Healthcare sector in India experienced one of the most violent assaults of the recent times when two junior interns in a medical college in Kolkata were attacked. It is true that any form of violence at the workplace could lead to negative impact on employees and in turn harm their work performance. Hence, there arises a dire need for a change in the system, but would strengthening the security of hospitals help in bringing that change or do we need to do something else as well?
As per an estimate by World Health Organization, 8-38% of healthcare workers have faced physical abuse at some point in their career. This might not be a staggering figure but it certainly affects the morale of people associated with the health sector, especially doctors. A man’s perception is proportional to the general consensus of the society that he lives in. Doctors at times have misused their position for their benefits, sometimes resulting in patient’s death.
Indian healthcare segment is divided into public and private sectors, where the latter accounts for almost 80% of the country’s healthcare. Doctors in both public and the private sectors are at the receiving end of the violence. Even system- related factors such as lack of facilities, equipment, drugs, often lead to such incidents. Therefore, it becomes important for us to comprehend the reason behind such course of events.
Violence as a means of justice is a prominent feature of the Indian society but this doesn’t impact the intellectual class, including doctors, till they are affected. Injustice in form of violence is often faced by many sections of the Indian society and the news is many a times curbed and doesn’t even make it to the newspapers. As a matter of fact, such incidents are quite common amongst the underprivileged sections of the Indian society.
It’s true that it would be unfair to compare the attacks on doctor with the violence on underprivileged ones but it becomes essential to understand the reasons behind such course of events. One of the main reasons is corporatization of medical practice, as it is believed to have an impact on behavioral patterns of health workers. Misbehavior, over- treatment, under- treatment and over- priced treatment today constitutes an important part of the medical culture. In addition to this, poor conditions of government hospitals, lack of proper infrastructure are the major reasons for the violent attacks on medical staff.
Thus, there arises a major need for a reform in the Indian healthcare sector. There is a requirement for change in perception of the society and the medical professionals. It becomes the responsibility of the hospital administration to prevent overcrowding in their premise with the help of strategies such as gate pass system and restricted entry. Presence of senior doctors is a must at critical situations to prevent any sort of carelessness.
However, security measures can only bring temporary relief to the medical professionals and there is a need for a change in perception as well. Doctors should remain ethical and treat patients with compassion. Sensitizing a young doctor towards the problems faced by underprivileged section can reap dividends in the long- run as well. There is a need for a system to train the doctors about ethical and moral behavior towards the patients. It has to be a mandatory internship program or part of the graduation course without which one cannot enter the medical practice. With such system in place, medical practitioners will become ethical and compassionate towards the patients.
Besides this, even people in general shouldn’t take law in their hands by attacking the medical staff. They can document the carelessness of the medical staff in treatment of the patients and report it to the designated authority to attain justice. It may not change the current fate instantly but in the long run such reports can make way for a robust and sympathetic healthcare sector in India, which cares for its patients as well as the medical practitioners.
It’s astonishing how far we have come from the bygone eras of simplicity. The mechanical age brought massive transformation in the world and it’s a no-brainer how the era that followed eased our lives manifoldly.
With the launch of automated vehicles and robots possessing human-like thoughts and our cognitive abilities, we already seem to have entered an intelligence and smart digital era. Every other day, we hear of new AI products infused with other forms of technologies that can challenge human intelligence or might as well surpass it. Tech titans today are heavily investing in artificial intelligence both at scientific and commercial level.
With the new exhilarating inventions men create, we, at times tend to overlook how we will engage with the new revolution in technology. Are we ready yet for the era of AI and robots? The answer, in some ways, lies in the plots of the dramatized sci-fi thrillers and cold war anecdotes when AI would bring ‘technological singularity’- a point of time when technology grows uncontrollably, surpassing human intelligence and bringing unimaginable change in human civilisation. The great innovation in technology also raises security concerns.
Ironically, these AI products are the very creation of mankind and the fact that they can pose a threat to us is daunting. It is inevitable that the world will see more of AI and machine learning in our daily lives in the future and like any other inventions in the tech business, this would also open a new passage for the determined cyber attackers. Ultimately, it is a ‘human’ that created AI. And while AI can be used to defend cyber-attacks, it can be used to facilitate them as well. With much advanced vector, the hackers can possibly target a diverse range of devices and with precision like never before, thus proving disastrous in cyber security.
Though China and USA are currently leading the global AI business, our country is still in its infancy, trying to keep up with its pace, like the recent launch of AI based open Ortho Surgery Simulator in 2018. The security threats AI poses will ultimately weigh on us as well with its gradual advancement in India.
