Fight Corona But Economy Should Not Disturb: Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Dr. J.R. Bhardwaj
| IOP Desk - 28 May 2020

Webinar Series by School of Liberal Arts

The scale of death toll due to COVID 19 across the globe led many to speculate that it might be an attempt of biological warfare, for which we need to be fully prepared: Prof (Dr.) Jayanand, VC, NIU

Fake news is being used more as a political tool to manipulate and dictate common people. Through the use of artificial intelligence, big data, biometric data, social media and smart phones, it’s eroding the roots of democracy: Onkareshwar Pandey, Editor in Chief, Indian Observer Post

In India itself, apart from Arogya Setu, 18 other apps are being used in different states to track and trace COVID 19 patients: Shubham Kohli, Sr. Engagement Manager, Nagarro

Topic - Lessons Learnt and Mitigation Strategies for COVID 19 Disaster Management­­ - Are we ready enough?


By IOP Bureau

New Delhi, May 28, 2020: “India, as a nation need to fight Corona in such a manner that economy of the country is not disturbed, said Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Dr. J.R. Bhardwaj, a Former member, NDMA and Director General armed forces, who is also a medical expert with 41 years of distinguished service. Dr. Bhardwaj was addressing a Webinar organized by School of Liberal Arts (SLA) at Noida International University (NIU).

Talking about the role of NDMA and pandemic control, Dr. Bhardwaj expressed satisfaction saying, “We were lucky enough to have low mortality in comparison with many Western countries.”

He quoted NDMA Act, 2005 under which NDMA was established with its main function for capacity development of prevention, mitigation and preparedness in terms of both man-made and natural disasters.

While inaugurating the Webinar, Prof. (Dr.) Jayanand, Vice-Chancellor, Noida International University emphasized that “COVID 19 is no longer, a global health crisis alone, as there are many socio-economic and political dimensions attached to the disaster, especially in India,  like slowdown of economy, migration of labourers, centre versus state politics, etc”.

Welcoming the guest speakers, faculty members and participants in the Webinar, Prof. Dr. Jayanand said, “The scale of death toll due to COVID 19 pandemic across the globe led many to speculate that it might be an attempt of biological warfare, for which we as a nation need to be fully prepared”.

The session was started by Dr. Deepa Correia Afonso, Nodal Officer In charge, Goa state COVID Hospital, who talked about COVID19 from medical perspective. She shared the need for medical staff to work in teams, where all the teams together need not to be exposed to the virus and further made a call for developing SOPs of all hospital procedures. She also stressed on staff preparedness in areas such as knowledge transmission, change in attitude, personal care, etc. She had recommended the maintenance of social distancing and continuous use of masks in times of COVID 19.

In his speech, Onkareshwar Pandey, a well known journalist and Editor in Chief, Indian Observer Post, cautioned about the dangers of fake news especially during COVID 19 like situations and appealed the people to ‘sanitize’ the News before forwarding. He said, “Fake news is creating social unrest, instigating violence and is becoming a national security threat too.

Mr. Pandey said, “Propaganda, in the society has been for centuries, the internet is only the latest and fastest means of communication to be abused to spread lies and misinformation. Fake news is now being used more as a political tool to manipulate and dictate common people. Through the use of artificial intelligence, big data, biometric data, social media and smart phones, it’s eroding the roots of democracy.”

He cautioned that, “The days are not far away, when the society and polity will be largely controlled by the AI and the owners of social media platforms and that may pose serious threat to the Democracy.”

He also gave some simple tips to check the spread of Fake News just by tracing the authentic source, checking author and date, reading beyond, verification on Google and talking to experts.

Referring to a recent survey done by India’s premier fact-checking website BOOM, Mr. Pandey said, it has published 178 fact checks on misinformation / disinformation around the pandemic from January to May, 2020, and found that the topics like Prediction Theory, Bio-weapon, Economy, Health, Politics, Italy, China, Cure/Prevention/Treatment, and Lockdown & Communal were trending in the news during January to April. During April, communally charged disinformation targeting Muslims became more frequent, especially after several members of the Tablighi Jamaat – an Islamic missionary group – tested positive, Islamophobic rumours around them purposefully spreading the virus became viral on the internet.

In the Webinar, Ms. Shubham Kohli, Sr. Engagement Manager, Nagarro, made an important revelation that in India itself, apart from Arogya Setu, 18 other apps are being used in different states to track and trace COVID 19 patients. She also talked from human resources point of view that how IT companies are giving facilities of work from home to its employees for managing work during COVID 19 disaster. COVID 19, according to her has brought cultural change in the way of working. She mentioned how countries like China are adopting technologies like robots, drones, app, autonomous vehicles, etc. and more countries like US, Singapore, South Korea to name a few are following suit.

