The Myth of Bitcoin as Money

THE cryptocurrency Bitcoin has seen its price see-sawing wildly over the last 12 months, making it one of the most volatile of assets. Whether it can be considered at all a currency – a token of money which can be exchanged for other goods – is another question. At its current price in dollars – 1 bitcoin is trading for $9,120, down by about half from its highest price of $19,206 a month back. It is still nine times what it was trading only 12 months ago. Among all cryptocurrencies, and there are more of them, Bitcoin is by far the biggest.

Why Science Scares the RSS/BJP: Curious Case of Satyapal Singh

SATYAPAL Singh, the minister of state for human resources development (HRD), and a former police officer, while speaking in the All India Vaidik Sammelan, has attacked the theory of evolution – which he foolishly calls Darwinism – asking that it be removed from school and college education. In this, he has been backed by Ram Madhav, the general secretary of the BJP, who has quoted the Christian Right on creationism – now called “intelligent design” – being a substitute for the theory of evolution.

Aadhaar Security: The Emperor has no Clothes

MOST people assume that critics of Aadhaar are concerned about citizens fundamental right to privacy, or the loss of statutory benefits such as rations due to a faulty Aadhaar system. Two recent cases – that reported recently by Tribune and the French security researcher reporting on the novice-level security of the mobile App of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) – brings out a completely different threat. This is identity theft and therefore, the possibility of attacks from criminals on our bank accounts.

Why the 2G Judgement is Wrong

THE Special Court judge Saini in his judgements running into thousands of pages on the 2G spectrum issue, seems to believe that let alone criminality, there was nothing wrong with the procedures that A Raja and his cronies adopted. His world, in which the allotment of 2G licenses or spectrum occurred, appears to be in a parallel universe from that in which the Controller of Auditor General (CAG), the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court operated. All of them found A Raja and his close associates guilty of arbitrary changing of rules to help certain favoured companies.

National Medical Commission Bill not in Public Interest

THE National Medical Commission Bill, 2017, recently approved by the union cabinet, has now been referred to a parliamentary standing committee after protests by various sections of the medical profession.  The bill is designed to replace the Indian Medical Council Act of 1956. The bill was drafted in the aftermath of several scandals that rocked the Medical Council of India in the past decade.

The Strange 2G Judgement: CAG and the Supreme Court at Fault, Not A Raja

THE Judgement by Justice OP Saini in the 2G case, which acquits all the accused, has justifiably created a fresh controversy in the country. We are told by the Congress and its sympathisers that the entire 2G case was a figment of the CAG’s imagination and the media, that the CAG and the Supreme Court were completely at fault, and A Raja, the then minister of Communications and IT, and the UPA were not at all to blame.

When Will TV Anchors Learn that Science is not the Science Channel?

THERE is something wrong with leaders of a political party, when they seek legitimacy for their beliefs from the promo of an American TV show.  A set of senior BJP ministers – Sushma Swaraj, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Piyush Goyal – rushed to tell the people that the myth of Lord Rama building a bridge to Lanka, has now been “vindicated” by science; or the TV channel called Science.

The Horror of Private Medical Care in India

SEVEN year old Aadhya spent the last two weeks of her life at a ‘state of the art’ private medical facility, her survival dependant on an artificial ventilator. Her brain had probably stopped functioning several days before she died, but we will never know for sure. While a young child suffered silently, for she had lost the ability to cry, Fortis hospital in Gurgaon – a corporate run Frankenstein – was busy planning how they could extract more from Aadhya’s frantic parents.

Anil Ambani Emerges from the Shadows of Modi’s Rafale “Deal”

MODI’S Rafale “Deal” has raised a number of questions. How is it that the need for 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) for the Indian Air Force, suddenly dropped to only 26 in three years? How is it that the price per aircraft rose from $81 million in 2012, to $243 million in 2015? Or by three times per aircraft, even taking inflation into account. What changed in the intervening three years between the two deals – the UPA’s in 2012 and Modi’s in 2015? And even more curious, who took these decisions and how?

Muddy waters in Rafale deal

MANY questions are swirling around the Rafale fighter aircraft deal especially in these politically charged times with various state elections already held or around the corner. There are even dark hints about skeletons in the cupboards. It is not the purpose of this column, and indeed beyond its capability with the information presently available in the public domain, to comment on possible skullduggery.