SCIENCE & DEVELOPMENT

National Optical Fibre Network Project And the Expert Committee Report

THE new NDA government's approach to every issue, irrespective of the problem, seems to be the same – hand it over to the private sector. Not surprisingly, the “expert” committee's review report on the ambitious National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project –which is to provide broadband rural telephony – has recommended exactly that. Instead of BSNL, virtually the only telecom company providing rural telephony today, the committee has recommended large scale induction of private players. This is in spite of their dismal record in meeting their existing rural telephony obligations.

Nestle Must Not Escape Liability After Poisoning a Whole Generation

THE recent controversy on safety concerns surrounding Maggi noodles – the popular instant noodle brands of the Swiss transnational company (TNC), Nestle – raises a number of issues that have not been explored in much of the media reports. The entire controversy erupted after a conscientious Food and Drug inspector in UP got samples of Maggi instant noodles tested for the presence of toxic and impermissible ingredients.

Cyberwar or Cyberpeace?

CYBER weapons are no longer the stuff of science fiction. They are all too real, and so is their threat to our interconnected world. This threat is bound to grow in the coming days with the internet of things, when all our devices will have intelligence and be connected to the internet. If we want to stop the internet from being weaponised, we have to start talking about what nation states should or should not do. And that means an international compact on a par with what the world did with biological and chemical weapons, and what it failed to do with nuclear weapons.

Zero Rating: Not Subsidised Internet But Enclosure of the Internet

AFTER the firestorm of criticism from the Indian netizens on the violations of net neutrality by Reliance-Facebook (Internet.org) and Airtel (Airtel Zero), Facebook and Airtel have come out with their defence:  they love net neutrality, and will never, never violate this principle. They are only providing cheap internet access to their subscribers, who are currently without this access. So why should their critics object?

Asbestos: Govt Kow-tows to Corporate Lobbies

THE government in India continues to kow-tow to corporate lobbies at the cost of the environment and public health including occupational health. While always an integral part of ruling class politics in India, as witnessed in the seemingly never-ending saga of the Bhopal Gas Disaster, this has reached new heights under the BJP government led by PM Narendra Modi which is rapidly dismantling even the already weak environmental regulatory structure. Its mantra seems to be “development” at any cost.

Are Right-Wingers Dumb?

ARE right-wingers dumber than others? How else can we explain the tenacity with which a set of them hold on to beliefs in flying machines and genetics 7,000 years back; deny evolution; climate change? Why do the right, confronted with evidence contrary to their belief systems, prefer to invent their own facts? Why have a number of studies (Low IQ & Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejudice, Stephanie Pappas, Live Science, January 26, 2012) show a statistically significant correlation between lower intelligence and having racist, or other prejudiced beliefs?

Swine Flu – Extraordinary Breakdown of Public Health

THE recent spate of infections and deaths, caused by the H1N1 strain of the influenza virus across many states in India has once again brought into focus India’s ailing health care system. It is unfortunate that discussions on the country’s non-functioning public health system surface only in periods when the health system is faced with a challenge.

 

WHAT IS

SWINE FLU?

New Patent Policy: Surrendering to US Industry Pressure

AMONG notable hyper activities of Prime Minister Modi is his rush to change most important acts and policies of the country intended to please foreign corporate entities. One such move is to change our intellectual property rights system to make it more suitable to the US multinational giants. Several US agencies, prompted by the corporate giants, have been mounting pressure on India to amend its trade policies and even issuing threats that they would take measures against India very soon.

 

MOUNTING US

PRESSURE

Who Will Benefit from Changes in Our IP Regime?

DURING Barack Obama’s visit to India, one of the important promises Prime Minister Modi made to the US President was related to the conflict between US and India on intellectual property rights (IPR). The Joint Indo-US statement is unambiguous about whose interests matter most to the BJP government. In the name of making the country’s IPR regime investor friendly, the Modi government is promising to meet the US demands that the previous governments were unwilling to accept. So far, India’s publicly stated position was that there is no need to change the intellectual property (IP) regime.

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