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Saturday, 30 May 2020 - Imphal Times

One more returnee tested positive; Number reached 60

IT News

Imphal, May 30:

One more person has been tested with Coronavirus making the number of Coronavirus positive case to 60.  The person tested with Coronavirus is a 19-year-old woman who returned from Gujarat recently. She was confirmed positive after being tested at VRDL of RIMS.

The woman hails from the Kanglatongbi area in Imphal West district and is at present undergoing treatment at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), a source said.

“Necessary containment measures have been taken up,” the state’s COVID-19 Common Control Room said in a statement.

With the detection of the fresh case, the number of active cases went up to 53.

Seven persons have so far recovered and discharged from the hospital.

The state’s Churachandpur district has the highest number of active cases with 20 COVID-19 patients undergoing treatment.

The total Coronavirus positive cases in the country is 1,74,355 and a total of 82,804 has been recovered. Present active cases stands at 86,558 and as many as 4,982. In Assam’s coronavirus tally touches 1,100-mark with 43 new cases. 126 has been recovered and the number of death is 4. Total active case in Assam is 968.

In Nagaland number of Active Coronavirus cases is 36 with 11 more detected in the last few days. Mizoram has only 1 (one) active cases . In Arunachal Pradesh the number of positive cases detected is 3 and after one has been recovered 2 are still active. No death reported.

Meanwhile, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry said that a total 82 thousand 370 people affected with Corona virus have cured and the recovery rate reached to 47.40 per cent in the country.

During the last twenty four hours, 11 thousand 264 people have recovered and seven thousand 964 fresh cases of COVID-19 have been reported taking the total number of cases to one lakh 73 thousand 763.

This is the highest spike in fresh cases in one day since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in India. Health Ministry said, 265 deaths have been registered in last 24 hours taking the nationwide toll to four thousand 971. 

On the other hand, the Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR said that a total one lakh 27 thousand 761 samples for corona virus were tested in the last 24 hours. With this, figure of total number of tests reached to 36 lakh 11 thousand 599 in the country.

Meanwhile, ICMR is continuously scaling up its testing facilities for Covid-19 by giving approval to government and private laboratories. 

As of now, total 662 laboratories across India have been given approval to conduct the test for Covid-19 including 462 government laboratories and 200 private laboratories’ chains.

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All India Tanzeem-e-Insaaf urges for fair delimitation process

IT News

Imphal, May 30:

All India Tanzeem-e-Insaaf questioned the ongoing delimitation process in their recent statement. It states that the Delimitation Commission Manipur State does not have representative from the Pangal community. The commission does not have an associate member from the pangal community which is essential to the unity of Manipur, the statement added. The statement also point out that learned representative from Meitei, Naga, Kuki and Pangal must be made associate members in the commission.

The present commission in Manipur state does not take into account the unity of Manipur, according to the statement. It only reflects that smaller ethnicities are discriminated by the larger ones and it is in general anti-people, it added.  The statement accuses that design of the commission is such that it is targeting a particular community. It is an attempt to clearly violate the unity and integrity of Manipur, it said.

All India Tanzeem-e-Insaaf demands that a leader  from the Pangal community must be made an associate member of the Delimitation commission Manipur State and claim that it opposes the attempt to harm the unity and integrity of Manipur through this delimitation process.

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CCpur CSOs laud Thanlon AC MLA

IT News

Imphal, May 30: 

Hmar Youth Association, Zomi Youth Association and Young Vaiphei Association General headquarter has lauded the MLA of Thanlon Assembly Constituency , Vungzagin Valte, who is also the Chairman of the Manipur Tribal Development Corporation over his impartiality in the distribution of essential commodities

 Press statement issued by the three CSO separately said that the distribution of rice and other essential commodities including dal to the people of the Thanlon Assembly constitution during the lockdown period in the fight against COVID-19 by the Churchandpur District Administration in close coordination with MLA Vungzagin Valte, Chairman of the Manipur Tribal development corporation is found to be very impartial and there is no iota of favouritism to marginalization of any section of the people in the constituency.

The CSOs further stated that they have visited many area of the constituency and met the people to verify the quantum of rice distribution during the lockdown and took their opinion about the distribution system. The peoples of the constituency appreciated MLA Valte for his benevolent act and systematic channelization of the District Administration in the distribution of food items without any impartiality. Young Vaiphe Association distributed every household of the constituency 100 kgs of rice. It further state that the volunteers of the Association that 25 kgs of rice per household was distributed for the second time in between 24 to 28 April and for the third time one rice bag of 50 kg each was distributed in between 20 to 24 may 2020 it added.

