India Insight

Telemedicine in India might be just what the doctor ordered

Between surgeries and hospital rounds one recent day, Dr. Rajiv Parakh made a dash into his Gurgaon office for an appointment he couldn’t miss: a consultation with a patient who lives hundreds of kilometres away.

Seated before his laptop in this city on the outskirts of India’s capital, the surgeon listened as a patient in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka described his swollen legs. For the next 20 minutes, Parakh examined the patient via Web camera, made a diagnosis and prescribed treatment.

The bespectacled Parakh, a practising doctor for nearly 30 years, spoke in Hindi during the session, enunciating his words for clarity.

Medanta, the multi-specialty hospital where he works, started its free telemedicine service about a year ago as an outreach service for patients who cannot visit the hospital.

“In-person consultation is obviously the gold standard,” Parakh told India Insight. “But if we have a doctor at the patient’s end, especially somebody who he trusts and who he knows, we can be reasonably comfortable about prescribing treatment.”

Aam Aadmi’s party isn’t over yet, Bhagwant Mann says

The one-and-a-half-year-old Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) poor performance in this year’s parliamentary elections in India was a big letdown for the anti-corruption party’s members and its leader Arvind Kejriwal. One of the party’s newly elected parliamentarians, Punjabi actor-comedian Bhagwant Mann, is doing his best to keep spirits high. Following are excerpts from two phone conversations with India Insight about the future of the AAP.

 (This interview was conducted in Hindi and translated into English)

Q. Why didn’t the “Modi wave” work in Punjab?

A. There was nothing like a Modi wave in Punjab. Punjab is already affected a lot by drugs and unemployment. So Punjab’s problems are not about [BJP slogan] “Ache din aane waley hain” (“Good days are coming”) or “Har Har Modi” (Hindu religious chant, modified for Modi). Punjab wanted a third alternative, it wanted to get out of the two-party mill – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Congress.

Q. What is your reaction to the party’s performance in Punjab and the rest of the country?

India equity funds ride Modi rally in May, post best month in five years

India’s diversified equity funds outperformed the broader markets in May and recorded their best monthly performance in five years, as stocks rallied on hopes of an economic revival after the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a decisive election mandate.

Equity funds clocked an average return of 11.57 percent in the month, the highest since May 2009 when funds rose 30.2 percent, data from fund tracker Lipper, a Thomson Reuters company, showed. In comparison, the BSE Sensex rose 8 percent.

Though blue-chip stocks gained, high exposure to better performers in the mid- and small-cap segment, and sectors such as financials and infrastructure, helped schemes outperform the broader markets, experts said.

Modi boost helps Sensex rise 8 pct in May, Sesa jumps 51 pct

By Ankush Arora and Sankalp Phartiyal

A road sign stands next to the Bombay Stock Exchange building.Indian shares rose sharply and scaled new record highs in May, with the benchmark index rising above 25,000 points on hopes of an economic revival after pro-business Narendra Modi became India’s new prime minister.

The BSE Sensex touched a life high of 25,375 points on May 16, the day results for the five-week election gave Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party a clear mandate to govern Asia’s third-largest economy. In May, the index rose 8 percent, its best monthly performance since October.

The BJP and its allies stormed to power by winning 336 of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, riding on Modi’s promises to create more jobs and push India back on the high growth path. Stocks rallied across the board, while the Indian rupee also touched multi-month highs.

Narendra Modi’s new team of ministers

The Indian government on Tuesday announced its list of cabinet ministers along with their portfolios, a day after Narendra Modi was sworn in as the new prime minister.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies won a landslide victory in a mammoth general election, grabbing 336 of the 543 seats and ending the Congress-led government’s decade-long rule.

Besides Modi, 45 other members were inducted into the new council of ministers, a third smaller than the previous government. Modi himself would look after atomic energy, space, personnel and any ministry not allocated to a cabinet colleague.

Markets this week: Sesa Sterlite, NTPC top Sensex gainers

The benchmark BSE Sensex rose 2.4 percent this week as domestic-oriented stocks surged on hopes the incoming BJP government would keep up its promises to kick start an economy whose growth has dipped to its slowest in a decade.

Shares in companies such as Coal India, that are expected to benefit from an economic revival, and utilities performed well.

Sentiment was also boosted after Reuters reported that the finance ministry was working on a roadmap for cutting welfare spending and reining in deficit.

Markets this week: BHEL, Sesa Sterlite top Sensex gainers

By Ankush Arora and Sankalp Phartiyal

India’s stock market closed the week on a record-breaking note as the Bharatiya Janata Party led by Narendra Modi swept the Lok Sabha election, handing the Congress party its worst ever result.

Surpassing 25,000 for the first time on the day of counting, the benchmark Sensex jumped 4.9 percent this week. The broader Nifty, which also scaled a fresh peak on Friday, rose 5 percent.

In 2014, overseas investors have so far invested 6.5 billion rupees in Indian equities, contributing to a 14 percent gain in the main stock indices.

Markets this week: ICICI, Hindalco top Sensex gainers

By Sankalp Phartiyal and Ankush Arora

The BSE Sensex and the Nifty rose more than 2 percent in a week that was largely lacklustre until the main stock indexes hit fresh life highs on Friday, buoyed by optimism that India’s principal opposition party would get a majority in the ongoing election.

Security personnel stand guard as voters line up to cast their votes at a polling station at Badkoot in Kupwara district, north of Srinagar May 7, 2014. REUTERS/Danish IsmailOn Monday, India will vote in the last leg of its staggered five-week long election that began on April 7. Results are due on May 16.

India will release factory output and inflation data on Monday. According to a Reuters poll, factory output in March probably contracted for the fifth time in six months, while food and fuel prices inched higher.

They say every vote counts, but mine wasn’t

(Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters Corp.)

Fifty-four percent of Bangalore‘s eligible voters showed up at the polls on April 17, a disappointing number considering the high turnout in some states. I was not among them, but it was not for lack of trying. Despite doing everything correctly, my application never went through.

I was 18 the last time India held national elections. Since then, we moved around a lot. I was looking forward to voting this year for the first time. A record number of people are registered to vote in this election, and the country is at a crossroads as it considers whether to kick out the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty and its Congress party in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party and prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi, or perhaps a third front of other parties.

Guns and Gowns: Documentary shows two faces of the Indian woman

Cosmetic surgeon Jamuna Pai inspects the face of the Miss India contestant before her in Mumbai, furrows her brow and points to a blemish. The verdict: the young woman needs a botox injection in her chin because the “proportions are off by 0.6 percent.”

About 400 kilometres away in the town of Aurangabad, worlds apart from India’s financial capital, a middle-aged woman in a sari lectures adolescent girls about wanting careers.

“How can you deny 5,000 years of evidence that you are the weaker sex? Stop asking for equality,” she thunders to her audience of rapt teenagers in traditional Indian attire.

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