Controversies and many more

Controversies and many more

Controversies and many more

A recent video on the super high sugar content of Bournvita by a social media influencer went viral. The Mondelez India-owned health drink company dismissed charges of excessive sugar content, calling the video “unscientific” and accusing it of “distorting facts and drawing false and negative inferences.” Influencer Revant Himatsingka removed the video after the firm served him with a legal notice. The video had received around 12 million views and had been shared widely on social media sites and by many prominent people. However, that’s not the end of the narrative.

Media and social media is filled with controversy over many health benefits touted by the creators of health drinks or health boosters which are controversial claims. Many health professionals and Consumer Voice have contended that the claims of scientific procedures or research, as well as the scientific evidence for everything written on the health products claims, are not evidence based. “Cadbury’s claims on muscle and bone growth, immunity enhancement, and brain development are misleading – there are no controlled studies to show the same,” one doctor asserted. Surely a glass of milk in itself has the goodness of growth.

Food regulator FSSAI stated that it is continuing to take action against food business operators who have been alleged to be making false or misleading statements in order to protect consumer interests, following an investigation into allegations of high sugar content in Mondelez India-owned health drink brand Bournvita. Although the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) did not specifically mention the Bournvita incident, the regulator stated in a statement that it has taken note of various media reports, including on social media, about various health claims made by the country’s Food Business Operators (FBOs).

As a consumer, what are your views on this? Do you think health products should disclose their sugar, salt and saturated fats content upfront? These brands have become a staple diet in many homes and in the name of nutrition and growth, are we feeding our children with sugar? Aren’t we seeding in diabetes, obesity, kidney and other diseases? Aren’t we falling into the misleading advertising trap? That’s a lot to think about, isn’t it?

I hope you have loved reading the one subject editorial and will continue to support us in bringing the best, interesting and informative articles for your perusal. In the meantime, keep reading the articles we have brought you this month. We discuss Home Insurance Policy, a review on Double Door Refrigerators and many more. Do share your thoughts at info@consumer-voice.org.

Until then, happy reading!

Pallabi Boruah

Editor

 

Is India Growing?

Is India Growing?

Is India Growing?

The Union Health Ministry is preparing to alter the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, a significant step that will require OTT (over-the-top) platforms or streaming services to display health warnings during smoking scenes in motion pictures and Web series (COTPA).

The COTPA rules are set to change in the upcoming months, according to officials. A top official in the health ministry stated, “After multiple inter-ministerial discussions with the Information & Media ministry on this, it has been decided that the adjustments will be made in COTPA.” We at Consumer Voice have also been actively campaigning and working towards amendment in COTPA rules since a long time.

In another win for the consumer, Food regulator FSSAI’s CEO G Kamala Vardhana Rao, has urged states to step up monitoring and random food sampling in order to reduce food adulteration. Rao emphasised the necessity of taking the proper action in circumstances where food samples are discovered to be non-conforming..

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) “encouraged states/UTs to increase the frequent surveillance, monitoring, inspections, and random sampling of food products and their compliance with the laid down requirements.” Additionally, states and UTs are required to use Food Safety on Wheel (FSW), which is available to them, to analyse 10 samples of milk every day.

By using clean technologies, India, the fifth-largest economy in the world, may become energy independent by 2047, according to a study by a renowned American research institute. It emphasised the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which ranges from a significant increase in renewable capacity to electric mobility, saving billions of dollars in imports. In a report titled “Pathways to Atmanirbhar Bharat,” the India Energy and Climate Centre (IECC) at the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a US federally funded research and development facility, highlight the steps India has taken to adopt clean energy.

I hope you have loved reading the editorial and will continue to support us in bringing the best, interesting and informative articles for your perusal. In the meantime, keep reading the articles we have brought you this month. We discuss Reverse Mortgage Loan, benefits of Buttermilk and many more. Do share your thoughts at info@consumer-voice.org.

Until then, happy reading!

Pallabi Boruah

Editor

 

An efficient and easy to use screening kit for cervical cancer: A need of the hour

An efficient and easy to use screening kit for cervical cancer: A need of the hour

An efficient and easy to use screening kit for cervical cancer: A need of the hour

Cervical cancer is cancer of the cells in the cervix. It occurs when cervix cells start to transform into precancerous cells. It is the fourth most frequent female malignancy, which accounted for more than 600,000 new cases and 342 thousand deaths globally in 2020 (GLOBOCAN), making it one of the top global health issues. Almost 90% of these deaths took place in low- and middle-income nations, where screening and treatment are often limited or inaccessible. In Indian women, it is the third most common cancer and more than 450 million women aged 15 years and above are at risk of developing this cancer.

