus. Communicating support and encouragement for those who are on the frontlines of response to this outbreak (health care workers, volunteers, community leaders etc) is necessary. Facts and not fear will stop the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Objectivity is facilitated when accurate facts are revealed, and hoaxes and myths are debunked. We need to Share facts and accurate information about the disease. Challenging myth and stereotype is another important step. Choose words carefully and precisely when addressing anything related to the pandemic. Words have enormous power and influential abilities. The way we communicate can affect the attitudes of others. The government leaders need to use the power of speech to influence and steer the perception of the masses in t a direction where it is productive and does not hamper the ongoing fight against the pandemic. The mass media should ensure that accurate information and facts are being disseminated to the masses. People should be enlightened to the fact that solidarity and unity is the way to go forward and not discriminatory behaviour. These steps could be critical as they could influence perception and bring about change in attitudes and behaviours in the society.

“In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act”

George orwell

Video Games: The Good Side

The State of Online Video Games throughout the World in 2019 ...

A new trend in our society is the issue of how frequent mass shootings are becoming. These events are awful and atrocious, but the ones that truly shock us are the ones that affect our youth. School is the one place where our youth should be allowed to learn in safety and without fear. However, these events are happening more frequently and without a proper solution and our society has started to place blame on things that are not related to the real issue. One main scapegoat for the issue is video games, many sources claiming that they are making younger people unsensitized and violent. However, this claim is simply based on fear and in reality, the use of video games is seen to play a highly positive role in the lives of children and adolescents. Video games can be a learning tool to improve essential skills in children, they can help improve intergroup relationships especially in struggling groups of youth, and they can also help improve grades for students. Video games are an engaging and interactive tool that should be used and integrated into the lives of children and adolescents so that they can gain the skills associated with them.

The use of technology such as video games has been increasing in the last few years as access to technology and electronics also increases. One main fear that people have with this increased use is that children and adolescents are going to become increasingly violent as they age. This is an understandable fear as school shootings are becoming more frequent in our current society. Articles have even been published, appealing to the fear that everyday citizens have. Katherine Kealty, a researcher who conducted a study into the connection between violence and video games, said that “In 2005, the APA issued a statement called the Resolution on Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media that stated that violent media was linked with feelings of aggression and feelings of hostility” (Kealty, 2013). However, in her article she told us that this idea was very misleading, especially for those who did not have the background knowledge on the topic. The same study by Katherine Kealty discovered that “video games caused no increase in aggressive behaviour and in children with ADHD, the video games actually had a decrease in aggressive behaviour” (Kealty, 2013). This study displayed that this fear of children and adolescents becoming violent because of video games was simply a myth and an idea that was appealing to the fear of those who do not have the background knowledge on the topic. Therefore, we should look past the false idea that video games make youth violent and instead focus on the proven results that cause positive change in youth.

Society has also become more and more competitive and the younger generations are needing to become more educated in order to succeed. As the world’s demand for skills and talents become greater, it is important that we change the way we look at learning tools. One main way to engage younger students in their learning process is by including the use of video games. A study completed by Ru-Lan Hsieh, Wen-Chung Lee, Jui-Hsiang L was completed over a four-week period where children with developmental delays played video games. This study showed that the brain released a chemical called endogenous dopamine which is involved in “learning, attention, sensory-motor integration, and behaviour reinforcement” (Hsieh, Lee & Lin, 2016, p. 10). The use of video games in this study showed increases in skills that help boost the abilities that are needed in order to learn new things in the classroom. Therefore, if video games are used with traditional methods of teaching then it could help children and adolescents succeed in school, especially those who struggle with the current educational system.

Overall, video games have been proven to have many positive benefits. They are shown not to increase aggression in younger individuals but to actually decrease aggression in children who have behaviours that tend to be more aggressive than the average child of their age. Video games have also been proven to release chemicals in the brain that promote learning, attention, sensory-motor integration, and behaviour reinforcement within adolescents. Both of these points show exactly how the use of video games in schools and younger individuals could have a major positive impact on the development of skills for children and adolescents. 

References:

Adachi, P.J.C., & Willoughby, T. (2017). The Link Between Playing Video Games and Positive Youth Outcomes. Children Development Perspectives, 11(3), 202-206. doi: https://doi-org.library.sheridanc.on.ca/10.1111/cdep.12232

Gonzalez-Bueso, V., Santamaría, J. J., Fernandez, D., Merino, L., Montero, E., & Ribas, J. (2018). Association between internet gaming disorder or pathological video-game use and comorbid psychopathology: A comprehensive review.International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(4), 668. doi:http://dx.doi.org.library.sheridanc.on.ca/10.3390/ijerph15040668

Hsieh, R.L., Lee, W.C., & Lin, J.H. (2016). The Impact of Short-Term Video Games on Performance among Children with Developmental Delays: A Randomized Controlled Trial. PLoS ONE 11(3), 1-16. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149714

Kealty, K. (2013, October 16). Study: Video games, gun violence not related. University Wire.  Retrieved from Sheridan Library Database


Page, Z. E., Barrington, S., Edwards, J., & Barnett, L. M. (2017). Do active video games benefit the motor skill development of non-typically developing children and adolescents: A systematic review. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 20(12), 1087-1100. doi:http://dx.doi.org.library.sheridanc.on.ca/10.1016/j.jsams.2017.05.001

How has the Pandemic affected the Supply Chain?

