Medical transcription field has unlimited potential
Manoj Kumar

the general perception among the youth that employment opportunities in the field of medical transcription have dried up, the industry is growing at an annual growth rate of over 75 per cent, says a recent report of NASCOM. A number of companies in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi and Chandigarh have come up to serve clients in the US, Australia and European countries.

Enter the glittering world of jewellery
Geetu Vaid

jewellery is an exciting way of giving vent to creative energy. The recent years have seen a spurt in demand for custom made as well as designer jewellery. According to reports India is the largest consumer of gold and its consumption amounts to about one-third of the world production. It is an ever-growing industry.




Medical transcription field has unlimited potential
Manoj Kumar

Medical transcript writers at work at IDS Ltd, Chandigarh.
Medical transcript writers at work at IDS Ltd, Chandigarh. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan 

Despite the general perception among the youth that employment opportunities in the field of medical transcription have dried up, the industry is growing at an annual growth rate of over 75 per cent, says a recent report of NASCOM. A number of companies in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi and Chandigarh have come up to serve clients in the US, Australia and European countries.

Mr Pratap Aggarwal, Managing Director, IDS Ltd, a company employing over 1,000 persons here, says, "There is no shortage of employment in this sector for those who are ready to work hard. Though unlike call centres, beginners, have to spend some time to learn work on the job, yet the returns are much higher, once they learn the skills."

Mr B.M. Chittaranjan, Group Head, IDS Ltd, admits that in the late 90s, when medical transcription jobs first came to India, some of the companies created of hype that any person, even with a matriculation qualification, could enter and earn a handsome salary. It resulted in the mushrooming of training institutes and small-time companies, which consequently created a bad name for the industry. Most of these companies have closed down.

Nature of job

What is the basic work of the industry? Doctors at the other end of the world dictate the diagnosis and prescription reports on the server, which are transferred through the network in a text format. The job of a medical transcript writer is to edit these reports and make them meaningful, so that these can be used by doctors the very next morning. Besides, medical transcription companies are also getting work for medical billing, accounting, data entry from hospitals and medical insurers.

Scope for employment

Employers claim that unlike the conventional manufacturing sector this sector, has tremendous potential. At present about 30,000 persons are being employed by the industry in the country, and 500 to 1,000 jobs are created every month across the country. IDS Ltd is also recruiting young persons under its expansion plan. Mr Chittaranjan claims that about 2,000 young boys and girls from Chandigarh alone are working at different places in the medical transcription field.

How to enter the field

Any person with a good command of English, especially written, and the ability to work in shifts at odd hours can hope to enter the field. Indeed, they have to undergo an extensive-on-the job training for five-odd months, before becoming a professional medical transcript writer. The salary at the entry level varies from Rs 4,000 to Rs 6,000 per month.

Within three years, one can expect to get around Rs 12,000 per month. Says Mr Chittaranjan, "I have friends in the industry, who despite being undergraduates, are now handling teams of up to 500 persons and are earning up to Rs 15 lakh per annum. This is a growing market with unlimited potential."

Work environment

Ms Maya Mohanan, who is working in the field for the past five years, claims, "Initially, you have to spend time to learn medical terms, accent of doctors and to develop skills to work under tight deadlines. But once you are used to it, you begin to enjoy the thrill of working with international hospitals. Employers offer a congenial atmosphere and attractive pay packages."

Future prospects

Industry experts say that despite stiff opposition from trade unions and politicians in the West, this profession is going to stay here in the coming years since Indian companies are offering quality service at a competitive price, besides making efforts to enhance the productivity level, "I do not think I will leave this job in the near future since it is offering a good salary, besides a challenging work environment," says Ms Satwinder, project leader at a leading medical transcription company. She adds that though wages are on the rise, yet with the continuous improvement in the productivity level, employers will be able to meet the challenge.



Enter the glittering world of jewellery
Geetu Vaid

Designing jewellery is an exciting way of giving vent to creative energy. The recent years have seen a spurt in demand for custom made as well as designer jewellery. According to reports India is the largest consumer of gold and its consumption amounts to about one-third of the world production. It is an ever-growing industry. Because of this jewellery design as a career is steadily grabbing international attention and the trend is catching up in India also. This field offers an exciting career option to the design minded youngsters.

