To curb the spread of the Coronavirus, Governments all over the world have resorted to actions that have potentially infringed upon the rights of individuals. In India, Aarogya Setu has sparked a debate on privacy.

“Big Brother is Watching You” just got a whole lot really, according to some privacy experts, when the Government of India rolled out ‘Aarogya Setu’, an application that aims to inform the people of their risk of contracting the Coronavirus and educate them on the best practices and medical advisories pertaining to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

However, the app has not exactly gone down well with certain people who argue that the system by which the app uses contact tracing and shares details with the government essentially makes it a ‘surveillance system’. Congress politician Rahul Gandhi too tweeted in this regard, and his theory was ‘proved’ by French ethical hacker, Elliot Anderson. Through this article, I am going to analyse whether or not these claims hold weight, and whether the application is truly worth it.

The first concern would be that downloading the app gives the Indian Government access to your location and personal data at all times. However, that is untrue. Firstly, the application replaces all your data with a Device Identification Number on sign-up, and this DiD becomes the basis of all future interactions. It is this DiD that is used to interact with other phones when they come in range with each other and calculate your health risk and communicate it to the server. It is only when the risk of infection to a person is too high that the personal information is reconciled with the DiD to alert the individual.

The Privacy Policy for the application, along with its Data Access protocol, explicitly states the purposes for which the data can be used and limits the possibility for misuse. One major concern remains in the fact that the data is shared not only with the Health Ministry but with any related ministry at the central or state level that is involved in addressing the pandemic, but a case could be made against the same looking at the various actors involved in the COVID response. Another concern comes from the fact that DiDs that do not change can lead to privacy issues, but the Government is currently addressing this by creating a dynamic ID that generates multiple times and offers more security.

Hacker Elliott Anderson tweeted about certain ‘risks’ which included data of the users being at risk and local files being accessed. However, various people proficient with coding have come out to deny these claims, arguing that Elliott ran basic scripts to access the data stored on his own device and portrayed it as a security issue when it isn’t. Adding to it, the creators of the app themselves chose to engage with the hacker and clarified their response to his claims. It has been by and large proved that these claims held no weight at all and should be disregarded. An important point to be noted is that this is the same person who claimed that he hacked TRAI Chairman RS Sharma’s information based on his Aadhar Number. However, it was later found that the information he ‘hacked’ was available in the public domain already and could be easily found through search engines. As Michael Scott would say “Fool me once, strike one. But fool me twice, strike three.”

More importantly, the rules and privacy policy clearly specify the duration for which the data can be stored. The application deletes all personal data 30 days from collection, and the servers purge the information after 45-60 days, depending on whether or not a particular person tested positive for the virus. This contact and location data can in any case not be retained beyond 180 days and the demographic data is deleted within six months, provided the pandemic does not extend beyond that period. Thus, the possibility of the government retaining or sharing this data for other purposes does not exist.

Contact Tracing is a difficult, labour intensive process and often leaves out people in the way it’s been conventionally done. For example, a person goes to the market to buy vegetables and meets someone they do not know who later turns out to be positive for the virus. At that point in time, it becomes almost impossible for health officials to trace who was at xyz vegetable vendor at 11:00 hours on a day. This is where the app steps in, even if the person doesn’t know the person who contracted the virus, they will be notified of the risk and be asked to take steps accordingly, thus making the contact-tracing process not only less difficult but also more comprehensive.

A case is made that apps like these cannot be put to use by people who don’t have smartphones. It’s important to note that the app isn’t a replacement for contact tracing, it is an assistance mechanism. A lack of accessibility by the entire population cannot count as an argument for the ones who can access it to not be asked to install it and use it. Even if one person can self-isolate and reduce the spread of the virus due to the app, it means tens or hundreds of others who they would have come in contact with are saved. Every single life saved is a major victory for the application. In fact, until now, the app has been used to notify 1.4 lakh people of potential exposure to the virus and asked them to take necessary precautions. Even if one percent of those, i.e., 1400 people test positive for the virus later but had taken precautions to contain its spread thanks to the notifications issued, it’s a win not only for the app but for the country.

