Decoding the Modi mania, travails of Mumbai’s new airport, and a new leprosy vaccination

Here is a list of stories from our magazine that you must read over the weekend

GN Bureau | April 8, 2017


#taxation   #leprosy vaccine   #Narendra Modi   #weekend stories   #commercial surrogacy  


People who have known the prime minister up close say his magic – which according to analysts handed the BJP a landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh despite anger over demonetisation – is not all about charisma: it emanates from his good habits of working hard, being a keen listener, taking every issue seriously, and openness to new ideas, which he refines to perfection. There’s no place for courtiers to hang around the tall and seemingly aloof figure of Modi. “He gives 100 percent attention to you while discussing an idea,” says a BJP leader. He is privy to an incident in which Modi sat for one and a half hours with an undersecretary-level official, listening to his ideas about changing India. 
 
 
By all accounts Mumbai is a high-flying city. Except on one. It just doesn’t have enough land to, well, safely land the ever-growing tribe of globetrotters. The city is adding close to six million air passengers every year. That’s a Singapore taking off or landing in Mumbai every year. For the record, 41.67 million passengers used the Mumbai airport in 2015-16, and that figure is expected to breach the 46 million mark by the time this fiscal year winds down to an official close. More and more people flying in and out of a city is usually good news. But this is Mumbai, a city where holding on to land is a harder fought battle than some of the high-flying boardroom skirmishes. The Mumbai airport has decisively lost one battle at least, if not the war. 
 
 
Twelve years after announcing the elimination of leprosy, the government is undertaking a massive vaccination drive against the disease. That slow about-turn is the culmination of a rush to meet a statistical goal and, in the process, the casting aside of the creation of a Padma Bhushan awardee. Dr GP Talwar, a sprightly 91 years, keeps a regular 10-to-6 schedule at the Immunology Foundation, in Neb Sarai, Delhi. It’s an independent not-for-profit, where he directs doctoral and post-doctoral work. “In 1969-70, when I was at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the World Health Organisation (WHO) approached me to work on a vaccine against leprosy,” says Dr Talwar, who later became the founding director of the National Institute of Immunology (NII), Delhi. 
 
 
An archetypal Indian, let us call him Ram Lal, pays water tax, municipal tax, road tax, house tax, sales tax, central sales tax, professional tax, value added tax, octroi,  service tax, excise duty, customs duty and myriad other taxes. Then, on whatever money is left with him, Ram Lal has to pay income tax. Ram Lal has also to pay a number of cesses and duties – education cess, krishi kalyan cess and Swachh Bharat cess to name a few. No wonder Ram Lal feels short-changed when he sees Bharat getting dirtier, roads developing newer potholes, farmers committing suicide and the number of illiterates rising. To collect all these taxes, the centre, states and municipal corporations have full-fledged tax departments which have full authority in law to enforce their just and unjust demands. 
 
 
In the nine years of my career here, I have not seen a single instance of a couple bringing along a relative who will bear their child as a surrogate mother,” says Inderpreet Kaur, head coordinator at Baby Joy, a west Delhi-based clinic that provides in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and surrogacy services to childless couples. Doctors and administrators at hundreds of infertility clinics across the country will second Inderpreet: in India, it’s almost unheard of for a surrogate mother to be related to the couple seeking treatment. But the draft Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, introduced in Lok Sabha last November, proposes to change that drastically – and, some would say, impractically. If passed, it will only allow a relative of a couple to bear a child for them. It will also ban commercial surrogacy, that is, paying a woman, usually poor, to bear a child for a couple. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Comments

 

Other News

BJP-RSS have never had elected presidents to date: Pawan Khera

In a scathing attack on the government, PawanKhera, national spokesperson of the Congress party, has said that the BJP is remote-controlled by RSS, an unregistered organisation that decides who the PM will be and lead the country, yet no question is asked to them. Asking how Amit Shah, JP N

Maharashtra floods: On-ground R&R hampered by VIP visits, say Pawar

Nationalist Congress Party president and senior leader Sharad Pawar has appealed to political leaders in the state not to visit the flood ravaged areas of Maharashtra as it diverts attention of those engaged in relief and rehabilitation to VIP arrangements and hampers work. The deat

Sri Lankan media baron Rajandram Rajamahendran passes away

Sri Lankan media baron, business tycoon and Chairman of The Capital Maharaja Group conglomerate, Rajandram Rajamahendran, passed away at Colombo early Sunday morning. He was 79. Rajamahendran was suffering from health problems and was receiving treatment at a private hospital in Colombo. &nb

Ganga heavily polluted with microplastics, finds study

A new study titled, ‘Quantitative analysis of Microplastics along River Ganga’ by Toxics Link has found heavy concentration of microplastics in the Ganga. All samples collected for study from the river at Haridwar, Kanpur and Varanasi were found to be polluted with microplastics.

Maharashtra flood situation grim, rescue works on

At least 79 people were killed and 56 were missing as the flood situation in Maharashtra remained grim on Saturday. Torrential rainfall in various parts of the state, coinciding with high tides and also discharge from dams, led to inundation of many regions and floods caused landslides in some places too.

Maharashtra partners with Climate Group to promote electric vehicles

Within days of announcing its new Electric Vehicle Policy 2021, Maharashtra Friday announced its partnership with Climate Group’s EV100 network to push and promote electric vehicles and reduce CO2 emissions. The policy, meanwhile, was also notified on Friday. Climate Gro

Visionary Talk with Pawan Khera, On Present State of Governance & Congress Party


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter