Companies & Sectors
Online start-ups helping foreign patients get best deals in India
New Delhi : The surge in foreign patients seeking Indian health facilities for specialised and cost-effective medical care has resulted in the mushrooming of online start-ups that help foreign nationals find the best treatment in the country.
 
One such medical tourism start-up, PlanMyMedicalTrip.com, which was started nine years back, is now serving as a one-stop solution provider for foreign medical tourists.
 
"We have patients coming in from all over the world. However, Africa, GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) regions contribute towards the sector by as much as 30 percent of the total inflow," said Anurav Rane, CEO, PlanMyMedicalTrip.com.
 
"There are a lot of different medical and surgical options for medical tourists coming to India. Primarily, medical tourists get elective procedures done such as cosmetic surgery, hip and knee replacements, dental procedures and infertility treatments," he told IANS.
 
According to a white paper by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Grant Thornton, the Indian medical tourism market is set to touch $8 billion by 2020, up from the current $3 billion.
 
Saed Saber from Egypt recently came to India for knee replacement. "I wanted to get my knee replacement done but was confused as to how I should go about it. Since options in my country are limited with a high price tag for treatment, I started exploring for options, that is when I came to know about PlanMyMedicalTrip.com," he said.
 
Saber visited PlanMyMedicalTrip.com to get his queries answered. "I got to know several options for hospitals across India and also got all the necessary procedures sorted for me in no time," he told IANS.
 
IndiaHealthCareTourism.com, inaugurated recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is an initiative by the government to boost healthcare tourism. It is a web portal that helps and guides the patients who are looking for treatment options in India. It lists 93 topmost medical centres, 30 ayurveda and wellness centres and one special category centre.
 
Another online venture, Medi Connect India, deals with the latest technologies like IVF (infertility), robotics surgeries, stem cell therapies, etc.
 
"The main reason behind India becoming a hub for medical tourism for foreigners is cost-effectiveness. Here in metro cities you would get world-class treatment under the best doctors in a much cheaper way than what they would end up paying in their respective countries," Shalini, assistant team lead, Medi Connect India, told IANS.
 
"In countries like Africa, a lot of modern treatments and good doctors are not available and hence they find India a good destination for medical reasons. Here, the best treatments are available with no waiting time in the company of highly-qualified doctors," she added.
 
Medi Connect India has won the "National Tourism Award" for two consecutive years for excellence in medical tourism.
 
To serve foreign nationals better, most of the top-rated hospitals in India have also hired language translators to make patients, especially from Balkan and African countries, feel comfortable and help facilitate their treatment.
 
According to the CII-Grant Thornton white paper, Chennai, Mumbai, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi-NCR are the most favoured medical tourism destinations for foreigners who avail treatments in India.
 
Cost is a major driver for nearly 80 percent of medical tourists across the globe, it added.
 
The cost factor and availability of accredited facilities have led to the emergence of several global medical tourism corridors like Singapore, Thailand, India, Malaysia, Taiwan, Mexico and Costa Rica -- and India appears to have taken a lead.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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Indian condiments are spicing up global cuisine
The use of Indian condiments, or masalas as one would call in Hindustani, is increasingly becoming popular in various world cuisines. The ingredients used in Indian cuisine are unique and their mixing is an art mastered in the subcontinent over centuries.
 
In the olden days when there were no refrigeration techniques, the use of spices in dishes also acted like preservatives. When the Europeans came to the Indian subcontinent, they soon discovered the local spices and were impressed with the aromas and tastes. They took them back home and soon the demand in Europe sky-rocketed. 
 
At one time, the cost of spices was more than that of gold and precious stones and it was one of their most profitable trades. The use of Indian spices in the West gradually became popular but not in the mainstream dishes.
 
Recently, with increasing globalization of trade and communications, Indian cuisine has penetrated the masses across the world. With the result, the population across the globe is getting intrigued and willing to learn more about the "masala". 
 
The word spices have been used as a misnomer to describe hot food. In actual terms, spices provide different aromas and flavours. The hotness of the food comes from green, red, yellow chilies and black peppers.
 
The surge in Indian restaurants across Europe and the US has helped the spread of Indian aromas and tastes among the masses. The culinary world is rapidly advancing in both techniques and different flavours. Increasingly, the chefs are mixing flavours and ingredients from different regions of the world. 
 
