SCIENCE & DEVELOPMENT

Trump and Bolton’s New Motto: How I Started to Stop Worrying & Love the Bomb

WITH President Trump’s announcement of the US withdrawal from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the US is now set to dismantle the entire architecture of nuclear disarmament worked out between the US and the Soviet Union in the 80’s. In 2002, under George Bush, the US walked out of the Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. It is now pulling out of the landmark INF Treaty struck between Reagan and Gorbachev in 1987 that dismantled over 2,700 nuclear-tipped missiles.

Smog and Stubble Burning: Farmers as Scapegoats

“SMOG over Delhi and North India as farmers’ burn stubble” scream headlines across media outlets. It is an easy narrative to peddle to city dwellers, but an entirely misplaced one. There are two big reasons why this is so. First, smog over Delhi and other parts of the Gangetic plains in the winter months results from many contributory factors, and increase in smog-forming particulates and noxious gases from burning of post-harvest stubble in Punjab and Haryana is only one of them, and a small and transient one at that.

IPCC 1.5 Degree Special Report

THE Paris Agreement on climate change as approved at the summit in December 2015 had set a goal of holding temperature rise to “well below 2 degrees C” and to “pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.” Till Paris, the global goal had been set at 2 degrees C, but the new wording reflecting higher ambition than hitherto, particularly the push for a 1.5 degree limit, had been agreed upon at Paris in response to huge pressure from small island developing stat

Building Crony Capitalism and Calling it New Defence Policy

THE former president of France, Hollande, exposing the role of the Indian government in the choice of Anil Ambani Reliance as the offset partner in the Rafale deal shows that crony capitalism is thriving in Modi’s India.  It now transpires that the Rafale contract is not the only one in which Anil Ambani Reliance secured the PM’s blessings. The Indian government has put together a whole new policy of defence procurement – a Strategic Partnership model – which keeps out all the defence public sector undertakings (PSUs) in favour of the private sector.

Rafale: Justifications Weaken, Suspicions Deepen

DEFENCE Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and an echo chamber of other senior ministers, unfortunately followed by the Air Chief and other IAF brass, have been rushing about holding press conferences and releasing statements justifying the modified government-to-government Rafale deal for 36 bought-out fighters as negotiated by Prime Minister Modi, suddenly terminating the near-completion negotiations for 126 Rafale fighters with 18 aircraft in fly-away condition from Dassault Aviation with the remaining to be built in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

Unholy Nexus Trumps Public Health

MEDICINES can save lives and ameliorate suffering. In the past decades, medicines have contributed enormously to the improvements in population health as people across the world, in spite of unacceptable inequities, are generally healthier than before and live longer. But medicines can also kill people and cause disease and suffering. Diseases caused by the adverse effects of medicines are called iatrogenic diseases and typically can account for 20 percent of hospital admissions.

India Signs COMCASA with US: Falling into a Deep Pit

INDIA signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) with the US in New Delhi on September 6 during the ‘2+2 Summit’ involving the defence and foreign ministers of both countries. The signing of this Agreement with the US, after considerable delays by both parties, and despite several recent US moves by the Trump administration showing scant regard for Indian concerns, suggests that India under the BJP government has brushed aside all cautionary advice, and has decided to put all its national security and foreign policy in the US basket regardless of costs. 

The Crisis is of Electricity Sector not NPA’s of Banks

THE electricity sector enters the news nowadays only as a financial crisis. In this framing of the issues as one of NPA’s of banks, the real crisis – the crisis of the electricity sector – is wished away. The brutal truth is that the restructuring of the electricity sector that started in the 90’s with Enron economics, and dismantling of the state electricity boards, followed by the 2003 Electricity Act, is the cause of the current crisis.

Assault on Scientific Temper

EARLIER this year, the All India Peoples Science Network (AIPSN) called for observing August 20 as National Scientific Temper Day (NSTD), in order to commemorate the cold-blooded murder of Dr Narendra Dabholkar, well known campaigner against superstition and for scientific temper, on that day in 2013. To the horror of the nation, the original suspicion was confirmed by the very similar murders over the next three years of Govind Pansare, Prof M M Kalburgi and journalist Gauri Lankesh.

RS Sharma’s Aadhaar Challenge: Claiming Victory from Defeat

BY a sleight of hand, RS Sharma, the TRAI chief, has changed his irresponsible challenge “harm me using my Aadhaar” to “hack my Aadhaar database”. The two are completely different issues. What the ethical hacker community – yes, there is one – has shown is the immense harm that they could have done to Sharma, but did not. They only showed us the danger from Aadhaar to our privacy, and they succeeded quite convincingly.

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