COVID-19: Is Your Hospital's Supply Chain Ready for Coronavirus?

Current scenario

The impact of Covid-19 across the world has been completely devastating. The nations across the world have taken steps out of ordinary. From putting ban on travel, closing borders, stopping business to complete national lockdown, the economic growth has downgraded tremendously. Several attempts have been made to “flattening the curve” which involves reducing the number of new COVID-19 cases on day to day basis.

For a country like India with high population density, it becomes necessary for the Government to take up vital steps to protect its citizens as high population attracts the virus to spread easily and rapidly. Therefore, keeping in mind, the limited infrastructure, the Government had to completely lockdown the nation from March 25. The lockdown was supposed to last for only 21 days but has been extended till further instructions. The impact of this has already begun by troubling the Indian economy resulting in slow growth and shrinking consumption.

Impact on supply chains

Even before the spread of Covid-19 across the globe and nationwide lockdown, there seemed to be a ripple effect on the global flow of trade due to disruption in China. Due to this many companies had started working to thin the supply chain from China. Because of Covid-19, the vulnerabilities of costs have been exposed and “just in time” deliveries with emphasis laid on minimization has led to decrease in inventory buffers and has left very small or rather no room for adequate buffers

However in India still there are certain industries which are heavily dependent on Chinese imports. Some of these industries are that of pharmaceuticals where about 70 per cent of pharmaceutical ingredients are imported from China for the requirement of industry. Automobiles which adds up to 10-30 per cent of imported raw materials from China for the base parts. The renewable energy sector especially Solar in the area of solar is heavily dependent on China for Solar panels which is 80 per cent of our renewable sector’s requirement.

Managing the crisis

To combat the current crisis, Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) imposed restrictions on the export of 13 Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and 13 formulations made from these ingredients. Major actions were taken to quickly initiate customs clearances of imports from China.

The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) advised its members not to rely on Chinese products by diverging the source of raw materials as the supply from China has been cut off due to the pandemic. According to AEPC Chairman A. Sakthivel the industry body has approached the government on the matter who in turn has asked the Indian embassies to find the alternate sources of suppliers for India.

Due to crisis many companies want to move at least a part of their supply chains locally which would increase investment in India’s local industries and help to overcome economy in crisis. The Indian Government has decided to promote domestic manufacturing of critical Key Starting Materials (KSMs) and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients in the country which will promote Bulk Drug Parks with investment of ₹3,000 crore in the next 5 years. This is a wake-up call for India to develop its own local sourcing units and adopt alternative strategies for reducing the dependency on China.

References:

https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/covid-19-exposes-indian-industrys-supply-chain-vulnerabilities/article31224928.ece

How can Emotional Responses to the Pandemic be addressed?

Spread of the Coronavirus Emoji

The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was a huge shock to governments, administrative agencies, businesses and ordinary people. In addition to the imminent threat to public health, the pandemic is causing tremendous economic and social stress. Following measures can slow the spread of flu:

Large rallies can be canceled, schools can be dismissed and business hours shortened. Workers may stay at home and continue their jobs using computers and telephones. People with flu can be told to stay home, along with their families. You may need to reorganize your life to provide for your loved ones or get treatment.

Several companies have introduced contingency plans. Employees can function online, or adapt to significant organizational changes. Systems are in place and the enterprise continues. You may have also provided advice to your workers on how to better adapt to work from home or on self-care ideas. However, we are seeing gradually one missing piece of the solution that can undo all the rest that has been achieved.

While there is plenty of information on how we can adapt and care for ourselves, there is much less information on how we can feel and think about changes. The key component in crisis psychology is called “normalization”. Whenever something occurs that’s distressing, unplanned or affects the people we ‘re close to, most individuals will develop an unpleasant, disturbing and potentially overwhelming reaction. When we feel that we are unable to control the outcome and our standard lifestyle is threatened or impeded, then that is particularly challenging.

The ongoing COVID-19 disease outbreak means that treatment for our mental health and wellness is just as important as our physical health. At the center of handling crisis emotional health, we ‘re learning the same stuff from people:

I feel restless constantly and can’t settle. I think sometimes that I’m not in charge of my brain.”

Normalization describes that this is how the body and brain respond. In terms, it would make sense for people to connect to. It should be providing advice on what people could do to help calm the reaction. It should encourage people to generate action plans that give them a sense of control, as they now have a clear idea of their reaction and action justification. Unless we normalize the emotional reaction, it is very unlikely that we will involve people in activities that will help them take good care of themselves and adapt to what is going on.

As part of the pandemic response, health care providers have a significant role to play in resolving such emotional outcomes. Emergencies in public health can affect the health, safety and well-being of both individuals causing, for example, feelings of inadequacy, confusion, emotional isolation and communities due to economic losses, closures of work and schools, inadequate medical response resources and poor distribution of necessities. These effects can transform into a range of emotional reactions, such as distress or mental illnesses, undesirable lifestyles, such as increased use of substances, and lack of compliance with public health directives like home restraint and vaccination in people contracting the disease and in the general population.