It is a moral obligation of every citizen to try and ensure that we try and reduce the spread of the virus as much as possible and take whatever steps necessary. Aarogya Setu, with its benefits, is a huge step, and all of us who can download it should make sure that we do.

Of course, the government needs to do better in two regards. Firstly, the government must implement Aarogya Setu only through law. If an action threatens to hinder a fundamental right (such as the Right to Privacy here), it needs to be implemented through legislation that limits potential government misuse. While in the status quo, it is understandable why the app is being pushed so strongly, there are better ways to do it, especially in the absence of a Data Protection law in the country.

Secondly, app security is a major issue. Thus, the app should be made open source so that developers can check it for bugs and potential security issues, and thus make it safer and easier to use for everyone.

The Aarogya Setu app is not perfect, but there can be no denying that it can be of huge help in the fight against COVID-19. The government has actually taken measures to ensure that user privacy is respected to the extent possible, which is a welcome change from its actions from the past. Given how crucial it is, it is imperative that we download the application as a measure to not only safeguard our own health but that of others around us too.

Featured Image Credit: Flipboard

Khush Vardhan Dembla

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The second extension of lockdown shattered our post quarantine plans, yet one more time. With the exhaustion of the ‘to watch’ movies list and the increasing anxiety day-by-day this third phase, which is about to end soon,  seemed more tedious and tough for us.

The continuous everyday cycle of attempting and failing to sleep and wake up early, has made most of us to give up. The unsatisfactory results of almost every social media and blog suggested way to be productive, has left us heartbroken. With loads of demotivation and sacks of laziness one seeks solace only by residing in the world of either memories or post quarantine plannings. Apart from affecting ones mental health this third phase is also targeting the economical vulnerabilities of the people to a greater extent, as compared to the previous two lockdowns.

With business and industries shut for almost one and a half month people are slowly and gradually getting short of their savings. The daily wage labourers are the worst hit, as they are struggling even for basic needs like food, shelter and clothing. The government too is facing a shortage of funds and revenue, owing to which it recently passed an order allowing the opening of liquor shops and stores. This decision however failed in acquiring positive support from the people. There were several metres of lines in which people stood closely to buy drinks and booze. The entire ideas and norms which the Prime Minister promoted in the former two lockdowns were erased by this decision.

“Ostracisation, lack of hospital care, loss of wages, homelessness, hunger etc. This extreme lockdown seems to be a case of the privileged transferring their epidemic risk to the under-privileged”, said Praveen Chakravarty, political economist and head of the Data and Technology cell of the Congress party, in an interview to The Hindu. The little kids of four to six years of age are locked in their homes. In an age where they should be involved in outdoor activities they are left with no other alternative except of sticking their eyes to the screens of their parent’s mobile phones. This lock down promoted phone addiction is having devastating results on the growth and development of kids. This second extension has contributed only in furthering this phone dependency.

Increasing irritability, hypertension and obesity are some of the commonly observed outcomes of the developing technology geekiness in children. With the patience reaching at brim it is becoming more and more difficult to distance one selves from friends, family or even work (the realization which struck during this quarantine). Owing to the life of hustle and bustle many people during the initial two phases took it positively, considering it as a necessary break, or an opportunity to spend me time but, in this third one even that group is facing a hard time. The initial methods of survival which included Ludo, Tambola and bingos is now appearing to be monotonous.

This is a greater trouble agreed, but is somewhere contributing in the saving of lives, which is the greatest existent asset. Acknowledging both the vices and virtues of the approach is imperative, but at the same time one should not let that hinder in abiding by the passed rules and regulations. With all the uncertainties the entire country is facing a hard time, during which keeping ourselves strong and supporting not only our families but fellow humans is extremely important. If you are bored with one activity shift to other, there are a plethora of things for you to try your hands on. So, stay calm and remind yourself of what Martin Luther says, “we must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.”

Feature Image Credits: Swarajya

Kriti  Gupta

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We are often told that the more one knows, the better. But we were never told that if we know too much, then that may result in information intoxication. To know more, scroll down.

