Editorial Plus

Census and SECC Analysis

Census and SECC Analysis What is the Census of India? The decennial Census of India has been conducted 15 times, as of 2011. While it has been undertaken every 10 years, beginning in 1872 under British Viceroy Lord Mayo, the first complete census was taken in 1881. Post-1949, it has been conducted by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. All the censuses since 1951 were conducted under the 1948 Census of Ind

Analysis of FSSAI guidelines on Transfats

Analysis of FSSAI guidelines on Transfats On December 29, 2020, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) reduced the permissible limit of trans fatty acids (TFA) in oils and fats to 3% for 2021 and 2% by 2022, against the earlier cap of 5%. The decision was effected by an amendment to the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations. The new rules apply to edible refined oils, vanaspati (partially hydrogenated oils), margarine, bakery shor

RBI and Financial Stability Report

RBI and Financial Stability Report On Monday, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released the 22nd issue of its biannual Financial Stability Report outlining the risks to financial stability as well as the resilience of the financial system in the contemporary context. In his foreword, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das flagged the many risks ahead, including the recent, accentuating “disconnect between certain segments of financial markets and the real economy”. Mr. Das warned, &

Separation of Powers between Legislature and Judiciary

Separation of Powers between Legislature and Judiciary The Supreme Court’s recent order staying the implementation of three farm laws, while appointing a four-member committee (one member, Bhupinder Singh Mann, has recused himself), to thrash out issues between agitating farmers and the Union government, has been criticised in some quarters. In particular, many have questioned the suspension of action under the laws as such interim orders are extremely rare. The court did not a

USA and Section 230

USA and Section 230 In the U.S., Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) regulates online publication and liability. Specifically, the 1996 law states: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Author and cybersecurity lawyer Jeff Kosseff describes the law as ‘the 26 words that created the internet’. But the legislatio

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrating the lives of visionary leaders who left an indelible imprint on thought and action not only refreshes our memories of their transformative impact but also rekindles hope. Among those who influenced American society and inspired many across the world in the 20th century, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stands out. Reflecting on the legacy that Dr. King left in setting the U.S. on the path to a more inclusive society and polity assumes significanc

Contemporary World History: Russia

Contemporary World History: Russia Russian authorities have repeatedly tried to play down the political importance of Alexei Navalny, the opposition politician who was poisoned in Siberia five months ago, saying he is unpopular. President Vladimir Putin, while answering questions from reporters in December on the poison attack, said, ‘who needs him anyway’. But the arrest of the 44-year-old Kremlin critic upon his return to Moscow on Sunday — he left the country in

Mining Laws and Policies in India

Mining Laws and Policies in India National Mineral Policy, 2019 The policy proposes to grant status of ‘industry’ to mining activity to boost financing of mining for private sector. It focuses on use of coastal waterways and inland shipping for evacuation and transportation of minerals and also encourages dedicated mineral corridors to facilitate the transportation of minerals. It also makes efforts to harmonize taxes, levies & royalty with world benchmarks to help p

Analysis of the level of Agriculture support needed in India

Analysis of the level of Agriculture support needed in India Sachin Kumar Sharma is Associate Professor at the Centre for WTO Studies, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Delhi. Adeet Dobhal is a Research Fellow at the Centre for WTO Studies. The ongoing stalemate between the farmers protesting over the recently passed farm laws and the government has sparked an interesting debate regarding the level of agricultural support. Many media reports, based on data by the Organisation for Ec

Judicial Activism, Equality and Liberty

Judicial Activism, Equality and Liberty One of the oldest, most pernicious and widespread forms of abuse of state power in India involves the police and enforcement agencies selectively targeting political and ideological opponents of the ruling dispensation to interrogate, humiliate, harass, arrest, torture and imprison them, ostensibly on grounds unrelated to their ideology or politics, while sparing comparably placed supporters and friends of rulers of the day. As a recent example, th