The potential threats that can befall human rights and the security of the nation is also formidable. These intelligent agents are only as good as the data they were trained on and the use of AI in surveillance systems for national security opens a loophole for malicious attacks. Adversaries can feed misinformations to carry out counterintelligence operations. The case of Microsoft’s AI chatbox ‘Tay’ getting corrupted clearly demonstrates the easy manipulation of these AI agents.
It is not an uncommon thing of artificial intelligence being used for domestic security. Some countries have already adopted artificial intelligent surveillance system for the civilians though in our country, it has not been developed yet. This will undoubtedly take its toll when the government in question is repressive in nature and uses surveillance inequitably.
Several political elections around the world are the pertinent examples of how artificial intelligence conquered democracy. It’s not unheard of politicians using AI powered tools to manipulate citizens during the election campaigns. With the social media bots, fake news and videos can be spread, impacting the general public’s opinion and causing disruption in the society. Unfortunately, it is the civilians who will be manipulated and managed by those in power for the latter’s benefit.
While India is taking baby steps in incorporating AI in military operations, the development of autonomous weapon system has long been progressing across other nations like USA and China. The very idea that the AI powered weapons, once activated, can select and target any human or non-human, without anyone operating it is dreadful.
When nations collectively put efforts to secure themselves in the science and technology business, further weaponization of artificial intelligence is inevitable. It is hard to visualise what an algorithmic war in the future looks like because developing automated weapons is one thing but using it to kill other humans is different. And while the list of things we gain from AI goes on, we can’t overlook the threats it poses upon our security.
A heinous genocide which took place on April 13th, 1919 — Jallianwala Bagh massacre still sends tremors across the country. It marks one of the bloodiest days in India’s history.
The country can never forget what happened 100 years ago. However, as a closure of this horrifying episode, it expects the British Government to tender an apology for the horrific killings and unfortunate atrocities on the 100th anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
Commemorating 100 years of the tragedy in the most appropriate and respectful way, an event was organized at the House of Lords, London, on April 13th, 2019, by the Loomba Foundation in association with the Jallianwala Bagh Centenary Commemoration Committee (JBCCC).
The Jallianwala Bagh Centenary Commemoration Committee comprises of various prominent personalities. Mr Balbir Singh Kakar, Ambassador Navtej Sarna, Mr Virendra Sharma MP, Lord and Lady Desai, to name a few. The Patrons of JBCCC include Dr Rajinder Singh Chadha (Patron-in-Chief), Mr Manjit Singh G.K, Padma Shri Vikramjit Singh Sahney and Mr Surinder Singh Manak.
Requesting an apology for the dreadful act on Indians and the subsequent attempts for a cover-up, the committee wrote to the British Prime Minister Mrs Theresa May. The horrific event of Jallianwala Bagh was also debated in the House of Lords on February 19th, 2019, in which many members of the House of Lords wholeheartedly agreed that the British government should tender an apology.
Addressing it as a ‘deeply shameful episode in British history’, Rt Hon Baroness Goldie said, “The chair of the Foreign Affairs committee feels that this year may constitute an appropriate moment for her Majesty’s Government to formally apologise. The foreign secretary is currently reflecting on the situation. I can say that the views expressed in this debate are certainly noted and will be conveyed back to the department.”
“This act of complete disregard – opening fire on innocent people who had no escape routes or an opportunity to voice to voice their protests – is truly a black cloud in British history,” said Cobra Beer founder Lord Bilimoria.
However, the fact remains that history cannot be rewritten. The bloodshed and loss of over 1,600 lives cannot be forgotten. Neither can it be counterweighted or compensated in any way. Thus, extending a formal apology is the least that the British Government can do for the closure of this unfortunate episode of carnage in the history of India.
Religion has been associated with terrorism, time and again. Emanating from the views and ideologies of the extremists, terror attacks justify violence against the masses.
The horrifying genocide which took place at the Al Noor Mosque, in Christchurch, New Zealand, during Friday Prayer on March 15th, 2019 sent tremors across the globe.
With a bated breath, the Muslim communities across the world awaited the final statement on this heinous attack.
The initial press statement of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned it as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”, and “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence”.
Calling it a “terrorist attack” later, she said, “Many directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here…They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.”
The attack was highly condemned all over the world. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, “New Zealand, like Australia, is home to people from all faiths, cultures and backgrounds. There is absolutely no place in either of our countries for the hatred and intolerance that has bred this extremist, terrorist violence and we condemn it.”
The history of such terror attacks shows that race, origins, and religion are highlighted in all the headlines whenever the perpetrator is Asian. Muslim communities are still linked to 9/11 terror attack because of the way this incident was covered by the media all over the world.