The coronavirus pandemic has shaken the humankind. And as we all are locked away in our houses, most of us make sure that we check the news feed each and every day. Be it the count of new positive patients or the news of a sad demise, we want to know more about it as soon as possible.

However, amidst this sea of information, we often forget that we should not go in too deep or we drown. Infoxication or Information overload occurs when you have too much info about an issue which subsequently affects your mental functions and even decision making. So the time when you watched that primetime debate or the daily news bulletin and just felt frustrated afterword you were intoxicated.

Current research suggests that the surging volume of the available information—and its interruption of people’s work—can adversely affect not only personal well-being but also decision making, innovation, and productivity.

Pretty obviously the focus of this lockdown is the coronavirus pandemic and we as curious consumers consume all of the information about this pandemic. But this blind consumption leads to fear and not awareness. The 24/7 news coverage of these unprecedented events serves as an additional stressor, especially for individuals with pre-existing mental health problems.

There is a famous English proverb ‘to paint the devil on the wall’. It basically means to have or offer a negative view of a situation, often when it is excessive or unwarranted. This proverb perfectly describes the media coverage related to this pandemic, be it national or global. You can notice this negative coverage by the fact that many news channels and portals often do not show the number of cured patients but emphasise more on infected patients.

Such a flow of information has already caused a great deal of damage. Recently a man in Shamli, Uttar Pradesh committed suicide as soon as he was admitted to a quarantine facility. He hanged to his death in a fear that he was coronavirus positive. The despairing part of this incident was that the person’s report was negative. The deceased was so frightened about coronavirus that he could not even decide about his own life. Similar cases have come up in New Delhi, Greater Noida, Firozabad, etc.

Amidst this flow of information people, knowingly and unknowingly, also spread fake news. Here another Indian proverb, ‘Knowledge increases through sharing’ is at work. When we get to know a fact, we want to share it with as many people as we can. Thus, fake news also presents itself as another troublemaker in such a scenario.

So be it the rumour that vegetable vendors are licking the vegetables or the rumour about the government reducing 30% pension during the coronavirus, it all adds up to the painted devil on the wall becoming more and more terrorising.

It is a fact that everyone around the globe is concerned about the spread of this wretched virus. However, in reality, a lot of us have forgotten to draw a line between being scared and being aware. Being scared will lead us to spread fake news and consuming every bit of information which will result in infoxication as well as hysteria. On the contrary, if we accept the fact that this virus will be affecting us adversely and consume information that is relevant as well as trustworthy then at least we can prepare ourselves to fight this virus.

Try to give yourself a break from all the news related to coronavirus for some time, be it television or the internet or social media. Do not misjudge this as not caring about the hazardous pandemic and becoming careless about the needed precautions. Being informed is a must but being over-informed is a choice and a risk not worth taking.

“Sometimes a pessimist is only an optimist with extra information.” 

-Idries Shah, Reflections


Featured Image Credits: Getty Images

Aniket Singh Chauhan

[email protected]

While the decision to postpone the Olympics posed a headache for many athletes, there were a few silver linings, especially in the Indian camp.

1940. 1944. Since their modern inception in 1896, the Olympic Games have only been cancelled three times in history. This fact helps us gauge the magnitude and significance of the International Olympic Committee’s decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to next year due to the coronavirus induced global standstill. Besides the three cancellations, this is the first ever instance of a postponement. Evidently, we find ourselves in a once-in-a-lifetime situation, though not a very pleasant one.

For athletes who had been preparing their bodies – following strict diets and rigorous training cycles – under a tight structured schedule to ensure they hit peak form in the summer of 2020, the announcement of the postponement, that too with only a few months to go, certainly would have produced cries of disappointment and frustration. In sports, time is paramount. One whole year can make a significant amount of difference. Most athletes are only ever fully at their peak for a very short period of time in their career. And since the Olympics are held after every four years, athletes don’t get many shots at glory. With medals being decided in milliseconds and millimetres, the margin of error is extremely small and not being in peak condition means no medal. 

