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Centre raises hopes of free COVID-19 vaccine, but benevolence can’t be at the cost of the economy

This article first appeared in the Firstpost.  COVID-19 has assaulted the health of people and economies. The impact on the economy has led to further stress on people’s livelihoods. This unprecedented threat to public health has not been constrained by measures taken by national and state governments. All humankind is...

India’s Covid data like counting potholes under streetlights. There are far more in the dark

There are two ways to deal with the uncertainties arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. The first is to take them as they come, and as I wrote in an earlier column, deal with the daily developments with a Stoic mind. To play the stroke according to the ball that comes...

India could afford to overlook economic inequality until now. Covid has changed that

Had we not been so engrossed by the covid-19 pandemic and Chinese transgressions in the Himalayas, the Narendra Modi government’s deregulation of the space sector would have stood out as a structural, big-bang reform. You don’t have to be a breathless cheerleader of the government to appreciate, without exaggeration, that...

Public lockdown discipline fast eroding, India risks becoming lax in Covid fight

India is in a crucial and especially dangerous phase of the coronavirus pandemic. With the relaxation of the national lockdown, public attention, media focus and the priorities of political leaders have shifted to other things. There is a sense — strengthened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement — that the lifting of the lockdown...

Price controls are a terrible idea to tackle private-public healthcare gap in India

Even before the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, sticker shock with respect to private hospital charges was commonplace in India. The perception and fear of being overcharged by private hospitals, especially through ‘unnecessary’ diagnostic tests and treatments, is widespread. Adverse health outcomes are frequently attributed to negligence or malpractice, and...

India is being forced to unlock during pandemic. But it’s no green zone yet

Unlike many other countries, India is gradually lifting the lockdown before the coronavirus curve has flattened. Covid-19 positive cases are now doubling every 17 days, a little slower than a week ago. With several state governments relaxing the lockdown, we should expect that the picture will worsen and that — at least initially...

Some out-of-the-box ideas for a fiscal stimulus

The pandemic and lockdown have deeply hurt the economy. This year the world’s economy will shrink by 3 percent, something that we have not witnessed in our lifetimes. India too may shrink as much if not more, since our lockdown has been more stringent than other nations. During April more...

The role that compassion could play in India’s economic revival

To rebuild the economy, we must focus on rebuilding social capital. To rebuild social capital, we need greater compassion across society. So many of the humanitarian tragedies that unfolded over the past few months could have been avoided or mitigated had we shown more compassion: in making migrants feel safe,...

When should Indian schools physically reopen? The best answer is: not yet

The winding down of the national lockdown in India and the devolution of coronavirus pandemic management to the states will change daily life as we have known it for the past few months. While the reopening of the economy is rightly the subject of public interest, the reopening of schools and educational institutions...

Not vultures but watchdogs

The Supreme Court of India finally took up the issue of the plight of migrant workers and their families. It took up this issue suo moto. Meaning it was not in response to any public interest litigation. But surely it was affected by the extensive media coverage. And also by...
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