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.




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.




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.

Mumbo Jumbo as Science in the Science Congress

THE 102nd Science Congress did not distinguish itself by inviting speakers, who offered mumbo jumbo as science. It was not helped by the union minister for science and technology, Harsh Vardhan talking about how India had discovered the Pythagoras “formula”, and algebra well before Greeks and Arabs but generously gave them the “credit”. The past is no longer about scientifically discovering what really happened, but a race of who did what first.

Agenda of RSS in Indian Science Congress

FOR the first time in the Indian Science Congress in its 102 years history, the organisers held a symposium on “Ancient Sciences through Sanskrit”. Seven papers presented over the five-hour session were invited by the Department of Sanskrit, Mumbai University, and Kavi Kulaguru Kalidas University, and reviewed by the Mumbai University’s Department of Sanskrit. Evidence of ancient aviation in the Rigveda was claimed in a paper co-authored by Captain Anand Bodas, retired head of a pilot training centre, and Ameya Jadhav, a teacher.

No North Korea behind the Sony Hack

THE US, based on FBI reports, has blamed North Korea for hacking the Sony, the entertainment giant. In return, Obama threatened cyber attacks or what he called “proportionate response” against North Korea; the North Korean Internet did go down after Obama's threats. North Korea denied the US allegations and has called for an international enquiry to establish who are behind the Sony attack.

Lima Climate Summit: Bad Signs for Paris 2015

ANYONE following the climate negotiations, especially since the disastrous pattern set at Copenhagen in 2009 and even more so given the tepid progress made since the wishy-washy Durban summit in 2011, could have seen it coming. There were low expectations from the Lima Conference of Parties (COP 20) to begin with and, true to form, the summit ended with a whimper of a statement, low on ambition on all fronts, emissions reduction, finance and technology, but full of statements with dark portents for the future.