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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.

Yet Another Rafale Exposé

THE French investigative web-portal Mediapart released a three part series of articles last week containing much dramatic new material on touching on the controversial Rafale deal. The material once again brought into focus murky dealings, possible shady transactions, and evasive as well as non-cooperative responses by supposedly independent investigative agencies and top government and corporate officials in both India and France.

US Navy in Lakshadweep: Gunboat Diplomacy Masquerading as Freedom of Navigation

HAVING endorsed US Freedom of Navigations on the South China Sea, the Indian government had a rude awakening. It discovered, from a US Seventh Fleet announcement on its website, that the US had conducted a similar Freedom of Navigation Operations in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around Lakshadweep on April 7. This was done without requesting India’s prior consent. The US has identified many such ‘differences” with India and has conducted FONOPs in these areas in the past as well.  It reports its FONOPs every year to the US Congress.

Budget Lays Ground for Total Privatisation of CPSUs

THE revised Public Sector Policy announced in the budget 2021-22 is fully oriented towards total privatisation of central public sector undertakings. It is no longer mere “divestment of equity” of CPSUs. Now it is whole-hog privatisation.  The Congress (I) government led by P V Narasimha Rao with Manmohan Singh as finance minister started divestment of equity through IPO. With the NDA led by Vajpayee in power, the attack of divestment coupled with outright privatisation was doggedly intensified, so much so, a full-fledged ministry of disinvestment was established.

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