From a financial point of view, Japanese economists estimated the economic damage of postponing the Games to be more than 600 billion Japanese yen. The postponement shall cost the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) an estimated 1.2 billion American dollars in advertisement revenue. As is evident, a large chunk of stakeholders are at the receiving end of the postponement. However, for some Indian athletes, the decision, even if imposed under unfortunate circumstances, has been a blessing in disguise.

Take for instance, Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra. Chopra is a Commonwealth Games and Asian Games gold medallist and a junior world record holder in his sport with his exploits frequently prompting the media in the past two years to label him as the brightest prospect to end India’s drought in athletics at the Olympics. But due to an injury, Chopra had to undergo a surgery on his elbow, forcing him to miss the complete sporting calendar in 2019. He only got back to action in January 2020 and while he did produce a good performance, it’s not possible to be at one’s best a few months after being out of action for a whole year. Thus the postponement couldn’t have come at a better time for Chopra as now he’s been “gifted” with another whole year to recuperate and reach his peak. Chopra told Reuters, “I had found very little time to work on my technique as I was concentrating more on rehab. I didn’t have much time to work on my throws as I started very late. Now I will try to solve the problems that I have noticed.”

Additional Image 1_Neeraj Chopra

Image Credits: India Today

Image Caption: Neeraj Chopra seen mid run-up

In another case not largely different from Chopra’s situation, Jinson Johnson, a middle-distance runner and an Asian Games gold medallist, suffered an Achilles tendon injury in 2019 and was still under recuperation at the start of 2020, in a race against time to recover, qualify and compete in the Olympics. “Earlier, the qualification was going to end in June. So I tried to rush through my rehab a little. It was a situation where I had to have enough rehab time and have enough track time. There was a worry that I wouldn’t get enough rehab time,” said Johnson in an interview with The Indian Express. But with the postponement, he receives opportunity to get back into perfect shape and plan his way back into contention next year.

Additional Image 2_Jinson Johnson

Image Credits: India Today

Image Caption: Jinson Johnson after breaking the national 1500m record

India’s medal count has been consistently dismal, with the highest tally till date being only six (2012 London Olympics). The country sent a contingent of over a hundred athletes to the 2016 Rio Olympics and returned with only two medals. To give a fair idea of the disparity, Georgia, a country with a population barely touching 3 million, which is five times less than that of Delhi, returned from the same Olympics with 11 medals. 

Indian athletes certainly leave a lot to be desired with their performances. While it would be wrong to say that they don’t work hard, they do tend to come up short against their foreign counterparts for various wide-ranging reasons, from lack of finances for purchasing world-class training equipment to the rigorous military grade preparations of their opponents. Many are already at a disadvantage before the competition even starts. The postponement shall surely give the athletes in the Indian camp more time to train better and plot and plan their way to the podium.

Fouaad Mirza, equestrian and an Asian Games silver medallist, told the Press Trust Of India that the postponement was a “blessing in disguise” as it gives him and his horse “more time for some much-needed preparations”. 


“From a practical point of view, India were surely the underdogs. No one really expected us to pose any serious challenges, except in some events where veterans were scheduled to participate. And true, this would just have been another Olympics and another dismal show. But now it’s not really a “normal” edition. The event has been pushed back by a year and all plans of competitors have gone haywire. Under such abnormal and unusual circumstances, I would say we have an outside chance to strike the pot of gold.” opined a University Of Delhi student, on the condition of anonymity.

It’s good to bear a competitive spirit, but while being at it, we should keep in mind the sombre atmosphere prevalent across the world currently and not forget the actual reason which forced the postponement of the Olympics in the first place. Whether or not the postponement was a blessing in disguise for the Indian Olympic camp shall only be fully ascertained after the event happens next year. Till then, we can only hope that the pandemic doesn’t push the Tokyo Olympics further back, into oblivion.

Araba Kongbam

[email protected]

Feature Image Credits: Outlook India



Since the announcement for the creation of PM CARES two things have come in abundance, funds and criticisms. So, is the fund for the good of the nation or the netas? Read on to find out.

PM Modi announced the creation of a new fund, the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund or PM-CARES Fund on March 28th. Since this announcement money has poured in from around the nation. However, in addition to money, criticisms of the fund have also been pouring in.