Analysis of Deepfakes

Analysis of Deepfakes What is Deepfake? Deepfakes — synthetic media, meaning media (including images, audio and video) that are either manipulated or wholly generated by Artificial Intelligence — even have the power to threaten the electoral outcome of the world’s oldest democracy. Deepfake makes it possible to fabricate media — swap faces, lip-syncing, and puppeteers — mostly without consent and bring threat to psychology, security, political stability,

Analysis of India – Nepal relations

Analysis of India – Nepal relations As a unique characteristic, Nepal’s internal political fundamentals continue to shape its foreign policy choices. In the process, what gets lost is the scope of pursuing ‘enlighted self-interest’. In such a scenario, any inbound or outbound delegation is seen from a different prism, and anything discussed or not equally gives ample space to interpretation and misinterpretation. The year 2020 marked China’s unpreced

Judicial Activism and Liberty

Judicial Activism and Liberty In early November 2020, after the overnight listing of a defective petition, the Supreme Court of India granted bail to the television anchor, Arnab Goswami. In a section of the judgment, delivered later on November 27 and titled “Human Liberty and the role of courts”, the top court noted that “human liberty is a precious constitutional value”; that “the writ of liberty runs through the fabric of the Constitution”; that i

How protest is endangering the democracy?

How protest is endangering the democracy? The NIA’s decision to summon people associated with the ongoing farmers agitation as ‘witnesses’ in a sedition case is definitely out of the ordinary, even if not entirely surprising. Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu and farmers’ leader Baldev Singh Sirsa are among 40 people it has summoned in connection with a fresh case registered on December 15, 2020 against Sikhs for Justice, a U.S.-based organisation that is banned by India.

Farmer Bills and CAA Protests: Comparison

Farmer Bills and CAA Protests: Comparison After the long silence since 2014, India is now erupting with various collective mobilisations. Last winter, we saw a major movement against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in Shaheen Bagh, and this winter, we witnessed a mobilisation at Delhi’s borders. But though both are against unjust legislation, they have been received differently. What can this difference tell us about political mobilisation and the place of ethics and publ

USA Presidency Elections: Analysis

USA Presidency Elections: Analysis As America prepares for the transition from the tumultuous era of Donald Trump to what many hope would be a more sedate and serious Presidency of Joe Biden, there is as much nervousness about the challenges in future as there is a sense of anticipation about impending changes. But while politicians often have the luxury of campaigning in poetry, they have to govern in prose and respond to policy issues of the day in real time. Mr. Biden, as much as h

Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020

Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 Many States have not been able to provide quality supply, especially to rural and small electricity consumers. The enactment of consumer-centric rules does spark public debate that brings the rights of consumers to the fore. In this vein, the Rules lay an emphasis on national minimum standards for the performance parameters of electricity distribution companies (DISCOMs), without urban-rural distinction, especially for new connections, m

Procurement Schemes in India: Government e-Marketplace

Procurement Schemes in India: Government e-Marketplace The Finance Ministry has drafted a model tender document for public procurement by all central government departments, in a bid to standardise the language and clauses included, and avoid contractual disputes. Public procurement refers to the purchase of goods and services by the public sector or the government, accounting for an average 15% of GDP globally. In India, government procurement is estimated to constitute about 30% of GDP

FAME and Electric Mobility

FAME and Electric Mobility FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles) It was started in 2015 under Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Aim of FAME: To encourage faster adoption of Electric and Hybrid vehicles by offering upfront incentive on purchase of electric vehicles and also by establishing necessary charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. Fast track goals of NEMMP. 4 focus areas = Charging infrastru

Current challenges faced by RBI in COVID Pandemic

Current challenges faced by RBI in COVID Pandemic Duvvuri Subbarao is a former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) embarked on an extraordinary expansionary policy to manage the financial pressures unleashed by COVID-19. It slashed policy interest rates aggressively, flooded the market with an unprecedented amount of liquidity and instituted a slew of measures for targeted assistance to especially distressed sectors. Must be a deliberative process

