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Healthify cuts around 27 per cent workforce in restructuring exercise

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New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) Homegrown healthtech startup Healthify (formerly Healthifyme) has laid off around 27 per cent of its workforce, or about 150 employees, in a restructuring exercise, a media report said on Saturday.

Employees from sales and product teams were impacted the most by the job cuts that happened earlier this week, Inc42 reported, citing sources.

“In the next 3-4 months, our India business will turn EBITDA profitable and this restructuring was an unfortunate but important step in line with achieving this. We also have to make sure we have enough resource allocation for the global expansion,” Healthify co-founder and CEO Tushar Vashist was quoted as saying.

In addition, the startup said that it will provide the affected employees “robust support during this transition, including comprehensive severance packages, extended insurance coverage, and job placement assistance”.

According to the report, the impacted workers have been offered two months’ salary as severance pay, extended insurance coverage, accelerated stock vesting period in some cases, and leave cash encashment.

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In 2021, the healthtech startup cut around 150 jobs from various teams, including SME (subject matter expert), quality analytics, product and marketing.

Founded in 2012, Healthify’s health and fitness app uses artificial intelligence (AI) to track diet habits, fitness, and weight, as well as provide coaching services.

–IANS

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Over 3.3 cr people screened for Sickle Cell since inception of NSCAEM last year

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New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) A total of 3,39,77,877 individuals were screened for Sickle Cell Anaemia and 1,12,01,612 Sickle Cell Status ID cards distributed since the inception of the National Sickle Cell Anaemia Elimination Mission (NSCAEM) last year, the government said on Thursday.

On the occasion of World Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) Awareness Day on June 19, multiple events were organised across the country to create awareness regarding the disease and halt transmission of the disease.

SCD is a genetic blood disorder characterised by abnormal red blood cells that take on a crescent or sickle shape. These irregularly shaped cells can cause blockages in blood vessels, leading to various health complications.

Affecting millions of people in the world, the disease disproportionately affects the tribal populations in India. On Sickle Cell Day, 44,751 events were organised across the country in 17 states and 343 districts under the NSCAEM. As a part of the activities undertaken during these events, 6,15,806 individuals were screened for sickle cell disease and 2,59,193 Sickle Cell ID cards were distributed to the screened beneficiaries, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

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Awareness activities which started on Wednesday will continue for the next 15 days (June 19 to July 3) at all facilities in 343 districts in 17 identified SCD states. The target for the next 15 days is to screen 10,00,000 individuals and distribute 3,00,000 Sickle Cell Status ID cards to screened individuals, the ministry said.

–IANS

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DGFT rolls out Faceless Automation system to fix Input-Output Norms for exporters

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New Delhi June 20 (IANS) In line with ongoing efforts to modernise and streamline foreign trade procedures the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has decided that ad-hoc Input Output Norms will be determined through a rule-based, system-driven process, aimed at improving the ease of doing business for exporters, the Commerce Ministry said on Thursday.

The DGFT administers the Advance Authorisation Scheme of the Foreign Trade Policy, facilitating duty-free import of inputs for export production, which includes replenishment of inputs or duty remission. The eligibility of inputs is determined by sector-specific Norms Committees based on input-output norms.

The switch to faceless automation aligns with a broader policy shift towards a facilitating regime that embraces technological interfaces and collaborative principles, according to the Ministry’s statement

The DGFT is actively pursuing similar automation initiatives for other Foreign Trade Policy processes and procedures, emphasizing its commitment to modernisation and efficiency enhancement in trade facilitation.

Since the announcement of the new Foreign Trade Policy in April 2023, the DGFT has been actively revamping its systems to expand automated, rule-based processes under the FTP framework. These improvements encompass post-issuance audit capabilities and risk mitigation functions. Notably, several processes, including the issuance and amendment of Importer-Exporter Code (IEC), issuance of Status Holder Certificates, renewal of RCMC, and the issuance, revalidation, extension, and invalidation of Advance Authorizations, as well as certification for installation under the EPCG Scheme, are already being conducted through a Rule-Based Automatic process.

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–IANS

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Healthy BMI, no smoking effective ways to reduce risk of kidney cancer: Experts

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New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) Maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) and refraining from smoking are two of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of kidney cancer, experts said on World Kidney Cancer Day on Thursday.

World Kidney Cancer Day is observed every year on the second Thursday of June to raise awareness about this disease.

According to experts, several key risk factors have been identified in kidney cancer, such as smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, a family history of kidney cancer, and exposure to toxins found in some industrial settings.

“Being aware of these risk factors can empower individuals to make informed choices about their health and potentially reduce their risk of developing kidney cancer,” Dr. C.N. Patil, HOD and Lead Consultant – Medical Oncology & Haemato-Oncology, Aster International Institute of Oncology, told IANS.

As per data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), kidney cancer is one of the top 10 cancers in India and accounts for about 2 to 3 per cent of all cancer cases.