"In the past few years India has produced several award-winning jewellery and accessory designers’’, says Gurpreet, faculty member at the JD Institute Fashion Technology at Chandigarh.

Meera Choudhary, a student of JD Institute, says ‘‘jewellery designing is not just a craftsmanship but a form of art and a designer should be able to convert ordinary to extraordinary.’’

‘‘Jewellery always excites a woman and there is a thrill in designing it. India is a treasure trove of designs and this is what makes this field more exciting’’, says Harleen, another student of JD Institute.

Jewellery or accessory designers are have to have an eye for detail, keen observation, fashion awareness and precision. This type of designing requires working with materials which are expensive and precious. Thus a meticulous and precise approach is required

"As with most creative fields, the work is tedious but the rise is steep’’, says Atul Mehta, Director, JD Institute, Chandigarh. The budding designers benefit from working with an established designer, or jewellery house, and learning the ropes. At this stage, the pay not very high, ranging from Rs 3500 to Rs 5000.

But once established the designer can command his/her own price, depending on the exclusivity of the design, and the clientele. Lucrative offers also come through the Gold Council of India, says Gurpreet.

Different areas in this field in which one can specialise are:

Jewellery Designing: This involves creation and presentation of techniques of jewellery designing for international and local trade markets.

Diamond Grading: Gives a complete insight to the world of diamonds, in relation to the four important C’s of Diamond i.e Cut, Colour, Clarity, and Carat.

Gemmology: Deals in the recognition and differentiation of Gemstones with regard to the natural, synthetic and imitation stones in the market.

Evaluation of Jewellery: Evaluating the worth of articles.

Most courses can be taken after class XII (any stream). The selection procedure in some of the institutes involves written test and group discussion.

The courses, mainly diploma, vary in duration. Three-year accessory design course at National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi focuses on designing of precious and costume jewellery and other accessories.

The JD Institute of Fashion Technology, Chandigarh, offers six month diploma in jewellery designing. The course is also available in the other centres of the institute. In Punjab the institute has centres in Ludhiana and Amritsar.

Jewellery Design and Technology Institute (JDTI), Noida, offers four long term courses and twelve specialised short term courses.

Aastha Institute, Pune also offers correspondence courses in this field

Other institutes offering courses: Srimati Nathibai Damodar Training (SNDT) Women’s University, Mumbai.

Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Rajasthan Bhavan, Jaipur

Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Mumbai.


Gemmology Institute of India, Mumbai

Gemstones Artisans Training school, Jhalana Mahal, Jaipur (Courses are in grading and cutting of gems and diamonds.)

Indian Gemological Institute, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi (Courses are in cutting and polishing of diamonds and coloured stones.)

Indian Diamond Institute, Surat (Courses in Jewellery Design and machine cast jewellery manufacturing, diamonds sorting/grading/bruting/ polishing/sawing and in computer aided jewellery designing).



Biochemistry offers many openings

Q I am interested in pursuing a career in biochemistry. What are the prospects in this field?

Parag Agarwal, Jalandhar

A Biochemistry occupies a central place in life sciences as it seeks to explain the chemical processes of living organisms. It has its roots in chemistry, mainly organic and physical, and also focuses on the chemical mechanisms of genetic information storage and transmission, and the chemistry of cells, blood, biological systems and products, and life processes such as respiration, digestion and reproduction.

Fast developing into an extremely important subject, it is considered the science of the future. Biochemistry forms the basis of a great deal of research, and its study can make for a successful career. Biochemists are involved in the study of structure and function of enzymes, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and their metabolic processes, molecular basis of the action of genes etc Its applications are of vital significance to the fields of medicine, diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, veterinary, agricultural and dairy sciences.

Biochemical engineering harnesses the knowledge of living organisms and systems to create safe and efficient processes. Mainly concerned with biological changes, it is an essential input in the production of pharmaceuticals, foodstuff and waste treatment.

There is an increasing demand for biochemists involved in biochemical genetic research not only in India but also abroad, especially for those with a specialisation in cell biology, genetics, biochemical methods and research.