Considering the Christchurch shooting, the attacker has nowhere been referred to as a “white terrorist” or a “Christian terrorist”. Moreover, there have been no news’ statements emphasizing upon the race or religion of the victims in this attack.
In his manifesto addressing the Turks, the attacker made clear racial and religious references saying, “You can live in peace in your own lands, and may no harm come to you. But if you attempt to live in European lands, we will kill you and drive you roaches from our lands. We are coming for Constantinople and we will destroy every mosque and minaret in the city. The Hagia Sophia will be free of minarets and Constantinople will be rightfully Christian owned once more. Flee to your own lands, while you still have the chance.”
Certainly, the fateful incident of New Zealand Christchurch attack, clearly reflects the hypocrisy of the westerners in their outlook towards terrorism.
The love for the Sikh religion showcased by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when visiting the Vaisakhi parade organized by the Khalasa Diwan Society is worthy of praise. This however, coming at a very strategic time, after the removal of ‘Sikh Extremism’ from Canada’s 2018 report on terrorist threats, makes it a watchful measure.
In what is being purported as a politically inclined move, the removal of eight references to ‘Sikh Extremism’ and six mentions of Khalistan, has come after the alleged threats of facing consequences to the Liberal Party in the upcoming 2019 elections.
While Trudeau was all praises and said, “As we celebrate Vaisakhi, let us also celebrate all the incredible contributions of this community,” during his post-rally speech, his moves have invited friction from many who do not comply with the removal of the term ‘Sikh Extremism’. Quoting references from history, counterparties are asking questions about the Air India flight 182 bombings that happened on June 23, 1985 conceived by Canadian Sikh terrorists, among other instances.
What makes one more skeptical is the appointment of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a wanted Khalistani terrorist, in Sikhs for Justice – a so called human rights advocacy group known for their separatist ideology. The lack of action by the Trudeau government even after receiving NIjjar’s name in the report shared with him in Amritsar in February 2018, has posed serious questions about its intentions.
Sikhs, who roughly make for 1.4 per cent of the Canadian populace, have had an evident role in politics and other important state matters over the course of time. The influential rise of NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and the presence of four Sikh ministers in Trudeau’s convoy during his visit to India are clear examples of the community’s stronghold in the country.
Trudeau, during his speech at Vancouver’s Ross Street Gurdwara, mentioned that Sikhs have helped to build Canada for more than 120 years, and there are now Sikh entrepreneurs, politicians, leaders, and artists in every field. He further spoke about the values – equality and social justice – which make Canada stronger.
Having said that, the Prime Minister’s presence at the rally, just after the replacement of ‘Sikh Extremism’ with “extremists who support violent means to establish an independent state within India,” gives an idea more than one behind the move. Is it just a gesture that keeps accord with the fact that the entire Sikh community cannot be ruled out as terrorists, or, has this been done keeping in mind the elections that are to follow? Also, the inclusion of ‘Sikh Extremism’, a further lack of evidence to prove it, and then the exclusion after a brief period of nearly 5 months, could be classified as a political move to win the community’s trust.
Drawing flak from the entire Sikh community, both within and outside Canada, since the release of the report in December 2018, the Liberal government had no choice but to comply with the demand of changing the language. Both the reasons backing the upcoming federal elections however, one – the alleged threats to Liberals of consequences for the inclusion of ‘Sikh Extremism’ in the 2018 report, and two – the need to win back Sikh emotions for a successful election result, cannot be ruled out.
Abhinandan Varthaman, the name that every Indian had been wishing the best for, is finally set to return home. The war hero who shot down an F-16 with his MiG 21 before crashing on enemy land had been reported “missing in action” prior to his videos released by the Pakistan Army went viral.
Facing pressure from USA, UAE and other major powers involved, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan declared on Thursday that the IAF pilot will be released as a “gesture of peace.” The American President had also signaled post talks about the “reasonably attractive news” to come from arch rivals India and Pakistan.
With history of both the nations written in the blood of soldiers and civilians alike, releasing Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is certainly a step towards peace. A close look at the statistics of the wars India and Pakistan have fought in the past clearly reveals the destruction, and the challenges that followed.
Presently, it is imperative for both the economies to understand the consequences of a full fledged war, given that they are both nuclear powers. Moreover, along with the loss of lives, the involvement of foreign powers will put them at the risk of the war becoming bigger than anyone imagined.
Amid soaring tension, while the Indian government’s demand for an “immediate and safe return” of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has been met by Pakistan, there are multiple scenarios that pop out. Although ‘peace talks’ have been offered by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, and he is willing to co-operate with India regarding any issue that prevails between the two nations, the possibility of Pakistan’s personal benefits cannot be ruled out.