The main criticism directed at this fund was a question on its existence and need. The critiques say that PMNRF or Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, from whom PM Cares borrows its structure, should have been used. But before diving deeper, let us know the two funds.

What is PM-Cares Fund?

The fund was created specifically for the current pandemic. The government stated that due to the magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic, the fund has been created exclusively to fight this outbreak. Officially the fund ‘is to be used for combating, containment and relief efforts against the coronavirus outbreak and similar pandemic like situations in the future.’

Barely a week after the fund was set up, donations pledged to it have crossed over Rs 6,500 crore more than three times its counterpart PMNRF got in the years 2014-15 and 2018-19. Similar to PMNRF, PM Cares is a 100% donation based fund. In addition to this donations to the fund by corporates will be exempted under the Income Tax, 1961 and are also counted as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure. The officials further stated that to spend from the Consolidated Fund of India, the Parliament’s approval was required while a donation-based fund did not have any such legislative concerns.

According to the PM Cares fund website, “the Prime Minister is the ex-officio (by virtue of one’s position or status) Chairman of the Fund while the Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance are ex-officio Trustees of the Fund. The Chairperson of the Board of Trustees (Prime Minister) shall have the power to nominate three trustees to the Board of Trustees who shall be eminent persons in the field of research, health, science, social work, law, public administration and philanthropy. Any person appointed a Trustee shall act in a pro bono (work undertaken voluntarily and without payment) capacity.”

PMNRF: The Case of the CounterpartT

he Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund or PMNRF was established on January 1948 by the then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. The fund was established to help the people who were victims of mass migration and violence post-independence. Through the passage of time the fund evolved to help the victims of riots, floods, tsunamis, naxal attacks and the fund is also used to sponsor medical treatment of the needy. The fund was used extensively to provide support for victims of 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Uttarakhand floods 2013, cyclone in Kerala and Lakshadweep, 2014 violence in Assam, Madhya Pradesh explosion 2015, Tamil Nadu floods 2015 etc.

The PMNRF, before 1985 was a trust consisting of the following people in its board:

  1. Prime Minister
  2. Deputy Prime Minister
  3. President of the Indian National Congress
  4. Finance Minister
  5. A representative of the Tata Trustees
  6. A member of industry and commerce, as decided by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

However, after the year 1985, this structure of the fund was changed by the Rajiv Gandhi government. The fund has since been functioning under the discretion and directions of the prime minister. According to the information provided by the fund, the prime minister is the secretary of the fund, assisted by a joint-secretary and an officer of the rank of director, all on an honorary basis. In short the PM has sole discretion over its use.

The Concerns

Several people including political parties like the Indian National Congress, Shiv Sena, and Trinamool Congress. Etc. have raised concerns related to this fund. The first concern is the need for a new fund when one, i.e. PMNRF, already exists. To this concern the government officials stated that PM Cares was established exclusively for fighting the pandemic due to its magnitude and PMNRF fund has not been closed but still remains very much functional.

Secondly, the auditing of the fund by independent auditors and not the CAG raised many eyebrows. However, both PMNRF as well as PM CARES are donation based funds and hence do not qualify for CAG auditing. Further the government has still not made the charter and other information like collection and expenditure of the fund public. In addition to this it is a valid point that the central government should have encouraged donations to state funds. As many states governments are seeing their revenue incomes dry up due to low consumption of oil as well as liquor and are hence in dire need of funds.

Various questions on the legality of the fund were also raised. However they were put to rest after the Supreme Court of India dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Manohar Lal Sharma for questioning the legality of the constitution of PM CARES Fund for COVID-19.

Abhinandan Kaul, a student of St. Stephen’s College, says, ”Public participation is the key to mitigate issues facing our nation and society. PM Cares puts this very fundamental idea in action by enabling micro-donations allowing not only prominent celebrities and businessmen but also ordinary people of the country to contribute with small amounts of money too as a result of which more than 40 crore Indians have been able to send in donations. Hence in my opinion, PM cares is a very well-conceived idea for Indians to come together and fight against Covid-19!”
Akshat Singh Rathore, a student of Shri Venkateshwara College, says, “Even though I think that the government is doing commendable work battling this virus. But, the PM CARES is shady in many terms. If the government is taking donations from us then we as citizens have a right to know as to where our money goes. And if they are all clean then this shouldn’t be a problem.”
The effectiveness of this fund will come to light in coming days. But it is rather astounding that all of India came together to fight this global pandemic. The government has to answer many concerns related to fund and till then all of the nation should support their respective governments and authorities to be victorious in the battle against this wretched virus.