This phenomenon has created fusion cuisine. As the world discovers the flavours of spices the chefs are not inhibited in experimenting with the spices. Thus, fusion food has taken another dimension in the culinary world. Indo-French, Indo-American and Indo-Chinese restaurants are sprouting up all over the world.
 
The masala chai once exclusive to India is one such example which is a popular drink in Europe and the US. A high-end chain in the US named Teavana extensively sells spice chai, maharaja chai and Ayurvedic chai. The spices used include cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and other garam masala ingredients.
 
Cinnamon is commonly used in tea, coffee and confectionery across the world. It's use in meat dishes is popular now in the Western hemisphere. I have seen its use in African cuisine along with cumin seeds and bay leaves. Black pepper is ever so popular as a table top condiment but its popularity in the dishes for cooking and marinating meat has increased significantly. Clove oil and cloves are now used as flavouring agents in various South American cuisines as well.
 
Of late, there has been a surge in the use of turmeric across the western world. Once an exclusive Indian spice, turmeric is now available as capsules and consumed raw for medicinal purposes. Although this has been the practice in India for centuries and is a common ingredient in almost all dishes in India, turmeric and milk is now popularized in food shows across the US as an exotic drink renamed "golden milk". Food shows on network channels are showing use of turmeric in various meat dishes in the West.
 
Marinating meat and poultry is commonly done with Indian spices. The traditional Indian garam masala is available extensively across the super markets in both Europe and USA. During my stays in the USA, I have seen the use of Indian condiments in Thai as well as Italian cuisines. Ethiopian cuisine is heavily influenced by these spices especially in kababs. 
 
The kababs in Middle Eastern cuisine have the same reflections. Recently, an Anthony Bourdain show revealed that Iranian cuisine was immensely influenced by Indian spices too. Indian spices have always influenced Middle Eastern cuisine. The spice trade from 16-18th century left a trace of spices all throughout the route.
 
Bay leaves, once an exotic addition to Indian recipes, is now being grown in households in the world and used for aroma in African, English and French cuisines. Coriander leaves and seeds have their counterparts in other cuisines but now used for garnishing entrees and appetizers.
 
There has been an increasing evidence of health benefits of herbs and spices as well. Various spices have plant-derived chemical compounds that have disease preventing and health promoting properties. Certain spices could provide antioxidants that are important in combating disease and improving immunity.
 
The anti platelets and clot prevention properties of some of the spices may explain the lower incidence of venous clotting of the legs in the Indian subcontinent. 
 
Spices have been used since ancient times for their anti-inflammatory and anti-flatulent properties. Turmeric has been used over wounds swollen and painful joints and is now proposed to reduce the post menopausal symptoms. Its cholesterol lowering properties have been reported too. Clove oil and dentistry is another example.
 
It has also been proposed that spices may reduce the incidence of certain cancers. With the renewed interest in spices around the world and changing palates I'm not surprised that Indian spices are increasingly used all over the world in various cuisines.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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White House unveils new broadband initiative
Washington : The White House has announced a new broadband initiative that aims to connect 20 million low-income Americans to high-speed internet by 2020.
 
"Connectivity is a path to greater opportunity," the White House said in a statement on Wednesday.
 
"Today, because of a digital divide, low-income Americans have a harder time accessing these tools, and unemployed workers without home internet access take a longer time to find employment."
 
As part of the ConnectALL initiative, the White House said it supports the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s proposal to reform a $1.5 billion per year phone subsidy programme to turn it into a national broadband subsidy to help low-income Americans get online, Xinhua news agency reported.
 
The programme, called "Lifeline", was first created under President Ronald Reagan to provide low-income Americans with financial assistance to purchase affordable phone service and then updated in 2005 by President George W.Bush to include mobile phones.
 
"Now in 2016, when we use the internet to communicate more than ever, it is time to modernise Lifeline and make sure that all Americans can access the broadband services they need," the White House said.
 
The efforts also included a digital literacy pilot project, which will teach the basic skills needed to get people online in libraries, museums and community centres across the country.
 
Currently, three-quarters of American families are using the internet, a 50 percent rise from 2001.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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