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Autism: Role of early care

It's a great initiative by Dubai Autism Center to offer free consultations and awareness campaigns for one month ("Awareness drive, free consultations during month-long autism campaign in UAE", Gulf News, March 31). In India, one in 89 children is diagnosed with autism. Awareness, acceptance of the diagnosis, and receiving proper care at the right time can help ensure proper treatment of children with autistic disorder. Children with autism often find it difficult to interact and communicate with others. They have low eye contact and are intolerant to sound. Some have behavioural problems. Autistic children often excel in different fields like music, arts, and math. They are often multitalented. Their talent should be identified at an early stage and encouraged. All you need is patience, love, and a little bit of extra care. It is essential that these children are diagnosed at an early stage and provided necessary therapy. Although there is no medicine to cure this condition, children with severe behavioural issues are often treated with medications to calm them. As there is an alarming increase in the number of autistic cases, more research should be done in this direction. And, the world should be more tolerant of autistic children and accept them wholeheartedly.

From Mr Eappen Elias


Tribute to Prince Philip

The demise of His Royal Highness Prince Philip is not one to mourn about, but a chance to honour his work and pledge to keep up his legacy (“Prince Philip's death: End of an era in British royalty”, Gulf News, April 11). As a recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award through the Duke of Edinburgh International Award Program, I am privileged to have experienced a tiny ounce of the level and the kind of work Prince Philip had undertaken in the past many years until he retired from public life. The combination of voluntary service, physical recreation, skills, and adventure all challenged and engaged me physically and mentally in overall development as a young woman to serve the world and be a global citizen of tomorrow. The very ideals that Prince Philip stood for were embodied in the award program, and I am happy to have experienced and put those ideals to practice in my life. I wish I got an opportunity to let the late Duke of Edinburgh know of my sincere gratitude to him for instituting this program on behalf of all young people who have benefitted from it. Prince Philip's vision to motivate the youth to engage themselves in various life spheres outside academics and jobs has been quite crucial to many of us. Besides just the institution of this award more than 50 years ago, Prince Philip proved to be the epitome of a royal figure who was fully occupied in the matters of his kingdom and in working with nations that have close relations with his country.

From Ms Maria Vincent

Dubai, UAE

India government slashes rates on small savings schemes

Shockingly, the central government in India has once again slashed the interest rates on small savings schemes. It is a real blow to ordinary people, especially salaried and senior citizens. Ironically, even the Provident Fund (PF) rate and senior citizens' deposit rate has been cut drastically to 6.4 per cent from 10 per cent in a decade. The PF rate has been cut by 0.7 per cent, whereas the senior citizens' deposit rate has been cut by 0.9 per cent, forgetting that the senior citizen can survive only with interest earned out of their retirement benefits. In a nutshell, the salaried middle class is hit below the belt, from all corners, with the frequent fuel price hike, consequent to which there is an escalation in prices of essential day-to-day items.

From Mr N Hariharan


COVID-19 vaccination in India

It is encouraging that the Serum Institute of India applied for permission to the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) to sell Covishield commercially to private parties (“India says it has millions of COVID-19 vaccines in hand, denies shortage”, Gulf News, April 8). If vaccine producers are allowed to sell to private hospitals and corporations, it will significantly improve vaccine availability. Governments in many countries have found it challenging to disburse vaccines throughout the countries expeditiously. So, it would be pragmatic to let the private sector contribute. In all the hot spots in Europe and in Indian cities like Mumbai city, when lockdowns are deployed, the health departments should carry out vaccination drives in homes and residential complexes. Some state governments are keen to vaccinate bed-ridden patients and senior citizens at their homes. State governments should not need the permission of the central government for such logistical matters. Over-centralisation will slow down the vaccination drive. Moreover, India must focus on maintaining adequate stocks of the vaccines. Recently, three large hospitals in Mumbai were out of stock of the vaccines. There is no point in exporting vaccines when only 6.4 per cent of the Indian population have received them in 11 weeks. At this rate, it will be four years before the entire country is vaccinated. The sharp rise in the number of cases in Mumbai and Maharashtra and the consequent declaration of night curfew and weekend lockdowns underscores the need to accelerate the vaccination drive. It is also a lesson to other states that any lackadaisicalness in vaccinations will result in the disease spreading faster and further lockdowns.

From Mr Rajendra Aneja

Mumbai, India

India elections

Elections have been a challenge for the Election Commission to conduct trouble-free elections in every state (“West Bengal elections 2021: Mamata demands Amit Shah’s resignation after five killed in the fourth phase of polling”, Gulf News, April 10). Hats off to the team, who successfully led the elections in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Pondicherry, especially without any violence. However, it has always been an arduous task for the election commission to conduct elections in West Bengal without any violence. Unfortunately, the third phase of Bengal polls was marred by an alarming increase in violence, with two people killed. Hence the election commission needs to enhance its vigilance to prevent any poll violence during the remaining phases. Vicious tactics must not undermine the sanctity of voting.

From Mr N Mahadevan


IPL: Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Capitals

Kudos to Delhi Capitals, especially the super show of its openers, Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw, with their century opening partnership, ensured an easy victory for their young debutante captain Rishab Pant (“IPL 2021: Delhi Capitals chase down the big total to start campaign in style”, GulfNews, April 10). No doubt, being a Chennai Super King (CSK) fan, it hurts me. At the same time, there is no need to panic. Our Captain cool seems to be a little rusty and still in the last IPL mood. It would have been better to open the batting with Robin Uthappa, dynamic opener, and Fa du Plessis, followed by Raina, Rayadu, and MS Dhoni, and leave the finishing work to Moen Ali, Sam Curran, and Jadeja. Alternatively, Sam Curran could open with Du Plessis. I am confident that our Captain Cool will change his strategies soon to progress this time.

From Mr M Srikanth

Chennai, India

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