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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.

Inter-State Migrant Workers Deprived of Labour Rights

IN February 2021, union labour minister Santosh Gangwar tabled in parliament NITI Aayog’s draft ‘National Policy on Migrant Labour’, framed ostensibly “as a response to the Covid fallout on the migrants”. The report states that about one crore migrant workers began their long journey back home after the sudden lockdown announced by the prime minister on March 24, 2020.

Paris Commune – A Harbinger of Proletarian Revolutions

THIS year marks the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune, which has enormous historical significance. Marx greeting the Paris Commune wrote, “On the dawn of March 18, Paris arose to the thunder-burst of ‘Vive la Commune’!….When the Paris Commune took the management of the revolution in its own hands; when plain working men for the first time dared to infringe upon the governmental privilege of their ‘natural superiors’….the old world writhed in convulsions of rage at the sight of the Red Flag, the symbol of the Republic of Labour….”

Employment Crisis in West Bengal: A Decade of TMC Governance

AMIDST the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent series of sporadic lockdowns, the loss of lives and livelihoods in West Bengal have exposed the inherent economic crises that the state’s economy is undergoing. The massive influx of poor migrant workers returning back to the state, seeking help and support from the authorities, has become an unfortunate reality in recent times. A decade long governance by the TMC government in the state has worsened working conditions as well as opportunities of work in West Bengal.

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