AFFECTED: The tourism industry will be the worst hit by the holding of Panchayat elections during the peak of the peak tourism season as the code of conduct will not permit the serving of liquor or the purchase of liquor which is the main attraction for domestic tourists. However, the Zilla Parishad election will only affect the villages as it does not apply to Municipalities


AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when a 90 years old grandma in the UK was the first to receive the fully tested Covid-19 vaccine. For a Saturday following the week when the first cadaveric kidney transplants were conducted in the GMC. For a Saturday following the week when corruption even at the top of the ICICI bank was exposed. For a Saturday following the week when Zilla Parishad election scheduled for December 12 could indicate if the BJP continues to enjoy the supports of Goans. For a Saturday following the week when the `Times of India’ insisted that the sharing of its PDF version posted online by third parties is illegal.
AND a few stray thoughts on a 90-year-old United Kingdom granny becoming the first person to receive the first shot of the Pfizer Bio-Ntech Covid-19 vaccine. It marks the beginning of a world-wide campaign to end the global pandemic which has reportedly claimed the lives of 1.5 million people worldwide. Interestingly, the second beneficiary of the vaccine was a British 81-year-old who co-incidentally bears the name of William Shakespeare, England’s greatest dramatist in English literature. Consistent with the UK policy of not discriminating against migrants Dr Harish Shukla, 87 and his 83-year-old wife Ranjan became the first Indian origin couple in the world to get the vaccine. The vaccines are being administered totally free of charge as part of the National Health Service in the UK.
The next country which is expected to start the process of mass vaccination is the United States. Ironically, Trump who by his negligence has been responsible for the spread of Covid-19 in the US has claimed credit for US being the first country to commercially produce the Pfizer vaccine. There is a conspiracy theory going around that Pfizer is owned by the Black Rock finances, who by chance, manage the finances of the Open Foundation Company (Soros Foundation)! Which, by chance, serves the French AXA! Coincidentally, he owns the German company Winterthur. Who, by chance built the Chinese laboratory in Wuhan where the coronavirus originated. Accidentally bought by the German Allianz. Which, incidentally, hs Vanuard as a shareholder. Which is a shareholder of Back Rock. Which Controls the central banks and manages about one third of the global investment capital. Which, incidentally, is a major shareholder of Microsoft. The property of Bill Gates, who happens to be a shareholder of Pfizer (which sells the miracle vaccine) and is currently the first sponsor of WHO. So is it clear enough why a bat came in and grabbed the snake and the entire planet became infected?
Pfizer is now claiming that the vaccine is affective even after just one doze. The vaccine is expected to take affect within ten days of the first doze. Pfizer also claims that the vaccine has no major side effects though many did report fever, cold, body ache and fatigue. As far as the Oxford vaccine is concerned it is claimed that there were only three adverse reactions among 24,000 people on whom it has been tested. This led to six of the volunteers at the Mumbai KEM hospital reject the second doze.
The Modi government claims that arrangements for vaccinating priority sectors and large parts of the population have already been made. This primarily involves setting up cold storages to store the vaccine in various parts of the countries. Meanwhile airlines are considering insisting on a digital travel pass requiring all flyers to produce a Covid-19 negative certificate before embarking. Significantly, even those who have been vaccinated will have to produce the certificate. There have been reports that even post- vaccination several people including an MLA in India has proved positive for the virus.


AND A few stray thoughts on the GMC performing the first ever cadaveric kidney transplant. The GMC has conducted 20 kidney transplants so far. But all these transplants performed were by a team under Dr Tiwari, nephrologist, and Dr Madhumohan, now attached to Healthway hospital, were transplants courtesy living and not cadaveric donors. The word cadaveric refers to the cadaver which is how a dead body is referred to in medical terms.
This is the first time that the GMC has conducted the transplant using the kidneys of a young 21-year-old who died in a fatal accident. The rules governing transplants stipulates that harvesting of organs can only be done from patients who have been declared brain dead. There are many cases where though a patient is brain dead his heart continuous to beat and he can be kept alive on a ventilator for not just days but years. A former Union minister and senior cricket official was kept alive on life support system for more than a decade.
The more dramatic case was that of staff nurse at the KEM hospital, Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug, who was brutally raped by a ward boy and she was kept alive by the staff of the hospital for more than two decades. But these are sentimental exceptions and a person is presumed dead by the medical fraternity if he or she is brain dead. The life of a person is not symbolised by the heart beat as it is only a pump which functions under the direction of the brain. The consent of the family is mandatory for harvesting organs from brain dead individuals. In this case the tragic death of the 21-year-old non-Goan provided a fresh lease of life to fight critical patients.
Since Goa does not have the facilities for transplanting other organs like the heart, lungs and liver, these are sent to patients who needed them outside Goa. The heart went to a patient in Mumbai, the lungs to a patient in Chennai and the liver to a person in Nagpur. This should be a wake-up call to the families of accident victims who are declared brain dead. Indeed, even after death you can be useful to others as organs like eyes and kidneys can be harvested even after death. Amongst those who donated their bodies to the GMC was he former managing director of Fomento Group, Shridhar Kamat.


