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.However, there are undoubtedly many problematic issues raised by the Rafale deal as it now stands, as regards both its contours and the procedure adopted to get there.

India: Health of the Nation’s States

A RECENT report has brought out the diversity within India, as regards challenges to health. The report titled “India: Health of the nation’s states” is based on a study on disease patterns in India and compares the situation in 1990 and 2016. The study was conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The study provides estimates of the impact of 333 disease conditions and injuries and 84 risk factors for every state of India from 1990 to 2016.

India and Global Warming – Uphill Task at the COP 23 Negotiations

AS the French saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same, and this certainly applies to the challenges that India faces in the climate negotiations currently under way at Bonn. It is clear that the broad trend in the negotiations is in the direction of sharply increasing the burden of climate action on developing countries, while there is a deafening silence from the ranks of the developed nations on the implications of the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

Science Wars to Climate Change Denial: Post Modernism and its Consequences

MOST of those who led the charge against science explaining nature, are now surprised that climate-change deniers have stolen their theme song. Immersed in the assault on science, this group of thinkers simply “overlooked” the long term damage that they were doing to any issue on which scientific evidence would matter to society. If all that scientists say is based on merely groupthink, why should climate scientists “groupthink” be privileged over those of oil and coal companies?

Neruda Indicts the US from his Grave

A GROUP of experts assembled by the Chilean judge investigating Pablo Neruda’s possible assassination gave its verdict. The cause of death given in the death certificate is certainly wrong; he definitely did not die of prostate cancer. The international forensic team found an unexplained and a virulent strain of golden staph bacteria in his exhumed body as a probable cause. Neruda was certainly murdered by the Pinochet regime in the Santa Maria Clinic in Santiago, though more forensic work is required to determine the actual cause of death.Neruda won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971.

Paddy Straw: Burning Problem

IT is that dreaded time of year again for Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), the season of high air pollution, in which Delhi regularly ranks worst in the world.  Diwali is almost upon us, and the Supreme Court has imposed a total ban on firecrackers, a once unimaginable prohibition, but one that has apparently been greeted with stoicism by citizens and government authorities, who are only too familiar with the choking pall that envelops the megalopolis for several days after the festival of lights.

WHO Needs an Agenda for the Global South

THE appointment of Dr Soumya Swaminathan, director general of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), as a deputy director general (DDG) of the World Health Organisation is a welcome development. She joins Jane Ellison of the UK as one of the two newly appointed DDGs and will be in overall charge of programmes, while Jane Ellison will be in charge of ‘corporate affairs’. The WHO elected Tedros Adhanom of Ethiopia as the new director general (DG) at the World Health Assembly in May 2017, to replace the outgoing incumbent, Dr Margaret Chan.

Mass Shootings, Gun Violence and the Pathology of the US as a Terror State

THE Las Vegas mass shooting by a lone gunman, with a death toll of 59 and 527 injured, raises many questions. Why is the person involved – a 64-year Stephen Paddock – not being considered a terrorist by the police and the US administration? Why is gun violence so much higher in the US than any other country? And for the rest of the world, does the US invasion of other countries have any correlation with its gun violence? Or does reaching for the gun to shoot so easily, also encourage violence as a mode of “solving” international problems?The easy one first – who is a terrorist in the US?