RIPUDAMAN SINGH DHILLON
Governments need support to change strategy to combat
The rapidity with which the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is spreading throughout the world has been astonishing. The global economy, beset with the pandemic since March 2020, was just beginning to emerge out of the shadows. Just when it seemed that it was moving out of the morass, it is facing headwinds again. Globally health authorities have reached a consensus that omicron is not as toxic as the previous variants. However, it is highly contagious. In Ontario alone the cases have risen to 18,000+ within less than a week – the highest number since the outbreak of Covid-19 in early 2020.
The new measures that the Ontario government has announced about the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, which will restrict the publicly funded tests only to a select group are necessary in view of the rapidity, contagiousness, and the recurrence of the new variant of the virus. When double and three-times vaccinated people are testing positive, there is a definite need to rethink the approach to combatting the pandemic.
It is becoming clear that the state-enforced economic lockdown is unsustainable eventually. It is a drain on public finance, and a death knell for small businesses. If anything, the economic lockdown has created more inequalities in the society, with large corporations becoming larger, and small businesses finding it hard to survive.
Even the reduction of the self-quarantine period to five days is a welcome measure, although its efficacy remains to be proven. If omicron variant is not as toxic, there is no need for an extended two-week self-quarantine period for all those who show symptoms of the virus.
Finally, we will have to come to terms with the virus and its variants. It is unlikely that we will see the back of Covid-19 soon. Globally, the governments will have to formulate calibrated strategies that aim to achieve minimal economic disruption, and factor that minority population which will refuse to get vaccinated. Admittedly, these are not easily achievable goals. Governments everywhere and at all levels need the universal support to continue remain flexible with policies in dealing with the ever-changing situation.
ICCC in the News
Indo-Canadian luminaries honoured with Order of Canada
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, announced 135 new appointments to the Order of Canada. The list included V.I. (Lucky) Lakshmanan, Bob Dhillon and Pradeep Merchant.
All the three have long-standing ties with the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce. Lakshmanan is the recipient of the ICCC’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. Both Bob Dhillon and Pradeep Merchant have served on the ICCC’s Advisory Board in the past.
The citations note the following achievements for the three recipients
Vaikuntam Iyer Lakshmanan, O.C.: For his philanthropy and for his expertise in hydrometallurgy and business, which have greatly benefited his profession, community and Canada-India relations.
Navjeet Singh Dhillon, O.C.: For his achievements in business, and for his unwavering commitment to philanthropy and higher education.
Pradeep Merchant, C.M.: For his longstanding contributions to his community, including his philanthropy and his leadership in the promotion of bilateral ties between Canada and India.
The ICCC President Ripudaman Singh Dhillon offered his heartiest congratulations to the three recipients of the honour. He said, “It is indeed an honour for our Chamber that such luminaries of our Indo-Canadian community have been bestowed with such a prestigious recognition. All the three have been actively associated with our Chamber for several years, and have contributed to both our Chamber and to our community in multiple ways. They are a beacon of inspiration.”
Order of Canada
ICCC's Startup Initiative
First of all, the ICCC welcomes the Consulate General of India to be our official partner in this initiative. The CGI has been a great supporter in this effort from the beginning.
The following are three core objectives of the Startup Initiative at ICCC:
- To help start-ups in India and Canada by connecting them with members of our community who are already active in this area or who want to participate in this growing sector
- Commercial relationships are welcome to develop later but primary objective is to help the entrepreneurs and
- To create awareness in our membership of this rapidly growing sector of the economy in both countries
Screengrab of virtual session of ICCC's Startup Initiative
The core mandate of ICCC is to promote trade between India and Canada. The start-up sector is growing at a tremendous speed in both countries. Therefore, it is logical that we play an important role in this arena. In addition to existing growing sectors such as technology and biotech, our focus will be on the ESG sector (Environment, Social, and Governance), the fastest growing sector for the next few years.
The board of directors met with Honorable High Commissioner of India to Canada, His Excellency Ajay Bisaria. He indicated that the ICCC should take initiative in this area. A Start-up committee was formed with Mr. Sanjay Kulkarni, Director of Strategy and Start-ups, Mr. Ripudaman Dhillon, President and Mr. Virender Rathi, Corporate Secretary as active members of the committee.
We signed an Memorandum of Understanding with BRTSIF – a foundation set up by BSE Institute Ltd. and BIL Ryerson Futures Pvt. Ltd. to promote startups and support the government of India’s vision for entrepreneurship development and innovation culture.
In collaboration with BRTSIF, the ICCC had two successful events on 28 November 2021 and 18 December 2021, where six start-ups from Zone Start-ups India presented in each sessions.
Mrs. Apoorva Srivastava, the Consul General of India, Toronto and Mrs. Nina Tangri, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction were chief guests. The response from participants was encouraging. Many of the participants are looking forward to future events and they want to play an active role in this initiative.
Our target is to cover at least 100 start-ups in 2022. We are told by our partners that we will far exceed this target. With our partners, Zone Start-ups India, 24 start-ups will participate by the end of January 2022. We are in the process of forming partnerships with other start-up groups.
Awareness Campaign of IFMS about
Global Warming and Climate Change
DR. HARINDER ALHUWALIA
The International Forum of Meteorological Societies (IFMS) unites the National Meteorological Societies (NMSocs) of the World in the same manner as UN Agency World Meteorological Organization (WMO) does for National Meteorological Services (NMS) of the World.
The main objective of this Volunteer-based organization is to assist and bolster the efforts of WMO and the World Bank Group (WBG) in building capacity around the world for accurate weather forecasting which is important not only for disaster management but also for the economic wellbeing of every country.