Being a country that is known for ceasefire violation at numerous borders, especially the ones that separate it from the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan might be creating a cloud of positivity while planning another attack at India.
Everything comes at a price and at times like this, peace too will have one. While India rejoices the return of Abinandan Varthaman, the accidental messenger of peace between the two nations, preparing for war has to be a priority as well.
The day when the world was celebrating love, India was subjected to what is being called as the biggest suicide bomber attack in recent times. On February 14, 2019, a vehicle-borne suicide bomber attacked a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel at Lethpora, in the Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir. The vehicle used for the attack was said to be carrying nearly 350 kg of explosives.
Claiming more than 40 lives and leaving many other grievously injured, the attack brought a situation unwanted and toxic. Soon after the attack, Jaish-e-Mohammed, a militant outfit based in Pakistan claimed the responsibility, and released a video with the attacker Adil Ahmad Dar, a local from Indian-administered Kashmir.
In retaliation, along with boycotting Pakistani artists, not broadcasting Pakistan Super League, and cyber war, the Modi government decided to declare a war on terrorism in the neighbouring sovereign.
In the wee hours on Tuesday, February 26, Indian Air Force’s 12 Mirage 2000 jets bombed the terror camps in Balakot, Muzaffarabad and Chakot killing nearly 300 members of Jaish-e-Mohammed. The 1,000 kg payload dropped by Indian jets in Pakistan was a clear indication of the zero tolerance policy related to any terrorist activity within the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after the Pulwama attack had announced that the armed forces had full freedom and authority to respond to the strike.
Soon after the strike, Pakistan authorities came in action and started foul mouthing the Indian attack on terrorism. After the biggest provocative in the course of history between two nuclear powered nations, Pakistan is seen supporting terrorist activities, once again.
Further, the spokesperson for the Pakistan Army, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor claimed that there were no casualties or damage of any kind. A few images of only burnt trees destroyed by the attack have also been shared by him on twitter.
While Pakistan has showcased a naïve response and made false claims about not aiding terrorists on their land, many a time intelligence agencies across the world have proved it otherwise. Resorting to debauchery, the not-so-friendly neighbor has circulated numerous fake photos, videos and statements regarding India’s retaliation to the Pulwama attack.
Proving every historical and political claim correct, Pakistan’s tactics clearly indicate their support for terrorism. Instead of what should have been called a praiseworthy eradication of militants in a war torn area, the Pak government decided to bomb India, and later release videos of a captured IAF pilot, which is clearly against the Geneva Convention. Moreover, the bleeding from mob thrashing and his swollen face in the latest video, showcase Pakistan’s disregard for any policy ever made for POWs.
Instead of being thankful for shaking the roots of terrorism, Pakistan, as always has given statements that highlight their interest in blossoming violence and spreading lies.
Robotic hand holding a cube with binary code on it, computer illustration.
In the most recent announcement made by Global professional services firm EY, it will be launching Advanced Security Operation (SOCs) in India, in association with IBM. The launch is expected to bring a dramatic change in the Indian corporate security environment given the latest technological features.
The advanced security is an effective combination of EY’s Managed Services offerings and powered by IBM’s “QRadar” platform. The advanced security operations introduced aim to detect, address, respond and even analyze potential security risk, as per company’s recent announcement.
Burgess Cooper, Partner-Cyber Security, EY India explained, “A well-designed Security Operations Centre (SoC) can go a long way in enabling information security functions to respond faster and work more collaboratively, thereby driving the business to deliver on its core objectives in line with its strategic direction and vision.” This can be seen as an important advancement for the Indian corporate.
According to a survey conducted by defence grade technology maker Thales, it has been observed that data breach incidents in India have been higher if compared to the global average. As per the findings stated in Thales Data Threat Report 2018, “Around 52 per cent of Indian respondents reported a data breach last year, way above the global average of around 36 per cent. A full three quarters (75 per cent) of respondents in India reported data breach at some time in the past, compared with just 67 per cent globally.”
The findings of the report made it evident that corporate need to upgrade their security strategy and features, as per the changing need of time and threats to avoid any future data breaches. Moreover, Indian corporate needs to adhere to privacy protection and match the global standards for better business prospects.
Advanced Security Operations Centre introduced by EY and IBM certainly has a wide scope and is capable of meeting the advanced security requirement as 77 per cent of Indian organisations in 2018 thought about reworking their cyber security framework and architecture to support the business more effectively and efficiently.