Featured Image Credits: PM Cares

Aniket Singh Chauhan

[email protected]

Recommendations by UGC’s Expert Committee surface differing concerns. A fraction of students desire abrogation of examinations amid the Pandemic scare; while some urge preponement of examinations.

On 27th April 2020, an Expert Committee, headed by Professor R.C. Kuhad, was constituted by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown to delve into the issues related Examinations and the Academic Calendar to avoid academic loss and  take appropriate measures for the future of students. Although an advisory in nature, the suggestions have sparked varying concerns.

One of the suggestions put forth by the committee was- conducting examinations for students (who have terminal semester) in July. This proposition has turned out to be a cause of concern. Some students at University of Delhi have, in turn, appealed to the UGC, to conduct the final semester exams in May instead of July as the delay would render negative consequences for students who were supposed to start working from July 2020; given that several companies may give preference to students from other colleges who have already written their exams.
“It [delay] is causing a lot of mental distress because a lot of MNCs will revoke job offers for those who will not be able to get their provisional degrees by July,” said a PG student who wished to remain anonymous.

On the other hand students have also stated their concerns about conducting examinations amid the pandemic scare. A message circulated in the WhatsApp groups of one the colleges affiliated to the University of Delhi which raised similar concerns and have started an initiative to a write letter to the concerned authorities-
“To say that we have been shaken by the circumstances around us would be an understatement. The given circumstances add to the social, academic, and professional pressure being faced by each one of us. Amidst this, the idea of sitting for examinations is scary. Therefore, being the primary stakeholders, we are writing to the UGC, University of Delhi, and the HRD ministry, asking them to cancel our examinations.”

The letter also furnished alternatives such as changes in the pattern of evaluation such as constitute 50% of students’ marks, with the remainder 50% marks being derived from the students’ previous 5 batches of examinations. Alternatively, following the 25-75 marks ratio followed by Delhi University, derivation of 25% marks from the Internal Assessment conducted in the current academic year (2019-20), and the rest 75% marks represented by an average of the theory examinations attempted by the students in previous semesters. Thirdly, 10% increase in the average marks being derived from previous theory examinations. Fourthly, degrees awarded to final year students must necessarily display the fact that students underwent an interrupted final semester/year due to a global pandemic. Lastly, final year students should still have access to improvement examinations in the foreseeable future for their respective subjects.

The committee’s output is not final and binding hence, further developments and conclusions on the matter are awaited.

Featured Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Priyanshi Banerjee

[email protected]

A look at the inherently privileged notions behind the avenues explored by Delhi University (DU) regarding end semester examinations and their feasibility.

DU has released forms to register for even semester examinations online, a move which shows that the total cancellation of exams during the pandemic is not on DU’s agenda yet. In the light of the pandemic and seeing how cancelling exams is not a viable possibility, multiple reports suggest that DU is looking at the option of online examinations to conduct end semester examination, an option Jawaharlal Nehru University had also explored last year during the university lockdown. While the idea does completely do away with the risks of catching the disease, there are some inherent privileges behind the very concept.

A Public University in India does not just cater to a certain section of society or certain parts of the country, DU has students from all over the country coming from every section of society.  Even though India is the second-highest in several internet users, only around 50% of the population has access to it, and less so in rural areas. Adding to that, the frequent internet shutdowns and the situation in Kashmir created by our government, the very idea that everyone will be able to access the internet to give their exams is privileged in itself.

The first-hand account of a Kashmiri DU student shows how online exams are inaccessible for students in the valley. They say “If there are online exams, it will be very difficult for the students who are in Kashmir right because there is only 2G internet speed here. Sometimes we can attend all the classes and the connection is good but sometimes even in downloading a single page, it takes a lot of time and effort. It is unpredictable. Even today during the Commerce exam there were a lot of problems, the connection was not proper and was getting disconnected again and again.”

