Singapore, May 20: It started with a tweet from Sandeep Nailwal. “Can’t take this sitting down anymore” the tweet said. “I am going to run a COVID relief campaign in lieu of what is going on in India…I will take full responsibility for transparency, funds usage and regulatory compliance…” Nailwal is the cofounder of Polygon (previously Matic), India’s first crypto unicorn. Like many in the crypto community, he was wondering how cryptocurrency and blockchain could help during India’s Covid crisis.
During Covid Crisis, Time Counts and Crypto Delivers
India’s active Covid cases now stand at over 20 million and with a death toll above 230,000. The crisis in India has been rightly described by the domestic and international press as being out of control, with Oxygen supplies dwindling and crematoriums working around the clock. One of the ways the international community can help is by sending oxygen canisters to India or donating funds for people to purchase oxygen or other needed medical supplies.
The problem is that traditional sourcing channels have become overwhelmed and price gouging and black marketeering have become real roadblocks. Oftentimes money for life-saving medications and hospital care is unattainable to the average Indian, many of whom are not flush with savings. Newer paths need to be created quickly to get aid to the people who need it the most. Under these circumstances, cryptocurrency provides another option that could actually save lives.
Crypto Can Help and Is Helping
In an emergency, time counts and Crypto wallets can be set up instantly. Many exchanges offer almost immediate Indian Rupee withdrawals. Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency provide a unique solution because family assistance can be sent from across the country or even across the world in the time it takes a Bitcoin transaction to confirm. In fact, many local Indian crypto exchanges are stepping up to assist. WazirX, one of India’s larger exchanges just announced that they would donate ₹8 crores for Covid relief to 10 different organisations, including the Chief Minister’s Funds of Maharashtra and Karnataka.
“We are deeply concerned about the current situation in India. It’s truly heartbreaking.” said Wayne Huang, co-founder and CEO of XREX Inc., an international exchange operating in the Indian market, “We believe that cryptocurrency can help India through this crisis, whether that involved raising funds or transferring them quickly to those who need it, the crypto community stands with India to navigate this crisis and emerge stronger.”
Efforts from Global Crypto Communities
While others in the crypto community here in India are pulling out all stops to help, many think it will take an international effort to truly be effective. Indeed, an international response is exactly what Polygon’s Nailwal elicited. Balaji Srinivasan, former CTO of Coinbase soon replied and announced that he and Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum would also be joining the campaign. Buterin kicked things off by donating 100 Ether and 100 Maker tokens worth $650,000 to India’s Covid relief fund. This donation was quickly followed by Surojit Chatterjee, CPO of Coinbase, and Eric Meltzer, an early crypto investor, along with several other crypto personalities. In a short period, the fund raised over 22 cr in cryptocurrencies, including 1 Bitcoin worth over Rs 41 lakh from cricketer Brett Lee.
Non-fungible token (NFT) artists on the OpenSea platform recently conducted an event called “Fable” where they auctioned 22 pieces of art created by artist volunteers to support on-ground charities in India supplying patients with needed oxygen cylinders for many who are unable to afford it. This action comes from the crypto community is fast and efficient through blockchain technology.
In a public health crisis like the one confronting India today, every bit of help counts, whether that is labor through volunteering or funds coming in from all over the world. Despite the rapid industry growth during the pandemic, India continues to have a controversial relationship with Crypto. In March 2020, the Supreme Court overturned an RBI edict that prohibited cryptocurrency exchanges from doing business with banks. Since then, it has been anything but smooth sailing.
Fortunately, if the most recent reports are to be believed, the winds would appear to be changing. A few months ago, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government paused a bill to ban cryptocurrencies in favor of what Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam termed “a calibrated view on the subject. While these much-awaited regulations will take some time to be announced and implemented, particularly in light of the current emergency, now is a great time for Indian authorities to see firsthand how cryptocurrency and blockchain can be of use to fight against the effects of the virus and truly save lives.