IFMS creates collaboration between National Meteorological Societies to make them stronger than they would be by themselves and connects all of them to WMO and WBG. In addition, it aims to create awareness among professionals, general public, politicians and bureaucrats about weather and water related issues.
Session 4 of IFMS Global Conference
In order to create awareness about Global Warming and Climate Change (GW&CC) which is creating a lot of news around the world, IFMS devoted Session 4 of its Conference on December 8, 2021 on this very important subject. The Public Lecture given by the author of this article consisted of 2 parts:
Part 1: Public Lecture on “Causes of Global Warming & Climate Change (GW&CC), its Remedies and how to cope with its effects”.
Part 2: Panel Discussion by 5 Experts in this area on the topics discussed on in Part 1.
There were two sub-parts to the Public Lecture on the issue of GW&CC. The first part was to understand what is causing Global Warming, how we can get more information and how we can reduce it. The second part was: knowing that GW&CC is happening and is intensifying over time, how we can protect our lives and properties from the natural disasters caused by GW&CC.
In the first sub-part, we discussed the following issues:
a) What is GW&CC and what is causing it?
b) How we can reduce, if not eliminate, it?
c) What are the impacts of GW&CC on our health/life and property?
d) Where we can learn much more about it?
In the second sub-part it was stated that knowing that GW&CC is happening, how we can protect ourselves from its adverse effects. The following topics were covered:
i. What is required to protect ourselves e.g., accurate impact-based weather forecasting, Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems, building Institutional and Societal Capacity, etc.
ii. What is IFMS doing in Capacity Building in the above areas.
Significance of average temperature rise was explained. The current situation is that average temperature has risen by 1.1o over the preindustrial age (late 19th Century). If it goes to an average of 1.5o, there will be very significant number of disasters. Anything beyond 1.5o will cause great devastation.
In Part 2, we had a very strong panel to discuss the GW&CC and respond to the questions posed by participants in this Session. It consisted of the following experts:
Dr. Michael Farrar (President of the American Meteorological Society) as the Moderator and the following 5 persons as Panelists: Dr. Mrutyunjay Mohapatra (Director General – India Meteorology Department), Prof. Tsegaye Tadesse (University of Nebraska), Dr. Ladislaus Chang’a (Director R&D in Tanzanian Meteorological Agency), Mr. Zablon Shilenje (WMO-R1(Africa) -Technical Officer) and Mr. K. Y. Camyale Chao (Executive Director of ICDI)
After the Moderator Dr. Mike Farrar, President of the American Meteorological Society introduced the Panel and each member of the Panel presented the status of preparedness in his country, their Opening Remarks were followed by a Question-and-Answer (Q&A) period.
Our unpreparedness against COVID-19 pandemic has destroyed the economies of many countries and the damage caused by the disasters due to GW&CC could be even more debilitating for the safety of our citizens and our economies.
Session 5 of IFMS Global Conference
Because of the fact the GW&CC is happening and is resulting in disasters, therefore, our next Session of the Conference was on Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (MH-EWS). Two experts from European Union Prof. (Dr.) Daniel Sempere and Dr. Xavier Llort, who have already implemented such systems for Europe and many of its constituent countries, gave a very impressive presentation on MH-EWS which was greatly appreciated by attendees.
They spoke about what it takes to forecast adverse events accurately and convert them into impact-based forecasts related to specific strategic areas to be protected which is a change in forecasting paradigm.
Then Panel consisting of a Moderator (Dr. Harinder Ahluwalia), a Co-Moderator (Prof. Oscar Frumento) and the following 5 international experts provided their Opening Remarks which was followed by a Q&A period:
Dr. Agnes Kijazi (Director General TMA), Mr. RC Bhatia (Retd. ADG-IMD), Mr. Jim Abraham (President of CMOS) and the two presenters mentioned above.
GW&CC is causing a huge concern to all nations because glaciers are melting causing ocean level to rise and weather-related disaster are prevalent in almost all nations. If the average temperature rises above 1.5o, a lot of more destruction will occur. Therefore, it is an important duty of organizations like IFMS to educate people about what is going on and what they need to do to save our planet. It is the duty of every citizen to understand the causes of Global Warming and how we can control them by our daily actions. We also need to create Institutional and Societal capacity to understand what to do in case of disasters.
IFMS is offering Public Lectures on these issues to any organization which would like to educate its members.
IFMS, being a world-wide organization, which the author is leading, is trying to create awareness and capacity to safeguard the society at large.
Recovery Activation Program
Small businesses that are new to the Recovery Activation Program (RAP) can still complete their Digital Needs Assessment (DNA) on www.rap.bot.com for free by enrolling in our upcoming segments for the RAP Digital Certificate Program.
After completing at least one program stream, candidates can submit their applications for grant funding by answering three questions and providing eligibility information. If applicants have previously completed a RAP stream, they can proceed directly to the application process and submit their details. The answers submitted by the prospective grantees will be evaluated by a panel of experts from TRBOT. The application window will close on January 10, 2022.
To learn more about the Lenovo Digital Transformation Grant, please visit please visit https://bot.hostedincanadasurveys.ca/815866?lang=en
ICCC's Partner in Success
Range Enterprise comes on board as
ICCC's Affinity Partner
Range Enterprise, one of Canada’s fastest growing corporate gifting companies, has become ICCC’s Affinity Partner. Check out here the range of corporate gift it offers, and avail 10 percent discount on rack rates.
Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce
924 The East Mall Toronto ON M9B 6K1
T: (416) 224-0090