There should be an emphasis on the fact that learning through online classes and e-resources may not be feasible given the limited or no access to computers and the internet, particularly in rural areas.

Aan Mary Suresh, a student of Jesus and Mary College said, “I wish DU understood that more than our country’s lack of technical expertise to conduct exams online, we as students are neither well equipped nor prepared to take these exams at one moment. I am sorry but Zoom classes are not helpful. Students are new to this form of learning and the experiment whether this would be successful should not be on us.”

The online process of paper setting, submission of answers, and evaluation are susceptible to tampering and pilferage. An extremely weak university server, one which cannot even bear the internet traffic of filling exam registration forms just exemplifies that online examinations are not practicable at all.

The Delhi University Teachers’ Association, in its feedback to the University Grants Commission, said, “As per the MHRD/DU circulars, teachers have engaged with students through e-resources, this process is far from being adequate due to the lack of preparedness and institutional help provided to students and teachers. Students have reported facing issues of connectivity and access to sufficient bandwidth to be able to attend the online sessions. Given our student demography, it is important to recognise that a large section of students come from outside Delhi and that an equally significant number comes from underprivileged backgrounds and the environment at their homes is unlikely to be conducive for learning.”

It further added that the University and colleges have so far not been able to collect data on how many students have accessibility to the e-resources and lectures shared by teachers. Given the diverse population of students to whom the University of Delhi caters to and the student strength, the means and modes of assessment and examination adopted in the context of the lockdown should ensure that the solutions offered do not further marginalise the already marginalised sections of students or create a situation where large sections of students lose out due to the circumstances they face.

If Delhi University proceeds with online examinations; it won’t only make a mockery of higher education, but also set a dangerous precedent of survival of the fittest- an extremely prejudiced notion that just takes privileged people in its purview. Online Exams cannot happen in this economy, period.

Feature Image Credits: Prabhanu Kumar Das for DU Beat


Prabhanu Kumar Das

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Paridhi Puri

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The Central Placement Cell of Delhi University will be conducting a series of weekly webinars for its students from 5 to 6 pm starting from 4th May. 

For undergraduate and postgraduate students, the Central Placement Cell of the University of Delhi (DU) has planned a series of webinars on various topics that ought to help students in their professional lives. Apart from these webinars, the varsity has also decided upon conducting a webinar on COVID-19 and the challenges of the visually impaired.

The five webinars will be free of cost and will be organized weekly starting from the 4th May. The students will be required to register online prior to the webinar. The link to the webinar can be found on the official website of Delhi University http://www.du.ac.in/du/. These webinars will take place on Mondays from 5 to 6 pm. Experts from various fields will apprise the attendees on various topics that will help them in improving their resumes and giving better interviews. The list of the webinars is given below-

  • Gen Z and Jobs of the Future- 4th May 2020
  • Business Ethics- 11th May 2020
  • Introduction of Data Analytics- 18th May 2020
  • Case Studies- 25th May 2020
  • Resume and Interview tips and tricks- 1st June 2020

The webinar on COVID-19 will most likely be addressed by Shakuntala D Gamlin, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Person with Disabilities. The Vice-Chancellor (VC) Yogesh Tyagi will be among eleven people who will be attending the webinar.

“These weekly webinars will prove to be useful for students looking to improve their resumes and to gain knowledge about business ethics and data analytics,” said Tejasvi, a student at Lady Shri Ram College.

The varsity has also issued a notice for students stating that the Academic Calendar has been modified by extending the date of dispersal of classes from 28th April 2020 to 15th May 2020. This notice has officially shifted the plausible date of semester examinations that are still being discussed.

The varsity is also taking forward the admission process for the session of 2020-21. The last date to submit applications for foreign students seeking admission in UG is 12th June. Applications for Indian citizens are yet to be released.


Feature Image Credits: Niharika Dabral for DU Beat

Suhani Malhotra

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In a press release dated April 22, Delhi University’s School of Open Learning (SOL) published the various measures it has undertaken to ensure IT based support for its students. 