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Team of Jt. Committee Covid-19 conducts awareness program at Kaimai

Our Correspondent

Kaimai, May 30: 

A team of Joint Committee on Covid-19 visit Kaimai Village on 29th May of 2020 and conducted awareness programme amidst the challenges in the increase of positive case around the world and particularly to Manipur. The participants are asked to lead their own villages in maintaining safety measures like Social Distancing, wearing of Mask and several others including the necessary distance to be maintain along the National Highway as the buses transporting the stranded persons are still active.

Volunteers of Covid-19, CSOs, Villages Youth leaders and Chiefs from Oinamlong, Sibilong, Tollen, Kaimai Naga, Kaimai villages gathered at Kaimai Community Hall under the guidance of Kaimai Covid-19 Volunteers and Kaimai Police maintaining social distances and other safety measures during the interaction programme. 

Since the buses carrying the stranded persons of outside the State are transported through NH-37, such an awareness is a necessity for all the villages where the Highway runs along.

The Joint Committee on Covid-19 also visit other six(6) Places along NH-37 and informed all the nearby villages and areas leader to participated in the awareness programme. 

Kaimai Village Chief Lenboi Singson expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Joint Committee on Covid-19 for their dedication and efforts to battle the rise of pandemic diseases in our own State and asked the team to conduct more programs according to the situation demands and necessities as it provides more knowledge and wisdom in adopting every next steps.

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Lockdown likely to be extended till 15 June in Maharashtra

Our Correspondent

Mumbai, May 30:

The Union Government is likely to extend the lockdown by another two weeks after 31 May, with some relaxations, with focus on 13 cities with 70 per cent of the COVID-19 cases in the country.

While most of the states, including Maharashtra, are in favour of the extension, the Centre may leave it to the states and Union Territories to decide on further restrictions, other than a pan-India ‘negative’ list that may continue to ban international flights and schools and colleges, other educational institutes, shopping malls and cinema halls

Places of worship and gymnasiums may be allowed to open in ‘Lockdown 5.0’ but no religious congregation or any other mass gathering will be allowed.

The cities in focus are Maharashtra-Mumbai, Pune,Thane, Tamil Nadu- Chennai, Chengalpattu, Thiruvallur, Delhi, Gujarat-Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, West Bengal-Kolkata, Madhya Pradesh- Indore, Rajasthan-Jaipur and Jodhpur.

Following the Centre allowing ease in lockdown curbs in May, the cases in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh have more than doubled. These states have been attributing the increase in their tallies to arrival of people from outside in special trains, being run since early May to ferry migrant workers to their native places, and special international flights that began to bring back stranded Indians and expatriates from abroad.

The Centre had in the fourth phase of the lockdown focused most of the restrictions to the containment zones and allowed operation of all markets, offices, industries and business along with plying of buses in all other areas to completely open the economy. Last week, the government also allowed operations of domestic flights in a limited capacity.

While Maharshtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has been cautious about lifting the lock down, in the wake of increasing number of COVID-19 cases,  Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar is in favour of granting some relaxations.

On Friday, Thackeray, speaking to media said that next 15 days will be crucial and as such it is imperative that the lock down is extended by a fortnight. Considerable energy was wasted in shifting migrant workers, he added. Thackeray was accompanied by: Industries Minister Subhash Desai, Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta and Mumbai Municipal Commissioner I S Chahal during media meet.

On the occasion, Chahal said that although the statistics of COVID-19 appeared inflated, a sizable number of patients have cured. Besides, there are many patients who are under home quarantine.

On Friday Maharashtra COVID-19 figures stood as: Deaths-116 (Mumbai-38, Thane-01, Bhiwandi-03, Navi Mumbai-09, Raigad-02, Mira-Bhayander-03, Panvel-01 and Kalyan-Dombivali-01), new patients-2682, cured and discharged-8,381 (they included 7,358 patients from Mumbai municipal area) and under treatment- 33,124.