AND a few stray thoughts on fraud at a very top in the ICICI bank. Historically, ICICI bank has been considered the most successful of all the banks in the country private or public. It also had the distinction of being headed by a woman, Chanda Kochhar. Indeed, Chanda Kochhar was listed amongst the most powerful women in the world. An investigation by the RBI and the Enforcement Directorate revealed that Chanda Kochhar had lent huge amounts of money to the Venugopal Group which was a leader in electronic consumer products. It is alleged that Chanda Kochhar asked the Venugopal Group to invest in companies owned by her husband. The companies owned by her husband enabled the Kochhars to buy a flat worth Rs5 crore at the Mumbai Cricket Association complex at Churchgate in Mumbai.
Chanda Kochhar and her husband are under investigation and she has been removed from her post as chairperson and managing director of ICICI. Chanda Kochhar is not an exception. The most corrupt bank in the country is reported to be the Punjab National Bank. It was the Punjab National Bank which allegedly gifted over Rs 14,000 crore to jeweller Nirav Modi. There have been several other private and nationalised banks which have been accused of large scale corruption. The extent of corruption in a bank is directly proportionate to its non-performing assets (NPA). The expression NPA refers to companies which have consistently made losses and have been unable to pay back the loans they took from the banks. When it comes to big loans of several crore rupees banks normally form a consortium so that they can collectively share the risk of huge loans. The State Bank of India was the head of the consortium which lent more than Rs10,000 crore to Vijai Mallya based purely on his personal guarantee. Which effectively means that there were no assets pledged with the bank against the loans given to Mallya.
Not just Indian banks but even foreign banks including a Chinese bank have been allegedly cheated by Anil Ambani. The brother of Mukesh Ambani, who figured amongst the 50 richest people in the world, has now declared bankruptcy. Most of the problems of the Anil Ambani group were due to the telecom company that he inherited from his brother Mukesh when the brothers decided to part company. However, Anil Ambani either did not have the vision or did not understand the telecom industry. Unlike Anil who went into the manufacture of mobiles and set up a huge network of mobile towers, Mukesh directly went into the networking business. Which affectively meant that Mukesh concentrated on data such as the networks through which you can access Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. Indeed, Mukesh has entered into partnerships not only with Facebook and Google but more recently also with Amazon to integrate his offline chain of Reliance Retail with Amazons online commercial services. Amazon has also entered the payments services business in India. So that you can pay for goods you order on Amazon with Amazon cards just as you use Google Pay and PayTM.
While banks are only too happy to chase high network individuals and companies they are very reluctant to give loans to small people. After the banking scams it is almost impossible for medium and small scale units to get loans. Similarly, housing and vehicle loans have also become difficult to get unless you can offer surety. There is also a lack of faith in both the public sector and private sector banks.


AND a few stray thought on the Zilla ParishaD elections which are scheduled to be held on December 12. In the first place it is necessary to understand what Zilla Parishad are all about. The Zilla Parishad is a midway public forum between the Panchayat and members of the Legislative Assembly. Groups of Panchayat are combined into Zilla Parishad. The ZP gets funds directly from the State governments for projects. This particular ZP election is a preview of the State Assembly election due in 2022. There were strong objections to holding the ZP election while the Covid-19 showed signs of revival in Goa due to the rush of tourists.
Even the HC was moved to postponed the Zilla Parishad elections. However, the High Court has refused to stay the ZP elections. The Election Commission has been ordered to take all the precautions to ensure that the election does not result in escalation in the number of Covid-19 cases in Goa. As against the 40 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Goa there are 50 seats being contested in the ZP elections.
The elections were originally to be held last March but were postponed because of the lockdowns. The voting will be by ballot paper and not EVM machines. Only the rural areas will witness election as urban areas which have their own Municipalities are not part of the ZP. Everyone who votes in the ZP elections will have to wear a mask. Social distancing will also have to be maintained. This will delay both the process of voting and counting which is expected to be held on December 14. The State Election Commissioner Chokha Ram Garg has announced that the model code of conduct has come into force and will continue till midnight on December 14.
Which affectively means that at the height of the tourism season all the bars in villages including the coastal villages will have to be shut shop. This will further affect the tourism industry. The fight will primarily be between the BJP and the Congress/NCP combine. The MGP is also committed to support the alliance of the Congress and the Nationalist Congress.


AND a last stray thoughts on a misleading report in the Times of India.’ Apparently since the gated colonies are not permitting newspaper delivery boys entry, the circulation of the TOI is very badly affected. Unlike the other daily papers in Goa the TOI depended on subscriptions right from the beginning. It may be recalled that when they entered the Goa market they sold the TOI for Rs1 and offered a gift as well. They offered high commissions to the agents to ensure home delivery of copies. Since Covid-19 and the ban on home deliveries by the gated colonies which accounts for the bulk of circulation of TOI, they have started sending PDF files to subscribers. Unfortunately, for them those who have subscribed have been sharing the TOI PDF files with others who are not subscribers. So the TOI has published a grossly misleading news items on the front page claiming that sharing newspaper PDFs is illegal. The legal procedure is that PDF files of print publications can only be shared with the consent of the newspaper concerned. Sharing of newspaper PDF files has been banned only by the TOI to people who are not subscribers of TOI. Any PDF files or digital editions which are circulated with the permission of the owner is perfectly legal and does not violate copyright. Those who receiveGoan Observer’ PDF files from the office of the Goan Observer need not worry as we have every right to share our PDF file with anyone we want to share it with. In fact most dailies are now sharing PDF files for ease of viewing.

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