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A boost to those who need it most

What are 600 million people? Almost twice the population of the US. What are 500 million people? About three-fourth of the population of Europe. Why are we talking about these numbers? Well, because as per a study by Sandhya Krishnan and Neeraj Hatekar (‘Rise of New Middle Class in India and Its Changing Structure, Economic and Political Weekly, June 3, 2017), 600 million is what

Expanding Eureka!

Abright yellow van with figures of children playing with a whirligig, a Newton’s cradle, a magnetic compass rolls into the Government Higher Primary School in Kittaganahalli, on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Students in the playground leave what they are doing and mill about it in excitement. For they know some interesting lessons, with hands-on practice, will soon follow.  

Trafficking survivors’ votes don’t count

While the entire nation is agog with political grapevine, political parties are weighing on all options to lure voters by touching upon issues that impact their lives. Several parties, including the BJP and the Congress have released their manifestos while many are about to join the bandwagon. The common agenda for the parties is to win hearts, minds and their votes.  

Missing the middle

Chandramouli Vashisht, 29, an engineer who lives in Madhu Vihar, in the middle-class Patparganj locality of east Delhi, says that during the last Lok Sabha election, he voted for the BJP, but the very next year, during the state assembly election he cast his vote for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). This year, as the nation goes to the polls, he is not sure if he wants to vote for AAP, which has fiel

The heat is rising

The day Amit Shah filed his election candidature papers from Gandhinagar, BJP workers were enthusiastic in preparing for a series of rallies in the constituency – but they had a complaint: the mercury was touching 39 degree Celsius. They arranged plastic chairs in a shade on the main road in Ghatlodia, the assembly segment of the constituency where the party president was to address vot

The maker unmade

The bad news about India’s engineering graduates continues unabated. Most recently, a study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that American students of computer sciences are well ahead in quality than those from China, Russia and India. The only consolation – if it is at all – is that computer engineering students passing out from elite instituti

Accessing quality sexual and reproductive healthcare

Approximately 2000 healthcare providers who serve Mumbai`s 57,26,442 women attended the two day conference on sexual and reproductive health hosted by Mumbai Obstetric and Gynecological Society (MOGS) that co-occurred with the World Health Day on April 7. The federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI), The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) an

Make oral care integral to universal health coverage

In a world that continues to witness a sharp divide between the rich and poor, and diseases continue to stare menacingly at humanity, it is only prudent that World Health Organisation declared Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as this year’s Health Day theme. UHC means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services

The Indian abroad

Diaspora diplomacy has emerged as an important component of India’s foreign policy in the last few decades. At the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in January, prime minister Narendra Modi emphasised the diaspora’s as ‘India’s brand ambassadors’. While the Indian government has been promoting bilateral and multilateral dialogue on economic and political levels, cultural dip

Congress campaign: Perennially catching up?

The general elections of 2019 commence on April 11 and the last phase of campaigning in the 91 constituencies of 21 states is under way. Both prime minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi are addressing multiple rallies in the poll-bound constituencies in a final attempt to woo voters. The debates in the last phase of campaigning are important in the battle of perception and

Schooling in freedom

This year’s interim budget allocated Rs 93,847.64 crore for education. Of this, Rs 56,386.63 crore was for school education, a hike of 10 percent over the allocation made in the previous budget. Does this materialise into tangible and sustainable improvement and enhancement, offer solutions to our stubborn and complex education challenges?   In education there a

A blind spot

 “The 21st century is the century of human mobility and migration. We can no longer think about our economies, societies or cultures without thinking about human mobility.” – Laura Thompson, deputy director general, International Organization for Migration   Unlike the Millennium Development Goals, the importance of migratio

Beyond Justice

You will not find God or grace in legal concepts, in formal notions of criminal justice. Certain values and ideals are beyond justice. These include mercy, forgiveness, redemption, dignity. Also love. This crime story is about values larger than mere procedural justice. It is a story that was not so widely covered by the media, but it should have been. I first read about this twisting

The chronicles of a gradual fadeout

Few know that LK Advani was often accused by Sangh Parivar apparatchiks of exercising ‘unilateralism’. In the history of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its earlier incarnation, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), Advani’s influence on the organisation was not only overweening but also extended for decades, from the 1970s to 2013. His numero uno status was frowned u

How taxes vanish into a black hole

When a citizen does not pay due taxes, the result is black money. Everybody gets worked up about it, and rightly so. But when the government collects taxes and does not use the revenue for the intended purposes – or even collects money for non-existent taxes, what would be the result? Grey money? That has been happening, and despite reminders from the supreme auditor, goes on happening su

Land digitisation and India

The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report 2019 ranks India at 166 out of 190 countries in ‘Registering Property’, lower from last year’s ranking of 154. This, in spite of a 53-place jump in India’s overall ranking in the last two years alone!   In Mumbai, it takes a little less than three months to get a property registered in the na

Easing birthpangs

Most of us have paid at least one visit to a health facility. It is easy to identify quality care when we receive it – an attentive doctor, a responsive team of health workers, adherence to hygiene and safety protocols, and so on. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to high quality care, a situation we are working hard to change.     In Delhi in Dec

Rethinking healthcare

The new world is aggressively batting for individual rights and self-determination. As the society is evolving for the better, we see a more assertive Indian coming to the fore. An Indian who has higher expectations and an Indian who is cognizant of his/her rights. Our constitution guarantees us several freedoms and rights, with Article 21 affording a window for the generations to interpret and

Why not have a reconciliation panel?

Jenine di Giovanni, a reporter who was a first-hand witness to the destruction in Bosnia, Chechnya and other places, wrote: “In the aftermath of any war or genocide, healing and reconciliation are ultimate aspirations.” After some years of the end of the apartheid era in South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established there under the chair of Archbishop D

An engineering disaster

After passing the 12th board exams in 2014, Vikas Kumar, of Madhepura in Bihar, took a year’s break to prepare for the engineering entrance exam. The hard work paid off and he managed to score high enough to qualify for admission to one of the prestigious National Institutes of Technology (NITs), where admission rates are as low as 1-2 percent of the applicants, making them only next in s



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