Health problems from natural causes such as life-threatening viral infection would not match the new trauma criteria required for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) diagnosis, but other psychopathologies, such as mood and anxiety disorders, may try to emulate.

Many people are even more vulnerable to the psychosocial impact of pandemics than others. In specific, individuals who catch the virus, those at increased risk for it, including the elderly, people with weakened immune function, as well as people with medical history, mental health, or drug use issues, are at increased risk of adverse psychosocial consequences. Medical professionals are also especially prone to emotional distress in the current pandemic, considering their risk of virus transmission, worries about infecting and caring for their loved ones, scarcity of personal protective equipment (PPE), extended working hours, and participation in the allocation of resources that are emotionally and morally complicated.

 Besides the stresses inherent in the disease itself, guidelines on mass home containment, including residence-at-home orders, quarantine, and isolation, are unfamiliar to individuals and raise questions about how they may respond individually and collectively. A recent analysis of psychological impact in samples of quarantined individuals and health care providers could be instructive; it reported various emotional outcomes, including stress, depression, irritability, insomnia, anxiety, uncertainty, rage, annoyance, boredom and quarantine-related stigma, some of which remained after the quarantine was ended.

In the existing pandemic, huge areas of the population’s home confining for indefinite periods, differences between the stay-at-home orders issued by different states and countries, and mixed information from government and public health organizations will most probably amplify distress. COVID-19 will provide behavioral evaluation and tracking of associated stressors such as exposure to infected sites, infected family members, loss of loved ones, and physical distance, secondary adversities such as economic loss, psychosocial consequences such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, increased use of drugs, and domestic violence.

 Bearing in mind the worsening economic crisis and various uncertainties surrounding this virus outbreak, suicidal thoughts could arise and require urgent consultation with a mental health professional or referrals for potential psychiatric emergency hospital treatment. Medical professionals may give strategies for handling and dealing with stress, such as organizing and maintaining habits, connecting patients to social and mental health resources, and encourage patients to receive appropriate mental health treatment when required. Because media reports can be emotionally distressing, contact with news related to the pandemic should be regulated and reduced.

Since parents frequently ignore the distress of their children, open discussions should be urged to address the reactions and concerns of the children. Self-care for services, such as mental health care providers, includes being educated about the disease and risks, checking one’s own stress reactions, and seeking additional help with personal and professional commitments and concerns — including, where indicated, professional mental health interventions. Health care facilities would need to tackle the burden on individual providers and overall operations by tracking reactions and results, changing assignments and schedules, adjusting priorities, and developing structures to provide supportive care where appropriate.

Separating from others could be stressful if a healthcare provider thinks you may have been exposed to COVID-19, even if you are not getting sick. After quarantine everyone feels different. Emotional responses to quarantine probably include:

  1. Mixed emotions like post quarantine relief.
  2. Fear and worry about your own health, and your loved ones’ health.
  3. Stress from the perspective of observing yourself or being watched by others about COVID-19 signs and symptoms.
  4. Sorrow, frustration, or disappointment, as friends or loved ones, have irrational fears of contracting the disease from contact with you, even though you were determined not to be infectious.
  5. Guilt over not being capable of performing normal duties of job or parenting throughout quarantine.
  6. Many improvements to the physical or mental wellness.

 In view of the fact that most COVID-19 cases will be reported and handled by staff with almost no mental health experience in health care settings, it is important that psychosocial issues identification and treatment be implemented in those situations. Ideally, incorporation of mental health issues into COVID-19 treatment should be discussed at the organizational level by state and local planning; processes for recognizing, referring and managing serious psychosocial consequences; and the capacity to communicate with specialists will be assured. Health sector executives, emergency workers and health care providers should be provided with information and training on psychosocial issues. The sectors in mental health and emergency management will work together to identify, create and analyze evidence-based services regarding mental health crises and referrals in mental health and certain population’s needs. Risk-communication initiatives will predict the dynamics of evolving problems such as guidelines on prevention, accessibility and acceptability of vaccinations, and require pandemic-related evidence-based approaches and tackle a variety of psychosocial concerns. Healthcare professionals should assist in developing messages which respected leaders should deliver.

The Covid-19 pandemic has disturbing consequences for emotional and social functioning of a person and collective health. Beyond delivering medical services, already strained health care professionals have a significant role to play in tracking psychosocial needs and offering psychosocial support to their patients, health care professionals, and the public — activities that should be incorporated into general pandemic health care. We see people affected from all walks of life, with especially big numbers among those working in the medical field or as first people on the scene along with other essential workers. Our hearts are going out to those heroes. Furthermore, residents of nursing homes and even prisoners are also at higher risk due to health factors and proximity to each other.

Crisis incidents can cause a lot of shock – and then emotional distress, which can take time to subside. Once we know our emotional responses and accept them, we are much more likely to take steps that can help.