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Pandemic Exposes the BJP Govt’s Governance Model

INDIA is no stranger to shortages, but there was one shortage nobody would have dreamt of in their most horrific nightmare – shortage of space and firewood at cremation grounds and burial grounds. And yet, that is a spectacle that has become routine in several cities across India. Families of those who had lost their loved ones waited for hours in queues to cremate their dead and paid astronomical sums to buy the firewood needed to do so. Many were cremated outside the crematoria.

Vaccine Supplies: The Elusive Second Dose

IN the months of May and June, India will need to administer at least 125 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines as second doses alone. The upper limit of manufacturing capacity in the country is about 75 million doses per month. By most accounts, the actual production is less than this. For the month of May, so far only 41 million doses—or a little more than half—have been procured, or are available for procurement. It is clear , therefore, that India faces a severe shortage of vaccines even to cover second doses, and this shortage is likely to continue for the next few months.

A Caring World Needs a Sharing World to End the Covid-19 Pandemic

AFTER three months of dithering, the Biden administration has supported South Africa and India’s move in WTO for a temporary waiver of patent rights on Covid-19 vaccines. This had the overwhelming support of countries and public health groups in the world. The opposition is now from EU countries, which had earlier tried to portray themselves as more progressive than the US. Under Trump, that was not difficult. The Biden move has wrong-footed them, leaving them as the only public supporters of the big pharma lobby.

Bill Gates, the White Man’s Burden and Modi Govt’s Vaccine Debacle

THE incompetence of the Modi government is starkly visible in its handling of the current crisis. It fares even worse on the vaccine front. Its belief in the ideology of free-market capitalism is that the market will magically produce whatever we need. This is why it starved the seven public sector vaccine manufacturing units (Down To Earth: COVID-19 vaccines: Waiting for advantage India, 17 April 2021) of any support. And, it also gave the public sector vaccine, Covaxin, developed by ICMR and National Institute of Virology, to a private company, Bharat Biotech.

Revolutionary Cuba: Continuity and Change

THE spectacle of the whole world petrified by the Covid pandemic and of little Cuba confidently engaging with it has drawn the attention and admiration of humanity. Now Cuba is again in the news for the so-called ‘end’ of the ‘Çastro era,’ as the outcome of the 8th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba. The change of guard in the Cuban Party from the revolutionary heroes of the Cuban struggle from 1953 to 59 to the new generation of communists is indeed historic. But it is equally important to note that the change also ensures continuity of the communist tradition in Cuba.

Failure of Vaccine Planning and Freedom to make Super Profits

THE powerful second wave of Covid infections across the country has invited sharp attention to the role of different instruments of policy in addressing the crisis. Global experience shows that expanded vaccination may help reduce the spread of infections and weaken the links between infections and death. Hence, countries are racing to vaccinate as large a share of their populations as they could in the shortest time span.

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