Hope and Opportunities in the Pandemic
Echoing the trouble that Crypto itself finds itself in India, the Crypto Covid Relief Fund could run into some regulatory issues. While Polygon’s Nailwal pledged to handle regulatory aspects around donations, some laws require reporting all foreign origin aid in India. Normally foreign donations are governed by the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act of 2010 and Foreign Exchange Management Act of 1999, but it is unclear how these regulations apply to cryptocurrency and whether or not the government will relax policy given the scale of human catastrophe the country is dealing with.
There is a hope that this may lead to a positive reset for the relationship between the crypto community and the government of India, and that can only be positive. Tangible gestures like this from the international and local community will go a long way toward building some goodwill with regulators and highlight the good that Crypto brings for India and its citizens.
New Delhi [India], April 30: Rashi Parasrampuria was crowned as Miss. Teen India International at the Miss Teen Diva 2020 pageant in January 2021. She was crowned as the successor to Aayushi Dholakia.
Miss Teen International is the world’s biggest teen pageant and Rashi will be representing India at the pageant. Miss Teen International has been happening since 1966. India will be aiming for a back-to-back win at Miss Teen International.
Parasrampuria is a student of Bachelors’ in Business administration at Narsee Monjee Institute in Management Studies. The 18-year-old has been good in studies who secured 97 percent in the board exams of class 10th and 12th. She holds a keen interest in Dancing, public speaking, and marketing.
She won Beauty with a Purpose at Miss Teen Diva 2020 where she raised more than 5 Lakh rupees to support the education of the underprivileged. She has been actively working on different social projects such as environment, cancer, etc, and keeps dedicating her time to bring a significant change.
Rashi will have huge responsibilities on her shoulder at Miss Teen International 2021 as she will be competing with more than 30 countries for the crown. The last Miss Teen International, Aayushi Dholakia is from India and it gives a lot of expectations from Rashi at the pageant.
Winning the Miss Teen India 2020 crown brought tears to Rashi’s eyes. She says that the efforts of 15 months counted and the feeling of being crowned as the queen was like a dream come true. I am privileged to have been believed in by the organization and the national director.
Upon asking about the Miss Teen International pageant, Rashi said that “She is only focusing on her preparations and not letting any pressure affect her. The responsibility to represent India and wear the sash of India is an unmatched opportunity. Very rare girls get to represent their nation and representing India at the world’s biggest teen pageant is absolutely a privilege to have. No words shall be enough to describe my gratitude and the privilege I have been rewarded with. I want to enjoy every bit of it and make my nation proud.
Canada : The pandemic has caused Canada a lot of woe in terms of its immigration plans. The targets set by Canada earlier in the year have become impossible to achieve because of the travel restrictions and limited working capacities of federal offices.
The 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan is going to be significant in shaping the future of the country, both economic and social. Canada published it on October 30 after a lot of anticipation from all quarters.
What are the future plans?
Well, the results are in, and it seems like Canada is going on the offensive when it comes to making up for this year’s losses. Targeting the highest immigration targets in its history, Canada is planning to spend the next three years inviting more than 400,000 permanent residents every year. It has set specific annual targets until 2023.
- 401,000 immigrants in 2021
- 411,000 immigrants in 2022
- 421,000 immigrants in 2023
According to the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan, around 60% of immigrants will be admitted into Canada via economic class programs.
Why the high targets?
On March 12 of this year, the Canadian government had announced its intention of welcoming more than one million permanent residents in the period between 2020 and 2022. However, all plans were disrupted when the borders had to be closed because of the pandemic.
The last time Canada allowed over 400,000 immigrants to enter the country was back in 1913, and that should speak for the absurd time we are living in. Canada would rather maintain high levels of immigration than fall behind because the low birth rates can have a negative impact on the economy at any time. Immigrants are key to economic growth in Canada.
Canada Visa Application Centres to resume operations in India
The Government of Canada made an announcement stating that the Visa Application Centres or VACs located in India will begin operating again from November 20, 2020.
The VACs are set to prioritize family class applicants and international students who have been detained for such a long time. Candidates will be able to set up biometrics appointments in Mumbai, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, and Jalandhar. It goes without saying that the VACs are going to follow all safety measures and limit the number of appointments in a day.
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