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Another blessing in disguise

COVID-19 pandemic turns out to be blessing in disguise for many including the mother earth. The level of pollution has been gone down, we she wild animals moving freely even on the road, birds chirping on the sky, various rivers across the world free from pollution. The ongoing lockdown that has been taking up across the country and in the state of Manipur also turn out to be another blessing in disguise for the N. Biren Singh led government. In addition to the lockdown the disqualification of Andro Assembly constituency Th. Shyamkumar, who was a Minister BJP led government in the state too also co-incidentally adds sugar to the fate of N. Biren Singh led government. The sequence of events that have been taken place in the political theater in the wake of COVID -19 pandemic is significant and if one dissects it is sure that N. Biren Singh led government will complete the term without much hindrance. The only problem that need to be tackled is the well balance treatment to all the ruling MLAs by allotting them their share without bias.
If one analyze the sequence of events in the political theatre of the N. Biren Singh government it is learnt that the BJP led government will get full support from the Naga Peoples’ Front (NPF) after the induction of Awangbou Newmai in the Ministerial Council. NPF, which have 4 MLAs in the 60 member state assembly had been demanding for increase in the Ministerial portfolio for quite some times and even threatened to pull out from the government if the demand that they put were not fulfilled. The party even field their candidate for the lone Rajya Sabha seat even after knowing that they have only 4 MLAs. That was perhaps the time that BJP shrewdly negotiated and following that the NPF withdrew its candidate supported the BJP.
The 60 member 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly now has 58 members excluding the Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly. If in case the fate of Shyamkumar falls to the 7 other MLAs who had joined the BJP then the total seat in the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly will be 51. Total number of MLAs required by N.Biren Singh government to continue is 26 which he had even without the support of the 4 (four) National Peoples’ Party (NPP) MLAs who are Ministers in the government as Congress now have 20 MLAs. It is likely that a major reshuffled may take place after the measures being taken up to contained the COVID-19 pandemic has been settled. If in case the NPP MLAs drop from the government due to misunderstanding the congress will have 24 MLAs that means BJP still will lead the number taking into account the BJP play well with the Independent MLA Ashab Uddin.
Moreover, it is just about 1 years and  8 months left for the N.Biren Singh government and it is likely that his government may not face that much problem as the BJP too needs to prepare for the next election. 