As expressed by Vikas Arora, Chief Transformation Officer, IBM India/South Asia, “The combination of EY’s SOC security architecture combined with IBM’s cognitive offerings will help EY customers secure their organisations more effectively,” which not only provide internal and external threat intelligence but also offer active guidance on containment, eradication and remediation of potential threats.
Indian corporate security environment can greatly benefit from the advanced technology given the customized capabilities strengthening the cyber security posture.
‘Trinetra’ may soon become backbone for UP police force operations
On 28th September 2017, Ministry of Home Affairs approved a modernization plan for Indian Police Forces. A Rs25 billion “umbrella” police reforms scheme was expected to be implemented by 2020 as per the planned program. The scheme was looked upon as a “one of the biggest moves towards police modernization in India.”
Experts raised concerns that need for structural mechanisms are required in the Indian Police System. A defined separation was needed between agencies dealing with “investigation” and “law and order” with separate accountability mechanisms.
With technologies like ‘Trinetra’ coming into the picture, it looks like Indian Police Forces are on track towards achieving the desired effectiveness of operations through separations.
Named ‘Trinetra’ meaning ‘third eye’ is an artificial intelligence backed data support, launched by the UP Police chief OP Singh at a conference of senior officers during the annual ‘police week’ celebrations in Lucknow.
UP Police with the help of ‘Trinetra’ will be able to solve cases through artificial intelligence backed data analytics. As per information, the application has records of more than five lakh criminals, collected after merging criminal records of the state police, the prisons department and the GRP that guards the railway network in the state.
A senior official involved in developing the app explained that the digital data base accumulated in the application will help police officers in resolving cases by deploying techniques, like face recognition, text search, biometric records analysis, phonetic search, artificial intelligence (AI) and gang analysis to “zero in on the criminal” in a quick and targeted manner.
As per the media statement given by the UP Police chief OP Singh, “This app has a database of about 5 lakh criminals of the state and it will provide access of crime files and dossiers to my officers and personnel on the ground in a seamless and reliable fashion. This app is aimed to help them crack a case fast and ensure relief and justice to crime victims.”
The application introduced can prove a major breakthrough in speeding up the investigation and connecting relevant dots not just to identify the on time case but also plausible threats. The features of the application include artificial intelligence tools to identify criminals through their faces or photographs, past FIRs where a person was named as an accused, explore links of a criminal with any gang, scan fingerprints and voice samples and can search the name of a criminal even if it is misspelled.
Such data analytics application can play a major role in improving the overall efficiency of the police system, being a part of the modernization reforms initiated by the government.
Busted ISIS module by NIA raises various security concerns
In a latest statement given by NIA Inspector General, Alok Mittal had seized 135 mobile phone SIM cards as well as over 100 alarm clocks and over 25 kg of chemicals. As per the intelligence gained, the material seized was to be used in string of terror attacks planned on New Year’s eve.
As reports suggest, the attacks aimed were targeted on politicians, key locations and crowded places. The raid that was launched on 17 locations across Meerut, Lucknow, Hapur, Amroha and Seelampur, in connection with its probe into a new Islamic State-inspired module led to arrest of 10 terror suspects.
The strategic raid in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh is considered to be an important step towards preventing terror attacks and strengthening security, but at the same time raises various concerns about the extent of how the ISIS ideology is sweeping through the religious contours of India.
Going by the statement given by Mittal, the simultaneous searches at 17 places in UP and Delhi were executed in sync with local anti-terror squads. This points out that the religiously sensitive locations in North India such as UP and Delhi are affected with the malicious ISIS ideology or youngsters in the region are consistently radicalised by active terror agents.
Further, the seized material including large quantity of explosives and weapons confirms what Mittal said “They weren’t just making some bombs but a large number of bombs.”
As per the senior officer, the team seized 134 mobile phone SIM cards, as well as 112 alarm clocks and over 25 kg of chemicals that were to be used to make scores of remote-controlled bombs. It also included a rocket launcher that the group had fabricated and 13 pistols. The seized ammunition further clarifies that the attack was not a naive or impulsive attempt but an organised one that was certainly well funded and supported.
The outcome of the investigation further framed that the module was planned by Mufti Suhail, who worked in a mosque in Uttar Pradesh’s Amroha district.
Though the senior NIA official clarified that “It was a self-financed operation. They stole gold ornaments from their homes and sold it to fund their activities…,” the plausibility of it being a small part of a larger operation cannot be ruled out. As stated by security forces “there is a handler who was guiding them, who appears to be based in a foreign country.”
As per the ongoing investigation, 16 people have been detained for questioning and 10 people have been arrested so far.
This operation has certainly raised an alarm about the status of ISIS-driven rising terror groups in the country and their support system, raising various concerns for Ministry of Home Affairs on countering such influences.