The ongoing pandemic has led to serious doubts about a whole lot of things. Students, especially, are puzzled about whether exams will take place or not; if yes, what will be their mode; whether the semester will be extended and so on. DU SOL recently released some of the highlights it has achieved, during the lockdown period, in providing the necessary online support services to its students. As claimed by the release, more than 95% of SOL students have already submitted their online examination forms on the SOL website. SOL’s portal for filling of examination forms and other student related activities is different from DU’s portal, so the students need not fill the online form twice. SOL also stated that it has completed all pre-examination activities and is ready to comply with the directions of the Examination branch regarding the conduction of the exams. It also shared the news of its tie up with Microsoft 365 to offer online academic counselling sessions. Each student and faculty/guest faculty has been given access to Microsoft Team Account, whose details have been uploaded on the dashboard of the students and have been sent through SMS as well. This service is still in the process of being extended to every SOL student. Students facing any kind of issues, with creating the Microsoft Team Account, can send their queries to the official mail ID – ‘[email protected]’.

Lastly, SOL also advised all the students not to believe in unauthentic information and regularly visit the official website of DU and SOL for the latest information. On being asked how easy and accessible are these services, an SOL student told DU Beat, “I had no problem in filling my examination form, however I haven’t received any SMS regarding counseling yet and I am still waiting for my Microsoft Team login ID.”

Thecurrent pandemic has presented us all with difficult choices and authorities must ensure not only the provision of the necessary resources but also their accessibility to everyone.


Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives


Ipshika Ghosh

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Disclaimer: This is a work of opinion, and views highlighted are limited to the writer. Any resemblance is not coincidental but an intentional attempt at satire, without any desire to defame. Reader’s discretion is advised.

Are you guilty of knowing what kind of stucco or flooring Katrina Kaif has, or how dazzling Ayushman Khurana’s trophy display cabinet is, or do you have a head going ‘Coronaviiiiruuuss’ like Cardi B every random second? If you test positive with affirmation to the above mentioned questions, then you my friend- are not alone!

Everytime things go down- socially, politically or economically in that order of importance, the media reaches these celebrities with Flash’s speed to get their comments. No wonder they mostly refrain from speaking, because judging without generalising from their increased shared screen time with fans these days- (Courtesy: COVID-19), their blinding insensitivity peeks from time to time which they try to hide, or subconsciously let out from their interactions which are awaited by their millions of fans.

Bollywood star Katrina Kaif was found brooming, what was visibly an already cleaned floor, and the scene was as good as her acting. The ‘all time favourite’ sweep however, still credits to Hema Malini, for her awesome pitchforking on the roads outside the parliament in 2019.

image-2 Vicky Kaushal

Image Source: Instagram/vickykaushal09

Actor Vicky Kaushal also put together efforts to dust an already clean fan while flaunting his height. Well maybe he did clean it, but showed us half of the video?

image-1 kaif

Image Source: Desimartini

The attempts of these actors to relate with their fans to show how similar they have become to us, and how we are all in the same boat is a catch-22. They are clearly on a cruise, we are in the boat, and yet there are others in the ocean without life jackets, and just about anyone can sink against the odds.

We are in the middle of a pandemic, and our coping mechanisms vary significantly due to our privileges. While some A-listers like Ellen DeGeneres compare their million dollar mansions to prisons, some like Ali Sethi appear regularly on instagram lives to dissolve boundaries, and unite folks for the love of classical music renditions.

While this article could have been about migrant labourers, or status of vaccine for COVID-19, or doctor’s plight amidst the pandemic, among various other things, and the lost opportunity cost is regrettable. How many of those in whom we find recluse tell us about things which actually matter? Ignorance is a bliss, until you are not the subject of it, and while big shots may put up random TikToks, which may lighten your mood, or ease you in oblivion- someone dies, or starves or just longs to go home on your peripheral. In such times it’s important to remember that- we all may not be in the same boat, but all of us maybe at the brink of sinking in the same ocean!

Feature Image Credits: VICE India

Umaima Khanam

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