Technological Determinism: Privacy vs. Surveillance

By: Mr. Paojakhup Guite,
Saihenjang, CCpur

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, technology is trying hard to prove its worth all the more like never before. It is seizing this bad time as an opportunity to showcase its deterministic property to humanity. Given the intensity and gravity of the pandemic, human beings are, like it or not, ought to accept this determinism of technology. Technology is evolving and correspondingly, so is the human civilization.
The term “technological determinism” was coined by Thorstein Veblen, an American sociologist and economist in 1920s. By the term, he believes that technology is the principal agent of social, economic or political change. Behavioural patterns and social interactions of human beings are determined by technology. In this globalisation era, technology is a major force that easily binds us together virtually (video-call) or physically (short journey time). Hyper-globalists or ultra-globalists are of the view that technology has made the world a ‘global village’- that, the 30 per cent continental mass of the Earth looks like 3 per cent of itself, while the 70%  oceans (water bodies) appear as if 7% of itself.
Technology Drives History
The wheel of history is lubricated by technology. In the beginning, human species (say, the ancestor of Homo sapiens) was gifted with neural networks, though its synapses were not functioning to a desired level and had no capacity to develop his thinking potential. It was kept at futility, while its utility began much later. Consequently, this Cognitive Revolution (CR) kick-started history and it’s about 70,000 years ago. Simultaneously, a technological bent of mind began to develop in the brain of our ancestor.
As a result, in the last phase of ice age called Holocene, man began to think of agriculture. He began an institution of family as also a sedentary life. Nomadism became a thing of the past. Thus, Agricultural Revolution (AR) expedited CR about 12,000 years ago. And, not more than 500 years ago, AR rose to its higher level, called Scientific Revolution. Today, AR has been replaced by AI (Artificial Intelligence). The technological calibre of human beings has been so immense. Due to this tremendous influence of humankind on other species and environment and climate change, some historians propose that Holocene has ended and been replaced by a new epoch called Anthropocene. The Anthropocene Epoch begins from 1950. From 1950 onwards, we have witnessed many technological breakthroughs, both harmful and beneficial.
The new Epoch has witnessed global catastrophes umpteen times. This is partly or wholly due to human negligence. The two World Wars (nuclear bombs) were primarily caused by a mad race for power, and culminated into its folly by technological advancements. Several lethal arms and weapons of mass destructions (WMD) have been manufactured. We have destroyed enough our cultures and civilizations. We rebuild them again with a higher level of technology that destroyed them. Albert Einstien once said, “You cannot solve intractable problems with the same thinking that produced the problem”.
The ever worsening climate change, no doubt began since time immemorial. The present rate of the change is at a critical stage mainly due to anthropogenic activities. We have constructed insurmountable industrial plants. Man began to extract fossils to run industries. These manufacturing units produce poisonous Green House Gases (GHGs) which are released into the atmosphere, thereby expanding the Ozone Hole over Antarctica at an alarming rate. Worse, world leaders could not stand together in one accord to fight against this common threat of GHG emissions. The Paris Agreement (2015) remains a paper tiger. The agreement is being dragged into the domestic politics of the US. Mr. Trump’s campaign of “First America Policy” or “Make America Great Again” has become a stumbling block against global climate initiatives.
Therefore, in history up till today we have learned that human cultures and civilizations have been shaped by technology. In this 21st century, we need not just a technology, but one which is innovative, scientific, effective, efficient and climate-benign.
A Critique
Opposite to technological determinism theory is “Social Determinism”. According to social determinists, technology is rather an entity outside of human society. Man uses it and manipulates it in the way he desires.
In practical reality, politics is the Sugar Daddy of its kindred disciplines such as science (technology, for that matter), literature, social science and what not. In the eye of politics, technology is not deterministic, and the fact that something can be done does not mean it must be done. In other words, politics is as old as human species, and technology is a later phenomenon. This view is in congruence with Social Contract Theory which is put forth by political philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean Jacque Rousseau. They each had different interpretations of social contracts, but the underlying idea was similar.
According to Hobbes, the state of nature was one in which there were no enforceable criteria of right and wrong. Life was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” The state of nature was therefore a state of war. This war could be ended only if individuals agreed (in a social contract) to give their liberty into the hands of a sovereign (State) who was thenceforward absolute, on the sole condition that their lives were safeguarded by sovereign power.
Lock differed from Hobbes insofar as he described the state of nature. He opined that the rights of life and property were generally recognized under natural law. He therefore argued that the obligation to obey civil government under the social contract was conditional upon the protection not only of the person but also of private property. Sovereigns who violated these terms could be justifiably overthrown.
Rousseau held that in the state of nature humans were unwarlike and somewhat undeveloped in their reasoning powers and sense of morality and responsibility. When, however, people agreed for mutual protection to surrender individual freedom of action and establish laws and government, they then acquired a sense of moral and civic obligation. In order to retain its essentially moral character, government must thus rest on the consent of the governed (“general will”).
In this critical period of Social Distancing triggered by COVID-19 outbreak, technology has sneaked into the privacy premises of the people. But, in modern democracy, citizens don’t want to sacrifice their rights at the altar of technology. In other words, consciousness of political rights in their cognitive mind has refused to concede fully to Hobbes’ Theory of Social Contract. So much so that they protect their rights to privacy and protest surveillance of any kind. Undeniably, as we are grappling with social distancing rules, technology has brought us many gifts of ICT (Information and Communication Technology).
From Aadhaar to Aarogya, the buzzword has been around data privacy of responsible citizens. A beneficiary of government undertakings (even private sector) has to compulsorily surrender his 12-digit Aadhaar number which bears not only one’s demographic details, but most riskily, biometric informations. Most recently, the Civil Aviation Ministry, in its air passengers’ guidelines made it compulsory to download Aarogya Setu App to book a flight ticket. Aarogya  Setu App is a contact-tracing  software application developed by India.  Mr.  Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder lauded Prime Minister Modi in this regard. However, it is being alleged that the App encroaches upon one’s right to life, because it traces or snoops a person’s living area. It ascertains as to where one is from which colour zones- Green, Orange, Red or Containment. It sounds discriminatory as a person’s habitat area is stratified based on colour. Are we going back to Vedic Ages, when the Vedic society was archaic and divided into four castes based on Varna (skin colour) system? Are we switching on from Skin Colour to Habitat Colour? History repeats itself?
Zoom, a China-developed video-conference app is no less invasive against privacy of data than that of Aadhaar or Aarogya Setu App. Despite its easy handling to fight against the menace of Social Distancing, the App has attracted a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) from concerned citizens. The aggrieved plaintiffs moved the Supreme Court of India to look into the privacy concerns of the people of the country. The case is sub-judice as the apex Court has directed the Centre to give its clarifications to the litigants.
A Necessary Evil
Is COVID-19 Outbreak a roll of the dice or an Allah-sent soldier? Technology says none. The outbreak is not the concern of Technology. Rather, it looks forward to adaptation or mitigation or annihilating it forever.
Technology not only drives history. It also determines our future. We cannot deny the fact that technology is the backbone of economy and development. We know that human development is a concern of all. According to economists, human development can be measured mostly on two parameters-‘health’ and ‘education’. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has since 1990 released annually its Human Development Index (HDI) of the world. India ranked at the 129th position on 2019’s HDI. Sri Lanka led the rank at 71 among its neighboring South Asian countries. India is also the lowest among BRICS (2017, 2018).
Due to COVID-19 pandemic, health has been affected seriously. Add to this, due the COVID-19-induced lockdown, education has equally been at its lowest ebb. While everything is at stake, the Centre and the State Governments deserve a pat on the back. Both the governments have taken up initiatives to bridge the likely gaps in all walks of life- health, education and economy- without compromising with their resolve to fight the dreaded virus. They have taken recourse on technology to provide virtual education, while Zoom App has enabled the governments to organize a video-conference meeting and make decisions. To take a minute care on health front, Aarogya Setu App was developed to trace a passenger or a person. That will give information related to zone classifications (green, orange, red or containment zones), travel history, etc. Based on this, a proactive action can be taken further.
It is plausible that the Government of India is inviting any constructive suggestions from citizens to improve the contact-tracing App. Hopefully; this will make the App more user-friendly. Regarding data management, the Centre should think twice. An independent body has to be appointed to look after data management, so that no leakage is found. This should include data related to blood samples collected for COVID-19 clinical test with their results.
In this way, Science & Technology should work hand in hand with politics, society and economy. That would raise the country’s HDI rank in future.
(The views expressed are personal. The writer can reached at: 6009962948/This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Tackling Workplace Unethical Behaviour