Openings for biochemists exist in research and development and scientific departments in industry, public sector laboratories, universities and hospitals. While MPhil or PhD is necessary for working as a scientist, you could work as a research assistant straight after MSc in research-oriented organisations like the CSIR or the ICMR. Defence labs also recruit scientists. You can also choose to teach at the college or university level. For this, you have to qualify the CSIR NET or the state-level SLET on completing your MSc. Biochemists are also employed in the sales and marketing departments of pharmaceutical and related industries.

The Civil Services is another option.

Computer course

Q I am interested in doing something creative in the field of computers. What course will enable me to take up such creative work? Is there good money in that?

Gurdeep Atwal, Ludhiana

A If by ‘creative’ work you mean creating graphics and animation on computer, you can do a course in computer animation and multimedia, a term for integrating sound, visuals and text using sophisticated designing software. And with these skills, you can get well-paid jobs in advertising agencies, publishing houses, television and film production studios, web and mobile computing, engineering design or even freelance work if you invest in the necessary equipment. Flair for designing and sketching and preferably a background in art will put you on a much surer footing. Even non-linear editing for television and producing CDs, etc, which is essentially computer-centric, requires a combination of "creativity" and being technical savvy.

On the other hand, programming at higher levels can also be a highly "creative" option. For this you will require a good course in software programming (BE/BTech/MCA/MSc) along with solid grounding in computer languages. Developing gaming software is another hot field internationally.

Armed forces

Q I have joined NCC. As I’m keen on joining the armed forces, could you please tell me if there is any relaxation in eligibility criteria and selection procedure for NCC cadets?

Pritam Pandeya

A The NCC is emerging as a major source of recruitment of officers for the armed forces. In fact, 25 per cent of cadets currently training to be officers at the Officers’ Training Academy, the IMA and the NDA are from the NCC. And the figure is even higher for women cadets.

NCC cadets are preferred for recruitment to the armed forces because they have a distinct advantage over the general candidates. However, to gain that distinctive edge, the NCC cadet should be a certificate-holder.

There are three types of certificates NCC cadets can secure: ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’. You will be eligible for the ‘A’ certificate after you have spent 1-2 years in the Junior Division (school-level) and attended one training camp.

For the ‘B’ certificate, you should have attended at least 75 per cent classes in the Senior Division (in college) and one training camp.

The most coveted is the ‘C’ certificate. To be eligible for this exam, you should be a ‘B’ certificate-holder, in your third year at college and should have attended at least one outdoor camp and one national integration camp or Republic Day parade or any other outdoor activity organised by the Directorate of the NCC. The tests are held in March-April every year. A ‘C’ certificate-holder has many advantages when it comes to the selection process in the armed forces.

Army: Thirty-two vacancies in every regular course of the Indian Military Academy (IMA) are reserved for NCC ‘C’ certificate-holders who have passed the CDSE and have been declared successful by the Services Selection Board. They have a distinct advantage during training. A separate merit list is prepared for NCC cadets with ’C’ certificate.

The NCC Special Entry Scheme offers Short Service Commission of 5 years (non-technical) in the Indian Army to graduates (50% agg) with ‘C’ certificate. You will be deputed for training at the OTA, Chennai.

Eligibility: Unmarried male graduates (19-25 years) who have served for at least two years in the Senior Division of the Army Wing of the NCC with a ‘B’ grade in the ‘C’ certificate exam.

Selection: SSB tests, interview and medical test.

Selected candidates undergo training for a period of nine months at the Officers Training Academy, Chennai.

Navy: The Indian Navy offers Permanent Commission in the Executive Branch to graduates with NCC ‘C’ certificate.

Eligibility: Unmarried male graduates (. BE/BSc (Phys & Maths) with Naval Wing Senior Division NCC ‘C’ certificate.

Selection: SSB interview/test and medical examination. Approximately six selected candidates undergo the naval orientation course at the Naval Academy, Goa, followed by professional training at Naval Academy units/ships/establishments.

Air Force: The Indian Air Force Offers Permanent Commission in the Flying Branch to science graduates with NCC ‘C’ certificate.

Eligibility: Unmarried male graduates (BSc with physics and/or maths) and a ‘C’ certificate of the NCC air wing.

Selection: SSB interview. Make sure you apply within 24 months of leaving the NCC. Upon selection you will be sent for 22 weeks of pre-flight training followed by 52 weeks of flight training.

The notifications appear in leading national dailies from time to time.

— Pervin Malhotra, Director, CARING

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