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“Kidney cancer constitutes about 2 to 3 per cent of all cancers in our country, with around 15,000 new cases diagnosed annually. The incidence is notably higher in men than in women, with a male-to-female ratio of approximately 2:1,” said Dr. Raghunath S.K., Senior Consultant and Director of Uro-oncology and Robotic Surgery, HCG Cancer Centre, Bengaluru.

Early-stage kidney cancer often presents no symptoms. However, experts suggested to be vigilant for warning signs like blood in urine, persistent back or flank pain, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue.

The experts highlighted that lifestyle changes play a crucial role in kidney cancer prevention.

“Regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and staying hydrated are essential practices for overall kidney health,” said Dr. P.N. Gupta, Director and HOD – Nephrology and Kidney Transplant, Paras Health, Gurugram.

“Adopting a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, coupled with regular physical activity, can significantly lower cancer risk. Additionally, avoiding tobacco in all forms is imperative, as smoking is a major risk factor for many types of cancer, including kidney cancer,” he added.

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Experts also mentioned that the outlook for kidney cancer patients has improved considerably due to advancements in treatment.

The most common approach is surgery, which may involve removing the entire kidney or just the cancerous portion. Targeted therapies and immunotherapy have improved survival rates and quality of life for patients, they noted.

–IANS

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Indian scientists decode new class of materials for energy harvesting, power generation

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New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) Scientists from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) Bengaluru, an autonomous institution under the Department of Science & Technology (DST), on Thursday provided groundbreaking insights into a new class of materials for energy harvesting and power generation.

Their work unraveled the electronic mechanisms governing chemical bonding of new class of materials called incipient metals with metavalent bonding (MVB) within a single 2D layer of Group IV “chalcogenides” that can boost energy harvesting and power generation.

Chalcogenides can transition reversibly between amorphous and crystalline phases in response to changes in temperature, pressure or electrical fields.

The study by Professor Umesh Waghmare from Theoretical Sciences Unit at JNCASR, explored the possibility of introducing the metavalent bonding (MVB) within a single 2D layer of Group IV chalcogenides, investigating its mechanisms and the resulting consequences on material properties.

“These materials, termed incipient metals, possess a combination of properties that defy conventional understanding. They exhibit electrical conductivity akin to metals, high thermoelectric efficiency characteristic of semiconductors, and unusually low thermal conductivity, creating a triad of properties that cannot be explained by traditional chemical bonding concepts,” explained Professor Waghmare.

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The study, published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition and supported by JC Bose National Fellowship of the Science and Engineering Research Board-DST and JNCASR research fellowship, provides a first-principle theoretical analysis focusing on the bonding nature within five different 2D lattices of Group IV chalcogenides.

This category includes compounds which exhibit remarkable properties, transitioning reversibly from a glassy amorphous structure to a crystalline form in less than 100 nanoseconds when subjected to heating or cooling.

Driven by an idea presented by Professor CNR Rao, the study aimed to unravel the electronic mechanisms governing the chemical bonding in these materials.

The findings, which took nearly two years of theoretical and computational work, have shed light on the unique properties of these materials, challenging conventional chemical bonding ideas.

–IANS

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TRAI releases recommendations for formulation of National Broadcasting Policy 2024

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New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Thursday released recommendations on inputs for the formulation of ‘National Broadcasting Policy-2024’ to establish a robust broadcasting ecosystem.

In a bid to make India a global leader in the broadcasting sector, the policy aims to target a broad roadmap for 10 years with a special focus on the next 5 years.

“The National Broadcasting Policy-2024 envisages to establish a robust broadcasting ecosystem by enabling growth-oriented policies and regulations through data-driven governance,” the TRAI said in a statement.

It would support the creation of a resilient, adaptive and tech-agile infrastructure fostering R&D, technology innovation and indigenous manufacturing.

The new broadcasting policy will also facilitate a level playing field and healthy competition, promote ease of doing business and stimulate economic growth by enabling the reach of broadcasting services to all.

The aim is to position India as an ‘Uplinking Hub’ for television channels, attracting investments, generating employment opportunities and promoting skill development. The policy would also support quality content production and distribution for television, radio and OTT broadcasting services while encouraging the proliferation of Indian content, both locally and globally.

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In July 2023, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) had requested the TRAI to provide its considered inputs under Section 11 of the TRAI Act, 1997 for the formulation of the National Broadcasting Policy.

As a first step, the TRAI issued a pre-consultation Paper on September 21, 2023, to elicit the issues which were required to be considered for the formulation of the National Broadcasting Policy. Based on the comments received, the TRAI released the consultation paper on ‘Inputs for formulation of National Broadcasting Policy-2024’ on April 2. The TRAI received comments from 42 stakeholders including service providers, organisations, industry associations, consumer advocacy groups and a few individuals.

“The broadcasting sector is a sunrise sector having huge potential to contribute towards the growth of the Indian economy,” the TRAI said.

–IANS

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