By: Kaustov Kashyap

Witnessing unethical behaviour or even illegal misconduct in the workplace can put you in an awkward situation. While some unethical behaviours are not harmful and widely-accepted, there are times when you have to deal with more serious wrongdoings that might violate the law. At one point, you might have the urgency to speak up and tell the truth to the authorities. On the other hand, you do not want to ruin the relationship you have built for years with your co-workers. Not to mention, your own credibility at work will be at stake.

Being in such a worst case situation can be very daunting, as you have to decide if to blow the whistle or choose to look away, ignore and pretend as though nothing is wrong. It depends on how you handle the situation. If you use the right strategy and handle it appropriately, your testimony will grant you attention from the management.

They will take note of your high ethics and even recognize you as a role-model employee. Nevertheless, if you take the wrong step, it might impair your reputation as well. Owing to which, it is crucial to observe the whole situation before deciding to report about them.

Below are some things you can do to handle unethical behaviour in the workplace:

Ask questions

Remember little piece of fact does not show the whole truth. When it comes to whistleblowing, you should never jump into conclusions without learning to figure out the whole picture. There are always good chances that you might misunderstand the situation. Therefore, keep your positive thinking and confront the person you suspect. Gather courage and ask them the right questions regarding their behaviours.

Gather all the facts and findings

When you confront the person and they seem like hiding the truth, only then you can suspect that something fishy is going on. Upon facing this situation, you have to gather all the facts and evidences that will prove your suspicion.

You simply cannot just go around and accuse someone of committing illegal acts without strong evidences. Read the company guideline about ethical and unethical behaviours to ensure what your coworkers do is wrong, as well as learning what laws are being violated.

Seek help from trustworthy third-party

Once you have got the whole story and scrutinized the situation, the next thing to do is seeking for help from third party. By consulting with a trusted person, you can gain better insights about the options to explore and the potential consequences of unveiling the truth.

However, you should be careful in choosing whom to open up. Avoid sharing such sensitive issues with your co-workers. Instead, go to the HR department or your supervisors to talk it out.

File the report

After confirming everything, holding evidences, and considering the consequences, now you are ready to file the report. Follow the company’s procedural guidelines when filling out the required paperwork.

Make sure to complete them within the designated timeline and submit your evidence along. You should be prepared to involve in further investigation process, such as giving in-depth testimony.

Keep it to yourself

Even if the unethical behaviours at work observed might be true, you should never share it with your coworkers. Keep your ethics by not spreading such issues, as it will only hamper your reputation and credibility.

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