Dr. Savita Yadav, Professor

Department of Biophysics,

All India Institute of Medical Sciences

New Delhi-110029

The majority of cervical cancer cases are associated with high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. HPV is an extremely common virus, which is usually transmitted through sexual contact. Among the high-risk strains, HPV types 16 and 18 are the most common. The risk factors of cervical cancer are thus predominantly associated with acquiring HPV infection, impaired immune response to HPV infection, or both. The risk of HPV infection increases by an early age of sex debut, multiple sex partners, giving many births, using oral contraceptives for more than five years, immunosuppression, and smoking. Thankfully, there is a vaccine that can offer defence against some of the most harmful HPV strains. Depending on the recipient’s age, the HPV vaccine is commonly administered in two or three doses. It is advised for adolescents between the ages of 11 and 12 since the HPV vaccine is most effective when administered to people before they become sexually active. However, the vaccine can still be effective for those who have already become sexually active, as long as they have not been exposed to the strains of HPV.

Cancer treatment plans are highly focused and precisely aided by multiple diagnostic tests, such as CT scans, ultrasound, MRI, and biopsy along with physical examination used for detection and monitoring of the disease. Because of the high prevalence rate, women between the ages of 25 and 65 are frequently screened for cervical cancer through cytological screening-Pap smear test.  In this test, cells from a woman’s cervix are collected and examined for any anomalies or early cancer indications. In case of abnormal Pap results, further testing is required, which can involve an HPV test, a specialised test that detects HPV infection in the cells of cervix. If a doctor suspects cancer, he might additionally check cervix and requests a tissue biopsy for confirmation.

Cervical cancer is curable if detected in the early stages and treated promptly. Depending on the stage of the malignancy, the survival rate varies widely. If diagnosed in early stages (I or II), the 5-year survival is substantially higher (50-90%), which drops to only 15–35% if diagnosed in an advanced stage (III and IV). Education and access to preventative measures are key to reducing the incidence and mortality rates of cervical cancer worldwide. Fortunately, it is highly preventable with proper screening and vaccination. Regular Pap smear and HPV tests can detect abnormal cells before they turn into cancer, and the vaccine can protect against some of the most dangerous strains of the HPV. However, these current screening methods have some limitations. These tests are expensive and necessitate sophisticated infrastructure and qualified personnel. Also, a conservative outlook of our society towards sexual health denies millions of women basic reproductive health rights. This increases incidence of cervical cancer by preventing its early detection via the conventional screening procedures due to mental barrier of patients regarding their privacy. Other factors like low awareness and lack of skilled personnel also impede the full implementation of these screening tests.

Our research team at the All Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi is working in this direction with the ultimate goal of providing the rural, underprivileged and remote population of India with an easy-to-use commercially available screening kit, which will empower them in the fight against cervical cancer. In order to identify cervical cancer biomarkers that can be utilized to develop a screening method/ kit for early diagnosis of cervical cancer, we are investigating alterations in saliva proteins using high throughput mass spectrometric techniques. Once deemed merely a digestive juice, saliva is now being considered a biological fluid capable of communicating an individual’s current health status and we have preferably chosen saliva over blood because its collection is skill-undemanding, non-invasive, and painless. Moreover, saliva samples are safer to handle, easier to collect, ship and store.

Conclusively, despite the fact that significant advances are being made in the field, we require improved diagnosis and prevention strategies to reduce the burden of cervical cancer. The incidence rate can be significantly reduced by a screening or detection method that removes constraints imposed by infrastructure, qualified staff, and hesitation. Moreover, awareness campaigns emphasizing the need of routine cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccination are crucial.

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 ‘India: Growing by leaps and bounds’.

 ‘India: Growing by leaps and bounds’.

 ‘India: Growing by leaps and bounds’.

Let’s start off on a positive note, shall we? An International Monetary Fund (IMF) official predicted that India would contribute 15% to world growth in 2023. In the approaching year, it is anticipated that China and India will each contribute 50% to global growth (2023). Krishna Srinivasan, director of the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department (APD), stated at a roundtable with journalists from south Asian nations that India is likely to contribute roughly 15% to global growth.

Let’s talk about another very significant development. The Union Budget was recently presented on 1 February. It received a mixed response from different sections of people. Let us know your views on the budget!

For individual income tax payers, the Union Budget 2023 has offered significant gains. The highest income tax rate under the new tax system has been lowered from 42.74% to 39%, while the maximum surcharge has been dropped from 37% to 25%. Because of this, everyone will pay less in taxes.

There have also been some very significant advances. 220 crore people were immunised, totalling 102 crore. PM Suraksha Bima and PM Jeevan Jyoti Yojana will provide insurance coverage for 44.6 crore people. Under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, cash transfers of 2.2 lakh crore will be made to over 11.4 crore farmers.

The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana. 4.0 will be introduced to train tens of thousands of young people in the next three years in modern skills for Industry 4.0, including coding, AI, robotics, mechatronics, IOT, 3D printing, drones, and soft skills. To prepare young people for opportunities abroad, 30 Skill India International Centres would be established in various States.

