SCIENCE & DEVELOPMENT

Orchestrated Attack on India’s Research System

There will always be circumstances when private investment lags – when the innovation creates a public good, such as clean air, for which an investor can’t capture the value, or when the risk is too high, such as novel approaches to new antibiotic drugs, or when the technical complexity is so high that there is fundamental uncertainty as to the outcome, such as with quantum computing or fusion energy. For these cases, government funding is the only possible source to spur innovation”.

India’s INDC for Paris Climate Summit

INDIA finally announced its mitigation pledge last week, its so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contribution or INDC for the approaching Climate Summit in Paris in December this year which is expected to conclude an international agreement to control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions so as to rein in, and hopefully in time reverse, runaway climate change. India’s INDC has been broadly welcomed including by many civil society groupings.

India-US helicopter deal

JUST in time for Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the US, the cabinet approved the much earlier declared yet long-pending Indian acquisition of 22 Apache AH- 64E attack helicopters and 15 Chinook CH-47F heavy lift copters, both made by Boeing, with an option for 11 more Apaches and 7 more Chinooks, at a total cost of $3.1 billion (Rs 1900 crores).

Software Patents Refuse to Die

SOFTWARE patents are like zombies in the zombie film genre that Hollywood has made popular. They just refuse to die. As many times you kill them, they revive again and keep coming back. In India, we thought we had killed and buried software patents with the Amended Patent Act in 2005, and again in the Patents Manual, 2011, both of which effectively deny software patents.

The Dengue Epidemic & Demise of Public Healthcare

THE tragic events culminating in the suicide of the parents of Avinash, a seven year old child who had succumbed to dengue fever, largely due to the apathy of a number of private hospitals, have laid bare the pathetic condition of health care services in Delhi. Subsequent to a public outcry, the Delhi Government has announced a slew of measures to mitigate the impact of the current Dengue epidemic in Delhi. It is natural for a feeling of deja vu to engulf us as we watch the consequences of the Dengue epidemic unfold.

The Bankruptcy of Power Sector Reforms

THE CAG draft report on Delhi's Discoms describing the Rs 8,000 crore loot of consumers, follows on the heels of the Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission's (OERC) order, cancelling the licenses of the three Anil Ambani Reliance distribution companies. OERC cancelled Reliance licenses in March, 2015 for failing to deliver on any count, and repeatedly violating its orders. With this, we have come a full circle on the electricity reforms introduced by the Electricity Act 2003, whose primary goal was to privatise the sector.

CAG Report: The 8,000 Crore Loot of Delhites By Reliance and Tata

THE CAG Draft Report on the three private power distribution companies in Delhi, shows that the people of Delhi have been “overcharged” by a whopping Rs 8,000 crore.  The three companies – BSES Yamuna Power Ltd (BYPL) and BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd (BRPL) controlled by Anil Ambani's Reliance group, and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL) – committed deliberate fraud by inflating their power purchase costs, suppressing actual revenues, and through sweet heart deals with their group companies, all of which led to higher electricity bills for the consumers.

 

New US Climate Plan: Optical Illusion

WITH much fanfare, US President Barack Obama took to the White House podium to announce, as part of his administration’s action plan on climate change, a new Clean Power Plan aimed at cutting carbon emissions from electricity generation in the US, chiefly from coal-based power plants, by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The Plan, comprising a set of rules proclaimed by the federal Environment Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act, seeks to shut down or drastically improve efficiencies of coal-based power stations and promote non fossil-fuel electricity generation.

Human DNA Profiling Bill: Invasion of Privacy at a Grand Scale

POLITICAL activists, who are part of a peaceful demonstration that the government declares as unlawful, may soon find themselves as part of a massive database that the government wishes to construct. The database, called the ‘National DNA Data Bank’ will contain the DNA profiles for a range of Indian citizens and ostensibly will be used to tackle crime and to trace or identify people for various reasons. You are likely to be part of the database if you are in minor violation of the Motor Vehicle Act.

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