Hospital Fire in Maharashtra

Hospital Fire in Maharashtra The deadly fire that snuffed out the lives of 10 infants in the Bhandara District General Hospital in Maharashtra is a shocking reminder that safety norms in several medical facilities in India do not pass muster. The parents of the babies who perished in the sick new-born unit have been plunged into a lifetime of trauma. Some of the victims, a few just days old, had been brought to the hospital for better care from smaller health facilities; seven h

Comparison between Hongkong and USA Capitol Protests

Comparison between Hongkong and USA Capitol Protests As a pro-Trump mob swarmed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, the comparisons drawn to the storming of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo) complex on July 1, 2019 were immediate. The two historic moments marked days when protest movements breached the hearts of their respective governments. But that is where the similarities ended. Beyond this superficial level, the differences between the two were numerous. #joinourtele

Geopolitics, China and India

Geopolitics, China and India In the murky and chameleon-like world of contemporary geopolitics, adopting a sceptical approach to analyses and evaluation is often the best way forward. Nine months is a reasonable period to arrive at a holistic and reasonably acceptable evaluation of crises across domains. That the world was caught napping and brought to its knees by the COVID-19 pandemic is an undisputable proposition. In the grey zone at the global level is the absence of a definit

Women Violence and Attitudinal problem

Women Violence and Attitudinal problem Unnao. Hathras. And now Badaun. The dirge continues as news of another horrific alleged rape and murder emerged from Uttar Pradesh on Sunday. A 50-year-old anganwadi worker, who visited a temple, was found brutally battered outside her home at a village in Badaun district. After she succumbed to the injuries, a depressingly similar pattern came to light: the police had dithered with both the post mortem and in registering an FIR. The culprits, a

Social Media and Arrow’s Paradox

Social Media and Arrow’s Paradox By: Siddharth Pai is founder of Siana Capital, a venture capital firm focused on Indian Deep Tech and Science The mechanics of all elections are flawed. Each country has different rules regarding its voting systems, and each set of rules is necessarily a compromise. Some countries use ‘first past the post’ systems, while others use electoral colleges. Yet others use referendums where two choices are pitted against one another, such as the

Clinical Trials and COVID Vaccine

Clinical Trials and COVID Vaccine More than a decade since the human clinical trial of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine — it was controversial and carried out without proper consent on nearly 23,500 girls in the 10-14 age group in Vadodara, Gujarat and Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh — and eight years after the Supreme Court of India slammed the government for slipping into “deep slumber” in addressing the “menace” of illegal clinical trials ca

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) It was established in 1985 (founded in Dhaka). Its secretariat/ HQ is at Kathmandu. It is a regional organization that aims to promote economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific cooperation in South Asia. It is a group of 8 countries. Member states include Afghanistan, Pakistan, BBIN, Sri Lanka and Maldives. Afghanistan is a part of South Asia. Nepal is the chair of SAARC and next is Pakistan. 2016 summit of Islamab

India – UK relations post Brexit

India – UK relations post Brexit Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made many sudden and surprising decisions: some felicitous, others disastrous. Among the former were invitations to leaders of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation to attend his 2014 swearing-in and his visit to Lahore in 2015; among the latter were demonetisation and the ‘Namaste Trump’ spectacle last February. Yet to be defined in either category is his startling invitation to British P

Analysis of Farm Bills

Analysis of Farm Bills Almost all sections of people including farmers agree that the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC)-mandi policies for agricultural marketing, initiated in the 1960s for a few crops, have outlived their utility and the system needs a new policy in the face of the agricultural sector’s growth slowdown, the crop-composition not widening, and investments in land not happening. Recently, the government of the day has opened up the output market with the a

Analysis of Anti Conversion Law

Analysis of Anti Conversion Law Chaudhary Charan Singh, the former Prime Minister, made a proposal to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1954. As a Minister in the Uttar Pradesh government, he wanted Nehru to pass a law so that jobs as gazetted officers could only be for those who wanted to or had married outside their caste. Nehru turned the proposal down because this struck at the exercise of the free will of individual citizens in India. Setting a precedent It is an ind

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