In the Technical session 2 academic expert and scientist Prof. (Dr.) Kishore Kumar talked about disastrous consequences of COVID 19 beginning from various theories on its transmissions since, it originated. He pointed, “How leaderships of all countries did not at first, took the disaster seriously, in a manner, they should have taken. Even the most developed countries known for their robust disaster resilient infrastructures, including the much better health care system failed to manage it with pro-active approach, rather lost the opportunity to display their ability to save precious lives of their citizens”. He called Modi government and India model a success where citizens behaved responsibly during lockdown.

Prof. (Dr.) B.L. Swamy, Dean, Faculty Welfare, MNIT, Jaipur said, “We need to understand the difference between being Corona positive and COVID 19”. He recommended, “Through use of information technology, we must prepare digital maps for marking red, orange and green zones for each district of India to detect the cases”. He appreciated NIU higher authorities and in particular the role of its Vice-Chancellor in making productive efforts for maintaining the quality of education for its students.

In the ending session, Dr. R.P. Pradhan, Associate Professor at BITS-PILANI (Goa Campus) talked about rehabilitation of people and restoring of Indian economy.  Emphasizing that labour market of India is hard hit due to COVID 19, which is world’s largest in next to China, he commented, “They constitute critical production force of India, they have to be treated with sensitivity and dignity and their return home processes to be arranged free of cost”.

The Webinar received overwhelming response from the participants as faculty and students, who were from not just NIU but many other outside academic institutions like MNIT (Jaipur, Rajasthan), BITS-Pilani (Goa Campus), Amity University (Gurugram), Jagran Lakecity University (Bhopal), Rama University (Kanpur), G.F. College (Shahjahanpur, UP), Institute of Innovation in Technology and Management (New Delhi), Barkatulla University (Bhopal) and Grads International School (Greater Noida), to name a few. The Webinar was successfully able to capitalize on diverse perspectives of lessons learnt and mitigation strategies for COVID 19 as an international disaster.

In the beginning, Dr. Aparna Srivastava, Head, SLA and Convenor of the Webinar gave an overview on SLA and its Webinar Series. She said, “The 8 departments under SLA banner of NIU, comprising of International Relations, Public Administration, Political Science, English, History, Psychology, Sociology, and Geography have been making constant efforts to add to the series of SLA Webinars”.

She appreciated the efforts made by Dr. Priyanka Jain, Assistant Professor, SLA in making this Webinar successful. She said, “Despite huge number of questions from participants, she did justice in effectively handling of almost all the queries put to respective speakers, in short time, at the end of each session.

Over 100 faculty members attended the Webinar of 3 hours from 4: 35 p.m. to 7: 35 p.m. Dr. Malini Prava Sethi and Dr. Priyanka Jain, both working as Assistant Professors in NIU, were the Co-Conveners of Webinar to which, the moderation support was provided by Dr. Shruti Singh, Assistant Professor, NIU.

The speakers of Webinar were:

  1. Lt. Gen (Retd.) Dr. J.R. Bhardwaj, Former Member, NDMA, Government of India and Director General, Armed Forces
  2. Mr. Onkareshwar Pandey, Editor in Chief, IOP, New Delhi
  3. Prof. (Dr.) Kishor Kumar, Chief Scientist (Retd.), CSIR–CRRI, N. Delhi
  4. Prof. (Dr.) B.L. Swamy, Dean, Faculty Welfare and Former Dean, Academic Affairs, MNIT, Jaipur, Rajasthan
  5. Dr. Deepa Correia Afonso, Sr. Surgeon & Head of Surgery, Nodal officer In-charge for Goa State COVID Hospital
  6. Dr. R.P. Pradhan, Associate Professor, Dept. of Humanities & Social Sciences, BITS -Pilani (Goa Campus)
  7. Ms. Shubham Kohli, Sr. Engagement Manager, Nagarro, Gurugram.

This was 6th in the series of Webinars organized by School of Liberal Arts (SLA) at Noida International University (NIU). In the wake of COVID-19 disaster, through Webinars, NIU is making a constructive effort for enhancing the learning process of their students based on online mode.


INDIAN OBSERVER POST (IOP) is a Class, Creative, and Constructive News platform which publishes ONLY exclusive and Special News / Views / Interviews / Research Articles / Analysis / Columns / Features and Opinions on the national and international issues, politics, security, energy, innovation, infrastructure, rural, health, education, women, and entertainment. Email –






(Onkareshwar Pandey is Founder, Editor in Chief & CEO, Indian Observer Post and former Senior Group Editor- Rashtriya Sahara (Hindi & Urdu) and also former Editor, (News), ANI. Email - SMS- 9910150119)





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