The lengthening of the highways by 25,000 km will result in improved multimodal connectivity. 2,000 kilometres of rail infrastructure will be part of it as well, all powered by local technology. Eight ropeway projects and 100 cargo terminals will be constructed in total to improve connectivity. All in all, exciting times ahead!

I hope you have loved reading the editorial and will continue to support us in bringing the best, interesting and informative articles for your perusal. In the meantime, keep reading the articles we have brought you this month. We discuss Women’s Health and Nutritional Needs, Home Loan by NBFCs and many more. Do share your thoughts at info@consumer-voice.org.

Until then, happy reading!

Pallabi Boruah

Editor

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Some Exciting News

Some Exciting News

Some Exciting News

Let’s start off with something encouraging, shall we? According to data made public by the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI), India’s retail inflation rate reduced slightly from the previous month and continued to fall below the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) comfort zone of 2%-6% for another month.

In December, the inflation rate based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) decreased to 5.72%.  Lower food costs, especially the decline in vegetable prices, contributed to keeping inflation within the acceptable range.  

Let’s talk about another very significant development. As many of you must already be aware, India has surpassed China as the world’s most populous nation. India’s population was 141.7 crore by the end of 2022, according to forecasts from the World Population Review (WPR). That’s just over 50 lakh more than China’s 141.2 crore estimate from January 17. 

India, a nation where 50 percent of people are under 30, is predicted to have the fastest-growing major economy in the world. The UN predicted that the milestone will be attained this year.   

The third-largest economy in Asia currently produces enough food for itself. It is the second-largest producer of rice, wheat, and sugar. In addition to being the biggest user of sugar, it is the biggest importer of edible oils. India ranks second in terms of steel and gold consumption and is the third-largest market for the purchase of crude oil. It is also the third-largest domestic aviation market globally. 

India is growing by leaps and bounds and is also becoming economically stronger day by day. India is projected to be one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world. Morgan Stanley has said that India’s GDP is likely to more than double by 2031- from the current $3.5 trillion to $7.5 trillion. 

I hope you have loved reading the editorial and will continue to support us in bringing the best, interesting and informative articles for your perusal. In the meantime, keep reading the articles we have brought you this month. We discuss D&O Insurance, Solar Rooftop Systems and many more. Do share your thoughts at info@consumer-voice.org.

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Pallabi Boruah

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A New India

A New India

Let’s start off with some good news, shall we? According to the most recent monthly Refinitiv-Ipsos Primary Consumer Sentiment Index (PCSI) report, consumer sentiment among urban Indians has improved and increased by 1.1 percentage points in December 2022. Amit Adarkar, CEO of Ipsos India said, “After a decline in consumer confidence following Diwali in November, we are seeing it improve in December as forthcoming celebrations and Christmas delight consumers. It will be crucial to pay attention to the first quarter of 2023, from January to March. The effects of the macro forces on our economy and consumption will also be known, as well as whether or not consumers will continue to feel the pressure.”

Another achievement for India which every Indian would be proud of.  A project that aims to improve the health of the Ganges, India’s holy river, is among 10 “ground-breaking” efforts recognised from around the globe by the United Nations for their role in restoring the natural world. They were chosen as part of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a worldwide initiative coordinated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

According to the statement, the government-led Namami Gange initiative, which was started in 2014 is revitalising, preserving and conserving the Ganges and its tributaries, reforesting areas of the Ganges basin, and promoting sustainable farming. Several important wildlife species, including river dolphins, softshell turtles, otters, and the hilsa shad fish, are also targets of the project. 230 organisations are involved in the effort, which has so far invested up to USD 4.25 billion, and 1,500 kilometres of river have been repaired. The UN estimates that 30,000 hectares of additional afforestation have already been completed, with a 134,000 hectare target for 2030.

In another major decision for the country, the union government has decided to provide free ration to 81.35 crore poor people under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) for one year. 

Over 80 crore people in the country, or roughly two thirds of the population, will profit from the decision, the Piyush Goyal, the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution said, calling it a “new year gift for the country’s underprivileged.” “The beneficiaries of the NFSA, who were receiving rice at Rs 3 per kg and wheat at Rs 2 per kg, from January onward would not have to pay a single dime to acquire food grains for the ensuing 12 months,” he said.

India is making numerous scientific and economic advancements, while also taking care of its citizens and preserving and repairing the environment. The development of a country’s citizens is inversely correlated with the expansion of its communities. Additionally, it is our responsibility to protect our country and the environment.

I hope you have loved reading the editorial and will continue to support us in bringing the best, interesting and informative articles for your perusal. In the meantime, keep reading the articles we have brought you this month. We discuss laptops, fixed deposits, ways to save tax and many more. Do share your thoughts at info@consumer-voice.org.

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Pallabi Boruah

Editor

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